I keep repeating, but I had orbital decompression surgery on Monday. My face, especially around my eyes, looked like I had a rough night at fight club. After a week of alternating use of an ice pack for twenty minutes on, and twenty minutes off, and lots of bed rest, and being mentally unfocused due to strong pain medications, I can finally see out of both eyes. I am still on several medications, including whole-body anti-biotics and in-eye anti-biotics which I apply three times a day to both eyes. I have a double vision which the doctors expect will go away on its own or I will require additional surgery. I'll know more at my post-surgery appointment on Monday.

This week, I had not expected to submit a post for Frank's Photo Challenge. Until today, I had not even thought about the weekly challenge. I was focused on recovering from surgery. But I was skipping through the WordPress Reader and saw a response to the photo challenge and out of curiosity, I looked for this week's keyword and started laughing. Focus!!

Due to cataract surgery on my left several years ago, I had to choose the type of lens I wanted. I opted for distance vision. With the left eye, I can focus on objects that are further than two meters or more from my sight. Soon after that, I had laser surgery, phase reactive keratotomy, in my right eye, which allows me to focus on the nearby objects that are two-metres or less from my right eye. My brain combines both images to enable stereoscopic vision so that I can drive safely, read a screen, a book, and watch a movie.

Of course, seeing two of every car as I drive isn't ideal. With my post-surgery diplopia, I can't focus on anything in front of me unless I close one of my eyes. My wife gave me an eye-patch to alternately cover each eye. But when you can see out of one eye only, you lose stereoscopic vision and the ability to determine depth.

So what to do? I wanted to submit an entry.

I decided to save up my energy; it takes a lot out of me to cover one eye long enough to type these words so that I could submit two images. I captured both pictures on my Fuji X-T2 with a manual focus 35mm film lens, my Asahi SMC Takumar 55mm f/2. For the first image, I used the focus-peaking feature of the Fujifilm X-T2 to help me find the proper focus for the image. For the other, I focus on using just my eyes. I expect one image is sharper than the other.

The out-o-focus image is a decent depiction of what my vision was like a day after surgery.

I used Luis Costa's monochrome film simulation recipe, which I found via Ritchie Roesch's [Not] My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Tri-X Push-Process Film Simulation Recipe post. The last time I shot a monochrome film was in college in the mid-'80s. I don't remember explicitly shooting Tri-X, but I do remember capturing a lot of monochrome images. I don't know if this Tri-X recipe is close to Tri-X or not, but I like the way it looks.

Sep 14, 2019, Chive Flower — FujiFilm X-T2 + Asahi SMC Takumar 55mm f/2

  • Aperture—ƒ/5.6
  • Camera—NIKON D40
  • Taken—21 August, 2011
  • Copyright—© Khürt L. Williams
  • Focal length—50mm
  • ISO—400
  • Shutter speed—1/320s

daguerreotype

... the daguerreotype put an end to the portrait making business as it was known to the world. Skilled painters, who previously were the only means of creating a likeness of one’s self, were suddenly squeezed by the faster and cheaper process. Not only was the daguerreotype literally faster and easier to create than a painting, the operator didn’t need to have any particular talent other than being able to follow directions and do some mathematical computations to mix chemicals. They didn’t need to spend years cultivating their art and style and studying methods. And they surely didn’t need the underlying “spark” or “raw talent” that is often associated with painters or sculptors. By the 1860’s, much of the portrait painting industry was gone and those that did still have their paintings commissioned often did not sit for their painting sessions, but instead sent their painter a daguerreotype to work from.Lisa Robinson

OMG! I see some parallels to modern digital photography and smartphones. In case you don't know it, the daguerreotype is "a photograph taken by an early photographic process employing an iodine-sensitized silvered plate and mercury vapor."

Learning Baggage

... the next time you look up from that proposal on the new infrastructure schematics and see that the sun is shining, go for a walk, notice where you are, and give your mind a chance to go into diffuse-mode and process what you’ve been focusing on all morning. And give yourself a hug for doing it.Farnam Street

Woman, The High Line

On the gear acquisition syndrome and the Fuji GF-X:

Sure, the format itself, the sensor, the glass...all of it contributes to the end results and I do believe there's a quantifiable difference. But it's how it alters us that's most important. That creative influx and change of pace. In many ways it's the X100 all over again, potentially transforming how we approach our work as a whole. Tweaking our eye. That's the pull here. It's not a bloody conspiracy. But I'll say it again: there's no such thing as magical gear. In a recent interview I even expressed concern about this, at people potentially getting in over their heads, purchasing a GFX 50S and ultimately ending up disappointed. Realizing they now have sharper and higher rez images that...don't look all that different. It's always the photographer, not the gear.Flux & Fuel by Patrick La Roque

Voice interactions with computers are in a fledgling state.

... Google and others are working on populating their systems with hundreds or thousands of the most common commands, and ensuring that the responses to these are rewarding and useful. That’s all that needs to happen. Alexa has a small number of commands it can do, but it can do them really well. And when it fails, it fails gracefully. Siri is the opposite. It makes you feel like you can say anything, but half the time she doesn’t understand you, and the other half she does something stupid even when she does. This hurts peoples’ confidence in the voice interface, and keeps it from becoming their default.Daniel Miessler

Human rights only exist because … humanity.

Ghana opposed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on principle: there is nothing inherently universal about human rights at all. The only rights you possess are the rights that your state protects and enforces. To call human rights ‘inalienable’ is to ignore the fact that they are as fragile as governments. As a consequence, to think of human rights as transcendent values is the unfortunate first step in neglecting your state’s accountability and abidance to them.James Shelly

Leo Babauta on focusing on one thing at a time:

It turns out, we are very rarely fully in the moment with any single activity. How can we try this enlightened activity of full concentration on one act?Zen Habits

Are you exposing your mind to varied ideas?

In the extension of this idea to my own life, adding inputs, even if they are selected on a whim, is like adding molecules to primordial soup.10 The more widely I read, the more connections I can make. All the better if they are unusual connections, because unusual is often valuable.withthegrain