29.4.05

Fed Square, night shoot, 2005.04.28

Instead of images of/from China, here's an image from a recent visit to my favourite Arcitechtural site in Melbourne, Federation Square. More images of course over at flickr, in my Fed Sqaure set

No manipulation in Photoshop at all, other than resizing for this page.

federation square Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Nikon Coolpix 5400

27.4.05

Ripper of a week...

This week is shaping up to be a ripper of a week. I am spending today out and about with my students doing a gallery crawl, a good friend is returning to Oz, for a short holiday, today, and I'll be having a lovely Sunday brunch with my family, and the I'll be involved in a flickr dilo on Sunday as well, so all in all plenty to look forward too.

The NGV has several shows on at the moment of note.

The gallery crawl is one of the few perks in an other wise poorly paid (but rewarding) job, here's what we are seeing.

I actually got a chance to see the Henson show on a recent trip to Sydney, and was suitably impressed. His early work was I suspect presented for the first time the way he envisaged it. A mss of images displayed Salon style, overwhelming the visitor in it's density of human faces, moving out from the darkness. In Sydney the work was presented chronologically in several rooms each room being used to represent a ‘period’ in his work. This will be one show that will require several revisits I'm sure and thankfully they are selling multi-visit tickets.

Sunday's dilo, or Day in the Life of is a small game that many folks on flickr get involved with, it simply involves shooting all day and uploading the pics to flickr with the tag, dilo. It's an interesting way to get an insight into other people's lives. You post five of your best on the actual dilo page and the rest are set up in your own personal stream for folks to find and look at.

23.4.05

Kodak slips further in the Photography business

This snippet of info from my nifty little app called Net Newsreader, I have simply cut and pasted but it sdoes all the hard work reads all my RSS subscriptions for me and all I do is skim the headlines and pick and choose what I explore furhter, no more surfin' for me.

Kodak reports first quarter losses

Despite a growth in the digital arena, Kodak has reported a net loss of $142 million, or 50 cents per share, compared with net income of $21 million, or 7 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2004. Sales also fell by 3% to $2.83bn from $2.92bn in the same period last year. Kodak Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Carp says, "While the first quarter's performance was disappointing, such short-term volatility is to be expected as we transform Kodak into a digital company."

22.4.05

Mobile Phone camera and shopping trolleys

Finally have sorted my mobile phone camera image transfer woes, using my new Sony Ericsson K700i, cameraphone, in conjunction with my new bluetooth enabled G4 iBook, I can wirelessly move the files across to the HD and from there edit and or upload to anywhere I like.

Currently I have a couple of sets of images made using these kinds of cameras, shopping trolleys, and portraits.

This kind of camera may well allow me to consider an image a day approach now perhaps a second blog?

Here's a sample of what I'm doing, for the odd occasion flickr is down.

mating trolleys

I love the way these cameras so easily distort what is presented to them, the resulting images from this lo-fi camera, conjure up all sorts of ideas about photography and veracity

21.4.05

Hong Kong street Photo

Continuing my series of images from our recent trip to Hong Kong

crowds and colour clamour in Nathan Road Hong Kong

Tram boy arrested at gunpoint: witness

From the Age newspaper

A motorist has told of the "pretty brutal" arrest of a 15-year-old boy who allegedly took a tram for a joy ride last night.

David Iliff told theage.com.au about eight police cars surrounded the tram, which was at the intersection of Glenferrie Road and Wellington Street, and carrying about 10 passengers.

"A number of police officers had guns drawn and were yelling at the boy inside the tram to open the doors," he said.

Mr Iliff said a female passenger protested when the boy was pushed against a seat and handcuffed.

"She pointed at them (the police) and yelled something ... but the police were pretty angry as well and sort of pushed her aside," he said.

"Once things settled down, they talked to the witnesses, but first of all it was pretty brutal."

