Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
Johnathan on Spot the Samsung connection
Antoine Clarke on the Norlonto Review is back!
Lorena on Cats without tails are not scary
Michael Jennings on Spot the Samsung connection
Lim Kim on Wedding photography (5): Photography!
Michael Jennings on Views from the Hackney Wick station footbridge
Simon Gibbs on Wedding photography (6): The Wedding and the Reception
6000 on Cats without tails are not scary
Stephen Smith on Cats without tails are not scary
erickbruce on Wedding photography (5): Photography!
Most recent entries
- Steve Davies talk last night
- Emmanuel Todd links
- the Norlonto Review is back!
- There are cranes and there are cranes
- Savoy cat
- Spot the Samsung connection
- Stairs Thing outside St Paul’s
- Cassette iPhone photographer
- Wedding photography (6): The Wedding and the Reception
- Testing again
- BMdotCOM insult of the day
- Views from the Hackney Wick station footbridge
- BMdotCOM mixed metaphor of the day
- Wedding photography (5): Photography!
- Phablet news
Other Blogs I write for
6000 Miles from Civilisation
A Decent Muesli
Adventures in Capitalism
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
Another Food Blog
Antoine Clarke's Election Watch
Armed and Dangerous
Art Of The State Blog
Boatang & Demetriou
Burning Our Money
Chase me ladies, I'm in the cavalry
China Law Blog
Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog
Coffee & Complexity
Communities Dominate Brands
Confused of Calcutta
Conservative Party Reptile
Counting Cats in Zanzibar
Deleted by tomorrow
Don't Hold Your Breath
Douglas Carswell Blog
Dr Robert Lefever
Englands Freedome, Souldiers Rights
Everything I Say is Right
Fat Man on a Keyboard
Ferraris for all
Freedom and Whisky
From The Barrel of a Gun
Gates of Vienna
Global Warming Politics
Greg Mankiw's Blog
Guido Fawkes' blog
Here Comes Everybody
Hit & Run
House of Dumb
Iain Dale's Diary
Jeffrey Archer's Official Blog
Jessica Duchen's classical music blog
Laissez Faire Books
Last of the Few
Libertarian Alliance: Blog
Liberty Dad - a World Without Dictators
Lib on the United Kingdom
Little Man, What Now?
Loic Le Meur Blog
L'Ombre de l'Olivier
London Daily Photo
Metamagician and the Hellfire Club
Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal
More Than Mind Games
Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism
My Boyfriend Is A Twat
My Other Stuff
Nation of Shopkeepers
Never Trust a Hippy
Non Diet Weight Loss
Nurses for Reform blog
Obnoxio The Clown
On an Overgrown Path
One Man & His Blog
Owlthoughts of a peripatetic pedant
Oxford Libertarian Society /blog
Patri's Peripatetic Peregrinations
Police Inspector Blog
Private Sector Development blog
Remember I'm the Bloody Architect
Setting The World To Rights
SimonHewittJones.com The Violin Blog
Sky Watching My World
Social Affairs Unit
Squander Two Blog
Stuff White People Like
Stumbling and Mumbling
Technology Liberation Front
The Adam Smith Institute Blog
The Becker-Posner Blog
The Belgravia Dispatch
The Belmont Club
The Big Blog Company
The Big Picture
the blog of dave cole
The Corridor of Uncertainty (a Cricket blog)
The Daily Ablution
The Devil's Advocate
The Devil's Kitchen
The Dissident Frogman
The Distributed Republic
The Early Days of a Better Nation
The Examined Life
The Fly Bottle
The Freeway to Serfdom
The Future of Music
The Happiness Project
The Jarndyce Blog
The London Fog
The Long Tail
The Lumber Room
The Online Photographer
The Only Winning Move
The Policeman's Blog
The Road to Surfdom
The Wedding Photography Blog
The Welfare State We're In
UK Commentators - Laban Tall's Blog
UK Libertarian Party
Violins and Starships
we make money not art
What Do I Know?
What's Up With That?
