ljplicease: (street)

In January of 2015 I decided, as an exercise, to post one film photograph every day for the entire year. They go on my The Facebook and my blogity blog, but not the LJ version. The idea was to get used to working with film again on a regular basis. I called it ‘film 365’ for the number of days in the year obviously. (A sampling of the results can be seen here). (The entire collection is here). Originally it was only going to be a one year thing, but in January of 2016 I noticed that there were going to be 366 days in 2016 so I could do it again and call it ‘film 366’. Obviously.

Lena wrote the holiday letter as usual and I said I would pick out some photographs. Only when I started looking at my pickys, I noticed a lot of them were of old rusty tin cans and brick walls where the paint was coming off. And I realized most of them while interesting photographs for me weren't really of the “here we are standing in front of this tourist attriaction” sort that you expect in a year end summary holiday letter. We used a couple of mine, but mostly we shiped a letter with her photographs. I am okay with that. Instead of the holiday letter I write my year end summary here, with an overview of some of my favorite photographs. Some are my favorite because they are a pleasing composition. Some of them because they elicit an interesting observation. Some of them just because.

A lot of ink has been spilled on the subject of what a terrible year 2016 has been on account of various elections and how many celebrities have died. Actually for us 2016 has been a pretty good year. Lena has gotten a job where she is being paid, and jettisoned the one where he boss was not paying her. I got a raise. We've had several pretty nice vacations here in the states and off in Europe. I am sad to see a few celebrities go, but it does not feel espeically personal. A couple of elections didn't go the way I expected or wanted to, but the actual consequences don't start to really set in until 2017. Which is what this comes down to. Next year, 2017, is going to be the shitty one. I am optamistic that we will get through it.

With that all said. Once again. In no particular order, except for “random”:

[photograph]

(lime photographing flowers ≈ 110) This is my favorite portrait of my wife that I took this year. I was shooting redscale, which is where you expose film on the wrong side and you get this red shift. If you under expose redscale you get too much red, but if you overexpose, you get some other colors. Which is what I did here. It was also magic hour, which helped.

...the rest... picture heavy )

I am going to post a few more next week. For those interested, you can see the whole lot here:

d60

Feb. 15th, 2009 04:30 pm
ljplicease: (pixel5)
[image]

D60. Good:

  • Lightest DSLR that I've ever used. I'd much rather take this up Breakneck Ridge than my D700. It's just 100g heavier than my (film) Minolta Maxxum 4 and 5, and just as compact.
  • Auto focus is quite good.
  • Manual focus is easy, for a viewfinder of this size with my vision.
  • Takes good pictures.

Bad:

  • No depth of view preview!
  • There aren't very many knobs and you are forced to go into the menus, which is okay for occasional use, but not if you want to set something in a hurry because you are going to miss a photo.
  • No manual focus switch on the body! I think most (all?) of the AF lenses that work with this camera have a manual focus switch on them, so that is okay (actually prefer the switch on the lens after having gotten used to it with the Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8).
  • AF doesn't work on many older AF lenses, including (as I suspected) my Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3. As mentioned before the manual focus is excellent, so this isn't as bad as I thought it would be. I ordered a Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 which will AF on the D60 and will be better for this camera anyway since it is designed for digital cameras with the small sensors.
  • Metering doesn't work at all with manual focus lenses, which makes them almost useless with this camera.

The bad list looks long, but really most of the bad points are because it would be impossible to build such a compact camera with all of those features. Those things are what the D700 (or D300) is for.

Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 DX VR. Good:

  • VR. The kit lens compensates for camera shake at moderately long shutter speeds. So far seems to give the in camera image stabilisation of my Minolta Maxxum 7d a run for its money.
  • Actually works pretty well on my D700. No vignetting at all from 24-55mm, and what you loose from 18-24mm is much less than what gets cropped when you put the camera in DX mode. I suspect that the optical performance of the glass outside the DX crop may not be up to spec though.

