Friday, 30 October 2009

Cameras: film vs digital

Hi

well everyone and his dog (including me) seems to write about digital cameras and how they compare to 35mm film cameras. I realized that I see almost nothing written to compare the thing you have to carry around with you.

Which is strange when you consider that I've been bitching about wanting smaller digital cameras for some time.

Now something which to me is indisputable is that compact digital cameras for snapshots and small commercial photographic needs are just fantastic. I think that Canon nailed the ideal digital with the Canon IXUS cameras of 2001.

Compact light easy to keep with you and took shots which gave images suitable for making post card sized prints.

90% of people were satisfied with this 90% of the time. People just about fled away from all the compact 35mm cameras and sales of cameras like Olympus Mju series or funny Pentax things like this plummeted.


Pentax Camera

And why not, the compact digitals were smaller and made prints which satisfied most peoples needs, and opened up an entirely different niche in photography. If we're talking about cameras like the one above why would you use a film camera? (well, so you can have it ready all the time in the glove box of the car would be one reason ;-)

But in this blog article I'm interested in looking at what's happened to cameras which are more oriented towards an enthusiast, or semi-professional photographer. For instance I have a blog article about that point as well as the article where I compare the evolution of digital interchangable lens camera sizes.

The image to the left here shows a composite of a G1 pasted over a 10D showing how much smaller the G1 is (both are to the same scale) and in the this article I also demonstrate the size and weight difference with this animated GIF

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All well and good, but what is it like holding and using modern digital cameras in relation to older film cameras?

Well one of the things I really like about the G1 is that it has brought interchangable lenses to compact digital cameras (for some reason people think only SLR's have this, but that's not true there are many rangefinders and TLR's which do just that). One of the things which drew me towards digital in the beginning of this milennium was they were compact!

Not because they were "free" to operate (because they cost lots of money back then) but because they were compact. For example, here is my G1 without its lens

g1-noLens

and here is an OM-10 35mm film SLR without its lens.

OM-10-noLens

almost exactly the same size aren't they. For these shots, I had my camera on a tripod, and didn't move the location of cameras so that they will be at the same scale.

Now, with lenses on ...
G1
g1-KitLens

OM-10
OM-10-50mm

They weigh about the same too.

What isn't equal by any strech of the imagination is costs and lenses. I paid $40 or something like that for my OM-10 just recently. Then because of the smaller sensor you'll need different lenses to get the view you want to have (remember taking pictures is about the images right?)

Sure ... that's second hand I hear you say .. well yes, but do you think that you'll be able to buy a 20 year old digital camera when they get to that age? Will you be able to use the RAW files from it if you do find one? Mean time even older cameras like my six year old 10D (which I recently sold) still pull $300 used (if they are still working).

Hmm ... got my doubts

Anyway, moving on to lenses ... below is a shot of the lenses I like to use
  • wide angle
  • normal
With a 35mm film camera I've found I just love two lenses and I've more or less stopped using zooms ... found myself zooming way to much , thinking about getting what I want into the picture and forgetting about perspectives and 'focus and defocus'. As a result my images seemed to be less interesting.

I never found 28 quite wide enough for my wide taste, so I saw little value in 28-80 zooms. Certainly 80 was rarely telephoto enough (wanting a 135 myself). So to get this sort of range (21mm and 50mm) on the G1 I need the 9-18mm and the kit zoom it comes with. In the image below I've put them in a tight bunch so you can see what they look like together.

bunchOfLenses

Despite being in the front row the 21mm and the 50mm are clearly compact little things, while the zooms in the back row just seem larger.

Now, you'll pay about US$500 for the 9-18 and I paid $200 for the 21mm, but I've also got a 24mm which is much cheaper again. Actually I'm sure that the OM 21mm will be working in another 20 years time, but I can't say the same for the 9-18 ;-)

Luckily those zooms are for 4/3rds and micro 4/3rds so are much more compact than 35mm equivalent ... Its really frustrating that what drew me to digital from 35mm was that it was more compact, and I could combine it with my 35mm gear to get the best of compact and quality.

