Baty.net

The personal weblog of Jack Baty

I Wish I Loved Digital Photography

I recently bought a fantastic digital camera, the Fuji X-Pro2. It’s fast, well-constructed, and works in a way that a camera should work. It looks and feels great. In fact it feels almost like using a Leica film rangefinder. I take more photos with the Fuji than with film cameras and nearly all of them are exposed correctly, in focus, and contain 24 Megapixels of raw data to work with.

Popping a card into a computer and playing with the infinite processing possibilities using Lightroom is fun. I can make technically fantastic images that way; simply and quickly.

And yet, I don’t enjoy shooting digital. I wish I did. Making photographs would be so much easier.

I sometimes poke fun at film photographers claiming that they dislike digital photos because they don’t have the same “soul” as film photos. And yet I have to admit that I agree with them.

The difference is having a negative.

When viewing a scanned film photo on my phone or computer, I know that there’s a film negative in a binder somewhere containing a permanent, physically-rendered image created by light originally reflected off the photo’s subject. For me, having a negative imbues film photos with a sense of realness not found in digital. I don’t care that shooting film is difficult, more expensive, and sometimes a complete pain in the ass. I don’t care that there are fewer “hits” and that sometimes the image is scratched or has dust spots or is grainy.

My film images mean more to me than my digital images That’s why I go through all the trouble of shooting film.

Mastodon

After a couple of weeks on Mastodon I’m cheering for its survival. That’s not correct, Mastodon is federated, so any single node (instance) is only part of the network. So maybe it’s better to say I’m cheering for whatever new thing gets us on the federated bandwagon. Right now Mastodon is the strongest contender.

I have accounts on three instances, and I’m using each of them differently.

The first is @jackbaty@mastodon.social. Since this is the flagship instance, and the first one I’d heard of, it’s where I first joined. They’ve since disallowed new signups and that’s probably a good thing. Best not to think of any particular instance as the One True Instance. I am not using this much yet. It was just about the only option so I made sure I registered my favorite username, is all.

The second is @jackbaty@mastodon.technology. This was one of the early “other” instances and, well, “technology”. I like the Home feed on this one as it’s fairly tech-focused. This is where I’m doing the things I would otherwise do on Twitter. (Note that most people on Mastodon refer to Twitter as “birdsite” which I refuse to do as it strikes me as insider nonsense.) If the instance stays up, I’ll likely focus there.

I began doubting the sysadmin chops of the person running mastodon.technology (which turned out to be entirely unfounded), I looked for an alternative. I noticed Leo Laporte posting on mastodon.network so that seemed as good as any. Plus, the instance was running on a couple of load-balanced servers which is a good sign. I’m now there as @jackbaty@mastodon.network. I’m using this one to post photos and other photography-related topics.

There’s no rhyme or reason to any of this yet, but I’m having fun figuring it out.

Mastodon

Also, timelines are chronological, as any user-respecting timeline should be.

Hope to see you there.

UPDATE 04/21/2017 “the person running mastodon.technology” is Ash Furrow (Ash Furrow) and while new to Mastodon hosting, he appears to be active, smart, and a fast learner. He’s also actively contributing to the community and the code. I’ve made Mastodon.technology my home and signed up as a Patron to help keep things running. Patreon/ashfurrow.

Josie

I don’t want to jinx it, since she’s only been with us for a few hours, but I think I love her.

Josie's first day at home (2017)

Snaps From My Dad's Birthday

I shot a roll of Tri-X with the F3 at my dad’s house while celebrating his 76th birthday.

Dad. Nikon F3.

Crystal and Tillie. Nikon F3.

Dad and Jess. Nikon F3.

Mom. Nikon F3.

So Much Noise

While scrolling through Twitter today I realized that the signal-to-noise ratio on the internet has skewed way toward noise. It’s been this way for a while but today just seemed especially bad.

Occasionally I’ll become so frustrated that I quit social media. It never sticks. I find such wonderful things online. The people I follow on Twitter or Medium or RSS write or link to beautiful, smart, educational stuff. I love it.

What I don’t love is how long it’s been taking to find the interesting stuff. My nicely-curated streams have become floods of political complaints and outrage over everything. The complaints are valid and the outrage is necessary, but they’re not what I’m looking for and I have no idea how to fix any of it.

Paying for Medium

Medium Profile

Medium makes me nervous. I’ve never known exactly what it is or what it wishes to be. I’ve never liked the sense of importance imbued on things written there. I don’t know if they’ll just disappear one day, taking years of writing with them.

And yet, Medium can be a wonderful place. I want them to succeed. I want people to publish great content while avoiding the click-bait tendencies of many publications. I want to enjoy reading what I find there.

So, I’ve paid to become a “Founding Member” of Medium. I’m spending $5.00 a month in support of Medium’s vague yet compelling mission. I get that much value out of Medium already, so I’m out nothing, really. I’m not paying as a writer, I’m paying as a reader. I hope they do great things.

So far, I love the new Morning, Noon, and Evening “Editions”. I check in a few times a day, read the latest, mildly-curated posts, and move on. The idea of being finished with something online is wonderful. It’s why I still read a paper newspaper, offline.

I’m looking forward to what comes next. Good luck to Medium! Here’s me on Medium

Wait Until I'm At a Mac

John Gruber:

…whenever it comes down to it, it always feels easier to me to just wait until I’m at a Mac and create it there.

Me too, John.

I’ll spend hours tweaking scripts and gadgets on my Mac, but on iOS I feel that if I need to resort to using Workflow I’ve failed. Yes, it’s irrational.

Giving Spark Mail a Try

I love email. In spite of its faults, email is the most reliable way to communicate with anyone, anywhere, anytime. It’s been this way for decades. It works.

Email is also a pain in the ass. Email puts anyone at all in charge of my todo list. Clients forward me 30-message email threads with only “Thoughts?”. Spam. Reply-all nonsense. You know the list. We’ve been bitching about email for years. People keep trying to “fix” it or replace it. Good luck with both of those. I’m perfectly comfortable with email. I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

That said, I love to play with different approaches to email. In the past couple of years I’ve switched between native Gmail web, Apple Mail, Mailmate, Mutt, and Mu4e.

Today I’ve been trying Spark to see if any of the modern approaches to email are useful. First impressions are positive. We’ll see how “smart” the smart inbox is. I forward all of my email accounts to Fastmail so multiple-account features aren’t useful to me. I like “snooze”. Not sure about “Pin” vs “Flag”. It’s new and shiny and I’m having fun with it.

The thing I may not be able to live with is not having easy access to individual emails. I can’t seem to drag and drop emails into, say DEVONthink. I also don’t see a way to link directly to a message. I use links to email everywhere so that could be a deal breaker.

In the meantime, Spark seems clever and pretty. I’ll see how I feel in a week or two.

Dimension of Miracles (Book)

Dimension of Miracles

Dimension Of Miracles by Robert Scheckley was a fun Science Fiction romp from 1968. It felt very much like “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” but predates it by many years.

I thought it was funny, smart, and clever. The audio book is read by John Hodgman, who did a fine job.

Richard Baty Photos

My grandfather’s photo albums are stacked in my basement. There are 24 of them. My plan has been to scan, caption, and upload everthing. It’s been slow going, but I’m picking away at it.

I’ve been trying to decide where and how to post the images. Should I use Wordpress, or Flickr, or Facebook, or SmugMug, or what? While deciding, I exported the albums from Lightroom to static galleries and dropped them on my VPS with a bare-bones index page. This is the simplest thing possible and is probably good enough and definitely more permanent than the other options.

So for now, they’re going here: richard.baty.net.