Where the grass is greener
White Sun of the Desert
Why Evolution Is True
Your Freedom and Ours
Arts & Letters Daily
Bjørn Stærk's homepage
Butterflies and Wheels
Dark Roasted Blend
Digital Photography Review
Ghana Centre for Democratic Reform
Global Warming and the Climate
History According to Bob
Institut économique Molinari
Institute of Economic Affairs
Ludwig von Mises Institute
Oxford Libertarian Society
The Christopher Hitchens Web
The Space Review
The TaxPayers' Alliance
This is Local London
UK Libertarian Party
Victor Davis Hanson
WSJ.com Opinion Journal
Bits from books
Bloggers and blogging
Brian Micklethwait podcasts
Cats and kittens
Food and drink
How the mind works
Media and journalism
Middle East and Islam
My blog ruins
Signs and notices
The Micklethwait Clock
This and that
Yesterday evening I attended the talk organised by Libertarian Home, in the City, given by Steve Davies. I sat right at the front, and took photos:
On the left, Simon Gibbs of Libertarian Home photographs, on the right, Steve Davies. Here we see Davies taking time out from talking about the history of individualism in Britain, to describe the best way to play the opening chords of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto.
This is a short posting, just to make a note of some links that I have acquired, to things about Emmanuel Todd. Microsoft is in the habit of shutting down my computer without warning, and I don’t want to have to go hunting for them again.
Here is a review of a new book about America called America 3.0 (which I already have on order from Amazon), by James Bennet and Michael Lotus. This book includes some of Todd’s ideas about family structure by way of explaining why the America of the near future will be particularly well suited to the free-wheeling individualism of the next few years of economic history.
In this review, T Greer says:
I was delighted to find that much of this analysis rests of the work of the French anthropologist Emmanuel Todd. I came across Mr. Todd’s work a few months ago, and concluded immediately that he is the most under-rated “big idea” thinker in the field of world history.
Greer also makes use of this map, which first appeared in this New York Times article:
Slowly, very slowly, Emmanuel Todd is starting to be noticed in the English speaking world.
Just had an email about some new postings at the Norlonto Review. Remember the Norlonto Review?
Click on that to get it bigger, and with all the stuff below that you can read.
Cranes, with a great sunset behind them. What could possibly go wrong with a shot like that?
It’s just a bunch of birds, that’s what:
You want cranes? These are cranes:
Birds picture via here.
Photographed by me this afternoon, outside the Savoy Hotel, Strand, London, where there are two of these, on either side of the entrance road:
I couldn’t tell, no matter how carefully I looked, whether this is made of real vegetation or just plastic fakery. I asked how long the cats had been there, but got no satisfactory answer. All I learned was that these cats are there for “good luck”.
When home, I googled, and learned of Kaspar.
Here are two Samsung products. (Click on each to get each picture bigger.) And the question is, what is the connection between these two gadgets?:
Okay, no messing about, they are the same gadget, viewed from one side and then from the other.
Samsung has just officially announced its latest cameraphone running Android and it’s called the Galaxy S4 Zoom. It’s basically a hybrid between the Galaxy S4 mini and the Galaxy Camera, combining solid smartphone functionality with the versatility of a zoom lens and a proper flash.
An early commenter says that this thing is ugly. But function trumps beauty. Function creates beauty. If a thing works, it is experienced as a thing of beauty. To those who want exactly such a thing, this will be very beautiful. My guess is the commenter was hired by a grumblesome rival that wishes it were doing as well as Samsung is these days, but is not.
I shall definitely be having a go on this, which will be up and ready for climbing in the Autumn:
The boundaries between Art, Advertising and Fun get ever blurrier.
This particular bit of artistically fun advertising being to advertise a new way to use “tulipwood”.
Blog and learn.
Here is one of my favourite recent snaps, taken in that garden just up river from the main Parliament building:
Click if you want the bigger original picture, which is not much different.
And yes that does look like a cassette, that he is using there to take snaps of his own (oblivious of me taking a snap of him of course).
So, a close look at the cassette:
I googled cassette iphone case and found lots of iPhone cases like this one, but not that exact one. Maybe it’s not an iPhone, but an Android phone.
I also like the water bottle.
More thoughts from me on the impact of digital photography on our world, and an appeal for sofa help, here.
Finally. Well, yes, fair comment, but I had and I have my reasons.
One of the reasons there have been so many inanimate objects in these wedding photos so far is that I got there so very, very early. And it was such a lovely day, and such a lovely place. What was I supposed to do? Not take photos of stuff?
