Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Human pictures

Humans of New York, a surprisingly captivating site. The short quotes make the pictures much deeper and more interesting, and sort of gives sample images of the world you don't get elsewhere.

That it should become such a big success I would not have predicted, but as we've learned, most people are interested in people more than they are in events or ideas. 

The World Is Not Falling Apart

The World Is Not Falling Apart, Article.
Never mind the headlines. We’ve never lived in such peaceful times.
Last year Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before a Senate committee that the world is “more dangerous than it has ever been.” This past fall, Michael Ignatieff wrote of “the tectonic plates of a world order that are being pushed apart by the volcanic upward pressure of violence and hatred.” [...]
How can we get a less hyperbolic assessment of the state of the world? Certainly not from daily journalism. News is about things that happen, not things that don’t happen. We never see a reporter saying to the camera, “Here we are, live from a country where a war has not broken out”—or a city that has not been bombed, or a school that has not been shot up. As long as violence has not vanished from the world, there will always be enough incidents to fill the evening news. And since the human mind estimates probability by the ease with which it can recall examples, newsreaders will always perceive that they live in dangerous times. All the more so when billions of smartphones turn a fifth of the world’s population into crime reporters and war correspondents.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Too many blogging problems...

I keep having all kinds of problems with Blogger. Time-outs, formatting problems, just bugs all over the place. And I've tried all the browsers and apps I have.
It's such a headache, maybe I'll just give it up.

Spring Breakers

Just watched most of Spring Breakers. Hot girls and guns, what can go wrong? Apparently everything. They should have given the girls, script (if any) and camera to a freshman film student, would have been as good, and cheaper. Maybe it would have been better, because probably there’d be boobies instead of one long tease and a few B/W glimpses.

Not even talent like the nubile-looking Selena Gomez (who was actually quite good) could save this movie. 

It seems to me that stories about normal people who fall into the dark side almost never are any good, despite the big potential.
Mmmm, Falling Down was a good one.

Francoise Hardy repetite

Warning, the first video is a bit risqué for its time.

I wonder how many men over the years have fallen hopelessly for Francoise? Scary numbers.
Her voice alone. Uniquely sweet, which is something else, considering the number of girl singers in the world. And then her face, especially French-beautiful.

Ah, I just knew there was something unique about her voice. Bert tells us:
She was indeed incredibly beautiful, and almost as popular for a while. I do recall a summer when Tous les garçons was playing non-stop on the radio. Those were fun years, music-wise - perhaps not the best music or songs ever, but all about having light-hearted fun, t'was nice. Her distinctive voice is what the French call une voix de gorge, or a throat voice, if you wish.
You may have noticed how, as a language, French is mostly spoken in the front of the mouth. If you curl the middle of your tongue upward (e.g. form an arch with your tongue) -- almost all of the sounds that compose the language originate ahead of said arch, very far forward compared to most languages. Now, listen carefully to her singing and you might be able to hear two distinct voices: the one I just described, coming from the front of the mouth, and another one from her throat.
While this is not all that uncommon for singers, what sets Françoise apart is how she retains her crystal-clear elocution, that's somewhat uncommon for voices like hers. And what's even more rare is how she manages this without the least appearance of effort -- this tells me that it is really her natural voice, not a learned technique. And she speaks with the loveliest accent too (or absence thereof, depending on one's point of view, I suppose).

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays

I am thankful for the wonderful and thoughtful readers I have, and I want to wish you all a really happy Christmas, or whatever you celebrate, and a fruitful new year!   :-)

I have seen things you humans wouldn't believe...

Bert said: it's a true-color shot of the earth as seen by a new Japanese weather satellite. The ultra-high res version is quite stunning. It is 120 MegaBytes!

The Sun's activity as recorded by NASA'a NuSTAR experiment.
Bigger picture

Ice Sculptures That Formed After a Windy Mountain Storm

Ice Sculptures That Formed After a Windy Mountain Storm, article/photos.
This is going all over the net, so I may as well show them too.
Horizontal icicles up to three meters!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

In Memory of a Shutter-Bug (A Christmas Story)

In Memory of a Shutter-Bug (A Christmas Story), article on ToP

One of the most relevant and touching real-life xmas stories I have read. First posted eight years ago, and I remembered it clearly! 