Strangely enough being tempted into the high quality digital (the only stuff which challenges 35mm film really) you find yourself paying double and carrying double.

odd isn't it. Mean time I have both the G1 and the 35mm system ... so its hard to justify getting rid of the G1 as (aside from the wide options) it is about the same size as a 35mm so it gives me the image quality and detail I want without the weight penalty or the costs of full frame digital.

the image below was taken with my 21mm on 35mm film

but I just can't get this look with the G1

Sunday, 25 October 2009

refugees to Australia

Seems like its a loose loose situation for us on this.

Putting aside for a moment if we should or should not be accepting refugees, it seems important that due process be applied to claims of Asylum being verified as genuine. So what do we do with the people who are being processed.

I don't think you can find an Australian how is not somehow frustrated with the entire thing, and then worse, have it compounded with claims that we are somehow treating them poorly by putting them in inhumane conditions in our detention centers. Heck I recently read how we're not providing adequate care for the children.

Well, its interesting to read today how being detained in Indonesia is much worse. Well gosh, who'd have thought!

Australia seems to have made it to number 2 on the United Nations development index this year (which is a lovely thing for us), but not everyone lives in such a desirable location.

In many ways this can only increase the pressure on attempts at illegal migration to Australia.

Personally I think its dreadful that the conditions in countries like Afganistan, Sudan, Somalia are as wretched as they are, and I personally believe that there is some culpablity on the part of western corporations activities in this, but its not my fault and its not up to every person in Australia to be responsible for this.

Attempting to discuss the vexed issue of refugees and our refugee intake commitment is a thorny issue, but Australians need to keep something clearly in mind:

People who are coming here are coming from places just as bad (if not worse) than the locations they are presently in detention in now, if not for the complaints about how we have been handling the processing, and interference in this by international groups they would most certainly be in Australia awaiting determination and not where they are now.

So, I ask the humanitarian groups who would badger and push around the political process on how asylum seekers were handled should ask them selves how they feel about this outcome, because they share as much of the blame as anyone!

Film - is it still cost effective?

Folks

nearly ten years ago I wrote in a 'digital thoughts' page (before there were such things as blogs) that I thought that 35mm (and of course lager formats too) gave users better value for money than did digital SLR and greater flexiblity than any "prosumer" digicams.

This article was aimed at typical "hobby" photographers who were interested in making images for their enjoyment, did not have tight press and client deadlines and enjoyed their craft. Now firstly I'd like to point out that 35mm isn't the only format of film to consider, especially in this day and age where 120 film cameras (Medium Format) have truly plummeted in price and are very attractively priced and can give even more fantastic results.

Anyway, last week I took this image while just walking around with the 35mm camera:


This was scanned on my LS-4000 from Fuji Sensia slide film with my EOS 630 (god knows how many meters of film its seen over the years of service since I bought it in 1990) with an OM series 21mm f3.5 lens mounted with a $15 adaptor. There was no application of fancy metering I just let the camera do what it wanted to (set on aperture priority). Yet importantly there isn't the slightest hint of nasty washouts inherent in digital and the whole thing just looks lovely. Heck, this is even slide film which is in theory harder to to expose properly.

Scanned it produces 5500 x 3500 pixels and looks as good as this at 100% (as with almost all my blog images click on this to view it fully)


There would be no problems making a 50cm wide enlargement from this image that looked great. So now we have that we can get great images as good as a top (expensive) digital camera with less problems in ugly image blowout caused by sensor washout.

I've just bought a Panasonic G1 which is a 12megapixel camera (4000 x 3000 pixels) which is a 4/3rds sized sensor quite capable of making images right up there with the top professional cameras. Many serious photographers will tell you is quite a good camera. While it is not strictly a SLR (having no reflex mirror) it has many of the features that a SLR has and operates more or less the same.

Back then (2001) I felt that for the same money outlaid a hobbyist could get much better value for money out of 35mm than they could out of a DSLR. I argued that a 35mm SLR for the 'good shots' and a compact digicam was the best balance between low cost high quality for the "good stuff" and a compact digital for convenient snapshots.

