From a recent roadtrip.
When you’re a tourist in a large city, you want a pocketable map you can open in one motion, look at, and put away. A map which unfolds like a pop-up, or origami-style, is perfect for this.
- In New York, I used vanDam‘s NYC Unfolds, which you can get at many Manhattan newsagents. Very, very handy.
- In London, I used Berlitz’s London Pocket Map, which contains a close up of the West End, where I was staying.
- Another option I used in London was Time Out Shortlist London, which is pocketable, thicker and heavier, but a better and more complete guide to the city. It has more maps and opens like a normal book, which is fine (avoid maps which fold over more than once).
Shooting RAW offers many advantages over using your camera’s JPEG processing, including the ability to increase the dynamic range of the original photo. It also means finding the right software to process the files into a format suitable for prints, and uploading to the web. I’ve been using Capture One 4 for over a year now, and been very happy with it.
I made the following notes when I was evaluating RAW converters, looking specifically at:
- the level of detail extracted
- ability to assign comparative ratings
- customizable sharpening
- noise removal
- batch processing
- color rendition for my Canon 400D files (.CR2)
- great workflow with Bridge
- excellent viewing and editing performance
- sidecar files (ie. the ability to save your edits in a file external to the RAW file)
- DNG format support (a standard for RAW files that is gaining wider support)
- doesn’t display red correctly for CR2 files, even worse when it’s converted to DNG
- conversion is slow
Roast duck and pork over rice for five dollars. Oranges, nashi apples, sixty cents a pound. A punnet of strawberries, a pack of bokchoy, a dollar each. Bing cherries and lychees for two dollars a pound.
I recently started going into Chinatown for groceries (along Stockton, and also Powell). Of course, I knew that things would be cheaper than Safeway or Cala, and there would also be things found nowhere else. The hustle and bustle, Asian-style manners (line etiquette equals line cutting), smells on the street and wet stores the department of public health probably wouldn’t approve of, small grannies and smaller children, docile frogs stacked in styrofoam boxes, pungent durian and jackfruit, pirated VCDs and the occasional cassette tape, and Cantonese, the lingua franca.
What did surprise me was how I felt last weekend when I went into a dried goods store, hunting for egg noodles, Chinese sausage and fish balls. Some gentle Cantonese pop played as I browsed the small aisles, and for some reason, I felt a sudden happiness, even euphoria. I listened to simple melodies, occasional words half-remembered and half-learnt, occasionally making sense, and heard in them the voices and sounds I grew up with. In this city where I’ve been trying so hard to change myself, being reminded of where I came from and who I am, and the people who helped make me this way, made me happy.
The sounds, sights and smells, take me back to market shopping back in Malaysia, pasar malams and eating in stalls, noisy cousins and relatives, and I start seeing a bit of myself in people around me everywhere I look, because they look like me, and I feel like I almost know them. Home-cooked meals, picking at fish heads, bone marrow, eating rice from a bowl.
As I need it a four block-walk away, an entire world apart, self-contained and self-sufficient.
- Is Safeway.com and home delivered groceries, when you don’t own a car.
- A 24 hour Walgreens a block and a half away from where you live.
- A sushi bar at 1 am serving kimedai (snapper) that day from Tsukiji, four blocks away.
- Bart seven blocks away.
- Car sharing.
- Movies online and on-demand.
- Saying goodbye to glasses after twenty years.