But another reason for the relative absence of people in these photos is that just shoving random wedding photos of people at a wedding and its immediate aftermath onto the internet raises the question of just how public a wedding is. Is it the business of the entire world? Not really. Not necessarily. (Think of the arguments that rage about who may and may not photograph celebrity weddings. These arguments are not only about money.)
So, are weddings entirely private? Again, not really.
A wedding is certainly not just about the Bride and the Groom. They are of course central to everything, and in modern, self-scripted weddings, we guests are often included in the proceedings by being told that we are “sharing” this “special day”. But I think more is involved than us merely sharing a basically personal ceremony. What these two people, and typically also their two families, are doing is proclaiming to one and to all that, as of now, things are different. The Bride and the Groom are no longer separate individuals in quite the way they were before this day. They are now, in whatever way they want to do this, a couple. Still two individuals of course, but also in it together. And they are not just saying this to each other. They are saying it to … everyone. We are now living a different life. Back us up, people. Don’t hit on either of us during marital rough patches. Help us to live this new life we are embarking on, rather than expecting us to behave like the singles we used to be. If you are a long time friend of hers, but don’t much care for him, make the effort to change that, and meanwhile, keep your grumbles about him to yourself.
In the past, holding weddings in public was even more important, because only if you had lots of witnesses could most of those directly concerned be entirely sure that the wedding had even happened. Public ceremonies, a marriage ceremony being only one such, were public ceremonies in order that everyone could then agree that they had happened, on that day, in that place, and that this or that, these or those promises had indeed been exchanged. In pre-literate times, public ceremonies were the nearest thing most people had to a collective record of events. They weren’t merely the principal form of public propaganda (although there definitely were that too); they were the public record.
As the old Church of England marriage ceremony puts it, right at the very start of the event:
Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; …
God, this congregation, this Man, this Woman. The congregation is no afterthought.
But exactly who, at a wedding these days, are the members of this congregation? In the internet age, is the congregation the entire world? Hardly. Yes, families and friends gather together to tell each other, and then to pass the word on to all their families and friends, that, as of now, they’re a couple and we will all help them to be a couple and to stay a couple. But what of total strangers on the other side of the world? Do you want random bods in faraway places to be told all about this event, and all about who was present at it, what they were wearing, and about how drunk they all got? Maybe you will be delighted to be telling absolutely anyone who cares all about it. But, maybe you will not.
So, in this next clutch of photos I have once again downplayed the individual portrait aspect of things, and concentrated on the kind of generic wedding-ness of the event. Ceremonial niceties, beautiful or quirky fashion statements, food, sunshine, music making, distant shots of brideness and groomness. But individual, recognisable faces? Once again, hardly any.
For me, the fact that, in my pictures of my fellow amateur wedding photographers, faces are so often hidden behind cameras is a feature rather than a bug, when it comes to showing my snaps, at least in theory, potentially, to total strangers. That’s basically why there are more photos in that collection than there are in this one.
Let me add another point on the anonymity front, relating to the sticking up of photos of people on a blog. Let me put it thus: I have quite a few subjects which I instruct Google to email me about whenever anyone mentions them on the big old www. One of these subjects is “face recognition”. I get a lot of emails from Google about that, often involving Google itself.
By now, the name and face of the Groom is not much of a secret to any friends of mine or of his or of both who care, what with him explicitly name-checking a couple of us guests for a couple of our photos (in this piece), my one being one of the sign photos I took beforehand. I did take quite a lot of portraits of people at the event itself, of course I did. But they will be thrown into the photographic bran tub that the Bride and Groom will presumably trawl through about once every decade, without casual internet passers-by seeing them. I may even have the odd trawl through them myself in the years to come. But as for the rest of you, you will have to make do with snaps like this:
As you can see, this is not just the ceremony itself. It is also the reception.
In 2.1 we see the Bride putting a ring on the Groom. And in 1.2 we see us guests passing … something along between us, but I already forget what it was. This was in accordance with some kind of Hindu ceremony that the Groom had read about on the internet and, if I recall what the Bride’s Mum said, we (i.e. regular Hindus) never do. So the Groom, no sort of Hindu himself, had invented an entire Hindu wedding tradition. Outstanding.
