See… the beauty of being a foreigner in a certain country is that you can pretend you don’t speak the language.

I’m called by telemarketeers at least 4 times a week. Sure, I can have my phone number put on a list so that I’m not called anymore, but that will cut me off from ALL stuff. Also the interesting stuff, so I don’t want to do that.
So every time I’m called by a Finnish telemarketeer, I first listen who they are and whom they represent. When it’s not interesting enough, I go “Umm… I’m sorry, but do you speak English?”.
In 95% of the cases it’s quiet for a few seconds and then I hear “Click…” and then the busy tone. So that means they don’t speak English :D
4% of the cases are the brave ones who try to explain in English, but don’t manage and after four or five sentences of stuttering admit that their English is not good enough, apologize and ask if they can have someone call me back who does speak English. To which I heartily agree, because they never do anyway. But anyway… Kudos to that 4% who tries and admits they can’t handle it.
And then there’s the 1% who actually does speak English well enough to explain what they’re selling. And them I tell nicely and politely that I’m not interested.

But today…
Today was weird. I was driving downtown when my phone rang. Caller ID “unknown” it said on my phone, which instantly puts me on guard. Anyone who doesn’t want to be ID’ed is suspicious.
Anyway… I pick up and I hear in a very bad English accent “Hello, this is [insert name here] from the investment company [insert company name here] in Hong Kong.”
And I’m thinking “Hong Kong?? What the…??”
And I go in Finnish “Um, I’m sorry, but do you speak Finnish?”
It’s quiet for a few seconds and she goes “Do you speak English?”
And I go in very bad exaggeratingly slow English “Exkjoos mii, Aj no spiiik Inklisj! Doo joo spiiik Finnisj?”
It’s quiet for another few seconds, and then “Click…” and the busy tone.

And just fall in a terrible laughing fit…

I seemed to have gotten into a bad-movie watching habit with one of my best friends. We’ve seen a good number of them, and really, if you’re in the right mood, they actually CAN turn into good movies.
For example… I saw Guesthouse Paradiso in the movie theater. It’s right up there with Plan 9 from outer space. Really, it’s that bad. But I thought it was hilarious. I cried while watching, nearly soiled myself and had a terrible muscle ache in my abdomen the next day.
See… I was in the right mood when I saw Guesthouse Paradiso.

Now… For my birthday my friend gave me Farce of the Penguins. You know, like March of the Penguins, but then a lot worse. I think it’s mainly because of Bob Saget. MAN! That guy just doesn’t have it. Full House was ok still, but America’s Funniest Homevideos… That was just sad. The man’s got no sense of humor, or at least, he has no clue how to be funny or bring things in a funny way.
Anyway… Farce of the Penguins is a movie I’ll have to watch again when I’m in that mood. Tonight it just didn’t do it for me.
Surprisingly, there WAS someone who it did something to.

Cassandra, our dear cat, couldn’t be dragged away from the tv. It was like she was reading the subtitles. And she was looking so intensively at the tv that it made watching the movie (or actually her) worthwile :D

Cassandra watching Farce of the Penguins

Cassandra watching Farce of the Penguins

Cassandra watching Farce of the Penguins

Cassandra watching Farce of the Penguins

…shame on the camera?

Hmm… I guess it doesn’t work like that, eh?

Last Monday was full moon (at least on this latitude). I was in a hurry, and on my way down town. They said it would be a clear evening, but hey… Who ever believes the forecasts, right? So I was driving on the freeway and BAM! Right in my face. A HUGE full moon. HUGE! I’ve rarely seen it this huge. It was civil twilight. There was a business park to the left which cast some great reflections in the partly frozen water in front of it.
And I’m sitting in my car. Looking at the moon, looking at the business park and its reflections, looking at the back seat, where I usually always put my camera bag, and I go “Sh*T! SH*T!!! I HATE MYSELF!!! SH*T! That moon’s probably not going to be like that for another year or so. SH*T!!!”
Usually I’m very decent and not really all that wound up, but this was one of those situations, well, you know…

Today I came back from helping out a friend. I did bring the camera, but of course not the stuff I really needed for this shot. I was driving home on the freeway, when all of a sudden I see a big owl in the field next to the freeway. It was in full flight, wings spread, a magnificent image. If only…
I would’ve been able to slam the brakes and stop dead from 110 km/h, park the car on the side of the road, get my camera out of the bag, change the lens to the zoom, get out of the car, and…
I probably could’ve done most of that (let’s leave it in the middle whether or not it would’ve been wise to do it), but of course I didn’t have my zoom with me.
*sighs*

I will probably drive back there some time via the country roads. It’s said that owls usually stick around in the same area, so maybe I get a second chance…

Anyway…
You know what NOT to do…

PDN’s Billboard Year in Music Moment Photo Contest has extended its deadline until the 15th of February.
I’ve entered a couple of PDN’s competitions, so far without much luck. This competition is again filled with a massive amount of great pictures.
My fellow RMSP photographer and friend Kyle Berg has entered this year’s competition with a fantastic image (at least that’s what I think). You may say that I’m biased (which I probably am), because he’s my friend and I think he’s a great guy, but go check it out for yourself.
Check the entries and then in particular this one and you might actually find yourself agreeing with me ;)

What would a ZOO be without animals…

D200, ISO100, 1/350 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 70-200mm

D200, ISO100, 1/350 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 70-200mm

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 70-200mm

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 70-200mm

D200, ISO100, 1/90 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 70-200mm

D200, ISO100, 1/90 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 70-200mm

D200, ISO100, 1/90 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 70-200mm, Kenko 1.4x teleconverter

D200, ISO100, 1/90 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 70-200mm, 1.4x teleconverter

