Archive for the 'ruminations' Category

Exposition of intuition

‍‍כ״ז ניסן ה׳ תשע״ב - Thursday, April 19th, 2012

I recently started a list of maxims.  At this point, it’s mostly photography related because, frankly, I was tired of 1) repeating myself and 2)reformulating a simple, memorable presentation of an idea al regel achat.

Also, I’m on my sixth gallery software install since I first put images up on this site some six years ago.  It works ok, but it uses Flash which annoys me and the fallback (primarily) for iOS doesn’t work well, which doesn’t annoy me.  I’ve decided to leave it for now, but I realize the best option to do an HTML5 gallery, probably from scratch or at least with pasted together code.  There’s plenty of nice things (and much overlap with my Facebook fan page, so it can wait.  Weiter.

So as to stop repeating myself, let me say

‍‍ו׳ ניסן ה׳ תשע״ב - Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

I’ve made a few additions to my ever neglected site.

I decided that rough is better than none, so I posted a preliminary write up of the Hasselblad 2000 FCW. Fortunately, I can cut and paste much of that V body’s review into other pages, so hopfully it will speed up the 500 ELX and 500 C(/M) reviews.

Also, I found I tend to repeat the same damn pearls of wisdom in one too many conversations, so I figured I’d make a running list and expand on each one of them in a blog post. I don’t think there is any particular order for them, but we’ll see. It might even get me to write more.

Again, we’ll see.

[UPDATED] Spending $15,000 at Adorama? Salesman: you’re “hardly worth it” and your “wife is a bitch.” Behind your back of course.

‍‍כ״ח שבט ה׳ תשע״ב - Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Update : having a very good exchange with Helen Oster of Adorama which I expected, given her deserved reputation for fast and attentive help. Will continue to provide relevant and continuing facts as best I can. Also wanted to add the following. Original post from 2/21 follows after.

[2/22/12 7pm]

I went back and forth about posting this. I could have written about the things that happened two months ago at that time. But once it went beyond me, I no longer felt “in person” conversations were sufficient. It also occurred to me that I had recommended Jimmy to others, in addition to pro/serious amateur/artist friends who drop serious money there, and I had an obligation to them, especially the first group.

I want to make it clear that I am writing about my experiences as factually as I can – while holding back names of people who have done nothing but be supportive – and on my own feelings. The one thing I won’t do is suggest a course of action for anyone. That includes both Adorama management and customers. While I really would like to recommend certain other salespeople there, I think it’s reckless because I haven’t worked with every person there, and others deserve chances. I wil make those recommendations, as I have in the past – because I do like to help those I think care and provide service – but only on a direct basis and not in “broadcast” form.

I went into the NYC store on 2/21, to mention the post to managerial staff and certain involved parties, to make sure they had a chance to deal with the situation or to object to any facts presented. Of course, they are dealing with the situation and have been in touch with me. I do not know what they are doing at this time; frankly, it’s an internal matter and I won’t offer an opinion. All businesses make missteps with customers, the point is to do right when they are in the wrong. I have a long history shopping at Adorama – some time ago I found a grey card I bought there in 1996 – and in the past, we have managed to solve any problematic issues. I am and remain a fan.

[2/21/12 4am]

You know, I spend a lot of money at Adorama.  I can wallpaper a room with my receipts.

Those receipts add up to a car, and not a cheap one.

I spend a good amount of time there and recommend the store to my personal students. With an exception or two, the sales people are nice, if varied in their level of techinical familiarity, and honest given their knowledge and the profit model of consumer electronics.  Unfortunately, this is about an exception.  One they are aware of and not dealing with.

So I write this story regretfully – it was going to be private initally, has been told in confidence to some of my friends, some of the highest-end, most accomplished photographers in the city, some with university teaching positions.  But since the story extends beyond me, since the conduct was observed by others at the store, done brazenly across the sales floor, I suppose there is no issue continuing the public trend.  Moreover, in this economy, captial expenditures are a major choice and a risk.  I think people should know whom they are dealing with, their character, when people make business choices that can make or break them.

