Saturday, May 30, 2009

Carrying a camera


Today I visited Yodobashi Camera.

I have a camera but it had no case.

You can carry a camera bag (1) in your hand, (2) over your shoulder, (3) on your back, or (4) around your waist.

I think carrying a camera (5) on your foot would be tricky.

Bags carried on one side of your body (1 in your hand and 2 over your shoulder) alter your body symmetry.

Carried on your back (3), a load gives you a stiff neck and shoulders.

And a decent-sized single lens reflex camera slung around from your belt (4) may be OK at a slow stroll but can throw you in a ditch at anything approaching a brisk trot.

I ended up rejecting hand-helds, back-packs and fanny-bags.

Fell back on a neoprene softcase so I can carry the camera inside a day-pack with an internal frame and waist support straps.

Body symmetry is preserved. Shoulders only lightly loaded. Weight is transferred to the hips. And in the frame pack I can carry a notebook and lunch as well.


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Wednesday, May 20, 2009


A speaker (Danny Choo) stands on a stage with a screen-shot of himself (with friends) behind him. Reflexive juxtaposition?

Such a screen-shot allows us to compare similarities and contrast differences between the speaker and his image behind. Then and now. Past and present. Formal and informal. Work and play. Serious and fun.

Since the screen-shot appears on a big screen above the speaker in a lecture hall, the up-shot further intensifies the image.

Canon 5D Mk II, 70-200mm, f4, 1/125.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Aerial photographs


A window seat on an early morning flight. A minute or two after take-off at about 1 or 2 thousand meters, and there’s the harbor, blue and beautiful, below. A scene you like you never see from the ground. You fumble for the camera, set 400/sec to control for shake, and snap.

Got it? You wish. The shot is a flat, pale, washed-out approximation of what you thought you saw.

Shooting through the perspex window is like shooting through a gauze mask.

In-camera adjustments and tweaking brightness, contrast, hue and intensity in Photoshop later can partly resurrect even a totally washed-out shot.

But you are left with the existential question: “Why did I take this picture?

Maybe the scene looked beautiful and you wanted to be reminded of it again later. Maybe you wanted to show someone to talk about your trip.

An aerial photograph is a kind of map. And a photograph’s meaningfulness can be extended by laying it alongside a cartographic representation.

The Google mappers have taken this in an interesting direction.


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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Muddy prints


Eagle-Eye asked for a copy of this photo, so I printed off a quick postcard (what Canon insists on calling hagaki) size copy.

"What a muddy print."
"It's not muddy, but you're right, it does look washed out."

Back into Photoshop, reduced the brightness by 50% and upped the contrast by 50%, loaded better quality photo paper, and this time we got a passable print from a rather dark computer image.

What was printed was NOT what was on the computer screen.

The printer was not my usual better quality Canon MP 800, I was using a cheaper Canon MP 170. I was also using generic paper, not Pro grade.

Get a decent printer, keep a supply of quality paper.

The colors will be more intense, the blacks will be blacker and the light will be kinder.


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