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Tuesday, 10 February 2015


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If you look at six photographs per second 24/7, you will hit the 250 million mark by about 1.32 years.

I'm probably #55 with this link, but anyway:
Roger Cicala wrote a piece on Nader: http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2014/03/the-heights-and-depths-of-nadar-tldr-version

Old Hickory knives are pretty good. They hold an edge well and they're not expensive. Their one drawback is that they're not stainless, so they'll rust if you don't care for them properly.

BTW, I don't shave with my kitchen knives, just cut onions and such.


I have a more than full set of German and Italian kitchen knives in the classic style. They are certainly wonderful tools, beautifully made.

However, what I use most are a couple of ceramic knives and an ancient cook's slicer. The ceramics are cheap ones, but just as sharp as pricy ones and scarcely less durable. All ceramics eventually chip, but replacement is easy.

The vintage cook's knife is forged, like the German ones, but lighter, longer and more flexible. The steel is not stainless, has an interesting pattern of stains/colors, which obscure any name, if there ever was one, and wooden handles which would never pass a restaurant health inspection.

Yet it handles and slices beautifully and bends easily to cut around/close to things. Used on my large, hardwood cutting board and straightened with a steel, it stays sharp a long time

Cost? Maybe $4 at a thrift shop.

OTOH, it's equivalent in a chef's knife has no advantages other than being slightly lighter than my contemporary German version or even larger Italian one, so they are the ones in use.

Honey just doesn't interest me.

Your facts on the Japanese knives reminded me of the Ulfberht swords made in the 8th to 11th century at the highest standard of quality, with properties believed to not be achievable for this time period. They were the equivalent of designer swords, signed by the maker that was also copied by lesser sword smiths, so it was possible to buy a Ulfberht knock off. It is quite interesting to realize that there was such a sophisticated market (a lot like we have today) for weaponry at that time. Another interesting fact that some of the swords used actual ground up bone to achieve there properties. Imagine the strength you would get by using the bone from your father or a Bear that you had slain, or even a wolf.
There is a great documentary on this sword called "Secrets of the Viking Sword", that can be found on youtube.

My favorite kitchen knife is the tried and true French chef's knife from Wusthof:


I've had mine for over a decade and it's still in wonderful shape. (And I have not treated it terribly kindly.) This knife and a simple paring knife are all I need in the kitchen.

I have a couple of wonderful Japanese knives made by Shun, including a Chinese vegetable cleaver that is a pleasure to use when I need to go to town on a pile of vegetables for soup or the like.

There's only one issue with the Japanese knives (or German knives, depending on what you currently own): Japanese knives have an edge that is ground at a different angle than German knives. So if you've already established a set of German knives that includes a sharpener that puts a traditional German edge on the blade, you'll need to get *another* sharpener to handle your Japanese knives. Not the end of the world, but you have to ask yourself how much time you want to spend dealing with these types of things.

Liszt looks better in black and white.

Not sure about the honey your honey likes.... Here's the product description:
Product Description
Truly Unfiltered, Unheated Flavor Witch Is Far Superior To Any Processed Honey, Harvested,100 % Pure, Consistency An Attractive Ivory Color In All . Not Boiled Or Pestrized Extremely Luscious, Earthy More Organic,

Glad it's not Pestrized, but what an Unheated Flavor Witch taste like? ...not that I want to try it it, mind you.

The US dropped more bombs on Viet Nam than all the bombs dropped by the combined Allied and Axis powers in all of WWII. The Viet Nam War Memorial in Washington, DC is 150 yards long- should the Vietnamese build such a monument for their lost with the same density of names, it would cover... 9 miles!
(via Philip Jones Griffiths)

The portrait of Liszt lost almost everything when colorized. The subtle reflected natural light tones on the shadow side of the face dissapeared into someone's megabytes. Leave art alone!!

And no stylist for that portrait of Liszt--witness that unbuttoned button.

Mike, I fully expected that your honey link was going to open to a portrait shot of you!

So nice to hear of your mid-life delight.