Bad:

  • The front of the lens rotates when focusing. This makes use of a polarizer very difficult. This is common with budget lenses.
  • Tad longer than I was hoping. The optically far inferior Minolta 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 (without image stabilisation) that came with my Maxxum 5 was more compact. I will be happier when the Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 DX comes out next month.
one more example )

reviews

Feb. 14th, 2009 11:17 pm
ljplicease: (pixel4)

I've been reading this guys reviews of camera equipment lately:

In fact I (re-)stumbled over his review for the Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 and remembered that I got mine based in part on his review and in part from the reviews on B&H's website. His reviews also helped me reaffirm my desire to get the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR when I can afford it and decided that the Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 DX isn't worth the money and weight compared to (surprisingly) the Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 DX kit lens that comes with the D60... at least for the sort of photography that I like to do. I did some checking elsewhere to be sure of course. Another thing I have noticed is that although he has highly detailed reviews and picks up on little things that are important to people who spend a lot of time with their cameras, his reviews are also highly schizophrenic and he has a tendency toward extreme hyperbole. To demonstrate both points, he says that there is no reason to get the D300 because the D90 is cheaper and newer technology (by about a year and there is some truth to this), but of all the Nikon cameras he prefers the D40 (which is cheaper and about twice as old as the D300) because it is light, and five mega pixels is enough for everyone. No professional photographer would take that advice seriously, but it actually makes a lot of sense for a lot of non-professional enthusiasts. His chart of Nikon lens compatibilities is the best on the Internet (I've been using it since before I even started reading the reviews) and he has an intimate knowledge of everything Nikon based on (as far as I can tell) buying pretty much everything they make/have made, reviewing it, and either keeping it or selling it back usually for about ~70% of the original purchase price. I take a lot of what he says with a grain of salt, but it's interesting reading regardless if you are a Nikonian amateur photographer such as myself. He has a couple of reviews of other manufacturers gear, like the Leica M7 and the Canon 5D, but the main value of his site is to Nikon owners. He even has a page explaining how to save money, as an explanation of how he gets to play around with so many fun expensive toys, but of course there are some oddities to his advice as he 1) tells you to tip well, which, while nice if you live in a country where waitresses aren't paid even the minimum wage, doesn't really save YOU money and 2) not to have kids, despite the fact that even a cursory reading of his website will reveal the fact that he hasn't followed this rule himself. But that is Ken Rockwell dot com... schizophrenic to the last.

This site:

takes a much more clinical, detached, scientific and less emotional approach to camera and lens reviews. Each review goes on for about 20 or 30 pages and I usually skip around or even go to the pros and cons in the conclusion, but it's great for in depth pixel to pixel comparisons. It's also good in that when they review a camera they compare it to the same class cameras by other manufactures. They have a few lens reviews, but not nearly enough to be useful yet.

Most people who are serious about photography have bought into one system or another, but it'd be extremely handy for people who are deciding on a first DSLR (compacts are a different because you're not buying into a system there). I picked Nikon because they have a manual focus 50mm f/1.2 lens that I love (Pentax also used to sell 50mm f/1.2, but its been discontinued and Canon used to make an even faster AF 50mm f/1.0, but that thing was way to big, heavy and expensive to be useful), and that I knew would work with auto focus cameras if I ever bought any of those (unlike Canon's manual focus lenses) and at the time I was starting to see the limitations of Minolta. I think it was a good choice for me. Nikon has superb quality and the equipment keeps its value better than most manufacturers if I ever need to sell any of it.

ljplicease: (hexed2)

I was thinking about getting a cheaper compact camera for times when my Nikon D700 was either too heavy to carry around or too expensive to risk losing. I was prompted by looking at some old raw image files that I had taken over the years with my Minolta A1, which despite numerous shortcomings, was actually a pretty good camera for that role. I’d probably still be using it today when I didn’t want to carry around heavier equipment except the macro functionality is broken in such a way that I can’t turn it off[1].

Unfortunately I was disappointed that almost none of the modern compacts will shoot in any kind of raw camera format. One solution was to see if I could find an older camera like the Minolta A1 on eBay, and I followed that up to the point where I was considering getting a replacement A1 for a pretty good price, and if it had been a film camera I probably would have.

