Made another video about the Lytro™ camera use recently. I had the blooming jasmine from my wife’s garden as my subject. We shot in the morning, so the birds did a great job of making a background track. Here are a couple of shots that I liked, followed by the video. The first is using “everyday” mode, showing off the focusing range. The other is from the “creative” mode, making the very close image possible. Have a look.
Years ago I was working on a film in New York City. Our location guy had been also working on a film for Woody Allen and said told us a story. According to my friend, Woody was shooting an exterior scene in Central Park, but had held up production because the sun was out and he wanted it behind a cloud, at least. So my friend was dispatched to call the National Weather Service contact that they had (pre-cell phones and iPads). He did not see any clouds in the sky. So he asked the person at the other end if clouds were coming. The response was no. Then he pleaded, “Do you even see any clouds on the radar?”
Well, if you are fan of Mr. Allen’s films, you will see a characteristic light, soft and flat. This last Sunday morning it was trying to rain at my house, but could not quite get it together to pour. So I dashed out to the lemon tree loaded with fruit and also beginning to blossom to try some shots. Here I present “When life gives you lemons, make light field pictures.”
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Not all cameras see up close well. In snapshot cameras, like the Brownie my family owned when I was a kid or event the famous Instamatic, the pictures were square, like my new Lytro®, but if you dared to get within a meter (about 39 inches for us Americans), it was game over. Blur, blur, and more blur. But my new lipstick pix machine invites me to turn on the creative mode and to move in really, really close, click on the screen to set focus, and shoot away. I had a minute in the patio of the local hospital yesterday afternoon to play with it again and found some evergreen shrubs in bright sun and in excellent health and shot a few frames. I post them for you now.
I got my degree in Biology from a department chair who was a botanist. So we did lots of field work with plants. I remember him with his Exakta and his close-up rings- I think- and wonder if his life of examination would have been much easier and more fulfilling if he had my current tool. Who knows?
(And btw, my wife did well and came home around 8. Thanks)
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I walked down Hill Street the other day entering into the light field several times. These are the buildings in LA that could be called the “classy broads” of architecture. I used some of them in the old days for the Tonight Show when we first made the set for the new host Jay Leno when he took over for Johnny Carson. Akira Yoshimura designed the set and wanted to incorporate the heyday of jazz clubs in a small piece for the band area and I shot the area around 7th Street with my 8X10, right around St. Vincent’s. We made the second story into our parade of neon signs. So it was familiar territory. Today I will share some of the shots. Next time I will include some more.
One lesson learned from using the light field camera from Ren Ng’s company is that the two modes called Everyday and Creative could be marked Exposure Adjustment instead of Everyday and Focus Adjustment instead of Creative. The manual says as much, but for some like me, I had to do some work with the camera to make this more important. You may notice that the far away things never really get tack sharp, but I would guess that many small cameras that fit in the pockets of today may have that feature. I looked at the new iPad shots posted at the Apple site and downloaded them. The close-up shots were very clear, but in the far away, not so amazing. But I digress. Have a look and some fun clicking around. If you find the little target in the lower right and click, it may transport you to the hosting site and you can click and get a full resolution picture for further play. For those who might be listening from the company, I would enjoy doing that on the local software before uploading.
And the camera is getting some fans. I helped a friend order one today. She picked the Blue one. It is supposed to come in May or June. Looks like they are selling. Yeah.
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So this afternoon I did my walk DT. (Downtown LA for you folks not from around these parts.) I cruised up Olympic east to the Alley- Santee Alley, the home of all things for sale to the 99 percenters left in Los Angeles after the Occupy folks moved and unknown to the majority of those who live west of the 405. I followed the bubble gun vendor and managed to get a few frames below, talked with a smiling new friend named Nancy Miller wanting me to take a stress test, and in general being invigorated by all the activity of the hive of humans called Los Angeles. Sunshine and a good walk made my day better.
Here are the related light fields packed in their cute little viewer windows. Captions appears as you move the cursor/finger near the bottom.
We human types are wired for roughness. Benoit Mandelbrot and Nassim Nicolas Taleb introduced me to the term and now I see it everywhere. Took a stroll on Sweetzer on a sunny day and found some stuff with which to play with my cute little kaleidoscope camera. Or overgrown lipstick pix máquina. I loved the old tree trunks and some other elements. Just stayed in the range of exposure that worked and did not worry too much about the things I could not see. (Meaning the limited brightness range of the digital sensor – but who really cares?) It’s about light and color and roughness, not technically exacting pictures like in my other life with translites and motion pictures (Amazing Spider-Man) and television (Tonight Show). Just having a walk, taking in the world around me and loving it. As I write, Oye (Rosabel’s Cubarican Club mix) spins by Gloria Estefan. I always feel the beat way more than I can tell you how they make it. It is why beer joints at the beach are more popular than pilgrimages to desert monasteries, although we may find joy in both. Have a look.
(Remember to run your cursor near the bottom of the pix for a few words of explanation.)
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I love hamburgers. But the hand-made patty kind with grilled onions… extra yummers! Irv’s is the place I pass every time I come to Pacific Studios and I finally stopped by for a late lunch and a bright sunny light field. Take a spin. You can play with focus by clicking and you can read the caption by hovering the cursor near the lower area of the frames. The last three green frog pix show off how useful the camera is in everyday mode.
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