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Monday, 11 October 2010


Yes, but does the aperture actually open and close according to the hour of the day?

Mike. Did you shoot that Lennon portrait? It is excellent.

"Did you shoot that Lennon portrait?"

I did not. I don't know who did, I'm afraid. If anyone knows I hope they'll tell me....


"When are we meeting for dinner?"

"F8 and be there".

John Lennon the greatest psychedelic rock songwriter? Lyricist, possibly (but not my vote). But composer? Surely not. Pink Floyd, in my view, and I've got a soft spot for Jimi Hendrix (for UK readers, the BBC iPlayer is rolling some films and biographies about him, available until the end of the month).

A nice portrait of Lennon though.

Watch fans are just as rabid as audiophiles or photographers. And those two technologies are still surviving.

After about 20 years without wearing a watch (because time was displayed everywhere), I decided to wear one again. After researching some expensive marques, and educating myself about what I was looking for, I finally decided on a Chinese Omega homage from Alpha watches. It's a mechanical self winding watch that I ordered directly from Mr Pink!

Having grown up wearing a watch, with hands (although I have had a few digital), it was remarkably easy to get used to again. Maybe just a case of trying to go back to simplier times! (I also shoot B&W in a mechanical camera too.)

Sometimes the way forward is to look back!

Wow. I put my $15 Casio watch in the cupboard a couple of hours ago, retired, next to a broken iPod - two less things to carry.

We have sophisticated phones with basic cameras in them. I'd like to see convergence from the other direction: a sophisticated digicam with a basic phone in it. My design would be something like a Canon S95 with a flip-out LCD with a keypad underneath, that works like a fold-out phone.

Mike, No, you see, the Lumix phone is brilliant. It's really a digicam with a phone chip embedded in it. Now those of us who want to carry a camera around all the time and could bring or ditch the phone can have a phone around too. Imagine if Canon started shipping their digicams with phone chips too, or better yet, a Nikon D700 with a 4G chip and integrated internet. (I suppose one would use a bluetooth headset to place a call.)

Actually, I'd never think of Lennon as a "psychedelic rock songwriter." At heart, he was a great singer/songwriter/performer. The Beatles only produced one so called psychedelic album, Magical Mystery Tour. Perhaps it's just an age difference:) I remember hearing their first song in the US one morning in 1963 on my way to school as a college freshman. The DJ said, "I think this band's going to be big."

The watch is just another instance of short-sighted manufacturers missing the boat. What were they thinking--we need at least 1.4.

Appropos "a different kind of convergence", I've been waiting for this device for 18 months now:


What a silly and stupid watch! (I just ordered one.....)

As pretty as that Leica iPhone skin is, I prefer something more covert for street shooting (and I'm not talking about a black dot/black paint Leica image either ).

"but does the aperture actually open and close according to the hour of the day?"

Better still, does time dilate according to the indicated f-stop? And does my memory get sharper after 8? Anyway, I'm waiting for the multicoated version with VR, full-time MF, and panoramic timeline mode.

The watch is too cooool! i got one, all the way back to Italy!

I guess 1.4 would have made the watch lens too big.

According to Ethan Russell's web site, that photo is by Yoko Ono (or at least she holds the copyright).

Go here, check the text on the first image in the slide show.

I bought a new iPod Touch a few weeks ago. Toyed with getting an iPhone, although I don't really make enough calls to justify giving up my old klunker phone. A few days later I saw that Leica skin for the iPhone. Had I seen that before buying the iPod it might have tipped my decision!

(The back of iPod Touch is very different... although as I think about it, it might be just a matter of a small hack. Hmmmm...)

"The Beatles only produced one so called psychedelic album, Magical Mystery Tour"

Um...what was "Sgt. Pepper" then? I'd call Revolver and Abbey Road psychedelic albums, but Sgt. Pepper and Yellow Submarine certainly were. Sgt. Pepper practically defines the genre.

I also wouldn't call Lennon a "performer," at least not in the sense that James Brown or Elton John or Bruce Springsteen were performers. He seems rather more famously a non-performer, if you ask me....


Thanks Ed. That seems probative enough to add a photo credit.


