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Monday, 02 March 2015


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All I can say is that it's a damn good thing I don't live close to that camera museum!

Kubrick's Barry Lyndon is indeed fun to watch, as I believe he used natural light to shoot the film. It makes for a whole new experience to watch a movie filmed only using candles and available light.

You may want to wait on that iPhone purchase. The next generation iPhone is not that far away. People are saying the next iPhone camera will be a major step up from the current one. Apple hired a camera guy named Ari Partinen from Nokia about a year ago, which may have something to do with this rumored advance.

I don't follow all of the Mac rumor sites; I just follow a few tech bloggers who have good contacts at Apple and don't get worked up about rumors in general.

A museum of really cool stuff ? Might that not be the Smithsonian. I'm just sayin'...............

That's a nice gallery of iPhone photos. I've seen any number of recommended galleries of iPhone photos that leave me disappointed; iPhone photos by otherwise competent and/or pro photographers who show off what they can do with an iPhone, and it's usually boring stuff with some Instagram filters applied. These are ... photos !

On the 6 versus 6+. I never owned a mobile phone before January of this year. I just decided it was time. I liked the idea of the real estate space and the image stabilization (plus battery life) on the 6+ but couldn't decide how much the size would bother me. (My wife has had the 5 for a couple years, and I knew I could live with something a little bigger). I drew them on paper ... that made the 6+ seem reasonable. Then I finally cut out templates from some masonite and found out very quickly that the 6+ would be inconvenient to carry and uncomfortable to hold in my hands.


Many thanks for the link to the pianists. It is amazing.

You are doing great work, even better now that you have the support of your friend "S".

Keep on practicing your "finger exercises".

And I will keep on making my Amazon purchases via your link.

Again, thanks,
Andrew Kirk

So Mike, what can you tell us about that speaker mounted high on the wall over the photographic screen in the Adams video?

[Wow. Did not notice that, and do not know. Looks like a horn speaker that would be the HF half of one channel of a loudspeaker. Possibly homemade, by someone, but I'm no expert. --Mike]

If you listens very closely, you can hear Gould saying, "there. I've played your freakin' Mozart.Happy? Now will you please let that go and let me play something I LIKE?"

Good to see you back. We were becoming a little worried...

The Ansel Adams analogy has always interested me. It suggests that the creator of the image should perhaps be open to other people interpreting the "score." Why should a great composer be the only one who performs his or her work? In the digital age, that means sharing raw files and letting others, perhaps for a fee, or even royalties, "perform" them the way they see fit. While professionals might hesitate, I think many amateurs would do it, and I'm not sure why raw sharing not done more frequently. Perhaps it's a hassle, and there's a needlessly possessive feeling about images in the amateur world, as we drown in pixels. A shame I think. We could be missing out on the modern Paganini of printing, paired with the Cortot of camera work (source: some list on the internet).

The Museum of Cool Stuff exists. It's called "House on the Rock" and is in the Dodgeville, Wisconsin area.

If you haven't seen it, you need to go. Take the girlfriend, and stay at the Don Q Inn.

Waay back in the late 1980s we filmed a couple of shows for the Ripley's Believe It or Not! TV series at House on ...

I luv clichés. They ad a bit of authenticity, and allow you to have a little fun with the people who use them 8-) BTW jus' sayin' became a trite phrase several years ago 8-)

English is a great language, with over a dozen different ways to say banal 8-)

>>My ankle is chained to the leg of the desk. Anything I do that isn't writing is bad for the site, my exchequer, and, I might add, the interests of readers, i.e., thou.<<

You, my friend, are trapped in a paradox. A writer who doesn't go anywhere or do anything other than write soon runs out of new and different things to write about. Yet if all you did was gad about, you'd have a much more interesting life and little time to write about it. In either case, you surely aren't implying that time spent with S. is bad for the site, are you?

[My time with S. isn't bad in any way, shape, or form, and even if it was, too bad. :-) --Mike]

Wow, I have just spent a happy half hour or more going through the posted videos. Thanks for that!

By the way I preferred the plain vanilla (#8). And no, I am not normally a conservative.. ;-)

Around 17 minutes into this video is a recording of Don McCullin's performance in his darkroom. It's really cool to see dodging and burning in action! His comments are also an interesting take on the performance of printing, and it has many parallels to what stage artists feel.


Also, Glenn Gould once made a documentary titled, “How Mozart Became a Bad Composer.”


Regarding your idea of a "Museum of Cool Stuff". It's already been done, a long time ago. And in your neighborhood too!

