Tag Archives: Photos

Tequila Snaps

Choose your poison

Elige tu veneno

I uploaded a bunch of photos of our Tequila Tasting to my Flickr page. See them here.

There’s some nice ones of friends, and of course a couple of Gordon, and a couple of others.

When I was going through and deciding which to share, I had to decide how to share them, and there’s no shortage of methods and services allowing me to do that. I’ve been a Flickr user for many years, and it’s served me pretty well. It’s clear there are many more to choose from now, though, each with their advantages and disadvantages.

That meant yesterday’s article on Gizmodo about How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost The Internet was pretty depressing reading. Flickr isn’t dead, but there are so many services to choose from now, that it has a hard time standing out. And of course, being bought by Yahoo was a bad sign, with their reputation for buying up cool services, stifling innovation, crowbarring in integration with other Yahoo products and services, and then when it doesn’t work, deleting the whole thing, including the terabytes of people’s data that have been accumulated. They’ve done it before and they’ll do it again. The wonderful Archive Team “no longer considers Yahoo as a dependable location for data“. Archive Team’s founder(?) Jason Scott wrote this excellent post about this problem – highly recommended. Also read this one which describes how Yahoo’s corporate culture lead to the situation we have now – pretty scary stuff.

In the meantime, I have lots of photos on Flickr, but they are copies of the files I have on my own machine – nothing is held solely online. As for all the groups and contacts and fun tags and discussions and favourites and so on, well, I hope Flickr manages to hold on to them.

Oh and in case you were wondering, I’m not about to start using Facebook as a photo storage and sharing site, even though they now hold the lion’s share of online photo storage. Facebook is a big shiny brightly lit room, with security cameras perched atop the barbed wire fence that is there to protect YOU from the real web, only the cameras point INWARDS.

Great Power, Responsibility Etc.

Cassie is starting a new documentary project, and there’ll be lots about that on here in the coming months. She has an old Sony PD150 MiniDV camcorder, which was quite the thing back in the early 00’s. (That will be going up on eBay soon, so if you’re interested, let me know.)

Tapes and Standard Def no longer cut the mustard, so we had to get a new camera. Cassie is the expert here, but I’ve had a pretty quick induction to the features and requirements of documentary film making from a technical standpoint. We went to a couple of camera stores, and it seemed that one option would be to get a high-end DSLR, rather than a dedicated video camera. This was because you get better light sensitivity in a DSLR than in a comparably-priced video camera – ISO settings over 10,000! In addition, a DSLR would provide us with a good camera we could use for other things, like taking pictures of our dog. Very important. In addition, the form factor was something that Cassie wants to explore in the documentary itself, so there’s an added bonus.

After much deliberation, we went into Calumet and bought a Canon 5D Mark III, plus extra batteries, memory cards, and a stabilizer rig with shoulder pad and pistol grip, to allow you to hold it like a camcorder.

After talking to the very helpful Zachary in Calumet for a while, before buying the 5D, we went to The Pork Store Cafe and had lunch with some folks we haven’t seen for a while, and to let the decision settle in our minds. We did some research on line, and the weird thing is, the camera isn’t on sale yet. All the usual review sites just had previews and tentative hands-on posts, rather than actual reviews. The Mark II was very successful and got great reviews, so we’re sure it’s going to be great, but it was coincidence that we happened to be buying the latest sought-after camera on the day it was released.

We set it up at the weekend, and I played around with it some, but we haven’t yet put it through its paces. Neither of us are photographers – Cassie is a videographer, and I piddle around. But now we have this amazing thing, and frankly I’m a little daunted. Reading some of the comments on the review sites, it makes it seem like if we don’t put this thing to the very best use, then we are not worthy of owning it. Apparently stats-quoting gearheads with kit lists in their forum sigs have the monopoly on owning stuff like this. Well, screw you. We bought one of the three available in the store, and we’re not even professionals! In fact, this is the first DSLR I’ve ever owned! My Dad had an EOS500, but I never used it. What’s ISO?

I think this is a symptom of the usual classic Petty guilt. We have this amazing ability to feel guilty or unworthy when we have something good. Basically, Cassie and I will try to get the best out of this significant purchase. But don’t you dare suggest we shouldn’t be allowed to have it.

