March 2009 Archives

Captured Time


This bit from the film Spectre of Hope has been on my mind recently:

This notion of capturing the world in what is cumulatively a very small amount of time is interesting to me, and I realized that, given that all of my digital photos record the exposure for each frame, I could calculate exactly how much actual time I have recorded. I wrote a script (details on that after the jump) to do just this for all the photos I've taken since I got my first camera in 2002, and the total exposure time for 27611 images is 2360.473 seconds, or a bit under 40 minutes. That I take the occasional long exposures inflates this figure to a certain extent, but even with that it's a small amount of time for something that feels a lot longer.

By the way - Spectre of Hope is currently available in its entirety on YouTube in 5 parts: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5.

Item the first: Popular article where you should absolutely read the whole thing: Wall Street on the Tundra.

Walking into the P.M.’s minute headquarters, I expect to be stopped and searched, or at least asked for photo identification. Instead I find a single policeman sitting behind a reception desk, feet up on the table, reading a newspaper. He glances up, bored. “I’m here to see the prime minister,” I say for the first time in my life. He’s unimpressed. Anyone here can see the prime minister. Half a dozen people will tell me that one of the reasons Icelanders thought they would be taken seriously as global financiers is that all Icelanders feel important. One reason they all feel important is that they all can go see the prime minister anytime they like.

Secondly - Late to the party award, I just read Hiroshima, by John Hersey. One of the more famous pieces of journalism to come out of World War 2, and deservedly so. I am in awe just thinking about what it must have been like to do the reporting for this.

Lastly - Apparently when I’m not being paid to code, I code for free, hence a new little thing I’m calling Twitter Day. Of interest only to people that know and use Twitter. (And quite possibly not even then.)


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I took both of these shots in London last year. Even though the focus is better in the first shot, I like the second shot a lot more: no other people, better composition, and a more intimate pose. It's the one I ended up posting to flickr.

I felt more comfortable taking shots like this in London than I typically do here; there was a much greater feel of anonymity.

Snow Storm

Sunday was a day of micro-climates, we drove from sunny to this to sunny again.

This was shot with my relatively new Flip Mino HD, which so far I'm enjoying shooting with, but is giving me that babe in the woods feeling whenever I'm editing/outputting. The provided software is great if you just want to slap titles on something and ship up to youtube, but making sure all the settings are right for proper HD and such is still a work in progress. I'm lucky enough to have access to some knowledgeable help, which is really the only reason this is up and actually in HD. (Thanks M!)

Let's do this more often


For a long time I've been telling people "I dunno, maybe someday" when they ask if I'll ever start posting regularly here again. And there's all kinds of things I was telling myself I'd like to do to the site to make writing on it more appealing, like maybe erasing all the archives and just starting fresh with a completely rethought design that really focused on the content and would allow me to easily highlight my photos, and a bunch of other things.

Today I realized that that's all just a way of making a problem interesting enough, and hard enough, that I never actually get beyond the half-baked design stage. Yes, I could spend hours figuring out a cool new publishing system that works just with plain text files and publish with rake (no really, there are two), or I could just start posting again, and see what happens. It's easy to do nothing and blame perfectionism, but I'm going to try, as Rilke put it in a wonderful phrase I read today in Lewis Hyde's The Gift, 'a continuous squandering of all perishable values'.

So today I upgraded Movable Type, reset all the templates to defaults (sorry to feed readers for the spam today, last time I promise) and now let's go. The only thing I can promise you is that you will never see 'Share This!' buttons littered under every entry.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2008 is the previous archive.

April 2009 is the next archive.

This is, a weblog by Bill Stilwell. I take the occasional photo.


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