What would you call "The House on The Rock", maann, just sayin'.

I loved that place - absolutely the coolest stuff! :-)


iPhone 6+ doesn't quite fit in the hand or pocket.

Maybe the millennial generation is accustomed to treating their phone as a typing device, but for my lifestyle, I need to carry both a phone plus a laptop.

Speaking of generational market segmentation: the iPhone 6 can be set it up in "zoom mode" which will show the same screen real estate as the iPhone 5, but with all icons and letters just a little larger.

Barry Lyndon is infamous for being shot with a modified Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7 lens (wide open with no aperture blades) for the interior scenes. It was also used with a focal reducer too for 36.5mm effective. It was right at the edge of the lens and film technology of the time.


Today with modern CMOS image sensors life is much easier.

The BBC (and Masterpiece) production Wolf Hall was shot in using both natural, candle and fire light in real Tudor buildings** using a documentary style with steadicam-mounted ARRI Alexa cameras and (new and fast) Leica C lenses.

They spent £20,000 on candles (about 4,000 candles). It looks great including a shots illuminated by a single candle as a practical light even using the candle light as rim light!

The ARRI Alexa and Leica C lenses is a popular combo: both Oscar winners Birdman and Ida used them too both to great effect.

** They do cheat with regular lighting in some locations where they can use the lighting in large spaces.

The camera on my Phone 6+ is easily, and by miles, the best cell-phone camera I've used. In anything but perfect light I still curse when I have to resort to it rather than my X100T. Neither fit easily in a pocket.

I find the iPhone 6 faster and easier to use than my Sony RX100. With no zoom lens, it's ready to shoot on power up faster, due to not having to extend it. The photos are fine, but of course not as good as the Sony. No matter, they're good enough. And, playing around with filter effects is fun, but you can get some really weird or crappy results.

Add the Pure Shot app and you suddenly feel like you're using a real camera.

Piano pieces: I was partial to the "fast introduction" version although I liked the "authentic" one too.

It was interesting to me as an old time darkroom guy that it was clear from the way he described Ansel's work in the darkroom that Michael obviously did not follow in his dad's footsteps. Quite a contrast to Edward Weston's sons.

When you mentioned Grandpa Ned I thought that's gotta be Ned Bunnel, and it was!

I didn't know there was a movement against just sayin' something... I think you should be allowed to just keep sayin' whatever you want.

And, speaking for the little boy I once was and is now locked up inside of me, I would soooooo go to your museum of cool stuff. Twice a year if my daddy would take me.



Great posting on the movie Barry L.
Must have been a good weekend?

The Mozart was fun. I also listened to a few others on YouTube.

I was fascinated with the Gilels at first. Amazing delicacy, especially compared to the ferocity he shows elsewhere, as in parts of my favorite Waldstein.

But it palled after a while, staying delicate so consistently throughout that it lost interest and momentum for me. A strange contrast to his appropriate changes in touch/mood in other Mozart and the Beethoven Sonatas.

I have to say my favorite hasn't changed. Mitsuko Uchida manages to bring individuality and life to each part while creating a unified whole. I also quite like her use of a repeat of the introduction at the end.

The conventional ending is not Mozart's work anyway.

"If you listens very closely, you can hear Gould saying ..."

I didn't realize that Gould had rather poisoned me for the Goldberg Variations. Then, just a few years ago, I heard them played by a pianist who only spoke, knowledgeably, charmingly and wittily, when he was not playing. When he played, it was excellent.

Quite enjoyable.

With the large number of extremely talented pianists, I wonder how Gould became such a "thing".

As a lover of film cameras I am strangely disquieted by the i-phone gallery. My film cameras are now effectively banned from color by unavailable or only through the mails C-41 processing and ever rising prices I can no longer afford. And here is a camera on a phone! One that probably exceeds the best I could do with Ektar in 35mm. But dang! I mean it's not a camera, not in any way I've experienced since 1969 when I first picked up a Minolta Hi-Matic 9. Is it just stubborn pigheadedness that I hold on to old 'outdated' tools? Why am I afraid of current technology? I guess there is just no 'fondle factor' to something roughly akin to the shape and size of a Hershey bar. It is an "it", something that, in a few short years will be replaced and discarded without a second thought.

I see these things, and do not feel love or hate, I just feel nothing.

I like Glenn Gould but to me this is not his finest moment

I can hear that too, Stan. Gould was humming exactly that....!

