Saturday, August 08, 2009

Mike is back

Mike is back from vacation. I miss his blog when he's gone, I don't know any better blog than The Online Photographer.

The Loop, TV comedy

The Loop, sitcom. One of those positive surprises you find sometimes. I think it's very funny. Lovely girls too, including Mimi Rogers as a mature-but-hot, saucy, racy, sharp executive who is always borderline sexually harassing the hero ("do you want to see how many times 24 goes into 48?"), but I don't think he minds.
A pity it lasted only for two short seasons. I hope at least they'll release season two also.

Safari photos

A reader mailed me and told me he is going on African safari for the first time, and did I have any tips for photographing. He says his camera is a Pentax M30, a typical compact camera with a 3x zoom.

I told him:
David, honestly I don't think that'll get you very far. The animals are usually too far away, they'll be small dots on your pictures.

Ideally you'd have professional gear, but that weighs many kilos and *costs* many kilos! (Really, the kind of lens sports photographers use easily costs over five grand.)

What you might consider is something reasonable, like what I have on my desk here: a Canon 500D with the tele-zoom consumer lens 55-250mm (stabilized). Get the kit lens (18-55mm) also for closer work, it's cheap and excellent (it probably comes with the camera).

It's a step up from a compact, but if you like photographing, you'll love a camera like this, I promise.
I've not been on safari, but perhaps you'd want to wrap the camera/lens in a plastic bag, it probably gets rather dusty. You'd better Google safari photography for beginners.

On giving compliments (updated 2)

I've just added an important update to yesterday's DOMAI newsletter, about giving compliments to help women appreciate their beauty. (Hint: easy does it.)
It was actually something I almost wrote Thursday when editing the newsletter, but decided it was not necessary. But then I got a letter today (also added) which convinced me it was.

Update: one of the many excellent comments:

I am no longer a young man according to the calendar. At 65 my spirit seems to think I am 21.

There was a time I was unable to give a compliment to a member of the fairer sex for fear of the very thing being discussed here. Problem was I always interpreted it as personal rejection, not a normal response to genuine appreciation of beauty.

I now know both are wrong. As Eolake has pointed out the answer lies in method of delivery. A more indirect compliment is easier for American women to accept. I surmise they all want complements but are conditioned to question the authenticity of them.

A case in point. Several months ago I was standing in line at the bank waiting for a teller to be available. A young girl about 6 was playing tag or something with a young boy and as she ran under the guide rope she tripped and fell at my feet after hitting headlong into my knees. She immediately started crying and I bent and picked her up putting her on her feet. The crying continued but softened some. About this time her mother got to us and took the little girl by the hand. She told her daughter to thank the nice man for helping her up. Through soft sobs the girl said thank you. I said your welcome. Then I added you don't want to cry anymore. You are a beautiful young lady just like your mommy and crying makes funny lines on your face. That got me a slight smile and I said that's better now you are just as pretty as your mommy is. She looked up at her mother and they smiled at each other.

They returned to their place in line after "mommy" and I exchanged smiles and a little thank you was offered.

A couple weeks later standing in the same line the woman I now know as Judy left her place in line and came back to where I was. She again thanked me for my help. I told her it was the least I could do for two such lovely ladies. Her smile warmed my soul.

So now I have a friend in the bank line whenever we happen to be there at the same time.

A friendly smile and a soft compliment is something that will more often than not get at least a smile in return.

Benjamin said, in part:
I've found that giving a compliment in the middle of a broader conversation, matter-of-fact, withough breaking stride, helps. Removing the implied expectation that she immediately respond takes away the awkward moment.

I find that very interesting. It is true that a big part of the problem for the receiver is how to respond to a compliment. "Thanks" will usually do it, but most people don't think about that, they feel pressured to join with a comment on the subject, and they can't, because the subject is themselves!

So, maybe: "I'm buying flowers for my sister. She's a beautiful woman like yourself, what do you think would be a fitting flower for a birthday present?"

Friday, August 07, 2009

"Lunch" network

I've been invited (by one of the founders I think) to join the "Lunch" network. Anybody familiar with it?
I'm not terribly interested in Facebook or Myspace, but this might be different.

