I've just completed a two-day course covering the M9 and Black & White Photography, with a little bit of street photography thrown in.
Leica M9, Leica Macro-Adapter M 90mm, ISO 2500, f/16, 1/15s
Granted, the focus was on training, but the Leica team did bring with them a good selection of camera bodies and lenses to play around with. The most popular lens to try among the attendees was the 50mm Noctilux.
A free eFolio is available for download.
A shot from the "top floor" of the building where the Toronto Urban Photography Workshop was held. You can listen to the podcast here.
The above photo was pieced together from eleven individual shots. The combination results in a photograph of 54 million pixels. This number is low given each shot would be in the 12mp range; it gives an indication of the amount of overlap between each adjacent shot. Generally I try for an overlap of about 1/3. Obviously I did, on average, a little more overlap than that. To avoid a lot of variation across the scene I shoot in manual mode so there is a constant aperture, speed. ISO and white balance.
In this shot I leveraged the octagon to frame the vanishing point. I used the framing of the structure to align with the lines of the building. The octagonal plug on top was aligned with the structure of the building; the picture was cropped square. While the lines point to an end point in the sky, the plug is much closer (or covers the end point) leaving some gap. The colours attract some attention but also act to frame the vanishing point as well.
Contrasting the older Commerce Court North building (in front) against the newer West Building; a contrast between traditional and modern architecture styles. I used the building on the right to frame the shot, but just as an "L" frame; I tried to line up the corners of the North & West buildings as best I could. The shorter building on the left introduces a colour contrast, but one that seems to work well with the warm colours of the old North building.
Alignment with the left edge of Scotia Tower along with the building in the foreground offers a rather simple structure of the picture overall; aligning the glass portion of the building in front with the top of Scotia Tower offers some sense of continuity but keeping the top of the building in the foreground misaligned offers some separation of the foreground from the background; the downward alignment of the lines of Scotia Tower juxtapose the upward alignment of the building in front. The flat, reflectionless image of Scotia Tower contrasts with the reflectiveness of the lower building in the foreground. The buildings in the reflection also have contrasting lines providing a sense of recursion or infinite repetition. The red of the tower contrasts nicely with the blue of the sky.
One of our assignments at TUP was to take a photograph that combined three elements: something that included a reflection, some deliberate angle and something human. Angles are covered off by the roof tops and the diagonal presented by the curb; human is covered off by the people walking through the scene and reflection is from the back of the mirror. While I took a literalist interpretation of the instructions / constraints, I enjoyed the distortion rendered through the mirror. I selected a black & white version of this photo as the colour of the background (red & green) distracted (in my mind) from the focus on the mirror which contained the three elements of the assignment.
I spent Friday through Sunday at a workshop hosted by Chris Marquardt. No question about the value; there was a lot to learn. In some respects the biggest learning: I've got a lot to learn. Sort of depressing, on the one hand, but I was given some tools and that is encouraging.
The workshop was held in a location near the corner of Church and Dundas. The above photograph was taken from the roof top of the condominium at that location where the workshop was held.
We visited San Diego last week, with side-trips to Palm Desert and Ventura and the Channel Islands off Los Angeles. I was in San Diego to attend a conference on various matters covering security, system virtualization and cloud computing. All areas within my job responsibilities.
One of the points of discussion was the consumerization of technology and the impact of that trend on business. There are two forces that will come to bear: one from the customer, manifest through higher expectations on self-service capabilities and enhanced service offerings all bundled in an easy to use package; the second from employees. Employees too will expect many of the same things, including ease of use. As pressures increase on employees to do more, their tools or lack thereof, will become the flashpoint.
Obviously to say that the trend is toward consumerization states that the current environment is not consumerized. The scope of automation in my business is vast and covers a full range of solutions from the Windows-based PC to the IBM zSeries Mainframes. However, many of these systems play a back-end role and are not directly exposed to customers and employees. The machine that most people will touch every single day is the Windows-based PC. These machine often play the role of "lip stick" seen by customers and employees. It is this single point where the consumerization battle will play out. The Windows-based PC has a long and venerable legacy and through the generations it has developed to provide a wide and deep range of capabilities, and some quirks. For one who has not grown up with the system, learning it can be a daunting task. The complexity of this platform is manifest in each and every interaction, each upgrade, each new patch. It is a solution for the technically savvy, but not the consumer. It requires deep knowledge to know how to use it; to maintain it; to keep it running in good order. Each fix presents a risk of failure and digging deeper into trouble. Reminiscent of the days when a car came with a driver who could also fix the machine when it broke.
In contrast a consumer-oriented system respects the customer's time by not wasting it through endless maintenance, complex messaging, arcane procedures; distractions from getting that task at hand completed. It directs some of its capabilities to simplifying the experience. It is this latter point that will drive consumers and technically savvy people from non-consumer-oriented platforms. Today's personal life is too busy to spend hours re-bulding operating systems; today's business life is too busy waiting for a machine to power up, power down, sift through endless alerts of meaningless event notifications.
One morning I took a walk along the shoreline of San Diego Harbour and I came across the Midway. Commissioned in September 1945, I'm sure she was a model of the current state of her time. But to look at her now, I was impressed with the size and complexity of every detail. The Midway now rests in San Diego Harbour as a museum piece, decommissioned in the 1990's.
On its current course this is the fate of the SS Windows.
Cloud computing is receiving a lot of press, or as some would put it "hype." Cloud is the new thing, what people are talking about.
While the definition remains as etherial as the name, there are a couple of points to be made about this evolution of technology provisioning and consumption: (1) it better enables alignment of investment with consumption, that is you only pay for what is used which (2) enables new business models especially those stifled by the high cost of entry of the previous consumption/provisioning models.
At the conference the expectation was that cloud is 5 to 7 years away from general consumption. I thought this was a bit long, contradicting current practice, although it may be true for the extreme cases.
So things look bright for cloud, may be even a little unrealistic. But that's OK. It's important to have a new thing that people can ask about, marketers can sell, and technologists define. To move attention off the predecessor in decline--SOA--so that may be now we can do something with it.