People Photo

Flickr a Day 188: Bubble Trouble

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Kids Making Bubbles

The photostream of Sjoerd Lammers is the most surprising one explored for this series so far, because the view counts are comparatively high—for every image. Even shots taken days ago have thousands, but those a little longer reach 10,000 or much more. I picked today’s pic for being the highest, nearly 52,000, during the last year. But the selection is by no means my first choice.

Sjoerd shot the untitled image on Aug. 8, 2014, using Sony Alpha DSLR-A700. Vitals: f/4, ISO 200, 1/500 sec, 50mm. Based in The Netherlands, his occupation is street photographer, something seen at his website. He is a black-and-white shooter, and there are good reasons why his art is so viewed, faved, and commented. You won’t be disappointed submerging your eyes into his photostream. He joined Flickr in March 2013.

Photo Credit: Sjoerd Lammers

Aspiration Culture Events Society The Arts

The Heroes Are Us

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Tomorrow night begins my seventh sojourn to the greatest geekfest and pop-culture event on the planet. Imitator shows are everywhere this Century, but none commands character and class like the original. San Diego Comic-Con is an amazing amalgamation of hopes and aspirations—and the grandest storytelling—where, for four days and a Preview Night, tens of thousands of people can be themselves—fit in, rather than feel oddball—or be whom they would want to be by dressing up as beloved superheroes or villains and by adoring the storytellers and actors behind them.

The first, full three-day event took place from Aug. 1-3, 1970, at the U.S. Grand Hotel, with about 300 attendees and sci-fi luminaries, including Ray Bradbury and A.E. van Vogt. This week, 130,000 attendees will storm San Diego Convention Center to enter an alternate reality, where the social rules binding them everyday no longer apply.  Read More

People Photo

Flickr a Day 187: ‘New York City Street Performers’

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New York Street Performers

San Diego-based Nathan Rupert should be among the photographers featured, starting Day 189, for Comic-Con 2015. But his body of work is too grand to be so narrowly defined. That said, choosing one from among 33,000-plus photos is an impossible task. So I narrowed the selection to recent shots, choosing self-titled “New York City Street Performers” for its drama and griping facial expression. “These guys jumped over a group of volunteers and also did some breakdancing”, he says.

Nathan used Canon EOS 7D and EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens to capture the moment on June 13, 2015. The Canon prime produces sharp images, even when the subject is in motion. This is a street photographer’s kit. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 1600, 1/640 sec.

From South Bend, Indiana, Nathan joined the photo-sharing site in May 2006. “I am addicted to photography and Flickr”, says the IT professional. “My favorite shots are animals, people—especially surfers—and buildings at night”.

Photo Credit: Nathan Rupert

People Photo

Flickr a Day 186: ‘Sitting on a Bench’

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Lady Sitting on Bench Greece

As an American, even one who is unusually informed, my understanding of the crisis in Greece is shallow at best. But I grasp enough to know that today’s historic referendum could fundamentally change the country’s role in the Euro zone or even topple the government. Yesterday, I spent several hours looking for the right image to represent the vote, finally giving up.

The Day goes to self-titled “Sitting on a Bench”, which Spyros Papaspyropoulos shot in Crete on March 4, 2013, using the Sony NEX-6 and E 35mm F1.8 OSS lens. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/1250 sec, 35mm. In 2015, he shoots with the Ricoh GR and Fujifilm X-Pro1.  Read More

Gear Photo

Buy or Die

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Buy or Die

That is the title I gave this photo half-decade ago captured on July 24, 2010, during my second San Diego Comic-Con. In the six years attended so far, Leica X1 is unmatched for the photos produced. The digicam truly was an extension of my eyes, producing vivid, sharp. and balanced images despite indoor-lighting conditions. I also felt more in control because of the dedicated dials.

I will carry the Fujifilm X100T this year, despite strong interest in the Fuji X-T1. The fully-manual controls, particularly dedicated ISO dial, appeal. But the X100T’s aperture control ring is just too damn convenient. Five years later, auto-ISO is more than good enough, particularly when matched with sensor that delivers little noise in low light.

People Photo

Flickr a Day 185: ‘The American’

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The American

Happy Fourth of July and celebration of what would become the United States some 239 years later. Caroline Castillo captured self-titled “The American” on Aug. 27, 2006, using Canon PowerShot S2 IS. Vitals: f/3.2, 1/60 sec, 6mm. EXIF does not record the ISO. Context for our Day taker should be obvious. I find the composition appealing, but the subject’s expression is the clincher. “This shot would have been a little corny had I not post-processed with a bit of an edge”, Catoline says. Eh, maybe.

She is a portrait photographer living in Delray Beach, Fla.—or so I hope. Caroline joined Flickr in August 2005, but she is inactive since December 2010. Her photo website remains silent for nearly as long. Where is she now?

Photo Credit: Caroline Castillo


Flickr a Day 184: ‘Brilliant Emerald (Somatochlora Metallica)’

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Brilliant Emerald (Somatochlora metallica)

If dragonflies, damselflies, and butterflies are you thing—as they are mine, being a bug lover— Paul Ritchie gives glorious, intimate views of them. The Day goes to self-titled “Brilliant Emerald (Somatochlora Metallica)”, which he shot one year ago (July 2, 2014), using Nikon D90 and 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 lens. Vitals: f/4.8, ISO 500, 1/1000 sec, 195mm.

