At the Olympic Stadium
Published by MartinVarsavsky.net in Trips with No Comments
My wife Nina and I were at the Olympic stadium last Thursday courtesy of Fon partners BT. The experience was very, very different from watching the Olympics on TV. While you are at the Olympic stadium there are many sports going on at the same time. Many times the crowd is confused or cheering for one event when another one is going on. Including Olympic medal ceremonies. On Thursday we saw Caster Semenya, the controversial female South African runner who was accused of being genetically a man and who went for a mysterious silver medal when it was obvious to most she could have gone for gold. I felt sorry for her but I can see why her rivals argue what they argue about her. We also saw Bolt running pass everyone else, including the other 2 Jamaicans who won the silver and bronze. It was one Jamaican celebration for a little country who deserves it. All this is in the slideshow.
There should be a Moore law of memory
Published by MartinVarsavsky.net in Internet & Technology with No Comments
Is there a Moore law of memory? Because if there isn’t there should be one. It should read like this: every 18 months you can buy twice the memory for the same price. And this Moore law of memory is finally working in my favor. As opposed to Moore law itself which seems to be a wash because whenever you get faster chips you get bigger programs, with storage memory I am now unable to produce content at the speed hard drives are falling in price. All my photography and videos taken throughout my life amount to around 3TB. Now that I take RAW photography and HD videos I consume around 100GB per month of memory. But I saw that now they make 6GB external HD for around $400. I am about to get one of those, I can put everything I ever photographed or filmed and still have enough room for a couple of years. It feels nice to be ahead.
In any case advice on what HD to get is appreciated.
First Video Lesson with Valentin Alvarez
Published by MartinVarsavsky.net in General with No Comments
Last year I studied photography with Mauro Fuentes of Fotomaf. Learning with Mauro was a fantastic experience. In general I think that photography must be the art that most people do with the least amount of studying. And it is clear to me that some studying greatly improves your ability to take pictures. Here´s an example of my photography now. I don’t know if you will like them, but what I can say is that before I used to dislike my own photography and now I am happy with it. I wish somebody could do with my voice, for example, what Mauro did with my ability to take pictures. Studying photography is like discovering yourself.
So as a result of what I learned in photography I am now studying video. Today I had my first class with Valentín Alvarez. Here’s an example of his work. It’s amazingly beautiful.
How much does your building weigh, Mr. Foster? (DOP,Teaser of a film documentary) from Valentin Alvarez on Vimeo.
Teaser of the documentary film of which I am the director of photography
Now this is my first homework. It’s in Spanish. I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II with the latest software upgrade. I was taught to shoot in 1920X1080 25. I learned how to change aperture, speed, white balance, how to focus by zoming first and then going wide angle, how to adjust for different light conditions while shooting a scene. A lot of what I learned with Mauro is applicable to what I am learning with Valentín. Valentin also told me to buy a visor, a stand, a manual focus wheel and some other video related enhancements for my camera. The good news is that I don’t need to buy a new camera.
Deberes de mi primera clase de video con Valentín Alvarez from Martin Varsavsky on Vimeo.
Peer pressure leads me to photography and I am loving it
Published by MartinVarsavsky.net in General with No Comments
As a blogger, whether you want to or not, people’s comments influence you. I spent years taking photos on phones like the N95 or simple cameras, but received many complaints from readers saying it was time to step up a level. That my photography just could not compare to what was around the blogosphere these days. And they were right.
Blogger friends like Joichi Ito, started posting incredible photos. The same thing happened with David Sifry, Rodrigo Sepúlveda and Eduardo Arcos, all great photographers. Finally, suffering from peer pressure and healthy competitiveness, I decided to scrap the phones and easy cameras and learn the basics.
Rodrigo Sepúlveda gave me my first one hour lesson and concluded that I should use Canon. According to him, if I’m a Mac user, I’m a Canon user. But since I already had some Nikon lenses from a reflex camera that I bought a few years ago, I decided to stick to Nikon. Especially after reading Ken Rockwell’s–a great blogger who writes on photography— review on the Nikon D90. So I bought one.
The way I see it, there are two big problems with photography: money and weight. It all boils down to how much money you would like to spend and how much weight you are willing to carry around. Yes, I know it may sound absurd to speak about money while buying a camera owning a yatch and an airplane, but regardless of my success as an entrepreneur, I still don’t feel comfortable carrying around 15K worth of equipment, as my friends do. Rodrigo, Joichi and David use a Canon 5D Mark II and this camera alone costs around $3000. And we need to add taxes and lenses (they have about 4 each) that cost between $1000 and $10.000 dollars to that price.
Maybe I’ll do the same in the future, but right now my limit is set at $3000. I don´t want to walk around with more than $3000 around my neck. But even more important than money is weight. Right now, I decided to set that limit at 2 kilos. Yes, I am beginning to enjoy photography, but good lenses are incredibly large and heavy. This tele, for example, weights 2.5kg. And, as I already mentioned, my friends don’t carry just one, they have at least 4. So they walk around with 10 to 15 kilos in equipment, and sometimes tripods and other stuff.
So, taking in mind these limits, I bought a Nikon D90 for approx $1000 (plus tax) that weighs 620 grams. And I also bought two lenses, a special one for portraits that weights 500 grams, costs some $1000 and takes incredible photographs without flash (that ruins everything) called 85mm F1,4 and a Sigma 18-200 that weighs 310 grams and costs some $500. This is the only one I carry with me on the street.
I also bought a Canon G10. This is an incredible camera both for pictures and videos. It weighs only 350 grams and fits in my pocket, but not a jeans pocket, as it is slightly large for that. But it is a great camera which takes very good pictures. Almost every pictures from my last weekend’s New York collection that I share below were taken with this camera. I carry it with me because I believe that spontaneity and practicality are essential in photography. Not only you don’t want to carry a suitcase full of cameras and lenses, but also the subject you want to photograph shall loose patience if you change lenses and positions to get the best light all the time.
In conclusion, now I walk around with two cameras in my backpack: my Nikon D90 with the Sigma lens (the 1.4 Nikkor lens is better for night portraits and not very versatile) and the Canon G10. That means I carry around $2000 of equipment that weights less than 2 kilos. I’m not Joichi, Rodrigo, or David, and the truth is that right now I only know about 10% of what they do, but since I started with this in Morrocco, i made lots of improvements.
Let me conclude with some photos from my NYC department, where I tried the different lenses. And before my readers start asking, I will clarify the story of the picture with the two penises. This was made by a well known American pop artist called Larry Rivers and it criticizes American society and their obsession with “who’s got a bigger one” in the sense that people in America are always measuring their “success”.