Photo (and Poetry) Blog

Haiku Tuesday: The Bleak Wind

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The racing bleak wind died away,

Till it remained as the sound of the sea.


by Gonsui

Translation by Asataro Miyamori


iPhotography II

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Continuing the theme from yesterday, I wanted to show more photos taken with an iPhone; this time the kind of photos most people would take on vacation. After all, not everyone is into artsy photos; some people are fine with nice vacation shots.


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These are some of our vacation shots from Fregate Island in the Seychelles this summer.


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All photos in this post are taken with an iPhone X and the only processing is using the phone's auto-enhance function i.e. what most people would do with their images. No filters, no post-processing.



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In full light there’s hardly any need for any further  processing, unless you’ve taken a fancy to one filter or another.


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Using the portrait mode: nice background blur, pretty good for portraits, but not only as you can see here.


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Using the panorama mode - not bad!


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One of the rare shots with me in it. You know, the shoemaker’s children …luckily, not a bad hair day!


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Some animal photos. The last one, the lizard, would have been better with a blurred background (using the portrait mode), but animals usually don’t wait until you set up your camera. You shoot or you lose it.  Overall, not bad considering animals rarely pose.


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And lastly, two photos in low light - taken at 6am and 6pm. All phone cameras struggle on these conditions of course. But in  this size for a a photo album, Facebook or Instagram they are perfectly fine.


iPhotography

B&W Abstract Photography by Mihaela Limberea www.limberea.com


Apple’s recent mobile phone photography contest (make sure you read the fine print if you wish to participate!) made me think about the old discussion about ”what camera do you use?”. It’s a question that I get pretty often; it seems that many people still think that great equipment  makes a good photograph.  While is true that a DSLR camera does have more ”horse power” than a mobile phone, a good camera does not a photographer make. The best camera is the one that you have with you, after all. And, as Thoreau reminds us, what’s important is not what you look at, but what you see.


I have chosen three photographs here, all taken with an iPhone, and I would say that the difference is made by ”seeing” the potential, and not by having a good camera.


The image above was taken with an iPhone 6 Plus in a Nespresso shop while my husband and I were waiting for our turn to be served. It’s a lamp in the shop that nobody paid any attention to. My husband was mistified as to what excatly I was shooting; he couldn’t ”see” what that lamp could become.


The only processing done on the iPhone image was converting it to black and white using the Snapseed app, and then doing some slight editing such as highlights and contrast. And voilà, you have now a great black and white abstract photograph instead of an ordinary lamp in a shop. And yes, I do realize I have a thing with lamps!



This one was taken with an iPhone 7 Plus and depicts the roof of the Menara airport in Marrakesh. Again, minimal editing, same as above, converting to B&W in Snapseed.



This is  how the actual roof looked like. 


Tokyo Building B&W



And this a skyskraper in Tokyo, taken with a iPhone 6 Plus. Converted to black and white in Snapseed. The composition would have been helped if taken in portrait mode, but you get the point.


As you can see in these examples (I hope), there’s more to good photography than the equipment. A good education for a wannabe photographer would be a visit to a museum, studying classic painters’ techniques; this is harder to teach than Photoshop and camera functions.


I think I’ll post some more iPhone photographs, this was actually fun. And you can see that you don’t need an expensive camera to take good photographs.


Haiku Tuesday: Cicadas' Voices



What stillness! The cicadas’ voices

Penetrates the rocks.


by Basho

Translation by Asataro Miyamori


The Diva Dance

Talented Opera Singer Masters the Impossible “Diva Dance” Song


The Fifth Element is one of my  favorite movies. I was thrilled when I discovered that My Modern Met had an interesting article about The Diva Dance, an otherworldly song performed in the movie by an alien opera singer called Diva Plavalaguna. 


It seems that the composer Eric Serra had written the song so that it wouldn’t be possible for a singer to hit some of the high notes so quickly after another. The original song was performed in the movie by the Albanian opera singer Inva Mula-Tchako, and she had to sing those high notes individually; then they were arranged digitally.



Jane Zhang, a Chinese opera singer, took on the challenge and hit all notes without computer help. Listen to her amazing performance, it’ll give you goosebumps!



And here’s the (digitally enhanced) original.


Haiku Tuesday: Moon-Viewing At My Hut

The Moon


Oh, glorious moon! I strolled

Around the pond all night long.


by Basho

Translation by Asataro Miyamori


Acquainted With The Night

Acquainted with the Night


I have been one acquainted with the night.

I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.

I have outwalked the furthest city light.


I have looked down the saddest city lane.

I have passed by the watchman on his beat

And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.


I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet

When far away an interrupted cry

Came over houses from another street,


But not to call me back or say good-bye;

And further still at an unearthly height,

One luminary clock against the sky


Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right. 

I have been one acquainted with the night.


Robert Frost, Acquainted With The Night


Fire and Ice

Plateau Rosa Glacier


Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.


Robert Frost, Fire and Ice


How To Be An Artist

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A few weeks ago I’ve stumbled over an interesting article about art and artists, How to Be an Artist, by Jerry Saltz, the New York Magazine art critic. The whole article lists thirty-three points and is worth reading in full. I have inserted below a few points that resonated with me. Especially the last one. LOL.


  • Tell your own story and you will be interesting.
  • Your skill will be whatever it is you’re doing differently.
  • Writers need editors.* No exceptions.
  • Life is your syllabus: gather from everywhere.
  • The best definition of success is time - the time to do your work.
  • Be delusional: I have one solution to turn away these demons: After beting yourself up for half an hour or so, stop and say out ljud, ”Yeah, but I’m a fucking genius”.


* My comment: definitely; it’s sufficient to compare Andy Weir’s ”The Martian” (self-published) and ”Artemis”. QED.


I love Science-Fiction and I did read the whole  ”Martian”. But I wished all the time for an editor. I almost grabbed a pen and started editing myself.


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