Video

What is Literature for?

What is Literature for? from Marcus Armitage on Vimeo.

This is a brilliant mixed-media animation by Marcus Armitage on why we read books and what they can do for us.

The animation reminds me of a great Pixar short: Your Friend the Rat which is an extra on the DVD of the Pixar film Ratatouille and is also available to buy on iTunes ($2.99).

[via Caterina.net]

Stream ice

Warren, Connecticut.

We’ve been hiking a new trail near our house called the Mattatuck trail. Just north of the Shepaug Reservoir a small stream runs into the Shepaug River and its low angle and slow enough that in our recent cold snap it developed a lot of great ice formations.

I shot over 100 still images on this small stream but also decided to experiment with video on my iPhone. I’m new at this and so, my panning skills aren’t great but these short videos will give you a taste of what it’s like on this small stream.

I’m pretty sure the bird in the background is a crow that was annoyed at our presence.

I spent an hour rock hopping up about 50 yards on this stream, taking pictures and making these crude videos. It was great.

Consider zooming them out; there should be enough resolution for most screens.

The Art of Listening

This is a documentary about making music, from instrument making to playing to mixing, mastering, and listening. It was sponsored by Sony although there are only a few plugs in it for Sony gear, the rest is a variety of musicians and music producers talking about how they make and share music. It’s about an hour and 14 minutes long.

The comparison to photography is interesting:

Music: one needs a great song, well played on a decent instrument, well recorded and mastered and played on a decent audio player to channel what the musician laid down.

Photography: one needs a great image, well recorded with decent equipment, well processed and seen on a decent screen or a decent print to channel what the photographer saw and recorded.

In the photography world I like to think of Ansel Adams: he chose great subject matter (Yosemite), used a view camera (big negative, high definition), stopped down to small apertures (more detail), used filters (to get the dramatic look he wanted), and he took great care in developing his negatives and making his prints. If you’ve ever seen a large Ansel Adams print, in person, it’s a thing of wonder and you can feel that care in the print, very much like these musicians and producers talking about the care they take in making and sharing music.

[via Uncrate]

The mathematics of sidewalk illusions

Brilliant, the best explaination of this I’ve ever seen.

“Have you ever come across an oddly stretched image on the sidewalk, only to find that it looks remarkably realistic if you stand in exactly the right spot? These sidewalk illusions employ a technique called anamorphosis — a special case of perspective art where artists represent 3D views on 2D surfaces. So how is it done? Fumiko Futamura traces the history and mathematics of perspective.”

[via The Kid Should See This]

Stroll

Apple’s full length ad for their new wireless earbuds: AirPods that work with all Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac). Apple’s advertising is on a roll recently, some great stuff.

I wish these things (and all Apple stock earbuds) fit in my ears. Alas, they don’t. I’ve been using Bose noise cancelling headphones for many years and recently upgraded to the Bose QC 35 wireless model. Excellent product and works well for me (music, phone, movies). Still, I wish I could use the AirPods, they certainly are more portable.

iPhone 7 Plus portrait mode advertisement

Apple’s new ad for the iPhone 7 Plus’s portrait mode. It’s a terrific ad, very well done: catching the girl’s various expressions, the variety of people, and the music.

It’s quite amazing what folks are doing with smartphones of all kinds these days, and this feature (multiple lenses, shallow depth of field in reality or as an effect) looks like it’s pushing things even further. I have an iPhone 6s but still prefer my cameras to shooting with it for “serious” work but it’s mostly because I find the controls easier to deal with, less about image quality which is saying something.

Lunch atop Rockefeller Center

The reason this particular construction project was so well documented was that it was Rockefeller Center.

No one, not even the photographers, is wearing safety equipment.

The subjects and the photographer are unknown, but the photo is one of the most iconic of all time. With Central Park in the background, 11 men casually have lunch 800 feet above Manhattan. In this short piece by Time Magazine, archivist Christine Rouselle explores the story behind this historic image.

[via Devour]

Penn & Teller Burn a Flag in the White House

The magicians, Penn & Teller Burn a Flag in the White House. This is an outtake from the television series, The West Wing which was on the air from 1999 through 2006. If you watch the entire thing, right up until the end, you’ll understand how a surface understanding of the American bill of rights isn’t enough. It’s brilliant writing by Aaron Sorkin and no doubt others.

This outtake is circulating because Donald Trump has stated that Americans who burn the American flag should have their citizenship revoked, stepping on the first amendment of the US Constitution which guarantees the freedom of speech and expression, and the US Supreme Court has stated that that includes flag burning.

This has been an interesting and well-studied legal matter my entire life and it came to a head during the Vietnam War protests in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Someone assuming the highest office in the US ought to have at least considered this but it seems that Donald Trump has not, or, if he has, believes that the President can sidestep the US Constitution.

These are the kinds of things that are frightening many Americans about our current political situation.