Exploring the SFO Museum

Passenger at BART Station at San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

I recently took a couple of hours to explore the SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport. SFO is unique in having such a great team at the museum who curates a number of great exhibitions on a rotating basis throughout the airport terminals.

I took the “easy way” to the airport – taking advantage of free BART parking at the Millbrae station on weekends and hopping a quick train just one stop north at SFO. The BART terminal at SFO opens into the departure lobby of the International terminal – it’s just steps away of the United check-in areas. The SFO Museum is down at the other end of the International terminal – making for a nice leisurely walk to get to the museum itself. But along the way there were exhibits to explore – which included the beautiful Zuber French wallpaper exhibits.

El Dorado

Also along the way is this wall of tiles in a lounge area on the east side of the terminal:

Hindustan

And just outside the Museum entrance is this classic Wright J-5 Whirlwind radial engine – just like the one that powered Charles Lindberg on his record setting flight across the Atlantic in 1927.

This was a delightful way to spend a couple of hours – without being hassled about trying to catch a flight!

How to make Snapshots that sell!

How to Make Snapshots That Sell

Today Doug Kaye and I walked to SFMOMA and took in the exhibition Don’t! Photography and the Art of Mistakes.

Near the start of the exhibition are several books displayed in plastic cases on the wall – including this one. The books all harken back to earlier days in photography when writing about mostly bad but also some good photography techniques were explained. The title of this one caught my eye – a very “click bait” title indeed!

The exhibition is fun to see. It’s organized into sections “by mistake” so that all examples of, for example, out of focus images are in one section. All of the images are interesting but it’s especially fun to see examples from many “famous” photographers including Ansel Adams, Man Ray, Cartier-Breslin, etc.

Along the way are quotes including this lament by Edward Steichen:

And words of wisdom from Alfred Stieglitz – Twelve Random Don’ts – I especially like “the world in its entirety is not a camera club.”

Ansel Adams and Edward Weston at the Cantor

Weston by Ansel Adams -— Adams by Edward Weston

Currently there’s an exhibition of over thirty prints by Ansel Adams and Edward Weston at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford. Yesterday I stopped in for a docent tour of the show and enjoyed seeing their prints with Carol’s accompanying commentary.

She started with the two images above. On the left is Edward Weston taken by Ansel Adams. On the right is Ansel Adams taken by Edward Weston. In the exhibition the Weston prints are smaller – 8×10 contact prints in white frames and unsigned on the front while the Adams prints are signed and framed in black. A nice contrast.

The current exhibition draws from the Capital Group Foundation’s gift of 1,000 photographs to the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University that includes works by American photographic masters Ansel Adams, Edward Curtis, John Gutmann, Helen Levitt, Wright Morris, Gordon Parks, and Edward Weston.

Better than French Fries!

During a recent visit to Normandy, we had lunch in the fishing village of Port-en-Bessin-Huppain at Le 47ème Brasserie. I should have ordered some seafood – the fresh fish market in town is right across the street – but, instead felt like a burger. When it arrived, I was surprised – no bun but, instead, top and bottom layers of hash brown-like potatoes. Not something you could pickup and eat like a normal burger – but it was very delicious nonetheless!

Nearby, just across the bridge, is a beach of sea shells unlike any I’ve ever seen (see below). After lunch, I walked about and did some exploring there.

Paris Streets

During a brief layover in Paris recently I hit the streets with my iPhone and a Sony RX100M6 to see what I might see. Here are a few from a couple of hours on the street.

Capturing the Pantheon
Glance
I See
Two Pairs
The Couple
Intense Conversation
Rider
Making a Selfie

The Artists in Bavent France

Recently, I participated in Valérie Jardin’s Normandy workshop and had the special opportunity to visit the artists working at the pottery in Bavent, a few miles from our home base in Cabourg.

The artists we very welcoming and open to our visit – it was a special time to be able to see them work and to capture a few portraits of them. Special thanks to each of the artists for being so generous with our group of photographers and to Valérie for enabling us to visit.

For making these images I used my iPhone. Here are a few of my favorites images from the visit.

The Potter
The Painter
The Jewelrymaker

Remembering 9/11

A few years ago on this blog, I wrote about my memories of the 9/11 attack.

This blog – my personal journal – began in its current form in November 2001. Two months before, on September 11, 2001, the world changed. A year later – in 2002 – I blogged about that morning.

I’ll never forget that morning in 2001. Getting up early as I always do, walking to my home office, and visiting Dave Winer’s Scripting News as I usually did – I began to learn what had happened that morning.
A day to remember. Always.

