Profile

Cover photo
Jonathan Rockway
Works at Google
Lives in Brooklyn
852 followers|809,702 views
AboutPostsCollectionsPhotos

Stream

Jonathan Rockway

Shared publicly  - 
 
Falcon lunch!
 ·  Translate
@mebuita FF外から失礼します。 ファルコン・ランチの写真のクオリティとしてはそのスマホの角度はおかしいと思いました。 お時間があるようでしたら、また、スマホの角度を描き直した絵が見たいです。 Reinhold Feulgen. 22h22 hours ago. Reinhold Feulgen @ApaturescienceG. @0r_Pcn ファルコン普通に真上以外から ...
4

Jonathan Rockway

Shared publicly  - 
 
Went to B&H's website to buy some D-76. While I'm there, I always look at their used medium and large format stuff, and they had a Linhof Technikardan 45 at a very good price ($5000 off retail).

What I learned from my Toyo 45CF is that I don't really care about the camera being built inside a case; I'd rather have the flexibility to make large camera movements, but still retain some semblance of portability if possible. There are three cameras that try to be "field monorails" meeting this criteria; the Toyo VX125, the Arca Swiss F series, and the Linhof Technikardan 45. The Toyo is the best and I've had an eBay alert set for that for a while. Arca Swiss firmly believes that the Internet is a passing trend and don't have a website, so I know nothing about them. Their US distributor also has a crap website, so I didn't consider them. The Technikardan is a nice machine, but seemed overpriced and out of reach, so I didn't consider it.

But, the stars aligned and now I have a Technikardan. It folds into something that will fit in my small backpack (with lens!) and it has calibrated tilt and shift on both standards, rear rise, front rise and fall, and bubble levels on all axes on both standards.

I also got a 210mm lens that covers 8x10. I have a new policy of only using 8x10 lenses, because last time I was out, I had perfectly-composed shots, only to eventually compromise because the corners were outside the image circle until f/45 or f/64. (OK, I took the shots at f/64 and they were fine, but diffraction is a real problem at f/64.)

If you ever get into large format photography, I recommend not dividing the cost of your equipment by the number of pictures you take. As a clever reviewer stated, "if I wanted a cheap hobby, I'd take up gold-plating all the world's automobiles."
5
Jonathan Rockway's profile photoSteven Hess's profile photoSteve S's profile photo
3 comments
Steve S
+
1
2
1
 
+Jonathan Rockway Or take up bank robbery.

Jonathan Rockway

Shared publicly  - 
 
At the advice of a friend, I picked up a pair of Bose QC35 headphones.

I was hoping to replace my various wired headphone setups with something wireless, because I always roll my chair over the cord, usually while I'm playing Agario, and then become entangled in a battle with both cords and cells, and end up losing one of the battles.

Anyway, there are good points and bad points. The audio quality is not as good as my HD650s (surprise) or my in-ear headphones (custom-molded to my ear). The HD650s, by design, let in too much ambient noise. The in-ear headphones, by design, let in too little ambient noise. The QC headphones block the right amount of noise; walking around isn't too loud, but the subway commute is pleasurably sound-free (except announcements, which is good). I don't trust audio devices with speakers to not randomly start using the speakers, so I don't really listen to music during my commute; today I just left the noise cancelling on to try it out. My iPhone has so far not started using the speakers unexpectedly, but I don't trust it ;)

I use amps with all my headphones, and I really like the physical volume control. Turning a knob is the right UI affordance. Scratching my ear looking for buttons on headphones doesn't really work for me. So that's not great. Not sure why they make the power button super-accessible, but hide the volume buttons.

The headphones do this thing where they detect that the connection is unreliable, and buffer more audio to try and smooth over it. Audio devices can communicate their latency back to the host device, to make video playback possible with non-zero latency audio connections. However, it doesn't do this. So you'll start watching a video, and then it decides it needs more buffer; the video keeps playing and the audio is no longer in sync.

For that reason, these headphones won't be replacing any of my audiophile equipment, but they're pretty good for listening to music when out and about, which I think I will do more of now.

