Tuesday, 16 June 2015

reflecting on boundaries (of change)

Can we ever "see" into nothing?

As anyone who has a grounding in physics (or experience with photography) knows that when you cross a boundary (like the surface between water and air) that you get a reflection as well as transmission of light.

This image below is an example, its looking into a pond (turn your head upside down and its obvious) at the mountains in the distance (as if we were looking directly at them)

We don't see the dark depths of the water, but it is no less illuminated by the light that penetrates the surface.
I turned the image upside down to show two things:
  • the pond surface so smooth, it was just like a mirror
  • perspectives can alter what you think you see

If it can be said that we are living in a world where there is always something, then the idea of 'nothing' really doesn't exist. Even in deep space there is something (waves, gravity, subatomic particles, atoms of hydrogen...) and we really don't have anywhere where there is nothing.

In our minds we try to imagine nothing, but its hard to imagine something which is beyond our experience, perhaps outside our experience.  When I attempt to see into that "nothing" (by meditation or contemplation) there must be a boundary between the existence of my thoughts (something) and the nothing. Does such a boundary create a reflection? Is what I see in that meditation just a reflection from the boundary into nothing?

Like looking out a window at night, we see the room reflected back at us. If there is not enough light outside we see nothing. If there was nothing (no light coming back from the moon or the stars) would we see something which we think is outside, but is actually inside the room?

So I struggle with the idea of death. Is Anita nothing now? Personally I just can't imagine this, but yet it may be true. Its easier for me to imagine that she has moved to somewhere (that fits within the scope of my experiences).

Are our thoughts about death just reflections from this boundary?

When I die do I just cease? Is there nothing? I myself no longer care ... because what bothers me most is that she is not here. Nothingness for me would just be a salve for my present pain.

If I knew there was nothing I would embrace it.

As usual I feel only discontent at this ... an urge (which I repress) to destroy things and walk away.

But I know there is no away while I remain here.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

GWC-1 - adding a filter thread

one of the criticisms of the Panasonic GWC-1 0.79x wide angle adapter is that it does not have a filter thread. On a recent discussion a fellow mentioned that he had mounted a thread on the inside of his by starting with a 55mm filter and sanding down the outside to press it into the GWC-1.

Fan-fukken-tastic idea if you aske me ... So I thought I'd give it a whack.

As you can see below, the front of the lens inner surface is smooth ... no filter thread ...

While the procedure is not for those with 10 thumbs, it certainly does not require a Master tradesman.

Please excuse the lack of process shots as while I intended to document the process, I got carried away with it and ... well soon enough it was finished and done.


You start with a 55mm filter,  of any kind and any cheapie on ebay will do.

Step 1:
with your dremel or small grinding wheel, you carefully work around the outside of the filter wearing it down evenly and periodically testing for fit. Basically you want it to be very snug so that it will hold itself in by fit alone (no cement or glue needed). Do not remove the glass of the filter yet, it will add support so you don't distort or bend your filter (soon to be just a metal thread). Be neat.

Step 2:
when this is accomplished you can now remove the glass from the filter (I used a small hammer with the filter on a bit of wood and tapped it lightly to smash it gently). Wearing leather gloves and using a pair of pliers carefully remove the glass shards. The retaining ring which held the glass in now, simply unscrews.

Step 3:
It will be obvious now that there is a thread at the back of the filter which is designed to screw into a 55mm threaded surface ... we don't need that, so again with your dremel tool (and again wearing gloves) carefully cut off the thread with the 'metal grinding cutting disc' ... be patient and just work your way around. When this comes off you can then just sand the back with some 240 grit paper on a flat surface (I use a large book).

Last step:
The filter is now ready to mount, so using the 67mm stepup ring screwed onto the front (as a holder so you don't bend it) carefully twist it onto the front of your GWC-1 as far as it will go by hand. This should be most of the way. Now remove the stepup ring so you can access the front edge of the filter, which will be almost flush with the front. Then using a bit of hard wood (such as say the handle of your hammer) holding the lens in one hand and the hammer handle in the other tap it in working your way round so that its then snuggled in tightly against the edge of the inside of the GWC-1

It will look like this:

You can see that next to none of the ex-filter(now thread) protrudes ... we want exactly this.

So now you can screw on the step-up up ring normally and then screw on the 67mm filter.

looks perfectly suited ... while you will need to remove the filter and stepup ring to replace your GWC-1 lens cap, and yes, the lens cap just goes on as it did before because you have not actually altered your GWC-1 in any way.

So here is the entire kit (man my house is dusty)...


Now, I'd picked the 67mm because previous testing showed me that (with a step up ring) that was the smallest size which did not cause obstruction of the image (you know, vignetting).

There is a weee teeny bit but it is only visible if you shoot RAW and convert without any correction for distortion.

but when you shoot JPG you never see that as the reshaping applied to correct lens distortions streches them out of visible range.


Voilla ...

So with a small amount of elbow grease, you can have a GWC-1 with a filter thread

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Cultural Differences

Around this time last year I was back living in Finland. One of the many things I like in Finland is the different (dare I say it more natural) attitude towards many things. One such topic is women, and while I will not say Finland is without gender discrimination I will say that they don't regard women to be pissweak dolls to dress up like hookers and be unable to get down and do work.

So on this topic I was walking through town and noticed an ad for an upcoming sporting event (which sadly had crap snow that year) which would seem to most Americans (and sadly increasingly large numbers of Australians) to be incongruous.

So having a history of skiing and shooting, biathlons are common sporting events in Scandinavia and of course Finland too.

Seeing a bunch of fit and strong women who can ski well and shoot straight is to me one of the things which sets Finns as being still humans and the American Dream to be more like Aldus Huxleys warnings of the brave new world.

I like Finland, and I hope to be back there again soon

Monday, 6 April 2015

buy by the Kilo (or bang for buck)


we're all familiar with the price of things by weight (either Kg or lbs depending where you're from) but most of us don't think of our photographic gear this way. Some time ago I did look at that with respect to my Panasonic G1 and a Canon EOS 5DMk ii and found that the image quality was not so different but the price per Kg was ... I thought I'd expand on that post with some more data and in a chart.

its sort of interesting that there is a reasonably linear price / kg change along the line from G1 (price when new) to Sony A7ii (price when new too) and some standouts in the "dear" range as well as the lower end.

What's also interesting is that I seem to also buy on the more cost effective side of things (interesting coincidence really).

I should probably toss in megapixels into that but to me they are about equal as image making tools.