SJL.us – September 11, 2011

This afternoon I took a walk around the pond at a local park nearby. While walking, I listened to a podcast with Garrett Graff, author of the new book “The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11“. Michael Morrell interviewed Graff about his book and had him read several passages from it – a very moving experience.

I was struck, in particular, about Graff’s opening comments about the innocence of America that morning. About how we just went about our business – at first. Here’s his voice from the interview transcript:

“I think that one of the things that’s hard to capture but that is captured in an oral history format is both how innocent America was at 8:46 in the morning and how confusing the day was for those who were living it. …

You know, to me the most interesting moment of the day comes between 8:46 in the morning and 9:03, the first crash and the second crash. Because we now know that that first crash was the beginning of the 9/11 plot.

No one knew that on the morning of 9/11. And there’s this incredibly odd moment, those 17 minutes where America sort of looks at that crash and in some ways shrugs and says, “Oh, that’s sort of weird,” like, must be a problem in air traffic control, or maybe the pilot had a heart attack. …

…one of the voices that I tell in the book that I found sort of especially striking was a ferry captain in New York Harbor who saw that first plane crash, continued around the tip of Lower Manhattan, docked his ferry. And every single one of the commuters on board got off and went to work in Lower Manhattan. There wasn’t a single person on that boat who saw that crash and was, like, “You know what? This seems weird. I’m just going to turn around and go home for the day.”

… And that’s actually something hard to capture for the country now, because we have a country now, you saw the video over the summer of the motorcycle backfiring in Times Square and everyone runs for their lives. And, we now default to terrorism or a shooting incident in our society today until proven otherwise. And that was not what America was on 9/11.

And that you see sort of just how innocent America was that morning.


Innocent we were indeed. May we never forget.


Update: Graff has an article on Wired titled Pagers, Pay Phones, and Dialup: How We Communicated on 9/11. Also, see this excerpt from his book on Politico.com titled We May Have to Shoot Down This Aircraft.

Learning about Ultra Wideband

While watching yesterday’s Apple Keynote event, one of the iPhone slides showing some of the enhancements in the new iPhone 11 made mention of “Apple-designed U1” chip. This chip wasn’t mentioned during the keynote – it was only mentioned on that slide.

Turns out that Brian Roemmele was tweeting about this during the event and then went on to post an article on Quora titled “What is the new Apple U1 chip, and why is it important?

His article points out that there’s some text on Apple’s website saying more: “Ultra Wideband technology comes to iPhone” – which describes the U1 chip as enabling spatial awareness in the new iPhone 11 models – “Think GPS at the scale of your living room”. The first practical usage for the feature is for AirDrop sharing of files with someone nearby – “just point your iPhone at theirs and they’ll be first on the list.” Apple goes on: “It’s like adding another sense to iPhone, and it’s going to lead to amazing new capabilities.”

Roemmele describes more about this new ultra wideband technology, some of the intellectual property behind it – including several interesting Apple patents – and calls it a “personal radar system.” He goes on to speculate about how this technology could be used, implications for developers, etc. It’s quite an article he’s written!

This ultra wideband is fascinating stuff – I look forward to learning more about this technology and the applications coming that will take more advantage of it!

Update (9/12/19): Wired has an article titled The Biggest iPhone News Is a Tiny New Chip Inside It with more information about ultra wideband including a link to the original FCC order discussing it.

Today’s Apple Event with the new iPhone 11 Pro

I took about two hours this morning to watch Apple’s keynote event – each September Apple holds one of these primarily to announce the new family of iPhones. They did that today – along with some other interesting things. Below are my notes.

Tim Cook – Good morning! Apple is all about empowering people to do incredible things. Big morning today! Big announcements! So much that he skipped the usual business updates.

Arcade – First game subscription service. Exclusive new games. Over 100. Subscription-based. Arcade tab in the App Store icon. New games every month. Game demonstrations from Konami, Capcom, and Annapurna Interactive. Arcade will be available Sep 19th. Cost $4.99/month for family subscription. 1 month free trial. 

Apple TV+ – Bringing the best original stories from the best creative minds. “Stories to believe in, stories with purpose.” Examples: For All Mankind. Dickinson. The Morning Show. Three trailers released earlier this summer have >100 MM views. Apple TV+ first shows on Nov 1 in the Apple TV app. $4.99/month for family subscription. Starting today – 1 year of Apple TV+ included with new purchase of iPhone, Mac, etc.

iPad – transforming how we learn, work, play. New replacement for the 9.7 inch iPad – new 7th generation iPad. New larger 10.2 inch Retina display. A10 Fusion chip. Smart connector and Smart Keyboard, Apple Pencil (first generation) support. 100% recycled aluminum enclosure. $329 starting price. $299 for education. Order today, shipping September 30. 

