Friday, June 30, 2006

Uh-oh. It's definitely time to get out again!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

When I taught at the University of South Florida, in Tampa, I used to go running in a large land preserve near the university. The understory of the forest was mostly these palms, about four feet high. The Tampa version of salal.

And, isn't it nice when the day starts off with some good news?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

So, I've been reading "Tristram Shandy" for how long now? Good thing Sterne took nearly ten years to publish the whole book. I don't feel so bad. In fact, given how funny the book is, I feel pretty good!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Well, nice to know that the Reform Party's got its nutbar wing in full spin. Glad I don't use Sympatico.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Warren Buffett, and Bill and Melinda Gates don't need any praise from me, but these are some very fine people. If you know anything about malaria, and the shameful way it's been neglected for decades by the "developed" world, you've got to love the Gates Foundation. And malaria's only one of the neglected diseases these people are trying to do something about.

Meanwhile, over on the "scum-sucking weasel" side of things, Dumbya and his pals have been caught once again with their legal pants down. Not that that's anything new for them. But, as usual, they're trying to blame the folks fond of following the law. I've mentioned it before, and, what the heck, I'll mention it again - why is it so hard for folks in the U.S. to say the word "impeach"? George is, if nothing else, an obviously incompentent fool. Why is he being allowed to continue to destroy the country?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Looking for something? Welcome to the club.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A beautiful sunny summer's day in Vancouver, and all you get is a cheesy photograph of stairs?!? Well, I haven't had a chance to be out on foot yet, so...

Don't worry - I did go for a perfectly pleasant bike ride. I'm not a total shut-in.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The key to the theme o' the week.......

Thursday, June 22, 2006

O.K., it ain't no Grenadian jungle, but...hiya, kids!

And you can all blame Keith for the fact that I'm doing this at all.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Ever read "Kon-tiki"?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Monday, June 19, 2006's another thematically-linked series! What a way to start a week.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Separate entrances for Stan and Ollie?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

I'm getting a jump on Sunday. Here in Vancouver, it's not quite midnight, but it's Sunday on the East Coast, so here's Sunday's photo.

Well, marking's done. On to laundry! (Golly - isn't my life exciting?)

O.K., it's not all dull. Tonight I watched "Orlando", a Sally Potter film. I think she may be my new "film diety". Except for about 15 seconds, very near the end of the movie, it's brilliant. O.K., Billy Zane's scenes aren't as good as everyone else's, but...

And, if you've been following this silly blog at all, you might remember that I mentioned another film of Potter's, "Yes". Also wonderful. So, get out there and rent 'em.

Friday, June 16, 2006

If I were the lazy type (Me?!?), I could really learn to love my apartment building's stairwell. Walk ten feet, see plant, photograph plant - ah, a day's work well done.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Yes, it's old. So, shoot me. I've got a day job, after all.

And, talk about the danger of dithering. I've been trying for ages to decide between a Panasonic FZ30 and a Nikon D50 with the 18-200 lens. The Panasonic's half the price and has a Leica-designed (i.e. a darn fine) lens that goes from 35 to 420mm. Can't knock that. But, according to an awful lot of reviews, it's got a bit of a noise problem anywhere above ISO 80, and even there it sometimes seems to be noisier than others. The D50 also has a darn fine lens (if you buy the 18-200, that is) and no noise until you hit ISO 800. But, it's twice the price. And I'm not making money off this thing.

I've looked at test shots from both, and the Panasonic's sharper. And, most of the time, I don't really see a big noise problem. And, given that when I shot film I only used Kodachrome 25 (i.e ISO 25), ISO 80 is high speed to me, I decided I could live with the Panasonic. Yep - I'd finally decided. So, what do I read today? That it's been discontinued! Sure, there are still plenty around, so I could get one, but...what's going to replace it? An FZ40, with better noise characteristics? Agh!

Well, given Panasonic's history, any replacement for the FZ30 will likely be announced in a little over a month, so I guess I'll just have to dither a little bit longer. Shouldn't be too hard.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

You know you live in a fancy apartment building when you've got a doorman out front. I've got shrubs. Small shrubs at that.

And - this just in - speaking of guarding the gates, it's evidently going to be a good idea to be a white christian if you're planning to visit the U.S. anytime in the future. Otherwise, who knows?

Ever wondered what it was like in Germany in, oh, the early 1930s? Thankfully, the Germans actually study, and understand, history. Evidently, not so much in the U.S.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Now, the key question here is (no, not "Why the hell did he take this photograph?"), "What's with the razor wire?" It's protecting the back entrance to a restaurant. A perfectly nice restaurant, mind you, but nothing special. Or, maybe the owners think otherwise? Well, I've eaten there, and they're wrong.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Oh! Which reminds me - it's time to make dinner!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Oh, boy - a week of non-stop marking coming up! How exciting is that? Good thing there's always at least one of these in every class.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

It's bark. Make of it what you will. I'm tired.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Another plant trapped in a stairwell. This place is a jungle!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I'm going to pour myself a nice little burst of scotch and carry on reading "Tristram Shandy". How about you?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

O.K., that's the last of my "Big Time Movie Adventure" photos.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Arnold Newman died today. If your photographic bent is portraiture, this is a sad thing. Newman was very, very good at what he did.