Laban - Hvor skal vi sove i nat

From the sublime to the widikullous. Here it is: the biggest and best and very worst of Danish pop love songs ever, "Hvor Skal Vi Sove I Nat". It was one of those things which was a mega-hit, yet I never found anybody who admitted to liking it. :-)
In case you're confused: it's a Love Song called "Where Shall We Sleep Tonight?" Very romantic!

How come I could never grow a hair like his? I am so envious.

Once in a small café in Tivoli in Copenhagen where a pretty good three man band were playing, they were asking for audiences requests, and I requested this one as a joke. The singer didn't hesitate for a second, he said "Get out you, now!!"

Siouxsie Sioux and C V Jørgensen and Surf A La Mode

Surf A La Mode (The Current Taste), a lovely song from late seventies... which weirdly enough apparently is about vagriacies and shifting fortunes of pop music (If you include Siouxsie and the Banshees in pop music...). Enjoy the guitar solo in the middle.

I think CV himself has fallen prey to the fickle public's tastes, since this was put up over a month ago, and has been listened to four times, three of them were me and perhaps the first one was CV testing his new channel.
But it seems serendipitous that I been on the web for twenty years, but I never look up this old favorite until now, just after it's been posted. So maybe he'll come back.

Except for this song and its sound, I can't claim to be a big fan. Good music, but he always seem to sing in a sarcastic tone about unlikeable things, including a song about that very very rare thing, a Danish serial bomber who targeted phone boxes.

And it did, then, introduce me to Siouxsie Sioux, which I still think is someone one should know if one is interested in avant garde rock music of the last half century.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed

Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)!

Here in the West, a lifestyle of unnecessary spending has been deliberately cultivated and nurtured in the public by big business. Companies in all kinds of industries have a huge stake in the public’s penchant to be careless with their money. They will seek to encourage the public’s habit of casual or non-essential spending whenever they can.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Do you know this tablet stand (solved)

Robert M and Jonas (thanks) found was I was looking for. It is KUBI, a semi-robotic tablet stand (indiegogo) which allows the person at the other end to tilt and turn the tablet to look around in the room. It is 500 bucks, and even then you save 400, according to Amazon! Seems the list price is enough for two iPads. But in a corporate environment it could be useful, and the price no big deal. 
(It's a pity they did not use it fully in the show, would have been fun to see it tilt and turn towards Amy when Bernadette called.)

In a pretty recent episode of The Big Bang Theory, this intriguing tablet stand was shown. I've never seen anything like it, and I'm quite curious. For example, what does it use power for? (It's not passed on to the tablet.)
I've googled and googled, but didn't find it. Does anybody know what it is? (It may even be a piece of lab equipment not originally meant for a tablet stand.)

The brunette is (from Wiki):
Mayim Hoya Bialik, born December 12, 1975, is an American actress and neuroscientist. From early January 1991 to May 1995, she played the title character of NBC's Blossom. Since May 2010, she has played Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler on CBS's The Big Bang Theory, a role for which she has been nominated three times for the Primetime Emmy Award...

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Winter nature

Watch this beautiful nature video on Tommy's blog.

(Sorry, I still have odd and varied problems with Blogger, no matter what app or platform I try. So formatting is basic.)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Talking Birds and Bees in a public place

One evening almost alone in the library, I was browsing, standing on the other side of the shelf from two young women. One of them, handsome brunette, was telling the other, pretty blonde and slightly younger, how high school  was generally fine but she was somehow was missing out on all that amazing sex that her friend apparently had in high school. She didn't say it in those words but it was clear what she was talking about. Her friend told her that with a little patience "it will happen for you too", and then she told about a couple of her own adventures, for example having sex during a party in the basement room with a window view open to public areas.

And then they suddenly got quiet, clearly realizing that they were themselves in a public area, and they walked out from behind the shelf and past me very demurely, suppressing giggles, and quickly got out of the library.

I mentioned them to the librarian in the next room, and she laughed and told me looking out the window, "they're still standing out there giggling".

