Saturday, December 18, 2010

Captain Beefheart's 10 Commandments of Guitar Playing

I have taken this lock, stock and barrel from The Captain Beefheart Radar Station to commemorate the passing of Don Van Vliet, who showed us how roots music should be done... loud, crazy and out of control.

1. Listen to the birds

That's where all the music comes from. Birds know everything about how it should sound and where that sound should come from. And watch hummingbirds. They fly really fast, but a lot of times they aren't going anywhere.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Choose My Best Photo

1. Telecommunication

It's difficult enough being a photographer without also having to be an editor and figure out which of my shots are "the best". But at this time of the year various competitions and networking sites ask "What is your single best photo of the year?" In an attempt to answer that vexing question, I put together a bunch of candidates and asked my friends on Pentax Forums what they thought.

I've now narrowed it down to the top eight and want to get your opinion as well. Let me know in the comments which you prefer. You can click through each photo to get a larger version on Flickr. And if you find something totally different that you prefer from my Flickr stream, let me know that too.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sony PCM-M10 and Olympus LS-10 Sound Examples

There are now over sixty comments to my original Sony PCM-M10 versus Olympus LS-10 / LS-11 article and the follow-up Revisiting the Sony PCM-M10 versus Olympus LS-10 / LS-11 Discussion. Lately they have been coming thick and fast, no doubt as people look to buy something nice for Christmas. In answer to the call for some sounds to listen to, it did some quick and dirty recordings this week, which you can download in a ZIP archive.
Saturday, December 11, 2010

Official Beer Protocol of Canada

It's winter here in the Northern Hemisphere. But that doesn't stop Canadians from indulging in what they love best... beer. A hilarious photo on a photo forum inspired me to list the rules Canadian beer drinkers live by. This was off the top of my head so if you have any more, please contribute in the comments!

Here follows the Official Beer Protocol of Canada:

1. There is always time for one more beer.
Friday, December 10, 2010

Andrew Huang's Cornucopia Of Musical Goodness

It's not often I devote a post to another website; there are other blogs dedicated to the task of cycling and recycling. I must now make an exception for the most amazing -- nay genius -- Songs to Wear Pants To, home to musician Andrew Huang. Andrew takes ideas from his internet fans, fashions then into amazingly funny ditties in his home studio in Toronto and then posts them to his overly pink website... which encourages the next iteration. If you send him money he'll write a tune specially for you; otherwise you take your chances that your request will be the one in one hundred that catches his attention.

In all cases you can listen for free, while downloads are either gratis or a buck. He also has several CD compilations that come cheap for the amount of sheer work that went into them. Andrew is smart, generous and will hopefully never give up this process. Folks, this is what the Internet is all about!
Thursday, December 09, 2010

Sample Shots From Pentacon 135mm Preset

is that me in the window?

In my last article I recommended three different 135mm lenses based on their price (less than 100 significant units, whether they be dollars, pounds or euros), image quality and build. These were all M42 lenses that will require an adapter to use on your digital SLR. I have an official Pentax brand M42 to K-mount adapter to fit the Pentacon 2.8/135mm preset (made in DDR) to my K20D. Here I'll share some results and initial impressions.
Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Three 135mm Lens Recommendations

Pentacon 135mm f/2.8 preset (top)

In my last article I looked at 135mm Lenses in general and the Pentax offerings in particular. That overview considered those made for the Pentax-specific K-mount, but also those for the M42 mount, which is easily adapted to Canon, Nikon and other systems. In this article I'll be looking at some of the third-party offerings, and again much will be applicable no matter what system you use.

With dozens of brand names and hundreds of models, where does one start? I went to the various forums and blogs where people chat about such things and gathered up as many recommendations as possible. Thirteen lenses were tested by Michel Pollet on a Canon, five of which I could strike off my list since they were zooms or incompatible with Pentax (your criteria may vary). Seven lenses were tested by Dave on Pentax Forums. A related discussion managed to list 40 possibilities.
Friday, December 03, 2010

135mm Lenses

At one time almost everyone had a 135mm lens. After your prime 50mm focal length it was one of the most popular choices in order to get more telephoto "reach" while maintaining a reasonably fast maximum aperture. As a bonus a 135mm lens does not have to be too large or heavy, so it's easy to handle. And the optics are generally excellent, so you don't need to fuss and fret over which brand to buy. Unless, of course, you like fussing and fretting over such decisions, which most of us do. It's part of the fun after all!

In this article I'll pique your interest in 135mm lenses and give an overview of the Pentax-specific offerings.
Thursday, December 02, 2010

SLR Aperture Control Mechanisms

We are a little spoilt by having automatic cameras that do half the photographic thinking for us. Of course there is still plenty of room for creativity (I am no Luddite) but this can only be fully developed by knowing what is going on behind the scenes. And the best way to do that is simply by taking a historical view of the development of photographic equipment. In this article I'll explain how SLR cameras evolved to allow control over the lens aperture, something which is automatic and taken for granted today. The side benefit of obtaining this knowledge is that you'll be able to experiment with older lenses that don't do all the work for you. You may find a hidden gem and will certainly save money over buying contemporary lenses.