I'm glad that I did as I took images like these which I could never have taken on any digital at that time.

omikoshi

kinkakuji

and as I've had better access to scanners, the same images scan better than when I took them.

Clearly scanning takes some time, but you know, a little discipline in the shooting side yields more keepers per roll than the average 4gig card. Shooting film is not only forgiving bur

Back in 2001 the top digital cameras (excluding the outright stratospheric) were about US$2000 for stuff like the Canon EOS D60 which was a 6Mp APS sized sensor camera. While this smaller sensor means my telephoto is more telephoto, this has important implications on getting wide angle lenses. Compare Ken Rockwell's discussion on wide angle lenses between digital cameras here:

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The Olympus 21mm wide angle lens used above cost me less than US$200 and is smaller than the 28mm above. That's the tiny one in the middle

But its not only the lenses which are getting bigger (and dearer) its the cameras too.

Its easy to forget how we've become used to these DSLR's being fat monstrosities and have forgotten just how compact cameras like OM-10's and such really are. My OM-10 camera is about the same size as my G1 is. So looking at the comparison between G1 and EOS 10D here you can see here the size difference.

Then there is feature set. Once upon a time photographers considered features to be useful things, like:
- 5 frames per second motordrive
- eye controlled focus point selection
- big bright viewfinder focusing screen

not so much stuff like "portrait mode" or any other of the spin out of 'creative scene' processing (for people who want their images processed for them).

35mm cameras haven't really changed so much since 1980, essentially they are the box that holds the film, lenses are what really makes the biggest difference.

Since 2001 I've changed my Digital camera a few times.
Nikon Coolpix 950
Nikon Coolpix 990
Nikon Coolpix 5000
Canon 10D
Canon 20D

Assuming that I've lost $500 on each camera body change (not to mention the lenses which I've needed to buy to cope with the change in Field of View created by the smaller sensors) that's $2500 in losses, while in that time I've essentially kept my 2 EOS 630's ... If I apply that to buying film (say, negative which I use the most) and getting it processed that's about 250 rolls of film.

Now, look in the mirror and tell me honestly that you've averaged 31 rolls of film a year?

Yet during that time only the images since the Coolpix 5000 can match 35mm and it wasn't till the 10D that I had the sort of versatility in telephoto that I do with 35mm film.

Looking back on my old article from 2001 it seems that:

Bang for buck, any 35mm SLR camera (even a $200 second hand one) with even a basic pair of zooms (say 28-105 and 100-300) will give you much greater quality image making versatility than any digital short of a digital SLR (and then you'll still need those lenses anyway ;-) You'll have many nicer handling features, and I feel that they're easier to control than a high end digital.

but its even cheaper as I bought my OM-10 for US$40 just the other day, and I occasionally buy cheap OM lenses to dual purpose on my G1 and the OM canon (well, and my EOS 630 film body too :-)

So if you're feeling like you should move to digital but you're not sure ... ask yourself how much you take pictures ... cos if its not real often, then stick with 35mm, get your film processed and scanned into CD (such as by the great Noritsu system which gives 6Megapixel images), never have to worry about "honey, we forgot to charge the battery" or "shit, the media card is full" and still get great images which you can have made into great prints!

Its sure been nice to have a snapshot digital camera, but then why not? I used a small "trip 35" when I still had a SLR.

After all ... digital photography isn't just about a digital camera, scanning makes access to digital editing and printing just as possible :-)

Monday, 12 October 2009

nanny makes a bad nurse

occasionally I'm stunned at the machinery of bureaucracy, despite me being experienced with it. I read this article today about a British IRAQ war veteran who died after getting a set of lungs in a transplant operation which came from a heavy smoker and had cancer.

To make matters worse it seems that the hospital which put the cancerous lungs into him then wouldn't give him another set because the hospital procedures preclude providing service to people who were smokers ... presumably they got this from the tissue types.

According to that article:
The hospital defended using smokers' lungs for transplants, saying that all organs were screened rigorously.

in which case it is then willfully providing sub standard stuff or they are grossly incompetent.

