Showing posts from August, 2013

going home

Sometime early tomorrow morning around oh-dark-thirty, I'm going to get up, pile into my rental with my luggage and my cameras and drive back to SEA-TAC for a twelve hour flight back to Orlando, via a connecting flight in DFW. This trip has been a true business trip; a lot of time devoted to the job, with little left over for the pursuit of personal enjoyment. For me, personal enjoyment means getting out and exploring and documenting what catches my eye.

Today was the first full day I wasn't on the task, as it had ended 24 hours ago. I wanted to plan a big day of driving and exploring, but I got up late and felt tired. So, instead, I ate a late breakfast, piled in the rental with my cameras, and sort of meandered up towards the harbor area and Steilacoom.

When I got to the area around Steilacoom I felt more like just walking around and enjoying the mystical border between land and water than doing anything of significance. I grabbed a few snaps, but nothing to set the world o…

tipping point

I can tell when I'm in the middle of a tipping point when I get three major indicators within a 24 hour period. The first was last night with Giulio Scorio at Glazer's Camera. It was, for me, eye opening. The second and third came later today via the web.

I don't normally visit Luminous Landscape all that much, preferring to hit the place about once a week to scan the headlines, and then move on. But today Michael Reichmann published "The Ten Commandments of Cinematography For Still Photographers" which I will copy the core of below. I've seen bits and pieces of these commandments over the last few years (with a few going back decades to when I was attempting to shoot with Super 8, then 16mm). Here are the core commandments from the article:
Don't zoom. Zooming simply looks amateurish. Yes, there may be times when it's useful or even necessary, but avoid doing it if you can.Turn off autofocus and focus manually. Even the best AF systems "hunt&quo…

giulio sciorio at glazer's camera

It's been a long three weeks here in Dupont and JBLM. Tonight, on the day of my work's conclusion, I drove north to Glazer's Camera in downtown Seattle to participate in Giulio Sciorio's presentation on Hybrid Motion Street Photography.

Among the many hats that Giulio wears, one of them is the founder and chief driver of His primary interest is what he refers to as the hybrid aspect of contemporary digital photography, the blending of still and motion into the final visual product. His jam-packed two-hour talk tonight was an attempt to convey some of the techniques and tools he has discovered and developed, along with many examples.

The group was small and intimate, allowing Giulio to interact directly with every member of the audience. I'm not about to go over every detail of his talk,  partly because I don't understand it completely to accurately convey what he said, and partly because you should go to one of his presentations to f…

samsung charitably helps olympus sell cameras

Rumor has it that the kit price of the Samsung Galaxy NX mirrorless camera will be a rather lofty US$1,700. (Body-only is a measly $100 less).

Yes, a rather lofty $1,700.

What do you get for your hard-earned 1,700 simoleons? Along with the body you see above you get the Samsung incomparably made precision 18-55mm kit lens, the Samsung made 20.3 MP APS-C sensor (not all that bad, really, but one of many APS-C sensors competing in a crowded space, especially when compared against Sony's nearly invincible offerings), and the fabulously fabulous Android Jelly Bean 4.2 (nearly one year old, not the latest and freshest 4.3 JWR66Y build), with WiFi, Bluetooth 4, and 3G/4G LTE connectivity, all delivered to you through a 4 inch-plus screen that runs across the entire back of the body.

I've been wanting (some) wireless connectivity, and I've been wanting (something like) Android in a camera for a while now, but this particular implementation isn't exactly what I had in mind. R…

the ever so interesting α3000

So Sony finally went and did it. They took the basic components of the NEX line (the E mount, the sensor, the mirrorless box, and the EVF), added them to a DSLR-alike body, and bundled it with an existing E-mount 18-55mm kit lens for the shockingly low, low price of $400. A price you don't normally see on a mirrorless camera unless its been out for 6-12 months and then put on a fire sale.

This is Sony's way of telling Canon's Rebel and Nikon's D3x00 class entry level DSLR cameras to go and take a hike. I have heard all the critics harp about how the E-mount lenses were too large for the NEX bodies, how using their APS-C sensor somehow doomed the highly innovative NEX cameras to a lingering death. And all those reports reporting how mirrorless was doomed in general.

I guess Sony decided if you can't beat them, join them. They took their box of NEX parts, mixed in a DSLR design body, and voilà! A highly affordable faux DSLR look-alike with key critical technologies,…

will he or won't he? (buy the rumored om-d e-m1)

About a month ago I wrote a long soppy post about how I was tired of buying cameras and I wasn't gonna buy no more new cameras, no way, no how. I managed to keep that promise through the Olympus E-P5 and the Panasonic GX7.

While the E-P5 was pretty, the design of the GX7 left me cold.

And then Olympus leaked (yes, they did) the video of the E-M1 with the Zuiko Digital 12-35mm f/2 mounted on it. I looked at the blurry video and found I could resist the siren's call.

And then, over on 43rumors, there appeared these two, much much clearer, more professionally produced photos of the E-M1 with the equally rumored 12-40mm f/2.8 constant aperture zoom.

You're probably thinking "Here it comes. Here's where he falls off the wagon and makes wild claims about buying the rumored E-M1 no matter what."


I certainly like the design of the E-M1. It has an incredibly attractive chiseled look that speaks volumes about its refinement. While it does indeed remind me of th…

the trailing edge

In an age of ever accelerating camera releases, we can't keep a camera long enough before the next iteration is released and the world at large starts calling what we currently have as old and busted, while the latest releases are the new hotness. I went out tonight for my walk around Dupont, but this time, instead of taking the merely old Olympus E-M5 I took the very old Panasonic GX1 with the hoary old Panasonic 1.7/20mm mounted on it.

