cameras (9)

Crystal Voyager — Music by Pink Floyd, Photography by George Greenough —1973

Crystal Voyager: Echoes from Jacob H on Vimeo.

In 1971, Bob Easton and I were putting the finishing touches on Domebook 2 at his home in Santa Barbara. Bob said his next-door neighbor was a surfer and liked to use the large white walls of Bob’s house on which to project his surfing films. Should I invite him over, said Bob. Well, duh…

When it got dark, over came the neighbor — George Greenough, with a projector, and as we watched George’s footage of hot dog surfers in Southern California, Bob played an Albert King blues album.

Later in the early 70s, when Bob and I were working on the book Shelter in Bolinas, George came up from Santa Barbara with the footage for this film, and we showed it to friends in my dome, and then to everyone down at the community center. He subsequently made a deal with Pink Floyd where they projected this footage along with their song “Echoes” in concerts, and George used the music in his 1973 film, “The Crystal Voyager.”

George was the originator of in-the-tube surf photography, using a homemade 30-pound waterproof camera mounted on his shoulder, riding a homemade spoon kneeboard. Resolution is a pretty crappy 240p, but you get the idea: you are inside the chamber of the tube with the barrel getting smaller and smaller, like the f-stop on a camera, until — wham! — psychedelic bubbles, turbulence, and spinning.

George went on to become a surfing legend legend and now lives in Australia.

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Cool Tools- My Favorite Website

As I’ve said before, this is the 21st century online Whole Earth Catalog. Same M.O.: People like us writing reviews of cool stuff for other people like us. It’s embarrassing how many things I’ve obtained after reading about them here. These aren’t frivolous purchases; all the stuff is useful to me, stuff I’d never have known about otherwise.

I must point out I have a massive conflict of interest here. I’ve written a lot of CT reviews, and these guys are good friends.

That said, I periodically want to turn people onto this rich source of ad-free advice. It’s just madly useful. Take a look:

Write a review and they’ll send you an email of new tools weekly.

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The Steen Family’s Latest Straw Bale Building Project

Bill and Athena Steen, the strawbale/earthen plaster maestro/maestra team from Arizona are helping build this home, which will be featured in our new book, Small Homes.

Bill writes: “Interior adobe wall in a clay plastered straw bale house we are helping our boys build in Sonoita, AZ.”

(Bill shoots pretty much all his photos with an iPhone, has been doing it for a few years. I’ve finally come around to doing this. Both of us still use the big cameras (him a Nikon, me an Olympus OM-D) for serious shoots, but the iPhone for every day shots. The new iPhone 6S has a super new camera.)

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Clamming, Tiny Homes on the Move, New Camera, Trip Up Coast Today

I’m swamped with stuff to do lately — all good — not much time for blogging. Went clamming Friday via kayak. Got 8 horsenecks, 2 Washington clams, bunch of white cockels. Finally got my clam gun working. I like the idea of getting to the mudflats by human power. Clam cakes for dinner last night…On Friday I dropped off a copy of Tiny Homes On The Move at Kevin Kelly’s house, and he wrote:

“I read it cover to cover tonight. What a joy. It’s the most aspirational book you’ve done, making me say, I really should do *that.* Reading it is a lot of fun. Dwelling + Travel. What’s not to covet?  Great job on the book. Def a cool tool.”…Also on Friday I bought my dream camera at Keeble & Schuchat  in Palo Alto (my fave camera store in USA and that includes BH Photo in NYC) from my camera guru, Gary: Olympus OMD M1, with an ED 12-50mm (24-100 mm) zoom lens (built in macro)

(camera nuts see below*)…Heading 3 hours north along the coast right now to hang out for the week with my pal Louie — will be blogging re aventuras.