The advertising copy says you'll hear parts of your music that you never knew existed. That is a lie. Imagine listening to your music being performed by ants inside of a tin can with the bass turned up to eleven. That would be more accurate. I don't know why they don't run their advertising copy past me first, geez guys. The noise-cancelling is good though, so if you're not near an AC outlet with custom-molded headphones, it's a pretty good alternative.
3
Jonathan Rockway's profile photoTimothy Egan's profile photo
3 comments
 
OK thanks for taking the time for the non-recommendation! smile

Jonathan Rockway

Shared publicly  - 
 
Very quick "scan" (with my RX100) of a lightning picture I took tonight. The negative is bent because it's hanging up drying, precluding real scans for now ;)

Long explanation about technique and results to follow, but TLDR: 100 speed film is too slow, and hey look, another bad batch of Tmax (note the KODAK logo throughout the frame; this was due to poor storage and Kodak is aware of the issue).
1
Adam Rice's profile photoZak Kristjanson's profile photo
3 comments
 
Thanks 

Jonathan Rockway

Shared publicly  - 
 
I could not help but notice the subject at 16s ;)
2
Todd Larsen's profile photo
 
I'm sure the Port Authority Gestapo will be hunting down that terrorist and making a public example of him soon enough.
Have him in circles
852 people
Roberto Bayardo's profile photo
Pedro Carvalho's profile photo
Kevin Smart's profile photo
Rob Neuhaus's profile photo
charis choy's profile photo
Patrick Austin's profile photo
Videos ហ្គេម's profile photo
Robin Smidsrød's profile photo
Pushkar Pahare's profile photo

Jonathan Rockway

Shared publicly  - 
 
Today I found a really good review of some pre-war lenses versus their 2000s era equivalents. http://www.hevanet.com/cperez/test/BigMash210.html Spoiler: the pictures are exactly the same. Today I also read a "review" (that "will be updated when we get our hands on the camera") of Canon's new 5DMk4 and their new lenses, which many of my friends have rushed off to pre-order sight-unseen. This got me thinking.

People often say that what killed Kodak was their lack of ability to transition from a chemical company to an IT company. Maybe. But what I think is really up is that photography is not actually a profitable industry to be involved with.

There are a few types of photographers, some of whom buy photography equipment.

The vast majority of photographers are people that want pictures of their kids, or a snapshot of their vacation. These people use their phones. They do not care about sensor size or whether or not Carl Zeiss designed the lens. They get the phone for free from Verizon every two years, and it takes the pictures they want. If you're a photography company, there is no money for you in this segment, and it's the "broad appeal" segment. This is what killed Kodak. They used to have this market (instamatic, one hour photo labs, kodak gold, etc.), but there is no market anymore, it's a commodity. If you need cell phone service, you can take as many photographs as you want, for free, forever.

They are releasing their own cell phone with camera in the near future; maybe it will work for them, but probably not unless it's given away for free, and they can design electronics as well as the Samsungs and LGs of the world. What do they know about making a phone camera that Samsung and LG don't?

The next group of photographers are the gadget geeks. If there is a gadget to be had, they buy it. I am fairly sure that this accounts for all growth for photography companies. The reality is that technology advances quickly, so there is something to be gained by trashing your equipment every year and buying whatever is new and exciting. Most of the innovation is around the DSLR bodies and sensors, and perhaps zoom lenses.

But there are limits looming; the biggest one I can think of are internal vibrations in the camera that spread a line pair destined for two pixels between four pairs. Sure, you can make a 50MP hand-held camera, but it's unlikely to buy you any real extra resolution improvement, because the camera moves. (A recent review I read for the new Phase One 100MP cameras mentions that the camera has a built-in "seismometer" that shows significant vibration even on a studio tripod in a studio. Buildings and the ground move.)

For example, 24 MP full frame sensors are popular. Assuming that there really is a 36x24mm grid of 6000x4000 pixels (there isn't), a point of light need move only 0.006mm to illuminate a different pixel. Anything, including your camera, moving faster than 0.1 miles per hour is going to blur between two pixels in a 1/8000 second exposure. Good luck with that.

Anyway, I've gone off on a tangent, but my point is, eventually the gadget geeks will catch on that they can't actually take better pictures with the latest hotness, and then you're out of business. Improve the lens, doesn't matter, the sensor moves. Improve the sensor, doesn't matter, it's moving. (Better high-ISO performance is the only worthwhile area to improve. Expect to see liquid helium cooling on the Sony A7Riii. But you still need at least one photon to traverse your lens and hit the sensor. Low-light to no-light is a discrete cut-off!)

The next group of photographers are professionals, people that derive income from working camera equipment. Your income depends on how quickly you go from pressing the shutter to having that image on your company's Twitter feed and mobile app. There are lots of improvements that can be made in this area, and the equipment is expensive, so there might be some money to be had here. For example, why does the photographer even have to press the shutter? That sounds like a job for a sensor that is capturing 12MP full-time, using light field sensing to ignore focus, and a machine-learning algorithm to decide which frames are worthy of Twitter. Given what Nikon and Canon pay their engineers, I don't think we'll be seeing that any time soon. Startup opportunity! Get a bunch of those, train them on the Olympic event areas, and the age of humans producing sports photography is over.