Surely it would not be hard to find a medical professional, especially in the area of respiratory specialty, who could identify that the organs were effected by nicotine, I mean its not hard to identify if you've ever seen such tissue.

tar

Given this bungle which seems to come from a Terry Gilliams Brazil-esqe script how do we interpret Malcom Turnbulls recent words...



"Are we for the socialist state, with its subordination of the individual to universal officialdom of government?" intoned Turnbull, speaking through Robert Menzies' oracular words. "Or are we for the ancient British faith that governments are the servants of the people?"

Malcomb Turnbull

neither side of it of it looks good to me ...

Saturday, 10 October 2009

another ultra wide on 35mm compared to G1

as part of my previous 'photo shoot' to test the G1 against 35mm slide and negative I also took this image (which I just worked through how I scan and process a Neg in this page).




As mentioned in my other blog post, this was taken with a 21mm lens on 35mm film at f3.5 I also took a RAW image with my G1 using a 9-18mm zoom. With a little processing I turned that raw file into this:


Ok, sorry I can't get the colour to match perfectly, but the DoF is quite different too isn't it. Lets look at a close section


You can see two interesting things here:
  1. out of focus on the 21mm full frame looks very nice and gives great separation from the background
  2. the film image viewed at 50% looks similar to the digital viewed at 100%
Something people are easily lost on is all of the changes which happen when you change format size. To get the same Depth of Field look you need to keep the diameter of the lens "hole" to be the same. So the changes in focal length between 35mm cameras and most digital SLR cameras mean that to keep the same shallow Depth of Field you need a much bigger hole.

How big?

To equal f3.5 on the 35mm camera, a lens on a 4/3rds camera will need to be about f1.8

That's not going to be a simple, cheap or light lens anymore. So if you wanted shallow depth of field then you'll be better off with a larger format (like full frame digital or 35mm film).


Getting back to the extra detail in the film image, probably I didn't get the two cameras perfectly in the same place, and may have been closer to the flower with the film camera than the G1 ... it was quite close and so a small difference would have make a significant change.

But the negative image looks quite nice if you ask me.

You know, I've been looking at Digital VS 35mm since 2001 and way back then my view was:

I still really like 35mm though, as its a reasonable compromise between (large format) print quality and (digital camera) convenience and cost. Its not free to run like the digital, but its not expensive for most people. It has a wider range of lens options than most digital cameras have (and I already have them) and as well as using negative, I can expose positive film for making slides for projection something I do a bit of. I've had enlargements made up to 50cm wide that look good. I find that enlargemts look that bit better to me than anything less than the top shelf cameras like the Digital SLR's like the EOS D-60. A typical A4 sized enlargement is typically not expensive (about $15 where I come from in Brisbane Australia, and less here in Tokyo). I can take my negative into almost any reasonable photo processing shop, and then pick up a print in a few days with no fuss or investment in colour printers, inks, and futzing with Photoshop to get the colour balance "just right".

Back then an EOS D60 was a few thousand dollars and wasn't as good as a G1 is now.

So what would I say now?

I'd say that while I really like the look of full frame, it has a look that you just can't get on wide and normal views with any of the digital cameras (except full frame of course ;-), but scanning really does suck, it takes heaps of time and you'll need to invest in gear like scanners and invest in time learning how. You can always avoid scanning and have your negs put onto CD directly, if the company offers a system similar to the Noritsu it can give great results (see this comparison).

So I'd probably advise someone to consider it carefully, but would tend towards recommending the digital.

but I really do like the look of the full frame at 21mm ... more so than the G1

Costs: Since the 35mm options are second hand, and there are now plenty of used digital's lets compare something like a Olympus 510 with a Olympus 35mm film camera like the OM-10.

I just bought an OM-10 for $10, I bought a Olympus 21mm lens for about $200 (they're not cheap). I know you can get a E-510 body for about $200 and you'll need to pop another $400 for the 9-18mm zoom. So that's around $300 for a film setup vs $600 for a digital. So you can see why I don't think its as simple as it was 7 years ago...

