Not Quite Summer

Sunlight through clouds over mountains

Living, as we do, in a winter-rainfall area we shouldn’t see weather like this in early summer but for two weeks in a row we’ve had glorious hot sunny weather all week, only to have the weather turn cloudy and cool for the weekend.

C-17 Globemaster

A C-17 Globemaster kicks up dust as it gathers speed in its take-off run

A C-17 Globemaster of the United States Air Force kicks up dust as it gathers speed in its take-off run during an air show in Cape Town.

Rooivalk

South African Rooivalk attack helicopter

The Rooivalk (Red Kestrel) attack helicopter is wholly designed and built in South Africa. It is considered by some to be a more capable airframe than other attack helicopters like the Apache but has not been purchased by any air force other than our own. I don’t claim to fully understand why but suspect it may be that the total package of airframe, avionics and weapons system simply doesn’t have the maturity and support offered by other aircraft. This forum post goes into more depth on the development and success or failure of the programme.

A Discarded Feast

A partially empty fast food container discarded on the dolosse along Gordons Bay harbour wall

One shouldn’t have to see litter like this everywhere you go. When will everyone learn that it is in all of our interest that we not litter?

Homeless

Homeless man sitting in the morning sun

During a photowalk along Gordons Bay beach I came across this homeless man sitting on a bench in the weak winter sun. He wasn’t very talkative but kindly acceded to my request to take his picture.

This picture is #5 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at www.100strangers.com.

Elliot Meets Godzilla

A Coca-Cola crate statue and a dockyard crane 'face off' in the V&A Waterfront with Table Mountain in the background

Read more about Elliot the Coke Man at Ads Mitchell: Huge Coca Cola Man Takes a Seat in Cape Town.

A great place to live

Apartment blocks in the V&A Waterfront reflected in the water with Table Mountain in the background paionted red by the setting sun.

These apartment blocks must be a fantastic place to live, but not cheap by any means.

The Wheel of Excellence

The Wheel of Excellence ferris wheel at night

Street Sunset

There was quite an impressive sunset last night. I couldn’t be anywhere that I could take any really nice shots so this one taken from my car by cell phone will have to do.

Sunset with traffic

HD Video: is it the new megapixel?

video_camera Previously it was megapixels that marketing materials used to influence the less well informed into thinking one camera was better than another. Now it seems to me that the megapixel war is over, or has at least been forgotten for the moment. It’s HD video capability that is the latest feature used to market cameras and camera-equipped mobile phones.

Not that I’m denying that these HD video claims refer to valid, useful features. The point is that the marketing claims lead the less experienced buyer to assume they will be able to produce professional looking videos all by themselves, using just their shiny new camera. This is clearly not the case.

I don’t yet own an HD video capable camera nor have I any experience of making videos beyond quick, jerky clips grabbed with my non-HD compact camera or cell phone. But listening to podcasts like TWIP I have come to realise that just because we hear that some TV show episode was shot with an HD-capable digital SLR camera, we can’t make the assumption that they used just the camera. After listening to these podcasts I’ve come to realise that many accessories, often very expensive accessories are used as well. Professional quality external audio recording equipment, a variety of rigs to steady the camera or move it smoothly and devices to allow a focus puller to focus the camera are just some I have heard mentioned. Learning this has made me realise that just buying a new DSLR that shoots HD is not going to let me produce anything approaching decent videos; not without learning a lot about how movies are made and buying more equipment any way.

This was brought home to me on Monday when I came across a blog post highlighting Apple of My Eye, one of the first HD videos to be shot with the new iPhone 4. The movie is short and deceptively simple and the blog post says “Shot and edited entirely on the iPhone 4 / iMovie App (in 48 hours)”. This doesn’t mean that some guy just grabbed his phone and fired off a quick video though. At the end of the movie is additional footage showing how the movie was made. This makes if abundantly clear that without specific knowledge and extra equipment, you are not going to be producing quality video.

So, go ahead and buy yourself a new, HD capable camera; but realise that you will have to go through a steep learning curve, invest in buying or renting more equipment, and enlist the help of friends before you will be able to produce that hit movie you dream of.

Creative Commons licensed image courtesy of Damon Duncan.