Friday, December 30, 2016

Digital miracles and 100mm portrait lens

I imagine what it would be like to travel back in time to the photo club of my youth and demonstrate a modern digital camera. Holy mama. I think I could list at least a dozen major features which I would have given a kidney to have back then. And that's just the major ones. Just the ability to shoot at 3200 ISO in great image quality, and to hand-hold down to 1/8th of a second even with a tele lens. Even after getting used to the progress over years, it still seems miraculous. I remember logging a big tripod around in the nineties just to be sure to get sharp pictures even with a short tele lens in overcast weather. Now, 'it's to laugh'.

(I had the one below. A wonderful portrait- and all-round lens. Compact and nifty; many of my favorite pictures were taken with it, examples shown. I actually don't remember, though, what originally (in my teens the first time), made me choose a 100mm over the much more popular 135mm, but I don't regret it.)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Selecting MFT lenses

An impressive article about choosing lenses in the Micro-Four-Thirds system (my favorite camera system, compact yet top quality).
(If you prefer another system/brand, there are links to similar articles for others.)

Note: I agree with the article that it pays to pay attention to whether the lens or body has Image Stabilisation, it's great to have it. But I have found that it does not harm if they both have it. Also I have not had problems if there was no UV filter built in. And adding one to the front of the lens I don't find "inelegant" but rather a way to assure that the front lens will be pristine even after long use. There are even special filters now which are extra tough, especially made to protect the lens (though they are pricey, see this $115 example from Hoya's new HD3 "hard line").

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Good Girl art

Sensual girl portrait art.

Fuji GFX, the new compact big-format cam

Nice promo video about the new compact "medium format" (big sensor) camera Fujifilm GFX. (What's with the dang X's still? How about a name which hints at what the camera is?)

OK, so eight grand is still a Pro price, but it's much cheaper than a Hasselblad or a Phase One, and getting big-format cameras in more reasonable sizes is an excellent thing.

It seems the finder bump can be taken off if you want to use the screen instead, also an excellent thing.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Old cameras

A friend's son for some reason likes the idea of using film cameras (they've barely even been made in his lifetime), and acquired some nice old gear. (A class in school teaches them how to use film, I guess to make them more in touch with the medium.)

And I'll be damned if I don't get nostalgic about those old cameras. I would not start developing films again for all the treasure, but the cameras were "real cameras"... They were equally good years later, unlike digital ones, which you can almost feel crumbling under your fingers after their first new years'.

And these old metal machines often had a classic macho kind of beauty, something you can't say about many digital cameras, except a few which were made to look classic, like the Fuji X100 and the Olympus Pen-F.

... A photographer friend once asked to buy my Olympus X100. He didn't remember the exact name of it, so I asked him which of two possible choices it was. He said "the one which looks like a camera", and I knew which one he meant...

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Music collectors

I'm just watching the Gilmore Girls, and the wonderful Lane charcter (wait... "Jane Lane"... I *knew* they were fans of Daria) is ordering new CDs from a huge catalogue.

 I'm wondering, big music fans, who buy new music all the time, how can they possibly *consume* all that music? There's just not time enough. I don't buy a lot, and I still have music I've yet to listen to.

 I suspect that they have the intention of listening to it all, but even if they can't, they want to *have* it, and it just piles up. They probably believe they will have the time to listen to it one day, all the while they keep buying new.
 Ah well, as addictions go, it could be a lot worse. :-)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Vincent Bal shadow art

Vincent Bal makes some fresh, clever, and often funny art by combining drawing with the shadows of everyday objects.

Although he (wisely) here uses a very simple style, it sometimes shows that he can really draw.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Why write in cafes

On request, here is a little piece I wrote about why many find it helpful to write in cafes and such places.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Start-of-winter-message from Eolake

Here in Northern Europe it is today the coldest day of the winter so far. The first day with frost on the ground in the day time. So what more fitting day for a warmth message...

I would like to thank *you*, my dear friend, for all the nice contacts and communications you give. Even the smallest one counts. We are all part of each other's connection to divinity.

I wish you a lovely December and holiday season, with nice surprises, pleasant personal growth, and good communications.

By Elena Lukina

For the cafe writer without a bag

I've just posted this on about the new wave of portable keyboards.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Digital art paper sculptures

Happy Thanksgiving to the Americans and everybody else who feel in the mood.

Here is an excellent example of how Digital is revolutionising art and design. (And of course so many other things, but there's a whole library's worth of discussion of documenting there.)
It is laser-cut paper!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Automatic art again

Now Photoshop can give you a new sky with a click. I can't tell you how mixed my feelings are about all this automation. It's cool to see and use, but then... it's like, imagine a little thing you paste on your jaw, and immediately you are a perfect, wonderful singer! Well, when everybody is wonderful singers, is anybody really a wonderful singer? I don't know. It's deeply confusing.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Pics 4 Nov

(Many details. Click on pic for full size.)
(On Mac, command-click to get new window. On Windows it's shift-click or option-click.)

