Insta Repeat posts collages of photos from the same geographical location that look remarkably similar, even though they were taken by different photographers.
The intent on Insta Repeat is deliberate—to duplicate a photo in order to evoke a similar response from viewers.
Feet dangling over Horseshoe Bend evoke a sense of adventure and thrill-seeking. The woman paddling in a mountain lake evokes wonder and serenity. So, if you want to conjure those emotions in your audience (while also projecting those qualities onto yourself), just retrace the steps, and—voilà—success! Follow the formula and you’ll achieve similar results.
Sometimes, the Internet makes me sad.
I’ve inconsistently used Day One for a daily journal for several years. But over the last few weeks, I’ve finally got into a grove of writing in my Day One daily journal. In addition, I’ve used the journal entries to create a weekly post on WordPress. So today, I was excited to read that the Day One team is joining Automattic, creators of my favourite website software, WordPress.
Today, I’m thrilled to announce that Day One is being acquired by Automattic Inc. This is incredibly exciting news. For the past 10 years since I started Day One, I’ve worked to not only create the best digital journaling experience in the world, but one that will last. By joining Automattic, I’m now more confident than ever that the preservation and longevity of Day One is sure. This acquisition will provide Day One access to the same technological, financial, and security benefits that WordPress.com, Tumblr, and other Automattic entities enjoy.
Automattic is led by founder Matt Mullenweg, a pioneer in the web publishing space and founder of WordPress.com. The Automattic teams have built and supported products and services with massive global scale, and I can’t imagine a more ideal home for Day One now and for the future.
I grew up in the West Indies in the 1960-the 1980s, and I don’t remember anyone on any of the island using mulch. I live in a townhouse community. Every few years, the landscapers come out with trucks loaded with mulch and start laying it down in every planting bed and around every tree in the neighbourhood. I’ve never understood or liked the smell of mulch. What was its purpose?
Many who grew up in the 1970’s and earlier will remember when mulch was not a ‘thing’. People did not put annual layers of wood chips on their gardens and there were not bags of mulch for sale at garden centers. Wood mulch became popular with the Clean Air Act of 1970. Until then, sawmills burnt their extra sawdust and wood chips and tree bark.
This was a source of air pollution, so they sought an alternative use for their by-product. The National Forest Service reported that tree bark chips were a useful source of humus in the forest. From there, an American obsession was born. It has grown to the point where mulch is now manufactured specifically for gardens, sometimes from old pallets and other material that does not serve the purpose of enriching the soil, and is instead, purely decorative.
For several years I have attempted to create a native plant garden in the tiny 25 square foot bit of dirt in the front of the house under the partial shade of a large maple tree. First, I would attend native plant sales once a year and purchase something suitable. Then, I put out the required flags to indicate to the landscapers that the homeowner was managing the garden bed and did not want them to touch my plants. Invariably the grounds crew would ignore the flags, pull out my budding native plants and dump the mulch.
Last year I planted several native plants that grow during the early spring. My plants had just started to put out leaves about the ground. I came home to find them buried under the mulch. I complained a bit more forcefully with the HOA management. The landscaper returned and removed the mulch, further damaging the fragile shoots. The leaves were gone.
Since I am now responsible for mulching, I am exploring alternatives better suited to a native plant garden. When deep mulch is pushed against trunks of woody plants or over the crowns of native plant perennials, it kills the plants. I am looking for an ecological alternative. I am considering using inexpensive mushroom compost, but I don’t know if that will work. An option is mycorrhizal fungi compost which naturally increases microbial activity in the soil, but it’s expensive.
I am now reading up on “green mulch“. The idea is to plant short, spreading, perennial ground cover between the larger garden plants. The challenge is that my native plants are still small and have not yet established themselves. The green mulch may compete with the smaller natives. I want to forego the mulch and fill in some of the bare spots in the garden with [native plants of varying sizes](I grew up in the West Indies in the 1960-the 1980s, and I don’t remember anyone on any of the island using mulch. I live in a townhouse community. Every few years, the landscapers come out with trucks loaded with mulch and start laying it down in every planting bed and around every tree in the neighbourhood. I’ve never understood or liked the smell of mulch. What was its purpose?
I consult for a well known international bank based in Spain. The topic of corporate business to business VPN across country boundaries came up in a recent discussion at the office, so the conversation was fresh in my mind when I read this post by Bruce Schneier
We don’t talk about it a lot, but VPNs are entirely based on trust. As a consumer, you have no idea which company will best protect your privacy. You don’t know the data protection laws of the Seychelles or Panama. You don’t know which countries can put extra-legal pressure on companies operating within their jurisdiction. You don’t know who actually owns and runs the VPNs. You don’t even know which foreign companies the NSA has targeted for mass surveillance. All you can do is make your best guess, and hope you guessed well.
Corporations will align themselves to the laws of the counties where they operate. However, consumers are working from ignorance regarding the privacy of consumer VPN connections.
In the past, I have immersed myself in the woods around Somerset and Mercer county, practising “shinrin-yoku“. I did it quite a lot in 2020, but my 2021 forest bathing is deficient. Andy Summons writing in Urth Magazine offers some tips on making the best of the experience.
The simple act of immersing ourselves in nature helps calm our mind and focus our awareness on the present moment. Yesterday and tomorrow melt into insignificance as our brains race to take in the details and sensations around us. Even Albert Einstein understood and touted the benefits of spending time in nature, saying: ‘Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.’
