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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: Photography

Saturday May 23 2015

Indeed:

image

No not taken by me. I wish.  The original and several others of the same guy that are equally fun, here.

I chose that one because, in addition to showing the artist and his murals, it also shows what a fight reinforced concrete puts up, when someone tries to destroy it.  (A point also made, with an illustration (yes taken by me) in this earlier posting.)

Friday May 22 2015

And this one has a camera!:

image

Drone details.

It’s like the internet can read my mind.

Am I happy about that?  Are you?

More to the point, what are the rules about flying one of these things around in London?

Wednesday May 20 2015

A few months back my computer got a going over from The Guru, and I immediately started receiving more internet advertising than hitherto.  At first this continued because I merely didn’t know how to stop it.  But now, I find myself interested by this advertising.

I like old-school advertising, the sort that has no idea who you are or what you like, not even a bad idea.  I learn from old-school advertising how the world in general is feeling about things, which is interesting and amusing information.  (This is, for me, one of the pleasures of walking about in London.  (Soon this pleasure may also vanish, because of embedded spy cameras.  Soon, I may find myself looking at adverts for classical CDs and history books (and drones – see the rest of this), whenever I walk past a billboard).)

But I am now starting to enjoy new-school, internet advertising, where your most trifling internetted thought results in adverts appearing a little while later, for related (or so the internet thinks) products.  Sometimes, it’s just crass, like a salesman barging into a conversation at a party and changing it.  Fuck off jerk.  But I am starting to enjoy this sort of advertising, sometimes.

So, for instance, all my droning on here about drones - arf arf - has resulted in adverts for this miniature contraption appearing on my computer screen:

image

As you can see from this picture, this drone is very small.  It is also very cheap.  But does it have a camera on it?  Could you even attach a camera to it, or would that make it too heavy and crash it?

The last drone posting here was about a drone noticed by 6k that costs $529 dollars.  But the above drone costs a mere £13.78.  It is as cheap as that partly because you get it in the form of a kit rather than completed.  But there must surely be a factory in China where people are paid 10p a go to assemble such things.  I could surely buy a completed Eachine Q200 40g Carbon Fiber FPV Quadcopter Multicopter if I wanted to, rather than have to make do with an Eachine Q200 40g Carbon Fiber FPV Quadcopter Multicopter Frame Kit.

Kit or completely, I have no intention whatsoever of buying such a thing any time soon.

I can’t help thinking what gadgets like this, so small, so cheap, will do to photography, in a place like London.

A lot of what this blog is about is the texture of everyday life, and how that is changing.  (I mean things like down-market computer stuff and smartphones and CDs.  And advertising, see above.) Well, these drones are not yet a Big Thing about which old-school moany newspaper articles are being written about how the twentieth century was better, blah blah.  But, they soon will be.

If I ever do get a drone to take photos, you may be sure that I will make a point of photoing the other drones.  Although that’s assuming I’d be able to make something like a drone actually work, and I now assume the opposite.  Maybe I will compromise, and photo all the drones I see from the ground.  So far, I have only seen drones for real in shop windows.  But give it a couple of years …

And oh look, the mere fact of me working on this posting, embedding links into it, caused another advert to present itself to me (for this only slightly more expensive drone (and this one you don’t have to assemble yourself (it’s like it read my mind!))), when I switched to reading something Instapundit had linked to.  The advert has vanished now and been replaced by something for Walt Disney (?), but I screen-captured it before it went:

image

Adverts at blogs are a rich source of horizontality, I find.

Sunday May 17 2015

A while back, I showed you this photo, and mentioned how a sight like that often gets me going, photographically speaking.  That one certainly got me going that day.

Here is one of the more fun snaps I then took, of a hair drying machine that looks like an alien robot about to crush your head with a pair of cymbals, ...:

image

... or perhaps it is about to hug you.  You decide.