Small Canons

I'm not the only one in love with the small Canon pocket cameras. They have amazing picture quality and yet are no larger than some mobile phones.
Taken with one:

Pressure sensitive keyboard

3D printing, now in steel

3D printing, now in steel, post. Kewl.

What I like

I've realized that what I love the most on Earth is beautiful women and good coffee.
And cameras.
Maybe I should open a high-quality coffeeshop with pretty waitresses dresses in the legal minimum. And rent out cameras to customers to photograph the waitresses and sell them prints for a buck a piece. (They'll show the prints to friends, who'll then come to the coffeehouse.)

Actually years back in Copenhagen, a really nice high-end burger restaurant started up which had uniforms for the waitresses with super-mini-skirts. It was heavenly.
Later they changed it to leggings, and when I asked why, it was because some of the waitresses got fed up with customers trying to see up their skirts.
Isn't it silly? A look does not hurt. So hire some waitresses who like being looked at. A good view is a premium quality for a restaurant, and that includes the internal view. I'm perfectly willing to pay a couple bucks extra to be served by scantily clad gorgeous waitresses. (And if they are pleasant too, they'll earn really good tips.)

Probably Copenhagen wouldn't be the best place for it though. For one thing it's cold half the year, and for another, feminism is strong in Denmark, sadly. Even if you get the perfect staff, there's bound to be public protests about how the place "degrades women". A Mediterranean city would probably be a better bet.
(I suppose we'd have to throw in a couple of hunks in shorts and half-open shirts.)

A lens primer

A lens primer article. Pretty informative for beginners unfamiliar with exchangeable lenses.
Though a bit imprecise that he consistently uses the term "entry-level" for a reduced-frame (APS-C) camera (Nikon D90, Canon 50D etc), and "pro-level" for a full frame camera (Canon 5D, Nikon D700 etc). True, the size of the sensor is roughly related to the level and price, but these are not official terms, and for example the Nikon D300 is definitely a pro-level camera even though it has a reduced frame sensor.

Here's another good basic article on what lenses are.

Netflix is secretive

Netflix is secretive, article. Pretty interesting, finding one of their sorting warehouses is like Finding Waldo for adults. Really well hidden, on purpose.

Netflix (and, I imagine, the UK equivalent, LoveFilm) is a huge business. And I can understand why. So far I have not been tempted to replace my DVD rental with over-priced and time-limited online rental services (I've watched exactly one rented movie via my Apple TV). But it's hard to imagine this will not have changed dramatically in ten years time. One way or another. The PO and scratched discs are simply unnecessary expenses.

Ponce de Leon

(Get in super-size.)


TC gal found this "cool" picture.
I guess if they are normal where you live, you get used to icebergs like anything else, but it is picturesque.

My guess is, though, that the photographer has used a long telephoto lens (which compresses perspective), and the iceberg is a lot further away than it looks on the picture. The reason being that nine/tenths are under water, so the water must be very deep where it is.

By the way, it's excellent that the web gives an outlet for all the great pictures which were limited before by shelf space.
Admittedly, it also makes obvious why being a photographer is not exactly the most financially promising career these days: digital technology has made it possible for anybody can carry a Elph or a Coolpix camera to call himself a photographer, and to sell the pictures for whatever price he likes. For example I hear that Time paid $30 for the use of this cover picture illustrating the "new frugality"... if that is not illustrative...

By the way, it's a highly interesting article. One of my friends who runs a huge porn site told me that years ago they paid $25 per picture, now the price is more like $1 per picture (which is typical). It's supply and demand. Just because the site could pay a lot more, and some photographers are finding it hard to make ends meet, does that mean that the site should still pay the old prices when lots of photographers are willing to sell much cheaper?)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Giving up my iPod for a Walkman

Giving up my iPod for a Walkman, article.
"My dad had told me it was the iPod of its day. He had told me it was big, but I hadn't realised he meant THAT big. It was the size of a small book."

... Well, one has to admit it's a stone-age model. The last Walkman I bought ten years ago was hardly bigger than the tape, and looked really nice.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Photographing is not a crime campaign in UK

"Photographing is not a crime" campaign in UK, article.


