Friday, January 31, 2014

Landscape Experiments - 2

Redwoods, Sun - Marin County  2014

Blackberry Leaves - Marin County  2014

Two more photos taken with the Olympus E-M1 handheld at very slow shutter speeds.

Top: Redwoods & sun using 1/5th second at f 8, ISO 200.

Bottom: Blackberry leaves using 1/10th second at f 8, ISO 200.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Landscape Experiments - 1

Fence, Thistles - Marin County  2014

Thistle - Marin County  2014

So the new Olympus camera has "in-body image stabilization" purporting to allow one to take handheld shots at much slower shutter speeds. I found that in order to really utilize this feature you have to set a low ISO, say 200 and a small f-stop, say f 8 or 9.

Top photo was taken at ISO 200, f 9, 1/25th second. (F9 in order to achieve the required depth of field.)

For the thistle photo, I wanted the opposite: a very limited depth of field. So I set the f-stop at 1.7 using the Panasonic 20mm lens. Opening up this much meant a fast shutter speed of 1/1250th second, so there wasn't any need for image stabilization.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Olympus E-M1

Olympus E-M1 - Marin County  2014

. . . new camera (with the Panasonic 20mm lens mounted.) Very nice ergonomically! Small and light weight. And, it's been named "Camera of the Year" by a number of respected reviewers.

The best overview of the camera I've found so far is at Wroniak's site. He has some fairly reasonable criticisms of the camera:

The feature I dislike most is how the lever to the right of the eyepiece works. This can be set in five (!) different ways, four of which don't actually change the camera settings, but affect the way the other controls change them. This is interface modality at its worst, you just wake up at night and scream.

Well, I haven't yet woken up screaming, but I must say that I find the camera to be way "overteched." The physical body seems to be quite substantial, but I'm concerned about potential software issues down the road. (One of my earlier cameras, an Olympus DSLR E-510, ended up having an unfixable mode dial issue.)

Of course, the issue of "too much technology" isn't something that's particularly unique to Olympus, or even cameras in general. It's everywhere.

I could go on. And on.

[UPDATE: (As of March, 2015) I finally ended up selling the E-M1 back to B&H and keeping the E-PL5! The E-M1 was larger and heavier and certainly didn't take better pictures, its main advantage was the ability to more directly control exposure. But it was way "overteched" in my view. Right now I'm using the "beginner" OMD camera, the E-M10 which I've been liking so far: it seems to suit my minimalist style much better. And yes, I still have the E-PL5.]

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Years Hike

Trees & Branches - Marin County  2014

We participated in Barbara's traditional New Years Day hike this year. This marks the first time that Hali's done the hike since her accident! (She used trekking poles and took her time, but finished the hike along with everyone else. Hope she doesn't get too cocky!)

Hikers - Marin County  2014

Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday Seal Blogging

Seal 1 - Sausalito  2013

Seal 2 - Sausalito  2013

Whenever Mike is in Sausalito he likes to wander around the boats looking for herons or egrets. Maybe, if he's lucky, a seal! This time walking on the boardwalk bordering the harbor he could hear the barking of seals in the distance. Hustling over to the source he was very intrigued to see seals cavorting amongst the anchored boats in a shallow part of the harbor, jumping up out of the water, splashing around and having a great time in all.

At least, that was Mike's interpretation. You never know.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

. . . from the archives #78: Yuccas, San Gabriel Mountains, 1961

Yuccas - San Gabriel Mountains  1961

This might have been taken off the now-abandoned road linking Azusa with the Angeles Crest Highway. I was driving out of the cloud enshrouded L.A. basin when I took this photo at a pullout. I used a twin-lens reflex camera, not sure what brand, either Yashica or Mamiya.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Palm Trees

Palm Tree - San Francisco  2014

Palm Trees - San Francisco  2014

Top: taken from one of the interior spaces at the DeYoung Museum.

Bottom: an exterior view.

