In the post below, Billy Hollis complained that he’s never really done well shooting in black and white. Of course, I haven’t either, mainly because I don’t shoot in black and white. Instead I shoot in raw, and depend on post-processing to make things look the way I want them to look. For instance, here is a plain old photograph, exported to JPG as shot.
It’s a pretty meh picture. The colors are bland, and frankly, it’s over-exposed by about 1/3 stop. Here is where using a camera that shoots in RAW becomes important. In my case, I’m shooting with a Panasonic Lumix FZ-200 superzoom. Not a pro-grade DSLR, just a regular consumer superzoom with a tiny 1/2.3" sensor (about 6mm x 8mm in size). That’s pretty close to a cell phone camera sensor. But, because it shoots in RAW, I can fiddle with stuff. RAW is a non-compressed photo format that allows you to do non-destructive editing, which means if you fiddle with something and it goes totally wrong, you can always go back to the original shot and try again. You get really fine control over just about everything you can imagine, without affecting the digital negative. In my case, I do the image processing in Adobe Lightroom. You can’t do that sort of image processing when you shoot straight to JPG. Shooting is RAW, therefore, is massively useful, and allows you to do stuff like this to make the colors pop more:
Of course, that means that you get the full range of black and white darkroom options as well. In the picture below, I’ve popped the contrast and clarity, to try and capture the look of 1950s black and white film.
Here, I’ve kept the high contrast, and added graininess, as well as vignetting the edges. 1930’s and 1940’s black and white.
Now, I’ve reversed the contrast to reduce it a lot, removed the grain, and softened the clarity all the way down. This gives it a flat texture and a soft dreamy feel, eliminating fine details.
So, the key takeaway is that pretty lousy shots can be massively improved simply by shooting in RAW format, and spending a little time in post-processing in Lightroom to get the effect you want. Of course, you can take that a bit too far…
There is, after all, such a thing as too much processing.
This week, Bruce, Michael, and Dale discuss Venezuela and the Mark Steyn libel case.
The podcast can be found on Stitcher here.
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Export prices rose 0.2% in January, while import prices rose 0.1%. On a year-over-basis, export prices are down -1.2% and import prices down -1.5%.
The Fed reports that industrial production fell -0.3% in January, while capacity utilization in the nation’s factories declined -07% to 78.5%.
The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index remained steady at 81.2 in February.
Initial jobless claims rose 8,000 to 339,000. The 4-week average rose 2,750 to 336,750, while continuing claims fell 18,000 to 2.953 million.
Retail sales in January fell a worse than expected -0.4%, following December’s -0.1% drop.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 1.4 points to -30.7 in the latest week.
Business Inventories rose a troubling 0.5% in December, while a meager 0.1% sales increase raised the stock-to-sales ratio to 1.30.
The Fed’s balance sheet rose $10.2 billion last week, with total assets of $4.119 trillion. Reserve Bank credit increased $10.5 billion.
The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $14.9 billion in the latest week.
Like they’re doing in New York City:
At her January inauguration, New York city council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito told her colleagues, “Now is the time to embrace our progressive moment and put our values into action.”
Whoo hoo … right? Yeah, not so much. What that means is your business is their business and privacy is a vestage of simpler, more conservative times (you know, like the time in which the Constitution of the United States was written). In the brave new world of progressive values, that old bit of parchment is passe.
One of the Democrat-dominated council’s first acts was to override former mayor Michael Bloomberg’s vetoes of bills from previous sessions. Then the 51-member legislative body got down to business: regulating the minutiae of New Yorkers’ lives, empowering city agencies to enter private property at will, and setting up task forces to study leisure activities.
At its semi-weekly “stated” meeting—where members pass bills and introduce new legislation—the council directed the Department of Health to develop a registry of convicted animal abusers, along the lines of the sex-offender registries that all states maintain. The registry would ensure that animal abusers cannot own animals for at least five years following their conviction or incarceration. Abusers will have to submit to annual reviews of their living situations, and pet stores and animal shelters will need to check the registry before selling an animal. Preventing animal abuse is a laudable goal, but the new law suffers from several deficiencies. For one thing, the Department of Health opposed its passage. The DOH has no enforcement capability or experience in monitoring criminals.
