The Kids Are Alright: a surprising discovery

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My friends all know that I’m “not good with children”, and are generally very respectful of my boundaries and tolerance levels for being around their kids. But in spending more time around kids, I have slowly been discovering that they aren’t the Antichrist I once thought them – well, the good ones, anyway.

This week I’ve had the unexpected pleasure of having fun with the two little rugrats of Melbourne friends, and as someone recently pointed out to me, they do make good photography subjects…though they can be hard to keep in focus! I even folded and threw paper planes with them, and surprised myself with how much fun it truly was.

Though I love all these shots, the first photo is my favourite – I’m sure you’ll figure out why.

Further Dioramas: carparks, cartwheels, and chat circles

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Today was, thankfully, the last day in hospital for My Good Man, and once again I found myself at the eighth-floor window with the Diorama mode. Looking down at the carpark I was enchanted by a young girl doing cartwheels across the raised central circle, and then watched as a group of patients and visitors took a seat at the edge to get a change of air. (Though that area is marked with a “No Smoking” sign, many of the people using that space disregarded it anyway.)

Classiques en Furniture

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On my last visit to these parts I drove past this beautifully-lit antiques and gift shop and made a note to one-day stop to take a photo. Tonight I made the effort to actually go there on dark, and spent a little time exploring – from the front windows – the store’s many treasures.

While editing the photos I decided to try something quite different, applying a Comic Book effect, which I think this subject lends itself to, in Picasa.

Please click the images to view full screen.

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How to Fix Stuck Pixels: a very boring story about an exciting discovery

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A few months ago I noticed with disappointment that my Olympus XZ-1 had developed a couple of “stuck”, pixels. These are pixels that stop functioning properly, and tiny pinpoints of light show on your image particularly on a dark subject (see photo above – you need to zoom in very close to see the dots that the arrows point to).

It’s usually easy to clone them out in post editing later, but it’s obviously better if you don’t have to. So I used my librarian’s brain and jumped online, and discovered that Olympus now has a setting on its cameras for recovering any lost pixels. This sent me looking for my user guide, and making the happy discovery that it was true!

I took a photo with the lens cap on, ensuring no light got to the sensor, then found the “Pixel mapping” function in the Setup Menu. Once that is selected, the camera goes about its business, and the problem is – most often, as in my case – solved! This is a great cost-and-bother-saving device, as most camera companies require the camera be returned to them for fixing this common and probably-recurrent problem. Good work, Olympus!

 

Dioramas in Toy Town: everything looks perfect from far away

It’s not often that I get the opportunity to use my camera’s Diorama art mode setting, which creates a tilt shift effect that renders far away objects to look like scale models.

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The window from My Good Man’s hospital room overlooks the leafy Melbourne suburbs, and was high enough up to turn the cars parked below, and a distant house, into something special.

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Please click the images to view full screen.

Shadows and Reflections: a big day @ Austin Health

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My Good Man has acquired an uncommon gastric condition that needed a bit of surgical intervention, so after waiting for three months to get an appointment for a Heller Myotomy, we made the journey back to Melbourne to see the capable staff at Austin Health.

Leaving earlier than necessary from our accommodations to beat the early morning traffic, we arrived ahead of our seven o’clock registration time to the hospital. In the waiting area I amused myself with trying to photograph a wee caterpillar – what I know as an “inch worm”, in fact – who all but foiled my camera’s super macro. You can see it on my finger, top left. We were frustrated by the number of people coming in after us but being admitted sooner, until finally (really only forty five minutes later) a man who walked like David Suchet’s Poirot called our name.

We were soon met by the charasmatic anesthetist we had earlier heard charming an elderly patient, and he quickly put us at ease. And then we waited more, until it was nearly 10am when MGM was wheeled off to theatre. And then I waited much more, for hour upon slow hour, trying to fill in time, but in actual fact being too anxious to settle to doing anything practical besides a little spot of photography. I did enjoy some interesting and/or amusing sights, including old hospital building reflected in new hospital windows, a sign about microwave meals, and the aforementioned inch worm. Oh, and the image of a man carrying a child across an internal bridge, reflected in the art installation in the main foyer – a shot which I had promised myself to attempt since the last visit. So that’s an achievement, right there.

At around five o’clock I was called to see the patient, who had survived the ordeal and looked pretty decent – for a man with five holes in his tummy. All’s well that ends well.

Please click the image to view full size.

 

The First Coffee of the Morning

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The first cafe latte of the morning
Is warm and soothes so well…

I found myself craving a coffee at the unaccustomed time of ten to seven this morning, so I left My Good Man in the hospital waiting room and slipped down to the cafe. The staff upstairs had kindly suggested I drink it downstairs so as to not torment the poor souls up there who had been fasting.

So I took a moment to sit and take in the fragrant brew; then my eye slid around the room and noticed how very still and quiet it was, as before the storm that was undoubtedly coming. I loved the patterns the shadows from the chairs cast on the floor.