Apr 042012
 

Today, on April 4, Tonto has passed away. He was the most wonderful, the most lovely cat in the world. He was our cat. He was a charming coward, a joker, a lover and our most beloved.

I like to stress the fact that I don’t believe in gods or afterlives, but when death strikes, it is so incomprehensible and so cruel, that despite of all my denial I can’t help but wish him to eternally lie on soft pillows, basking in the warm sun. He is in our hearts and there he will always be, together with Lambda, who left us the year he was born.

The Song of the Day is “The Weeping Song” from the 1990 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds album “The Good Son”. Hear it on YouTube.

Aug 312010
 

So The Bike Photographer strikes again 🙂

I guess this was the last image with the Nikon AI-S 50/1.2 for a few days. I actually did it, I bought a Nikon AI 24/2.8 for €160. This is quite a good price, especially considering that it came with a hood. Unfortunately the weather here is unpleasantly wet and cold, completely untypical for this season, and this takes a bit of the joy out of photography.

The Song of the Day is “I’d Be Waiting” by Xavier Naidoo. See the video on YouTube.

Aug 292010
 

OK, this is the last post for tonight, promised 🙂

This is an image taken today, again with the 50/1.2. The butterfly was friendly anough to give me time to focus.

Btw, speaking of butterflies, don’t you feel that this is a funny name for an insect? But what is more funny, is that the names for butterflies in different languages are completely unrelated. Normally you see the same stem used in the romanic languages, sometimes English agrees with German, sometimes with French, but here it is all totally different: butterfly, mariposa, farfalla, papillon, Schmetterling. It’s rare that you see something like that. It is almost as if butterflies had suddenly appeared maybe a thousand years ago, when the peoples in Europe had already settled 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Butterfly” from Jason Mraz’s 2008 album “We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.”. Great album, great singer, and YouTube has the song.

Aug 292010
 

Instead of a proper Saturday image, here’s one more from my walk through Villach on Friday. Saturday we had rain most of the day and I spare you that.

I’ve already given you a view of this church the day I came back from Liguria, and here is another one, with the spire peeking out between Villach’s Congress Center and the new Holiday Inn hotel.

And while we are contemplating this clash of modern and old architecture, let me ask you a question. Do you own an e-book reader? And if so, is it a Kindle or something else?

I ask, because I felt the strong impulse today to buy a new Amazon Kindle. At the moment I read Vikram Chandra’s monumental Mumbai epos “Sacred Games”, an outstanding novel that is full of Indian slang and that assumes quite some understanding of Indo-Pakistani history on the side of the reader. As someone who has largely ignored India and its history in the past (don’t know why, it’s just how it is), I found it incredibly helpful to look things up in Wikipedia, but of course I don’t sit in front of a computer all the time, and certainly not when I read books.

Well, Amazon’s new Kindle 3G could be the solution to that. It has WiFi and 3G connectivity, some kind of easy link to Wikipedia (select a word and press a button, or something like that), and it even has a full-fledged browser. Sure, it’s not as good for browsing the colorful, glossy web as an Apple iPad, but its screen is much better suited to reading everywhere, even in sunlight, and its battery life is much, much longer.

On one side there is my disgust for Digital Restriction Management, but on the other side I really like the idea of the Kindle. It may have the potential to be much more than just a device for reading books. Reading a book like “Sacred Games” on this device may open up a new level of understanding, just because cross-referencing and looking up of background information is so much more convenient than with a physical book and separate computers, I am sure I would do it much more often, at least if it worked well enough. So, then: does it? Is it really convenient to look something up? Do you use that feature? What’s your overall impression?

So far I have not ordered and my initial enthusiasm has cooled off a little, because a quick lookup of the last about 30 books I’ve read showed most of them not available in Kindle format so far. I have read William Gibson’s “Neuromancer” trilogy, and of the three books only the first two are available. A bit anti-climactic is you ask me 🙂

I’ve read all books in Orson Scott Card’s “Ender” universe and his “Homecoming Saga”. None of these 17 or 18 books are available. Steinbeck of course seems available and complete, but there is no Tom Sharpe and no David Lodge. OK, they’re british 🙂

There are some books by A. S. Byatt, but “Possession” is missing. They have Salman Rushdie’s “Midnight Children” (that I’m going to read soon), but not the “Satanic Verses”. Heinlein’s “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress”? Nope. Almost nothing by Ursula K. LeGuin. Nobel laureate J. M. Coetzee? Almost nothing.

