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.