The EXIF data doesn’t reveal the difficulty of the shot. Paul describes the Brilliant Emerald as an “elusive species”. In a expedition into the Ashdown Forest, he “found my prize hawking around a clearing at a completely different stream to the one I should have been at”. But being a little paradise, as he describes it, and photographing an elusive, flighty prey is something else. “The challenge was exactly that. Panning was the only option; left to right, right to left, and back and forth, which luckily gave me something to come home with”. What a something, too.

The self-described amateur joined Flickr in August 2007, and he maintains site Hampshire Butterflies, referring to his United Kingdom town of residence. “Photography is a passion”, Paul says. “Insects provide a challenge for me with their unpredictable nature and as a subject are far more beautiful to observe and photograph”. He adds: “There is nothing I like better than to spend a few hours outdoors far from human habitation in the company of all nature has to offer”.

Photo Credit: Paul Ritchie

Apple Gear Mobility

13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display (Early 2015) Review

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MacBook Pro 2015

Reviewing most any MacBook Pro is a pointless exercise, because this year’s model isn’t much different from the previous—or the one before. That’s why I typically buy refurbished rather than new. But I broke with that practice last month, after a sudden electrical calamity laid my wife’s laptop to rest. Fried and died it is. With Apple releasing new versions of iOS and OS X and launching a streaming music service, a summer sojourn seemed opportune. I lent my beloved the Chromebook Pixel LS and purchased a new MBP. She will never give up the Google laptop, BTW.

I wouldn’t call myself super satisfied with MacBook Pro, which feels slower than the last one used, which packed 2.6GHz Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 512GB SSD. Current: 2.7GHz Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD. The 2015 model has newer-gen Intel chip compared to the 2013 refurb. Could the difference be speedier storage? Perhaps it’s subjective recall, coming from the Pixel, which feels fast, with its 2.4GHz i7 microprocessor and 16GB memory. I have long asserted that Google’s target market is the MacBook Pro buyer, and that’s a recurrent theme you’ll find if reading further.  Read More

People Photo

Flickr a Day 183: ‘Photo Bomber’

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Plane Woman Portrait

Yesterday, someone barging into the shot, made it. Today, the interrupter takes away while adding more. Self-titled “photo bomber” is more literal, given that’s a plane rising. Risto Kuulasmaa is right to keep this pic, which he captured on May 29, 2015, using Canon EOS 5D Mark II and EF17-40mm f/4L USM lens. Vitals: f/6.3, ISO 250, 1/500 sec, 40mm. I love the unexpected complimenting red hat and underwings.

Risto is from Helsinki, Finland, where he lives and works as Yie Finland’s chief of Television and Online Media.  He also is known as a startup investor and pulp media producer. Last year, he cofounded Tubecon, a Scandinavian YouTube event, which in 2015 takes place on August 8. He joined Flickr in September 2006.

Photo Credit: Risto Kuulasmaa

Blogging Ethics Health Politics Responsibility

I Should Thank the President

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Emergency Room Healthcare

We are solid citizens again, with health insurance in place for the first time since May 1, 2009. Last November, I shared about “My Uninsured Life“. Now that circumstances changed, update is warranted, even if brief. Our coverage started as of Midnight today. We are among those Americans subsidized through Obamacare.

Our monthly family premium is a paltry $101 and some change per month for HMO plan with $500 annual individual deductible. The subsidy rewards the insurer with another $1,100 during the same time period. Someone please explain to me how such a gap doesn’t somehow reflect increased healthcare costs. What the frak?  Read More

People Photo

Flickr a Day 182: ‘Tongue and Street’

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Philippines Girl Tongue Street

We begin the second half of the year with a treat—two, really; shot and shooter. San Diego, Calif.-based Wayne S. Grazio is a former Navy photographer; post-military career “volunteering for worldwide non-profit imaging assignments”. He explains: “I freelance as a hobby and occasionally take on client’s assignments and imaging projects for volunteer organizations”. His art extends behind the camera: He has a “passion for digital manipulation and learning advanced techniques in Photoshop, Lightroom, and third party plug-ins”.

Wayne shot self-titled “Tongue and Street” on June 12, 2015, using the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS. The compact’s built-in lens packs whopping 4.3-215mm focal range, which benefits he maximizes in his travels. Vitals: f/4, ISO 400, 1/250 sec, 4.3mm. Yes, he shot this one wide.  Read More


Flickr a Day 181: ‘Inner Ring Drop’

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Water Splash Art

We end the first half of the year with something not seen in this series until today. Joe Dyer is a high-speed photographer—taking “natural, mostly birds, and studio shots of liquids glass and other props”, he says. “I use a Binary Logic Photo Trigger! Laser and sound sensor for most of the shots”. At his PhotoTrigger website, he offers kits for producing the kind of splash art that takes the Day.

Joe shot self-titled “Inner Ring Drop” on March 19, 2013, using Canon EOS 7D and EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens (helluva Canon prime). Vitals: f/16, ISO 200, 1/250 sec—with the Drop Control SplashArt Water Drop Kit. Joe provides more: “Strobist info 2 YN560 through Perspex. Yellow gel on top flash, purple on bottom flash. Mounted vertically 1/32 Power, 12 inches behind drop. Liquid: Water with about 10% Corn Syrup touch of yellow food clour and dishwasher cleaner”.

He lives in Buckhurst Hill, England, and joined Flickr in November 2011.

Photo Credit: Joe Dyer