Backpackers Tokyo

[TOP publishes M-W-F at some time during the day]


Boy oh boy: Yr. Hmbl. Ed. just ordered a new camera. In a moment of weakness. And because the price went down. More bloviation on same in the near near future is all but assured; you've been warned. Also, I will have a bunch of stuff to sell soon, because the photo account must be zero-sum, that being my traditional method of rationalizing new purchases.

Cutting-edge investigative journalism: The late Charlie Watts being interviewed in 1994:

Interviewer: Your role in the band. You talked about Mick and Keith and Ron. What's Charlie's role? Watts (thoughtfully): Well, I don't know, I mean, I always consider myself a drummer, you know.

Well, now we know. 

Diane in the Park: A life-size portrait in bronze of photographer Diane Arbus is only the second statue of a real (i.e., once-living) woman in Central Park. The sculpture, by Gillian Wearing of London, UK, is unfortunately only on temporary display. You can see multiple pictures here. (Thanks to Albert Smith for this.)

Meme seen online:


Remember The Dog's Nose : The following was written by a self-described travel blogger about a Sony FF camera, in a customer review posted on an online shopping site: "So what about that awesome bokeh and shallow depth-of-field everyone loves about full frame? For a travel photographer I've learned that too much bokeh is actually bad! Full frame is great for actual portraits, but realistically horrible for environmental portraits. When there is too much bokeh you don't see the surroundings therefore missing the point of that travel destination (not telling the story of the image). Spend all the money to travel to Japan, but can't even see Mt. Fuji in the background of the portrait because it is too blurred? Travel to Egypt, but can't tell that's a pyramid in the background because you're shooting at ƒ/1.4 in full frame? I found that even on APS-C I prefer to shoot anywhere from ƒ/2.8 to ƒ/8 for environmental portraits."

Good points. More is not always better.

iPhone 13 macro: The new iPhone 13 has an extreme macro-capable lens with a minimum focus distance of less than an inch, and Halide has gone one better with Halide 2.5's Macro Mode. Ben Sandofsky explains in a very informative article at Lux, with very impressive illustrations and an excellent discussion of the basic principles. I've never shot much Macro, but if you're interested and don't know a lot about it yet, this should be your ticket. (Thanks t0 William La Via for this.)

Nikon's superfast zooms: Does the world really need ƒ/1.2 zooms? At one time I would have thought these were cool, so I don't begrudge anyone who thinks so now. It's all good.

Watch watch: Have I mentioned that I am not going to be collecting watches after all? I have six, and am really enjoying wearing different ones every day (and wearing them again, period), but there isn't going to be enough interest in this for me to keep it up. The "problem," basically, although it isn't a problem, is the intrinsic excellence of Seiko's solar watches. Mine is still on track to be accurate to within six seconds a year. That sort of makes it pointless to pursue HAQ (high accuracy quartz) watches; the ROQ (regular ol' quartz) watches are so good they hardly need improvement.

However, I will write a full review of my favorite (and most expensive) watch sooner or later, because it is really awesome and totally delightful.

P-U-N: Let me tell you about my friend Jack, who claims he can communicate with vegetables. Jack and the beans talk.

(Thanks to Dan. I think!)

A blast from the past: Is live music better, or is recorded music played on a stereo better? I took the contrarian viewpoint back in 2012.

Sweaty palms: We were speaking of YouTube videos the other day, and I wanted to mention that despite all the chaff, there really are some remarkable things to see. For instance this one. It's a ride-along video of Polish Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica (pronounced koo-BEET-zah) lapping the Nürburgring, AKA the Green Hell, in a hopped-up BMW M4. From the channel of Russian racing vlogger Misha Charoudin, no slouch himself. I swear to God this made my palms sweat as I was watching it; that is just ungodly fast. At the end, Kubica politely says that once you've driven Formula 1 cars they tend to spoil you for anything else.

Most of Misha Charoudin's videos get between 15,000 and 150,000 views. This one is closing in on six and a half million. There's a followup video too.

You just know all those guys he's passing are thinking, "no way is this guy catching up to me," and then a few seconds later, "oh sh*t."


Book o' the Week

Friedlander first fifty   Friedlander First Fifty . A very fun little book that gives a tour of the first fifty of Lee Friedlander's books—extra copies of which are apparently stashed all over every floor of his house. By his grandson, who is trying to sell full, signed sets on eBay. This is very enjoyable, but also might be the most unique book about photobooks ever. Who else has published fifty photobooks?

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Original contents copyright 2020 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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