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David Dyer-Bennet
Minneapolis
Programmer, SF fan, photographer
Recent Activity
As many people have pointed out, you can get something that is functionally exactly that, a dozen different ways. Except it will record truer color, and you will be able to make bigger prints from it than you could from medium-format film. And you will have to exercise some discipline to avoid using features that will be present that you may not want. That seems to be the only downside.
Toggle Commented 3 days ago on Digital Dreams at The Online Photographer
Food also can't be dealt with the way most recovering addicts deal with what they're addicted to—one can't completely give food up! (One can give up particularly categories of food, of course, which is what you describe, and what most people dealing with it do I think). Let's see; the seriously obese people I know mostly don't consume much sugar regularly; they're all drinking diet soda out of those cups. I watched one friend move from regular soda to diet soda, and get no effect on their weight, and no apparent change in other parts of their diet. As to running out to get a candy bar, that seems extreme. But having it happen once every few years wouldn't worry me. Having it happen more and more frequently would worry me—as would getting very careful about keeping them in stock so one didn't have to run out. I'm pretty sure our scientific / medical understanding of addiction is poor (or at least not at all reflected in societal dialog), and our societal obsession around weight is killing a lot of people (from doctors not paying attention to symptoms of anything else in an obese person).
For people considering cobbling stuff :-) — most serious modern bodies have HDMI output of what's on the EVF. Usually with a menu option for whether the overlay info is included or just the image. (This is how you can use an external uncompressed video recorder to get uncompressed 4k video off many bodies for example; the write rate to the built-in card slots won't support anything near uncompressed 4k, but the HDMI will and an external recorder, which these days may even cost less than the body, can record that fast.) And there are many small HDMI screens of various sorts available, either as cobbling parts (look at the Raspberry Pi world for that) or as modern "video assist" in the film industry or whatever. So you can build your viewfinder wherever you want. You might be able to use a USB dongle to bring the HDMI into the PI and augment it with some overlay data NOT over the image (using the rectangular shape of all HDMI monitors), even; though I worry about lag in that situation. But for the slow on-tripod work some people talk about the lag might not even matter; use the viewfinder to set up, then look directly by eye at the subject to decide when to trigger the capture!
Toggle Commented 4 days ago on Digital Dreams at The Online Photographer
Sadly, I'm pretty sure the R&D to produce the cameras and lenses I (think I) need will be amortized across fewer unit sales. Meaning I pay more money. Can't find any convincing way to describe this as "unjust" or anything though. I'm just not doing what average people are doing, and things have changed so the cheap commodity devices, like phones, handle what most people need quite well, so they're not helping subsidize the specialist products.
Yeah, I run slideshows at something like 2 seconds to 7 seconds per slide :-)
Toggle Commented Feb 22, 2021 on Sroyon Mukherjee at The Online Photographer
Robert Heinlein (the SF author) in his later (and bigger-selling but rather less popular among the SF fans I hang out with) books frequently has his older characters in the established habit of learning new things (in his case, and no doubt partly because he didn't have to do it, just write about his characters doing it, at the level of auditing college classes). Dancing, something I've never had any interest in, is maybe an especially good combination of physical activity and mental stretching; a precise template to keep track of and try to achieve, requiring physical work to do so. And you get to listen to music!
Oh, and that's the other benefit of touch-typing—it doesn't matter if the letter on the keycaps wears off since I'm not looking at it anyway :-).
Toggle Commented Feb 20, 2021 on Mouse and Keyboard at The Online Photographer
One of the faster typists I know, over 100 words per minute, types with 4 fingers. He was typing, professionally, with two fingers, at about 90 words per minute, and eventually found that his two fingers were getting sore by the end of the workday. To spread the load he decided to add two more fingers—and, testing afterwards, found that he'd upped his rate measurably as well. I hate to think what he'd have been like using all 10! (Well—9 for most people, most people I've watched use the same thumb for all the spaces and don't use the other thumb for anything while typing).
Toggle Commented Feb 20, 2021 on Mouse and Keyboard at The Online Photographer
Wait, there was an 027 keypunch? I know about the 026 and the 029 (used both myself), but never heard of an 027 and a quick google doesn't turn up anything. And...are you sure you're not confusing those with ASR-33 teletypes? The 026 in particular had the shortest, lightest travel of any keyboard I ever typed on (best key action I've ever felt). Whereas the ASR-33 had a very very long, stiff, stroke, and mechanical exclusion so the other keys were physically locked until you released the one you had down. Keypunches were designed for the best typists in the world at that time, the data entry operators.