I found this so funny and perfect, and almost like a scene out of a movie. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Just after sunset

Olympus E-MD1, 12-40mm F:2.8 Pro, on auto, ISO 5000, hand-held at 1/30 sec. Focal length equivalent 80mm.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A close look at Europa

... one of Jupiter's moons, which you'll know if you've read Space Oddity 2010 (or was it 2050? Sequelitis, all of them). (OK, it was "... oddessy. Pardon an old Bowie fan.)

Click for big pic

Isn't that gorgeous?
I love images which combine order with a certain kind of chaos, combine simplicity with a certain kind of complexity.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dance, liquid, dance!

Here are videos about making liquids and grains move and make shapes according to sound played at it.
They have made a music video, but to my taste, the music is boring and monotone, and the Making Of videos are much more interesting.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The mysterious Ulfberht viking sword

Here is an interesting 50-minute documentary about the "Ulfberth" viking sword, which is mysterious because it was far superior to most other swords of the time, it had much stronger and purer steel, and must have been made with methods which apparently the vikings didn't have. The docu also shows the making of an Ulfberth sword for the first time in 800 years.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Invisible sculptures, literally

Believe it or not, these sculptures, created by a new kind of 3D printing, can't even be seen with a microscope, it takes an *electron-microscope* to see them!

Batman animated, for adults

I've been waiting for animated superhero films for adults. Well, it has started.
And it started with the best material possible: Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns (which oddly is the original, not the sequel.) and his Batman: Year One. (Dark Knight is in two parts, wisely.) The latter not drawn by Miller, but making the name of David Machucelli. (Who I don't think has done much since, except his Daredevil collaboration with Miller, which was also stunning.)

Both real dang good,  and surprisingly, astoundingly true to the source material. (Especially Dark Knight, I've never seen an animated version being so close to the original art. Fortunately, because this was Miller's masterpiece. It has at least four distinctly different drawing styles in it, and yet it works beautifully as a whole.) (Admittedly the movie plays down the differences in those styles, understandably.)
And both available for free if you are an Amazon Prime member. (I am, they keep piling new freebies on that deal.) (Update: it appears that this is not "free" in the US, a pity.)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Kids react to film cameras

Ah, this is so funny. Kids express so well the horror I have at the thought of ever having to go back to film.
Now, for some reason Blogger posting page is just timing out for me the past couple of days. So I'm doing this on iPad which doesn't have a good app for it. So I won't be posting much until I have this solved somehow.
And to see this video, I have to send you to YouTube. I think you'll really like it though.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Fujifilm XF1 now cheap too

Fujifilm XF1 is a real pocketcamera, though not brand new. It's very light-weight, and it is quality, check the reviews. It has a manual zoom lens, much easier to control than the electronic ones usually found on compacts. 
And it may be the best looking pocketcamera out there. 
And it's now selling for about $240, which is crazy cheap.  (It's possible the low price indicates a replacement is on the way.)
I got the red/burgundy one, I love that color, but it's also in tan or black. 

It's almost a semi-pro, with all the manual settings you'd expect of such a beast, only in a small body. And it has Fuji's uniquie EXR technology, which can combine neighboring pixels (due to an unusual honeycomb pattern of them) to enhance contrast reach or to improve low-light performance. (This usually has the effect of halving the effective pixels though, to 6MP instead of twelve. I can live with that, one of my most popular series was taken with a 2MP camera.)

If you want maximum power for a pocket camera, I recommend the Sony RX100 Mark 2 (not 3). For one thing, it has a slightly larger sensor and a tiltable screen. But it costs over three times as much! Right now, the XF1 is a great choice for those wanting a good pocketcamera which looks really stylish, and for a really great price.

Imaging-Resource review.
The XF1 should also score big with casual shooters who not only want to attract oohs and ahhs when they carry it around town, but also want a camera that, on auto pilot, will take well-exposed shots with high dynamic range.
Add up the Fuji XF1's sexy appearance, fast and fun operation, immense customizablity, dynamic image quality and special shooting modes, and you have a solid, if unorthodox, enthusiast-level compact camera. It's one that definitively earns a Dave's Pick.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Whatta lotta balloons!

