Wednesday, 28 February 2018

9th orbit

or near enough anyway ...

So nine years have passed since Anita and I were married.

In that time I learned many things, about love, about life and about what things mean to me.

There are many more questions left unanswered and many emotions left in a box simply because there is no way to deal with them. If you don't know what I mean, then count your blessings.

Some people seek "knowledge" of these things because they find it difficult to be left with doubt.

I don't like doubt either, and it can become a creature which preys upon your mind, even though that creature is actually your own self.

To me its important to become aware of this doubt and to become comfortable with it while seeking answers. To accept that sometimes answers can't be found. If you seize upon "an answer" that is put forward by others it may quite simply be wrong..

Is it better to live our lives believing something which is wrong or to accept that you just don't know.

Not knowing can become an itch that in reality you can never scratch, which can of course grow in magnitude. Having been a motorcyclist has taught me that if you need to scratch every time your scalp itches you'll be pulling over a lot and taking your helmet off ... to scratch that imaginary itch.

In my view its better to just accept that itch is there and keep riding. Well unless its an ant, then pull over and get the thing out ... ants bite.

Myself I like certainty but I am tolerant of uncertainty, particularly because I don't like lies or being deceived.

Sometimes people make claims that they have found answers for you.

...of course, no one has found any evidence yet.... so you have to just believe.

I think Feynman phrases it well (I can't work out how to get the the video to begin where I want, so please just skip to here).

but for me so far I just can't believe, when faced with the total contradiction of the death of a beautiful well liked woman in her prime and the message that "gold loves me".

To my reasoning either god doesn't love me (Anita, her friends, her parents, her sister ...) or god doesn't exist.

The usual line of bullshit when confronted by such questions is to say "Gods ways are mysterious"

... Right

Like the man says:
You have to know when you know and when you don't know
and what it is you know and what it is you don't know.
You've got to be very careful not to confuse yourself.
The preachers of faith like to keep you confused with "mystery" that you accept as truth, as long as you accept their dogmas.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

own your past

or it owns you....

Long ago I concluded that to pretend the things you didn't like from the past were not there was futile. To escape them you had to recognize them and defeat them.

One had to embrace who you were to accept who you are and to give meaning to any direction of who you wanted to become.

One can not really ignore the past, for the music you love, the art you love and the people you love will always bring you back in time in memories.

However sometimes embracing the past will bring memories of pain as well as smiles ... it can be hard to embrace them , but embrace them you must...

or they will ruin you.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

why I like cross country skiing

Yesterday morning I went for a ski around what would be a jogging track in Summer.

I mainly do "classic" style so I stay in those pair of grooves and do what is more naturally like a long gaited walk or perhaps "slow motion run" with the poles working in combination to keep even propulsion forwards

of course people skate style along the track, but I don't have that type of ski and personally I find the classic a more balanced routine.

To the chagrin of others I occasionally stop to photograph things on the side of the track too ... to send to my friends in Australia who just don't even get this scenery (actually or mentally)

After about 40 min of exersize I get to near the lake edge, so I detour there for a short break out of the wind ... first you find a parking place...

Then break out the thermos of hot chocolate (which I prepared earlier)

then you just sip that and enjoy the peace of the lake

Then put it all back in the backpack and ski 40 min home again ;-)

Sunday, 11 February 2018

cheap wide options on mico43 (and how you can get more out of them)

Of course I like wide angle lenses ... what landscape photographer doesn't feel the attraction.

For many the FF equivalent 24mm lens is about the beginning of where we like our wides, perhaps 28mm. This means for micro43 that something at or less than 12mm is where we'd like to be. Today I'd like to present a bit of evaluation work I've done on my two options:

  • my trusty Panasonic 14mm f2.5 + the GWC-1 adapter
  • my recent addition, the 12-32 f3.5~5.6 zoom

In theory the P14f2.5 with the GWC-1 becomes an 11mm, so lets have a look at what a difference can be found in 1mm, and as always I'll throw in a few "curve balls" for alternative ways to look at these lenses (hint: not all m43 cameras are equal)


all shots are taken with the camera on a tripod, which was not moved. The camera was not repositioned only lenses were changed and lens f-stops.


First, the 12~35, exactly as it comes Out Of the Camera as a JPG (OOC JPG) at f3.5

Yes, even with Panasonic corrections we see a little vignetting ... so now, lets put the P14f2.5 & GWC-1 onto the camera...

which you can see is a little wider than the 12.

If one wants to get the best from these lenses then stopping down to f5.6 is "the right stuff" to optimize light evenness and not hit diffraction.

Both cleared up, to about equal. Here is the P14&GWC-1 @ f5.6

which you can see tidies up nicely.

So, lets look at something else which pushes these lenses to their design limits. The GH1 camera actually has a multi-aspect sensor, so when using 16:9, you can actually get more pixels (this subject covered over here). This isn't just making more pixels from the same sensor (such as the shift from 13Mpix to 16Mpix), its actually capturing a slightly bigger format. I understand a few other Panasonics have this feature too.