Toggle Commented Feb 20, 2021 on Mouse and Keyboard at The Online Photographer
The Leica M3 viewfinder was great. Bright, easy to see, you could see beyond the edges of the frame, and the big startlement for an SLR photographer— the spot where you did the focusing was brighter than the rest of the frame! What a wonderful idea! (Superimposed rangefinder, so an extra light source was lighting that part of the image, I think is what was going on.) It did still have the problem of being physically locked in just one orientation relative to the lens; so that to shoot from a low or high or otherwise unusual angle you had to actually get your head there. On my very first SLR, the Miranda Sensorex, I sometimes took the pentaprism off and just looked down onto the viewing screen (there was a formal waist-level viewfinder but I never bought it, just looked down to the screen). This was nice since it gave me two angles of view rather than one. And of course now I go for tilt/swing EVFs (and just viewing the panel at an angle goes a long way to getting you additional viewpoints). If you've ever seen serious movie cameras, the viewfinders on those are optically completely impossible; they do things that obviously can't be done. Even on 1960s models. They can be tilted and rotated and so forth, so the camera operator can see what's happening for shots from very low, very high, whatever. They do end up with a relatively dark viewfinder, and they flicker badly (especially at wide shutter angles, for low light)—those things work off a mirror on the back of the shutter disk, so for part of the rotation (one rotation per frame) the light goes into the viewfinder system, the other part it goes to the film. And then reflect that light through a series of tubes with multiple joints that can twist and turn and so forth, and finally into your eye.
I was already doing darkroom work when I got my first SLR, so I did know the full story of what went on the negative. I went from there fairly quickly to using a Leica M3 as one of my cameras, where one does not know exactly where the boundaries are. I used slides for color, essentially never negatives (it's just how it was done then; i.e. it was probably a mistake, or at least not thought through carefully). And, what I learned from this, was that I didn't much care about 100% coverage. What was disastrous was when I managed to cut off something I needed in the photo. I wasn't a full-frame printer; photo sizes were 4x5 and 5x7 and 8x10, none of which matched 24x36. And a lot of work was shot for low-end journalistic use, yearbooks and such, and then for the college Alumni Publication Office. Which means the final composition was determined by others, and while that's "bad", what actually matters is making whole page (okay, two-page spread) look good, not just my photo. Slides were the one case where what I shot was what I was stuck with (projecting original slides), and that was for family and friends, not the serious photographic work. So, yeah, don't want to waste too much space, but I learned to consciously compose more loosely, to give more working room to the page designer later. (On the yearbooks, I was actually the page designer sometimes too).
Try any new thing twice—it might be an acquired taste! :-)
I did one shoot an entire roll of film that I had apparently neglected to load into my camera. Despite (I thought) having built the habit of watching the rewind crank rotate as I advanced the film most of the time. It was on an assignment, too, not just shooting for fun. Not actually sure I was in my 20s yet, though.
All these southerners! (Apparently). The sun is basically always in the south—a bit more easterly in the morning, a bit more westerly in the afternoon.
Toggle Commented Feb 14, 2021 on Drenched with Light at The Online Photographer
Nice point, it's not just the negative that's the score, the camera original, even a jpeg, also is. You have to perform it to get a piece of art.
I have all sorts of feels about the tech behind the project, especially using an instant-print film to produce prints of a semi-real picture for serious purposes. But what matters is the resulting object (since the project is to produce physical prints), and this is a glowing little jewel!
Toggle Commented Feb 10, 2021 on Print Crit: Simple Means at The Online Photographer
Yes, for nearly all purposes an average camera in good hands is better than a good camera in average hands. (My opinion, obviously; possibly not an actual fact.) Some excellent photos need a lot of capability in the cameras (ultra-long lenses, stability for those lenses, handling low light well, focusing fast and perfectly, or focusing very close, or ultra-wide lenses, or...all sorts of specialized things for a very few photos. However, "average hands" generally won't produce those top photos even with a camera that makes them possible (I'm interpreting "average hands" to mean "in the hands of an average photographer", i.e. including the brain / eyes / whatever, not just the physical hands.) Quite a few photos do not need anything extraordinary from the camera. Above-average hands (see note above) can take those photos with an average camera.
Toggle Commented Feb 10, 2021 on Print Crit: Simple Means at The Online Photographer
Most of my situations receiving jump-starts involve very low temperatures. That both reduces battery output, and increases starter current and time reuierd (the oil gets thick). I will say that cars today are vastly better about this than the cars my parents had in the 60s and 70s. Still, at -20F, it take ssome extra cranking!