I guess that it's pointless to make any more derogatory remarks concerning palm trees in Northern California.

Friday, January 24, 2014


Kids, Drawing - San Francisco  2014

Kids at the DeYoung, drawing . . . curio cabinets? Huh.

Other drawing photos: taken in New York and in Japan.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

DeYoung Museum Sightems

African Art - San Francisco  2014

Flowers, Self-Portrait - San Francisco  2014

Waiting for the appointed Hockney exhibit entry time, Mike wandered around a bit through a virtually deserted African art exhibit, every now and then visiting the restroom.

Photos taken using an Olympus OMD EM1 with a Panasonic 20mm lens.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hockney Exhibit

Hockney Souvenirs - San Francisco  2014

Hockney Crowd - San Francisco  2014

Mike traveled to San Francisco earlier this month to see the big David Hockney exhibit at the DeYoung Museum. It had it all! Reservations for certain hours, big lines for crowd control, numerous traffic control monitors and finally, plenty of Hockney souvenirs to purchase.

Unfortunately, there was no photography allowed in the actual exhibit rooms, so no pix here. To be honest, there were far too many people in the rooms to allow an adequate viewing experience. Also, to be honest, Mike ended up not quite seeing what the big deal was. The paintings were very pretty, sure, and some were really big. In a way, they reminded Mike of the work of Raoul Dufy, an artist that Mike has always liked.

For some reason, none of Hockney's Los Angeles scenes were shown.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday Crow Blogging / Taking Over the Earth

Crows, San Quentin State Prison - Marin County  2013

I'm a little disconcerted. The December 23 & 30th (combined) issue of The New Yorker has an article titled "The Lost World" by Elizabeth Kolbert featuring the geologist Jan Zalasiewicz. The piece has mainly to do with the question of whether or not we're in a new geological period due to the environmental influences of humanity.

Anyway . . . this paragraph caught my attention: " . . . the conversation turned to another of Zalasiewicz's favorite subjects: giant rats. Zalasiewicz pointed out that rats have followed humans to just about every corner of the globe, and it is his professional opinion that one day they will take over the earth."

Well, sure. I could easily see that happening. But still, I'm a little disconcerted, since it's been my conviction all along that crows will one day take over the earth. I think that some serious research needs to be done on this issue.


(Crows on the roof at San Quentin State Prison, watching over Death Row, taken from the Larkspur - San Francisco ferry.)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Stable Scenes

Blue Wheelbarrow - Marin County  2013

Yellow Truck - Marin County  2013

Yes, I had to push the wheelbarrow into the middle of the road. Also of note: the turkey vulture up against the clouds.

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Passageway - San Rafael  2013

. . . between Mike's old gym in San Rafael and the parking lot. Taken with an iPhone 5s using the panoramic feature.

Mike's new gym is in Larkspur near the Larkspur Ferry Terminal. We will see what can be found there pix-wise.

Friday, January 17, 2014


Singing, Empty Chairs - Berkeley  2013

Singing (Back View) - Berkeley  2013

At the Berkeley Farmers Market. Taken with the Canon G12.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Berkeley High Auditorium

Auditorium, Gull - Berkeley  2013

Late in the afternoon, after a frustrating Farmers Market day of wind-chilled hands and feet and extremely low sales.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Murals, Window, Door

Knowledge - San Francisco  2013

House of Bagels Mural - San Francisco  2013

In San Francisco. Earlier "Knowledge" photo here.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Exploratorium - San Francisco  2013

When I took this photo, I didn't realize that I was looking at the new location of the Exploratorium. Not sure what scientific point the flying monkeys are supposed to illustrate.

OK. Found this:

A steady rhythm brings this animation to life. Pound the drums for 30 seconds to make the artwork spin. (The more drummers, the better.) Find a rhythm—it takes a while to set the piece in motion.