I particularly enjoyed the bit later on in the day (see 3.2) where the Bride and Groom, surrounded by musicians, were photoed together, at the far end of the lawn from the rest of us. I got no really good photos of this, but what I saw reminded me somewhat of this famous Jack Vettriano painting, of people dancing on the beach, attended not by musicians but by umbrella holders. I thought there were musicians involved in that picture, but I now reckon I was combining in my mind that painting with this one. Ah, it seems that the man with the umbrella was singing. So music was involved.
Setting Vettriano aside, one of the musicians told me that although they had performed at many weddings, they had never, ever been asked to do anything like that before. So it was a slightly special day for them also. Excellent.
I am testing out my ability to do posting with my Google Nexus 4, again. This is because I tried doing this earlier today, and I lost everything I had put. This was no loss to literature, any more than losing this would be. But it was troubling. I hope this works better.
Well, a bit of a problem with the categories. Forgot to press OK. Otherwise, OK, if very slow.
And it is quite amusing to be checking progress with Dawkins The Big Computer, on the exact same desk.
Insults are among life’s great - albeit guilty - pleasures.
Overheard while quarter-watching Top Gear. Could have been bang up to date, or maybe from way back. Don’t know. But anyway, this is what May said to Clarkson:
I can’t dumb it down to your level because I’m scared of heights.
He was trying to explain, I think, how a particular sort of car works by burning petrol not to drive a petrol motor, but to create electricity, which is then used to power an electric motor, or maybe electric motors. Seems rather complicated, but cars are rather complicated.
Yesterday I investigated another London Park, Victoria Park, out east. Again, too many trees, Big Things only occasionally and distantly visible in among trees.
But at the end of my explorations I found myself at Hackney Wick Overground station. Much better. As railway stations often are, this is a fine spot to photograph surrounding stuff and distant Big Things. And despite the already considerable elevation of the platforms, there was also a footbridge that was even higher than the platforms. Here are some snaps taken from that footbridge:
The white spikes (1.2, 2.1) are the Olympic Stadium, and the big red thing is the Big Red Olympic Thing.
At first I thought that picture 3.2 featured some sort of new bridge, but now I think it’s some sort of big shed, in its early stages.
LATER: No. The thing that looked like a shed being constructed is actually a shed being dismantled. It used to be a big white Olympic sport shed of some sort, and now it is being removed.
Further googling reveals that this used to be the basketball arena.
Commenter Jimmy Haigh (May 30, 3:05 PM), on this at Bishop Hill:
He’s trying to sit on the fence and eat it too.
He is talking about the revolting Tim Yeo, who either has, or has not, changed his mind about Global Warming, depending on who you read. But either way, he continues to make lots of money out of it.
No I haven’t forgotten about that wedding. There are quite a few more photos to show to the massed ranks of BrianMicklethwaitDotCom readers, this time of photographers:
Amateur and ubiquitous digital photography has transformed wedding photography utterly, but I don’t think it has yet seen off the professionals, provided they learn to keep up.
The fundamental difference between the amateurs and the pros, and I’m guessing this applies to many other things besides photography that I already know about in other parts of my brain, is that whereas amateurs hope they will get lucky with some of their efforts, but can’t guarantee it (especially, with photography, if the weather turns hostile), the pros know how to get good results every time, no matter what.
And even on a perfect day such as this one was, the pros still have an edge, because they are better at handling really bright light, just as they are better at making the best of insufficient light.
With wedding photography, the pros can also spend the time getting to know their customers, getting a feel for what kind of people they are, and in particular finding out which photos are going to be in the must-get-right category. What you pay for is the certainty (as near as is humanly possible) that a decent number of your wedding snaps will be really good.
And then the rest of us pile in with our amateur efforts, and maybe manage to add a few more snaps to the Greatest Snaps collection, even as that list will still be dominated by the pros. (I suppose one should add that amateurs are an invaluable back-up in the event that you get seriously unlucky with your pros, even if it’s only because the pros are good pros, but they got seriously unlucky for some appalling freak reason.)
All of which is a preamble to flagging up Mike & Heather, who were the pros on this particular occasion. You can surely tell from my snaps who Mike and Heather are. If you are in any doubt, they’re the two in, to name but one, the bottomest, rightest picture above.
