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David Dyer-Bennet
Minneapolis
Programmer, SF fan, photographer
Recent Activity
For me, a definite "no". I really want my phone about as flat as current phones, and that doesn't work for any standard lens mount. Also I want the camera shaped to grasp steadily, and with controls right at my fingers when so grasped. It's fine for it to be thick and lumpy, since I carry it and multiple lenses already. However, I'd love my camera to have GPS location information to encode into my pictures, and also GPS time information (much more accurate than I can set the current clock; and when we have multiple people, or I just have multiple cameras, photographing an event, having their clocks precisely synced is useful; currently I do it by having each camera photograph my watch, then correct in Photo Mechanic so they're all to the same second at least. But GPS would be closer than a second and no work. This lets you merge all the photo streams into close to actual time sequence.) There are times I would like to be able to use the WIFI or cellular data to dump my photos into the cloud as they are shot. It would have to not slow down shooting (so the upload might run behind), and I'd like to be able to select whether just RAW was uploaded or just JPEG (I rarely shoot RAW+JPEG, but in a high-risk environment, uploading the JPEGs live but not the raw would greatly reduce the risk of losing any photo completely; think of covering civil unrest). This is more theoretical than really important to me, but I can see how it might be crucial to some people.
Ebb and flow of creative energy is one of the major forces involved in giving rise to the pile of 80% complete projects around here.
Toggle Commented Jun 17, 2022 on Creative Energy at The Online Photographer
Well, I went and looked at his photos, and read the full article from the gallery, even if I didn't comment (until after you mentioned this got no comments). I found myself considering rather short and somewhat flip comments (like "that fashion work doesn't make me think Kalispell MT!"), and eventually deciding that his life and body of work deserved better. And I didn't have anything broader or deeper.
Toggle Commented Jun 17, 2022 on Kurt Markus 1947-2022 at The Online Photographer
Of course, all the cell-phone cameras are VERY small sensors by our standards.
Toggle Commented Jun 15, 2022 on Great Expectations at The Online Photographer
Glad you liked it! Seeing you this positive about a camera also makes your negative comments on others mean more.
Yeah, wet-plate photography is probably the best bet. There's almost nothing in the cameras that can't be fixed without access to manufacturer parts, and you don't have to worry about the complexities of those pesky shutters (just take your hat away from over the lens for 7 seconds or whatever).
Although it's less of an issue these days, for the first decade and a bit of the digital era I needed a much higher-level body than I did in film. I've never actually owned one of the top-tier bodies when it was current (I've owned a Leica M3, but got it when it was around 20 years old). But I've come closer in digital -- the Fuji S2, and the Nikon D700 (which had everything the D3 had that I cared about, and 2 things the D3 didn't have and I cared about; it was a better body than the D3 for my work). And that's because, in film work, the film was a key element. Before auto-focus, the body was a light-tight box with a shutter. The lens was crucial, the film was important, the body just had to be competent (film flatness did matter, but most mainstream cameras were good enough at that). (Sometimes, for some people, it needed some key special feature; I never needed a 250-exposure roll back, but if you really needed one that reduced your body choices). A Nikkormat would take exactly the same pictures as a Nikon F (if you didn't need big backs, or a couple of other exotics which I literally never saw live). (The Nikkormat had mirror lockup I believe; that was unusual below the top-ranked camera in a line.) The D700 would take a lot different pictures from the D200 or D300, though. Pushed me to spend money I couldn't really afford, but that body served me excellently for most of a decade, it proved to be a very good choice. And also, if you're part gear-head (and I certainly am; there may be people who are utterly pure photographers, but the ones I've met have some smidgeon, on up to quite a lot, of gear-head also), that can help provide excuses, on top of real reasons, for body upgrades. On the other hand, I had some interest in medium-format film, even owned 3 medium-format cameras (though never a medium-format SLR system). It was relevant to what I did, 35mm compromised image quality visibly in some things I cared about, though not my core work. I have no interest in beyond-full-frame digital, I simply don't do things that require that resolution (no 4x6 foot prints for me! Displayed in environments where people walk right up to them; I have a friend who does that). I've given up even full-frame for financial reasons, and don't find Micro Four Thirds to be limiting me technically. Though...some of the prints from my Words Over Windows project are right about out at the limit of how big they can be printed. I should maybe experimen with Topaz Labs upscaling software on them.
