a whole new take on nikon vs. canon

Who needs boring discussions about crosspoint autofocus or fps or lens choices? Cut to the chase:
I'm a Canon gangsta
and you're a Nikon shorty
face the facts but hey look on the bright side
at least we're not a Pentax!
And from Joey L's very excellent blog, a note about his new rap career:
Yeah I can take pictures, but I can bust a rhyme too. I don't even know how I should begin this blog... except... that... My alter ego is born. Okay, it's true- I have started a gangster rap crew which refuses to rap about anything non photo-related. Actually, we can't rap about anything else simply because we don't know about anything else.
Yeah, polish my lens.

marching band invades newsroom

We depart from our irregularly scheduled programming to note that for 57 years, the Cal band has marched through the newsroom of the San Francisco Chronicle during Big Game week, part of the festivities leading up to its football game with archrival Stanford.

I'm not a sports nut, even though I was the sports editor of the Chronicle for 10 years (1987-1997). Maybe I was overly influenced by the line from Joseph Heller's Catch 22: ""Like Olympic medals and tennis trophies, all they signified was that the owner had done something of no benefit to anyone more capably than everyone else."

Whatever. I've always believed that the Bay Area has its sensibilities and priorities in order. While the Giants and 49ers have diehard loyalists, I don't think fans in the region can generally be characterized as "rabid." (I grew up outside New York and went to school in Boston, so I know from rabid.)

Still, every year when the Cal band came marching through the newsroom, I'd find to my own surprise that I'd get a lump in my throat. It all seemed wholesome and sweet and uncomplicated -- the traditions, the fun and, around here at least, a feeling that yeah, go ahead and have a blast, because the game is great, and it's worthy of respect and honor, but it's not life or death. Your life won't be changed in any significant way if your team wins or loses. And that's exactly the way it should be.

Now, though, there's the added poignancy of seeing a college football marching band in the context of tradition that's in decline -- the newspaper. Don't get me wrong: I don't believe that newspapers will go away. Well, maybe newspapers will go away, but not news operations, or news people. There will always be news, and there will always be demand for it. It's just the delivery system that's in a painful process of change.

Approximately 15,000 people lost their newspaper jobs in 2009 as a result of that change. And many lives have indeed changed in significant ways because of it. And there aren't any marching bands making note of it. But the game will go on, the news game, no doubt about it.


eerie, weird and wonderful

Yes, it's a commercial (for Toshiba). But it's just plain stunning. And real. Click on the picture to check it out.

And somehow it's fitting that it happened in (and over) the Nevada desert.

Stick around for the ending, too.

Regarding the idea for the commercial, the blog PocketLint notes that
"The Space Chair is in fact virtually identical to a work by UK artist Simon Faithfull, as commissioned by the Arts Catalyst in 2004, called Escape Vehicle No.6 - a film which was recently shown at the BFI Southbank.
This time, the project was done with Toshiba HD cameras. Eight of them were strapped under a weather balloon, a chair was attached, and the whole thing floated 18 miles high. When the balloon eventually burst, the rig came crashing back to Earth -- at 700 mph.


so much to like

The word is getting out (thanks in great part to Photojojo, which we also love) about Pictory. What a great new way to find outstanding work on the internets, from some of the most engaging photographers (and people) around.

The first issue, produced by one-woman show Laura Bruno Miner, features guest design and photography from Steph Goralnick and pictures from Lomokev, aka Kevin Meredith, plus the work of 23 other people on the theme "Overseas and Overwhelmed." (Check it out for yourself over here.)

In Steph's very entertaining feature interview, she gives the lowdown on Phootcamp, NYC doings and the (upward) arc of her creative career, plus lots of other fun things. (I am proud to say I have one of Steph's rings, gifted to me as we discussed (futile) attempts at keeping camera gear safe in the sandstorms of Burning Man.)

Pictory's emphasis is on storytelling, in words and pictures. All photographs have detailed captions that let you know what's going on, and where. And that's one of the main requirements for submitting to Pictory -- you have to write good captions.

The magazine is a beautifully presented collection of work that takes best advantage of the visual storytelling tools available in the digital age, while still acknowledging the power and importance of the written word.

Nice going, Laura. All that work is paying off.