Mr Iliff said he was initially shocked by the police's actions."From their point of view I'm sure they didn't know if he had a gun or whether he was trying to kill people, so I guess it was appropriate, but at the same time, it did seem excessive."

Victoria Police were not immediately available for comment.

The boy allegedly drove the new low-floor Citadis tram from its depot in South Melbourne up to 30 kilometres, police said.

Detective Senior Constable Barry Hills, of the police transit division, said the boy admitted his obsession with trams during a police interview.

"He's a nice lad, he's a good lad. I think his obsession just got the better of him," he said.

Senior Constable Hills said the boy went on a test run on Friday night, stealing a tram from the South Melbourne depot and driving it to Port Melbourne, back to South Melbourne, then back again.

It was an escapade reminiscent of Nadia Tass' 1986 film Malcolm, in which an eccentric inventor played by Colin Friels loses his job as a tram driver after a joy ride on the tram tracks.

Last night, the boy allegedly drove out of the depot about 8.50pm and went to Port Melbourne. He then used the tram's directional rod to change the tracks and divert the tram towards Clarendon Street in South Melbourne.

Police said he altered the tracks again to travel down Glenferrie Road, where he picked up passengers.

Constable Hills said police were alerted to the theft by staff at Yarra Trams' control room about 9.20pm. No passengers called police.Senior Constable Hills said passengers only became suspicious of the boy, who was wearing a jacket similar to a tram driver's, just before his arrest.

"There was a couple of moments when the driver overshot the stops and was confronted by a couple of passengers, and that's when they've become a little wary."

Three sets of keys are needed to operate the Citadis trams.

Senior Constable Hills said the keys were believed to have been stolen three weeks ago from the Box Hill depot, but said the theft was not reported. "It does take considerable effort, time and concentration to drive these trams." Senior Constable Hills said the 15-year-old used the test run on Friday night to work out how to use the complicated braking system.He rejected suggestions the boy may have been taught about trams by well-meaning drivers, believing he learned simply by observing the drivers at work.

Although he stressed the potential serious consequences of the theft, Senior Constable Hills said the boy should not abandon his dream of being a tram driver. "I believe that if he stays on the straight and narrow then it's certainly not going to affect his future," he said.

The boy, from Sunshine, was taken to Boroondara police station and charged with nine offences, including two counts each of theft of trams and conduct endangering life.

He was bailed to appear before the Melbourne Children's Court on June 20.

20.4.05

Absolute Power corrupts absolutely

Today's quote comes from Ian Lobb, the creator of Lobster, the droplet that improves colour control in Photoshop.

And I'm paraphrasing here:-

“ Photoshop has the power to make all the images in the world look the same.”

19.4.05

More software monsters?

From Dpreview dot com

Adobe acquires Macromedia. Adobe has announced an agreement to acquire Macromedia in an all-stock transaction valued at $3.4 billion. Graphics software giant, Adobe, will acquire the web and application development software company Macromedia at the close of fourth quarter 2005. A press release issued today said the two companies will provide customers with a 'more powerful set of solutions for creating, managing and delivering compelling content'. More...!Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

Macromedia's spin on it all

Adobe's spin on it all?

Sigh, yet another Monster is created?

Will need time to assess and digest this one?

17.4.05

Visuals from Hong Kong

Another Hong Kong snap, processed in Photoshop, and Lobster.

Hong Kong Photo manipulated in Photoshop

Probing Questions answered

Ever wondered?

  • Can the human eyeball be knocked out of the head?
  • Was Walt Disney a fascist?
  • What's the origin of "cut to the chase"?

Here's where you'll find the answers to these and many more probing questions. Thanks to Ian for sharing

16.4.05

Hong Kong Photography

Continuing the series of images, manipulated of course, Using Photoshop, and Lobster made whilst we were in Hong Kong Recently, this image sums up my thoughts on the island quite succintly.

Shop and Shrine, Stanley Hong Kong 2005

Photoshop 10 years behind - still!

