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Thursday, March 31, 2005


Signs of another time

Sands Motel

After about a half a year in San Jose — sorry, San José — I’m starting to develop an appreciation for the place. (There is some effort involved in this.) I’m also learning some city history in school, and certain local oddities are starting to make more sense.

San José had a huge growth spurt in the late 1950s and early ’60s, and they built some great signs back then. Fortunately, a lot of them are still standing, lending a real time-warp feeling to parts of the city — the parts that development has forsaken since the orchards first got plowed under.

The signs are exuberant and bold, playful and weird. But they often turn up in places that are anything but exuberant. The high design surrounded by low rent just screams photo essay. I’m starting to do some work on that, and I’ll be putting it up here.

This gem is on Monterey Road, part of El Camino Real, which was the main highway from the days of Spanish rule until the Eisenhower administration. That would date the sign somewhere between the two.

Monterey Road
Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Earth needs editors

Dude, seriously.

Try as I might to not let other people’s bad editing bother me, certain mistakes still fill me with rage. In this space, I vent that rage without pestering anyone who happens to be nearby. Feel free to skip this entry and come back later for more photos.

Santa Cruz Sentinel

OK, first thing: If you can’t distinguish between your and you’re, you have no business working on any publication of any type. I don’t mean to be harsh, and you’re probably a fine person with other great skills, but if its and it’s trip you up, find something else to do.

Yahoo “News”

Oh, and this one! Temperature … rising! Blood … boiling!
Must! … Correct! … Headline!

There’s nothing like people writing down clichés and spelling them in way that displays an utter lack of understanding of the phrase. Like the “for all intensive purposes” people. You might skate by with that crap in conversation, but write “bears all” when describing a tell-all book, and you’ve proven yourself to be a boob.


Back on 24th Street

3993 24th

A fine entryway in San Francisco’s Noe Valley.

Monday, March 28, 2005


Leaving the dentist’s

Shell Building

One of my favorite San Francisco structures, the Shell Building at 100 Bush Street, reflected in the less fabulous 1 Bush Plaza.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Return of Pinholio


Back when the photography I studied was in the art department, I got intrigued for a while by pinhole cameras. Not really intrigued, because real pinhole cameras are a pain in the ass. What appealed to me was the quick way to transform any camera with interchangeable lenses into a pinhole: Take a body cap and put a pinhole in it. If you’re a dork like me, you might pay a few bucks for a clean pinhole with a known diameter in rigid material. If you’re a lazy dork, you can now buy a ready-made pinhole cap for your camera.

Anyway, in a hideous blend of primitive and modern photographic techniques, I put that old pinhole cap onto the new D70. The results are 6 megapixels of pure pinholistic-icity.

Thie aperture of this pinhole, if I recall correctly, is f/167, which is to say absurdly tiny. It makes sense, then, that the depth of field is infinite. The focus is soft, but everything’s equally soft. Plus you get those cool rays of light for some reason I haven’t learned yet.

Tuesday, March 8, 2005


DSLR, meet 500mm

The D70 has the benefit of being backward compatible with older Nikon lenses, including the 500mm monster on loan from my dad. Because the digital sensor is smaller than a 35mm negative, the focal length is effectively multiplied by 1.5, making this lens act like a 750mm.

I guess that would make this plane look about 15 times closer. Unlike the hummingbird photos, this is the full frame, shrunken but not cropped.

big plane

Below is the same image at 100% (but still greatly compressed for the web).

huge plane

Click here to see the whole photo at full resolution without web compression (4 MB).

Monday, March 7, 2005


DSLR: First photos

Trying out my new Nikon D70, I headed for the fresh blossoms on the backyard peach tree…

peach blossoms

…when along came a ruby-throated hummingbird.

hummingbird perching hummingbird hovering
Friday, March 4, 2005


Breakin’ 2: Photographic boogaloo

Visual Journalism I, assignment 4: Hands.

breakin' breakin' 2
Thursday, March 3, 2005


Hey, is that Jonathan Winters?

Visual Journalism I, assignment 3: Context and impact.

three onlookers scavenger
Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Site news

Record collection + computer = geekitude

Maybe I’m a little too jazzed about this, but it’s my first Applescript project, and I think it’s pretty cool. The script checks in with iTunes every few minutes, sees what’s playing, and puts the info up on the blog pages. That’s already been going on here for a while, but what’s new is the album cover display. (So far, I’ve got about 600 of my CDs on a hard drive, and cover art for more than 500 of them.) If I’m at home and there’s music playing, you’ll see something like this in the left-hand column:

no longer playing

Yes, I am a geek.