photography pt 2

I haven’t talked about the little computer programs, called ‘apps’ for the iphone, mainly because it seems like such a boring, nerdy thing to do. And I should probably just write and post an entry as soon as I think about it rather than deliberating for weeks. Deliberating, indeed. If you don’t have an iphone this is going to be useless, so click away, now!

I’m mildly amused with retro-style camera apps. It’s pathetic really, isn’t it? You’d think that someone like me would see a name like ‘Hipstamatic’ and steer well clear of it. My only defence it that I am getting into this with my eyes open, and accused of being a hipster, falsely or not, all I know it I don’t feel like one and I don’t think they would wear an addidas top every day they’re not at work.

And ‘Hipstamatic’ is relatively expensive too. Some of the others (I’ll get to them later) are givin’ it away for free. The hipstamatic app is $2 american (that’s less than $2 Australian (LOL!)). And if you want extra lenses/film/flashes, which are all essentially filters, they come in packs of two or three and cost an extra 99c each. I was really surprised with myself that I bought them–bought them all (about 5 packs in total). But did so under the reasoning that almost everyday I end up wasting some smallish amount of money, like I’ll buy something to eat for five bucks and get halfway through and think, well that was a mistake wasn’t it.

I think the thing that gets the hipstamatic app out in front is the nice packaging. It looks nice and it looks fun. Fun is at the heart of this retro-foto mini-veer, veering away from the 40,000 megapixel ultra-HighDef telephoto lens stuff. Here’s what it looks like:

<a href=”” title=”IMG_0323 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”240″ height=”160″ alt=”IMG_0323″></a>

It’s skinnable in the way mp3 players or browsers are. This is the ‘Mr.Blingy’ skin that comes with one of the packs. It looks nice but actually is hard to see if standing in sunlight.

<a href=”” title=”IMG_0322 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”240″ height=”160″ alt=”IMG_0322″></a>

This is the back, the ‘Cowgirl’ skin, released as a freebie during the recent SXSW thingo. As you can see the view-finder is rather small, which is part of the whole analog thing. If you want to square up exact dimensions when you’re shooting, then the standard camera app on the phone is obviously better. Sometimes the little viewfinder has resulted in wonky shots but sometimes the unpredictability has added nice touches, like here with ancient krean cybermen:

<a href=”” title=”Ancient Cyberman by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”Ancient Cyberman”></a>

I like how the wheel is partially seen in background.

At present there’s 12 film types and 9 lenses when fully decked out. There’s also 7 flash types. The iphone camera flash is fairly poxy and eats up the battery like all get out. I guess the flash would be good if you were at a party and taking fotos of your friends. I’ve no friends and go not to parties, so haven’t found the flashes very useful. Anyway, there’s a lot of combinations of look that can be cooked up, and I’ve had a jolly old time messing about in that way. From the really hot:

<a href=”” title=”Maintenance by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”Maintenance”></a>

to cool:

<a href=”” title=”Oksu Stn by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”Oksu Stn”></a>

One of the really neat things about it is now that these kind of phones are internet capable is that you can take a foto and upload it straight to the internet. With hipstamatic there’s the choice of sending it to Flickr, fuzzbook, tumblr or an email address. This eliminates the whole process of having to wait until you get home, plugging the camera in to the computer, transferring, transferring again to internet. Who can be bothered with that now? Not me. Small conventional cameras like cannon Ixus, take note. Similarly, the hipstamatic filter sets are good, and good enough, because with time literally speeding up during the last twenty years, who’s got time to be messing about with GIMP or photoshop? I don’t even know how to use photoshop.

It would be good if hipstamatic had a zoom function, but this is not their fault, there is no zoom on the normal iphone camera, and I guess it goes against the whole retro ethos. Also, when I’m sending fotos to flickr, and typing a title for the foto, hipstamatic wants me to start Every Word With A Capital Letter, which is Dippy. Also, all the foto formats are square. It’d be good to have a few rectangle. There’s no good postcards in Korea so I make my own and rectangle works best for that. The square format seems to work best for small things and intimate settings. Expansive, landscape shots look boxed in.

Once or twice I’ve wondered if I will look back at some of these shots in 10 or twenty years and think, I wonder what colour that really was, and perhaps wish I’d just taken a normal foto.

For a minimum or two and up to 7$ it’s been fun, and has got me enthused about taking fotos again — something I’ve done little of in the last two years (barring special occasions). I even took a USB stick down to the printer the other day and had some printed.

brass monkey

I’ve been meaning to say something about Japan and the problems they’re having there. At first I was mesmerised by the footage of the giant wave spreading over the land and for a day or so couldn’t get enough of the news. With all of these kind of things though it hits a certain point and the news services go further than they need to and it’s basically just disaster porn. _All_ of them do it. I gave up on Australia’s SBS ages ago, I’m wary of the ABC’s angle, and this time I found that even the BBC’s news website was doing it. First it’s a picture of a small car on top of a house. Then it’s a picture of a passenger ferry on a multi-storey carpark. Then it’s a full sized ocean-going ship, but on the ground and not on top on an apartment block — I’m sure there were some disappointed faces at the bbc news dept over that.

