Saturday, June 06, 2009

Focal Length

So, I'm trying to teach myself a little bit about photography. The amount of info online is just incredible. After reading this post, I decided to play around with using different focal lengths for the same item. Here are the results:

Focal Length: 18 (35mm equivalent: 27) Exposure: 1/8 Aperture: f/3.5 ISO:1600
Focal Length: 33 (35mm equivalent: 49) Exposure: 1/4 Aperture: f/4 ISO:1600
Focal Length: 55 (35mm equivalent: 82) Exposure: 1/8 Aperture: f/5.6 ISO:1600

I used the automatic settings, and i'm not sure why the middle shot had a longer exposure. There's no question that the closer shot has better detail and is sharper. So I guess the take away here is that you should get as close to your subject as the situation allows.
Focal Length: 55 (35mm equivalent: 82) Exposure: 1/3 Aperture: f/5.6 ISO:1600
Focal Length: 35 (35mm equivalent: 52) Exposure: 1/3 Aperture: f/4.5 ISO:1600
Focal Length: 18 (35mm equivalent: 27) Exposure: 1/4 Aperture: f/3.5 ISO:400

One interesting facet of this last photo is that if you zoom in on the cheekbone of the figurine 2nd from the left, you can see a strange bright green blotch. No idea what that is. I also find it interesting that none of these shots are worth a damn, only because the ISO is so low, that they are all too blurry, although I'd be curious to see if a tripod helps any. I've read that tripods are not useful for digital cameras, but I don't believe it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

For Wordsworth:

My soul comprehends beauty passing fair,
Fills with contentment at the harmony of a scene,
Cannot but yield upon spying the craft of the artisan,
Yet crumbles when called to create.
Woe to the songbird that has no muse,
Bereft of poetry must sit there mute,
Lacking all power to master the base elements,
Which stubbornly refuse to coalesce.
Perception is not a finer art,
Conferring wisdom upon us for our troubles.
We cannot make what we have not held
And our delight falls wasted after the flood.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Whatever scares you the most, yeah!

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at

Funny stuff

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Something is Stirring in America

The last six paragraphs of this post are beautiful:

Back at the rally, after the march had left MLK Gardens, I'd gone back for the car while Brett took photos, and I spotted a very old black man in a sharp Sunday suit walking slowly at the very back of the huge march. He hadn't yet arrived at the voting center, and I decided to find him when I got back.

I wanted to go talk to him, to ask him what this moment meant to him. He was a guy who you take one glance at, and know, that guy's seen it all. I wanted a quote. I had my journalist hat on. I thought, this will be great.

So when I got back to the voting location with the car, I went to find him in the line. Eventually I spotted him, and was ready to walk up the few feet between us and introduce myself when I stopped in my tracks.

A young black boy, no more than eight years old, walked up to this man, who was at least eighty. The boy offered the man a sticker, probably an "I Voted" sticker, but I couldn't see. The man took the sticker and paused. Silently, he looked down at the boy, who was looking back up at the man. The man put his hand gently on the boy's head, and I saw his eyes glisten.

I didn't ask the man for a quote. I didn't need to. I walked over by myself, behind the community center, and I sat down on a bench next to the track, and wept.

If you can read that passage without feeling something well up inside you, well, you're made of sterner stuff than I. (click on the link to see the picture).

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Joe the Plumber

I have to admit, Joe's got me thinking. That coupled with some of the arguments I've read on Obama's tax policy, have made me wonder whether Obama's financial strengths aren't all smoke and mirrors. All I've read of the Joe Plumber exchange was "spread the wealth", hardly a promising campaign slogan.

Well, watch the clip:

Obama really is amazing. He just won my vote all over again (I admit, I have been wavering)

He met the challenge, knowing he was talking to someone who would probably never vote for him, but he tried to talk to him (not use him as a symbol, but actually address Joe's situation) and he stayed with him, for a while, really talking about the complicated issue which are (is?) taxes. (side note: I had a wonderful conversation with My friends Gini and Paul about subject verb agreement related to sentences like this)

Anyway, I'm back into the fold.

Speaking of which: check me out at 3:09

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Why Obama will win

watch this video and you will see why Obama will win this year's presidential election (don't peek at my explanation after the video):

Did you see it? No, it wasn't how well he handles the crowd. It wasn't his quick, light and even banter with the ladies. It wasn't how much like a good guy, smooth, and temperentally ideal for the current crisis he seems.

If you thought it was any of those things that guarantees Obama the win you missed it.

Did you see the gentleman standing slightly behind Senator Obama? Monitoring everything. Moving forward slightly to prep the situation, then hanging back to make sure it all went smoothly? With multiple bluetooth devices plugged in? He is Obama's secret weapon:

Reggie Love!

Obama's body man is Reggie Love.

McCain never even had a chance.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Tax Man Giveth

Last year, when I filed my taxes I got a huge refund, so large that our summer plans suddenly opened up because we had extra money to use. I was confused by this because I don't have taxes deducted from my paycheck; an advantage to earning income overseas is that it is tax exempt, except for the payroll taxes. In fact the refund I got back actually exceeded my annual payroll deductions. I couldn't understand how this worked until I read this article in the Wall Street Journal.

I have to say, in general, I am very uncomfortable with this tax policy. First of all, because, as the WSJ rightly says, it is welfare disguised as tax policy, so well disguised, in fact, that I wasn't aware that I was a beneficiary of welfare until I read the article.

Which leads me to my second problem. I don't want welfare, and don't feel I need it. I wouldn't apply for it even if I knew it were available for it. In this system, however, I have little choice to apply for it, since I have to file my tax claims. I'm sure I will continue to take the "tax refunds" I'm eligible for, since I have my tax claims prepared for me online, and don't have much to do with the actual details.

The fact that this has become a way for welfare to sneak back into the system, in a form much harder to resist than the old welfare system. WSJ rightly faults Obama for using this formulation as a way to claim that he is giving "tax cuts" to 95% of the American people.

I do believe in progressive tax rates, but this is silly. If you want to redistribute wealth, then do it above board. Welfare, though is so unpopular that it would never pass. If that's true, then it shouldn't be snuck into the tax system.