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Film Filoli Fujifilm X100S Gardens iPad Lightroom Photography Photography - Fujifilm X100S Photoshop CC VSCO Film

Back to the Garden

The Garden - Filoli - 2013

I made a quick visit to Filoli this morning on a very warm day here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Wanted to try out a new Toshiba FlashAir SD Card in my Fujifilm X100S. I have the 8GB version of the card – Toshiba has just announced a 16GB version which is also faster (Class 10 vs Class 6) – but it’s not yet available.

My goal today was to be able to take some shots, upload them from the camera to my iPad mini, do a couple of quick edits and then upload them as a new set to Flickr. Everything worked fine – I shot 28 images (before the heat got to me!) and headed into the café to upload them off the camera to the iPad and then on to Flickr. All told, it took me about a half hour to do this – roughly 1 minute per image. The combination of moving these 6-7 MB Jpeg files around twice took longer than I expected (the FlashAir uses WiFi to the iPad mini and on the iPad I was using the Flickr app to upload over Verizon LTE cellular.

In any case, mission accomplished! <a href="Derrick Story likes to call this combination the “nimble photographer”. Not sure I felt very nimble today in the heat – but it was fun and a walk in Filoli – even a short one – is always a lift for the spirit!

When I got home, I transferred the images off the SD card into Lightroom 5 and then did some editing using VSCO Film presets. A bit of dodging and burning in Photoshop CC, a quick border addition, and this image was finished.

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Current Affairs Film Living

Duck and Cover

Last night and tonight I’ve been watching one of my favorite movies – Thirteen Days. While there’s a lot of fiction in this story of the Cuban missile crisis, there’s also a lot of history.

A few years back – after seeing the movie the first time – I read Robert Kennedy’s book about the crisis. It brought more of the facts into focus – but much of the impact was the same. We – this country and the world – edged right up to the brink of nuclear war on those fateful days in 1962. Had anyone pulled the trigger, I wouldn’t be writing these words today.

Watching the movie again tonight, one appreciates the value of restraint. Of playing chess – and playing several steps ahead. Sometimes ignoring the “best advice” of others as they push their agendas.

It’s a crazy world out there. Discerning the right path in the face of evil is an almost impossible task. But, let’s hope that it’s still possible, that we still have the discrimination to understand and apply force when it’s appropriate – and when it’s not.

At a dinner earlier this week with a very good friend, we talked about Obama and his administration. We talked about the stresses and strains – but we agreed that we can’t possibly understand the full burdens he bears – the daily intelligence briefings, the face of evil. His Nobel speech this week was remarkable. What’s appropriate use of power? Not just from America – but from the world.

The responsibility is so enormous that we can’t fully comprehend it. We struggle to even understand it.

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Film Living

The Fog of War – RIP Robert S. McNamara

Robert S. McNamara died earlier today at 93. Five and a half years ago I posted about seeing the Errol Morris’ documentary The Fog of War – McNamara’s lessons about what he learned during the Vietnam War. It’s an amazing movie – one that each generation needs to watch.

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Film Living

Hiding in a Very Dark Place!

I chuckled when I read this article in today’s New York Times about how both attendance and revenues at movie theaters have spiked upward so far this year.

Americans, for the moment, just want to hide in a very dark place, said Martin Kaplan, the director of the Norman Lear Center for the study of entertainment and society at the University of Southern California.

Hide – and escape.

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Books Film

Congratulations – Slumdog Millionaire!

Slumdog Millionaire won several awards at last night’s Golden Globes. I really enjoyed the movie when I saw it back in December and have been telling everyone who lets me that they really do have to see it! The movie is based on the novel Q & A by Vikas Swarup.

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Film

Slumdog Millionaire

I really enjoyed seeing Slumdog Millionaire today!

The basic story line is well known – a “slumdog” kid from the slums of Mumbai ends up as a contestant on the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” Turns out, his life experiences prepare him only too well for his role – and the questions that ensue.