(I am glossing over portraiture, wedding photography, product photography, etc. There was a time, not too long ago, when someone listing an apartment would want someone with an 8x10 to photograph the interior for the ads. Now the agent just stops by and uses their phone. Weddings are next!)

The final group of photographers are the "fine art" types. There was never any money in fine art photography. The equipment used in this area hasn't changed significantly since Ansel Adams started photography, and as a result, there is no money in it, even when you're charging $600 for a piece of metal with a hole in it (lensboards). Kodak and Fujifilm win this industry, because the only thing you need is film; everything else is available from bored/dead fine art photographers on eBay.

Anyway, there is probably no person in the world taking full advantage of their photographic equipment, and as such, it's pointless to give the photography companies any money. The problem is solved; the industry has achieved everything they needed to achieve. As long as people keep doing things, there will be photographs to take and share. But there's no money in making cameras.
4
Jonathan Rockway's profile photoSteve S's profile photo
3 comments
Steve S
 
+Jonathan Rockway Wouldn't Lytro be the obvious player?

Jonathan Rockway

Shared publicly  - 
 
45 minute Trump-related documentary and he doesn't say anything dumb. Also not wearing his orange face paint. He does his usual boasting about the airplane and his golf-courses, but all in all, he comes across as pretty well-adjusted. He seems to interact nicely with his support staff too. It's all pretty surreal, as it's not a particularly old documentary or anything.

I like how he spends a while talking about how important Rolls-Royce engines are to him. The other engine option on the 757 is Pratt & Whitney, which is an American company. Guess he isn't that serious about keeping Americans employed.
1

Jonathan Rockway

Shared publicly  - 
 
I heard some thunder, so I went out to get more lightning photos!

It was too late and I brought the wrong lens. The storm was already on top of us. I took a few shots, and there was just boring lightning above, behind a very dark cloud. Some flashes were captured, but it doesn't look that interesting.

Then there was a huge cloud-to-ground stroke about two miles away. It lasted about a second, and you could see the stroke's wild path off the cloud and down to the ground, at the tip of Manhattan but probably in New Jersey somewhere.

I thought "maybe lightning will strike twice", so I aimed my camera in that direction and took 3 15 second exposures. No lightning, but the cloud that spawned the stroke was getting closer and closer. Decided to call it a day before becoming a lightning-related statistic.

If you hear thunder, don't run outside with your camera. The storm is already too close.
3
Jonathan Rockway's profile photo
 
My iPhone had the right lens for this.

Jonathan Rockway

Shared publicly  - 
 
Here's another lightning photo from Saturday night.

I went to CVS to get some soap at around 8:15pm. As I was walking back home, I noticed an active lightning storm to the north. I couldn't think of a good place to photograph that storm from, but decided to head out to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. If there was no visible lightning storm, only 5 minutes would be wasted. When I got there, I was in luck, because there were 3 distinct storms going on. There was one directly west (that's this one). It was not producing much cloud-to-ground lightning. There was the one to the north, which was the most active lightning generator at the time. Finally, there was one over Staten Island (actually much farther inland, you can see lightning storms from quite far away at night).

I spent a good amount of time on each storm. Obviously, for photographic reasons, one would hope that the storm behind the skyline would be most active. I spend some time doing long exposures, and didn't really expect any to turn out. I did not notice the lightning strike recorded in this frame (probably 2-5 minutes exposure at f/11 or f/16). I had some idea on what exposure to aim for, based on having photographed this scene at night before. Since then, they've built condos directly at the level of the promenade; it's not done yet, but those are going to be some annoying apartments to live in when they're done. Windows directly overlooking a freeway and the biggest photo spot in New York City. Only 3 million dollars for a one bedroom! (I looked.)

Anyway, at the very edge of the Promenade I got an acceptable view of the storm, but there was really nothing to photograph. There was a big tree, which becomes a blur with the long exposure and outflow from the thunderstorm. There was a huge fucking iPhone ad that proclaimed that you too can take billboard-sized photos with your iPhone (if you are willing to edit every single pixel in Photoshop, that is; the disclaimer to that effect is in white-on-white text). That storm was pretty active, but just kind of backlit grey clouds with grey lighting, as a result, the photos are not compelling.