[Thanks to Henry]

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 2014 - Timelapse Short Film from Knate Myers on Vimeo.

[Full screen recommended. -E]

Every year the city of Albuquerque host the largest hot air balloon event in the world, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
Each morning begins very early as a group of 6-12 hot air balloons known as Dawn Patrol, ascent into the deep blue sky before sunrise. These skilled pilots test wind and weather conditions as other pilots and crew begin to lay out hundreds of balloons across the field.
Just as dawn breaks, the next wave of balloons begin to lift off. When the sun rises above the Sandia Mountains it simultaneously fills the morning with beautiful light as the balloons fill the sky with color. The next 60-90 minutes are a great mix of fun and chaos as several hundred more balloons lift off, wave after wave.
I had a absolute blast capturing this nine day festival. Even though the weather cancelled several events it was nevertheless an incredibly beautiful and successful time! Thank you for taking the time to watch :)

Two extremes in classic orchestra experiences

The first one is a long, but beautiful concert, celebrating both the Japanese theatrical premiere of Ponyo (one of my favorites) and the 25 years of musical collaboration between composer Joe Hisaishi and film maker Hayao Miyazaki.

The second is... weird. But funny.

Monday, November 03, 2014

How do you find truth?

"We Are All Confident Idiots, article.

Not long ago I blogged about an article pointing out how difficult it is to tell when you yourself are wrong. But the article was in fact not that great, so fortunately I have now found this much better one. It's pretty long, but worth it.

But something curious started happening as we began to look at the people who did extremely badly on our little quiz. By now, you may be able to predict it: These people expressed more, not less, confidence in their performance. In fact, people who got none of the items right often expressed confidence that matched that of the top performers.

This is something that I'm interested in, because more than once this life I have been badly shaken in something I took as basic in life, something which was important to my basic approach and direction in life. And when it's happened more than one, some very scary questions appear:

  1. How do you tell what is true? 
  2. Who can you believe? 
  3. Are those who sound most certain, also the most knowledgable? 
  4. How do you question those of your beliefs which have been ingrained since childhood?
  5. How do you get reliable information about things you can't observe yourself, like life after death, the age of the Earth, the reality of the universe, what is outside the universe, our purpose in life... (gasp, gasp, gasp) etcetera etcetera. 

One of the big problems is that to climb down from a false certainty, one has to go through a period of uncertainty, which can be very uncomfortable, even painful, so that makes all of us pretty much cling to the things we think we know. 

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Spazuk again

Tom found this, and though it's about the same fire-painter as below, this short video is so beautiful it deserves to be seen.

SPAZUK fire painter.

Red Bull Akte Blanix 2

Friday, October 31, 2014

A must-have item for rich heavy-metal fans

(... there must be a few, now heavy metal has been main stream for 20-30 years.)

It took me a while to recognize the subject, but I think this is great, a very funny piece. I love the turn screw on his ankle, and the chain hair. That must be dang heavy to throw around!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

About a substance called Sugru

Sugru is a highly useful and fun substance, sort of a combination of moldable rubber and glue. Amazingly it sticks to virtually any surface with chemical glue, including smooth metal or plastic.
It makes many repairs and fun ideas much easier to make. It's not cheap and it takes a day to cure, but it's still worth it. For example I have made grips for a couple of tablets and a camera, and they really help. (Sugru is not very grippy, sadly, so I had to invent a way to put grainyness in. Dabbling the surface with a toothbrush before it dries works pretty well though.)

There is a wealth of ideas on their site. Here is their newsletter.

Below is a grip I made with super-grippy surface. You can also see a strap I put on the tablet case with superglue. I think the strap is even better than a grip, actually, but they are both much better than nothing. I am amazed that four years after iPad One there are still almost no solutions for improving the grip on a tablet, and those that are there demands the whole hand behind the tablet, you can't have the thumb in front to change pages. With mine you can, making one-handed reading much more comfortable.
I cut the front of the case, since when folded back it gets in the way of the strap and grip. You can also put them directly on the device, I've done that with my Kindle Fire HDX.