(Canon GX7 II, and iPhone 6S+)

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Olympus EM-1 II test

The test are coming in now, and it's clear that the new Olympus flagship model E-M1 mark II is a very powerful camera indeed.
And the new PRO zoom 12-100mm, a dream all-round lens. Compact, super-pro quality (both physically and image-wise), and breaking new records in stabilization effectiveness. Up to 6.5 stops is claimed and it seems to bear out, amazing. And with that range you can use it for nigh everything (perhaps with the little 45mm 1.8 for blurred backgrounds.)

Monday, October 24, 2016

"Surviving In The Wild: Can Your Photo Gear Save Your Life?"

Love the Camera Store TV. Good reviews and good humor.
This is pretty funny. Can't believe he actually caught a fish and made fire from what was in his camera bag though!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

new pics

(Click for big pic)

The last three are from Olympus Pen-F with Panasonic 14-140mm. The others are Canon GX7 II. 

Saturday, October 08, 2016

A humble goal

My goal is to get back the energy to work as hard as I did when I was twenty. ... And then not do it.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016


Angels are messengers, women are angels.

When I was much younger there was a dress-up-dance-in-the-streets in Copenhagen. At one point I was standing in the crowds in a tiny cinema in central town, and across from me was this tall vision with bright red long hair. She had on a long, dark blue patterned dress, and the dress had a long slit while revealed the entirety of her left leg. I was mesmerised.

There are so many moments in the past where I now wish I'd had a camera.

Update: I was challenged to draw it. I'm out of practice, but here's a very quick sketch.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Amira Willighagen - O Mio Babbino Caro

I'm not the world's greatest opera fan, but this one has to be experienced, trust me. Amira Willighagen, ten years old.

The Passenger, covers

Covers of The Passenger by Iggy Pop. I apologize to the non-rock-fans in my readership, but I just really like these.

Alison Mosshart:

Marco Cinelli:

Elka Nagel:

(Nice HD. Enjoy the pretty faces full screen.)
(Oh: if anybody can give me the gist of what they are talking about in Polish after her song...?)

... OK, I am trying your patience now, but I just find this odd and funny cover by "Folk Grinder" to be irresistable:

Not all like Iggy Pop-like hard rock, but in this case I find the melody uplifting and the lyrics positive:

"The Passenger"

I am the passenger and I ride and I ride
I ride through the city's backsides
I see the stars come out of the sky
Yeah, the bright and hollow sky
You know it looks so good tonight

I am the passenger
I stay under glass
I look through my window so bright
I see the stars come out tonight
I see the bright and hollow sky
Over the city's ripped backsides
And everything looks good tonight
Singing la la la la la.. lala la la, la la la la.. lala la la etc

Get into the car
We'll be the passenger
We'll ride through the city tonight
We'll see the city's ripped backsides
We'll see the bright and hollow sky
We'll see the stars that shine so bright
Stars made for us tonight

Oh, the passenger
How, how he rides
Oh, the passenger
He rides and he rides
He looks through his window
What does he see?
He sees the sign and hollow sky
He sees the stars come out tonight
He sees the city's ripped backsides
He sees the winding ocean drive
And everything was made for you and me
All of it was made for you and me
'Cause it just belongs to you and me
So let's take a ride and see what's mine
Singing la la la la.. lala la la [x3]

Oh the passenger
He rides and he rides
He sees things from under glass
He looks through his window side
He sees the things that he knows are his
He sees the bright and hollow sky
He sees the city sleep at night
He sees the stars are out tonight
And all of it is yours and mine
And all of it is yours and mine
So let's ride and ride and ride and ride
Oh, oh, Singing la la la la lalalala

Monday, September 26, 2016

Digital magazines

Before the millennium, was one of my first Mac sites/magazines I was reading, and it was delicious.
And funny enough, I'm feeling very nostalgic about the formatted, downloadable, fixed-layout magazines!  I remember putting a handful of them on my laptop and feeling cool about having virtual magazines on my machine when I  brought it out to have something to read over lunch or whereever. (Of course these days an iPad or other tablet makes virtual magazines much more portable, and flexible re how and where you read them.)

A magazine, having content with somewhat lasting value, is much harder to make than a news web site, which is what most of us are reading most of. We want to know what's new. Reading or writing more in-depth stuff demands much more of the reader.

Perhaps though, in the digital age, collecting loosely related articles into fixed packages is less relevant than in the world of paper, what do you think? (I use "Pocket" a lot for reading articles.)

But I still have pictures in my head of the old MyMac magazines... ah, there starts a new page... there starts a new article. Ah, a Beth Lock article, great...
(Oh, Nemo interviews a dude named Eolake Stobblehouse. Who's this joker?)

And I still love magazines, digital or not. And I'd like to make one, one day. It does not have to have fancy modern layout; in fact I think I may have liked the old MyMac magazine even better because of the very simple layout (demanded by the tech at the time).