The technology in digital cameras is moving so fast. My D700 is a huge jump in technology from my older DSLR, a Minolta Maxxum 7D, even though there was only about three years between their releases. Nikon’s flagship cameras used to be the single digit F series cameras, of which over their entire history there have only been six[2], Nikon has already had three flagship digital cameras in less than a decade. A used film camera, especially a top notch one like the Nikon F4 or Nikon FE is a pretty good investment, if you are going to use it. A used digital camera is likely to be so out of date after a year or two that you are better off getting a new one. That is kind of sad in a way, because I really love to buy old camera equipment. Almost all of my Nikon equipment was bought this way until I got the D700, and I always liked to wonder about the history of the equipment and the things those cameras and lenses had seen.

Investing in a low or midrange Nikon seemed to be the answer, as they end up being in the same price range as the high end compacts anyway, and quite a bit more functional for the type of photography that I like to do. The trouble with these cameras is that they have a much smaller sensor than a film frame or the D700, so while you can use many of the same lenses on the cheaper Nikon DSLRs, most of the lenses in the Nikkor line are over engineered for the DX format that they use, both in terms of weight and in price. There are of course a number of attractive DX only lenses, but up until now Nikon hadn’t released any prime (fixed focal length lenses) for the DX format.

People who are getting started in photography look at a super zoom like the Tamron 18-270mm as the ultimate in flexibility because you can frame your subject pretty much regardless of how far away it is, and that is a sort of flexibility[3]. A couple of weeks ago I was photographing the Chinese New Year parade in Sydney for the fun of it. This year it was an evening twilight parade, so things started to get dark pretty quickly. It got to the point where my Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8[4] was actually too slow (meaning the shutter times required were too long), and while the flexibility of the zoom was nice I knew that if I took any more pictures with it, the sensitivity of the sensor would have to be increased and I would wind up with more noisy photographs (noise in digital is sort of the equivalent of grain in film). Instead I switched to my manual focus Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 which is a very fast lens, and can be used in very dark situations. To me that is the ultimate kind of flexibility—to be able to take photographs regardless of the lighting conditions.

The other trouble with zoom lenses is that unless you pay a lot of money (and even then) your zoom lens is probably optically not very good. The kit lenses that come with cameras are usually the worst of the worst, which is why you find that most high end cameras don’t even come with a lens.

The reason my Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 is so fast is because it is a “normal” lens. It’s a special focal length which means that Nikon can inexpensively produce them at high quality. Most major camera manufacturers will produce a fast normal lens for a reasonable price, and they are an excellent investment for the quality and the flexibility. When I went looking for DX fixed focal length lenses, I didn’t find any made by Nikon. The only lens that sort of fit the bill was the Sigma 30mm F/1.4 (30mm is approximately analogous to a 45mm lens in 35mm/full frame format), and I was really excited about getting one of those because although it isn’t a Nikkor, Sigma is usually pretty decent. Unfortunately the reviews for that lens were pretty terrible! Desperate I started hoping that Nikon would release its own normal lens for DX format, but that seemed to be a pretty faint hope.

Then, last night I was reading reddit, and stumbled across a post from Nikon that they were just then, just now, just exactly when I was starting to give up hope, going to release a 35mm f/1.8 DX[5] lens (with a built in AF motor no less so that it will work with the D60). It’s funny how these things go. With the release of this normal lens, the Nikon D60 is actually looking very attractive, despite its shortcomings, for those times that I would usually want to take my Minolta A1, and although it is a little bulkier, it is a lot more functional.




  1. I’d be happy to permanently turn it off, because it isn’t really an appropriate camera for serious macro work, but that doesn’t seem to be an option
  2. the F, F2, F3, F4, F5 and F6, and you can arguably not include the F6, since it was introduced well into the digital age and its target audience is completely different from the F(1)-F5
  3. and I have two of these sort of Tamron lenses, and they are pretty good for what they are
  4. which for a zoom lens is very fast
  5. 35mm in DX format is analogous to a 52mm lens in 35mm/full frame format