I could not find a perma-link to this post, so I took a screenshot: 


I have written to the Sugru people with praise and one criticism. They claim that Sugru is heat insulating. I used 24 packs of Sugru on packing a thick ceramic coffee cup (you buy it in bags of 8 tiny packs). I hoped to keep my coffee hot longer. Even with a broad strip of bubble plastic inside it, it did not work. After a couple of minutes the surface of the Sugru gets quite hot. And of course it takes this heat from the coffee, so it gets cold as fast as normal, even with a preheated cup.
I don't like to complain, but I feel that I had wasted an hour and $50, so I felt it was false advertising. I don't think they did so on purpose or maliciously, for packing around a pot handle it probably does some good. And it is only a minor thing which does not take much away from this fun and useful product. 

Daily Arial View

The Daily View site with the cutesy address has some often-interesting areal views.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Net issues today?

Here in Lancashire, England, I am having some odd issues with the Net today. Over half the web pages/sites I try to load time out. Don't appear. But sometimes they do, it's all random.

The really odd thing is that I have the same problems whether I use my cable connection or my ADSL connection. (And it also doesn't matter if I use Ethernet or wifi, or if I use my desktop computer or my iPad.)

These are quite independent connections. How can this be? Sunspots?
Does anybody have similar problems? (Argh, if you have you may have given up loading this page...)

André Wickström´s english stand-up in Iceland

I have lost count of how many times readers have asked me: "Eolake, can you please explain, how does Danish sound to a Finn? Particularly one who is trying to amuse people in Iceland?"
And I must admit, for the longest time I have come up short. But thanks to our old friend TTL, I can now deliver!

Update: hmmm... there seems to be issues with the video, try it on Youtube if it does not work for you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

That's how a delighted porcupine sounds

This is so amazing and funny. Sometimes he sounds so human.

"What camera should you buy?"

[Thanks to Bert]

Famed photographer/reviewer Ming Thein has made a quite funny and actually quite truthful InfoGraphic answering "what camera should I buy?" Enjoy!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Lens maker interview, Zeiss Otus etc

Talking about multi-coating and size of lenses, Bert found this very interesting interview with a lens tester from Zeiss.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Canon Reveals ‘World’s Longest’ 4K Cine Lens: A 50-1000mm Monster that Costs $78K

[Thanks to TCGirl]

And big long zoom lenses for cinema is no thing of the past. Canon just came out with this true hulk. Incredible. 1000mm is a *really* long tele, trust me. (With few exceptions, it's the longest anybody makes.)
4K. (4x the pixels of HD)
50-1000mm. Loooong zoom. Surely in top quality.
$78,000. Thus the price...

Sad there's no in-situ photo of this, because I'll bet ya that this is not one you want to try to hand-hold.

It's funny how much is already being invested in 4K resolution cameras and such, when nobody yet has a solution as to how to distribute that extreme resolution...    :-)
Heck, I just invested a minor fortune in spring to get a 4K monitor (only two types were available), and then just yesterday, Apple announces, get this, not only a 4K monitor, a 5K monitor, and it's an iMac! Apple is cwaaaaazy! (There is no "5K" format, it's just Apple's way of saying "we got even more pixels than 4K, bitches".)

Differences in multi-coating

When not in storage, I rarely bother to put lens caps on my lenses, so I decided to get UV filters for the protection of my favorite ones.

It would be stupid to have a lens with fine anti-reflection coating, and then put on a filter with poor multi-coating. (It's called Multi-Coating or "MC", because many years ago, it was only done with one layer, which only dampened reflections of one color, not too effective. I think all lenses today have multi-coating.)

Oh by the way, in this day and age, some makers of multi-coated filters still makes it sound in their promotion that their filter can remove reflections and flare from a lens. This is of course cattle poo. The best they can do is to not add any new ones!

I bought three different brands just for kicks and comparison. Like I expected, the old, big brands Hoya and Cokin look fine, in some light they almost are invisible.

However, Nisi, a brand I had not heard of, seems to have lousy coating. I won't be using that one. See these comparisons, the Nisi (top on both pics) and the Cokin reflecting the same light source.
(I don't know why multi-coating usually leaves green behind as the strongest reflection.)