Re: Kubrick
Am I in a vanishingly small minority who thinks that Kubrick's perhaps ne of the most over-rated directors? He certainly made some decent films but he also made some real stinkers - most notably "Eyes Wide Shut", a farrago made almost un-watchable by the inclusion of Cruise and Kidman (and yes, I got the idea...) "Full Metal Jacket", despite a couple of memorable scenes, is almost as bad with its use of the Isle of Dogs (in London for you furriners) as a completely ludicrous location stand-in for Vietnam. "Barry Lyndon" I quite enjoyed having first seen it on its cinema release back in the day when dinosaurs roamed the earth* but it's nothing special - and utterly unconvincing in any respect with regard to period authenticity.

As period drama shot in available darkness it's very thin gruel on every level compared to the BBC's magnificent "Wolf Hall" which screened here recently. Anyone who has read the first two volumes of Hilary Mantel's masterpiece - and no other word will suffice - might expect the dramatisation to be a big let-down however the script, direction, cinematography, sets and above all the acting, are uniformly outstanding.

Whether it'll work for audiences whose taste has been eroded by what currently passes for film and television drama emanating from Hollywood is another question. Read the novels, which, in psychological depth, stand comparison with Tolstoy; then watch the breathtakingly magnificent TV series. Or maybe vice versa.
* Incidentally I'm personally acquainted with the "principal ape" (the one with the weaponised femur bone which morphs into the space station) in 2001...

Growing as a photographer ...

I've long been wedded to 16 x 9 format photographs that fit into our High Def world. Recently I've been producing images for the square Instagram world and it's been difficult.

There's hope. When I saw Paul O's shot I thought, "that would work square."

Back in 1968 I was an 18 year old private in the Army learning morse code at Ft Devens when I went to Boston on a pass and saw 2001 at the Boston Cinerama. I had no idea what it was going to be like, had no clue about Stanley Kubrick.
Predictably I left the theater in a daze and a committed Kubrick fan.
Seven years later Barry Lyndon came along and knocked me out just as 2001 had. At the time there was a lot of coverage of the film in American Cinematographer, centering mostly on the lenses. The Zeiss super speeds got a lot of press but I believe Cooke also made a one off 20x zoom for the film. That was considered a pretty big deal at the time.
One of the few things I like about being 65 is that I got the chance to see both of these marvels in a theater. It's also worth remembering that Kubrick was a fanatic about print quality. He fought tooth and claw with the studios to make sure his release prints were as close to first generation quality as possible.
When I finally retire I'm going to treat myself to a big 4k TV and Barry Lyndon will be first up.
This borders on off topic but it was neat to see Ed DiGiulio in the video you shared. His company was Cinema Products and they took Bach Auricon movements and built one of the best 16mm cameras ever around them. The CP16 was a glorious tool and a few are still in use today as super 16 modified rigs. That camera was the standard for TV news for a very long time. I really loved mine and it is still in the boneyard at the TV station where I work. Here's what one looks like
Thanks again for writing about Barry Lyndon. Every frame is worth the price of admission.

Dear John,

That was Ansel's expressed wish before he died-- that others, especially students, be able to print from his negatives.

pax / Ctein

The multiple versions of the Mozart are interesting. The idea that there is only one acceptable rendition or interpretation is always wrong. I studied History at University and one of the things we learnt is the concept of multiple viewpoints and interpretation of events.

I listen to a lot of music and the thing I enjoy is the different ways people play a piece of music, be it Jazz, Classical, Blues, or Rock. I have about five different versions of the Goldberg Variations for example (including a delightful Harpsichord one) and I don't want to count the number of Bach Violin Concertos ....

In my own work I often go back and rework and reinterpret images from earlier projects. I suppose it's a way of keeping fresh and thinking.

And as to Barry Lyndon, I seem to recall that a lot of the out door filming was done shortly after it rained which gives it part of its distinctive look. Must watch it again soon.

From the aspect of a player: I too, am a fan of the aggressive approach for that fantasia. I spend months, literally months, working at balancing all the tempi and moods of that piece trying to work it out. In retrospect, the tempi really matters. The final section in D major is the reference, for me, everyone else has to be balanced with respect to that. Mainly because it sticks out as being so different.

I don't know it at the time but, the fantasia was left unfinished by Mozart. It somewhat explains the somewhat strange D major ending: it wasn't written by him! Some artists go as far as changing it. I found this out DURING a piano exam when the examiner pointed this out. A rather untimely moment to have an Eureka moment...


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