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Jan. 29th, 2009 07:57 pm
ljplicease: (Vasquez Rocks)
  • 27 January 2009 07:40pm: GFC GFC GFC GFC GFC GFCGFCGFCGFCGFCGFCGFCGFC aieeeee! Can't you talk about anything else?
  • Yesterday at 09:57am: When my credit with Crucial runs out I'm going to switch my Australian hosting provider. They are that bad. Need an Aussie slicehost.
  • Yesterday at 02:58pm: It makes me nervous when the guy at the professional lab asks me if my C-41 film is transparency or negative.
  • Yesterday at 07:22pm: Bloody train driver forgot to stop at my stop. Now have to wait half hour to get back. If I knew how far I might walk.
  • Yesterday at 07:29pm: The bell birds are singing like bells here as the sun sets. If I weren't so mad at CityRail it would be pleasant.
  • Today at 07:05am: Train bothered to stop to pick us up this morning. It used to be a given, but after yesterday not so sure.
  • Today at 04:56pm: Good D700: being able to use the aperture ring on MF lenses. Bad D700: not being able to use aperture ring on AF lenses.
  • Today at 07:57pm: Happy to report the train driver bothered to stop at my (scheduled) stop today. Will wonders never cease?

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Jan. 24th, 2009 09:57 pm
ljplicease: (Sub)
  • 22 January 2009 07:31am: There exists a person named Kevin Howard. This amuses me.
  • 22 January 2009 07:42am: Ira Glass is sounding increasingly desperate for donations :( hope they don't axe the podcast.
  • 22 January 2009 11:58am: The universe still works... even when you forget to notice. And other trite observations by yours truly.
  • 22 January 2009 09:05pm: Wonderful. RAW files from a Nikon D700 are unsupported under CS2.
  • Yesterday at 08:53am: My Australian hosting provider proves yet again that they suck. If there were alternatives.
  • Yesterday at 10:21am: Layoffs at The Company once again makes me nervous for my friends, and glad I'm not there any more.
  • Yesterday at 10:57am: While looking at the graveyard through my viewfinder and waiting for my tea to cool, a coworker told me a ghost story.
  • Today at 11:13am: Camera running low on battery juice. This wouldn't happen on a mechanical camera.
  • Today at 02:28pm: High is only thirtynine today. Happily I am in an air con restaurant.

twitter.com/plicease

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Jan. 14th, 2009 04:06 pm
ljplicease: (Mirror Shot)
  • 11 January 2009 05:36pm: Beach in January is hot, wet, windy and sandy.
  • Yesterday at 11:28am: I'm feeling as though much of my work before hols was a bit sloppy due to my wanting to get the heck out at that time.
  • Yesterday at 11:30am: I just noticed that there is an overgrown graveyard across the street from my new windowd cube.
  • Yesterday at 12:07pm: I need to better organise my digital photos. Right now they are spread over six computers. At least if one dies I only loose a fraction.
  • Yesterday at 12:21pm: Arguing with Kim about digital vs. film. Well. She's arguing I don't give a flying...
  • Yesterday at 12:38pm: Also: it must be nice to be so sure of everything. Seeing the beauty in things that everyone else seems to have discarded is exhausting.
  • Yesterday at 02:05pm: Not hungry, so for my lunch hour I took a stroll through the creepy overgrown graveyard.
  • Yesterday at 02:17pm: Realising camera set to ISO 3200 after taking pictures during sunny 16 weather irritates me.
  • Today at 10:01am: Narrowmindedtwat er... I mean Kimbot is not at work today.
  • Today at 03:59pm: Haven't been able to see season 2 of This American Life yet... anyone know when it will hit the iTunes and/or DVD?
  • Today at 04:00pm: Andrew decides to tone down his snarky comment when responding to a client. I'll be glad to see the backside of this project.

twitter.com/plicease

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Dec. 29th, 2008 10:46 am
ljplicease: (Canyon Eyes)
  • 12 December 2008 05:37pm: Listening to Paul Simon's kodachrome on the way to the camera repair shop.
  • 17 December 2008 04:56pm: DJabberd is a high-performance, scalable, Jabber/XMPP server framework where everything is a plugin... and nothing WORKS! Way to go guys.
  • 18 December 2008 09:22am: This year "going home for Christmas" doesn't involve any plains trains or automobiles.
  • 19 December 2008 01:15pm: Typical aussie party divided on gender lines.
  • 19 December 2008 01:58pm: Steal your co-workers chrissy presents day.
  • 20 December 2008 03:44pm: New WWI aerial combat exhibit at the war memorial was pretty good and reminded me of playing Red Baron in high school.
  • 21 December 2008 10:16pm: Happy Chanukah :)
  • 24 December 2008 08:45am: Today I am the dev team.
  • 26 December 2008 09:35am: Chrissy at the beach was awesome. Now I'm going to try and find some 120 film for my Rolleiflex so I can take some square pictures.