By the way, the Cokin really is fantastically thin, the frame. Impressive. I doubt that affects the strength of the thread too much (it's shorter), unless you tend to stack filters. But it's good if you want to keep a very compact lens compact, or it's mounted on a super-wideangle where it may cause vignetting (darken the corners). 
If you want one, it has the subtle and humble name of: 
"Cokin 46mm Super Slim Pure Harmonie Multi Coated UV Filter"!

(Yes, Cokin is the one with the square plastic filters which you put in a holder in front of the lens. I heard that if you put them flat on tables, they collect scratches like all-git-out. I can believe it, no frame, and it's only plastic.)

(Photo by Points In Focus)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Are there good photos still to make?

We live in a time where amateur photography is exploding far beyond the dreams of anybody living pre-digitally. If it wasn't true before, it's certainly true now: everything has been photographed thousands of times.
So one might get occasionally into a bit of despair: what's the point of me going on? There's nothing new to photograph.

But then I see a photo like this. It looks much like a Lee Friedlander photo, but a search has revealed no source to me. But anyway, the point is:
There is nothing special about the subject. It's a typical US town street, Baltimore or something,  on an unremarkable day, with all objects in it we see every day. (Albeit from over half a century ago.)

(Click for big)

But that's just the thing, to me: despite all this, I love this photograph. To me, it's excellent art. What a fantastic arrangement of lines. The composition moves me, to me it is beautiful.

And if the Art does not come from the subject, it must come from... Source only knows... The Photograph itself, certainly (or maybe Certainly Not, it's just an object). Maybe the mind of the photographer. Maybe luck. Or inspiration. Maybe higher forces.
And all these things will always exist, no matter how many times something has been photographed.

Bron informs: "Street in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania." -- Jack Delano

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

George Jones - Squidbillies Theme

I really like the show, and the theme song. It is funny as all-git-out.  They have had many good singers singing it. This one is one of those I'm surprised I don't know, since apparently he's nigh enough king of country. (Me having little interest in country normally of course helps.) George Jones (wiki).

... First I thought: "he certainly sounded very different when he was young", but it turns out he sings very different from he talks.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Teamwork is best!

[Thanks to Bert]


About That 25-300mm f/2.8 You Wanted

About That 25-300mm f/2.8 You Wanted, article.

Everybody wants one lens which can do everything, so you never have to change lenses (and miss a shot) again. Meaning a fast lens which goes from real wideangle to real telephoto, in high quality.
Well, surprise: it can be done, and it has been.
The catch: It costs over $40,000! And weighs about 18 pounds!

I have the Nikkor on the left, and trust me, it is not small. In fact it's so big that I regretted buying it... 1.5 kilo lenses are not for hobby street photographers! But I wanted quality. The joke was on me, when full-frame Nikons appeared, it turned out it was awfully unsharp in the edges. Lame. (Oh, it's been replaced years ago.)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Robin Wong Olympus tester

Robin Wong is an entertaining guy who runs a blog where he tests the new Olympus gear. He does it subjectively but well, and often his pictures, though only taken for test-purposes, are really nice and good for wallpaper.

Here is his newest test, of an unusually excellent lens, the newest of Olympus' short line of super Pro lenses, the 40-150mm f:2.8 Pro lens. It has absolutely top-shelf performance all through the line (at this time top-level zoom lenses are actually sharper than almost all prime lenses, if you can believe it), it has a fixed top aperture of 2.8, very useful in low light and for getting nice soft backgrounds. It is also proofed against rain and even frost, like the other Pro lenses and the Olympus E-M1.

It is bigger and heavier than one is used to with Micro Four Thirds lenses, but a similar lens for full frame would be so big and heavy that one would hardly be able to use free-hand, and cost a lot more.

(A third of this is lens hood.)
Robin struck up an unusual friendship
with a cockatoo named Madonna. 

Photo: Robin Wong.