Why not try something like buying the E-510 with its standard lens, put some "legacy" telephoto lenses on by adaptor and buy a OM-10 and a 21mm for less than the cost of the Olympus 9-18mm zoom?

quick negative scan tutorial

Hi since I've discussed this a few times on different forums I thought I should put together something on what the steps are on using a scanner to make optimal scans of negatives.

In this case I'm going to use an LS-4000 scanner, but I use exactly this technique with Epson flatbed scanners too.

To make this 'tutorial' as generic as possible I'll skip the detailed bits on the scanner operation, but I've covered those aspects in other posts on this blog here and here.

No matter what the driver, leave the system believing that it is scanning a positive, not a negative. Then, carefully tweak the red green and blue channels by bringing the sliders (particularly on the light end) closer to the main humps of the datain the histogram ... but don't set the level too close to the data ... you'll clip details if you're not careful. If in doubt test and inspect for high light clipping.

?

Ok ... now you've scanned it into your editor ... I use photoshop, so I'm sorry you'll have to 'translate' this to what ever makes the right stuff for your editor.

start - its now in your editor

my scanner is set to produce its data in a colour profile of Bruce RGB, so your next step is to assign that profile (unless your scanner is set in its configuration to produce data of another profile check your scanner configuration). Now if your editor does not handle colour management then I guess you'll have to find a way to have your scanner put data out in sRGB ... but I'd really advise you to get a better editor.




You'll see an immediate change on the way stuff looks straight away ...



so now we do the next step, which is invert


starting to look right now isn't it ... so much for all that "orange mask" stuff ...

So now we need to sort out the levels more carefully. I deliberately left 'breathing room' before so that we can see more carefully where our levels are in a system which is more amenable to it.


notice how I've moved the levels closer to the humps of the histogram. If you can, hold down the Ctl key which will let you know where clipping is occurring visually. When you get to clipping, back off a little ... because we'll get it closer in the next step with curves.


here I apply a little curve adjustment ... I normally need to pull up the light and pull down the dark areas ... this helps a little to reduce noise, as this represents the indistinct areas near the film base and the areas where the film is approaching saturation (totally black).





So now we have the image within ball park. From here you can "go wild and do your worst"



I've also done a little local area contrast fix here too


Anyway, assuming this was helpful, you might find these quick notes interesting too:


sorry its not compiled into a single resource, that's my next project
Hope that helps

:-)



PS ... to answer the question below (if I've understood it right) I need to cater for the fact that unlike slide the R G and B levels of density recorded in Negative film is not even ... below is a sample of the 'curve' for a typical negative film.



please have a further read on my other page here.




PPS

to answer the question below in more detail I thought I would try this. Consider a point on the graph (not a range) the values for this colour below are 808040 in RGB values This is of course a pure tone and has not "variation" or range.

Now if you were to represent this on negative film the values would not simply be negative, they would also be scaled according to that graph above.

Similarly if I was to take a plain grey tone and photograph it with negative film I will not be able to read values 808080 or even simply inverted values as the response of the film to the light will give different density readings for each of R G and B ... this is unlike positive film (slide film) which does give such (eventually)

Thursday, 8 October 2009

two films and a digital

Recently I took my Panasonic G1 my film EOS and 2 films with me to the park for some quick test shots. I was after a few things:
  • some exposed negative and some exposed slide to compare with eachother
  • to then send these films to a fellow to compare his Pacific scanner with my Nikon LS-4000
  • and to compare my G1 with what film can give
I thought when I started putting this together that I'd use 200 ISO as my reference as the G1 is reportedly a native 200 ISO sensor. I picked Sensia (a very commonly available Fuji 200 ISO film) as my negative and Sensia as my slide. I was only able to get this in 100 ISO in my dinky-fart-town here in Finland.

In particularly interested to compare 35mm full frame film with a 21mm wide angle lens prime to the Panasonic with a 9-18mm zoom at 11mm. I had previously seen that my 10D was very close to film but the G1 is a latest model camera and at 12 megapixels in a 4/3 format quite at the cutting edge.