As to the quality of the work Mike and Heather did, I can only guess and hope. Well, more like assume. But something else that I can be entirely sure that these two very nice people did definitely bring to this party was that they are very nice people, who fitted in well with the rest of us, and in my case, even gave me a few nice little tips. I recall a wedding where this did not happen. The pro photographer (there was only one) seemed to regard all of us amateurs as the enemy, and even the guests generally as hardly more than a necessary evil to be either ignored or else shooed out of the way at important photographic moments. You can see how a pro wedding photographer might come to feel this way, but even so, that’s not what you want, is it?
One of the laws of life nowadays is that as soon as you buy your ideal gadget, an even more ideal version of it arrives, and you think, ooh, I wish I had waited and got that one instead.
Within weeks, or so it seemed, of me buying my Lumix Blah Blah 150, out pops the Lumix Blah Blah 200 which does everything the Lumix Blah Blah 150 does, but even more. In that case the improvement was photoing in low light, which is something I like to do quite a lot when photoing speakers at meetings, indoors.
And now, I buy a Google Nexus 4 Smartphone, which is okay, in fact very okay. But this looks even better, this being a Samsung Blah Blah, which is a smartphone, but with a substantially bigger screen. The Google Nexus 4 is Google’s answer to the question: What is now a great Smartphone? A smartphone being the size of regular Smartphone. Samsung, on the other hand, asked the question: What is the maximum size of screen a Smartphone can reasonably have? Which I think is a better question.
Here is a picture that shows the difference. On the left is a regular Samsung smartphone, which is the exact same size as my Google Nexus 4. On the right is the new Samsung Blah Blah, which is a smartphone, but bigger.
Although I can get typing done happily when I am out and about, I have to admit that a bigger screen would be better. That way you get a smartphone and a tablet. A “phablet”.
I first set eyes on this Samsung Phablet the night before last, when I attended a meeting also attended by a friend of mine who already had one, despite the fact that this particular phablet has yet to be launched in the UK. He showed it to us. I was impressed. His was bigger than mine.
A recent piece about this Samsung Phablet (sorry – have forgotten where this was) said: Who the hell wants a smartphone this big? Well, I do. Better for typing, better for reading books, better for everything, and well within my geriatric weight limit.
The thing is, you want everything done when you are out and about with one machine. What you (by which I mean I) do not want is to be lugging around a phone and a “tablet”, which is why tablets are a no-no for me, as yet, unless you go for something like this. This Phablet changes that completely.
Despite me having missed this particular bus this time around, I really hope that this phablet formula catches on. The good news for me is that the Samsung Phablet now costs around four hundred quid, and I paid only a bit over two hundred for my Google Nexus 4. But with luck, phablets will soon be only two hundred quid, and I will be able to buy one with a total cost to me of buying a phablet now. And of course the two hundred quid phablet in a year’s time will be a year better than the phablet is now.
And note this. If Rob Fisher is right (I think he is) about what a good idea it is for all your computing to be done with the same little box of tricks, this phablet, being bigger than the smartphone, will accommodate more tricks.
To anyone who says, but talking into this gadget would be ridiculous, I reply: no, it would not. I might look ridiculous to you, but I do not care what looks ridiculous to you, only what actually is – or, in this case, is not - ridiculous for me.
The same rule applies to taking pictures with a tablet. Does this look silly to people to whom it looks silly? Yes. Does it make sense to those who now do this? Yes, perfect sense. Get used to it. Photoing with tablets is here to stay. Ditto photoing with phablets, when people start doing that.
Here are a couple more pictures of smartphone-tablet-phablet related kit that I encountered while trying to learn more about the Samsung Phablet. First, a gadget for combining a smartphone and a pair of binoculars:
This is not yet a thing you can buy. Watch the video there and you will learn that so far this is just an idea, which is still at the stage of soliciting investment.
And here is a picture of a zoom lens that you can attach to a tablet.
This seems like a slightly better idea. But what do I know?
The person writing the article with this picture at the top of it does the usual this-looks-ridiculous routine. But personally (see above) I don’t think it is ridiculous.
I really hope I get to see someone doing this, and photo them myself, before cameras inside tablets get to be so good that you don’t need to shove more lenses on them from outside.