My fishing/hunting/foraging/preserving books

*I can use all the lenses (full set) from my Panasonic Lumix 4/3…NO shutter lag…Compact in much the same way the Olympus OM1 film camera was, maybe 1/3 smaller than the Canon and Nikon honkers…I could have saved about $100 at Amazon (out of $1800), but talking over all the options with a human expert is way worth it…

54-46 Was My Number by Toots & The Maytals on Grooveshark

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Camera Reminiscences

On Mondays I get to be by myself in the office (studio) and when I get the biz part of the day over with, I get the caffeine and music going and see where it leads. This morning started out gloomy chilly foggy, but around 10 the sun broke through, and I started looking through my photos. I have one or more cameras with me at practically all times and I can’t begin to comprehend the 10s of 1000s of images I have. One of these days…

   My first photo, taken with a Kodak Baby Brownie when I was 12, was of Puddles the hippo at the San Francisco Zoo. Next when I went on a 3-month motorscooter (Lambretta) trip through Europe in 1957 was a Rolleicord (cheap version of Rolliflex). I spent 2 years in the USAF in ’58-’60 as editor of a base newspaper (Sembach AFB, near Kaiserslautern, Germany) and the secret service had a Leica they weren’t using and let me borrow it. (There’s just something unique about those black and whites.)

   Next in the early ’60s I got a Nikon 35mm, then a Nikkor. I shot ’60s culture, and always, buildings. Then along came the Olympus OM-1. It was 50% smaller than the Nikons, with equal lens quality, and I ended up with a full arsenal of OM-1s and lenses.

Read More …

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Sony’s Hot New Tiny Camera

“…There you’ll see what makes the RX100 such a revelation: insane amounts of detail and vivid, true colors. Hand-held twilight photos. A burst mode that can fire 10 frames a second. And macro shots — supercloseup — that will curl whatever’s left of your hair. A typical S.L.R. can’t get any closer than 10 inches from the subject with its included lens; the RX100 can nail focus only 2 inches away.…”

Sounds like the first camera to rival (surpass?) Canon Powershot S100.

Article by David Pogue, NY Times June 27, 2012:

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Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools

This is the single most useful site/blog on the web for me. I can’t say how many useful things this blog has turned me on to. It’s like the electronic Whole Earth Catalog, but what’s better is that it uses no paper, and it’s daily.

Kevin Kelly, ex-Whole Earth Review editor, founding editor at Wired mag, author, photographer, explorer, runs this operation, with daily reviews of useful stuff.

“Cool tools really work. A cool tool can be any book, gadget, software, video, map, hardware, material, or website that is tried and true. All reviews on this site are written by readers who have actually used the tool and others like it. Items can be either old or new as long as they are wonderful. We only post things we like and ignore the rest. Suggestions for tools much better than what is recommended here are always wanted. Tell us what you love.”

Easiest way to get there is to go to, then click on “Cool Tools” at the left.

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On the Road 3 Days Ago

 I love hitting the road in my go-anywhere 8 year old Toyota Tacoma (4×4, stick shift, 5 speed, 4-cylinder) truck, armed with cameras. This time I forgot my Panasonic Lumix G1 serious camera, just had the little Canon PowerShot G95. I breathe a sigh of relief when I get to farm land and I start scanning for pix. After splitting enough oak to fill my truck at my brother’s, I headed up to Middleton and Harbin Hot Springs. There’s something strangely relaxing about the funkiness and occasional white trash homesteads in lower-income counties.

I was reflecting on finding a balance between computer work and the physical world. I love all the email and blogging I’ve been doing lately. It’s an exciting time, what with the popularity of this new book, and sometimes I get so involved here at the Mac that I forget about two necessary antidotes:

1. Working out (including hiking, anything outdoors and physical) for the body. Getting circulation going, stressing muscles, and stretching. I always feel better.

2. Doing something with my hands. Making a table, turning the compost pile, splitting shakes. Deep-down satisfaction to make something with hands.

Funky lightweight farm building looks like it’s floating.I When I see old farm buildings like this, I think of converting them into places to live. In Big Sur in the ’60s, I lived happily in a converted chicken coop for a year. 

Nice steel sculpture at a place with a sign “Art Forms” on Hwy 121, south of Sonoma

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Breakfast With Pepe and a Great New Little Camera

Louie’s friend Pepe made us a great breakfast of French toast and bacon and barista-quality coffee this morning. Pepe is into elegant design. He turned me on the my Canon Powershot S90 (and 95)camera, my coffee roaster, a couple of lenses for my Canon 20D, shocks for my Toyota 4×4…. Today he showed me the Fujifilm X10. Looks like the first thing better than the S90-95-100 in years. It’s bigger, but looks like it might be the camera for me to travel with, rather than having the limitation of my Powershot (as good as it is), or the weight of my serious camera and assorted lenses (Panasonic Lumix G-1). Going to check it out.

Pepe’s pics of Louie and me:

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