Culpability

I guess you have to own up when things aren’t going quite to plan. I had every inten­tion of upping the level of pro­duc­tiv­ity going into the var­i­ous web prop­er­ties that I’ve got kick­ing around, and that’s hap­pened. Not exactly to the extent I’d hoped, but I’ll keep trying.

One thing that was a hasty, poorly con­sid­ered deci­sion with the ben­e­fit of hind­sight was attempt­ing to marry up post­ing an image with post­ing a screed of text, with nary a con­nec­tion between them. Baf­fling deci­sion, and com­pletely con­fus­ing to everyone.

Also, split­ting out the old stuff and leav­ing it in an old Word­Press install, with the new stuff in a new Word­Press setup was a very dumb idea. Not nec­es­sar­ily in the philo­soph­i­cal terms of a clean break, but in pure tech­ni­cal sense of main­tain­ing updates to pre­vent secu­rity holes, which is pure drudgery — less so these days, admit­tedly, but not exactly fun.

So, I’d bet­ter rem­edy this. From now on, words go here, the bulk of my pho­tos go on my Flickr, and I’ve put together what is, I guess, a port­fo­lio of my ‘best’ pho­tos over here — best being, of course, a rel­a­tive term.

The posts from the old blog are back on here, and I’ve futzed around with the theme, and cre­ated a mas­sively ego­tis­ti­cal front page. Booyah.

Requiem for a Lenscap

Farewell, then, Lens Cap for a 12-60mm Olym­pus lens. You leave behind a qual­ity lens shorn of your pro­tec­tion, falling in the line of duty some­where on the Paris metro system.

It is unkind to speak ill of the departed, but in this time of despair we must be hon­est with our­selves and each other. The only sur­pris­ing thing about this tragedy is that it took so long to occur, given your predilec­tion for leap­ing from the lens at the slight­est brush.

We must reflect upon your cre­ator, the good Lord Olym­pus, and ask him why He can­not cre­ate a lens cap across His entire range of oth­er­wise bril­liant lenses that does not suck wholeheartedly.

Lo then, for the great cir­cle of life must con­tinue, and we can only hope that your generic 99p replace­ment that, I note, comes with a lan­yard which recent expe­ri­ence sug­gests will be use­ful, will be at least as good as you were.

Which isn’t say­ing much. Until then, I’m patent­ing my tem­po­rary pro­tec­tion method as the rev­o­lu­tion­ary LenSock™ — It’s Bet­ter Than Noth­ing. Pur­chase your LenSock at any rep­utable pho­to­graphic or under­wear stockist.

Rebay

I am, I have come to realise, some­thing of a hoarder of things. Not inten­tion­ally, really. Every­thing I pur­chase is bought with a firm use and goal in mind, and is kept for exactly that rea­son. I really do still want to play through the Leg­end of Zelda, which required buy­ing the cart and the N64 to play it on. The fact that I don’t have time to play the games I have for the con­soles actu­ally cur­rently attached to the telly, let alone the ones in boxes in the cor­ner of the room, is besides the point.

At any rate, I’ve decided there’s a hel­luva lot of stuff lying around that’s going to be of more use to some­one other than me, and a lot of it was photo gear. This is a win/loss record of those trans­ac­tions, mainly for my own edi­fi­ca­tion, but per­haps might be of use to some­one study­ing Olym­pus cam­era gear depreciation,

Olym­pus E-1: The first of Olym­pus’ for­ays into the dig­i­tal arena, this pro-level, weather-sealed mon­ster was a lot of fun to use, and despite the lim­ited res­o­lu­tion took pho­tos as good as, and some would say bet­ter than, the cur­rent gear. It was a love­able, ergonomic beast, sub­stan­tial with­out being over­whelm­ingly heavy and in gen­eral a lot of fun to have. Still, it shows its age badly, and as a child of the mod­ern era being shorn of the excel­lent Oly image sta­bil­i­sa­tion sys­tem and it’s quirky auto-ISO han­dling often lead to me botch­ing shots I would oth­er­wise have got. Pilot error, of course, but it meant that the cam­era was left on the shelf more often than not and so had to find a new home. Bought: 27/09/2010 for £175.00. Sold: 14/01/2011 for £110.00. Lost my prover­bial shirt on it. It’s an abnor­mally low price for it to go at. Not sure what hap­pened there, bad tim­ing perhaps.

