Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Storm King Art Center and Bannerman Castle - Oct 2011

A pretty perfect day in Storm King (which sounds like a WoW boss fight but is also a town on the Hudson river) (photos can be found here). Kayaked on lovely water in crisp perfect fall weather to see Bannerman castle framed by changing leaves. Had lunch at the perfectly Napa style burger joint Woody's All Natural. Made it to the installation art museum Storm King Art Center, which was a magical valley full of monumental art. Landscape art makes sense, and you fullly appreciate how diminishing it is to put these pieces in a museum or even a college campus (it seems like every college campus has a Calder somewhere, but they felt more at home here).

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Williamsburg Bridge - August 2011

Some photos from our trip to Williamsburg Brooklyn and the ridiculously hip Smorgasbord market, a parking lot food market filled with foodie locavore contempo american food stalls staffed by 20-something brooklines hipsters wearing fancy hats. Though in the end, tasty food, worth the trip, and I appreciate that Williamsburg has managed to preserve its hipster character, even as Soho and the Village are now super gentrified. I've also decided that the local blue bottle coffee is my new favorte coffee spot in NYC. Amazingly flavorful brewed coffee, lots of mocha flavor. Pretty much doing the same thing as your home drip machine but with a much more "authentic narrative."

My friend asked me why all the "old-timey" filters on my photos. Mostly because I've been using the iphone app Hipstamatic (appropriate for Williamsburg) but also since I learned at the Newseum (my favorite DC museum) that several of the photo of the year awards for photo journalism went to photos taken on a hipstamatic, which gives it legitiamacy, but mostly precisely because of the all the control it takes away from you, (while replicating the hip vintage trappings of analog and making you learn old lenses and old films while giving you a nice replica analog user interface), giving you an imprecise rangefinder style viewfinder, and the inability to change filters (like the camera plus app which I've had for years but never use) has returned serendipity and a bit of skill to photography and has made it fun again.

Also, much more practical than my big old SLR, and practically, the filters hides the fact that the iPhone doesn't handle low light very well, so takes great photos at night too.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Malaysia - March 2011

Our trip to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. Hiked up the side of a Mt Kinabalu (4km tall) over 20 hours over two days (left for the summit at 2am on the 2nd day). Picture a steep rocky staircase that just keeps going and going for 8.5 km. We were walking funny for the next two weeks. Oh and it was mostly through a rain forest so it was pouring rain for most of the time.

Also, saw great marine life on our dives and had lunch on an island (saw Nemo and Dad). Great street food at the night market across from our hotel (le Meridien) in downtown Kota Kinabalu. Food bloggers (amazing to find them even in KK) led us to the best local hainanese chicken rice and seafood.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Denver - January 2011

Catching up on posting these old photos. Was busy last semester with job market and teaching, so finally getting a chance to catch up. Not much to say about the Denver photos. Nice that R- got to join me for a day or two after the interviews. Surprisingly good local gins, great local contempo food (fruition), even the Rocky Mountain Oysters at buckhorn exchange. The hotel gin martinis with local gin were appreciated, but the french one (g-vine) was most memorable. R-'s first time skiing in many many years, and did amazingly well. Did a lot of research on local ski places, Loveland was a great nearby place, good if you're experienced, short lines, but ancient lifts which run slow but pickup fast. Keystone was more beginner friendly, had a nice learners area, without the craziness of the big names, and high speed detachable lifts and gondolas. Oh, and unfortunately, the post-9/11 terrorism museum that couldn't figure out what its acronym (CELL) stood for wasn't open, but the whole concept fascinated me. Esp that it would be in Denver of all places. I like weird museum concepts, like the po-mo food museum and the anthropology museum in geneva, or the news museum in DC. New math museum in nyc sounds exciting.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Aruba - June 2011

Nice mix of beach trip, diving, and a nice hike. Learned some history and geography (formerly Dutch, and so lots of Gouda food these days. part of the A-B-C with Bonaire and Curacao off the coast of Venezuela, so its oil refinery that we drove by used to be the 2nd largest in the world and we saw a constant stream of oil tankers coming in and out.)

Not nearly as crazy dense as Bermuda (about twice the size of Manhattan or 1.5 the size of Disney World (thank you Wolfram Alpha) with only 100,000 people. Mostly full island but didn't feel densely populated at all.  I liked the colorful but subdued tropical style of the houses, each island seems to have its own palette (less precious than Bermuda).

Most surprising fact was that most of the supermarkets were quite large and all had Chinese names.
We weren't able to pinpoint just when that happened. Diving was some of the best we've been.

Mostly because warm water meant I could dive without a wet suit (which is liberating), but also great wrecks in shallow-ish water. Nice hike in what felt like the middle of nowhere, about 4-6 miles roundtrip, to a "secluded" natural pool. We were all alone there for about 30 seconds when a caravan tour of jeeps showed up disgorging a boatload of other tourists. But a crowd can be fun too.

From Aruba - June 2011

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Camera recommendations?

New photos to come soon. But for the interim, a student of mine asked me for camera recommendations. My answer is that it depends on price range and how serious you are about photography. Lumix made by Panasonic tends to be a good brand. The most popular brand is probably Canon. But Lumix uses Leica lenses, so serious photography people tend to prefer it, also for its anti-mainstream identity signaling value. Though the authority I tend to trust for most of my camera purchases is blogger Ken Rockwell I agree with him on his favorite pocket camera (a camera with the SLR style controls I had been wishing for, for a decade). He also has recommendations in the $120 range.

That said, these days I'm a strong believer in my phone camera. I use the iPhone. Partly because this article in Tech Review that convinced me that the future of photography is software not hardware. But once the iPhone had video capability (I think video is nice to capture scenic views, and the feeling of spaces), it has become my default camera. It's not as good as an exclusive point and shoot (mostly because the sensor is awful in low light, and the flash is ugly, though I tend to avoid using flash anyway), but because of apps you can download for panoramas (amazing iphone panorama app), or easy uploads to picasa, or photo editing, or its neat new HDR feature.