And here, taken only moments later, is a picture of a celebrity (the sort of celebrity that nobody has heard of) being papparized by a bunch of big-arse paps in big-arse trousers, outside what I assume is some kind of club, just off of Seven Dials.

image

When you get into that state of photographic ecstasy, that’s the kind of thing that seems to present itself to you.

Who knows?  Maybe the cymbal playing alien robot had just been drying Madam Celeb’s hair.  It does have some rather artful curls in it, that have the look of having been done to her, so to speak.

Nothing wrong with her arse.

Monday May 11 2015

I wonder if me posting this will help:

image

And when I say “if me posting this will help”, what I mean is: if me posting this will help me.  To take an informed interest in all this stuff, and then to start doing it.

All this stuff being:

aperture, shutter speed and ISO ...

That being a link to the posting at Quotulatiousness, in the heading of which those words are to be found, and where I found the above graphic.  Mr Quotulatiousness found the graphic here.

I have tended to own cameras from which, had I understood all this stuff, I might have got the occasional much better result.  However, the only reasons I owned such clever cameras was that I wanted lots of zoom and a twiddly screen.  With all that, they have tended also to be very clever.  But I have treated all of them as brainless point-and-shoot cameras.  All my thinking has gone into the matter of what I have pointed at and shot at.

Goddaughter One once tried to give me a lesson in all this stuff.  Well, correction, she did give me a lesson in all this stuff.  But it didn’t stick, at all.  One of the categories below is one of my favourites: how the mind works.  But perhaps this posting would be better labelled as: how the mind doesn’t work.

Tuesday May 05 2015

Shiny Thing in London, by Frank Stella Hon RA, one of the most important living American artists, near to where I live.  I go there.  I photo it.  I show you some photos.  I tell you what I think of the Shiny Thing.  (I like it.  If I didn’t like it I’d not be mentioning it.) So far so ordinary.

But for me this was not a regular photowalk.  The difference this time was that I had a friend with me while I did my snaps, and she was snapping also.  Just as I was about to depart from my home and do the checking out of the Shiny Thing on my own, the friend had rung up and we arranged to meet, near the Shiny Thing so that I could combine the two things, meeting the friend and then, as a separate operation, me checking out the Shiny Thing.  But while seeking somewhere to sit down and have a drink we went right past it, she saw it and liked the look of it, and we ended up photoing it together.

I was using my “camera”, and she was using her iPhone.  And of course I photoed her doing this:

imageimage

I have been out and about in London with this same friend quite a few times over the years, and I have usually been taking photos in among chatting.  But I don’t recall her even joining in with the photography so enthusiastically.  It was the Shiny Thing that did it.  And you can bet that her bests snaps were pretty soon if not instantly transmitted to others, long before I posted a couple of mine here.

There is a lot of this sort of opportunistic smartphone photography going on in the world, just now.  The key moment was when cameras in smartphones got good enough, which at first they weren’t.  But for a handful of years now, smartphone cameras have been more than adequate for shots like the ones my friend was taking, and of course smartphone cameras will, like my kind of cameras, keep getting better and better.  Soon, it just won’t make any sense to own a dedicated point-and-shot camera, if you also use a smartphone, because the camera on your smartphone will be plenty good enough for all but the fussiest of purposes.

Here is a piece by Michael Zhang, linked to a while back by Instapundit.  This tells the story in one graph, but presented in two different ways.

First, in this graph of camera sales from 1933 until 2013, we see the defeat of the old-school roll-of-film camera (the grey stuff) by digital cameras (in blue) like the ones I have owned over the last few years, and by DSLRs (green):

image

But now, take a look at what happens to this exact same graph when you include all the (yellow) smartphone activity, top right:

image

At the other end of the above link, they show the graph in all its endless-scroll-down vertical hugeness, huge enough to include all those smartphone cameras.  Above, here, is the exact same graph, but ruthlessly flattened, to enable you to see the entire picture in one go, with no scrolling up and down.

As you can see, the big - very big - story is the sheer quantity of half-decent smartphone cameras there now are in the world, in private personal hands, such as the hands of my friend.

