Zun Lee

InFrame – Zun Lee from InFrame on Vimeo.

This is a brilliant video, well worth watching. Zun Lee is a physician, self-taught photographer and visual storyteller based in Toronto. His story is incredible and incredibly well told through narration, video, and still images.

He’s also up on Flickr: Zun Lee.

Note: he’s using a Ricoh GR in many of the scenes in the video, my favorite camera.

[via PetaPixel]

NUMMI 2015

NUMMI 2015

This is a brilliant segment of This American Life in collaboration with Frank Langfitt and NPR news.

A car plant in Fremont California that might have saved the U.S. car industry. In 1984, General Motors and Toyota opened NUMMI as a joint venture. Toyota showed GM the secrets of its production system: How it made cars of much higher quality and much lower cost than GM achieved. Frank Langfitt explains why GM didn’t learn the lessons—until it was too late.

Wikipedia has a nice history of the NUMMI plant.

The NUMMI plant was bought by Tesla and their cars are now made there. Here’s a video of production of the Tesla Model S in the same plant.


Minka from Birdling Films on Vimeo.

A film about place and memory, a farmhouse in Japan, and the lives of the people who called it home.

Mika is a beautiful documentary by Davina Pardo about the history of a friendship looked at through the lens of an old farmhouse in Japan. It’s beautifully told and filmed and I can honestly say that it made me cry.

Well worth watching.

Update: Minka translated is “house of the people.” It’s a traditional Japanese house.

[via Laurie Fais]

Caitlin and Macintosh

Caitlin and Macintosh

Caitlin and her dad’s Macintosh at The Forman School, Litchfield, Connecticut, around 1986

I was scanning some other old photographs and came across this one, had to scan it and once done, had to tell the story of it.

In 1985 I was hired by a small boarding school for dyslexic high school students to put in a Macintosh lab and design a writing curriculum using Macs for the particular needs of those kids. The person who hired me was Caitlin’s mother Laurie and for the next two years Laurie and I built that early program together. In the process, I got to know her family well and her oldest daughter Caitlin and I became close friends.

Laurie’s husband, Eric was also an early Mac geek and so they had this Mac Plus in a small office that they all shared. When her dad was off at work Caitlin took over.

Caitlin’s family left the school shortly after I did. They moved to Kyoto, Japan for Eric to join a telecommunications laboratory doing research on the physical aspects of making language (he’s a research linguist). Caitlin and her two sisters became fluent in Japanese. We visited them there (pre digital photography) and I have yet to scan the pictures but I hope to at some point.

Caitlin came back to the US for college before the rest of her family and, well, the rest we’ll leave for another story.

Here’s a post I did on her in between these two images: Caitlin laughing.

Of course time marches on and Caitlin and her husband are building a homestead in North Carolina where they live with their sons, dog, chickens, and at least a few iPhones if not a lot more geekery.

Note: I’m guessing I took this with an Olympus XA. Even though I brought a MacVision and surveillance video camera with me from Oregon to Connecticut, it was a rather awkward setup for still photography.

Caitlin and Axton

Caitlin and Axton, New Woodstock, New York, 2013

My friend Caitlin Bateson and her son Axton at her grandfather’s memorial gathering in upstate New York.

Talk about an “arc of time.” Put the previous picture together with this one and it’s a mind blow.

I’ve known Caitlin since 1985.

Jon at Blue Bottle

Jon at Blue Bottle

Jon Moss at Blue Bottle Coffee (2014)

We met up with a “Flickr friend” who I’ve known for close to ten years who was visiting New York recently. After walking the High Line we went in for coffee at the hip, Blue Bottle Coffee in Hell’s Kitchen (I like Peet’s better but that’s just me).

I joined Flickr in 2004 and sometime in that first year I joined the Canon DSLR Group. In that group I met a number of people who have remained my online and offline friends to this day. None of us shoot Canon DSLRs anymore which is an interesting side story. One of them, a chap from Hull, England, Jon Moss got in touch in 2007 when he was coming to New York to buy some new camera equipment (at B&H of course).

Jon Moss at Ten Mile River

Jon Moss at Ten Mile River Station (2007)

We’d never met but I had a sense that Jon was a decent guy and so, invited him up to Connecticut for a visit on that trip and here’s that post: Jon Moss at Ten Mile River.