Ok ... here's the slide scanned (and nothing done to it).
[for those who are interested, I have my scanner software set to put the image into Bruce RGB and I then assign that profile when it gets into photoshop. I then convert to sRGB for uploads or use screen grabs, my monitor is Spyder calibrated but I don't know if yours is]



[don't forget to click on any of these images to download the full size]
now, lets zoom in to the patch of red leaves in the middle (to 50% of full resolution).


and compare this to the previous examination of the Neg and the G1



Now firstly I think its important to say that my LS-40 scans a full frame of 35mm to about 5570 pixels wide (4000 Dots Per Inch scan of 1.4 inches is 5600 ... right)

This means that the digital capture of the film will be more greatly magnified than the sensor captured information. So in the previous examination I scaled them to be the same - 4000 pixels wide. I guess that I should do the same here to make direct comparisons with the digital more simple, but the reality is that life is not simple, scans of 35mm film will not neatly fit the mould of digital and so we have to make sence of this somehow.

Probably one of the first things you may notice is how similar the digital is to the negative, but how much darker and inky the slide is. This goes back to the fact that slides are designed with projection onto a screen in mind, while negative is designed to make a print on paper. This is not an insignificant difference.

Ok ... so lets get into pixel peeping and look at 100% views of what we got (100% means one pixel in the file maps to one pixel on your screen.


Slide


which is a segment from an original which is 5573 pixels wide, so it looks bigger. It also looks softer as it hasn't been sharpened.

G1



which is a segment from an image which is 4000 pixels wide and has been sharpened carefully.

It seems to me that the slide image is somehow softer than the image from the digital file (and the image from the negative). Certainly the colour rendition of the digital is more pleasing to my eye than that of the Slide.

One could argue that the digital image seems sharper as it is of a lower magnification, but scaling the slide scan down doesn't seem to make much difference. Possible answers to this could be:
  • scanner focus was off
  • the focus of the lens was off

To answer this I can say that I specifically chose the red bushes as my focus point for scanning, and used Nikons focus system to to that.

On the subject of focusing, I can report I focused carefully on the screen as I could, and I focused manually. As well, Depth of Field calculations for a 21mm lens at f 5.6 suggest that assuming I focused on something which was about 6 meters away (the trees were a bit further away) that the front of the focal zone would be about 3 meters before me through to infinity. This sort of rules out focusing error here.

Interestingly I have observed exactly this effect in every compairson I have done of Negative VS Slide film.

Ok, lastly ... I think that its fair to say that comparing non sharpened scans to post processed digital is a little difficult to do. So below I have done the following:
  • scaled the TIFF from the G1 up to be the same size as the image that comes from the LS-4000 scanner.
  • I have colour balanced the scanned slide to be as close in hue to the TIFF as I could
  • I applied some curves to darken down the shadow details in the TIFF (as the shadow detail was better than the slide was)
  • I applied some strong sharpening and local area contrast enhancement on the Slide scan
[note: the G1 file was a single raw image processed using a flow of dcraw to convert to linear TIFF -> Photomatix to apply careful tone mapping -> photoshop to apply curves and colour balance, there was bugger all sharpening done]


I still think that the G1 comes ahead of the slide, both in colour and detail. As well the Slide actually runs out of dynamic range before the G1 does ... although not before negative did ;-)

note the clarity of the grasses and the leaves. There was no wind on the day.

Certainly the scanned 35mm file will be larger (more pixels) than the G1's file, but the G1 file is so clean and copes with a smidge of upscaling no problems. So when it comes to printing and detail capture it would seem that the G1 and the lenses available to it can at least equal that of the 35mm system. Without a doubt (assuming well exposed images to start with) its easier to get a good printable image from the G1 than it is the 35mm film.

... for my money I'll be using the G1 from now on and using the 35mm for black and white only.

Hope that was useful to someone.

Stay tuned for a scanner comparison in a few weeks!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

kapulakieli

Here in Finland kapulakieli is an interesting term .. a kapula is a stick or a card which (for example) kids put into their bicycle frames to rattle along when they ride their bikes.