So where will the possible abuse probably occur? Yup … DOH.
But that’s nothing compared to this next beauty:
Meanwhile, Upper Manhattan councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez proposed a bill that would expand city workers’ authority to demand entry into many buildings. The bill, Intro 18, covers all buildings that receive tax benefits under Section 421-a of the tax code, which covers affordable housing. Councilmember Rodriguez’s bill would allow representatives of “any city agency” to access any such building for any reason—and “such request for access need not be made in writing.”
Intro 18 doesn’t specify which areas of a building must be made accessible to city employees, nor does it specifically limit the scope of the investigations. The bill comes with no memo explaining its intent, as is typically included when a bill makes its way through committee hearings. But one could reasonably imagine a scenario where an inspector wanted to check, say, if the affordable units in a rental building or co-op were outfitted with the same appliances and fixtures as market-rate units. According to the bill’s language, it appears the tenants or unit owners could be forced to open their doors to inspectors at any time. The potential for abuse is clear. Picture a series of minor administrative factotums waiting to have their palms greased to stave off endless inspections. Rodriguez’s bill suggests a city where private property is a privilege that can be taken away by a bureaucrat’s will.
And, of course, they’ll be “shocked, shocked I tell you” when, in 6 months, they uncover their first corruption scandal involving city employees or discover the bill is being abused by bureaucrats. Note that the bill is “proposed” for the time being. But it certainly reflects these progressive’s values, doesn’t it?
Another proposed bill reflecting those progressive values?
Another proposed law, Intro 8, addresses the grave problem of businesses claiming to be “environmentally friendly.” New Yorkers, a naïve and trusting group of rubes, apparently are getting snookered by greener-than-thou businesses. So much so that Brooklyn councilmember Vincent Gentile wants the city to establish an official “environmentally friendly” designation for which businesses can apply. The bill’s text calls for the Commissioner of Small Business Services to “coordinate with the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability and any other city agency or agencies that regulate businesses,” to devise categories of environmentally friendly businesses and non-environmentally friendly businesses. Should this it really be a top priority for the city council?
Should it? No. But will that stop them? No.
Perhaps topping them all, councilmember Ruben Wills of southeast Queens has submitted Intro 44, “in relation to the creation of a task force on the sport of cricket.” The bill’s multiple sub-sections and sub-sub sections describe the constitution of the task force and detail the making of appointments, filling of vacancies, and so on. After a year, the envisioned task force will deliver a report that “shall include specific recommendations on the following topics: i. funding sources for team equipment, uniforms, and umpires; ii. promoting cricket in New York City; iii. potential economic development initiatives.”
Cricket’s popularity in Pakistan, India, and Trinidad stems in part from the ease with which it can be played, pickup-style, with limited equipment: a ball, a bat, and some sticks for the wicket. Visit any playing field in central Brooklyn or eastern Queens and you’ll see plenty of people enthusiastically playing. It’s not clear why the city needs a task force to brainstorm “funding sources” for an already popular pastime.
Critical fraking stuff, no? Very important that Cricket be regulated in some form or fashion to the benefit of … NYC of course. Er, I mean NYC’s citizens.
If these are examples of progressive values, I’ll live in my backwater and more conservative/libertarian area where citizens, for the most part, continue to tell local pols to mind their own business not theirs and to ensure they pick up the trash on time and keep the roads clear.
There’s this college kid named Evan Ewing in LA who really wants to make a cool, short film for one of his classes. And he wants to make it about the Nissan GT-R. He loves the GT-R and he’d like to show his fellow students, teachers, and car enthusiasts how much he loves it. Frankly, he’s a bit nuts on the subject. But, the thing is, he’s a student, which means he’s a dirty, poor person. And it costs money to make movies, even really short ones. So he needs to somehow scrape up $2,500. He can’t do it himself because he’s, as I mentioned, poor and dirty. So, he’s got a kickstarter page where he’s begging for money, like some sort of shameless third-world indigent.
