Thursday, January 31, 2008


  • Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 body, firmware v.3
  • Sigma 17-35mm f/2.8-4 EX DG lens + hood
  • Minolta 50mm f/1.7 AF lens (pocketable)
  • Sony VG-C70AM vertical grip
  • Transcend 4GB 133x compact flash card
  • 2 x Sony NP-FM500H batteries
  • Stock Sony A700 strap
  • No intentions of adding to this kit in the near future

Workflow software? We have yet to get started talking about that.


Oh so did you see anything in that Red One Box while you were in there?


Click the video to learn about a camera.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

To digital camera makers.

Top shelf

  • Canon
  • Nikon

Second Shelf
  • Pentax
  • Sony
  • Fuji
  • Panasonic

Third Shelf
  • Olympus
  • Samsung
  • Kodak
I have used hundreds of digital cameras from all of these manufacturers (see list at right) and yet none of them, not one single one--has satiated my lust for customizability. The software interface that shows up on our digital camera screens could be MUCH better. The computers in cameras have a lot of horsepower to deal with huge amounts of data. The screens cost an extra fifty bucks every 1/8 bigger you go. The current software menu systems and playback functions should have many more features and make use of more horsepower.

The display screen on your camera should give excellent feedback to you at all times. And you should be able to change it at any time and in any way, should you so choose.

You should have applications built-in. Do it in Java for all I care.

I want a calendar and a contact list and a face recognizer and an in-camera crop function and a turn-to-black-and-white option. And I want to rename a file letter-by-letter right in the camera. And if I so choose, I want to use either the scroll wheel or left-and-right to do it. And by the way I'm a bimbo and I shoot my camera upside-down from a custom gimbal. I want all the screen elements to flip upside down for me and let me switch the functions of the playback and shutter release buttons for an hour while I hammer out this photo shoot. On top of all that I want to see stacks and work with batches and move files around.

Yup, I want geotagging, and yup I want face tagging. If you have your wits about you, you might write your camera's software to play really really nicely with PhotoSynth.

No camera firmware past present or future can be perfect nor expected to be perfect. But from what I can tell, it would be currently possible write open-source software to run on a given camera's integrated computer. It could be emulated on a computer. Call it an ARM processor for the time being.

I believe that it would be possible to write software that would perform ALL of the functions and exhibit all of the features of ALL current digital camera models.

From there, the modularity of ins and outs of the software-hardware system could be performed by others. Working with others is key. Bring it on. Contact me if you want to work on an open-source in-camera software.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Shameless plug.

I am now renting an additional small room for use as a simple studio in the Worcester, MA area only. I specialize in small product close-ups on white. Really make your products pop! Looking to build my portfolio. Available by appointment only (turbo 15-minute sessions also available). No job too small! Let me set up a custom quote for you.


  • Products
  • Food
  • Art
  • Students
  • Business
  • Yearbook
  • Couples
  • Sports/Uniformed Service

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Lensbaby nG could be sweet.

When n is large.

Lensbabies model 3G has got it almost right. They need to design it to look and work "more like a regular lens." The accordion bellows and prong thing makes people shy to shoot with this casually, I think. Also you want to be using a tripod. Or build an autofocus system for it. Or let people mount lenses on the end of it. Just lay through contacts and contract with whomever to make the mount rings and contact assemblies. Have a large ring slide in and out around the barrel. Have it guide you to available focus spots, have it follow your focus lock, have it do magic.

But basically have that ring be larger than the barrel diameter so as to be able to twist/contort the mechanism and "sweet spot of focus." They could rapidly ramp up production for something like this by keeping the insides mostly the same and making the overall lens interface look and operate like "a regular lens with a roll'n'ring that can be bent around weird ways." Add more intuitive dynamism and you could really have something.

Ordered: Sigma 17-35mm f/2.8-4 EX DG Aspherical Lens for Sony/Minolta mount.

After reading the reviews, I weighed the tradeoffs and placed an order for this lens. Should be here this week. Will post back here with test shots and comments when it comes in.