I took them because together they're a quite unpresupposing combination. They just blend in. They're a compact powerful photographic pair that with the right kind of light and careful attention to exposure can produce some excellent images with that je ne sais pas ce image quality. The 20mm, matched with the absolutely ancient Panasonic 16MP sensor, produces some quite detailed images that match the E-M5 in sharpness and detail.

The E-M5 and the GX1 represent a kind of µ4:3rds yin-and-yang camera pair for me. Depending on the mood I'm…

the only constant is change

I had to change the theme of my blog because the prior Blogger theme, named Dynamic Views, heavily dependent upon HTLM5, Javascript, and CSS, was failing to properly load all the time, especially with ... the latest version of Chrome.

That's right, the latest version of Chrome wouldn't properly render Blogger's most sophisticated blog theme at all, or at least, not on any of my versions of Chrome. And I'm talking about Chrome running on Windows 8 and several Linux distributions. I don't know what was up with that, but when one part of Google (the part in charge of Blogger) isn't paying attention what another part of Google is doing (the part in charge of Chrome), such that one (Blogger) can't work properly with the other (Chrome), then it's time to make some changes on my end.

Such as picking a less web-technology-challenging (read: buggy) blog theme.

I remember when I picked Dynamic Views. It was cool and had all sorts of cool effects. It was too smoot…

sunday in seattle

This is my trip report for the second, and possibly last, day trip to Seattle. I would have written this earlier but I've been busy and at the end of the day I'm tired. The biggest reason I didn't write this up on Sunday evening after I got back was because I had a week's worth of dirty laundry I had to wash and dry before the start of my second (of three) weeks here in Dupont. So here I am writing about an event three days after it happened...

There's a lot to like about Seattle. It's a dense, compact, multi-level city. When I say multi-level I'm not referring to its skyscrapers, I'm referring to the steps and levels that exist from the harbor up to First and the San Francisco-like steep streets that run east-to-west through the center of the city. I had a great time walking through Seattle centered around the Seattle Art Museum and the section of First that ran roughly north and south for a good 10 blocks in either direction.

Seattle is a city filled…

a little nature

And sometimes, it's nice to find little examples of nature to please me along with the big trains. I wish I could get out to the parks. But it won't happen any time soon. Maybe Saturday before I have go work second shift I can go to one of the nearby wildlife reserves.

I've been walking around with the 45mm on the E-M5. No other lens. Sometimes the 45mm makes me wish for the 75mm. The 45mm is so small and sweet, and such a nice optic to work with.


There are trains in my family's background. My grandfather was a lineman working in Texas in the 1930s (my father was born in Dallas before the family moved to Savannah Georgia). My great-great grandfather owned a railroad in Georgia. I've always had a fascination with trains, especially as a little kid. Before my grandmother started to fly between Atlanta and Savannah to visit us, she would travel on the Nancy Hanks II, an earlier generation diesel. My toy trains as a kid were models of diesels. I didn't care all that much for the steam models; they were too "old fashioned".

There's something about the raw horsepower of machines of this type. They don't go fast, but they're the closest thing to an irresistible force I can think of. And there's the hybrid nature of using the diesel to drive an generator to drive the electric systems that drive the wheels. My Prius is a hybrid, but nothing like this. The D-E is probably the most powerful and effic…

schmitz preserve park, west seattle

Schmitz Preserve Park in West Seattle was today's Flickr meetup location. It's a bit of old growth forest that was donated to Seattle 100 years ago. It didn't come into being totally untouched; there are still some stumps from a century ago when logging was permitted. It will take more centuries to completely erase those stumps, assuming that the effects of global warming don't kill what's left first.

I met with the group around 1pm local time. The only person I recognized, naturally, was Paula, who has her photo on the web due to her work with her website, her Flickr stream, and her work on Small Camera Big Picture. Once everyone gathered and the preliminaries were taken care of, we all took off into the park. As is my wont I drifted off on my own, just happy to be able to walk and not be cooped up in a room with no windows.

The park is indeed green. The further I wondered the trails into the park, the greener it became. The sunlight would slice through the canopy…

saturday in seattle

Today I headed north from Dupont to Seattle. The goal was a Flicker meetup with some of the locals, notably with Paula Thomas, a.k.a. gapey on Flickr. But before I met up with them I traveled into the heart of Seattle (or a bit into Seattle) to just look around a smidge. I've never been to Seattle, and I don't know when I'll be back. For today's very brief sojourn into Seattle I got off on 1st Avenue South via the West Seattle bridge, found a spot to park, and then got out and walked about.

Before I finally parked I drove north up 1st Avenue to check out what was there, and was amazed and tempted to stop multiple times with my camera by all that I saw. In particular I drove past the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) and then turned south at Pike Fish Market. I'm headed back downtown early tomorrow morning to visit SAM and to walk more of 1st Avenue, and possibly down around the harbor.

In driving around, espeically back and forth on the West Seattle bridge, it dawned on my…

dupont, washington

I've spent the last week in a small town next door to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, otherwise known as JBLM, by the name of Dupont. With the majority of each day spent on the base, I've had little time to myself other than to drive back and forth to the base, walk around DuPont a bit after work, eat a bit of supper, and then work in my room until I go to sleep. Then I wake up the next day and do it again. And there's the issue of adjusting to the time zone difference between Orlando and Dupont...

I've got two more weeks of this until I fly back to Orlando on the 31st.

This is not to say the work or the town is unpleasant. It's just I'm very busy. You always have hopes that when you travel you'll have time to do some of the touristy activities, but being rather south and east of Tacoma and Seattle, that won't happen, especially if you're trying to use the horribly congested I-5 that links all these places. And so I walk around in the afternoon with my E…