Nikon has made a camera with built-in projector. I can see how that can be useful, for example for a quick show of pictures you've just taken at a family party.

Pablo Reinoso design

Pablo Reinoso design.

Moon publicity

I hope this either is a joke, fails, or gets outlawed.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Book sequel

Here's a good one from aforementioned show Gavin And Stacey. It had me rolling on the floor.
We cut to a quiet middle class home. Two women (stable characters) are sitting reading. One of them are reading this book.
She closes it with finality, and they have a brief chat about the satisfaction of finishing a book. The other woman is reading the Satanic Verses, and she says it's tough going.
Then the first woman says: "well, I think I'll get cracking on the sequel." And she picks up this book. She says "Same author... he's had a terrible time of it."

Sappy rainbow

I don't normally pass along sappy inspirational crap, but the happy ending of this one speaks to me... (warning, link not Safe For Work.)

Wine label banned

[Thanks to Jim.]

Wine label banned, business booms, article.

Monday, August 03, 2009

ATM theft

If your card is apparently confiscated by an ATM machine, beware of this scam. Very clever.

Chilluns going

[Thanks to Mad Cap Elron.]

A man was walking in rural Florida, and he saw a toddler playing by the river, when sudden a crocodile leaped out of the water, snapped up the child and was gone in flash.

Shocked, the man ran to the nearest house where a middle-aged man with a straw hat was sitting on the porch smoking a corn pibe.

Short of breath, the man told about the sight he'd just seen by the river. The man with the hat took his pibe out of his mouth and regarded him for a moment. Then he turned to the house and yelled: "Maw! See? I told ya sommin was gittin' those chilluns!"

Frozen milk

[Thanks to Ian.]

Anybody figure out how they do this?
At first I thought it was time-frozen picture of thrown white liquid, but now I'm leaning towards a latex-substance which is then dried. But how they get it in the splash formations, I can't figure.
... No, some of it is drops in the air, so part of it must be time-freeze. But I don't think all of it, you couldn't control it.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Gavin and Stacey

I'm watching the second season of Gavin And Stacey (US link and UK link), and it just keeps going.

It's technically a sitcom, but it's one of those news spawn of the Golden Age of television where you don't really know what you have. It does not have that age-proven formula for sitcoms where even if you don't understand the language, you can hear from the rhythm when you're supposed to laugh. You know: set-up... response... punch line.
No, this is something new. It could be real life, except it's just damn funny. Warmly recommended!

Two sides x2

[Thanks to Ian.]

Two car salesmen were sitting at the bar.

One complained to the other, "Boy, business stinks. If I don't sell more cars this month, I'm going to lose my ass."

Too late he noticed a beautiful blonde sitting two stools away.

Immediately, he apologized for his bad language.

"That's okay," the blonde replied, "I can relate; if I don't sell more ass this month, I'm going to lose my car.


A couple had been married for 50 years.
They were sitting at the breakfast table one morning when the wife says, 'Just think, fifty years ago we were sitting here at this breakfast table together.'
'I know,' the old man said. 'We were probably sitting here naked as a jaybird fifty years ago.'
'Well,' Granny snickered. 'Let's relive some old times.'
Where upon, the two stripped to the buff and sat down at the table.
'You know, honey,' the little old lady breathlessly replied, 'My nipples are as hot for you today as they were fifty years ago.'
'I wouldn't be surprised,' replied Gramps. 'One's in your coffee and the other is in your oatmeal.

Spotify online radio service

Through The Lens pointed to Spotify, which is a an online "radio" service which seems to work even better than Pandora. You can choose music and sequence, and it does not seem to be limited to some countries unlike Pandora (last I checked). I wonder how they got around all those legal barriers? Or if they really have. For a while there I could use Pandora in UK, but that was blocked later.

So far, I'm impressed. Right now I'm listening to a CD I'd heard about but never had a chance to hear, a 1994 collection of covers of songs of one of favorite Danish bands in the seventies. I'd never expected to find a reasonably rare Danish item in a second after my first search.

Update: it seems that Spotify, refreshingly, is started in Europe or UK. And not yet available in North America. See comments for more info.