The storm over Staten Island was the winner, producing a solid cloud-to-ground stroke every minute or so. I tried opening the shutter and closing it after a good lightning stroke, and quickly used up a roll of film that way. Honestly, the "normal" 90mm lens was not the right one to use for this; you saw the photo the other day, it's just an empty dark harbor with a lightning stroke 60 miles in the distance and a couple of blurry cargo-ship-unloading cranes.

I have other pictures where I opened the shutter for 5 minutes and let lightning illuminate the clouds, but it just didn't really show up on film. This is obviously a damaged batch, but I just don't think it's sensitive enough.

Next time I do this, I will aim for a higher ISO, and hope for storms that are a little closer. If you're going to do wide angle, the storm almost needs to be on top of you (note: risk of death). Finally, there is something about the color of the clouds and lightning interacting that's more visually interesting than just the light and dark, so I'm not sure that B&W really works if you're going for cloud photos at night. I'll probably use my digital camera next time, and see how that goes. (I used my film camera because I have no way of keeping my digital camera open for a long exposure. I bought a cheap remote control, but it broke after about a week. The USB plug was not built to spec and just split open. Cheap piece of crap.)
2
Jonathan Rockway's profile photo
 
Finally, using a flatbed scanner on 120 film is not great.

Jonathan Rockway

Shared publicly  - 
 
I don't think the Port Authority would like it if you looked at this photo!

Yesterday I spent my morning taking some photos along the Hudson river with my 4x5 camera. Very relaxing. I had one sheet of film left, and I noticed that some nice-looking clouds were developing over the Hudson. I only had normal and wide-angle lenses with me, so I needed a subject, and I found one. The ventilation building for the Holland Tunnel. A majestic, boxy, weathered building, sitting on the calm river, amongst some wispy clouds, perfectly illuminated by the mid-morning sun.

I know the Port Authority (the owner of this building) hates photographers, but this is not their property, and despite many "no trespassing" signs on the piers (one of which is a jogging path), there were no "no photography" signs. So I began setting up my shot.

Someone driving their SUV on the sidewalk stopped to yell at me.

"The Port Authority wouldn't like it if you took that picture."
"Oh?"
"Why would you photograph that? Photograph the WTC."

I examined this gentleman's badge. Not a police officer. Just some random Port Authority employee.

"Are you a cop?"
"No."
"Are you going to call the cops?"
"That's up to you. You look like a professional, so you should know better than to photograph this."
"There are thousands of photos of this ventilation building on the Internet."
"That's their problem. Why don't you take a nice picture of the WTC?"

He sat in his car until I took down my tripod and walked away.

I sat down for a while to calm down and decide what to do next. I looked up the Port Authority's photography policy on my phone. They don't publish one. Ironically, the first result was for a photo contest that the Port Authority ran (TLDR: WTC only).

Some other people on the Internet had similar experiences, and didn't take the photo. Someone in 2013 had been arrested in the subway for taking photos, ended up suing the city, and won $30,000.

I watched the employee drive out to the end of the pier, get out, and look back in my direction.

I watched several joggers stop at the same place I was going to take the photo from to stop and take a photo.

It was decided, I was going to take this photo. However, I was not going to take my time taking the photo. I was going to set up my camera, level it, and press the shutter. From my bench, I took my usual light meter readings through a red filter (to darken the sky). I got out my camera, and focused it on infinity, and decided on an exposure of 1/4 second and f/16, with no camera movements.

I attached my camera to my tripod, extended the legs to about where they would be needed, rotated the ballhead to make two legs parallel to the railing on the wall, and walked over. I leveled the camera, checked the focus one last time, took the picture, and quickly vacated the scene.

Not a perfect photo (good job centering the building :P), but it sure means something to me. The Port Authority's policy is not law. This is a public place, and I can photograph whatever I want.

I will be back to improve this photograph. Fuck the Port Authority.

Tmax 100, 1/4 second, f/16. 135mm lens. D-76 1:1 for 11:15 at 20C.
222
15
Zak Kristjanson's profile photo
Jonathan's Collections
People
Have him in circles
852 people
Roberto Bayardo's profile photo
Pedro Carvalho's profile photo
Kevin Smart's profile photo
Rob Neuhaus's profile photo
charis choy's profile photo
Patrick Austin's profile photo
Videos ហ្គេម's profile photo
Robin Smidsrød's profile photo
Pushkar Pahare's profile photo
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Brooklyn
Previously
Chicago - Tokyo
Links
Other profiles
Contributor to
Work
Employment
  • Google
    Software Engineer, 2012 - present
  • Bank of America
    2010 - 2012
Basic Information
Gender
Male