This is a transformation that I have of course been registering, with all my photos of digital photographers, with an increasing proportion of them in recent years using smartphones.  See, for instance, this posting.  Quote:

And of course, there is that vast category that has hove into view in the last few years, of people taking photos with their mobile phones.  No less than seven of the above twelve snaps are of people doing this.  This was not a decision on my part, merely a consequence of me picking out nice photos of people taking photos.

For me, the most interesting titbit in the article with the graphs linked to above (and again), is this, right at the end:

… and 92% of smartphone users worldwide say that the camera is the most used feature on their phones.

That embedded link being to another piece, which elaborates on this point.  The other big use is, of course, texting.

The point being that all these smartphone cameras have not merely been sold to a billion plus people so that they can have them in their pockets.

Almost all of those cameras are being used, to take photos.

LATER:

We also used our phone cameras while we were away. Firstly, so that we could email the kids something each evening and secondly (and photography snobs may want to look away now) because you can actually grab a decent shot every now and again. Oh, and it enables you to do things like this while someone else is using the “real” camera.

... and to make mini-movies.

Friday May 01 2015

Indeed:

image imageimage image

All those pictures bigger, and lots more, here.  (Thank you David Thompson.)

I have, of course, included a couple of feline photos, what with today being Friday.  But, knowing what we do of animals, most of us would probably reckon that only the monkey really has any clue about what is going on, and he only in the sense of perhaps suspecting that this is a thing that makes a picture on itself of what it sees.  None of them really get it, and most of them have no idea at all.  It’s just a peculiar thing.

But, of course, they all look as if they are taking photos, if you want to believe this.

What makes them all look like real photographers is their total and totally unselfconscious concentration on what they are looking at and doing, with no thought of the fact that they are themselves being looked at.  This they all do share with real human photographers.

Sunday April 26 2015

Three exclamation marks in the title there, because this is the third time I’ve had cause to mention this strange habit, of writing about newly designed houses (in this case a newly adapted house) where there are lots of Wires in all the outside pictures, but The Wires never get a mention.

Here:

image

But at least, what with this house being yellow instead of white, we see an architect thinking in colour.  Soon, soon I tell you, the floodgates of architectural colour will open.

Saturday April 25 2015

Brians plural?  Yes, it looks like both the driver and his mate are Brians.

Incoming from Goddaughter 2:

image

Reproduced here with the permission of Goddaughter 2’s glamorous friend.

I like the extra three front headlights.

I don’t like all the creepy stuffed animals in the window.

Sunday April 12 2015

Here is a piece I did here about how Modernism got associated with whiteness.  And for most would-be Modernists, Modernism still is white.  But, here is another piece I did about coloured Modernism, in the form of Renzo Piano’s very colourful buildings near Centre Point.  (Renzo Piano also designed the Shard.)

Here is another photo I took of these, I think, delightful edifices:

image

And here is a faked-up picture I came across not long ago, which suggests that Piano’s colourfulness may have struck a chord with other architects:

image

That picture adorns a report about the footbridge that you can see on the right of the picture, the very same one that I saw being installed last August.  But I think you will agree that the towers on the Island there are a definite echo of that Pianistic colour.

The great thing about coloured architecture is that you can build the most severely functional lumps, and only worry about brightening them up afterwards.  Form can colour function, and then colour can cover up the form and make it fun.

But it need not stop at just having one plain colour.  Soon the artists will join in, and there will be giant murals.

If I had to place a bet about how different London will look from now in thirty year’s time, this would be the change I would bet on.  Both new buildings and dull old ones will be much more brightly coloured.

I’m guessing that outdoor paint is a technology that has had a lot of work done on it in recent years, and that such work continues.

I will be interested to see if those Piano office blocks become faded, or if the colour stays bright for a decent time.

Interestingly Le Corbusier was a great one for colour being slapped on Modern buildings, but the notion never really caught on.  Or rather, it is only now catching on.