I called Sigma to ask a technical question about this lens. It seems that they have put out several versions of the 17-35mm f/2.8-4 lens. I wanted to know if this lens had the HSM hypersonic motor focus drive. Here's where it becomes interesting, from the rep and Sigma's lens page:

[17-35mm F2.8-4 EX DG Aspherical HSM] Sigma, Canon, Nikon (D)
[17-35mm F2.8-4 EX DG Aspherical] Sony/Minolta (D), Pentax

They are making this lens with the HSM built-in for Canon, Nikon, and Sigma-proprietary mounts only. Sony mount only has the drive-pin focus type available. So I ordered one anyhow. By the way, (D) is for distance information, not 'digital;' (this is a property of the mount).

Continuing on we learn that all of these lenses are full-frame, not APS-C (1.5x) crop corrected. So don't loose sight of the fact we're talking about an 25.5-52.5mm apparent focal length here. "26mm at the wide end?" I turned the question over in my mind. Would it be okay? Well when the dollars weighed in I came to grips with the fact that getting a true 17mm apparent, would require a 12mm lens like the Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG Aspherical HSM. Those are expensive and not as fast, HSM notwithstanding. As an aside, that is one of those triplicates you should try to avoid in your writing.

I went to a local retailer to test this lens before ordering, however it turns out the version I tested was the Sigma 17-35 F2.8-4 EX Aspherical. Not DG. Ugly as sin. This works fine and has a nice action, but I think the exterior is an eyesore. The old Sigma EX lenses had rubber zoom/focus rings with a "tire tread" type of grip. It looks dumb. The new ones have a simple straight knurl pattern. To further add to the confusion I believe the Dyxum listing has the wrong photo for this (discontinued non-DG lens). I am interested in seeing what comes in the box.

As we know, lens offerings for the A mount are only recently picking up. The Sigma rep on the phone said these things may change in two days, after PMA. I think there's a good possibility they will add HSM to some of the lenses for the Sony/Minolta mount. They might even do it for the 17-35mm. If that happens I'll have to see how much it costs. If I like the "classic" one that comes this week, I may just keep it (depending on the price of a new one).

Minolta 50mm f/1.7 Lens on Sony Alpha A700 Body: Harsh Conditions Review

I am currently shooting with the Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 body (firmware version 3) with the VG-C70AM vertical grip. I purchased a used Minolta 50mm f/1.7 AF lens from a local pawn broker after first testing it, and talking him down. This prime lens has the "old Minolta" style grip. "50mm has an apparent focal length of 100mm on this 1.5x crop body, f/1.7 is a nice wide aperture but it's not as fast as so and so, and blah, blah, blah. Get over yourselves, people. The thing cost me fifteen bucks. So let's get on with the show.

I have recently subjected this kit to some particularly tricky lighting and focusing conditions, and I would like to report on it. Instead of creating a fleshed-out blog post, I wrote the intro paragraph, the sentence before this one, and then everything below here: starting at the bottom and writing upwards. It was an interesting experience but I guess I need to go start on that Andy Warhol Project for school. Then maybe I'll come back and fill in some of the holes. There is much to discuss.

Focusing Ability
Used no flash
Center sharpness
Edges not sharp
NOT SHARP at f/1.7, f/2.2, f/2.5, or f/2.8 at many distances.
Lens Flare

Lens Hood

The manufacturer included one too many or one too few pieces of plastic on this lens. The lens hood is basically trash, but it's built in and you can't really get it out easily. It can do one thing very well: piss you off.

Kit Balance


800 shots in 1 hour, depleted ~50% of battery #1. This is 5th battery power cycle.

Thermal Concerns

I regularly subject this kit to harsh cold temperatures outdoors and subsequently bringing it into a warm indoors. I can tell that condensation appears on the innards of the lens. I cannot think this is too healthy for the sensor but no problems so far.

Memory Card

Shooting with 4 GB 133x Transcend Compact Flash card.

While going about some fast-paced shooting I only noticed the camera/memory card slow down one or two times. This was while doing 3-in-1 drive modes such as white balance bracketing or dynamic range bracketing. Got to remember every time you make an exposure with those, it's recording three full-sized files instead of one. After trying out a few of these (with results) I quickly went back to continuous and/or continuous bracking for the sake of speed and storage.

Interface Personal Note

Regarding a custom adjustment of the camera color scheme.