Olym­pus 25mm Pan­cake: What a lovely lit­tle lens. Lit­tle being the cor­rect word, as attached to the E-510 or E-600 it became a pock­etable DSLR ‘solu­tion’, as long as part of your solu­tion is a coat with big pock­ets. At f2.8 it’s a pretty decent and very cost-effective por­trait lens, but I had a han­ker­ing for faster glass that even­tu­ally left this sur­plus to require­ments. Bought: 18/06/2009 for £147.00. Sold: 14/01/2011 for £146.00. Can’t argue with that result. Basi­cally a year and a half rental for one hun­dred pence.

Olym­pus 8mm Fish­eye: My first widean­gle expe­ri­ence, much to my buddy Craig’s dis­plea­sure. But, screw that guy, I like fish­eye effects. For a while, the high­est qual­ity lens I had, it got great results but results that couldn’t be used all that often unless you wanted to become known as’that fish­eye guy’. Which led to it often being left at home, which led to it being partly for­got­ten about, espe­cially after mov­ing to the stel­lar 7-14mm lens. So onwards it trav­elled. Bought: 23/08/2009 for £310.00. Sold: 14/01/2011 for £332.09. Effec­tively, I was paid to pho­to­graph with this lens. I’m a pro! Well, maybe not, but it’s a net gain for me.

Sigma 18-125mm: Here’s a lens that was mas­sively under­used. It’s not that it’s a bad lens, by any stretch, and it seemed to cover a very use­ful range. The inten­tion was that this would be a great ‘walka­round’ lens, for the times when I want to travel light. It more or less ful­filled that, although I often wanted to go a lit­tle wider than this let me. The down­fall was that if I really wanted to travel light, I’d be car­ry­ing around my Canon S90, not a DSLR, and those times I was pre­pared to carry a DSLR, then I’d also be happy enough to lug around a bag of lenses as well. Bought: 16/04/2010 for £88.00. Sold: 14/01/2011 for £72.00. Well, a net loss of £16 for a poorly thought out idea isn’t too bad.

Some other, non-photo stuff:

Sam­sung Q1: Before there was the iPad, there was the lumpen, mis-shapen beasts called the Tablet PC, of which Sam­sung made quite a few. Hob­bled by Microsoft’s need to have Win­dows run­ning on every­thing, regard­less of how well it suited the device, this turned out to be a wretched, glacially slow, unre­spon­sive and fid­dly expe­ri­ence that put me right off tablet com­put­ing in gen­eral. I’d bought it more or less on a whim to see if there was any room or need in my life for a tablet com­puter, with an eye on get­ting the then-upcoming, pos­si­bly just rumoured iPad. In ret­ro­spect, I might as well have bought a horse-drawn car­riage to see if I needed a Fer­rari. Bought: 29/07/2009 for £180.00. Sold: 11/04/2010 for £150.99. A frus­trat­ing, failed exper­i­ment, but not one that left me out of pocket too badly.

Palm Treo Pro: I used to love my Palm based PDA’s, either from Palm or the Sony Clie range. Enabled a lot of mobile work, in the pre-iPhone era. This was pur­chased partly to see what Palm was up to, after a long period of not pay­ing much atten­tion to the com­pany, and partly to find out if Win­dows Mobile was really as loath­some as it was made out to be. Spoiler — it was. In spades. Bought: 19/12/2009 for £77.00. Sold: 11/04/2010 for £46.11. I’d prob­a­bly have paid that much to have some­one take it away from me.

There’s more I could list, but the exact records have been lost in prior email purges.Anyway, I must go and tend to the N64 game auc­tions that are bar­relling towards a close as I type.

Out On A Wing

shot out of an airplane window

So, what’s my opin­ion on New Dehli, I hear no-one ask­ing. Well, no-one, I’d tell you, but since I’ve landed I’ve either been asleep, work­ing or stuck in the ludi­crous mess that Dehli calls a trans­porta­tion net­work, so I’m really none the wiser. Hence this shot from the air­plane win­dow on the way over.

If you like inor­di­nately dif­fi­cult meet­ings with intran­si­gently stub­born engi­neers, and the con­tin­ual, per­va­sive, never-ending noise of car horns all damn day then Dehli is just the migrane-inducing pit for you.

I am so tired.

International House of Tetris

I’m surely not the only one that thinks that sky­scraper over younder was styled after two L-shaped tetris blocks?