Kieli means language.

so when combined into a word it means something like language, that is seemingly Finnish, but written in such a way that one has to read it over and over again to try and see what it's trying to say. Bureaucratical forms, instructions etc are a common source for this fine art of language.

So in other words ... "flapping your gums"

It seems that Australian politicians are also versed in this linguistic as I read this gem:

Ms Bligh said the latest forecasts indicated the chance of exceeding median summer rainfall over much of the state was only slightly higher than normal.

Anna ... come on ... don't you have anything meaningful to say?

Then there's this:
Some areas such as Jondaryan, Cambooya and Clifton have been drought declared since October 2000.

for the curious that area is here


View Larger Map

gosh ... west of the ranges, west of Toowoomba ... out in classic dry country. Lets look at the last hundred or so years shall we ...



hmm ... median rainfall is not real good at the best of times with barely enough to wash down your roof ... the standard deviation is between 80% and 100% of the median meaning you'll stand as much chance of getting nothing as getting nearly double the values. To pick a high rainfall month it will mean you'll stand as good a chance of getting 160mm in December as you do of getting 30mm in December.

Either way its not much.

I'm surprised noone's planing to build a dam out there ...

You know, we keep wanting to apply the same strategy to solve our problem. There is little evidence that its worked so far.

It takes guts to admit you've made a mistake ... when was the last time you saw that in politics?

Well anyway ... I promise my next post will be about cameras not politics!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

pushing people around for water

people who read my blog may have noticed I'm quite strongly interested in water, how its sourced and how its used. There has been a dam proposal for some time around the north of Brisbane in South East Queensland. Politicians have been keen to push the dam adgenda for some time, with a number of reliable study showing it to be uneconomical, environmentally unsustainable and requiring the displacement of many people.

Today our Premier has announced:

"I don't expect that people who live in the Mary Valley are going to be pleased with this decision but it is important to understand that over the next two decades, south-east Queensland is likely to grow to more than four million people," she said.

"We simply have to provide them with water and this is the best possible and most cost-effective source of that water."


So with the major dam of South East Queensland (Wivenhoe dam, which was really meant to be a flood mitigation project) not supplying enough water in anything except the wettest of seasons ...



its clear that we need to change something.

The Government is getting twitchy about how voters are reacting in the dry times, how then are we to manage the extra population and avoid nasty water restrictions as we had in 2003 through to 2007? Gosh .. the answer must be we'll need more ...

First, some silly questions:
  1. why are we not planning to be more efficient with our water?
  2. why are we going to have 4 million people here?
  3. do you as a Queenslander want to be living in LA or NY style crowding? (just wait for the increases in road rage)
  4. did you know that by using a rainwater tank for household water uses such as laundry and flushing your dunny we would cut our dependence on treated tap water by over half?
  5. did you know we spend nearly 4 times more on waste water disposal than water provision?

Well anyway, most people on the capital city of Brisbane just want it to keep coming from the tap (they are paying for it after all ...). Since the dam is "away over there", not in any area where there are too many voters, perhaps it doesn't enter into the minds of many ... but how would you feel if you were forced out of your home for others to have more water to waste?

To quote from the leader of the opposition:
"Are we for the socialist state, with its subordination of the individual to universal officialdom of government?" intoned Turnbull, speaking through Robert Menzies' oracular words. "Or are we for the ancient British faith that governments are the servants of the people?"

Malcomb Turnbull

But I wonder what they would really do if they were in power?


Back to the costs for a moment, have you ever noticed that we have water rates (charges), water restrictions (on what we can use it on) but no one gets any rewards for being efficient?

Hmm ... sounds real close to socialism or communism ... you go to work and everything else is provided for you by the state.

I mean think about it in money terms ... would you (say) give you kids a visa card and just pick up the bill on how much they spend? Put "use restrictions" on them like you can only water the garden on odd or even days if they go over $1000 a month? Surely this is not the way to learn how to be economic?

How come no one in government seems to notice that we can do more with less?