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Dec. 9th, 2008 12:15 pm
ljplicease: (Apple)
  • 5 December 2008 08:58am: Day 3 of "don't have to go to work for three days" conference. Internets and my notebook. I'm too shy to boot my notebook into windows here.
  • 5 December 2008 11:57am: Talk on Klingon programming (in Perl) was surprisingly entertaining.
  • 6 December 2008 04:53pm: heading off to the beach wheeee!
  • 6 December 2008 10:31pm: I am bored of the Internets, but I keep clicking anyway.
  • 7 December 2008 10:18am: I had my twitter hyjacked accidentally.
  • 7 December 2008 10:25am: I am glad it is only 24 today after it being 30 yesterday.
  • Yesterday at 09:30am: Pancake and pear sauce with fresh squeezie orange juice for breakfast. Was raining but now stopped. Pretty good start for the day.
  • Yesterday at 03:04pm: I'm frustrated by how difficult it is to find film and equipment for film cameras now a-days.
  • Today at 10:51am: I'm happy to report that at least one of my MF Nikons appears to be back in working order and the other will be within ten days.

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Nov. 25th, 2008 08:38 am
ljplicease: (pixel6)
  • 16 November 2008 04:05pm: Interesting. With the exchange rate such as it is the D700 is actually cheaper here (without researching or shopping around) than B&H.
  • 16 November 2008 08:56pm: Fixed a number of bugs this weekend. It's been a while since I felt this productive, and I've not even been working that hard.
  • 18 November 2008 08:27pm: The only way to make my new computer run slow is to encode two movies at a time into a format that iPod can grok. Why is Apple so fussy?
  • Yesterday at 08:22pm: Nice cool evening at The Point. Pick Lena up from the airport tomorrow.

twitter.com/plicease

ljplicease: (Summer)
internet i’m bored of you; we never talk anymore

i miss you black and white; and my time in the darkroom

i never was very good at being blunt

i like how history is always repeating itself, except for the nice parts; the future always seems like a cut down discounted version of something you once remembered

i hate missing people no longer with us

i’ve forgotten more than you will ever know, but do you remember more than i’ve remembered?

i am moving to wyoming; yes really!

i hate MySQL, but if everything were postgres, it would be pretty boring arguing about it

i tasted lime in my drink tonight; it reminded me of someone special

new mexico will never be the same; before or after

product launch next monday; should be a grand crash
ljplicease: (Shasharian Runes)

At work yesterday, I got into this drawn out argument with my boss about an API that I had designed (and implemented). It was a respectful argument and in the end I think we came to a compromise that we were both mildly happy with. It is a funny thing because this one little function call seemed pretty uncontroversial when I wrote it, but it has somehow managed to draw the most criticism (Gordon suggested a change which didn’t get made weeks ago).

I hate arguing with people because whenever I look back on arguments I see how I was either too zealous in arguing my point, or give in too easily. On Friday I was arguing with Kim about macro lenses. Short version is that I made an assertion that, while true if explained correctly, I didn’t feel like arguing the point. That feels like every argument (read: every conversation) that I have with her, as she is totally unable to see my perspective, as a result I sort of intensely dislike her.

Yesterday was also Russian and I was going to bring my computer with me so that I could go to Potts Point after class instead of home (Potts Point is closer). Only when I left work I realised my computer wasn’t in my backpack and I panicked. I remembered closing the lid to my computer so that it would go to sleep, but I couldn’t remember if I had actually put it in my backpack. The only time I hadn’t had my backpack with me was when I left it at work briefly to go to the bathroom and if it had been stolen that would have meant it would have been someone at work. I was relieved when I got home and it was sitting in its place, asleep, but unmoved. I felt weird that I could have thought that someone at work could have taken it, because it is a smal company and everyone knows everyone (not that people don’t steel in those situations, but it is somehow worse when they do?).

I usually make it a rule not to get to close to my co-workers. I was hoping this might be an exception, but days like yesterday remind me that there are reasons that I have those rules. Nothing really terrible happened (in the end), but events leave me vaguely uneasy.

ljplicease: (Broken Window)

I know it shouldn’t be shocking, but it turns out that Sydney Uni is a hotbed of left wing sentiment. With the upcoming election and a few recent tea times thick with political gossip have cemented this cliché in my mind.