I think our cat Alphie gets lonely now that I’m back to working full-time. My day is hectic, and I don’t have time during the day for us to play fetch or just sit for a tummy rub. Kiran is at Oberlin College for her summer semester. At her suggestion, I moved the corporate laptop setup to the desk in her room. It’s worked out well, providing a change of environment when I “leave” at the end of the workday. These few weeks, I noticed that Alphie quietly sits on Kiran’s bed or the carpet, cleaning himself or enjoying the sun coming through the window. He’s good company.
Earlier this week, I discovered two tiny green caterpillars with brilliant yellow dotted black bands across each body segment. They were busy devouring the leafy bits of a parsley plant growing in the garden planter in the front deck of our home. I don’t recall, but I may have planted parsley or parsley seeds in the past. So I let the caterpillars have their way. The benefit of attracting a future pollinator outweighs the loss of the plant.
Shaan did some Google-foo, and we think these are black swallowtail butterfly caterpillars, commonly known as parsley worms. These caterpillars can grow up to 5 cm. I think they are almost full size. I noticed that they have devoured most of the plant and wondered what they would do once the plant was stripped if they were not yet fully grown. With any luck, these caterpillars will pupate into new black swallowtail butterflies, and I’ll get a photograph or two.
Sometimes life is challenging but overall, it’s a wonderful world.
I skipped my usual morning coffee brewing ritual. Instead, I picked up two cups of coffee and a bacon, egg & cheese sandwich from Buy the Cup. Governor Murphy has lifted the mask mandate for non-governmental and non-health organisations, so I walked into Buy the Cup unmasked for the first time in eighteen months. It was great to see Vitaliy.
I noticed the light shining through the thick layer of the cloud onto the neighbourhood tot-lot on the drive home. The light was bouncing off the light morning fog. I pulled over to look for photographic opportunities. I looked through the viewfinder, and suddenly, I realised that the “caution” tape that had once covered the swings and slides had been removed.
The New Jersey Blueberry I planted this spring is doing well. Well enough to produce a few berries. I don’t expect to eat these. I bought the plant for ornamental reasons. In a few years, when the plant is larger and producing more berries, I’ll try some berries.
I feel like I see the barbers at Revival very often. My hair grows so quickly that I need a haircut every two weeks.
After my haircut this morning, I stopped in at the Farmers’ Market. I said hello to familiar faces, Zelle, Lorette, and Todd and welcomed new faces. Ringoes based Roastwell Coffee Roaster are new to the market. I tried their bourbon-infused cold brew coffee. Delicious. I bought a bag of their Ethiopia Natural Kembata Grade 1 beans to brew in the Chemex.
Bhavna, Shaan and I spent the evening at Ironbound Farm in Asbury, eating flatbread pizza and drinking hard cider. I enjoyed the drive from Montgomery through the hills and narrow country roads in Hunterdon County.
The forecast was partially cloudy, so I reserved a table in the courtyard, but when we arrived, a slight drizzle turned into a downpour as we sat. We were seated at a table under a large tent. Despite the weather, we had a great time.
I know I’ve harped on this before. I’ll keep bringing up this topic every time an ignorant photographer tell me that their 35mm or 50mm lens is a “normal” lens.
Contrary to the traditional industry standard of 50 – 55mm, the actual focal length of a normal lens is 43mm. ~ Alan Weitz at B&H Photo
The 35mm and 50mm focal lengths are 7mm to 8 mm too far from normal. The XF27mmF2.8 lens (41mm FF-e) is the closest I can get to normal on my APS-C Fuji X-T2. The MD Rokkor-X is the closest I can get to normal on my Minolta XD-11. But they are both much closer to normal than 35mm or 50mm.
Today was a lazy Sunday. I sat on the couching watching all the Fast and Furious movies. Bhavna suggested we go to Brick Farm Tavern for a drink. I had the latest Troon beer. Then we came home.
Kodak Vision3 250D
I saw the email notice from Old School Photo Lab to download my scans of the negatives from my roll of Kodak Vision3 250D 35mm film. I exposed this roll of film in May of this year. We were all vaccinated, so Jeremy and Neha wanted to visit so their baby, Ronith, could meet the rest of his family. It was great to see them. Neha is Bhavna’s cousin. We were all still getting used to being with people so we sat outside and wore masks when we were close to Ronith. The family event provided the opportunity to expose a 24 exposure roll of Vision3 250D Colour Negative Film which I purchased from the Film Photography Project. FPP sells Vision3 Motion Picture film which they hand-roll into 35mm film canisters.
This is one of the challenges I have with film photography. With digital photography, the image has dense metadata about the images – camera, lens, ISO, aperture, shutter speed, exposure compensation etc. With film, unless I take copious notes, most of this information is lost. I may remember that I used my Minolta XD-11. I may remember that I used my MD Rokkor-X 45mm f/2 lens. I know that the film I used is ISO 250. But unless I write it all down, I don’t remember what aperture ad shutter speed was used.
Some of the images were blurry, but I liked the look of the sharper ones. Perhaps it’s how the images were scanned but the images have a slight reddish hue that I do not see in the examples I found online.
Unfortunately, I can’t just send Kodak Vision3 250D to just any lab. Like most colour motion picture stocks, 250D has a protective layer called Remjet, which helps deal with the tremendous heat generated while running through a motion picture camera. This Remjet layer must be removed during processing and requires specialist developing equipment not available at most film development labs. The film ($10) and the development and scanning ($24-$34) are expensive. I think I’ll shoot this film again, but not often.
- Name: Kodak VISION3 250D (5207)
- Vendor: Kodak
- Type: Color negative
- Format: 35mm
- Speed (ISO): 250
- Exposure latitude: -5 to +5 stops