Thursday, 1 June 2017

of waves and motion (and bell curves)

I've been considering an idea of modelling society based on what we know in two areas; social science and physics.

As a picture paints a thousand words I'll leave my description of my diagram brief.

The levels intelligence within society are described by a bell curve (lets not discuss how skewed that is here). Knowing that society is a dynamic thing I looked to the behaviour of waves to see what happens as society becomes more shallow.

A standard wave changes shape as it moves into shallow waters

and eventually as the wave reaches the "social media shallows"  the mediocre and dumbos form a dumper that pummels the higher intelligence groups.

An intelligent person (surfing the wave) must observe this formation and know when to "flick back" and not get smashed against the rocks by the rest of the wave.

I cite the "Cultural Revolution" as a clear example.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

the camera you have with you ...

despite my overwhelming urge to pound my phone into a rock every time I try to type on the fucking thing (only those who can't type, have never used a decent QWERTY keyboard and can tolerate so many spelling errors and interpretation errors could confess they like on screen keyboards) the phone makes a good camera. Not least because its always  with you. Like today, I was out wandering around and enjoying the beautiful weather when I looked back (in anticipation of some good backlighting) and found just that:

These days I reflexively put the camera into RAW and then I've got that too. I've earlier found that this combination is about 85% of the quality my GF1 (with the 14mm f2.5 lens) gives.

The camera app did a pretty decent job of this challenging lighting situation (I'd tapped on the brightest cluster of leaves over there mid lower right) but RAW and Snapseed enabled me to pull the highlights down in development and sharpen up a good image.

Here is a full segment

Based on my experience with printing I reckon this'll be good for 52.6 x 71.1 cm (20.69 x 27.97 inches).

I reckon this'll go nicely on a wall back in Australia (to remind me of here when I'm there).

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

bicycle usage preference in Finland

Growing up in Australia I've pretty much always had "derailleur" style gears. I say "pretty much" because as a kid under 10 I had a "Dragster" style bike (like this, but I don't have a picture of mine)

 which pretty much got changed into something which would later become (yes, I'm old) BMX.

One thing about that bike that non of my other bikes (until I came to Finland) had was a "Sturmey Archer" style "internal hub" gear system.  For those unfamiliar with them (and mistakenly thinking that that shifter was just for looks because "that bike doesn't have gears" this is what they look like:

Clean, and simple, with no requirement to bend the chain as it moves across the lower cassette.

I quickly discovered (with my first 10 speed bike) how sensitive the rear hanger was (riding though bush all the time) to impacts and how often one needed to tune the system (something many folks could never properly do) or it wouldn't shift properly, would make a "rattle" sound all the time (while it was partially attempting to climb up or drop down on the cluster.

A great example on how you need to adjust your derailleur:

My last bike in Australia was a Giant Yukon, which I loved and rode to work (and on trails as well as for general exersize) quite a bit for many years. Finally after some thousands of Km (literally) I needed a new rear cluster, but the Shimano Deore with "Rapid Change" worked great for me with only occasional adjustments and I loved the ability to keep a decent cadence and constant energy irrespective of slope or headwind.

Gears work. But most riders just don't know the first thing about how to use their gears properly, especially with a Derailleur system. For instance you can't just sequentially shift UP or DOWN, as you need to keep the rear sprocket more or less in line with the front sprocket, especially if you have more than 5 gears on the back sprocket. So as you shift up you eventually move from the smallest sprocket on the front to the middle, but you should do that before you've gone to the smallest on the back. Probably this will mean you'll need to change back down on the rear before changing up on the front ... which the rapid change system allows you to do (but you still need to be careful to not make a tangle of it).

It may sound complex but eventually it becomes second nature (or you just fluff it around like most people do).

Then I came to Finland where "entry level bikes" have most commonly got no gears (meaning a single gear fixed gear but with a coaster clutch / brake system not a "fixie") or a (most commonly Shimano Nexus) 7 or 9 speed hub. By most commonly I mean most of them.

These systems have the advantage that you just shift up or down with no thought of "do I need to change the front sprocket" ... just change.

Dead Simple ...

To show how common this system is here, here is a "for instance" just walking along and decided to film "poll" at my local small supermarket:

Note the number of mudguards and racks in that video. Its easy to see that bikes here aren't like most Australian bikes, they are clearly fundamentally practical transport. Because (unlike Australia) many people ride bicycles all the time, in all weathers for most of their daily stuff (like going to the shops or stuff like that).

After using my hub now for a few years I totally love it. Actually it was pretty much love at first pedal. Indeed while I see that "derailleur" style has some advantages in competition, almost none of that translates to street.

I have seen occasional posts on bicycle forums in Australia enquiring about these systems and usually they're regarded as "expensive" ... which is weird because in Finland they are fitted at almost the bottom end of the market. I expect its just another example of Australians being shagged up the butt for stuff because (either) the retail system just wants to simplify and have one thing to pedal (or the bike shops are populated by dedicated enthusiasts who just can't see the point of not being "comitted").

My bike (with the Nexus 7) has been a great transport unit and I paid 50 buck for it second hand (in really good condition. A real "low maintenance practical work horse" and my daily driver over here since 2013 (without as much as a screw driver put to it).

I wish Australians were as wise as Europeans.

PS: lastly if one is to get hung up on issues like efficiency , then I suggest reading this good reply on a forum here, its a good one.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Getting DoF at a distance

one of my pet "disturbances" is people taking pictures of a tiny toy on their keyboard from 5cm away and going on about the DoF and Bokeh of their new lens, especially when its clearly going to be useless at "normal focal distances"

The only way to get DoF is by pupil diameter, not "f stop" ... the bigger the pupil the shallower the DoF

Of course to get that pupil bigger for the same angle of view one needs either a bigger f stop OR a larger format. For instance a 50mm lens on a FullFrame camera has a pupil diameter that's about 25mm at f2 ... while the pupil diameter of a 25mm lens on a 43rds camera (capturing the same view from the same spot)  will be 12mm. Meaning less DoF

So I thought that (not having a full frame or a good 50mm f1.4 lens handy) that using my 45mm f1.7 would do the job at imaging my favourte tree if I stitched together an array of 4 shots (as it would approximate a 50mm on a full frame single frame grab).

Here that is:

Seems that while its better than my earlier attempt with the 20f1.7 (single shot with m43) it looks like its not really doing what I want ... a pixel peep (or a big print) shows that it does indeed have better DoF popping it out of the background, but not as much as my 4x5 had (standing pretty much in the same spot).

Well its better and shows more "separation" from the background.

So, I was right but there was a lesson to be learned

On a larger (again) format (like what is called Large Format) a "normal lens" (like the 50mm) is a 180mm lens and (my f5.6) lens yeilds 32mm at "wide open".

Perhaps a Full Frame with a 50mm @ f1.8 (using a 1.4 lens so as to not get too much corner darkness) would do it. However when one is using even 100ISO full sunlight will require super short shutters (or a ND filter) if you're using f1.8 ... Then there is the highlight clipping to deal with...

I still keep my 4x5 camera and some chemistry around for just this sort of specalised thing (and its cheaper than a Sony A7).