Australia from Four Cameras — (4 of 4)

Moto RAZR (phone camera) The least technically capable camera I carried in Australia was the one built into my cell phone, the Moto Razr.  And when I say ‘least technically capable’ about the imaging quality, what I mean is that it is pretty atrocious. The shutter is remarkably slow, the color calibration is bland, the orientation and ergonomics are awkward and unpleasant. That said, although it was less capable than my other ‘real’ cameras, in non-traditional ways, it was the most capable. With all its limitations I was able to do some interesting things. The panorama feature was slightly redeeming – I could wave the phone in a circle, and it would stitch together a wobbly but coherent frame.  I could instantly share pictures by uploading to Instagram. I could take “selfies.”  Most importantly, I was able to use pictures as a surrogate notepad, for ‘mentally bookmarking’ things I needed to remember …

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Australia from Four Cameras — (3 of 4)

Olympus E-PL1 The E-PL1 is an amazing camera. What I love about it (aside from the image quality) is its inconspicuousness. When shooting street photography, or casual travel scenes, pointing a big DSLR neck-weight can easily tip off potential subjects that their image is being captured, and may intimidate them into feeling a need to ‘perform’ for such a large camera. The small body E-PL1 is a much friendlier camera to be in front of – it looks small and harmless, and leaves people to behave as naturally as they would if a camera weren’t around. It uses the same 13 megapixel sensor that the much larger E-30 does, but in a compact “micro 4/3” body system. The Micro 4/3 line of cameras offer big quality in a small package, and with a lens converter, I can shoot with the same glass that I use in any other E-system camera. (So …

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Australia from Four Cameras — (2 of 4)

Olympus E-500 The E-500 was the first DSLR I ever used, and I’ve been shooting with it for nearly eight years. I learned how to operate manual controls with this camera, and built a muscle memory with it that I can’t quite replicate with any other camera body. The E-500 doesn’t have the live-view features or the 13MP sensor of the E-30, my other Olympus camera body, but I chose to travel with the 500 because it’s smaller, lighter, and I am more familiar with its nuances. Comfort with a tool could be more important than features, bells, and whistles. Even with its older sensor and more limited features, it’s very capable of producing gorgeous images. I’ve always been impressed with its color accuracy, especially shooting in .jpg with no post-processing. Rich blues and greens make it great for landscapes.

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Australia from Four Cameras – (1 of 4)

It’s the biggest question I face when I get ready to take a trip – which cameras are coming along?  For my trip to Australia, I ended up packing four cameras, four lenses, and 38GB of memory cards. Each camera served its own unique purpose, and I gave all of them almost equal use. Olympus FE-170 This camera was put to market in 2006, making it the oldest of my crew. I found it on eBay for under $100 back in 2007, so you could probably put 50 cents in a vending machine to get one today. It’s a small 6 megapixel point and shoot, with 38-114mm (equivalent) zoom. By today’s standards, it is very limited in image quality, but it has something none of my other cameras did – an element of “disposability.” At 4.4 oz, and with only two buttons I needed to press, it is exactly what I …

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on Walking the World

You can tell a lot about a city by its crosswalks. In Sydney, the ‘Art and About‘ program installed large banners throughout the city illustrating the slight variations in ‘crosswalk people’ around the globe. The little blinking green man who helps you avoid becoming a traffic accident isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when considering ‘what piece of public art defines where I live?’ But… ‘God is in the details.’ A few examples: In Warsaw, Poland – the Crossing Man is shattered, wrecked, in pieces. What brought him to such a state of discombobulation? How does he even walk like that? Not only are his limbs disassociated, but his head is monstrously large. It’s as if Warsaw Man lived through WWII and hasn’t finished rebuilding. Perhaps the city is still figuring out how to become whole again. In Chicago, USA – the Crossing Man is orange, hunched, an arm …

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on National Geographic Live!

The National Geographic Society has launched a program called ‘NG Live!’ in which brilliant photographers from the magazine’s pages present their work at the Grosvenor Auditorium, in Washington D.C. to a curious and appreciative audience. Gardens by Night Diane Cook and Len Jenshel presented an alluring series of exposures from gardens around the world, captured during the darkest hours of night. The soft light from the moon casts a diaphanous glow on the beautiful landscapes in the images. Gardens, curated carefully to be visually pleasant, calming and intricate, show a hidden power at night. Fuling and Changing China I’m acquainted with the modernizing landscape along the Yangtze River from my own travels, but gained fresh perspective from the images captured by Anastasia Taylor-Lind. Her presentation ‘Fuling and Changing China’ uncovered an engaging and striking portrait of the people, structures, and natural beauty of the region. Ms. Taylor-Lind journeyed along the …

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on Cooking

I am a fumbling amateur in the kitchen. I can deftly boil pasta, sleepily scramble eggs, and drunkenly burn popcorn. Anything past that is an adventure. A few weeks ago I signed up for a food delivery service called Blue Apron, which provides the all ingredients and recipes to make 3 meals a week. My first few meals with Blue Apron have been, to understate it, a Fucking Miracle. Here’s a rundown on several of the dishes I’ve prepared: Sea Bream with Tomato Jam, Green Beans and Black Rice. This was my first whirl with B.A., and I felt like a crazy Franken-chef setting out all the ingredients. My doubts evaporated at first bite. The tomato jam was sweet and I could eat it on anything.  I usually torture rice, but the right amount of butter and lemon saved this batch. Linguini with Cod, Fresh Peas, and Spring Herbs. This was delicious, and with my extensive pasta …

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on Tysons, in Black and White

Much of the world’s Internet management and governance takes place in a corridor extending west from Washington, D.C., through northern Virginia toward Washington Dulles International Airport. Much of the United States’ military planning and analysis takes place there as well. At the center of that corridor is Tysons Corner – an unincorporated suburban crossroads once dominated by dairy farms and gravel pits. Paul E. Ceruzzi, Internet Alley: High Technology in Tysons Corner, 1945-2005

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4 Years Later

I was an intern at the Washington Post’s multimedia desk during the last Presidential Inauguration. I went out to the National Mall at 4 a.m., hoping to capture some of the early scene before reporting for my desk shift later in the morning. I took photographs of the crowds beginning to arrive, and got a sense of how giant the event would be. I remember the bitter cold, more than anything else. Returning to the WP office in Arlington by 10, the crowd’s cheering was audible across the river as the President took his oath. Since I’m no longer a ‘member of the press’ it would take an act of Congress to get me out of bed that early again. The crowd is expected to be smaller this year and the city is still buzzing, but I’m not as thrilled as I was four years ago to go out into the …

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