First lets see what more width we can get out of the 12-32mm using this strategy.

which is very close to what the P14&GWC got in 4:3 ... so lets look at that combo in 16:9 format

which is (as expected) wider again.

Of course if you aren't shooting a bunch of straight lines (like Pine Trees tend to be ) then you can perhaps get away without lens corrections (for pincushion distortion) and end up getting wider again, but of course only if you shot RAW, and wanted to process without corrections (oh, gosh, did I just mention another advantage of RAW).

So, again the 12-32

then the P14&GWC-1

So this about runs the gamut of what is the difference between 12mm and what you can get with 11mm (and if you also have a GH1 GH2 or GH5 camera) snick out a bit more when using 16:9 (which is something I do with wide landscapes anyway).

Since I do RAW mostly anyway, I'll leave you with a version which I processed on Snapseed, and tweaked up the image pincushion distortion too.

which makes for an interesting comparison, for as the 14&GWC-1 is so much wider, even in 16:9 mode it captures almost exactly the same height as the 12mm did as an OOC JPG. Thus using RAW I can overlay the capture of the 12-32mm zoom and see exactly how much more I get using my GH1 and the 14&GWC-1

... not insignificant.

One last point, lets look at the plain raw conversion, with no sharpening for corner sharpness. This is a screen grab of what I see in Photoshop at 50% (you can see which is which file in the window name):

I typically evaluate sharpness on screen because after many years of looking that's pretty much what I see when I compare it to prints done at 150DPI from the original files (which in this case are about 4368 x 2464  Pixels which is good for a print of about 74.0 x 41.7 cm or 29.12 x 16.43 inches)

So have a think about it and see what you think. In my view the combination of GH1, P14f2.5 , GWC-1 and RAW on Snapseed is a winner ... especially with old gear like this :-)

Monday, 5 February 2018

why should I bother with RAW?

A recent discussion on a forum (yet again) revolved around "why should I use RAW"

As always the arguments boiled down to:

  • I couldn't be bothered processing my images
  • Out Of Camera (OOC) JPG's are fine now
  • I am unable to make a RAW file look better than OOC JPG
  • It takes up too much space

To me these are the same arguments which see people years later resorting to taking shitty snapshots with their phones of faded pictures in their photo albums as their only way of keeping that memory or distributing it.

That may be fine for some, but as a photographer with a proper camera (no, not your phone, although some phones do include RAW such as this one) you may wish to revisit your images one day and find that not only has time moved on but that processing has moved on and you can pull more from your image than the OOC JPG delivered (as discussed here).

So as a result of that forum discussion I thought that this warranted another more detailed discussion.

Some years ago (2008) I was in India, and I had taken with me my Canon 10D and a couple of lenses as well as a compact Canon digicam. The Canon yeilded much better OOC JPG images than did the little Canon (surprise) but even still I always picked RAW to take the images. Back then cards were nowhere near the volume of today and (even without video) I would switch in and out of RAW mode if I wanted to save space. However as soon as I was photographing anything which I thought "I might want to go back to" I used RAW. This is one such shot:

This is the OOC JPG ... the astute may observe from the file name that its actually the JPG which is embedded in the RAW file, which is something I always feel needs mentioning: there is little point in shooting RAW + JPG because the RAW file always contains an embedded JPG ... which you can extract in a blink with DCRAW.

So, as you can see, blown highlights and inky shadows ... here are a couple of attempts (quick with no deep time consuming process loving given to them



... of course depending on your screen or how you output these you may prefer one over the other or indeed like a little more contrast or whatever ... the significant points about each are made in the image below (which you may wish to load full size in another tab for viewing - 

As you can see above, the rescue of the shadows was more than possible, but perhaps even a little over done for clarity of "the possibility" as well too as the rescue of the highlights.

Now of course a more careful exposure may have allowed the camera to make a better attempt of the highlights but as you can see it didn't. 

So what then is easier, to faff about with multiple shots, checking which JPG setting would be better or take the shot and move on?

My view is that under all circumstances the RAW will give a better "raw material" to work with in your post processing.

Considering the above points again then:

I couldn't be bothered processing my images

perhaps not now ... but for ever? Who knows how much better image processing will be in 10 years, I can assure you its leaps and bounds since I first took this image.

Out Of Camera (OOC) JPG's are fine now

and as observed by using RAW you'll still have that ... its not an either or proposition.

I am unable to make a RAW file look better than OOC JPG

perhaps ... or indeed perhaps in the future when you want to print something because you realise it was a "wow" shot there will either be an AI to help you or there will be some improvement in your own skills...

It takes up too much space

In a world of 4K video the extra 16Mbytes taken up by a RAW file is really quiet trivial isn't it....

Indeed as phones improve (mine's already an octa core 1.8 GHz device which is faster than my earlier desktops) you may be able to process your images while having a beer in the pub while on holiday, so that you can upload even better images to Facebook (or whatever). Such as any of these images below (which look heaps better than the OOC JPG's did)

So there's my view on this subject.