"I guess 1.4 would have made the watch lens too big."

Or made the watch too fast.

ed, You may just have to settle for the X1 skin.

OK, Mike, I'll stop now. Promise.

I don't think of Sgt. Pepper as a psychedelic album. Psychedelia is part of it, but it's got a lot more to it than that.

The Beatles and Lennon were some of the best known and most celebrated performers of the early 60s. They stopped in 64 or 65, but until then they were considered a great live band. OTOH, you're right that they were famously non-performers for the latter half of the 60s.

Mike, you're right about John Lennon being - as you put it - a non-performer, and in my not-expert opinion that having been part of the start of the mid-60s psychedelic scene, Lennon checked out in favour of agit-prop politics about the time that the main psychedelia wave got going. The three you reference certainly were wonderful stage performers. But as performers in the psychedelic era, how about Janis Joplin, some of the Stones' gigs, Free, or The Doors?

Cue unreasonably self-indulgent iTunes session. Wife has gone to bed declaring that for a 45 year old man, she can't believe I'm so attracted to music that was popular when I was 2...


My daughter Phoebe's 21st birthday!!

I worked this out within hours of her birth and have been telling her ever since. Now all grown up and at Bath Spa University.

Just wanted to share this with a bit of the world.

proud parent!

I agree that the watch needs to go to at least f/1.4 (f/0.95 would be cool).

Also, six aperture blades just won't cut it for me; I need at least seven, nine is better.

"The Beatles only produced one so called psychedelic album, Magical Mystery Tour"
But that was not an album in the sense of a 12 inch (30 cm) 33 RPM disc but a small 24 page book containing two 45 RPM discs (one on each inside cover).

Still waiting for the wrist-watch as cell-phone, a la Dick Tracy.

10/10/10 is not all that when you realize 11/11/11 goes all the way up... 11.

Used to be, even if there were clocks visible lots of places, they didn't reliably agree, and the only way to know what time it was was to use your own watch. As a result of this thinking, I don't particularly care to put clocks up (except I unfortunately need an alarm clock).

These days, my computers all sync to NIST, and my cell phone syncs to their network time source (probably linked back to NIST in the end), and my alarm clock and my wrist watch all sync to WWV (which is run by NIST). So now all these independent time sources fairly reliably say the same thing. And I could give up wearing a watch.

Except that hauling the phone out, waking it up, and unlocking the screen is a HUGE amount of trouble to go through just to check the time. And very hard to do covertly in a meeting or while talking to somebody.

f-stops and tree rings:

The f-stop watch looks like a "pretty neat idea" (Douglas Adams on LCD watches) until you stop to think about it for a second. Well, maybe 1/2 s ? 1/4 s ? 1/8 s ? 1/15 s ? The nitpicking point being: the f-stop scale is geometric, not linear. So how should it translate to a circular dial on a photographer's watch? Not as a daft mapping of f-numbers to hours. Aperture values (AV)! Hours 1 through 12 translate, in constant aperture intervals, as f-stops 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22, 32, 45, 64. If my reckoning is correct. (If not, Ctein will set me straight.)

Midday at f/64: the right transition, via Ansel Adams' group, to the plight of bristlecone pines. Thirty years ago, almost to the day, I read my first radiocarbon calibration curve, based on bristlecone pine rings. Until then, I had known them only as bleached trunks on Adams prints. [Wikipedia has excellent introductions to tree-ring dating (aka dendrochronology) and radiocarbon calibration, so I needn't get into them here.] Just note that the world's first scientifically usable tree-ring chronologies were based on bristlecone pines, thanks to the pioneering work of AE Fergusson at the University of Arizona. They allowed precise dating of ancient settlements in the Southwest, decades before the radiocarbon method was invented. They were essential for correcting false assumptions about radiocarbon levels in the atmosphere, after the 14C method was established. Archaeologists are used to analysing dead things. But seeing millennial probes from living trees was overwhelming, a live connection to a fossilised past. For anyone interested in the history of climate, the death of bristlecone pines is a striking symbol of the unspeakable mess we have put ourselves in.

I like the watch, but I'll wait for the Leica version that costs three times more but goes to f0.95.

