Saturday, May 19, 2012

Osprey fishing

[Thanks to Jimmy]
I'm not a big nature channel guy, but this video of a fishing osprey is danged impressive. Catches multiple fish at once. Gets fully submerged catching a bottom fish, shakes off water like a dog. Takes off from the water wet, carrying a fish which must weigh several kilos.

A good spam and Gmail tip

My good old pal Paul gave me a good tip. I'd mass-mailed a notice that I had to close an old email address because of so much spam that much of it got past two potent filtering systems! He wrote:

GMail spam filtering is the best (except for one or two expensive corporate services). Any GMail account can be told to retrieve email for your old address - just go to Cogwheel, Settings, then click the Accounts and Import tab and about 2/3rds of the way down the page, you will find a place to add an existing POP mail account. Google then checks the mail for you, filters it for spam, and puts it in your inbox (though you can always use a filter rule to forward it to another email address if you really want to). I use this with some old 20 year old email addresses, that I was about to abandon because of spam. The only snag with this is that you don't get to choose the frequency that Google checks the email - it is generally about every half hour but more frequent if that account gets a lot of mail.

Trademark scam

Here's a scam I hadn't seen before. Fortunately I asked my attorney about it first.
I recently registered a trademark, and today I got a bill in the mail for the registration, apparently. It was quite vague, but seemed like it came from the European branch of trademark registration.

The situation is that since all new trademarks are on public record, some unscrupulous companies make up official looking bills and send them to the owners of the trademarks. In my case, though it was far from clear, what I would be actually paying for was nothing official, but just a high fee for a listing in some book they print which nobody uses. Sort of like these poetry contests which makes you pay handsomely to have your poem printed in a volume of "winners", and then buy the book, at a very inflated price. And of course nobody but the victims actually buys the books, to see their name in print, so the supposed prestige is nonexistent.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Crowd-funded movie

The Canyons is an upcoming movie written by Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho), funded by the makers and by members of Kickstarter. Interesting. (The methods, I mean, I've no idea if the movie will seem interesting to me, I read a few pages of American Psycho way back, and found in the hyper-violence the usual pathetic lack of basic knowledge of how the skeleton fits in the human body, and since it seemed to be only successful because of shock-value, I didn't care, one can rent splatter movies for that stuff.)

... but don't swallow?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

About Prejudice

If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed and color, we would find some other cause for prejudice by noon.
           -- George Aiken

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Landscape photo shoot-out

The $3000 Nikon D800E versus the $10,000 Pentax 645 for landscapes... Surely the difference will be big? No?

The Pentax is said to be very good, and it's the economical end of medium format cameras (medium format has a larger sensor than the "full frame" cameras like the Nikon). I've been rather attracted to it, in abstract. But it seems that compared to the Nikon D800E the image quality gain is quite marginal, and the camera is much slower, much more expensive, has much fewer lenses (and expensive ones)...
And the D800 has, like has been the case for DSLR vs medium format always, much better low-light ability, and a much more advanced autofocus system.
I don't doubt that for many people, the D800 will be the "medium format killer".

Jasmine Clarke, singer

Compelling TV

I dug into my TiVo at five in the morning, and as usual, first I get whatever live TV is currently playing at whatever channel I happen to be tuned to.
Guess what on the air at that time? A documentary program about a team of people going around town cleaning up graffiti... Riveting! Stunning! I dared not even hit Pause for fear it would malfunction and I'd miss anything. The suspense was murder.

Pollination video

Thanks to Henry for pointing to this awesome slow-motion nature video.
Embedded here, but in higher rez at the link.

Monday, May 14, 2012

45mm lens picture

Here is a sample picture with the Olympus OM-D and the 45mm 1.8 lens. (Short tele, 90mm-equivalent.) This is very pleasing stuff.
I include a contrast-modified version to show the good dynamic range, how much can be brought up in the shadows.
I think the images have a nice rendering, a 3-dimensional quality to them.
F:6.3, 1/50 second, ISO 200.
(if you want the full file, it's here. JPG from camera.)
(And here is one at full opening F:1.8 from the 45mm)


Small crop:

Shadows lifted:

I'm very pleased with the lens and the OM-D. The camera is beautiful, it's just the right size and weight (a bit smaller and lighter than an old Olympus OM-1), and mechanically it just feels good.

It has a pleasant and muted shutter sound (doesn't have a mirror flopping around). And it takes nine frames per second if you need it. I think it's the camera first I've with that speed, I'll rarely need it, but dang it sounds really kewl.