A few items.
1. So as not to bury the lede, TOP is hereby dimming the lights for a few days in honor of Christmas etc., as per our usual, and will be back after Boxing Day (although when exactly, I know better than to promise).
Speaking of promises, last weekend I mentioned that I'd be making a call for work on Sunday and showing the pictures on Monday. When I wrote that, I was of course being completely oblivious of the calendar. (I do that a lot. I fear that only gets worse from here on in.) Anyway, it being the Christmas break, I will not be doing that this week. And yes, I'm an idiot.
2. If the 2012'ers were right and the world ended yesterday, I am pleased to report that it has been replaced by a nearly identical one that is if anything even nicer—at least from where I sit. We got a beautiful snow here after all, and the bright Midwestern sunlight is creating a thousand pinpoints of light on the icy branches of the huge old elm across the street. A natural Christmas tree.
By the bye, Jesus, whose birthday we celebrate around this time of year, was an end-timer himself. The evidence of all the gospels (canonical, apocryphal, gnostic—you know, things like Marcion of Sinope) make it very evident that Jesus firmly believed the "Kingdom of Heaven" was due any day, and would certainly happen within his lifetime. Inconveniently, that clock's still ticking too.
Predicting that end-time predictions won't come true is picking low-hanging fruit, too easy.
3. I didn't mean to create great glutinous gobs of angst on the Internet with yesterday's post (traffic spiked upward). The Leica S is one of the few clean-sheet rethinks of what a top-level camera should be, and I think whoever was responsible did an outstanding job. Another clean-sheet rethink is the Lytro, so there are others, but I can't think of many...the Pentax 645D has a long lineage stretching back to 1984; the Leica M9's goes back all the way to 1953; the Canon 5D Mark III traces its roots at least to the pioneering D30, and before that back to the original EOS-1, and before that back to the seminal black-blob T-90 of 1986 (which however looks '80s-sharp by today's standards). Heritage isn't a bad thing, and in many cases has the advantage of encouraging refinement. But the high costs involved—not only the high cost of trying but the high cost of being wrong—have tended to slap down attempts at original thinking in the design of cameras. The Leica S2, one notable exception, has been a success (thanks largely to the Chinese), and we should be glad of that.
4. Re the D800, I have only two problems with it so far. First there's the predictable onslaught of buyer's remorse—common for me. I feel it almost whenever I spend what I feel is "too much"—for anything, not just cameras. The urge to turn around and sell the D800 before time washes away large chunks of the equity I have sunk into it is almost making me feel physically antsy.
Second, I'm not entirely convinced that it's capable of better results for my uses than the OM-D. The D800 has good highlight rendition, but so does the OM-D; the D800 has better high-ISO flexibility, but the OM-D's stabilization offsets that; and I just find the OM-D's picture files to be exceedingly pretty—the D800's too. The one area in which the D800 clearly body-slams the OM-D is that it's so much more comfortable to use—the viewfinding, the handling, and the control knobs'n'buttons'n'menus are all so much clearer and easier to me. And yet the OM-D counters by one-two punching the D800 in terms of easy portability and greater stealth.
This David and Goliath match is not over yet by any means, and probably won't be till spring (I'm not much of a winter shooter).
5. If plans go right, we have three print sales coming up before the summer of 2013. Michael and Paula will be offering some gorgeous large- and ultra-large format contact prints in January. Then late in the spring will come Ctein's Last Gasp dye transfer sale—in one grand, glorious last blowout, Ctein will use up all of his remaining dye transfer supplies prior to closing his darkroom permanently. This time, however, the prints will be full-sized ~16x20s. The number of prints will naturally be limited to however many he has the supplies to make—he anticipates between 100 and 200, depending on how the materials inspect and on the reject rate as the printing goes along. I have the honor of picking the four pictures we'll offer, and I'm halfway there. You are absolutely going to love these prints, I guarantee it.
Both of the above sales will be great bargains, with prices far less than you'd have to spend to get equivalent prints through other channels. But in both cases the prices are expensive in terms of our historical norms. So, in between them, I'm planning a sale of modestly-sized inkjet prints of pictures that have appeared on TOP in the past that have drawn widespread approval. For that sale, we'll work to shave the costs down to something exceedingly reasonable, so that participation can be as painless as possible for the greatest number of people. I don't want to leave anybody out.
6. Christmas, like the lottery, fascinates me. It's a pure folk holiday with elements that are 5,000 years old (solstice rituals) to as recent as a a few years ago (the whole "Black Friday" thing). Its customs and iconography derive from a huge variety of sources—did you know, for example, that Washington Irving, who wrote Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, was the guy who came up with the idea of the flying sleigh pulled by reindeer?
In any event, please accept the following as encompassing in its broad embrace not just Christmas, but any end-of-year holiday you and your family celebrate—with best wishes and cheer from me to you and yours:
Original contents copyright 2012 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
A book of interest today:
There's a nice video about this project, as well.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Andrea B.: "The D800 vs. the Oly OM-D: You don't have to make a choice. Let yourself enjoy both of them! It's never been the case that one camera fills all needs although I have frequently tried to make it so. Currently I admit to Goldilocksian camera ownership: One little digicam (the Pentax Q) for fun and carrying in my purse or pocket. Sometimes my phone cam serves in this capacity too. One small-to-medium-sized digicam for serious shooting without excess weight (currently the Nikon D5100, but wish I had that Oly OM-D). One Big Dragoon, which currently is being decided between my old D3S and my new D600. How this is going to work out, I don't know. I love them both, but I do not really need two BDs."