What’s going on? At 20 rpm, Homouroboros springs to life as a giant zoetrope. The monkeys’ rotation is synced to strobe lights at night and, during the day, to masks with shutter lenses. Your visual system combines the 18 monkeys into a single animation of a monkey swinging from branch to branch, reaching for and then devouring an apple from a snakelike hand.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Monday Cormorant Blogging

Cormorant, Mt. Tamalpais - Sausalito  2013

Cormorant - Sausalito  2013

Seen in Sausalito.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

San Francisco Sightems

G.M. Electronics - San Francisco  2013

Hey Girl (Pinterest) - San Francisco  2013

Top: G.M. Electronics on Grant Avenue in Chinatown.

Bottom: Pinterest interior seen in SOMA.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

San Francisco Smog

Alcatraz, Mt. Tamalpais, Smog - San Francisco  2013

Let's look at some smog! If there aren't any storms coming through (and there haven't been), the Bay Area during the fall and winter is subject to unhealthy, visually polluting smog.

Although I guess that I shouldn't be calling it "smog," since modern day smog has historically been a product mainly of automobiles. This stuff is a combination of a lot of things, apparently. So we have "Spare The Air" days when no wood burning is allowed.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Hot Pot Fixin's

Hot Pot Fixin's - San Francisco  2013

Very pretty! These vegetables were meant for Mike to cook in a "hot pot" at his table. But he wasn't very good at it: most of the items got boiled beyond recognition.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Victoria's Secret

Victoria's Secret - Alameda County  2013

Victoria's Secret - San Francisco  2013

Top: Emeryville in Alameda County.

Bottom: San Francisco downtown shopping center.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Injured? - Santa Clara County  2013

Scene just off of Highway 101 near Gilroy. Graffiti at the bottom.

Yes, if I'm injured in an accident I'm calling Habbas &  Associates.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Point Lobos Morning

Cypress - Point Lobos  2013

Kelp Fragment (Weston Beach) - Point Lobos  2013

Photos taken during my when-in-Monterey obligatory A.M. visit to Point Lobos State Park. I looped around through Pacific Grove to reach Highway One, then headed south. One nice find: the Safeway in Pacific Grove had a Starbucks still featuring the old-style breakfast pastry, rather than the new-style phoney heated-up stuff. Yum!

It was a Sunday morning. Although it was a weekend, there weren't that many people there. Interesting.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Monday Gull Blogging

Gull, House, Cypress - Monterey County  2013

Monterey morning photo, sun just starting to come up.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Monterey Morning 2

Sunrise - Monterey County  2013

Cypress, Self Portrait - Monterey  2013

. . . just as the sun was coming up.

Very cold.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Berkeley Farmers Market

Taking Photo - Berkeley  2013

Park, Afternoon - Berkeley  2013

I attended one show in December at the Berkeley Farmers Market, and all I got were some photos (nice enough, to be sure) taken in the very cold wind-chilled air. I sold a few things, but not enough to cover the time and effort involved. Not to mention the very cold wind-chilled air.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Monterey Morning 1

Monterey Bay - Monterey County  2013

Down by the wharf in the early AM. Fishermen, scuba divers and seals.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Monterey Afternoon 2

Mexican Sage - Monterey  2013

Red Curb, Cypress - Monterey  2013

As I recall, along with the fading light, there was a little bit of wind chill going on as well.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Years Bokeh

Nandina Leaves - Marin County  2013

Nandina leaves in the backyard, taken using an Olympus OM-D EM-1 and the Olympus 45mm (prime) lens. Using that particular lens was an experiment, actually . . . I rented it for a week from LensRentals.

I was interested to see just how much blur I could introduce into photos. It turns out, a lot (taken at f1.8). Also of note is the particular quality of the blur known as "bokeh." Seems nice to me!

But it's a prime lens, that is to say, non-zooming. I had to use prime lenses for quite a few years during the last century and I have to say that I find (good) zoom lenses to be miraculous. So the 45mm has been returned with no plans for purchase in the future.