I was going to write on here two days back that the news on the nuclear situation was also being sensationalised but it’s still getting worse and it’s another situation (a little like wikileaks) where it’s almost impossible to chart a path between sensationalism, propaganda and counter-propaganda.

The question of How could this happen? for me, keeps coming back to it being a pretty bloody bad idea for Japan to have gone with nuclear power to begin with considering the likelihood of earthquakes happening there.

Ex-g/f jean passed through Sendai two hours before the tsunami and wrote about it <a href=””>here</a>. She makes a very good point about over-consumption. It’s bad here too but not as bad as in Japan from what I’ve seen. I thought it was interesting that recently here in Korea fuel prices shot up in response to the situation in Libya and the govt was saying that they were going to ask businesses to turn off their neon signs (<a href=””>like this</a>). They’re basically garish and cause light-pollution like no other place has on Earth. Nice to know this is what the fossil fuels are being used to power. Almost as bad as the Japanese chain starting at a nuclear power plant and ending at an artificially warmed toilet seat.

With Korea, I sometimes think that the over-consumption is part of the over-compensation phenomenon that goes back to the poverty days of the late 1950s and 60s. But Japan doesn’t really have that excuse. It seems to be more about how one group of people do something, then others follow. It becomes a behaviour and the almost like a tradition or an accepted norm. It can go both ways – positive or negative. Unfortunately (for example) littering here is mostly an accepted behaviour. As someone who grew up in a country where littering is definitely not acceptable, I’ve never been able to get my head around the thinking of people when they litter here. I guess it’s basically an unconscious behaviour learnt through observation.

everyone has their own sunken lounge

<a href=”” title=”none by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”none” /></a>

Some mornings I can wake up and be completely in love with what my brain can cook up in the form of dreams – the landscapes especially – are full of normal things like houses, courts, cul de sacs, cement gutters and street signs but it’s all somewhere I’ve never been in waking life. I was visiting someone’s house and there was a large group of people gathered around a small tv watching some kind of community thing. ‘Oh, there’s Nicole Skeltys, I should go say hi’, I think, and did.

People are the other thing. There can be people in there I’ve never met, like here, and I haven’t listened to <a href=””>B(if)tek</a> in ages. That side of the mind is very much doing its own thing. The internet shows me that Nicole is writing a blog <a href=””>here</a>.

The Swiss Army Knife! It’s the Swiss Army Knife of knives

Interesting 10min podcast on the history of the swiss army knife <a href=”″>here</a>. Apparently worldwide sales dived by 40% after 9/11 because a lot of them were bought duty free, and even sold in-flight. Oh how things change. I personally can vouch for the casualty of one small swiss army knife at the airport in Guangzhou. I forgot to take it off my key ring and by the time I got to the queue for security it was too late to suitcase it.


My friend Pirooz is making another film called ‘Shoplifting From American Apparel’ and is asking for money for it. Sunny Breaks in no way condones shoplifting but even if we did, doing it from clothing stores is pretty difficult because most places have those dye-markers. Despite the punk ethos of shoplifting living on, it’s never really OK’d wearing clothing with intact dye-markers attached. Here’s the short:

<iframe frameborder=”0″ height=”410px” src=”” width=”480px”></iframe>

I actually like this better than the last one. I always thought that if you wanted to make a (first) movie and you wanted it to be successful, then you’d know you’re on the right track if you could explain what it’s about in one snappy sentence. Like, “It’s _Fantastic Voyage_ meets _Apocalypse Now_ “. (PS. that’s my movie idea.)

Anyway, this trailer doesn’t say much of what the movie is about but I can definitely relate to how I am not one of the productive people in society, and masturbation. Also, multimedia-layered film is very hot these days. If you want to know more go <a href=””>here</a> and if you wanna give the money go <a href=””>here</a>.

I too bemoan the state of televison and cinema these days, and how there are these people who say, ‘no, the audience will not like/sit still for blah-de-blah normal thing. In fact I was just appreciating some awesome on-screen acting pauses the other night in The Original Series Star Trek episode: Amok Time, from season 1. Kirk and Spock are broaching the awkward matter of Vulcan ‘biology’. Great acting, but better than that was that they were allowed the few seconds here and there to let it really come alive. Stuff like that just doesn’t get made any more.


I’ve been watching ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E. It’s really funny without intending to be. The only thing that lets it down is the main actor, Robert Vaughn, who has a sneery look about him. The episode, ‘The Strigas Affair’ from 1964 guest-starred both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. Pretty cool.

<a href=”” title=”strigas by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”376″ alt=”strigas” /></a>


Addendum: the very next episode, the finny foot affair, guest starred the young Kurt Russell. I didn’t know he was a child-actor.

<a href=”” title=”young-kurt-russell by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”375″ alt=”young-kurt-russell” /></a>