Another vote for Australian (Tasmanian) Leatherwood honey. Wonderful stuff with a distinctive flavour. But enjoy honey while you can. The world's bees are disappearing fast.Exporting Australian bees to the USA to replenish your stocks is now a big business.

I always prefer Manuka honey in my Blue Mountain coffee. Best of all, the same store carries both!

On the recommendation Anthony Bourdain, in one of his books, I got a Global chef's knife ten years ago. Perfect balance and that odd looking handle fits my hand perfectly. I have added a Global Santuko and they vie for most use. But knives are sooooo personal I hesitate to say that there is a "best".

Ditto on the Victorinox 8 inch chef. The edge is just a bit on the brittle side and tends to develop very small nicks when you're rockin' an choppin' but then all cooks touch up their knives with a steel before every use, right?

With knives Victorinox replaced my Wusthof. Tried a highly rated Misono UX10 which is wonderful and awesomely sharp but unused because I fear sharpening will ruin it. Japanese use a different angle and only on one side. Seems odd that it is made with Swedish steel. What I use all the time though are two black ceramic knives, a 6 inch all purpose and 8 inch chef's from Kyocera. Always sharp. And if they ever need sharpening, going on four years now, Kyocera will do it for free.

Try some Tupelo Honey from the Florida Panhandle. Wonderful flavor and the real thing wont go to sugar. Plus it always brings the Van Morrison song to mind,,, which may be even more appropriate given your current situation.

Fun fact about Franz Liszt: he was sort of the 19th Century version of the Bebe, not something you'd expect from the photo taken in his old age. From the wiki:

"After 1842, Lisztomania swept across Europe. The reception that Liszt enjoyed as a result can be described only as hysterical. Women fought over his silk handkerchiefs and velvet gloves, which they ripped to shreds as souvenirs. This atmosphere was fuelled in great part by the artist's mesmeric personality and stage presence. Many witnesses later testified that Liszt's playing raised the mood of audiences to a level of mystical ecstasy."

Try some Tupelo Honey from the Florida Panhandle! A wonderful flavor and the "real stuff" wont go to sugar. Its the only honey diabetics can eat because of the way the sugars are. Plus it always reminds you of the Van Morrison song, which given your current situation, should be very appropriate!

I have a 10" Misono UX-10. Beautiful knife and I really like it. Unfortunately I find it just a bit too big, and I wish I had gotten the 8" one. Anyone have an 8" one they'd like to trade up? :-)

I have a Wusthof set that includes the 8" Chef's & Santoku knives mentioned earlier...but the one that gets the most use in our house is the http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0029OFEO2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

There's a simple way to establish the likelihood of there being photographs worth looking at in any uploaded set. Just establish how long it has been since the relevant event, and how many photos are in the set.

You can set your own requirements but here's an example: 18 hours since the event, 124 new photos uploaded. Next!

My threshold number of photos is lower than 124; 36 is more than high enough.

You might think that I am cruel, but why should I waste my time by looking through rubbish when the poster hasn't spent any time editing?

Glestain 8" Gyutou. Gyutous are considered "western" style chef knives, but this one is somewhere between a traditional French chef's knife and a santoku. The scalloped edges are supposed to help sliced food not stick to the side of the knife. I got it when I was a line cook, back in the day. Now, if I was working in a kitchen again, this knife would get me through most of my tasks for the prep day. But for service, I'd only leave out a petty--a smaller, more delicate knife that's smaller than a chef knife but bigger than a parer.

Don't get this knife unless you also get a 1000/6000 grit water stone to keep it sharp. My friends who volunteer with me at the farmer's market think I'm finicky because I sharpen my own knives. But wow sharp.

It's this knife: https://www.flickr.com/photos/coffeespoonr/13277741135/ My food photos always include my knife, though not always this one.

Furi knives. I am particularly partial to my 14 inch "East West", which is sort of a general cook's knife crossed with a sushi knife shape. All stainless including the handle - keeps a very sharp edge well - and easy to sharpen and clean.

Leatherwood honey.