Worse, professionals are being priced out of photography. I made my money doing computer software, and for much of my career could afford to be well-equipped photographically. Going back further, there are lots of jokes (unfair ones) about dentists with Hasselblads.
Wait, there isn't a de-facto standard for exposure compensation on serious cameras? I'm used to the front dial (because the de-facto standard is 2 dials on serious cameras) controlling EC in program, aperture, or shutter speed mode (but not in manual mode, where both dials are used for actual settings. I've found this true across 3 or 4 brands I think, and have apparently been thinking of it as settled. Not that I ever have really gotten happy with using exposure compensation; I often just switch to manual for those situations. Shooting in contrasty light mostly, so small changes in camera position or aim will have big effects on what auto-exposure picks, so just setting an offset from the auto-exposure doesn't produce reliably correct results.
Yep, gotta score that as another successful Baker's Dozen! Nice range of pictures here, all interesting. For me Chris Bertram's accidental camera obscura image stood out as the most...surprising, maybe? Furthest from what I expected, yet quite clearly conforming to the assignment. I'm also amused you managed 2 camera obscura photos, one external and one internal. "If your name didn't appear here"...it's because my submission didn't catch your interest. Or, in this particular case, because I didn't submit anything :-) . (I've submitted to previous ones, and I'm pretty sure that's why my photo wasn't chosen! That's your job, you're the editor.)
Toggle Commented May 24, 2022 on Baker's Dozen: Camera(s) at The Online Photographer
There are all sorts of common usages where one "wins" some sort of conflict, contest, or competition by expending more money. The most directly applicable usage is "bidding war", of course (this can happen in an actual art auction, like the recent art auction the Man Ray photo was sold in, but also just when two companies are both interested in buying a 3rd, or when multiple publishers are interested in a new book by some author). Regardless of these related usages, "winning" an auction is simply the conventional expression for having made the highest bid in it.
The problem I have with the auto-changing GIF is that I don't remember which state was first, which makes talking about them hard! Maybe you could include a word in the bottom of the image (even outside the original image area) to label the two states to be sure we're talking about the same things? Although I never even thought of using a GIF for this (partly because my first cases of needing it were in color maybe; don't remember why). I first used a javascript method that shows one image when you are not hovering over it, and a different image when you are (so it's clear which is original and which is later, and so the user is in control). Lately I've seen a tool that lets the user drag the dividing line between the two forms of the image back and forth, so you can compare them locally across a dividing line whereever you want. This must be more complicated, but I'm sure free versions are out there (yep, here's one, with a bad but working example
Toggle Commented May 17, 2022 on B&W Over the Years at The Online Photographer
That collapsible 50mm Summicron is the first Leica lens I owned (it's what came with the M3 body I bought used around 1973). Then I added a 90mm Summicron and then a 35mm Summicron to it, and I was happy. I wanted f1.4 for small lenses on my SLRs, but f/2 was good on the rangefinder, and it was nice matching all 3 at f/2. I don't think the faster options existed yet, in any case (the last of them, the 35mm, I bought in 1975). I did shoot them wide open mostly, though, except when shooting flash. Covering events for the college alumni magazine was usually flash, and with that I was around f/5.6 or at least f/4 (on PLUS-X, bouncing the flash; I had a good flash, a Braun RL-515). Other stuff was available light, often pushing the TRI-X to EI 1200 or so.
I've never actually driven in a Formula 1 race :-), but I hear it's physically quite difficult. You probably do get out of breath. Pretty sure swimming is also a "natural" sport even by that strict definition. Shot-put might even be; we've been seeing who could throw that rock furthest for some time! Given the importance of sinking a ball on the break in so many pool games, I think that may fail the "designed-in element of luck" rule. Maybe pool isn't a sport!