Those who know me know that I am a bit of an orange freak. You won't like what I'm about to say if you're one of those crazed, old-timey Minolta freaks or Sony fans bois. Believe it or not, I took an orange-colored Sharpie marker and colored over the white "AF Lens / 50" and "Minolta [logo]" on the lens barrel. This semi-matches the color of the lens alignment bump and adjacent orange lens mount detail. Plus there's the shiny alpha symbol too. Right, so I markered my lens.

And then I looked at the back of the camera, the air still rank with sharpie. Blue buttons = playback mode. I know it; locked in. The entire QuickNavi menu/setting system has items highlighted with orange. The button to activate QuickNavi? Fn. Function. With white print. No, no. So as quickly as I could, I filled in the white Fn with orange. Yes. Color coded; locked in.

Hey, what if I wanted to change the on-screen menu system "skin" to more white (or gray or blue) instead of orange?

TO DO: Make Andy Warhol Blog

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Services rendered.

Manufacturing Engineering
User Interface Consulting
Professional Services

Photographic Services

Submission Training

Monday, January 21, 2008


Now my MacBook Pro has the same amount of memory as my camera. You can compromise an entire outfit by wearing trashy boxers.


Definition: 365 days in a row.

Opinion: Sucks.

So now I'm twenty-three years old. Oww that three stings.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The internet is not something you just dump something on.

This man is an American lawmaker. Meet him by clicking here. (warning: sound link)

Red Lights Warm Nights.

What's a box of a hundred eight-by-ten sheets of Ilford RC Multigrade IV Pearl cost you these days? Fifty bucks? Now I'm just talking about the paper, not the film, darkroom chemicals, What's a hundred eight-by-ten digital prints cost you at your local commercial printer? Five hundred bucks?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


At fifty millimeters and one-point-four we are on an orange horizon.

Sipping lemonade out on the screen porch.

I think I will document the process of getting my server back up and running to the state I want it in. There are many chores to be done. Hopefully I can get some help soon from one of my fellow linux users.

There are many steps involved but its important to document things of technical relevance/learning. So instead of tediously taking screenshots, I think I will just look over the shoulder of my guru and make photos of the screen at important intervals.

Well my camera is certainly higher resolution than the screen so it should be fine. There's the concern of moire and "obviousness of pictures of pixels" but I hope I can test a few shots to see how they touch up in software. Then another step along the way is setting up a batch to run them through so they look good posted here. I've been testing out some different photography softwares lately so we'll see what happens.

Okay, so the majority or people you encounter are incompetent. How to deal.

First of all, you are a smart cookie.
You know it.
I know it.
Auntie always says "That boy's smart."
She knows it.
Probably incompetents would know it if could realize things.

You realize it when you look in the mirror. And when you get a couple more points than you thought. You know it for sure, because you're a smart one, you are.

So what's with all of them? The average Joe. Incompetent. Dumb as a doornail. About as smart as a sack of wet mice. They're nowhere near as smart of a cookie as you. Yet they're all out there driving cars. They all put shoes on in the morning and they all feed themselves enough to keep alive. I don't know how--mind you.

I kindof got hooked on the following text about competency from this page on Wikipedia (which is unfortunately one with an HR spin).

"To be competent you need to be able to interpret the situation in the context and to have a repertoire of possible actions to take and have trained in the possible actions in the repertoire, if this is relevant. Regardless of training, competence grows through experience and the extent of an individual to learn and adapt."

Now the very next thing I will do from here is make a batch of warm chocolate chip cookies.

Polycarbonate PCK-LH1AM LCD screen protector cover for Sony A700.

I waited for about four weeks and eventually got mine from Amazon.

Snaps on nicely. Works good. When people say 'optical quality plastic' this is probably what they're talking about. I would buy a backup given the fact that they're hard to come by. And eventually, you will scratch one. I've got a faint one on there after a week's worth of grinding. Yet the rule is: don't put a clear peel-film protector on a camera which has an available hard cover. They're worth it.

DVD and CD ROM exploration.

We're talking about wide-area systems integration with redundant failover fault-tolerance for the masses! Look what we've done in just... in just... the last six months, even.

This is one of the better things I've seen.

Our world is a delicate thing.

Ruby on rails file IO basics, as is customary.

fileName ="filePath.txt","w")
fileName.write("hello world.")

Getting on the good stuff

I could easily rattle off a list ten core things that I do which are bad.