Driving Mr Petty

Brian Petty rallying

My Dad loved motor sports, both the sport and the magazine that shared its name – there would always be the latest issue lying around when I visited, with its distinctive green cover.

Sunday was Grand Prix day, and he and my brother would always watch. I wasn’t into it so much, but I seem to have absorbed a certain amount of knowledge. I used to instinctively recognize old cars on the street (“ooh, Bugatti”) but I have less chance since moving to the US.

Dad used to drive in rallies using the family car, as part of the Civil Service Motoring Association, now called ‘Boundless by CSMA‘. He was a member of that because of his long service with the Post Office, and then with British Telecom (43 years!). At the top is a photo of him barely keeping hold of the steering wheel of the Hillman Hunter while rallying in 1972.

Brother Simon recently found these old photos of Dad driving his(?) Ford Cortina GT Mk1 around Snetterton circuit in Norfolk. I don’t know when they were taken. Some other classics in there – a Sprite? MG roadsters?

Dad's Cortina GT Snetterton 2

Dad's Cortina GT Snetterton 1

Self-documentation and Nostalgia for the Present


The glorious featureless grooved monolith of Embarcadero Substation, Folsom & Fremont. Taken using Camera Zoom FX on Android

The glorious featureless grooved monolith of Embarcadero Substation, Folsom & Fremont. Taken using Camera Zoom FX on Android

The Faux-Vintage Photo: Full Essay Parts I, II and III » Cyborgology.

This is a very interesting discussion of the possibility that the trend for

When I was in my late teens, and we used to have house parties when our parents were away, people would always be snapping photos at the party of the Strongbow-fueled teen excess. It would be a cheap 35mm camera, of course, and then in the next few days, people would take the film to get developed. There would often be a meetup later on to go through the photos of the party. I guess the modern equivalent is checking your Facebook feed the morning after.

The yearning for this faux-vintage, gritty look of photos could be said to be another manifestation of the belief in “real” experiences, artifacts and media. I’ve written about this before, and I keep meaning to write something more solid.

This article on The Awl says that “Your Beautiful Pictures Are Stupid“. I think that is an overstatement, and a symptom of a reaction to the ubiquity of these pictures. Certainly, there are a lot of them out there. People do take the pictures they make, and by extension themselves, very seriously indeed.

My take on it is do what you want, enjoy what you create, and don’t be taken in by the notion that process is more important than results*. Jump on a bandwagon if you want. Or don’t. Good examples that catch people’s eye will shine through no matter what.

*My recent efforts in “creating” “music” have been based on this idea. Er, look out!

Backup Your Android Phone Photos With The Google+ App

It’s easy to snap a load of photos and then run out of space on your phone, especially if your phone has an 8MP camera. I wanted to figure out a way to backup these photos automatically to my PC or a cloud service, and after looking around at options like Dropbox/DropCap, I discovered that the Android Google+ app has a built-in feature that allows you to automatically backup your photos to Picasa, the Google photo sharing site.

In the Android Google+ app, tap Menu > Settings > Instant Upload Settings. Then select your preferences. I have it set up so that my photos and videos are uploaded to a private Picasa album when my phone is on Wifi AND plugged in, which basically means overnight.

I can then go to the Pictures section of Google+ and decide which photos to share. Neat!

Google+ – Android Market.

Asleep On A Sunbeam

muteboy posted a photo:


You can see my college graduation t-shirt which I sleep in now. The list of names on the back included several people who dropped out, and Campus Clothing, the company which printed it, abbreviated my friend Catherine’s name to save space.

Books on the nightstand are a Will Self, and an Ed McBain compendium of police procedurals.

Anyway, beautiful dog.

JosephNils: San Francisco at Night

Up the hill towards the Sutro Tower

JosephNils: San Francisco at Night.

More amazing shots from our visiting New Orleans photog.

JosephNils: San Francisco at Dusk

View from the edge of the roof

JosephNils: San Francisco at Dusk.

More beautiful shots of SF from Patrick. We were treading carefully on the roof to get these.

Cassie is Getting Married

Cassie and her Daddy. She loves her Daddy.

JosephNils: Cassie is Getting Married.

Another lovely shot from my favourite Swedish photographer, Patrick Jackson of Elektrik Zoo.

JosephNils: The Balcony

The strip...

JosephNils: The Balcony.

Some great photos by Friend Patrick from our suite after the wedding. Many more to come!