All the ones I've worked with are old, so my favorite is old. It was the 90mm Summicron that I bought around 1973. No "APO" or anything. First lens in that focal length range I owned.
Toggle Commented May 4, 2022 on Favorite M-Mount Lens at The Online Photographer
From the old Usenet days, I've always worried when the sobject (or title) of a post has just the name of someone. Yep, still a bad sign. Very sorry to hear this. My goodness, there isn't a Wikipedia page for him. I don't know enough to (track down the sources to) write one, but it seems like he's "notable" enough.
Toggle Commented Apr 27, 2022 on Eolake Stobblehouse at The Online Photographer
If you're not controlling the lighting and using spot metering to determine the exposure needed, maybe it hardly matters how precisely you process the film! On the other hand, piling uncertainties on top of each other does not lead to a stable structure. What I did was to use the most mainstream processing for my normal exposures (which I thought was D76 1:1), but do it fairly precisely (I used a water-bath to make sure the chemistry was at the same temp, and to keep it stable in the tank); to eliminate variables. Also tried to keep the wash temp matching that, but never had a temperature control valve to automate that part. I did also use other chemistry for pushing, Acu-1 mostly. And I did go through a period of using Autofine instead of D76 for my normal exposures, before I started working in a shared darkroom at college. I did however have a rather bizarre resistance to the idea of "personal Exposure Indexes". I really probably should have adjusted either my exposures or my processing some. Would have had to be the processing, since I couldn't possibly have tolerated lower EIs.
Now, how come I never heard of the fast immediate degradation back when it could have done me some good? Not that I could have gotten film developed that fast very often (I mean, if I'm off at a convention for 4 days and shoot a dozen rolls of film, ain't nothing getting developed until Monday or Tuesday at the very earliest!). Wait, and refrigerating doesn't help? I'm not believing that one; it's a chemical reaction, all chemical reactions are temperature-sensitive. Maybe it doesn't help much. (Of course going down even to freezer temp, 0F, isn't that much of a decrease in actual thermal energy, from room temperature of about 300K; so maybe it helps in theory but it's not measurable, or something.) Also, you developed 3 rolls at once? I had 2-roll tanks and 4-roll tanks, I know 1-roll and 6-roll existed, but I've never heard of 3-roll stainless steel tanks (for 35mm film; I guess the 6-roll would take 3 reels of 120 nicely). And of course nobody serious developed 35mm B&W in anything other than stainless steel tanks and reels (perhaps that is where we diverged? but you're not THAT much younger than me). The longer-term degradation was well-known of course (if not exact details), and there were even some ways to attempt to compensate for it (anti-fog agents, and pushing just a bit, as I recall). Also...the Winograd old rolls were probably developed using some of those techniques, plus the printer probably compensated as much as they were able. So, the differences visible in the book are after best efforts to hide them! The degradation in decades-unprocessed Kodachrome is even worse -- since you now have to cross-process it :-) .
While it's not utterly necessary, off-street parking with access to electricity for charging makes EVs a lot more pleasant to own. You don't necessarily need heavy enough wiring for quick charging; overnight will mostly do (depending on driving pattern). It's early days—the 23 makers certainly shows that! Early adopters end up paying a premium, often consisting of shorter life-span as the fast-moving marketplace improves things so much they can't resist upgrading (for the same reasons they were early adopters in the first place!). And, while the electric power train should last a lot longer than the vastly more complex internal combustion power train...I've never gotten rid of a car because the power train wore out. It's body rust and interior degradation, usually. Those will probably go just the same on EVs, or worse, they may go faster because all those new manufacturers don't have it quite right yet. (Yes, you'll have to replace the battery pack once or twice in the life of the rest of the vehicle; that's a chunk of change, but it's reasonably predictable and can be planned for.)