Jon at Macricostas Preserve

Jon at Macricostas Preserve (2007)

After unboxing all of his new gear I took him out to our local nature preserve to try it all out: Jon at Macricostas Preserve.

Two dudes with their weapons

Two dudes with their weapons (2007)

I’ll jump at any chance for a trip to New York so Anne and I accompanied Jon back to the city for his return trip: Two dudes with their weapons.

These days its very hip to get down on Flickr as an example of a great web service that peaked and sank after being acquired by Yahoo. This is most certainly true and Flickr’s photo sharing technology is way behind the times. But, like all of the other social networking tools, Flickr allowed and continues to allow people from all over the world to get to know one another through their photography and for that it remains one of the best tools out there. The fact that I’ve met quality people like Jon through Flickr speaks for itself.

The Battered Bastards of Baseball

I saw this trailer on Devour, found the documentary on Netflix and Anne and I watched it the other night.

The jaw-dropping true story of a real-life “Bad News Bears,” this inspiring documentary recounts the history of the Portland Mavericks, an independent professional baseball team that broke attendance records in 1973 with a roster that included a blacklisted former Yankee pitcher, a left-handed catcher, the sport’s first female general manager, and young movie star Kurt Russell, whose actor father Bing was the scrappy team’s owner.

I’m not a big sports fan and even though I lived in Eugene, Oregon during the time this team played in Portland, I’d never heard of them. That said, this documentary is a must. An amazing story, well told, about an amazing time and an amazing team.

Yosemite National Park bans drones

No Drone for You! National Park Service Bans Camera Drone Usage in Yosemite

Petapixel and now others are posting about this and its definitely worth considering. I posted a comment on Petapixel this morning and I’ll repost it here.

Here’s the National Park Service notice: Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones) Prohibited in Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite Falls

Image of Yosemite Falls and Point by flickr member ScottD75.

Over 30 years ago I spent summers climbing in Yosemite Valley. If you look at the image used in this post, you see Yosemite Falls and at the far right on that ridge is Yosemite Point. Just to the left of the point you can just make out a small pinnacle detached from the cliff which is called The Lost Arrow Spire.

When my then girlfriend and I climbed the Lost Arrow Spire what we didn’t consider was its proximity to the most populated spot in the valley: Yosemite Village. I happened to be wearing a red shirt when I lead this climb and when I topped out every car horn in the valley went off; I had no clue so many people were following us with binoculars and the sound about knocked me off the top (yes, I was tied in but I didn’t expect it, guess it was a tradition I didn’t know about).

I’m pretty sure that had there been drones around in those days someone might have decided to get a closer look at us with one. Three things to consider:

1. Had the drone gotten too close and knocked me off the A-4 pitch (back then) in the middle of this climb, it might have caused a serious problem.

2. The falls wasn’t running when we did the climb so all we could hear (before the car horns went off) was a bit of wind. I’m not sure I’d have appreciated a drone hovering nearby, even with a quiet electrical hum. If it got in the way of our leader-belayer signals I’d have been unhappy about it and it was tough to hear each other on the very extended last pitch.

3. We did take some pictures on the climb but I’d have paid a lot of money to the drone pilot/photographer for that video had it turned out well, or even if it was mediocre. (I’m having those slides scanned right now. Stay tuned for a post with them.)

One of my favorite movies on climbing in Yosemite back in the day, El Capitan, has been digitally remastered and is available on Amazon (I posted about it here). When it was made, over a single summer, the climber/filmmaker Glen Denny did the climb with the three climbers but also got footage from a helicopter. All of that is cut together by Fred Padula. The film is dated but it remains one of the finest accounts of an early climb of the Nose Route on one of the greatest granite cliffs on earth.

Bottom line: had Padula and Denny had drones, there is no doubt in my mind that they would have used them and it would have made the film better. That said, the Park service would have (correctly) warned other climbing parties on El Cap about the drones.

Can We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

The New Yorker has an excerpt of a new autobiographical graphic memoir by illustrator/cartoonist Roz Chast in the March 10, 2014 edition. It’s about her experience with aging parents, something Anne and I are going through right now. It’s full of humor and insight and compassion and its brilliant.

Here’s a link to the excerpt in The New Yorker: Sketchbook by Roz Chast

Here’s the book at Amazon (I pre-ordered it, it’s coming out in May): Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir.

This story is not unlike pieces of the award-winning graphic novel Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman which is a classic.