D200, ISO100, 1/6 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 70-200mm, 36mm extension tube

D200, ISO100, 1/6 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 70-200mm, 36mm extension tube

D200, ISO100, 1/30 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 70-200mm, 1.4x teleconverter

D200, ISO100, 1/30 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 70-200mm, 1.4x teleconverter

I’ve known Dolce&Gabbana to have really stylish ads. And even though many of them are obviously staged, i.e. people from multiple pictures placed into one, usually they are very credible. I haven’t noticed before that they would put clothes on people that wouldn’t previously be there.
The other day, however, I found this ad. It’s one page of a spread, where, again, multiple people are united in one ad, but look at this:

Dolce&Gabbana bandana

Dolce&Gabbana bandana

Is it just me or should this bandana throw some sort of shadow here and there?
I know if I would have a bandana over my eyes like that, it would cast a good shadow, even if there would be a reflector held under my face…

As a photographer you see things, you notice things, because you observe what’s happening around you. I know not everyone has a photographer’s eye, but I do believe that every has some sort of “observe-ability”. The other day, when I went climbing with a friend of mine, we saw a good example of “being oblivious of your surroundings”. A young man came out of the sports center, passed a car, walked around his own car, stepped in, started his engine and reversed straight into the car he just passed. Despite me and my friend yelling warnings.
The guy drove back into his parking space, got out, walked to the owner of the car he just hit, and said “boy, you’ve got a small model car. I didn’t even see you!”

I know, I know… Traffic accidents like this happen all the time. In one way or another I can grasp for example that you miss a car coming from the right. It’s moving, it might be somehow slipping your attention or your angle of view. But on a well lit parking lot, where you just passed the car. That’s just weird.

It happened to me once too.
I was waiting in line at the traffic lights, four cars in front of me, three cars behind me. To my left there’s a parking lot, full save for one spot. I see a guy coming out of the store, looking at the line waiting for the light to turn green. He walks to his car, gets in, and reverses. Straight into my door. And with considerable speed. I had nowhere to go, and frankly, I was too flabbergasted to have done anything. I just looked at the reverse lights of his car turning on and the car coming at me.
I had to climb out from the passenger’s side, because my door was so busted it wouldn’t open anymore. When I got out and looked over my car to the guy, who’d driven back into his parking space, he walks up to me and says “Where the HELL did you come from so fast?” I look to my right at the four cars waiting in front of me and then to the left to the three cars parked behind me, spread my arms in a “look to both sides” gesture and go “Sir, where do you THINK I was coming from?” (I could’ve added there “I just landed with my space cruiser after a 15-light-year trip to the end of the Galaxy, and thanks for the fish”, but the guy didn’t look like he would’ve understood that, anyway).

Both very similar cases. Very similar behavior.
Some sort of indirect denial of their own mistake. Which makes it all the more interesting, from a human behavioral point of view, that is.
It definitely makes me wonder what can consume people so much that they really are sometimes completely oblivious to what’s happening around them.

Food for thought…

Lightroom is for archiving photographs. Lightroom is for editing photographs, very much like Photoshop.

There’s one other trivial thing – I think – missing in Lightroom: Support for scanning images.
Photoshop has this nifty little TWAIN support, where you can scan images straight into Photoshop.

Photoshop screenshot

Photoshop screenshot

Suppose… I was a photographer already in the previous century, when there was still that weird thing with that kind of plasticcy material with its light-sensitive layer… dang… what’s it called again… Oh yeah! FILM! You got these funny strips called slides or negatives. And you’ve got a basement full of boxes of these, that need to be digitalized.
Or maybe you’re just one of those true artists who love photographing with old cameras and positive or negative film and do all kinds of old fashioned Ansel-Adamsy stuff with it and want to digitalize it afterwards for the world to see? Or maybe you don’t even have slides or negatives anymore, but boxes full of prints that need to be digitalized…?

Being a photographer using Lightroom, wouldn’t it be just the bestest thing to be able to get the same little screen from the File menu and scan from Lightroom, after which it’s added to the open catalog straight away?
I mean… Instead of opening Photoshop (or whatever other third party software that runs the scanner), scan it, save it somewhere on your hard disk, open Lightroom, search for the location where you saved the scan, and import it into the catalog in Lightroom?
That would save a good amount of time. I’m not a software programmer, but I believe that’s only a matter of copy-pasting some coding from for example Photoshop. And voilĂ , problem fixed, and another handful of photographers satisfied.

That one thing wouldn’t be all, of course… :D
Being the systematically annoying perfectionist I am, there are a couple of other things that bug me.

I mentioned the (smart) collections in the previous post.
I have a couple of projects and ideas that I have compiled in smart collections in my catalogs. I found a “workaround” (too complicated and not half as effective as I would want it to be, but it works for me for now) for the missing Save Catalog As and all my catalogs I have the smart collections of the running projects and ideas.
But here’s the thing:
If the folders in which the images are located that link to the smart collection aren’t stored in the same catalog, they don’t appear in the smart collection. So say that I have a catalog with the name 2008 and I have a catalog with the name 2009, and in both I have the smart collection with the name “Panoramic landscapes”. From the catalog 2008 I have 26 images stored in the smart collection. But when I open the catalog 2009 half of the images in that smart collection are gone, because I haven’t imported the folders in which those images are located into the 2009 catalog.

Lightroom screenshot

Lightroom screenshot

The only way to work around this problem seems to be to duplicate the specific images in a separate folder and (re)import that folder in every catalog. I’ve done that to the smart collection “Some idea”, because I found it highly irritating not to have all the images for that particular idea together.
But really, what’s the use of smart collections then? They’re not so smart after all, it seems, if they can’t locate the links to pictures in the smart collections.