Photoshop CS2 was announced recently. The link here to digitalphotographyblog, claims to revue the software, all I read is an Adobe marketers list of "new features", nothing new there I guess? What I find interesting though is the appearance not once but twice, the phrase "non destructive editing". I am flabbergasted, that this has been made public? I mean I have long know about this and it is something very easily, demonstrated to astute students, even on poorly calibrated equipment, it's, the destructive editing is not even subtle! So what's going on over at Adobe? Is Adobe gearing up for a major shift in how it makes Photoshop work? Will we finally see an end to it's memory hogging and wasteful practice of loading ALL pixels into memory, will we get a faster and more intuitive package that responds to the slightest gestural movement of the hand and pixel?

The new Camera Raw 3.0 workflow allows settings for multiple raw files to be simultaneously modified and batch processing of raw files, to JPEG, TIFF, DNG or PSD formats, can now be done in the background without launching the main Photoshop executable. Integrated, non-destructive cropping and straightening controls allow raw files to be easily prepared for final output.1

I'm no soothsayer, nor a real industry pundit, but I'm not holding my breath for an application as graceful and elegant as Live Picture was nearly 10 years ago. Back then RAM was exepnsive, and processors expontentially slower, yet I could open a 200+ meg file in a fraction of the time Photoshop does it now. My editing was never final, I could always change anything to any degree, even after saving and closing the file, remember this was 10 years ago. Photoshop back then at Version 4 only had ‘revert to saved’ or one step of ‘undo’. Needless to say, this puppy won't be rushing out in the middle of the year and purchasing an upgrade of Photoshop, it's more than adequate now with what it does, and I've still got my copy of Live Picture running quite nicely on my Laptop thank you very much, when it comes to big fine art prints.

1My emphasis source.

14.4.05

More Honk Kong Stories

I still have some stories about Hong Kong I wanted to share with you, both.

One of the days we were in Hong Kong, was a public holiday, which really only means that the Government run places are closed, schools and the like. Anyway we were out and about doing the touristy thing most of the day, and we encountered 5 groups of young people doing their homework. This homework consisted of surveys on a variety of topics, ranging from what we did in Hong Kong to comparing our two countries International Airports, Hong Kong International is brilliant by the way, only two years old. Anyway the surveys were really ways for the students to practice their English, which varied from poor to very good. Often a tape recorder was involved as well, not sure where that fitted in?

nik in honkers

All of the students were polite and inquisitive, and very obviously studious. One of the last surveys we participated in was down on the promenade that offers good views of Victoria harbour, and virtually no retail space, anyway I took this survey, and it was conducted by 4 very polite and friendly young men. The first question on their survey was about Gender and the boys in eager anticipation had ticked the wrong box at the top of their form. So suddenly it seems I have miraculously switched genders, when I pointed this out the lads, there was a huge outburst of laughter, and I suspect that after we had finished no end of ribbing, but they were still pleased to have completed another survey. We always were asked to have our photo taken at the end, we gladly did, sadly we only snapped a couple of snaps of our inquisitive students ourselves.

come play

On our last day which we spent on Hong Kong Island we spent some time in Hong Kong park. This is a truly weird experience, usually most metropolitan parks attempt to mimic nature in some way. This park had all the usual lakes and seats and ice cream stands, as well as an aviary. A beautiful big one at that, the experience of walking amongst these birds was great, the cacophony as we walked in was not deafing but certainly loud enough to make you know where you were. After attempting a couple of meagre shots of some of the brightly coloured parrots in amongst the trees, I noticed something odd about some of the larger trees, they actually seemed to be made of concrete, they were! Which was really weird because it was fairly well done, and you needed to look real close to work it out.

The park also had a playground of course and it was surrounded by cameras, surveillance cameras! Surreal was the experience no less, here we are in the big City surrounded by huge tower blocks, and in the middle of the park a playground surrounded by closed circuit TV cameras?