As is illustrated in this posting at Material Girls.  Where the point is also made that another huge influence on the monochrome association with Modernism was early and black-and-white photography.  Even colourfully painted buildings didn’t look coloured in the photos.  (One might add that newspapers and magazines only burst into colour after WW2, in the case of newspapers only in the 1960s.  Until then, all newspaper and magazine photos were printed in black and white.  So even if Modernism was done in colour, its influence spread in black and white.)

Now, colourful buildings tend to look colourful, both for real, and in the photos.

Saturday April 11 2015

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again (hence the second exclamation mark in the title), now.

Yes it’s another Immaculately Modernistical Japanese House Posting at Dezeen, where the pictures are full of The Wires …:

image

… but where the text never mentions The Wires.

They don’t see the anarchy.  They see only the Order.

Friday April 10 2015

After photoing the old London Model, which was the original reason (excuse?) I had visited the Building Centre, I took a look around the place to see what else was on view.

Look what I found:

image

Yes, it’s a CATableHere (at Deezen) are some prettier pictures of it, less chaotically lit.

Nut I took another picture of the Building Centre CATable which included a rather cool looking chair.  All I was thinking about when I took it was including the chair.  I liked the chair.  (I also liked how it was lit.) But this snap, quite fortuitously, turned out to make the CATable look particularly like a cat:

image

It looks like it’s got eyes, because of the accidental aignment of two of the holes, and because of the way that there is light behind.  We humans are programmed to find faces where we can, and if they can’t be human faces, maybe they can be cat faces.

The way that the CATable’s legs are done already shows that the cat resemblance is deliberate.

The CATable is not a one-off creation.  They are now being mass produced and you can buy one, if you want to.  A snip at $4,799.

Further evidence of highbrow types climbing aboard the catwagon in this Colossal report on Intimate Portraits of 50 Artists and Their Cats Compiled by Alison Nastasi.  Artists eh?  They’ll do anything to get noticed.

Sunday April 05 2015

Indeed:

image

One of these.  Brought to my attention by this posting.  Which begins with a puzzle:

Towards the end of last year, Vodacom upgraded the internet service in Suiderstrand from EDGE to HSDPA. That was great, although quite why they didn’t go all the way and make put an LTE connection in, I don’t know.

Me neither.  Can’t help you there mate.  If you think you know the answer put it there please, rather than here.

As for 6k’s Ships on a Roof picture, I bet he saw my horizontalisation of it coming, even as he was taking the shot.

Thursday April 02 2015

I recently decided to keep an eye open for newspaper front pages.  Yesterday, I snapped, among others, this one:

image

It was the airplane nearly crashing, or seeming to, that got my attention.

I tried to chase up the story, and eventually found it, not in the Times, behind its paywall, but at the Manchester Evening News, and I found a slightly better version of the picture at the Daily Mirror, in a piece about the generally windy weather we’ve been having lately:

image

The Manchester Evening News quoted a spokesman for Monarch, the airline whose plane was featured in this picture.  He had some interesting things to say about how the camera had, on this particular occasion, told somewhat of a lie:

A spokesman said: “Over the last few days the country has experienced extremely high crosswinds.

“The image depicts a completely normal landing given the weather conditions on the day.

“The image was taken at long range and therefore is deceptive.

“The foreground in this picture is higher than the touchdown zone on the runway - proven in this case by the lower wheel appearing to be in the ground, which was not the case.

“As seen in this image, it is common practice for pilots to perform a crosswind landing in these conditions.”

After I had had a closer look at this photo myself, I was going to say half of this myself.  The foreground is higher, and makes the plane look lower.  What I had not realised was that the plane was actually in the air.

I notice, however, that the subheading of the Manchester Evening News report quotes the bit about how this was a “completely normal landing”, above the photo that, as explained, makes it look anything but, thus deliberately suggesting Monarchical complacency.  But the spokesman didn’t just say it was normal.  He explained why it looked abnormal, without actually being abnormal.

Friday March 27 2015