The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

It Bodes well

Upgrading my camera unfortunately meant I had to upgrade Adobe Lightroom as well. But I discovered that Lightroom 6 has a basic HDR feature, which I didn't expect. For a long time I've been taking bracketed images in order to make HDR images, and then forgetting about them. Images like this one:

For comparison, here's the non-HDR image I posted back in February:

In this case, the HDR imagery expanded the dynamic range of the image without making it look really bizarre. I think it's a stronger photograph as a result, though the bottom image is still pretty.

What a difference four years makes

I've just upgraded my main camera to the same model's Mark II. The first shot doesn't seem that impressive, as it's a daylight shot of a familiar view. (There are noticeable differences in Lightroom, however.) But check this out:

That was shot at ISO-51200, 1/60th second at f/5.6. I mean, holy crap.

To put this into perspective: in order to take that shot with the Tri-X Pan film I used as a kid, I'd need a 2-second exposure at the same aperture—a 7-stop difference. The mind reels. Yes, it's grainy, but it's still crisp and accurate. (It's B&W because the sodium vapor street lamps don't produce any red light, so there's no way to correct the colors.)

The 7D I got four years ago was the first digital camera that was as good as the film cameras I used to use. This is the first one that's better.

Here are the stats, updated from 2011:

Things I didn't read while pulling apart an Include block

...and also preparing for a fundraiser at which I'm performing tomorrow:

And did I mention Apollo After Hours?

You know, I don't really like these entries

My to-do list today only has 14 items on it, of which 6 are checked off already. The actual time it will take to accomplish the remaining eight items varies between 20 minutes (laundry, tonight, essentially a fire-and-forget activity) and four hours (Staging release of the Holden Adaptive Platform).

So, once again, I'm going to shove a bunch of articles to my Kindle:

Now to do the next few things on my list...and watch the thunderstorm outside my office window.

Berlin history

Another big walking day in sunny weather took me up to Bernauerstraße and the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall Memorial):

That's a mostly-preserved but partially-reconstructed section of the wall at the corner of Bernauerstraße and Ackerstraße, near the site where the first person trying to flee over the wall was killed. It's hard to imagine that the place I'm sitting now was once in East Berlin, just a few hundred meters from the place by the Wall where Reagan gave his famous speech in 1987.

I ended the walk at the DDR Museum, which outlined what life in East Germany was like from 1945 to 1990. In between I walked down Big Hamburger Street Große Hamburger Straße, in the old Jewish quarter, and stopped to check email (and have some non-German beer) at Sophie'n eck:

This is just a few meters from the monument to all of Berlin's Jews killed during the Holocaust. More grim history.

It's also fairly close to Museum Island which—wait for it—is an island on which sits nothing but museums (and the occasional cathedral). Here's the view looking downstream from the northern tip of Museums-Insell:

Upstream a bit is the Berlin Dom, which is not a BDSM maneuver but is still big, intimidating, and German:

Note that all of these photos are from my mobile phone. I have a few hundred on my real camera, but they're inaccessible right now because I forgot the proper cable. I aim to have some of those photos up by Wednesday or Thursday.

Tomorrow I'm off to my second-favorite city in the world, where I have set aside time and calories to park at Southampton Arms for a couple of hours.

Tonight, though: I've got another 6,000 steps to go. I missed 20,000 yesterday by just a handful, but I have over 100,000 for the week, putting me almost up to 80 km. (I've yet to hit 15 km in a day. Maybe tomorrow?)

Oddly-sized photos

You may have noticed that the photos I've posted lately have unusual aspect ratios and sizes. This is because I have been lazy.

Usually, I upload photos from my camera or phone to my laptop, process them with Adobe Lightroom, and crop them to a pleasing 2:3 aspect ratio. Lately, though, I've just shot them through Google Hangouts from my phone. I have little understanding of Google's choices but they seem to be around the byte count and not around the dimensions.

Here, for example, is a shot of O'Hare Terminal 3 from this morning:

Google did that one at 1236 x 695, at 249 kB. The original is much larger (4 MB), but the same aspect ratio.

I may re-edit the photos later, after landing.

Update: here's the same photo after going through Lightroom: