On the Thomas Pynchon Trail

I am in no way a fan of the Vulture in general, I think their glib, gawkery style is generally anything but good. But this piece on Thomas Pynchon is pretty well written, very detailed, and entertaining.

Tutorial — Learn HDR Photography

I’ve gotta say that I’m pretty sure I’m not in the minority when I say that in general I pretty much detest HDR photography. Usually these images are so over-processed and over the top, and they’re often used by mediocre photographers to make what they think are fantastic shots.

But, as with everything, there are no absolutes. I was poking around 500px (nice little site there, I’m finding lots of interesting stuff, all while thinking “another place to kick my money to put my photos online? is this worth it?”) and found this HDR photography tutorial by Trey Ratcliff that actually seemed sort of useful. I think it’s worth your time.

Tutorial — Long Exposure Photography

500px user Matt Kloskowski put together a nice little summary of long exposure photography. Again, I spent a long time doing this with film, now with a newish DSLR rattling around in my backpack, I’m storing some links here to refresh my memory.

Tutorial — Photograph The Night Sky

500px user Diana Tula put together a nice little tutorial on night sky photography. I used to do a lot of that myself back in the film days, but discovered after picking up my first DSLR (A Canon 10D) that long exposures took just as long or longer to process in the camera. So a 2 minute exposure meant the camera would just sit there processing the image for a further two-plus minutes, which meant I wasn’t shooting. And when you’re up at 2am in the cold, you want to always have the shutter open, so you can go to bed soon…..

So, in the interests of clearing another tab out of the browser and in keeping this handy for very near-term night photos, here it is…

Two great pieces on Steve Earle

David Simon wrote the liner notes essay for Steve Earle’s boxed set “The Warner Brothers Years,” giving some backstory to Earle’s life and to his appearances in The Wire as Walon, Bubbles’ sponsor for one of his attempts to get clean. It’s really great:

I learned something else about him on that, his first trip to Baltimore to work on “The Wire,” and it’s this:  Steve Earle is a genuinely smart soul, an autodidact of astonishing scope and — albeit with all the mannerisms of an unrepentant redneck — a bit of a Renaissance man.

I don’t know about you, good reader, but anyone who can be described as an autodidact and an unrepentant redneck is most likely someone I’d want to meet. Although I’m more partial to hillbillies myself.

Then there’s this New Yorker piece, which is typical for them, longform, well-written and a good read.

Never heard of him? This metafilter post is a great start.


“Thought” Verbs

Chuck Palahniuk has a great tip about writing:

In six seconds, you’ll hate me.

But in six months, you’ll be a better writer.

From this point forward – at least for the next half year – you may not use “thought” verbs.  These include:  Thinks, Knows, Understands, Realizes, Believes, Wants, Remembers, Imagines, Desires, and a hundred others you love to use.

The list should also include:  Loves and Hates.

And it should include:  Is and Has, but we’ll get to those, later.