I don't need 100 megapixels, no. I rarely print as large as 17x22, and I have prints bigger than that that look brilliant (in the technical sense; sharp and snappy and so forth :-) ) from an old 10 megapixel camera (made in entirely adequate light, and it was a pretty good 10 MP camera, a Nikon D200). I have a friend, though, who prints to 4x6 feet fairly regularly (for commercial clients to use at trade shows; so people actually can walk right up to the prints, too). He needs more megapixels than I do! But his income is entirely from photography, so he hasn't felt he can seriously consider a camera like this (and the required lenses; and I don't think tilt lenses are available for this, which have remained his choice for product photography despite extensive experimentation with focus stacking and such). There really are people who need more resolution than most of the cameras provide, for strictly commercial, or sometimes for artistic, reasons. Photography has been funny the whole time I've been in it, though, in that the top professional tools are widely used by amateurs who don't really need the top-end features (as well as by some who can take advantage of those features but aren't doing photographs society finds of any significance). Back when it was Nikon Fs and even Hasselblads it didn't seem so strange, because they had a longer life-span and cost less. People made somewhat nasty jokes about dentists with Leicas or Hasselblads (nobody much likes going to the dentist, but they perform a really important service and the ones I've known are perfectly fine people). But the shift of income distribution has produced more people who can spare the occasional 10 grand, and the usual percentage of those people are photo hobbyists, and so people are still doing it. In my better years I've had a spare $10k easily enough, and quite a few people in my field and related areas made 25% or 50% or 100% more than I did—I worked with and for many of them, could at least see salary ranges for job titles. You don't need to be a millionaire to buy things like this; top 1% (2018 figures) puts you a hair below $750,000/year, way far above anything I ever saw. Which is good for Fuji, since there are a LOT more top 10% people than there are top 1% people (more than 10x; it ain't linear).
Toggle Commented Jan 31, 2021 on Short Take? at The Online Photographer
I've certainly regretted having few to no photos of some places I've lived, like apartments in Switzerland in 1966-67. My mother doesn't seem to have any either (I inherited her photos). I think of "energy" as my limiting factor. It decreases somewhat over time. Back in 8th and 9th grades I trained myself to do photography and darkroom work usefully and to program computers to professional levels, including assembly language, in my spare time (while maintaining top marks in school). In fact, probably having that much to keep me busy prevented me from having some of the unhappiness in the level of school that many smart people, especially those in science fiction fandom, experienced. (I was out of the country the year everybody else made the jump from 3 separate gradeschools to one junior high, too; in many ways like turning up as a new kid in town.) But these days I fritter away a lot of time happily enough, I just don't have the energy or focus to remain on-task all the time even with a variety of tasks. Much of the time I've been pretty good organizationally. Hence having all my early negatives, and knowing exactly where most of the ones after 1964 were taken. I'm not really in a position to know what's needed to be a successful professional photographer. I do think the energy and organization are key to being any kind of self-employed person, though, which includes photographers mostly.
Toggle Commented Jan 30, 2021 on It's Nice to be Normal at The Online Photographer
Do we like Monty Python because it makes us feel special? Or, maybe, is it because we just do, and we find other people who also like it have something meaningful in common with us? I'm sure I have friends who don't like Monty Python; just not sure who they are. However, if you don't like XKCD, that's just a personal flaw.
Very strange to read this while sitting in Cleveland (traveling, for good enough reasons, not exposing myself to other people). But I'm not staying here, and the place I am doesn't have space for a pool table if I were. And I might not want it enough to jump on it if it were possible either. But still, amusing to be sitting that close to your pool table!
Toggle Commented Dec 22, 2020 on Pool Table for Sale (OT) at The Online Photographer
Really simple at the moment. An Olympus OM-D EM-1 MkII, and my Google Pixel 3 XL. Little that would be printed or archived with the Pixel (but a notebook camera is hugely useful!), but it is the source of most of the cat snapshots.
And...the corner of my eye keeps reading the title of this post in the left column nav area as "B&W is expensive". Which is not even particularly true, but still amusing to me.
Toggle Commented Dec 10, 2020 on B&W Is Expressive at The Online Photographer
Yep, B&W is one large section of the photographic landscape, not one narrow thing. But so is "color"; ask any professional color printer (or, even more, film colorist, I think the title is, the people who do color grading for professional video / motion picture work).
Toggle Commented Dec 10, 2020 on B&W Is Expressive at The Online Photographer