From the Hip, Hong Kong

Resized and manipulated in to enhance the diagonal of the image showing warmth and coolness, age and youth, technology and tradition.

hong kong image made by shooting from the hip

Politics, Art and the Internet?

Today's political thought for the day comes from a nice little essay over at Znet, please read it.

One of my favourite artists is having major retrospective show at the Met in New York, the reason he is a favourite considering he's actually a painter? He was a connected with one of my favourite Photographers, Frederick Summer. Last year I was fortunate enough to see some real Sommer prints at the CCP in Arizona. Exquisite doesn't begin to describe them, I just wish I had more time to look at them, one day, one day I'll go back.

I sometimes wonder, what Mr Sommers would think of digital photography and technologies? He is renowned for his painstakingly beautiful silver gelatin prints, and his respect for the process involved, the computer has in some ways liberalised this and in other ways cheapened it. I can for example go out, shoot any number of images, dependant only upon my storage medium that I'm carrying, come home and automatically process them quickly, and with a minimum of effort, upload them to the web and head out again for more shooting. Is this a good or a bad thing, does volume of production lower the value of an artistic object? This very argument was had by a bunch of young enthusiastic 1st year art students back in the late 80's, I was one of them, it wasn't resolved in my mind and still isn't although I'm heartened by what I see as a burgeoning art movement involving photocopiers, the internet and public walls.

Flickr is having a massage, so I'll post a few images here, ones that I wanted to work on more on my crt monitor, as the light in Hong Kong really had me tricked, resulting in more underexposure than I would have liked, fortunately they, the images I made in Hong Kong are rescueable.

13.4.05

Another Hong Kong Photo

Shot on the streets of Hong Kong and manipulated slightly in Photoshop

tasty looking food

Daily photo from Hong Kong

I plan on posting a photo or two over the next few days from our recent trip to Honk Kong, enjoy this one, won't you?

This one is of ‘Nathan Road’

Nathan Road Hong Kong/

8.4.05

Friday 9:30 am Hong Kong

Vic Harbour

This may well be my final post here from Hong Kong, the internet access I am paying for here in the room runs out at about 3:00pm local time, it's now 9:00am, so whether or not I get a chance to post again remains to be seen.

Thursday was a funny one, really, wandered around a couple of shopping districts, on the penninsula intending to do a bit more ‘culture’ only to discover the 2 cultural institutions we wanted to see were closed. Nik needed to do some more shopping so after a nice lunch, I spent the rest of the afternoon in the hotel, uploading pictures to flickr and catching up on e-mail as well as chatting to Ed. The evening saw us, having cocktails at a bar called Felix, (designed by Philip Strack) on the 28th floor of the Pennisula Hotel (Hong Kong's swankiest) overlooking the harbour, (awesome view) followed by dinner in a swanky restaurant, called Spoon. Great restaurant experience all round, but the food and service really took the cake!

Currently have uploaded 79 photos, from the trip, all up I've taken about 806 photos, I've only loaded the ones that required the least correction as I prefer to use my CRT monitor to make these desicions, so more images will be added to the Honkers 2005 set probably during the week next week, when I am at home.

7.4.05

Live from our Hotel in Hong Kong

view from a room

Yesterday we went to Macau, it's a strange boat journey of about 50 to 75 minutes, depending on the boat, you catch. Macau, is a nice island bigger than we/I thought and we only spent a couple of hours there, had pizza in a small side street, checked out the streets and architecture, we caught the wrong bus back to the ferry, and had to quickly catch a taxi, to back track!, The cost $10.00 Hong Kong Dollars, roughly $2.00 Aus, truly amazing. Nik had trouble with the boat, but gladly didn't need the «bag», I was only worried about the odd surge here and there. The trip it was in a catamaran, both ways, but the one coming back was bigger, and faster and smoother, than the one coming over.