One evening [EDIT: 8 Feb 2012, 6pm], a few weeks ago I had an issue with a used item I bought.  Mistakes happen, the rating system is more about cosmetics than function, I know this and life goes on.  I was standing at the used desk, chatting with Andy, who really is one of the nicest, fairest people you will meet.  He loves cameras as objects, as a craft, and has decades of experience to draw upon, and really works to treat people selling their camera equipment in the most honest fashion in the city – and I have dealt with just about everyone.  In any case, I moved on to looking at some used piece.   From across the floor, Jimmy Newmark, my former usual salesman, shouts out to Andy about pricing a Leica M9P and some lens, a $15,000 package.  Nothing unusal about that, except for decorum, perhaps.

Now, for the next five minutes, across the width of the floor, say 25 feet, a three, well, four way conversation is held.  Apparently, the guy was selling some equipment as well.  He was calling from his car and had his wife with him, but she was unhappy with the prices he was getting on his trade-in and was pushing for him to sell privately.  This continues for a bit and the call ends.  From his sales station, he recaps the situation as above, mentioning that he is a rich S-Y (Jewish slang for a Syrian Jew) and that he makes a fortune, real estate I believe it was, and that his wife was a pain.

A few minutes later, the call resumed, and some sort of deal is reached. Or it wasn’t. I stopped paying attention. Call ends.  Jimmy then left his station and came to talk loudly – standing next to me, initially – at Andy and other staff at the used desk.  I say “talking at,” because this wasn’t a conversation, it was a monologue, a rant. In short, he stated that the he’s a big guy, the guy drops $15K every year on a whim, but his wife is such a bitch, it’s not worth the hassle.  Nobody acknowledged him in any way; they just looked at him and walked off when he was done.

And it was a performance for my benefit.


There oughta be a word

‍‍י״ג שבט ה׳ תשע״ב - Sunday, February 5th, 2012

There oughta be a word to describe a word which results in the exact opposite response than it should at first glance. Stripped screws are not as fun as they sound. Actually, one of my least favorite things.

The benefits of having a brain: being brighter.

‍‍י״ב טבת ה׳ תשע״ב - Friday, January 6th, 2012

Cool article (based on the abstract and source – I haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet).  Another benefit to being smarter and more technical that 95% of photographers is to realize how abjectly dumb you are and how relevant some of those unknowns (and unknown unknowns) are… which means you go out and read the work of really smart people.

I will say this again-

There is no “too technical,” only “not artistic enough.”

mic check – 1/2 / 1 2 – is this thing on?

‍‍ח׳ טבת ה׳ תשע״ב - Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Hi everybody.

So last year, this site more than doubled in traffic. Not a bad result from flirting reluctantly with self promotion – handing out maybe 200 business cards since the end of October 2010. This year, goals are explicit, higher and pursued with intent. My public presence now includes:


  • This site with formal collections of finished artwork.  The visual component will be fairly static.   Text, in the form of blog posts and information pages, will be frequent and more importantly, useful.  Expect equipment and technique reviews from my unique standpoint, and I plan to add a good bibliography in the next few days.
  • My new, public Facebook page will have my most up to date work, often in a raw, lightly edited state.  What was once accessible to a select group of artists and friends will be public.  Please hit “like” and “share” it with your friends, too.
  • My work will be represented on one more site, but that’s a bit down the line and somewhat hush hush.
  • My twitter feed collects much of the above and serves as an overall RSS feed.  I still need to figure out a proper flow for these microblog links – I want to inform, not spam.  It should be manageable, but if you find a flood, let me know.


And that pretty much covers the online stuff only.  Other things are in the works – and that doesn’t include the real work : the art.

2011 was a mixed bag – everything about it could be described as half-hearted – and yet, still a success.  Let’s see what happens with some intent behind it.