Category Archives: Living

Less but better.

Less But Better

I’ve been enjoying reading Greg McKeown‘s new book “Essentialism” – and, after listening to the beginning, put together this image suitable for desktop or screen saver use. It’s a shot made in the kitchen at the James Johnston House in Half Moon Bay – and was one that seemed to focus on the essential!

Here’s a link to Greg’s book and perhaps an easier to download version of my image on Flickr.

Life Will Never Be the Same!

Fujifilm X-T1

With my friend Doug Kaye, we headed to New York City last week for a five day photography workshop with Jay Maisel. The workshop was truly a life changing experience for me – opening new eyes and providing new ways to see as taught by this 83-year old American treasure! Jay is famous for being a tough critic – but it’s from that criticism that new learning happens and bad habits get eliminated.

I spent the week shooting with my Fujifilm X-T1 – mostly using the Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 Zoom Lens (70-300mm equivalent on a standard 35mm camera) – along with occasional iPhone 5s shots. If my X-T1 could talk, it’d share even more about how things changed in my photography.

During our shooting on the streets, we used Jay’s preferred camera settings for street photography: ISO 1600 (which helps the camera take advantage of faster shutter speeds to freeze movement), increased sharpness and increased color saturation in the JPEGs.

Jay also brackets exposures when he shoots – with one image properly exposed based on the camera’s meter, one over exposed by one stop and a third underexposed by one stop. It was interesting to see the differences between these images – how often the colors in the image were also affected.

Unfortunately, exposure bracketing isn’t a strong suit for the X-T1. Although the X-T1 is capable of high speed burst shooting at up to 8 frames per second, it isn’t capable of that when choosing exposure bracketing. Rather, the shots take about a second to complete the three images – which often results in movement in the scene. Jay’s Nikon D3S fires off his three bracketed shots in rapid fire fashion – minimizing any movement. I really hope that Fujifilm can provide a firmware update to the X-T1 that enables rapid fire exposure bracketing – that would bring it from “pretty good” to awesome for this kind of street photography!

After trying exposure bracketing on the X-T1 for the first day and a half, I abandoned it – moving instead to film emulation bracketing. In that mode, the X-T1 takes one image and then applies up to three of the Fuji film types supported by the camera – I chose Standard, Velvia, and Black and White with a yellow filter. Nine times out of ten I found the Velvia images the most satisfying of the two color films – but many of the black and whites also looked superb right out of the camera. I didn’t work with them much, however, and Jay’s passion is all about vivid color photography.

With almost 2,000 images to review from the week, I’m slowly working through and posting some of those that seem pretty good to me. You can find them here in this Flickr album. I’d welcome your feedback on any of them!

Memories of My Early Days at IBM

IBM System 360 Model 30 - Computer History Museum - 2014

Yesterday we taught a Bitcoin payments workshop at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. It was fun talking about the future of payments and virtual currencies in such a setting – with rooms full of vintage hardware on the floor below! It also reminded me that we need to be thinking about creating a “Payments History Museum” someplace on the planet!

The new Revolution exhibit at the Computer History Museum is stunning – beautifully laid out and thematically organized. One of the areas is devoted to “Mainframes” – and, as I came into that area, this IBM System/360 Model 30 was on display.

I have many fond memories of the Model 30 – I probably logged more hands-on datacenter time on the Model 30 than any other mainframe. While it was primarily a DOS machine, I’d also put together a trimmed down version of OS/360 which I could also run in the limited memory of the Model 30.

Seeing this “beauty” brought back lots of memories!…

Both of these images were quickly grabbed with a Fujifilm X-T1.

Think - Computer History Museum - 2014

Her – Love in the Modern World

Her - San Francisco - 2014

Over the weekend I saw the movie “her” – about love in the modern world. Or perhaps about love 10+ years into our future. A future we can sense is coming – and one that we wonder how we’ll deal with it as we watch the movie unfold.

On a recent photo walk in San Francisco with my photo buddy Doug Kaye, we came up to one of our favorite venues – the Hyatt Regency San Francisco. I found a unique spot where I could look up at the edge of the hotel – with this one woman – ‘her’ – outside on her deck talking on her cell phone.

What else could I caption this shot? It’s ‘her’!

Go see the movie – and think about our future.

A Celebration of Life in The Cathedral of Christ the Light

The Cathedral of Christ the Light - Oakland - 2014

Even though I’ve lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for a long time, I’d not heard of this cathedral in Oakland. Last week, my friend Doug Kaye forwarded me an email – a group of his friends from the Marin Photo Club were heading over to shoot in this cathedral on Saturday and would I like to join?

Shooting a venue with a group of photographers can be a lot of fun – and a great learning experience – so I said “Sure! I’m in.” Somehow I’d completely missed the construction of this beautiful cathedral. A check of images from others helped educate me to its striking architecture. Pretty amazing work!

When we arrived on Saturday, a memorial service was underway in the sanctuary – celebrating the life of Dr. Frank Staggers. We headed downstairs to the mausoleum area and photographed there. I drifted back upstairs and listened to the last twenty minutes of the Staggers’ memorial. Such a celebration of a wonderful life!

I shared this with a friend: “A random encounter with the memories of a such great man!” – she replied: “I like the serendipity of being in the right place at the right time.”

Indeed. It was a beautiful Saturday in so many ways. Go when you can!

Gratitude

Eclipse - Hyatt Regency Embarcadero - 2014

Just finished up a phone call with an old friend of mine. He ended by asking “Is there anything I can do to help you?”

What a delight! It’s the perfect question, isn’t it?!

This image is of the Eclipse sculpture in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero in San Francisco – a favorite spot of me and my photo buddy Doug Kaye. This version was captured using my Fujifilm X-E2 – a simply wonderful “mirrorless” camera that take beautiful images.

Happy New Year 2014!

Coastal Light - Pigeon Point - 2012

Today is my father’s birthday – he was born December 31, 1921 and would have been 92 years old today.

His father, my grandfather, was born on December 24, 1879.

Two Carl’s – one born on Christmas Eve, the other on New Year’s Eve. On this New Year’s Eve, I remember them both. Wonderful fathers indeed.

Happy New Year! Best wishes for a great 2014!

The Crosses of Lafayette

Crosses - Lafayette - 2013

On the hillside across from the Lafayette, California BART station is a remarkable memorial to the US soldiers killed in the Iraq war.

Here’s one view – shot with the 14mm lens on my Fujifilm X-E2. It’s a stunning memorial up close. So many crosses, and crescents, and stars all the way up the hill. Up close, it makes one pause. So many crosses, so many lives.

This time of year our thoughts return to peace – this is a memorial that reminds us to refocus on that goal. Peace be with you – indeed.