Unrelated: a little research on the interwebs and I’ve finally figured out how I’m going to vote in my first Australian federal election.

Many people hate having their photographs taken. They don’t like how they are going to come up and as a result, they tense up insuring that they look uncomfortable, thus making the photograph of them look even worse than the real thing. Being a good portrait photographer is as much about making people feel comfortable as it as about knowing f-stops and shutter speeds. I am not particularly good at it, my solution to this used to be to concentrate on (semi-)candid photography, not giving people time to make themselves feel uncomfortable.

I don’t like having my picture taken, because I hate how they come out, but I’ve realized the above and so I just sort of let photographs happen and as a result they come out a little less bad. Ironically, this meant that when I took that lighting class at Dutchess, everyone thought that I loved having my picture taken (we generally used each other for models in that class). I explained this approach to a friend of mine also taking the class, but (unsurprisingly I suppose) it made it even worse for her.

[image]

Today I went to Sydney Uni to take pictures of staff and equipment for the website that I am putting together for the Structural Biology Group (MMB). Obviously I had the usual cross section of ease-in-front-of-the-camera-ish-ness. The most photogenic people were, naturally enough, the ones that didn’t really care that their picture was being taken. Every once and a while I would get someone who hated having their picture to feel natural for just long enough (a second or two) to take a nice picture of them.

ljplicease: (mountain top)

Today Tristan was asking me about Transformers again. This pleases me because this is the list of the things that I am somewhat expert in (no particular order):

  • Transformers
  • C/C++
  • Star Trek
  • Perl
  • Doctor Who
  • Photography
  • Thursday Next
  • Never Being Confused

Anyway, he was asking me about where the Transformers came from and I told him about Primus and Unicron, the gods of the Transformers. This is sort of how it went:

me: Primus and Unicron are the gods of the Transformers. Primus created the transformers to battle the evil Unicron.
Tristnan: Did Unicron create the Decepticons to fight the Autobots?
me: No, Primus created both the Autobots and the Decepticons
Tristan: Why did he create them just to fight each other?

I really love the questions that Tristan asks. Now, granted we are talking about a mythology that nobody believes in, but you could easily recreate this exact same conversation using a number of “real” religions that I can think of, and this is exactly the sort of abstract thinking that should be applied to the subject.

ljplicease: (Spider)

The other day, someone at work asked me (not entirely out of the blue), if I “had anyone useful” in my family.

Without missing a beat I answered: “No, they are all scientists.”

Because it’s true, at least in the context of the conversation, which made the question more like do you have anyone with skills that are useful to ordinary people in your family. I mean, they contribute to the sum of human knowledge, and arguably do important things, but hardly useful skills, such as being able to cut hair (like Nina’s husband) or even fixing a Windows XP machine full of viruses that you stupidly downloaded (like me. er, the fixing part, not the downloading of viruses part).

“But wait,” I added, “it gets worse, because I grew up in a company town, where the ‘company’ was a federal laboratory, and everyone who lived in the town were also scientists.”

Later, when I was explaining this conversation to my mum (who didn’t seem to find it as inherently funny as I did), she pointed out to me that there are also engineers in Los Alamos.

“Well, they can be useful.” I said.

“Not those engineers.”

Mum seems to hold engineers in the same esteem as people who live in Melbourne (“seriously,” I can imagine her saying, “if you are in Australia, why wouldn’t you live in Sydney?”).

I know this attitude sort of filtered down to me, unfortunately, because early on when I met my friends in New York who also worked at The Company, I said with some disdain that I wasn’t an engineer, when one of them described us as a group of engineers. I have always preferred the term “programmer” or “coder” (which is actually different from what my friends do), although I do have to admit my job title was “software engineer” for those six years in New York.

They are pretty cool engineers though. They do things like make the processors that go into all of the next generation video game consoles. (When the dust settles from this round of the Console Wars, I don’t know if Sony or Nintendo will be left standing, but either way The Company stands to make a tidy profit either way). More importantly, they are cool people, who know how to have a good time and be good friends.