I knew I was going to regret clicking on that link.

I love knives, buy 'em, try 'em, keep 'em or give them away. Right now I have a combination of Sabatier carbon steel and Shun D handled knives made for a left hander. The control is amazing.
Carbon can be a pain to keep from rusting but I can shave with mine :-)

A while back I went looking for some new kitchen knives, fell in with a couple online forums, and next thing you know was a couple thousand into a semi-serious Japanese knife collection. Not to mention a nearly equal sum spent on mid-range sharpening stones.

It's easy to spend much more, getting into honyaki yanagiba, custom jobs and natural stones. I'm over it now but for a while I was in pretty deep, just like it's easy to do with photography gear.

But just as you reach a point where it's time to go out and take some pictures, at some point it's time to just go cook some food instead of obsessing over the gear.

To answer your question, my go-to Gyuto ("cow-knife", the Japanese equivalent of the western chef's knife) is a mid-tech (non-custom) Devin Thomas 270 mm made from specially heat-treated AEB-L steel with a cocobolo octagonal handle with ebony spacer. Long enough to handle volume, thin enough to be light and not wedge (but not overly flexible), and holds a fine edge (finished with 0.25 micron diamond) seemingly forever . . .

I've owned a couple very fine Japanese knives but they're just too much trouble to maintain. So put me down as another Wüsthof user, the standard 20cm chef's knife.

I'm trying to come up with a cute phrase about the human eye's f8.3 and being there but can't think of anything.

Everyone knows that the world used to be black & white.

Fun Fact: Some species of sharks can turn their stomachs inside out through their mouth; washing their stomach in the sea water. They can then return their stomach to its normal position.

A Kiwi apiarist told me that Manuka honey was difficult to extract and that explained the price (which was far less than what is asked in Australia currently)

Another vote for the more affordable and tasty Tasmanian Leatherwood.

That is until I can find some Turkish "Crazy Honey"

Mike, I fully expected your honey link to open to a photograph of you!

So nice to hear of your mid-life delight.

I'm with Mike R., more and less: I prefer a set of 10" ( http://amzn.com/B0000CF8YO ) and 6" ( http://amzn.com/B0000CFDD5 ) Victorinox chef's knives—I can do just about anything I need to between them, while I find 8" knives to be an awkward in between, too big for some jobs and too small for others. I've owned and used many other, "better" knives, but the Victorinox hold an edge well, are easy to use and care for, and are such superb values that I don't have any urge to baby them. A steel and occasional use of an AccuSharp sharpener (also mentioned by Mike R.) keeps them cutting well with minimal fuss.

Well, I have access to all sorts of Japanese-made kitchen knives, from cheap crap of low quality steel for $10-15 to some costing a few hundred. I use Global (http://yoshikin.co.jp/w/) now---over-priced for stainless, but not bad. I suppose a German-made knife here would set me back a lot more than I am willing to pay. I so much prefer good carbon steel knives that are easily sharpened even if I gotta do it more often. My favorite was a relatively inexpensive "Green River" style knife that also served as a hunting knife back in the States.

My favorite knife is the Teruyasu-Fujiwara 240 mm Nishiji Gyuto. I have many Japanese knives, but this one is special.

I was 'taught' how to colour black and white photographs by an old man years ago. He used small pieces of crepe paper soaked in water to extract the die as a colourant.

All this hoo ha about knives. Woodworkers are as fetishist about Japanese chisels and prepared to spend equally ludicrous sums on them.

As Dr Christian Barnard said " All things in moderation"

My favorite (current) knife is a well broken-in old hickory 10" butcher knife in plain-Jane high carbon steel. The high carbon is very quick to sharpen and has a lightness and brittleness that I find addictive. The knife itself costs less than 20$ and requires a fair bit of time and finishing with sandpaper and various bench stones to get it into a nice state but once you've put the time into making it one of your knives it is wonderful.

