29 September 2008

Human element

Have a look at this empty landscape. It's boring, isn't it? Not a thing that seize your attention and holds it. As some people tote like a mantra; "landscapes like this needs a human element for scale".


This must be something about how our brain works. Probably even something basal, inherited from those of our ancestors who could only say "ook" and were awfully good at climbing trees. By including a reference feature one could easily gauge distance. And thereby determine how far away the next meal, mate or predator may be.

Speaking of predators, there's always something special about closeup pictures of those large predatory mammals, isn't it? Lions, polar bears, wolves... All of them comes with a recommended minimum distance for approach. Deep inside our brain there's probably something hard-wired to crave our full attention if a large animal suddenly presents itself within our field of view. Generally, the further away the better. So when presented with a super-telephoto portrait of our animal foes, that craving function in our brain goes on red alert. Fortunately, that function is quickly moderated by the comfy-ness of your sofa and your firm grip on the TV remote control, but the attention level is raised nonetheless.

But I digress. My point is that the human element of a landscape is always there, even if it doesn't communicate to the viewer. Because, as a photographer, you have to be there. Sensing the world, and gauging distance and scale relative to your own body. The total absence of other human elements is often the most awe-inspiring of all.

That said, there is in fact a human element. A reindeer hunter with his dog.

Pentax K20D, DA* 16-50/2.8 at 50mm,
f/11 and 1/320s at ISO 200

23 September 2008

12 September 2008


This is a photo from just behind our house. An attempt to photograph how I remember the forest from my younger days, so different from how I perceive it today.

Power hungry photography

Granted, this is not really about photography.
Some would claim it's not about environmentalism either.
It is about fuel cells. Methanol fuel cells.

This summer, a company called PolyFuel showed a laptop prototype running on electricity generated by combustion of methanol. It has been touted as a "green" breakthrough, and frowned upon because methanol is mostly made from natural gas; which means it's fossil fuel.

However, methanol can be made from many sources, including atmospheric CO2. I don't know how the final equation will balance "green-ness" between methanol fuel cells and conventional batteries, but I do know one thing. I would love to have a laptop with an energy source lasting 10 hours or more, and to have spare energy cartridges that weighs less than a brick. If it could be adapted to my camera as well, then all the better.

01 September 2008

Out of silent planet

It's been a month.
More than a month.

Holidays and subsequent return to regular worklife has consumed most of my resources for a good while. Now I look forward to start writing here again. :-)

More soon.