I told my photography teacher what my friends did once, and she thought those GPUs The Company was making were a waste of resources that could have been more appropriately allocated. Seriously though, who is she kidding, she is a professional photographer. What is she contributing to the world that is so awesome that she can go around judging other people? There is nothing wrong with being a photographer, but there is everything wrong with being judgemental and condescending.

ljplicease: (Lenin)

So today I was looking up the Presidential order of succession on Wikipedia today, because that does, after all, effect my day to day life a lot. Then I somehow found the POTUS page, which has presidential portraits at the bottom of the page from Washington to Bush II. It’s interesting to look at because you can see how the official POTUS portrait changed with technology over the years, but also you can see the emergence of the Smile!

If you go back in time and look at Washington and Jefferson, you see dour, somewhat gloomy expressions. I guess times were rough back in those days. Men were men, women were women, and nobody smiled. Ever. It really isn’t until the mid twentieth century that presidents start to look happy. JFK looks bemused, Carter is chipper, Regan looks pleased with himself, and Bush I has this dorkish senior photo smile plastered on his face. Fast-forward to this century and Bush II has that infamous smirk on his face. Like him or loathe him, he’s going to have the last smirk.

In my lighting class I had a discussion with a fellow student as to whether or not smiles were good for photos. I took the position that they are, although I should qualify that by saying smiles are nice for formal portraits. I hate it when I am taking candid photos of my friends and they stop to smile. When I first started taking photography seriously, my friends would stop and smile every time I pointed the camera in their direction, but fortunately this became tedious for them and thus trained them to ignore me. It’s much more fun to be a fly on the wall. So it is kind of ironic that I argued that smiles are good for photos.

ljplicease: (Ampersand)
Today I was by the opera house showing some friends of the family around our fair city. I was about to sit down on this chair when someone from a region outside Australia and the US[1] approached me with his camera and uttered something incoherent in fragmentary English. At first I thought that he wanted me to take a picture of him with this girl who appeared to be with him, but actually what he wanted me to do was get the hell out of the way so that she could take a picture of him. It's not like I had been standing anywhere near where they were, I guess he just decided to preemptive inform me that his personal time and space was more valuable than mine.

Am I out of line here in thinking that it is good camera etiquette to
  1. avoid walking between camera and subject when approaching a group of people who are obviously are taking a photograph and
  2. when photographing yourself in front of a cultural icon in such a way that the photograph will look so identical to a million others that there will be zero artistic merit to the thing that you really ought to frame the photograph without disturbing people who are minding their own business, especially when all the wanted to do was sit down in a chair which had clearly not been claimed by anyone.
yeah. so.



[1] I won't specify exactly which region
ljplicease: (Mirror Shot)
What was 2004? It was a year of stolen and disputed elections in Georgia and the Ukraine, the rise and fall of Howard Dean and John Kerry, the first private space flight and the end of the "X-Prize," disaster in Darfur, prisoner abuse in Iraq, expansion of the European Union, the death of Ronald Regan and a month of flags at half mast, the return of Greek Olympics and a very smug presidential victory. In less political but tragic terms, the worst natural disaster in my memory has occurred in Asia as Tsunami death tolls top 135,000 according to CNN.com.

For me, the year started out as a bleak one in the coldest New York winter I have ever experienced. My mother came to visit me for her birthday. We stayed in Manhattan and it was bitterly cold.

Lowel and Johanna
I took a lighting class at Dutchess which was a blast. Some of my friends from Black and White II were taking the class and I met some other cool people. It was so much fun working with those people, including the teacher, Lowel Handler.

Read more... )

In Short, 2004 was A Great Year and I have high hopes that 2005 will be even better.
ljplicease: (mountain top)
Yesterday we went up to visit my mother's friend and mentor, Clare, at her rustic cabin home which looks over Bear Lake. Last July I took a photograph which now is on the welcome page of my web site up there. For "Christmas" dinner, we had fish. Although I am not a fan of fish and I did not have seconds, it did taste pretty good. We also drank lots of Australian wine; that probably helped.

The Sublime )

In short, our range of topics was both wide and deep, and intellectually stimulating.

Then we drove back to Salt Lake City where we attended the annual Christmas Eve party for Don's (my step father) family. Gosh... where to begin. The Ridiculous )

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