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Film

Frost/Nixon

Last Saturday, as my nasty cold was slowly incubating in my throat/sinuses, I went to see Frost/Nixon. Earlier, I had watched the superb interviews that Charlie Rose did last week with Ron Howard and Frank Langella and had read the book Frost/Nixon: Behind the Scenes of the Nixon Interviews by David Frost a year ago (actually, it was one of the first books I downloaded to my Kindle). Regretably, I had not seen the play when it was in New York nor have I read the book Frost/Nixon: A Play by Peter Morgan (who also adapted his play into the screenplay for the movie).

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Current Affairs Film Honda Civic Hybrid Living

One Man Show

I’ve never gone to a movie before where I was the only one in the theatre. I kid you not. Have you?

That happened to me this afternoon when I went to see “Who Killed the Electric Car?” at a local theatre.

It was humorous when the theatre usher came in to do his announcements (turn off the cell phones and pagers, etc.) and found only me. He complained about it being such a slow day – some of the shows didn’t have anyone! But he did a very nice job with his announcement – and I applauded when he was done. One hand clapping!

This movie’s been out for a while and it’s a holiday weekend with beautiful weather outside – so only nut cases like me could be expected to show for an early afternoon performance! Too bad – lots of folks need to see this story.

So, how was the movie?

It’s quite well done – taking apart the background behind the original California mandate for zero emission vehicles and the subsequent unwinding of that mandate by the California Air Resources Board after intense lobbying by the automotive and petroleum industries. Today, I find it hard to believe I lived in the state during all of this – and didn’t appreciate what was happening.

The movie ends on an optimistic note – lots of little David’s have been unleashed that will ultimately overcome the Goliaths. Tom Friedman wrote a column about this in the New York Times several weeks ago – about how legions of environmental entrepreneurs have been unleashed in this valley and in this country. While at the moment we’re still shoveling billions of dollars into the hands of the Saudi’s and their ilk, at home we’re hard at work on plans that will significantly reduce the importance of their natural resources. And the co-dependent automobile and energy companies who also play in this silly game need to understand that the earthquake’s already occurred.

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I met a friend earlier this week who’s been bitten hard by the saving energy/global warming bug. His brand new Toyota Prius was parked next to my Honda Civic Hybrid in the parking lot. He’s already reduced his family’s energy consumption by over 30 percent. While we were talking, a solar system design for his house was underway – likely a five or six year payback.

But payback isn’t the point for someone like him – the stakes are so much bigger. He’s worried about the world his kids will inherit from us, not the financial return on a green investment. It’s all about cutting our use of carbon-based energy and reducing the flow of our money through those co-dependent energy companies to those who end up being our enemies as they use our own money against us. You can almost feel it – we’re right at the “tipping point”.

As I came home from the movie I had to wonder why the hybrid movement wasn’t better organized. Why weren’t we all flying little green flags on our cars? Where’s Hal Riney when we really need him? “It’s a new GREEN morning in America…”

Indeed, the times they are a changin’…and it feels so right and so good. But we really do have to figure out how to TURN THE VOLUME UP!

[Update: A friend writes – see the Tesla Motors blog for real evidence of a tipping point having already been reached!]

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Film

Ask Why?

The only conclusion one can reach after seeing Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is that greed is such a powerful motivator.

Ask Why — it was Enron’s tag line, intended to motivate employees to do great things and to educate investors as to why Enron was itself so great. But it’s clear that this was a management that was totally seduced by the money and in denial about the financial reality they had created.

In the process, lots of folks got screwed — employees (of both Enron and key suppliers including Arthur Andersen), shareholders, and the people of California who paid their electricity bills while suffering rolling blackouts at the hands of Enron traders.

Meanwhile, amazingly, Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay (among others) prepare to defend their innocence of any wrong doing at Enron. How can they possibly live with themselves?

Ask why?

[The San Francisco Chronicle’s Jonathan Curiel gave the movie the Little Man Jumping Out of Chair rating. The book by Fortune magazine writers Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind is also superb.]

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China Film Travel

China

My photo album from my recent trip to Shanghai and Beijing is now available.