Friday, 2017-02-24

The Camera by Ansel Adams

(Page numbers are from the 12th paperback printing in 2005, but according the foreword the text is unchanged since 1980.)

I recently revisited this book after some years. I remember it to be the most interesting part of the series (Camera, Negative, and Print), and the part that probably has the most relevance to modern day digital photographers.

As a side note, if you’re starting out shooting large format film, I doubt you can find a better treatment of the subject. Chapter 10 “View-Camera Adjustments” contains an extensive discussion on stuff like tilts, swings, and rises.

The most intriguing chapter is Ch. 7, “Basic Image Management”, about visualization. Chapter 1, confusingly called “Visualization”, is actually about different sorts of cameras.

Some interesting nuggets follow.

On different lens viewing angles

In general, I do not find the normal lens especially desirable, functionally or aesthetically. The angle of view and depth of field characteristics do not seem favorable to me in interpreting space and scale. (p. 57)

Long lenses have the effect of significantly reducing the depth of field of a subject. This makes them the obvious choice when selective focus is desired, but more often the lack of depth of field is a problem and requires the use of small apertures. (p. 59, my emphasis)

“Sharp pictures of fuzzy concepts”

This oft-quoted sentence is worth quoting in context:

[…] in discussing mechanical or optical issues we must not lose sight of the much greater importance of image content — emotional, aesthetic, or literal. I believe there is nothing more disturbing than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept! (p. 73, emphasis in orginal)

Camera bags

People who just toss their stuff in bags willy-nilly grind Adam’s gears:

Although many small-camera photographers use lightweight, soft-sided camera bags, these provide little protection against bumping and jarring the delicate equipment. I am always surprised when I see several cameras, a gaggle of lenses, filters, meters, et cetera, rattling around in a soft bag with a complement of refuse and dust. (p. 172)

Instead he recommends a hard case with dividers or foam inserts, particularly one that can be used as a standing platform.


Most of the images in the book are black and white (d’uh) images in full sunlight. Part of this is probably because these images would be clearest using the printing techniques of the time.

Tuesday, 2017-01-31


January, dark outside, time for portraits!

Jan & Hedda


Hanny & Niloofar

Jan 2016 | Jan 2015 | Jan 2014 | Jan 2013 | Jan 2012 | Jan 2011 | Jan 2010 | Jan 2009

Exhibitions, Jan 2017

Salongsmåleri?!, Waldemarsudde

A fascinating view into the genre of salon or Academy art, as defined by the Paris Salon. Characterized by large canvases, and attention to (not always accurate) detail, this style of painting fell out of favor when Modernism came along.

In the same exhibit the photographer Miss Aniela showed huge prints of digital composites in the same vein, although these were “pure” images without the intellectual baggage of the classical paintings, where you needed to have some sort of mythical background to excuse showing nude young ladies.

The interesting contrast was between the very polished digital photographs and the photorealistic paintings, where the brushwork and texture made them almost more lifelike than the photos ostensibly taken from “real life”. Made you think!

Fria Fotografers Filial, Kulturhuset

In the 80s a gallery in Stockholm had shows with non-established photographers, without explicit curation. The concept is back in probably the most central space in Stockholm, and it was worth a visit. It’s an interesting cross-section of what experienced photographers consider good enough to show. Among the dross of cheesy travel pics (hi from Cuba!) and just-in-time ruin porn from the ongoing Slussen rebuilding, there was some good stuff.

Jens Olof Lasthein - Meanwhile Across the Mountain, Galleri Kontrast

Panorama images of life in the Caucasus, mostly of everyday life. Interesting glimpse into a world forgotten in the eyes of the West.

Friday, 2017-01-13

493: Under The Rainbow

Project description

Based on the difficulty raiting of this problem I guessed it had an analytical solution, and indeed the answer can be easily expressed in binomial terms.

Thursday, 2017-01-12

214: Totient Chains

Problem description.

Another Math::Prime::Util example.

211: Divisor Square Sum

Problem description.

Another Math::Prime::Util example.

131: Prime cube partnership

Problem description.

Scrounged around in the documentation to Math::Prime::Util and found this under the examples section.

Tuesday, 2017-01-10

105: Special subset sums: testing

Problem description.

The idea to use a bitmask to represent the sets is from this page, as is the clever way to test rule 2.

Thursday, 2017-01-05

Wednesday, 2017-01-04

The Corporation Wars: Insurgence by Ken MacLeod

Second volume in the series.

Unlike in Engines of Light, this second novel simply continues the action of the first, setting up for (hopefully) an explosive payoff.

I’m happy to read anything by MacLeod and I didn’t regret this either, but he has written better.