Beauty in the Light

In a moment of interesting serendipity, a post in the Utata group, a flickr group that I am a member of, directed me to a section from a book by C.S. Lewis (whose book, Miracles, I am currently reading) called The Great Divorce.

In this passage, a painter has found himself in Heaven, and confronted by its great beauty is wishing he could paint it:

'...I should like to paint this.'

'I shouldn't bother about that just at present if I were you.'

'Look here; isn't one going to be allowed to go on painting?'

'Looking comes first.'

'But I've had my look. I've seen just what I want to do. God!--I wish I'd thought of bringing my things with me!'

The Spirit shook his head, scattering light from his hair as he did so. 'That sort of thing's no good here,' he said.

'What do you mean?' said the Ghost.

'When you painted on earth--at least in your earlier days--it was because you caught glimpses of Heaven in the earthly landscape.The success of your painting was that it enabled others to see the glimpses too. But here you are having the thing itself. It is from here that the messages came. There is no good telling us about this country, for we see it already. In fact we see it better than you do.'


'Why, if you are interested in the country only for the sake of painting it, you'll never learn to see the country.'

'But that's just how a real artist is interested in the country.'

'No. You're forgetting,' said the Spirit. 'That was not how you began. Light itself was your first love: you loved paint only as a means of telling about light.'

What a poignant reminder that the beauty we see around us is just a fragment of what there really is... and that it is merely a reflection of a greater beauty. Now I love photography and I see beautiful things all around me (and rarely capture a portion of that in my photos) ... so I can relate to, and understand this passage so well!


DIY Photography

Here's a link all us 'thrifty' photographers can appreciate:



Tweaking RAW

Just for giggles, I thought I'd post up my settings for processing RAW photos in Adobe Lightroom when I import them from the camera (cause plain RAW is very flat, dull and boring out of my camera):

* white balance: auto (i tweak every photo for white balance later)
* saturation: +20 (percent, I guess)
* exposure: tweak manually until histogram touches the right-side
* contrast: +10 (percent, I suppose)
* sharpen: 25%
* noise reduction: 25

These settings seem to work best for me, and I then only need to tweak the white balance and exposure... then export to JPEG!

Note: Most of my shots are done indoors, with a bounced on-board flash, at ISO 800. Slightly different settings might work better for outdoor ISO 100/200 shots, but I take so few of them!


pressure on self

Today was my nephew, Carter's 4th birthday party. He had a great little party, with tons of kids and happy parents milling around... lots of fun had by all. And happy birthday to Carter! You're a really cute kid, with an awesome smile!

I took my camera, of course, and soon found myself roaming around taking pictures. And I realized that I actually put a fair amount of pressure on myself at family events... a pressure to produce good photos that capture the moment... every moment! Well, I'm not a good enough photographer to capture every moment with its inherent beauty, but I try and sometimes I capture moments with some of their beauty. Big gatherings are tough because, well, with so many people around it can be tempting to take pictures of the whole scene (wide angle)... which tends to lead to 'documentary' shots that do nothing (for me) except show who was there. A couple of these shots are great, but I find myself looking for more personal, emotive shots. Shots with just two or three people at most, with smiles, some kind of interaction, and an emotional attachment.

Well, looking for those kinds of photos you can sometimes be happy to just grab 1 or 2 from a whole day's shooting. Fortunately I managed a few more than that today. I really hope that the parents and friends enjoy looking at the photos. The kids were so cute, and I just had to be patient and pick my shots amidst the mayhem!

Perhaps, God willing, I will get better at this skill as I grow older. Maybe in 20 years I'll be ready to take photos at Ryan's wedding! Whoa!


desktop metaphor

This is a cool demo video of the computer desktop metaphor taken to a new level. It looks very cool... but I'm not sure how well it will work with hundreds of source code files, or thousands of images. Looks like fun though. :)


that's a BIG screen

google news anyone?
This picture is of the massive video wall that we just installed at my work. The wall is basically a big projector screen lit from behind by 9 high-def projectors driven by 3 dual opteron servers acting as one big computer. The image on the screen is 7 web browsers displaying the full height of the google news webpage, side-by-side. A very cool way to read the news (7 times!)!

Anyway, I thought it was incredibly cool and thought I'd share.


fathers day

world's greatest daddy
Apparently I'm the world's greatest daddy. At least that is what the mug says! It must be true!
I actually got the mug for my birthday, but today it is just that little bit more meaningful.

So happy fathers day to my dad, who is a great man in his own right, and happy fathers day to all those other dads out there in Australia celebrating today as well.

And thanks to Our Father above, who thought of the idea in the first place.