mulling amongst the millieu

It's weird being surrounded by the Asian tourists. You get so used to seeing them in Aus and being bemused by them and now here we are surrounded by them and in a manner of speaking connected to them in more ways them one. It's been overcast nearly everyday, and this has played havoc with my exposures, normally I set program mode to -1 stop, ( I like using program in these situations allows for more spontaneity and quicker work) this underexposure covers me for Aussie lighting conditions, but here it seems too much! Done lots and lots of shopping, some Museums and Cultural stuff, Nathan Road is just bizarre and everywhere there is decay and rust, usually augmented or surrounded by Neon. Spruikers constantly harass you around the hotels, mainly for getting tailor made suits. The crowds don't really peak till around 7 or 8 at night, with shops not really trading till 11:00 or so, so Nik can shop till almost 9:00pm, every night if she wants?

Monday saw us on Hong Kong island, via a tour group, (fuck I hate those thing), still it was only for a few hours, and as a consequence I got to experience this small temple overlooking a bay, Stanley Bay. The tram ride up and down Vic peak was awesome, and the views were great despite the overcast conditions. We left the group behind, after the Victoria peak part of the tour, and made our own way around various parts of the island, even found a small photo-gallery or two.

We had dinner that night up at Victoria peak, a very pleasant end to a hectic day.

I've added the photos to date of Hong Kong to flickr

4.4.05

Day two in Honkers

Well it's day two here and we have covered a few miles indeed! Got to check out several districts around the place and have ended up here in this little groovy bar called MiX. Which has, again free WWW, but not only that this time I am writing from a cute little iMac! This place is in the bustling business district, the language spoken here seems to be, mainly English, which sounds a bit strange after spending the last couple of days hearing the locals talk, with barely a tourist in sight! The main things we have done today, are, visit the "Jumbo" floating restaurant with a rip off ride on a Sampan, visit Stanley Bay, and actually get past the tourist traps that are supposed to be markets, and see the city from Victoria peak. We were given as part of our package, a "tour" this is where you usual get dragged around like sheep kind of tour and see the sights, one of these sights was a jewelery making factory, which in reailty are nothing more than thinnly veiled attempts at making you part with you dollar, we survived, without a. falling asleep or b. parting with any cash
The best part today I think has been the view from Victoria peak, despite the pollution.The other execllent sight today was the small temple that few of the other toursits on our free tour bothered to visit at Stanley. Yesterday's pic count barely made it to 200 and today I've taken less, mainly because we've been stuck in a bus with a couple of loud yanks and a handful of whiny poms! Still when I do get around to uploading, will try tonight form the hotel as I have checked it out and it all seems to work nicely, there will more than enough to choose from.

3.4.05

Hot off the press from Honkers!

So here we are tavelling around (In Hong Kong), this time only for a week though. I'm writing this from a hotel coffee shop just off Nathan road (crazeee). It's Sunday arvo here, and even now the streets are teeming with people. We have already braved a small street cafe for lunch, which was inresting and reasonably priced. The flavours were not the typical Chinese flavours that we get at home, and yet they weren't the same as any other flavour of Asian stryle food we eat there either! With an interseting ordering sytem that revolved around a tick sheet that was handed in at the counter on the way as you paid, it was fun to eat there. Will be prepared to give it a go again, for sure, like we've got any choice really, as the hotel food prices are... well... hotel food prices. Beer on the other hand is going to be a bit of a struggle I think some of the local 7-11's are looking ggod at this point.
sunrise...
The flight, here was not too bad, got a bit of a kip on the way. It was a night flight that left Melbourne after 11:00pm, so there wasn't much to see, except for a stunning sunrise over the wing of the plane this morning, stay tuned for the pix from flickr no doubt, I'm hoping to upload from our hotel room, which has paid broadband in the room. The day before I left I got a chance to wander around twon and make a few images in the laneways around Fed square and in Fed square itself, again if I can get them up to flickr from the hotel room I will. Shot around 200 images which for me is lot and speaks volumes about how digital has changed my approach to my image making. I have shot 133 images already in the few hours we have been here in Hong Kong! None of which will suspect will be really capable of giving off the right feel about the way this city just seems to teem! On this short trip, it's a real different feeling not having to worry about rushing off somewhere. Unlike our last trip which seemed to be one constant run from one hotel room to the next station to the next hotel room and so on. Gven the time we have here, and the fact I am using free internet, expect to see at least 2 or three more updates here while we are gone!

