I bitterly remember the time when I was asked to photograph a band in a dark whisky bar. The light was so low (Candlelight plus some disco lights in purple, orange and green) and in no way, the camera could focus. The tiny pinhole of modern DSLR’s viewfinder didn’t let me focus manually either. I was watching the band playing hide and seek in the dark in frustration. My equipment was too modest for the job, but I doubt even having the best professional cameras could have changed anything for the better then. After that night, I studied and thought a lot about ways to do better if I had another photoshoot in similar conditions. Choices of lenses, flashes, autofocus method, post processing choices, noise reduction and composition re-evaluated and re-thought.
Recently I was asked to do another photo shoot for the band Big Boss Groove, in Mawson Club, Canberra. When I entered the club I realised I’m going to have a difficult night; the environmental light was nonexistent and harsh disco lights in red, green and purple were used on a corner of a stage, flashing on musicians faces.
I realised that Canon 5D Mark II can’t focus in that light if I insist on using single point focus. So I switched to full autofocus, something I rarely do, and also switched to burst shooting. To my surprise, results were better than waiting forever for the camera focus on a single point. Of course, I had to pick and choose in-focus photos from a collection about twice the number I usually shoot normally, which was frustrating, but I didn’t return from the event empty handed.
I like nightclub’s spotlights. They are interesting and can be used as a strong compositional element, provided that light designers plan them carefully. Otherwise, they distort the colour channels of every object they hit in a way that is irrecoverable in post processing. Also, they make the focusing in low light even more difficult.
Because of very low light, I broke the rule of not using flash for some shots. Using Nikon SB-700 pointed to the ceiling and the diffuser, I took some of the most difficult to expose angles.
Here you can see the results of my photo shoot and judge yourself how much I was successful in taking successful shots in such a challenging environment. Comments are welcome.
It’s very difficult to find a computer related technology that keeps its usability and popularity for more than a decade; most of the products that were using “killer technologies” of the 90’s are now either considered obsolete or completely replaced with newer items. Many programming languages came and went away, and operating systems which supposed to “revolutionize” the industry now are long faded into history: Amiga OS, BeOS, OS/2 and NetWare, once promising platforms, some even with great market share, are now either discontinued or are now rebranded into niche or “hobby” projects.
Perhaps managers of Microsoft corporation in their heydays of mid 90’s and after they defeated IBM OS/2, NetWare, Mac OS and expensive UNIX players and became the sovereigns of PC industry, never anticipated that they will lose ground to UNIX like operating systems in servers, mobile and PDA platforms and later completely miss the tablet market no matter how much they invested on R&D on this platform.
I remember once I read an article in Byte magazine around 1988 (Byte unfortunately ceased publication on the same year), about late Steve Jobs’ introduction of the wonderful NeXT computer. I remember Mr.Jobs told something similar to the following to the reporters:
“I believe this with every bone of my body: UNIX will be the prime operating system of every major company in the 1990s.”
Well, apparently, A genius like Mr.Jobs, made a mistake by overestimating the other players’ insight; except his own product (NEXTSTEP, which later incarnated to Mac OS X and iOS) and Mr.Trovalds’ creation (Linux) almost no other major player realized the importance of UNIX and incorporated it in it’s product line until the introduction of Android in 2005. (Even desktop Linux, never gained popularity, mostly because of lack of a coherent, fundamental application suite.) Of course, I’m not taking the companies which simply rushed to rebranding Linux to “embrace openness” and mostly later failed into this equation.
Now, after 42 years, UNIX is stronger than ever; iOS and Mac OS X are the favorites among creative class as well as the new mobile generation, Solaris, HP-UX and AIX are catering to HPC and enterprise market, QNX is shining on embedded market and recently incorporated to RIM’s blackberry ecosystem, and finally, Linux is reaching it’s popularity beyond it’s traditional bastions of networking, servers and hackers into embedded market, mobile OS’s like Android and Bada.
On the other hand, C and it’s object oriented incarnations are the basis of most of information technology ecosystem; from servers to desktops, from web applications to tiny scripting languages and bytecode running on virtual machines, the impact of C is beyond perception.
All this empire of software architecture is indebted to the efforts of Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie, whom the latter unfortunately passed away on October 12, 2011.
There has been always criticism one complexity and difficulty of both C and UNIX. However one must consider that C and UNIX both provide a strong and simple architecture which other technologies can be built on them, and that must be one of the main factors of their success, among with their unlimited capacity for portability.
In an “Anti Foreword” to “The UNIX haters handbook”, a semi-humorous book criticizing and ridiculing UNIX which in some point made comparison between UNIX and prison cells, he wrote:
“Yet your prison without coherent design continues to imprison you. How can this be, if it has no strong places? The rational prisoner exploits the weak places, creates order from chaos: instead, collectives like the FSF vindicate their jailers by building cells almost compatible with the existing ones, albeit with more features.
The journalist with three undergraduate degrees from MIT, the researcher at Microsoft, and the senior scientist at Apple might volunteer a few words about the regulations of the prisons to which they have been transferred.”
I’m just a person too much fascinated by computers. In today’s standards, I’m hardly even considered computer literate, however, I never forget the first time I was stunned by the stability, simplicity and power of UNIX, and the first time I read the book “The C Programming Language” aka “the Bible”. Thank you Mr.Ritchie, you will be greatly missed.