Here is an informative and funny shootout on video, comparing it to the much smaller, but also outstanding Panasonic 35-100mm 2.8. Results may surprise.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Revolution in Art & Design using 3D Printing

Wow, I'll bet Neri Oxman never had any problems getting dates at MIT!
Seriously though, her work is groundbreaking.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Phineas and Ferb - Giant Puppet

If this seems familiar, notice the jaw and tongue, and then compare with previously posted, below. Nice homage.

Finally a compact reading tablet, and economical too

Finally a compact reading tablet, and economical too, post

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Video revenues

You may have heard that Amazon has paid a very kewl Billion for a site name, which, uhm, follows video games. Nope, doesn't make sense to me either, but for hundreds of millions young people, their video game universe is as real as anything else. 
A commenter provided this: 

"... numbers I gathered during a Google search that I think will help provide some context to Amazon’s purchase of Twitch: Total Revenue for 2013 for the following industries: 
NBA – 5 Billion. 
MLB- 8 Billion. 
NFL – 9 Billion. 
Movie Box Office Ticket Sales -10.9 Billion. 
Video Game Revenue 93 Billion
To put Twitch into perspective Twitch is to gamers what ESPN is to sports fans. Amazon’s purchase of Twitch gives them access to the video game universe in a way they might never be able to recreate from scratch."

Video game revenue is nine times that of movie box office! Holy mother of all that's unholy. Not sure what we can learn from this, but it seems there's a new drug in town. 

Crow magic

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Light is the essense

An old-timer in my old photo club in the seventies/eighties once was service/guard at an international exhibition we held (in Copenhagen), top-notch images from 20 countries.
One quiet evening he walked around and tried to determine what made all those photos so special that they had made it to the exhibition against a lot of hard competition. He concluded that it was the LIGHT which did it. The *light* was an essential factor, amidst all the great variety of subjects and style.

I guess it's not for nothing that photography means Drawing With Light.

(Click for big pic, please. Photos by TCGirl. These made me think of the importance of the light. Olympus E-M1, Panasonic 14-140mm. And these are unprocessed, that good are modern cameras and photographers.)

As an aid to spot the bird in the highest branch, which indeed was very tiny in the frame: 

Top 10 Compact Cameras for Travelers

Top 10 Compact Cameras for Travelers, article on National Geographic!

Sure, it's about *travel* cameras, but it's very notable that there isn't a single DSLR mentioned! Mostly mirrorless. Times are changing.

Photo magic

This is one of the best works of "Photoshop magic", I've seen, thanks again to Bert.

Unknown author

Monday, September 29, 2014

Lenses and perspective (updated)

Here is a good article about lenses and their effect on perspective (or technically: distance's effect on perspective).

For example:

The long 200mm telephoto lens on the left compresses the scene by bringing the Independence Hall building in Philadelphia right up to the statue in front.  A 35mm wide angle lens used on the right relates the two in a very different way.
[Photo and text by Tom Grill]

Thanks to Bert for finding this wonderful illustration of perspective change.
The article also explains how the perspective changes with the distance, not the lens. The lens focal length changes merely allows you to fill the frame with the main subject at different distances.

photo by PetaPixel/Michael Zhang

Here is another good illustration.

Photo by Stephen Eastwood

Can the Samsung NX1 redefine pro performance with a quantum leap in technology?

Can the Samsung NX1 redefine pro performance with a quantum leap in technology? - Article
(A very technical one, fair warning.)

As if there weren't enough brands with good cameras, now Samsung, of all places, are doing interesting stuff. For example:

When the guys in R&D were working on the Samsung Auto Shot feature, they recorded live 28 megapixel, 240 fps "video" to help with the debugging. We didn't see there being an application for that, at least for very, very few people.

Processing 28 megapixel at 240 fps... woa.


JK: The DRIMe V actually has a lot of IPs [small hardware circuit blocks] dedicated to noise reduction. It's pretty cool; there are a lot of them, and each one does a different type of noise reduction processing, all at the same time. 

DE: Really? So all these IPs can all be working in parallel doing their own noise reduction, and then some higher-level processor can come in and say, "Oh this is this type of image content here, so I'm going to use the output from this IP, but over here there's different content, so I'm going to use the output from this other one"?

