Monthly Archives: October 2008

Rooftop views of Moscow

Moscow, the roof view

Call me unworldly but I continue to get a charge out of contemporary views of different places in the world. I’m not talking National Geographic or professional photojournalism here, just great shots taken by a variety of people.

I can see a future where universal geotagging will links these views up with maps so we’ll be able to move back and forth easily and seamlessly between the photograph and a map and maybe there’ll be even more channels of information to give even more context to each picture.

It’s coming.

[via Coudal Partners Blended Feed]

Andrew Sullivan: Why I Blog

Andrew Sullivan has written a great pice for The Atlantic: Why I Blog.

Sullivan’s blog: The Daily Dish has become quite popular and not just because he’s a conservative for Obama, also because he’s smart and articulate.

The radio show OnPoint is doing a piece right now called Can Bloggers Save Journalism? which is fascinating. I recommend listening to this show, either through the link at the top of that page when the show is over in 10 minutes, or, through the iTunes Music Store.

Canon 50D firmware fixes Error 99

Canon 50D firmware fixes Error 99

The dread error 99 can appear on Canon DSLR bodies for any number of reasons and when it does, you’re out of business until you fix the problem (clean lens contacts, charge battery, etc.).

My guess is that on newer bodies there are an increasing number of backward compatibility issues with older lenses. Those can be fixed with a firmware update.

Firebush and fall bokeh

Firebush and fall bokeh

Warren, Connecticut. This is just a quick test of my 135mm f/2 L lens with my 1.4x extender which makes the resulting combination 189mm with a max aperture of f/2.8. I’m considering the Canon 200mm f/2.8 L lens and wanted to see if what I have already with this combo might do the job.

Alex thought this combo might not produce pleasing bokeh and since I’m a bokeholic if that were the case I’d be ordering the 200mm lens right away.The bokeh in this image looks okay to me so maybe I’ve got all I need with the gear I have. I’m not sure yet but I’m in no rush to order the 200mm lens.

Small halogen flood

Small halogen flood

Warren, Connecticut. There is beauty in everyday objects and one of the things we can do with our cameras is take objects out of their functional settings and just look at their forms.

This bulb is reminiscent of a Mercury Space capsule as well as a piece of Japanese pottery. There’s something pleasing about the form.

Note: I was experimenting with the 1.4x extender on my 135mm f/2 to see if that combo might make a good substitute for the 200mm f/2.8 for when I need something longer than 135 but shorter than 300. I think it will.

Brilliant Fever: W. Eugene Smith and Pittsburgh

W. Eugene Smith A good friend of mine just gave me the DVD: Brilliant Fever: W. Eugene Smith and Pittsburgh and while I knew Smith’s work, I fell in love with it all over again watching it. This documentary is a window into the mind of a working photographer doing a four year project documenting the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1955 when the city was booming.

W. Eugene Smith is famous as both a photographer for Life Magazine and as a member of Magnum.

Smith, using his Leica film cameras took 17,000 images and then got overwhelmed attempting to winnow them down to the best ones to tell the story. He had two people helping him and they’re on the DVD (extras) telling the story of the process and what it was like to work with Smith.

Smith never showed the photographs but in 2003 a show was mounted called Dream Street (Smith had a street sign category of photographs in the collection). If this show ever gets resurrected it would be well worth seeing.

I’ve always liked Smith’s work and as Harold Feinstein says in the documentary, Smith is one of the greatest photographers ever but few appreciate him. Amazing given the scope and quality of his work.

If you’re not familiar with his work, check out W. Eugene Smith’s images in a Google image search. My guess is many of his photographs will be familiar to you, they are considered some of the greatest photographs of all time.

An intimate look at Obama

An intimate look at Obama

Four years ago Time photographer Callie Shell met Barack Obama backstage when she was covering presidential candidate John Kerry. She sent her editor more photographs of Obama than Kerry. When asked why, she said, “I do not know. I just have a feeling about him. I think he will be important down the road.” Her first photo essay on Obama was two and half years ago. She has stuck with him ever since.

Click “Show More Images” at the bottom of each group. A wonderful collection of candid images.


Ars Technica reviews new MacBook Pro

Ars reviews the 2008 MacBook Pro

Well written review (as always) but the part that interested Edward and me is the section The shiny on glossy vs. matte screens. Two different opinions in the review, both well reasoned. This is why I’m going to have to get to the Chelsea Apple Store in NY this Thursday to see for myself. It may be difficult to see in the store but I’ll give it a go.

[via Edward McKeown]

Early morning light

Early morning light

Warren, Connecticut. The sun is coming up behind me and lighting up the trees behind our small pond. It’s cold out and we have a fire burning this morning. These clouds are the preface of supposed rain later today. I love fall but it’s a heck of a lot of work: leaves, firewood, garden to bed, gutters, and general winter readiness chores.

Reflections on the new MacBook Pro

Derek Powazek has issues with the glossy screens on the new MacBook Pros: Reflections on the new MacBook Pro.

This is not great news for me because I’m pretty sure I’m going to feel the same way when I see one this Thursday. There’s really no way to tell for sure until one gets the machine home and uses it in one’s own environment but one can get a sense and my sense is this is going to be a problem.

It could be that Apple is pushing those of us who have this problem to get a large screen monitor but there too, Apple’s latest entry in this area is a glossy screen.

If there is enough whining from the design community Apple will surely take note. What they do about it is anyone’s guess.

Wabi-sabi fall

Wabi-sabi fall

Warren, Connecticut. Call me nuts but I don’t like "peak" fall colors. I like the colors of early fall where you have early turning red swamp maples against a green background and late fall like this scene where some trees have all but lost their leaves and the leaves still on trees are dry and muted.

I think photographing these scenes is much like photographing a flower: imperfection, whatever that means, has more appeal to me. The Japanese term for this is Wabi-sabi and rather than a rationalization after the fact it is something to be strived for.

Wabi-sabi is both elusive and everywhere. In this case, it’s in my backyard.