I walked over to it to see what it was called, or who’s mainly occu­py­ing it, but I couldn’t imme­di­ately find any evi­dence of Eng­lish lan­guage sig­nage  so I promptly gave up. I am so very tired. Any­way, I pre­fer my inter­nalised ver­sion, where it is the Asian head­quaters of the IHOP.

Unre­lat­edly, either my cloth­ing has sud­denly got cheaper or there’s some­thing up with the car­pet­ing in this hotel. I’m afflicted with a con­tin­ual build-up of sta­tic elec­tric­ity. Any­time I go near any­thing remotely metal­lic I’m fir­ing tiny bolts of light­ning out of my fin­gers like some sort of gimped Emperor Pal­pa­tine. It’s super-freaky.

This Must Be The Place

I think what I like most about China is the ram­pant enthu­si­asm, and the will to build things with­out any­one stop­ping to say, “Hang on, isn’t this a bit mental?”

I mean, look at this place. Well, first off it’s called The Place, which smacks either of extreme ego­tism or a fail­ure of imag­i­na­tion. Given the rest of the build­ings, I assume it’s the former.

It’s per­haps five years old as I write this, so obvi­ously at that time the pre­vail­ing design trend was mid 18th cen­tury neo­clas­si­cal­ism. Fine. Okay. Let’s build it!

Hang on just a moment. There needs to be the other defin­ing ele­ment of neo­clas­si­cal archi­tec­ture — a hun­dred metre cov­ered walk­way up the mid­dle of it, where the roof is made of mas­sive T.V’s!

In ret­ro­spect, I’m only sur­prised they didn’t use the other kind of TV.

Gate of Heaven’s Pacification

Tiananmen Gate

It seems my bold plan to get in sync with local time has had mixed suc­cess. I man­aged to prop my eyes open untill around half ten or so, aided by the loud noises and utter lack of soul in the film, and I use the term loosely, Ter­mi­na­tor: Sal­va­tion, which has cer­tainly not got bat­ter with age. Still, I knew what I was let­ting myself in for there, so no com­plaints about that.

How­ever, a com­bi­na­tion of a tir­ing trip over here and hav­ing to tool around pack­ing up eBay sales until 3AM on Thurs­day night left me with quite the sleep deficit. Which, appar­ently, demanded that I sleep until 2PM local time. I won­der how this will play out going for­ward, but I at least took some steps to tire mysely out and work off some of the Dubai air­port Cinnabon with a six­ish mile roundtrip walk to Tianan­men. I didn’t par­tic­u­larly intend to go there, I just headed out of the hotel, turned right and started walk­ing. Which, as it turns out, goes straight to Tianan­men. There wasn’t enough time to do the touristy thing, but hope­fully I can carve out some­time for that later.

There’s a set of weigh­ing scales in my hotel room that claim that I am 113 kg. Thank­fully it also claims that the thin air rest­ing above it also weighs 113kg before I step on to it. From this, I can deduce either that while in China, I have mass but no weight, or that the scales are bro­ken. As there appears to be both grav­ity and atmos­phere, I must sadly rule out the first option, and then order cheese­cake from room service.

Curving Lines

roof support structures

There must have been a memo sent out to air­port ter­mi­nal design­ers. Big sweep­ing curved roof­ing is very much the order of the day. The above is the from Dubai Airport’s rel­a­tively new Ter­mi­nal 3. It’s almost indis­tin­guish­able from the new ter­mi­nal at Bei­jing, built I sup­pose in the main to han­dle the Olympics traf­fic. Right angles are so last century.

I have no idea what time, or really what day it is. How­ever, I must make an effort to get on-board with local day­light pat­terns, which means some­how forc­ing myself not to fall asleep at the key­board for another few hours. Thank­fully I have HBO on the hotel telly to dis­tract me, cur­rently show­ing Dou­ble Impact. What’s bet­ter than hav­ing Jean-Claude Van Damme in a film? Hav­ing him in twice. Genius. Of a sort.

Away Days

dollars

I found out late yes­ter­day that I need to fly out to China today. There’s noth­ing like advance notice, and this is indeed noth­ing like advance notice.

As such there’s a stu­pen­dous amount of pack­ing and such to do, then a cou­ple of eight hour flights, then meet­ings and what­not. Updates may be spo­radic, which was in part why I was shy­ing away from describ­ing this… thing you’re read­ing as a true 365 project.

Let’s see where the days take us.