Apple Watch -Three new health studies coming: Apple Hearing Study, Women’s Health Study, Heart & Movement Study. Use new Apple Research App to enroll in studies – available later this year in US. New Apple Watch Series 5 with always on display. High/low brightness. Built-in compass and updated Maps app. New Compass app shows lat/lon/elevation. International emergency calling in every cellular model. New case finishes – 100% recycled aluminum. Stainless in new colors. Titanium in two finishes. Ceramic – brilliant white. New Nike models. New Hermes models. GPS models start at $399. $499 for cellular. Order starting today. Available Sep 20. Series 3 remains in the line. $199 price for GPS model. 

iPhone 11 – Anodized aluminum/glass on front and back. 6 new colors. 6.1” display. Sound virtualizer with Dolby Atmos. Camera – dual camera system – new 26 mm wide camera. 13 mm ultra wide camera with 120 degree field of view. Updated image pipeline. Semantic rendering. Smart HDR. Portrait mode. Photos of pets. New lighting effect – high key mono. Night mode – automatically turns on. Adaptive bracketing. QuickTake – just hold shutter button to take video. New 12 MP front camera. Added slo mo to front camera. Slofies. New A13 Bionic chip – fastest CPU ever in smartphone. GPU – fastest GPU in a smartphone. Battery life – 1 hour more than iPhone Xr. Faster FaceID. Wifi 6. $699 starting price. 

iPhone 11 Pro – first phone called Pro. Surgical grade stainless steel. Glass, matte textured back. New finishes – midnight green, space grey, silver, new gold. Display comes in two sizes 5.8 and 6.5 inches. Brighter, contrast ratio, etc. Spatial audio sound, Dolby Atmos. Super Retina XDR display. A13 Bionic chip. Battery life – 4 hours more than iPhone Xs. Max up to 5 hours longer. Fast charge 18W charger included. New Pro camera system with three cameras – 26mm/f1.8, 52mm/f2.0, 13mm/f2.4 cameras. Sneak peek coming this fall – using neural engine – Deep Fusion. 9 images shot – 4 images shot before the shutter button. Performs pixel by pixel optimization.  Video – 4K 60 bps XDR video. New Apple U1 chip. New line of cases including clear cases. Starting price at $999, Max at $1099. Preorder starting this Friday at 5 AM Pacific. Shipping on September 20. Keeping iPhone Xr and 8 also in the line. 

Apple Retail – Personalization – with Apple Watch Series 5 – can choose any case and pair with any watch band. Apple Watch Studio – in stores and online. Apple Trade In program for iPhones. On Sep 20, hosting reopening of Apple 5th Avenue Store in NYC. 

Tim Cook – exciting morning! Arcade, Apple TV+, new iPad 10.2 inch, new Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro. “Thanks to everyone at Apple for doing the best work of their lives.”


What to do? Being such a photography buff, the new iPhone 11 Pro camera system looks very exciting to me! It’s amazing to me how the smartphone cameras are evolving with new capabilities and overtaking the existing camera industry (see Om’s post). I expect I’ll be upgrading from my iPhone Xs Max to the new iPhone 11 Pro later this fall.

More: A video replay of the event is also available. Also, John Voorhees at MacStories has put together a useful post with the release dates for OS Updates, New iPhones, and Apple Watch.

The Aviva Yacht in San Francisco

The Aviva in San Francisco

Last Friday my friend Doug Kaye and I were out on one of our regular San Francisco photowalks – this time walking from the Ferry Building towards Pier 39. We had fun along the way outside the Exploratorium – watching these dogs strictly obey their dog walker – and some other street scenes.

Dogs at Attention – San Francisco’s Embarcadero

As we walked beyond the Exploratorium we came across this BIG yacht – the Aviva – docked at Pier 17 along the Embarcadero. According to Wikipedia, it’s 223 feet long (!) and owned by Bahama-based British businessman Joe Lewis.

It was interesting to find the yacht here – during the period that the Bahama’s were suffering under the onslaught of Hurricane Dorian last week. But perhaps it being here had something to do with the opening of Chase Center?

Here’s another, more artistic/painterly treatment of the Aviva:

The Aviva