My favorite past knives were the old hickory 10" and 14" "French style" knives with the long curved blade and sufficient space between the tang and the handle to chop things. Sadly, soon after I moved to Europe and decided I didn't have space to carry all my knives in my one allotted checked luggage they discontinued the French style knives. New old-stock went from the reasonable 20-30 dollar range up to the 100-200$ range which is frankly unreasonable for a knife that will take 4-12hrs of finishing by hand. Alas my friends who inherited them lost them.

The best honey is made in Portugal, from the Medronheiro, or Medronho tree. It has a bitter-sweet taste.

Plus, one can also distil aguardente from the Medronho fruit. See here:


Steven Ralser:

Melita Honey Farm in Chudleigh (north west of Launceston) in Tasmania seasonally makes a Red Stringy Bark Honey... if you like the leatherwood your in for a treat if you can get your hands on some

For about $5 I bought a couple of generic stainless kitchen knives in a French super market ten or twelve years ago. Cuts all sorts of things in the kitchen, including the cooks finger now and again. The other several thousand dollars went on some great meals out, several dozen cases of decent wine, upkeep of small family sail boat, a good slab of Brie whenever I feel like it. & etc. Hmmmmm. Happy? you bet.
Kerry Glasier
Cornwall. UK

While I cannot comment of the taste of various honeys, I do recall being told that the best honey for you, is the honey made closest to you. The theory being that by consuming local pollens, you can lessen/eliminate any reactions you might suffer during pollen season.

Dexter high carbon Chinese style cleaver. We use them at our restaurants, day in, day out--durable, super sharp and well balanced. Very reasonably priced and from good old Mass., USA.

The most important thing is not the knife, but keeping it sharp. No need to spend crazy money on overpriced waterstones, either. The Scary Sharp method uses sandpaper and a flat surface like a granite tile to get a super sharp mirror finish (use 2,000 grit paper to finish).

A long, sturdy serrated bread knife. Like the chef's knife, one of a very short list of truly essential knives for the kitchen. I bake my loaves "strong" (as Chad Robertson puts it), and this knife is necessary for good, safe cutting, even for bread without such crusts.

My personal favorite knife is a Wusthof Classic 5" cook's knife. I find the smaller knife more maneuverable and just all around easier to deal with.

I recommend Razor Edge sharpening kits if you're going to sharpen your own knives. They include a guide which can be positioned on the back of the knife to ensure that you're sharpening at the correct angle for any knife.


I have a bunch of carbon-steel Sabatier knives, ranging from an 8" chef's knife I bought new to a couple parers that I inherited and a monster 14" chef's knife that my brother found at a yard sale. It's probably worth a couple hundred bucks: it's slender, light, and the temper is high enough that it rings when it comes off the steel. Sadly, it's just too damn big for most of my cooking tasks other than assaulting watermelons.

I've used chinese cleavers (great for veggies) and a stainless Henckels santoku, but the knife I probably use more than any other is a nasty made-in-China 9" knife that I bought in an Asian market near DC fifteen years ago. It looks like it was made out of a truck spring, and I'm sure it cost less than five bucks, but it takes a great edge and the blade is deep enough to keep my knuckles off the cutting board. It's helped me get over kitchen tool envy--nobody ever decided a bad dish was actually good because an expensive knife was used to chop the ingredients.

Global G-48 Fluted Santoku, 18cm. (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dgarden&field-keywords=global+g-48)

Great knife, had it for what, eight years now? Sharpened professionally once a year.

German cameras and Japanese knives—that's the way to go ;) Ok, maybe some Japanese cameras too. But German knives? Not for me.

I also have a couple of Lamson Sharp Knives (http://www.lamsonsharp.com) made right here in Massachusetts. Another chef's knife and a bread knife. They're the two best wedding gifts we got.

It's nice to have a couple of different knives, depending on what you're doing, or to use one for meat and the other for veggies.

Anyway, please make sure to cut on plastic or wood boards! Glass and bamboo are very hard and will dull your knives far too quickly!

And make sure to eat local honey... support your beekeepers! And it's better for you!!!