To me it seems that water has become some sort of national welfare thing ... you get taxed, you then expect there to be unlimited water, but you're not allowed to manage it yourself.

Remember it was only in the last major drought that public opinion forced local governments to allow water tanks again ...

Some further reading on this can be found on another blog of mine here, or if you are really interested in the topic you could take a glance at my masters thesis here.




PostScriptum

There seems to be gathering momentum on this decision being a bad one, as this ABC report suggests.

Monday, 5 October 2009

measuring bullshit

And on the topic of "the machine" gone spakko is this article:

CLAIMS that cattle and sheep are responsible for 10.9 per cent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions have been called into question after scientists discovered considerable variation in the amount of methane produced by individual animals.

right ... but we're not talking about cars here, we're talking about our food. Seriously government bodies can live without food but isn't the health of people who make up the system more important? The system seems not to think so.

Perhaps if we just ate 20% less meat (might be good for us) we could make a bigger per captia reduction?

An earlier study by University of Melbourne researchers found methane emissions varied from 146g an animal a day in a Victorian feedlot to 166g an animal a day in Queensland.
well, if you look at the feedlot issues in the USA (corn fed beef) I think there is more at issue here than managing numbers. Health issues of what our food does to us seems to be left out of the picture here, and meeting 'target numbers' is paramount.

sheesh

does the machine make a good parent?

for the greater majority of human history parents and extended family have been raising children, more recently laws intended to prevent children being abused by parents has created the basic environment for the machine to grow into the Nanny state that it is becoming. I'm surely not the only one to express this problem as I regularly hear it from those around me and read things on the net to similar sentiment.

Reading this article in the Australian

A 13-year-old boy has been charged after an 11-year-old boy was shot in the leg with a stolen firearm.


The article sounds really bad with stolen firearms, sounds like some kind of US gangland stuff, I'm sure htat to someone who has grown up and only lives in the city this may be hard to comprehend but examining the article a little further a picture emerges of just some naughty boys who probably just needed their asses kicked by their dad ... should they have had a responsible father figure.

Police say four teenage boys broke into a property at Coolagolite, near Cobargo, on the New South Wales south coast, some time between Friday and Sunday.

They allegedly took four firearms and ammunition from a gun safe and fired them while at the property. The 11-year-old was wounded while the boys were shooting yesterday. He was taken to Bega Hospital and later flown to Canberra, where he is in a stable condition after further treatment to the entry and exit wounds in his leg.

So essentially 4 kids (probably bored) broke into somes house (probably not locked) and pinched some guns to most likely shoot at road signs and peoples water tanks.

Definitely this is wrong behavior and without a doubt needs to be dealt with ... but remember these are kids, so why is the "machine" of the law dealing with them as if they are adults...

A 13-year-old boy has been charged with reckless wounding, aggravated breaking, entering and stealing, and possessing and using a firearm. A 17-year-old boy and a 12-year-old boy have each been charged with aggravated breaking, entering and stealing, and possessing and using a firearm.


All three have been granted bail to appear at Bega Childrens Court on October 27.

Seriously, do they even understand the words?
Why is there no mention of parental responsiblity here? Surely the parents are responsible?

Well perhaps not ... the machine is taking away our rights as parents making control or disciplin of children a vexed issue.

I don't have any answers for this (certainly not in this blog) but I'll leave you with a question:
are we moving in the right direction?

I think not, because one thing is sure about Governments, noone thinks of them as efficient or compassionate. Both things which kids need. Now if you don't have kids of your own this still effects you if you're a taxpayer. Why? well ... from another article ...

WESTERN Australia's juvenile justice system is in crisis and desperately needs more resources to reduce the number of children being detained, according to the head of the state's children's court.

So, as soon as we shift the burden of and responsibility for child rearing away from the parents we must put it in the hands of Government. Have you ever dealt with anyone who was a "ward of the state" ...

Tough question, but we need to start thinking about and talking about this in a meaningful way in our society or we'll be heading for another Brave New World.

Remember ... with rights also comes responsibility, we seem to be ditching on one and wondering why the other is being eroded.