JK: Yeah, yeah.

 The Samsung NX1 will be about $1500 body only. That says Pro Camera. But so does many of the features. Just a detail like the top plate LCD info screen, we sadly don't see many of those, these days.

Still, it's an uphill battle for Samsung to get into the pro market, because Pros don't buy cameras, they buy systems. Not only do lenses in similar quality have to be available, they also have to be paid for. That is no trivial expense, not for the photographer and not for the maker.

The "Busy" Trap

The "Busy" Trap, article.
Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Panasonic puts a 1-inch sensor and a Leica lens on new CM1 smartphone

Panasonic puts a 1-inch sensor and a Leica lens on new CM1 smartphone, article.
It had to come: smartphone cameras with much bigger sensors.
Though everybody is uncertain about how big the market is. People who like photographing with a smartphone, do they really think that much about sensor-sizes and lens brands? If they do, won't they get a "real" camera? I don't know.
To be honest, while I think this is a natural and obvious and praiseworthy development, I don't feel any huge attraction to this toasterfridge. The size and kind of images you post on Faceblack and Instagroan, you simple can't tell the difference anyway, you need to make really big prints*, and if you do that, might you not want optimum camera controls rather than an Android interface?

Not sure. But I feeeeel there could be something cool made in this area, but it may take some ingenious and intuitive inventing to do so.
Or maybe not. Will this always be a Frankenstein? Cameraphone cameras have already been Good Enough for years, even for many enthusiasts, and they are only getting better year for year. So why buy an expensive phone (900 Euros) which is four times thicker than a nice phone, just to tell your friends: "See, it has a Leica lens!". Well, that may actually be it for many, and nothing wrong with that.

*And how many people really prints photos anymore? I haven't for years. After getting used to pictures reaching around the world in seconds, a print seems so... obscure. Getting them seen by more than a handful of people is real work. And also today's really big screens make for an enjoyment of a photo which it takes a *hell* of a print to beat. (And it can never beat the contrast range anyway.)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Frost Flowers, now bigger

I have updated the size options for some of my most popular photos for wallpaper, the Frost Flowers.

(I've added a zip file link with the full camera size images (6MP), since bandwidth and screen sizes have changed a lot in the decade since I posted these.)

Found something fun: in the new iOS 8 (iPhones/iPads) you can now select third-part keyboards. In one of them you can put a photo behind the keyboard. I think this one fits well:

(Click on it to see the texture, it's wild.)

Simon Pierro Does iPad Magic Using LEGO

Friday, September 19, 2014

Two small gadgets

I've found a couple of kewl gadgets in one of my fave online stores, PhotoJojo.

Une Bobine is a combine phone-charge cabel and phone stand/tripod.
It is not a danged stable tripod by any stretch, so don't expect miracles if there's wind, but I think it's cool, and I want to use it when reading or writing when I'm not home, so I have the screen nearer eye-height, to save my poor ol' neck.

The Pocket Spotlight is a tiny flood light. I think it's mis-named, because one of the good things about it is that it evenly covers a big area. It gives quite a lot of light, and its the size of a matchbox, only thinner!
You don't have to have it mounted on the camera/phone, it is independent. But I've experimented, and the light it gives, even when sitting on the camera, is clearly superior to a phonecamera's built-in flash.
It can also be used as fill light, of course. And even for indirect light, if the subject is not too large.
It can also be used simply as a flash light. It's much smaller, and gives a much broader and more even light. You can carry it anywhere, only problem is it might get lost in the bag...

They have great support. 
As does the small company (one man?) which makes the Bobine. It was unclear if it would support the heft of the iPhone 6 Plus, and PhotoJojo weren't sure, so I contacted him personally at (!). He said: 

It will definitely charge and sync both new iPhones, but until we have them in our hands for testing, we can’t guarantee the holding/positioning use. We are getting the 6 today and the 6 plus next wednesday for testing. But, for giggles, I strapped a Galaxy S4 onto the front of my iPhone 5s and put it on Bobine. The weight of these phones combined is a lot higher than the 6 plus weight. And Bobine performed great, so I’m assuming it will work just fine for the 6 plus.