I didn't buy a GF1,
I bought an iPhone 4
I fit it in my pocket
and I find that less is more.

A friend sent a link to that watch a few days ago and looking at the high res photo I noticed that the designer confused filter diameter and focal length. Ever heard of a 50mm filter thread?

"when are we meeting for dinner"

"f8 and be there"

James, I nearly choked on my coffee, you truly are a wit.
Thanks for making my day.

"I guess 1.4 would have made the watch lens too big."

Too big and way to expensive, although you could probably pick up Sigma or Tamron for half the price.

I used to wear a watch that had a second hand and an hour hand but no minute hand because I figured that for timing things like exposures or showing up for classes and meals all you needed was one or the other and it was an art student sort of thing to do. Now I guess I would buy one of these.


"The Beatles only produced one so called psychedelic album, Magical Mystery Tour"

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds seems a wee bit psychedelic , and the fourth side of the white album might be considered psychedelic depending on what you think of Stockhausen.

I heard that "somewhat saccharine utopian ballad" at so many funerals for teenagers that I always think of it and "forever young" as funeral music.

Dear robert e,

No, for time to dilate, you have to order the relativity wrist watch (it's on the same website).

pax / Ctein

I find the iPhone and iPhoneography utterly fascinating, the real power and convergence however is not so much the phone itself but the power given to the device by having thousands of people working on apps for it.

This approach to allowing others to develop apps is what has really driven the whole mobile photography scene and allowed so much amazing stuff to be achieved in such a short time.

To my mind the camera makers have completely missed the boat and the future of cameras will split into smart phones and DSLRs.

And yes the iPhone 4 is a pretty impressive picture taker for a Phone and for many folk is all they need especially when combined with a few killer camera apps.

John Lennon? Wasn't he something to do with a hot beat combo that was so unthreateningly tuneful that your Mum liked them? Sorry, I was too busy rebelling to notice them to the time.

On 10/10/10 = 42 I love it ;)

"There are only 10 types of people in the world those who understand binery and those who don't."

I love the watch
South Africa

I've seen magic squares before, but that cube! Incredible!

"John Lennon? Wasn't he something to do with a hot beat combo that was so unthreateningly tuneful that your Mum liked them?"

A skiffle band, weren't they? Played some Chuck Berry covers....


Someone said
"The Beatles only produced one so called psychedelic album, Magical Mystery Tour. Perhaps it's just an age difference:)"
Perhaps not. Clearly the writer of the above - as I see someone else has commented - never listened to Sgt. Pepper. Or perhaps the writer never took any LSD, in which case he's disqualified anyway!

For what it's worth I think that most of Lennon's post Beatles songwriting is p!55 p00r self indulgence. I mean, Yoko Ono... For that matter, much as I enjoyed the Beatles as much as anyone at the time of their pomp (I'm 62), I ask myself why it is that I no longer have a single album of theirs in my collection? To me it sounds like music-hall unlike some of their near contemporaries (I'll mention the Stones and the Velvets by way of example) who produced real rock and roll, not ersatz soul - which is close as the Beatles ever got.

And to repeat, I too was crazy about the Beatles a during their unparalleled rise to fame.



While I respect your opinion, I don't think the stones nor velvet had anywhere near the diversity in production,arrangement and creativity that the beatles did. Actually no band ever has.

"Actually no band ever has."

What about the Osmond's? They're only the band the Beatles could have been. Have you not heard Crazy Horses? It's crazy, man.

It wasn't that long ago that Panasonic had a billboard advertisement coming out of the Lincoln Tunnel on the Jersey side that said, "If it comes with a ringtone, it's not a camera."

That's simply one of the most beautiful, perfect portraits I've ever seen (and I'm not particularly a John Lennon fan). At nearly $1000 there's no way (no honest way) I could ever own a print.

Paris: I stopped using a wrist watch some years back because I'd start looking at it all the damn time. I have switched to an iPhone and an old-fashioned pocket watch (alas, not the visible-mechanics style a friend got) specifically so that it would be a little difficult to get the watch out. Oh, and pocket watches look much cooler than wrist watches:)

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