Normally, of course, I would spurn this money-grubbing little ragamuffin like a rabid dog. Yet, somehow, he’s touched my heart. His pathetic longing for a car that, at his age and income, might as well be made of pure unobtainium, speaks to me. Much as Celine Dion said about the looters after Hurricane Katrina, "Dey never get touch de nice tings. Dey are so poor! Let dem touch it!", I want to let him touch a nice thing.
Hey! I’m talking about the GT-R he clearly loves so much, not the very naughty thing you were thinking.
I’m not sure why he loves the GT-R. It is, after all, a Japanese car, which means that, while fast, it is a soulless chunk of machinery, in exactly the way a Jaguar F-Type is not. But he loves it anyway, so I have decided to try and help him raise the $2,500 he needs to make his movie. He is billing it as The Greatest Nissan GT-R Film of All Time, presumably because he’s never seen The Fast and The Furious. Or The Fast and The Furious 2 through 5.
Also, helping him out gives me the illusion that I am not, in fact, a horrible human being. If you would like to enjoy the same illusion of caring for others, then go to his kickstarter page and drop a sawbuck on him. Then contact your attorney to get set up to sue his pants off for the appropriate return on your investment in case of the remote possibility that he ever makes one thin dime of off it.
Photo credit: By 韋駄天狗 (Own work (本人撮影)) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
Originally posted at dalefranks.com.
The Treasury announced that the deficit in January came in at $10.4 billion with the year-to-date deficit at $144 billion Last year at this time, the deficit was $290 billion.
The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -2.0% last week, with purchases down 5.0% and re-fis down -0.2%.
The Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations survey shows expectations of 2.0% inflation for the next year.
The cult of the vicitim is alive and well in the US. It’s been fostered by politicians and lawyers who are open to the idea that one’s problems, whatever they are, are the fault of someone else.
And, given that doing so gives the pols more power (and the lawyers more money), the field is open for exploitation. Remember the tobacco settlement? Well guess who is next and why:
Lawyers are pitching state attorneys general in 16 states with a radical idea: make the food industry pay for soaring obesity-related health care costs.
It’s a move straight from the playbook of the Big Tobacco takedown of the 1990s, which ended in a $246 billion settlement with 46 states, a ban on cigarette marketing to young people and the Food and Drug Administration stepping in to regulate.
Yes, getting fat is the fault of “big food”. Being obese is just not your fault. So lets soak “Big Food” (and raise already high grocery prices through the roof, shall we?):
“I believe that this is the most promising strategy to lighten the economic burden of obesity on states and taxpayers and to negotiate broader public health policy objectives,” said Paul McDonald, a partner at Valorem Law Group in Chicago, who is leading the charge.
McDonald’s firm has sent proposals to AGs from California to Mississippi explaining how suing “big food” could help their states close budget gaps as billions in Medicaid expenditures eat a growing share of tax revenues.
In a letter to Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane last year, McDonald noted that the state faced a $3.7 billion budget shortfall in 2012 and had to cut back on certain services. The state’s total Medicaid burden that year was $10 billion — and getting a piece of that back could help close the gap.
Yes friends it is the “most promising strategy to lighten the economic burden on the states and taxapayers” … say what? Taxpayers? Aren’t they the one’s who will foot the bill for the “Big Food” pass-through of cost to litigate this idea and then, if the lawyers are successful, pay the settlement?
Name someone you know who isn’t a “food adicit” and doesn’t buy food from “Big Food”, will you? I’d be interested to meet them.
In the meantime, if this guy is successful in selling this to state AGs (and I’d not be surprised if they bit), the cost of food will go up as the cost of litigating this nonsense rises. After all, Big Government is now in charge of health care costs (something they’ve actually driven up) and are desperate for ways to make it cheaper.
You’re just a victim, slugger. And these guys have your best interests at heart, don’t you know? Let the demonization of Big Food begin.
As an aside, it is a bit ironic that the laywer pushing this full employment for lawyers scheme is named McDonald, no?
The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose slightly to 94.1 in January from the previous month’s 93.9.
ICSC Goldman reports a -0.3% weekly retail sales drop, and a 2.3% year-on-year increase. Meanwhile, Redbook says sales rose a slow 2.8% on a year-ago basis.
Wholesale inventories rose 0.3% in December, but a 0.5% sales increase left the stock-to-sales ratio unchanged at 1.17.