1.4.05

1 Year Old Today!

Well it's one year today since I started jotting down all sorts of things that relate to Photography, Photoshop and my own cybertravels. How things have changed in the short space of a year. When I first started I was still struggling with CSS (I am still am to a certain extent) and was disappointed at my percieved inability to add images here, worried that I would not be able to write enough, and planning for the big trip Overseas. Now of course I have a pro account at Flickr, and can link back here to add some images or link to my own site, have travelled around some of the large cities of the world and am about to embark on a new trip to South East Asia, albeit for a short week this time, and surprisingly managed to write a few words at least once or twice a week.

In terms of the whole idea of building some sort of readership, pffft, well that was never going to happen, really was it? But some of my friends do read this (thank you all), and on this trip overseas, I'm pretty sure internet access won't be as difficult as it was in parts of Europe,(I hope). So hopefully I can keep folks in touch with our next journey. I know that flickr folks will get to see plenty of pics after the event. As for posting pix during the event and whether or not I will be able to write here whilst gone, well we shall see.

I know I rave on about Flickr a lot, and I'm sorry if you are bored by this but I'm going to rave some more today too. A couple of things have become apparent to me thanks to the whole GNE (game that never ends) idea. Firstly, flickr is addictive, I find myself whiling away many hours reading comments, posting comments, adding work to groups, administering my own groups (3), keeping my portfolios/sets organised. Now after almost 5 months of membership, I'm starting to see who (on my contacts list anyway) are the photographers I really like, who are consistent and who pull the odd shot out of their arses so to speak. Here's my favourite list of flickrites so far. In no particualr order, (and apologies if you aren't mentioned here I can only skive off work for so long).

  • Irregulargirl, daring confrontational, edgy and poetic, is the only way to describe this chick's (with 'tude) work.
  • Macartsit11, produces, colourful, consistent and creative work, a solid eye, and a recent Mac convert to boot!
  • Shoegazer, works closely with Irregulargirl and sometimes their work is swapped and crossed over, so it's difficult to tell who shot what, still great work nonetheless.
  • Swissmiss' work is minimal and exquisite, and she occasionally visits an Aunt and documents small impromptu performance pieces.
  • Jengray, produces solid analog work often with a 6 x 4.5
  • Lunaryuna, a fellow urban photographer, shares similar interests to my self and her work is excellent, she is also quite passionate about the squared circle group.
  • Scootie, is the not only one of the few Melbourne members of flickr, who's work is consistently of a high standard, but I have also met him, in the flesh, (as a consequence of joining flickr), two other excellent Melbourne photographers are Mitchie Girl and Subsonix, aka, Dj Mudgutz who happen to be former students to boot!
  • Ozlomo consistently produces fine, lomo-shots and is also Melbourne based
  • My life as a Haint, is prolific and suitably bent, he manipulates heavily to the point where his images are barely recognisable as photographs.
  • Sam_ produces very beautiful urban landscapes, that have a fairly bleak look about them but are strong images nonetheless.

I could go on but I don't want to bore you with ALL the details, suffice to say that if i covered all of my contacts todate I'd have several screens of text for you to plough through.

Some of the other interesting things that have happened to me whilst being involved in the community that is flickr is, I've met folks who are passionate about Vegemite and aren't from Oz. A Cabbie in Brisbane regularly photographs his passengers in his cab, and discovered the joy of walking around looking down.

So happy birthday to you s2arts.blogspot.com, and thanks to all the folks at flickr who are shaping the site into what seems to be a damn fine community, one of those fabled cyber communities I've been hearing about for so long!

Pictures to follow ; )