As anyone who follows U.S. weather news knows, the Northeast experienced a much-delayed spring this year. We've finally had nice temperatures for about the past week, and the trees are figuratively exploding with life.
This is one of my favorite times of year, because nature very briefly exhibits colors we won't see again until the next spring: the pastel greens of new leaves, the crisp blues of haze-free skies, the spectrum colors of myriad bud petals.
New York, it turns out, is a great example of this. Today was rainy, but otherwise The City looked beautiful; most of the trees are sprouting either flowers or tiny leaves.
I have to return to Manhattan for four more days of shooting the festival. With luck, the light will be nicer and I'll have some time to document some of the spring magic.
I'd like to pass along information about one of the more unique photography products I've seen ... ever.
The BushHawk shoulder mount provides photographers a way to steady a camera mounted with a long lens, using what is essentially a rifle stock. You hold it to your shoulder, just as if it were a rifle, and look into the camera, as if it were a scope. The shutter is released using a built-in trigger button. (It's probably an ill-advised product for shooting in the White House press corps.)
This is certainly not an adequate replacement for a tripod, nor even a monopod, but the BushHawk is an interesting device that I'm sure has its advantages. I'd love to hear from anyone who's tried one.
CNN.com is currently carrying a great gallery of photos shot from Earth-orbiting spacecraft. The images were made from 1968 through 2007. Among my favorites are the photos of erupting volcanoes and swirling hurricanes.
According to an article on CNET News, Eastman Kodak Company is leaving the Better Business Bureau, a preemptive strike against their imminent banishment from the consumer protection group. (The B-to-B equivalent of "You can't fire me — I quit!")
I find this story amusing because I haven't dealt with Kodak in about ten years due to a service issue:
I left seven rolls of film with a "pro" lab in New Haven, Conn., that (in hindsight) is one of the two worst labs I've ever worked with. Rather than develop the film in-house, the lab inexplicably sent the rolls to Kodak for processing. When the film came back, three of the rolls were torn apart in multiple places, and there were holes in the other rolls; enclosed was a note claiming the film had been in that condition inside the canister. Right.
Before that, I was not an all-Fuji user — I'd use Kodak films, too, when appropriate to my shooting intents. Afterward, I avoided Kodak products as much as I could. I still do, though that's easier now that I shoot CF cards rather than film.
I'm not suggesting that all of Kodak is as customer-careless as the department that sabotaged my work; my incident was probably caused by just one or two particularly prickly and irresponsible employees. Still, I get a chuckle from Kodak unbuckling itself from a household-name consumer advocate.
It's long been known that sun flares can play gremlin to Earth-based electronics. Now the National Weather Service says that GPS satellites may be particularly at risk for interference, which could wreak navigational havoc on the increasing number of electronic devices that rely on the technology.
Business has been busy. Which is very, very weird for this time of year. But I'm loving it.
Still, there's been some sad news. My trusty Trinitron monitor faded out on me a few weeks ago. It just can't hold a color calibration anymore, which generally happens when these monitors get to be six to eight years old. Mine, however, lasted almost ten (the three I owned it for, and the seven my friend J.P. Vellotti owned it for).
Unfortunately for photographers, CRT monitors — which are better for color calibration, at better prices, than flat-screens — are near-impossible to buy new these days. Thus, my move to LCD.
Today I replaced my Trinitron with a Lacie 319, which is built with color accuracy in mind.
I've been using it for less than eight hours, so I can't say too much about my new toy (er, tool) so far. But it looks fantastic — both on my desk and on the screen.