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  • Michael Krakovskiy 6:09 am on June 10, 2005 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Camera, , H. R. Giger, , , , , , , UBS, UBS building, , , Zoom lens   

    The New Lens 

    I went ahead and bough myself a rather expensive 100-400 zoom lens for my camera. I am still kind of thinking that I should not have any equipment that expensive (and heavy), but now I find it rather hard to bring myself to return the damn thing. I can afford it, but I still feel guilty about it.

    I took it out for a spin and here’s a sampling of pictures taken in a couple of humid, hazy days without the use of tripod:

    The sign on top of the UBS building used to say something else:

    Rockefeller Center Prometheus could use a bath:

    The crosses that top St. Patrick’s Cathedral look like they were designed by HR Giger. What’s up with that?

    This is what the Wireless Maiden on the top of the old RCA building actually looks like:

  • Michael Krakovskiy 8:24 am on May 17, 2005 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: and optical physics, Atomic, Camera, computer chair, , , , Japanese museum, molecular, ,   

    The Fantom Photo Album 

    Being a fan of photography has its upsides and downsides. On one hand photographers notice more things. Beautiful things. Unusual things. Things that only can be seen through the lens of the camera that lives inside your brain.

    On the other, if they don’t have a camera handy, or the batteries are dead, or there’s too little light, or if taking photos is prohibited or just simply not wise – photographers become agitated and miserable. Oh, the most wonderful moments that should be simply enjoyed can be poisoned by worrying about lighting, f-stops above all — the lack of camera in your hands.

    The shots that did not happen – those are the worst. They linger in your head for a while, but then the moment passes, and the fata morgana of the perfectly composed and exposed picture dissolves into the bitterness of a missed shot. It’s even worse if you just did not have the guts to take out your fully charged, properly equipped camera and point it’s soul stealing eye at the situations, people, things and places that simply must be photographed.

    Let’s see, off the top of my head, three shots that did not happen and still drive me nuts:

    1) A young woman occupying the two-person seat of the R40 train (you know, the one next to the cab), bathed in the unearthly greenish glare of fluorescent lights, opposite a guy reading a newspaper and another one dozing. She is as pissed off as can be, the expression on her face a mask of anger, sadness and disgust. Yet she is dressed in a brilliantly colored butterfly costume, with big transparent wings. I just did not have the heart to take out my camera from my bag.

    2) A bum sitting in the street, slumped in a cheap computer chair, kind of like the guy on the logo of my website. He rested his head on the handle of a shopping cart filled with ivory colored computer towers and topped with an old CRT monitor, a keyboard and even a couple of mice and modems. I think I even noticed a hub in there somewhere. The yellow plastic of old equipment and the depressed, bearded and unwashed guy would have looked ordinary in a cubicle farm, but outside in the midday New York sun they looked sad and alien. My camera was with me, but I forgot the flash card at work.

    3) Japanese museum, a glassed in stand containing a samurai’s suit of armor, surprisingly small in size. The ghostly reflection of a petit Japanese girl’s face just would not line up with the dark opening in front of the horned helmet. The museum was closing, the lighting was dim, and I just did not feel like waiting for the perfect shot.

    But then again, there are times when you take a picture, and then feel that you probably should not have. Those primitive people that feel that a photograph steals one’s soul might be onto something. It sure feels that way sometimes.Being a fan of photography has its upsides and downsides. On one hand photographers notice more things. Beautiful things. Unusual things. Things that only can be seen through the lens of the camera that lives inside your brain.

  • Michael Krakovskiy 10:40 am on February 9, 2005 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Apple QuickTake, Camera, , century technology antiques, , , , , forgotten computing machine, , , , , , , , Win 2000   

    iPhoto Retro or John Sculley’s Gift To The World of Photography 

    I collect 20th century technology antiques. They are not expensive and don’t take up much space – perfect for my cubicle museum.

    My shelf at work houses a small, but growing collection of monstrous early cellphones. There are a couple of gigantic vacuum tubes (some from an early Univac), a core memory plane, a multiprocessor unit from an Amdahl mainframe, a weird hardwired logic unit from a forgotten computing machine. My latest purchase is rather interesting – the first consumer digital camera.

    A $700 piece of equipment in 1994 Apple Quicktake 100 cameras sell for just a few bucks on eBay. I first saw one mentioned in this outstanding livejournal post. This guy’s camera still had some images in it which provided a weird time tunnel into some office party in 1994. I guess the people in the photos were celebrating extravagant Mac purchases.

    I bought two cameras on eBay for just a few bucks each, and one came with a cable and a floppy with PC software. Not even hoping that it’d work I plugged in the serial cable, installed the software on my Win 2000 machine, turned on the camera and ran the program. It worked the first time.

    Here are the two Apple QuickTake 100’s that I purchased. I bought two so I could take stereo images and view them on my 100 year old stereoscope. In a couple of years I think I’ll be able to buy a couple of iPod photo thingies for a few bucks and do what this guy did.

    Times Square at night in full .3 megapixel power (compressed to 500 width).

    Times Square at night with lower resolution option turned on

    Snow storm in Brooklyn

    Considering how difficult lighting conditions were the results are respectable. Usability wise these cameras are lacking. Even though they look like those binoculars from Star Wars movies, they have a very nasty lens cover that is very hard to open without leaving a nice fingerprint on the lens. Taking portrait orientated pictures is rather hard.

    So here I am, paying tribute to one of the last Apple products of John Sculley’s era at Apple (note how Apple CEOs are arranged in a timeline at Wikipedia – just like kings). I wonder if Steve Jobs will ever consider making an Apple digital camera. So far the fate of Apple Newton shows that to Jobs anything ever touched by Sculley is taboo.

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