Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Be thankful!

Be thankful!


Despite these difficult times, if we can still find something to be thankful for, then we are truly blessed. 


May this holiday be spent with friends and loved ones and offer a brief respite from the challenges we face in our daily lives.  And, may we remember those less fortunate with a donation, a kind word, a helping hand.


"Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving."
--WT Purkiser


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Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Micro Four Thirds Camera...neither fish nor fowl.

In an earlier post, I wrote about selecting the right camera for you.  Excluding camera phones and disposables on one end and medium and large format cameras on the other, most people choose from these three categories:  the point and shoot models that fit in your pocket and are by far the most popular and easiest to use; the bridge or advanced point and shoots that provide a better picture and offer more control over your picture-taking, but won't fit in a pocket unless maybe you're wearing cargo pants; and a digital SLR, the most advanced cameras with the most flexibility, that will only fit in a custom-made pants pocket and require suspenders.  The complexity of the cameras climb as do the prices, as you move from the first category to the third.

Panasonic's G1.  Photo (C) NY TimesBut recently, Panasonic announced another category, the oddly named: "Micro Four Thirds" camera.  This camera fits somewhere between the advanced point and shoot and DSLR cameras.  Think of it as a point and shoot on steroids, or maybe a dSLR with weak knees.

The Micro Four Thirds is smaller than a dSLR and accepts interchangeable lenses like a dSLR, but lacks a mirror and prism like a dSLR and as a result, relies on an electronic viewfinder or rear LCD for picture composition.  There are only a few lenses available currently and so far only one manufacturer has taken the plunge, but another, Olympus, is rolling out their own soon.  Oh and cost?  More than the cost of a starter dSLR.  Picture quality is reported to be very good, but not necessarily better than a good advanced P&S or dSLR.  Hmmm.

There has been much speculation about which photographers this new camera might attract and whether it's destined to be groundbreaking or if it will go the way of  the "Pneumatic Shoe-Lacing Device" (U.S. Patent 5,205,055).  It seems to me that it could attract some of the people who are now buying the advanced point and shoots, and some of those who are considering stepping up to an entry-level dSLR.  Two people whose opinions I respect have already written on the Micro Four Thirds, and I present their opinions here, for your consideration.  David Pogue writes about all things gadgety for the NY Times (check out his video and samples from the G1), and Scott Sherman is a photographer, blogger and who's podcast, Digital Photography Life, I listen to regularly. 

It's too early to tell, but it's safe to say that innovation and creativity are still alive and well in our favorite hobby.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Flowering Gift

We met a woman atop the Empire State Building who, seeing me with a camera and speaking in broken English, asked if I would take a picture with her camera of she and her husband.  She was carrying a bright bouquet of flowers with her which looked very familiar to me.  Earlier, while touring the open Observatory Deck, I spotted those same flowers and took this picture:

Flowers above the city

The fragility of the flowers seemed like an interesting contrast against the steel and concrete that surrounded us.  So now, thanks to our shared interest in photography, I met the flowers' owner.   Of course I was happy to take her picture, and then asked her to do the same of us with mine.  She took this photo:

Taken by the Flower Lady

After we said our thank you's and good-bye's, as much through gestures as words, we wandered in our separate directions.  Until a few minutes later, when the woman reappeared and handed my wife a yellow flower from her bouquet, with many more thank you's and well wishes.  That yellow flower accompanied us the rest of our trip and even survived the train ride back to Massachusetts.  Before we left our hotel, I took this photo. 

The NYC Flower

I call it the NYC Flower, complete with dirty window! 

I will always remember that woman and her yellow flower, our chance encounter, her generosity and friendliness. 

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