Yep, just thought of them. They're no good. And eleven and twelve are coming on easy.

I think it would be good to do ten core good things instead.

It's important to do good.

Later this morning is my first real counseling session, ever.

And I'll tell you what.

I don't know what to say.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Something you need to realize.

Most people click on banner ads.

Can you believe that? No, of course not. You're competent. You've never clicked one, not even when you used to have America Online. You never have--and you never will click one. If you looked over at someone's screen and saw them click some blinking scam, your eyes would bug out of your head! But the thing is: most people click them. Most people. My god. Repeat it to yourself a few times and the shock just gets more intense.

Most people click on banner ads.

While we're at it, here's another one for you. Most people use Microsoft Windows. Look around at the people in your local grocery store, or even your workplace. Most of them. Sheep, man.

It's hard to keep faith in people with these holocausts going on.

From womb to tomb.

At the moment we are born, we are charged with one single thing: to do good.

Look at the people in your local grocery store. They are nowhere near as smart as you.
Look at the people in your workplace. When they leave at five, what do they do?

Of the ones who "know how to use computers" most of them click on banner ads. Most of them click on banner ads.

Some point down the road, you're not going to be here any more. Have you used your brain?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I came as a rat, I came as a whore.

And here lies she, young Harlot, The Great.

Now it's time for a game of draughts.

Count to ten and tell me if you're still here.

Don't shop retail.

But really, don't work retail.

Fish oil salesman seeks apprentice.

Screw you and your megapixels.

Over the years I've shot with hundreds of cameras ranging in resolution from 1/16 of a megapixel up to 16 megapixels.

And every pixel did the very best it could.

It would be interesting to know if the Foveon X3 sensor is an amazing new technology or a gimmick.

You could help with the open camera.

The Basics: Iteration 1
"Just a project box" with a and a few buttons.
Photographic needs

  • Low-resolution CMOS/CCD sensor.
  • No lens.
  • Simple shutter button.
  • Small, low-resolution screen.
  • Some number of other buttons.
  • A scroll wheel would be cool.
Hardware needs
  • USB connectivity (USB-B)
  • SD or better card storage (2 to 5 slots)
  • 802.11b or better wifi with SDIO expansion
  • GPS with SDIO expansion
  • Bluetooth with SDIO expansion
  • ARM or better processor
  • Modular hardware, selectable button positions.
  • Simple component I/O
  • Standard batteries
  • Wall-power connection
  • Tripod mount

The key is choice.

At least in First Iteration software.

Software needs
  • Linux.
  • Live software update/installation over wifi.
  • OpenRAW support.
  • Calendar.
  • Store over wifi.
  • Auto-upload to services.
  • CUPS printing over wifi.
  • Grouping photos with scalable time interval (like Apple Aperture's Stacks)
  • Scriptabilty.
  • Batch marking and processing of scripts.
  • Intelligent calculation of time-to-execute all functions.
  • Prompt user on tasks that will take a long time.
  • Progress bars presented at all times.
  • Simple block-based exposure program creation on-camera.
  • Unlimited storage for presets and settings.
  • Full text-entry for naming any photo or setting.
  • Choice of what what file format to save as.
  • Choice of what compression to use.
  • Choice of what file size to save as.
  • On-camera cropping.
  • Photosynth integration.
  • User-customizable power management (i.e. sensor polling, processor throttling)
  • User-customizable resolution for all adjustments/sliders/selections/etc. (i.e. show ±0.01% battery life, rather than ±1 bar)
  • Language support.

The possibility of an open camera.

Something I can't get off my mind is the possibility of creating an open camera platform.

Look at projects like the OpenMoko that are a testament to community-driven, collaborative product design. This type of project could actually get off the ground if enough brains, tools, and resources got behind it.

Blinded by light science.

ISO sensitivity controls how your camera performs in low light and high action.

Here in 2008 if you are buying a camera with anything less than 6400 ISO, what are you thinking?

Grandeur and beguilement.

If technology doesn't concern you do not procreate. If you bring a sub-par individual into the world here's a big fat fuck you.

Rules for the ladies:

  1. If he has an earring, run, don't walk.
  2. Marry rich or not at all.
  3. Don't be dead down there.

First post!

We think, of course, that the world of bloggery is nothing in itself.