Monday, June 05, 2006

A little urban exploration while on the way to the movies.

And, it looks like the Republican base is getting an I.Q. test from their leader this week. Yep, with his numbers sinking faster than the Titanic, dragging his party down with him (and, of course, deservedly so) Dumbya pulls out the "Gay Marriage Is An Outrage Against All That's Godly And American" card. The question is, will they fall for it? Come on, kiddies - he hasn't said a word in 6 years, now his numbers are in the toilet and he pulls out your favourite oogy-boogy issue. Do you really think he's sincere? Do you?

And, for that matter, do you really care? Why? Can you really be that stupid? Like I said - it's an I.Q. test.

Wonderfully enough - I'm betting America passes. Yes, there'll always be morons, but they'll be minority morons.

And, hey, if America fails, come on up north. We've got our own morons, too, but nobody (except Smirkin' Steve Harper - our very own Great White Dope) listens to 'em.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

People on at least a couple of photo blogs are worrying over the notion of "beauty". I think this is one of the reasons I write so little on photography - most of it's pointless. The best definition of "beauty" (and how can anyone hope to get a debate going over something without defining it first) is also the most banal - it's in the eye of the beholder, folks. And you can rant and rave all you want to, but, if someone thinks their black velvet, day-glo painting of Elvis is beautiful, there's nothing you can say to prove they're wrong. You know they're wrong, and I know they're wrong, but they know they're right.

So, take your pictures, toss the ones you hate, keep the ones you like. If other people like them, great. If they don't, tough. What counts is your opinion. Unless, of course, you're trying to sell them. It's all PR after that.

And, in case you're wondering, I really like most of my photographs.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Wow - a special extra bonus picture for June 3! How exciting is that?

Went to see "X-Men 3" today. If you like movies that consist mostly of "Bang!" and "Boom!" and "Whoosh!", then this is the movie for you. Or if you're just in the mood for shedding a few (O.K., a lot of) I.Q. points, it'll be fun.

If you haven't seen the movie, and you're just dying to, and you don't want any of it spoiled, stop reading right now.

The most interesting possibility from the movie is one possible sequel. Ian McKellan's character, the evil Magneto, is stripped of his mutant powers, becoming just an old man in a silly hat. He's last seen in a park, playing chess alone. Now that would make a great story. What happens to an old man who used to be an evil god with amazing powers but is now just an ordinary old coot? Now that movie I'd pay full price to see.

Oh, what a happy day! Canada has its very own set of dimwit terrorist wannabes. You know this is big news because it even made the New York Times's front page.

You've got to admire the intelligence of these guys. "Um, Muslims, in other parts of the world, are being mistreated, so let's kill a bunch of innocent people here in Southern Ontario." Yep, that's pure genius logic. If your goal, that is, is to try to turn people in Southern Ontario against Muslims. If your goal is to encourage unthinking bigotry, stupidity and violence. If, in the end, your goal is to increase the level of suffering in the world for everyone. Which is, of course, why these guys get the "Go Directly to Jail. Do Not Pass 'Go'" card. Assuming they're guilty, that is.

Friday, June 02, 2006

It was Gary Winogrand! Who first said that he took photographs so he could see what things looked like when they were photographed. Just in case you didn't check the "Comments" section on my original mention of this quote, I have to thank "synj00", whoever that may be, for the citation.

And, as he/she said, it really is a brilliant statement.

It's out there.

Whatever the heck "it" is.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Since I've drifted away from my intention of making this mainly a photography thing, I'll try briefly to get back to it.

I'm kicking myself now for losing the source of this quote: "I take photographs to see what things look like when they're photographed". For that matter, the "quote" is probably inaccurate, as far as the exact wording goes. The attitude expressed, however, is accurate. It might have been William Eggleston who said it. I certainly wouldn't be surprised.

It sums up (as you might have guessed) my motivation for taking pictures. When I started, over 25 years ago, I found that taking pictures opened the world up to me. Because I was looking for photographs, I started seeing more and more of the details around me. Life got a lot more interesting. To me, at least.

Now, virtually all of my pictures are of things, but that's because I'm very shy and I'm loath to ask someone if I can take their picture (to say nothing of simply taking it, whether they like it or not). But that doesn't mean that I'm not looking at them in the same way I'm looking at the rest of the world. For people, I suppose, the photos are all in my mind.