Overall it seems to me, that we’re not yet there. As much as I’d like the comfort of using such a crossover device, at the moment it would not be of much use to me. But then, maybe what I want is simply an iPad or something like that, some small computer that can be dragged around along with a physical book. Actually I have no idea, do you???

The Song of the Day is “Tempos Modernos” from Marisa Monte’s album “Barulhinho Bom”. I have the album under the title “A Great Noise”, and the cover of my version is slightly censored 🙂

Hear the song on YouTube.

Aug 292010
 

Friday was a hot day in Villach, although the sky was overcast when I strolled through town. It didn’t feel like Summer though, and the signs of Summer’s end are everywhere.

I still use the Nikon 50/1.2 and I have found some perverse liking for the slow process of focusing that beast. Actually I enjoy it so much, that I’m going to buy an AI/S 24/2.8 Nikkor as soon as I am back to Vienna on Monday. It’s a bit crazy, given that I have an AF 24/2.8 Nikkor and that lens can of course be focused manually as well, but I am after that feeling that only these old Nikkors have. Oh well!

The Song of the Day is “Autumn Lullaby” from Natalie Merchant’s spectacular new album of childhood poetry set to music, “Leave Your Sleep”. I have not found it on YouTube, but on Natalie’s site you can listen to long excerpts of the songs, and once you’ve done that, you’re likely to buy the album anyway 😀

Aug 272010
 

I continue to stay very busy, trying to take photographs whenever I can, but today it’s from the archives again. This is a very old image, almost three years, and since then it has waited on my TODO list.

The Song of the Day is one more time “The Long Way Home“. I’ve used this song a long time ago, way back in “295 – The Long Way“. Then I had used it for an awful rendition of a very mediocre image, but this time the image is better and for a change it is not Tom Waits’ original from his “Orphans” album, no, today it is Norah Jones on her 2004 record “Feels Like Home”. And it’s not bad either. Very different, but not at all bad. YouTube has it.

Aug 252010
 

Nightfall in a town, a ball of chrome, some lights. This is one more image with the 50/1.2. There may be something sharp in this image, but at the nearest focus distance and at f1.2 it can’t be that much 🙂

The Song of the Day is an unusual version of “The Way You Look Tonight“. Kevin Rowland and Dexy’s Midnight Runners on their third and last album “Don’t Stand Me Down”. You may like it or not, I love everything they did. This is a bonus track on a re-issue of the album, thus you have to look carefully. The one that I link to has it, and so has YouTube.

1410 – Flow

 Nikon 50/1.2  Comments Off on 1410 – Flow
Aug 252010
 

Being without my 17-50/2.8 is extremely inconvenient at times. I have really begun to rely on this ability to adapt to different crops of the scene. Of course it was similar with the 18-200, but as a lens that was much more of a compromise.

The Tamron 17-50/2.8 is not, at least not that much. At f2.8 it is already reasonably sharp, and that is not so much slower than most primes. Consequently I miss it a lot.

In everyday situations I rely most on the Sigma 28/1.8 these days. At effective 42 mm it is slightly wider than normal, it is sharp, fast if I need it, and walking a few steps forward or back does not hurt. Still, at the moment I feel constricted.

Feeling so yesterday, I thought, hey, why not go a little further that road, use something exotic, and so I did. It made this image in yesterday’s early evening, using my Nikon 50/1.2. Fixed focal length, manual focus.

Wow, I really should do that more often. It somehow frees you. You set an aperture, for instance f4, and off you go. Not much worry, you just let go with the flow. I probably wouldn’t want to travel like that, but whenever I shoot that style, I enjoy it wildly. I only forget too easily about it 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Flow” from the 2000 Sade album “Lovers Rock”. Hear it on YouTube.

Aug 222010
 

Though I made some images today, there was nothing that I’d prefer over this second image of yesterday’s trip. It’s exactly the same place, a slightly different point of view.

The Song of the Day is “One More Time” from the 1977 Lynyrd Skynyrd album “Street Survivors”. Cover and title of the album have a slightly morbid taste, taking into account that three days after the album’s release three people on that cover had died in a plane crash, and most of the others were severely injured. YouTube has the song.