For a decade or so, when I was a kid living with my parents (and was old enough to read), I read the New Yorker largely by paging through looking for the cartoons. But I did sometimes find an article that caught my attention. I'm pretty sure that's where I first encountered John McPhee, in particular. More recently one or another of the people here has had a subscription, so I've looked at more recent issues as well. I do strongly advise to avoid their fiction; but really that's just a matter of personal taste.
I can't divide it across the Princess Di line or even the WTC attack. But doing coverage of political demonstrations in St. Paul, and going around shooting the Words Over Windows after the riots subsequent to George Floyd's murder, amounting to many dozens of hours on the street with big cameras, I had 3 conversations with people who expressed any questions about what I was doing, and they were all pleasant ones.
Toggle Commented Mar 16, 2022 on Research Question at The Online Photographer
Nuclear war wasn't the only thing we trained for in school. Getting under your desk might help quite a lot in a tornado. It's "Civil Defense", not "how to be nuked"! The ceiling coming down is a real risk in several scenarios (including a nuclear explosion at just the right distance for that matter; not that that was likely). But what scared me was the drill where, on announcement of incoming nukes (20 minute warning), those children who could make it home in 20 minutes were sent home and the rest were kept in the school. Took me 10 or maybe 15 minutes to get home, which means we'd have no time left to do anything. Not that it's clear where to go. (We were pretty far away from any obvious first-round targets, but definitely somewhat down-wind of the missile installations in North Dakota.) I also didn't think the full 20 minute warning we got from the DEW line would be passed on to the civilian population, so I'd probably be on the way home when the sky lit up. I was already an SF reader then, so post-apocalyptic societies were familiar territory.
Congratulations on retirement! I'm spending my retirement working harder on the things I did in my own time when I was working.
These days, people who just want to take pictures use their phones. These days, cameras are for people who want to take pictures in challenging circumstances, where their phone can't keep up. And, to take pictures in challenging circumstances, you need advanced features. Exactly which advanced features depends on which kind of challenging circumstances you're going up against. Auto-focus ranks pretty high on the list though (applies to a lot of situations—anything that's fast-changing). I found that by experiments in 1994 (for my work, of course); and AF has improved hugely since then (and my eyes have not improved since 1994!). My M3 was a step forward in my ability to take candid photos; I could focus faster in low light (for either high-speed film, or flash), I could see beyond the edges of the frame, and I had my first fast medium telephoto in that mount. I have fond memories of that camera...but I didn't replace it even back in the 1980s, because SLRs had gotten good enough (brighter viewfinders and better focusing aids) that the complexity of two systems wasn't justified for me (or affordable, even that early). You do realize that you've said in your article that the M10 doesn't exist, right? "There's not a camera on the market anywhere close to as simple as this. Not one." Well; maybe you're saying it isn't a camera, or that it isn't in the market, rather than that it doesn't exist? I have your own testimony that it does exist, right in that article.
"Hadn't the sand to start" is a phrase I'm not familiar with. The other variants, sure, they don't mean exactly the same thing of course but any one of them, or several of them (since human motivation is seldom simple) could apply to your situation. ["Informal • North American: firmness of purpose. "No one has the sand to stand against him." --Oxford Languages Must have come from "grit," maybe? --Mike] I've got this range pretty well covered already, though with slower lenses. I certainly would appreciate f/1.4; even back in full-frame I liked f/1.4, though sometimes (surprisingly rarely) the depth of field was a problem. Now, in Micro Four Thirds, DoF is even less of a problem at any given aperture and field of view. (One of the main distinguishing characteristics of Old School photographers—we think depth of field is something that, most often, we want more of!) An aperture ring on the lens is much less convenient than a primary control dial on the body for aperture. Which is the norm for any serious modern camera, they have 2 primary control wheels and in manual mode those control aperture and shutter speed. (The lack of really good support for messing with ISO for each photo is one of my big long-standing complaints. Auto ISO only partly handles that.) Sure, I had to get used to the two-wheel way of controlling exposure, but I did that more than a decade ago, I think a full 2. It was clearly better.