Some people use Manuka Honey to fight the H Pylori bacteria. A bacteria that affects about two thirds of the people in the world. It was only discovered in 1982 and can be transmitted from person to person but it is usually contracted when they are a child.

I know people who have it and have gone through 3 rounds of antibiotics and even had special antibiotics made from a sample of the bacteria in their stomach and they still could not get rid of it. If untreated, it could lead to stomach cancer.

I don't know much about kitchen knives since I don't cook, but if you love great camping and hunting knives, then take a look at "Bark River" knives. They are made in Michigan and they have an incredible selection of different styles of knives with beautiful options for handles and steel. But be careful, well-made things can become addictive.

The 8" Chef's knife designed by Ken Onion and made by Shun is by far the best kitchen knife I have ever had in my hand. Sadly, it is no longer being produced by Shun, but there is a less expensive version of the same design.
Also, the "Ken Onion Edition" of the Knife and Tool Sharpener by Work Sharp is the finest, most fun, and most flexible knife sharpener I have tried. Effortlessly adjusts to the different angles of European and Japanese knives.

It's nice to be on the cutting edge of trends.

Knives? I use nothing but Taramundi, handcrafted, legendary. One of the several blacksmiths at the little town in the mountains: http://cuchilleriataramundi.com/catalogo.php?idCat=15

I like to cook, and my favourite knife is one I am not likely to lose fingers from! Seriously, give me a moderately sharp knife any day - cooking would lose a large portion of it's pleasure for me if my focus had to be laser-like every time I needed to cut or chop something.

Um, Damien, a "moderately sharp" knife will make nasty gashes in your flesh just fine. But a really sharp knife is less likely to bind weirdly in the food you're cutting, requiring you to use excessive force. You're less likely to cut yourself at all with a really sharp knife, in other words.

"ogre-faced" spider eye: f/0.7
cat eye: f/0.9
owl eye: f/1.3
All three are night hunters and all have special reflective layers behind the retina (and arthropod equivalent) to enhance light collection.
human eye: functional f/ decreases slightly with age; 21 year old eye might be f/2.3, 80 year old eye might be f/3.2. This has nothing to do with cataracts, just the ability to maximally dilate the pupil.

Wusthof knife in the kitchen.
Work knives: 10 cm long and 20 cm long disposable carbon steel single edge razor blade fitting into a special holder; 6 cm disposable high grade stainless razor blade for cryostats and microtomes (cut tissue thin for pathology slides)

Are you sure about the Brunei Sultan and his cars? I always thought that he preferred Bentleys. I have seen him in a Bentley couple of times and I have seen a part of one of his carages and that was full of Bentleys. (I am sure he has some Rollses as well not saying that). He is also a licensed commercial pilot and at least in the past sometimes flew himself the big jet planes he travelled overseas with.

Knives are like lenses… specific to their use and you only need just one more. I mean you wouldn’t use a santoku to dispatch a lobster just like you wouldn’t use a macro lens to take a portrait… I kid.

My favorite kitchen knives are a couple Bob Kramer Damascus that I’ve been slowly collecting. Designed by a guy from Seattle and made by a German company in Seki Japan. They stay sharp and only get sharpened once a year (honed once a week if needed). That said, the Fibrox Victrinox chef knives are about 70% the knife at about 1/16 the price. I’ve never really cared for German knives and not for lack of trying. But I also don’t mind a bit more maintenance that may or may not be involved with owning Japanese blades. My next knife purchase will be a 270mm Yanaigiba for sashimi. The only problem is that I’m a lefty and those are all special order and more expensive (the knife in the photo above is right handed).


Dear Ben,

On the subject of cutting boards, another lovely little fun fact:

Wood cutting boards are better than plastic! Some researchers got curious about which was more sanitary, the naïve assumption being that the plastic would be better because it's more easily washed.

Turned out to be wrong. Wood boards showed lower bacterial counts. The same kinds of compounds in wood (the resins and lignins) that do such a good job of destroying old photographs are also pretty effective at destroying bacteria. A wooden cutting board is self-sterilizing in a way that a plastic one is not.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

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