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

iPhone Seven review by Pogue

This year it's hard for many to decide whether to upgrade their iPhone or not. But I think this review by David Pogue outlines it well. David has a way of cutting things down to brass tacks.

Living canvas

Here is a cool story of two artists who actually create photographs on plates of living grass.
(It's not painted on the grass or something, it's actually developed by projecting a negative onto young grass, so it grows richer and darker where it gets more light.)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Ben Franklin and the Internet

Ben Franklin and the Internet [Satire]
By Eolake Stobblehouse

Did you know that Facebook was invented on the same day as the Internet? ... Don't feel ashamed, very few people do, yet.

On the dusky June day in 1752 when Franklin flew his famous kite, when the lightning struck, a picture and a sentence formed in Franklin's mind; the image of a bearded man and the thought "Ach du lieber got".

Unbeknownst to him at the time, this was the thought and the face of German scientist Herman Liebstmirnicht, which was coincidentally conducting the kite experiment at the same time as Franklin, half way around the globe!

Remarkably, the Leyden Jar which stored the electricity from the lightning strike also stored for several hours Liebstmirnicht's thought and his picture, thus providing the very first electronic memory. Benjamin Franklin printed out the thought and image on rice paper from the "ur-RAM" of the jar, using a jury-rigged printer made from rubber stamps and a loom. And so this was the world's first "face-book" page!

Also not publicised widely is the fact that the Zuckerberg family, after a protracted legal battle, has a contract with the Franklin estate to pay 2.5% in royalties a year for the next five hundred years from Facebook  profits. Dr. Liebstmirnicht sadly did not survive his lightning strike and left no heirs, so Zuckerberg is still comfortable.

Thankfully, due to today's wire-traveling electricity and the safety of modern "eye-phone" PDAs, we can communicate with our global friends without being electrocuted.

[Not a word of this is true, but who knows, it might have been.]

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Simulated shallow depth-of-field

I've been saying that one of the next steps for phone cameras would be simulated shallow depth-of-field for blurry backgrounds. And here it is, a review of the Huawei-Leica phone. Good stuff.
[Update: there are even iPhone apps for this.]
The next important step would be an extra lens, for tele- and portrait-photography. (I think this will be easier than making a good zoom lens in the tiny space available.) My wish is for a 100mm-equivalent lens. This would be a good portrait lens, and give a bit of reach, unlike the 70mm which is so common on Normal zoom lenses, 70mm is just a longish normal, not a tele. (In my view it's the downfall of the last two generations of the otherwise great Sony RX100 camera, they shortened the zoom to 70mm.)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Great camera offer

The much-praised Olympus OM-10 is currently for sale at a great price, including kit zoom.

(Update: Ken spotted this seems to be the mark 1, not the more current mark 2. I'm not up on the differences, perhaps a mark 2 is worth the $200 premium. I think they are both very good value for money.)

"I’m so glad that I don’t have to choose between performance and portability anymore." (From the article above.)

From our ol' photographer friend EmptySpaces:
"I have had this camera (mark 1) for a year now and love it more all the time. I believe that, other than some reconfiguration of the dials/switches, the big upgrades to the mark ii version ares 5-axis stabilization (vs 3-axis on the original), the addition of a couple custom slots on the dial, and a big upgrade in EVF [electronic view-finder] resolution. Plus some smaller upgrades, too, I'm sure. Same sensor, same rear screen, same battery life, though. The 3-axis IBIS works awesome."

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The purpose of literature

It is said that in the minds of academia, the purpose of literature, fiction, is to teach us more about ourselves.
I think that's like saying that fine arts painting has the purpose of teaching us about nature or architecture.

Fiction can certainly explain our minds about man. It just seems to me that many in academia thinks it can do so in an explainable way, as if all the lessons can be literal and logical and be disected, and have final, single explanations. I think that fiction and art expands our minds on a higher and more complex level.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

CAD new generation

This shows highly interesting vistas for the future as to how AI can help us in very broad areas create the products we dream up, even highly complex ones.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Around the world on solar power!

It didn't happen fast or in one stop, but nevertheless a solar-powered manned airplane has made it all around the world!

Thursday, July 21, 2016


The SOLARPUFF is an amazing little device, a small, bright, foldable lamp driven purely by sunlight.
I own several of them myself, from their Kickstarter campaign, it works well.
It can do much good and fun for us, but the real boon is what it can do in the large parts of the world without an electric grid.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Fork, a new macro pic

(Click for big pic)

Russ thought it might work as B/W too, so let's see: 

Also I wondered a bit late if a bit more contrast might be good:
Less subtle, but more punch.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

"Sheep view 360"

If Google street view won't come to the Faroe Islands, then the Islands will come to Google, sheep and all!
(The girl behind it is beautiful too.)

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

New macro pics

[Click for big pic]

(They are all better in full size, but especially Buddha here.)

(Olympus Pen-F, M-Zuiko 60mm Macro lens.)