Monday, February 22, 2010

Late Night Light Rail

Channeling Dave Beckerman, I snapped this Friday night on the way home from Karaoke (yes, I suffered for my music, now it's your turn!)

Again, it was a nice test for my new Canon S90. At ISO 800, f/2.8 at 1/15 sec, its a very clean and sharp image.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

First Day Out with Canon S90

Thursday morning, I put my new Canon S90 into the little Tyvek® envelope in which it came and slipped the package into my pants pocket. That was the whole point of getting this thing, so I could take it everywhere and never be without a camera.

So here's Dev, who along with his wife owns and operates the Loft Deli a few blocks from where I work. Dev always has a smile and a good word for me whenever I stop by to buy a sandwich or some trail mix.

Aesthetics aside, from a technical standpoint, the image is remarkably good for a compact digicam. The EXIF data says 1/30 second at f/3.3 and 10.7mm (which is almost exactly equivalent to 50mm on a 35mm camera.) More importantly the ISO is 800.

If you click on the screen capture at right, you'll see a pixel-peeping section of the image, displayed at 100% in Photoshop.

What impresses me is how little noise there is at this ISO value. With a typical pocket-sized digicam at ISO 200, and certainly by ISO 400, I would expect to see quite a lot of noise in areas such as Dev's face and the even-toned wall to his right.

Another nice thing is that this is the .jpg almost exactly as it popped out of the camera. I had only made very tiny tweaks to exposure and color balance at this point, and no sharpening.

So far, so good!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This Boy's New Toy

Oh boy! My new Toy!

I've been wanting to get a new pocketable, carry-everywhere camera for a while, and my 60th birthday, plus some cash burning a hole in my pocket, made for a convenient excuse.

What was I looking for? Oh, not too much. Image stabilization (lacking in my 4-year-old Canon A620,) 28mm equivalent on the wide end, excellent image quality for making up to 13"x19" prints... RAW capability would be nice. Oh, and all of this in a size small enough to disappear in a pants pocket.

Not too much to ask, is it? Actually, digital photo technology has progressed so rapidly that there are plenty of cameras today from many different manufacturers that could fit the bill. I've always been very happy with Canon compacts, so I wanted to stick with that brand. Even so, there was lots to choose from (except for the RAW part.)

I decided to go with the Canon S90, mainly because of its good looks. Just kidding, but it is a nice-looking little package.

I've just barely unpacked it, so I don't have much to show you at this point, but I wanted to give you some idea of its size in the photos here.

The top photo shows the S90 compared to my monthly transit pass, which is the same size as a credit card. In the lower photo, the S90 looks positively svelte next to my trusty old A620.

Here's a very positive review of the Canon S90. You probably should also read this other, not quite as glowing review as well. I included it for the sake of full disclosure and also because I've found Imaging Resources to be a reliable information source.

More to come on the Canon S90 soon.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I was delighted to see that I had a visitor for Bangalore the other day - and one who actually stayed for several minutes and looked at a few pages. So many of my hits have a visit length of "0:00" (not sure what that really means!)

I hoped you liked what you saw and visit again!

Take A Bow

Early Sunday morning at Annapolis Harbor Boatyard in Eastport.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Old School

I get to play with Jim B's Leica IIIc.
Hope you had a happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Green Energy

Found on the sunny side of Berman House, an 1890's building in Annapolis that's now an elegant bed-and-breakfast called Gibson's Landing. Berman House is a block from City Dock in one direction and a block from US Naval Academy in the other.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

When I was in college, I worked summers and holidays at Stansbury Photo in Reisterstown Plaza. The owners, Mr. & Mrs. Ehrenzweig, treated us boys as family. It was a pleasure to work there, and I learned a lot.

This photo is probably from summer 1970. The cheapest SLR we sold back then was the Praktica Nova 1B from East Germany. I noticed when I held it up to my ear and fired the shutter, it would go sproooiiiinnnggg instead of a more solid thunk like the Pentaxes, Canons, and Nikons. We loved making fun of the Pratica, and I had one of my comrades snap this photo of me being a wise-guy.

Ironically, many years later when I got back into photography, I bought and used several later-vintage Prakticas. The later models, from the 1980's, particularly the MTL models, were about equal to a middling 1967 Japanese SLR, which is to say, perfectly good.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Morning Shadows

Early morning, bright light, mini-blinds, nice vase, spiky plant.

A good recipe for a nice image. Worth getting up off the living room sofa and retrieving my camera for.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I Hearby Declare...

In early January 1957, a little before my 7th birthday, Mom took me downtown to apply for my citizenship. I remember a very patient gentleman carefully explaining to me the concept of citizenship and the obligations attached to it, to which I solemnly agreed.

I had to sign several small photos along the edges. Mom said, "Now Stevie, write neatly, because President Eisenhower is going to see this."

Would my Mom fib to me? No way, so I took it seriously and signed as carefully as my not-quite-seven-year-old motor skills allowed. What she said made sense to me, anyway. I pictured our grandfatherly President going through papers on his desk, coming to my application, smiling, and saying, "of course, Stevie should be a citizen!"

So on that long-ago January day, I took the following oath, linking me to a long line of those who came before me, those who have come since, and those still unborn who will one day adopt our country as their own:

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God