Balloon Animal

giant balloon sculpture shaped like a spiral sea-shell

No, not that one. This one is a sculpture by Jason Hackenwerth called Pisces. It's made out of 10,000 balloons; apparently, the artist and his assistants had to wear earplugs during construction to protect themselves against the squeaky noises.

The sculpture is in the Grand Gallery, National Museum of Scotland until April 14th; it's well worth a visit if you're in town.

Pretty Fly

Network selection dialog with "Pretty Fly For a WiFi" as an option.

Seen on my phone while in a hotel in Philadelphia last week. If you're wondering why I think this is funny, you probably need to view this reference video.

Silver & Light

Ian Ruhter makes photographs with a large camera. A very large camera. His camera is so large that it is essentially the rear end of a big blue cargo van, which at least means transportation is built in.

He's using the wet collodion process which amongst other things means pouring noxious chemicals over the plates in the field. The introduction to his short documentary shows some of this process in a deliciously misleading way, and has a fair bit of footage of the plate preparation and shooting processes.

The plates themselves, which in this process also carry the final image, are large sheets of metal. I thought I was stretching things a bit when I worked with 5x4 inch negatives: one of Ruhter's standard plate sizes seems to be 5x4 feet.

If you've never seen large images from a direct imaging process like this, it's tempting to regard this as a bit of a gimmick, or at best just a way of making a really large photographic print. That's not what you experience when you stand in front of something like a 20"x24" Polaroid. Photographs like this have a physical presence; it's immediately clear that they are, to paraphrase what Ruhter says in the film, not enlargements and not copies, but original and unique objects.

I'm really glad there are still people in the world crazy enough to do this kind of thing.

EPS International 2012 Entry Closes Soon

The Edinburgh Photographic Society has been running an annual open exhibition since its founding in 1861; this is believed to be the oldest continuously running photographic exhibition in the world. That's one and a half centuries, which makes my paltry two-decade-or-so stint as the exhibition's Database Wrangler look rather paltry.

This year, the 150th Annual Exhibition of Photography will be held in Edinburgh from the 7th of August to 4th September. Entries for the exhibition close on the 22nd of June, which means that you still have time to participate if you're quick.

This year, the awards available have been extended to commemorate the 150th Exhibition, so if you have ever considered entering this would be a great time to do so.

Entry forms and copies of the rules can be found at:

Good luck!

No Hats

Please do not take photos with hats on

Seen on a recent trip to San Antonio, Texas, which is probably the last place you'd expect to see any attempt to constrain the use of any kind of headwear.

Obviously they don't mean you can't wear your own hat while taking photos; what they want to prevent is people wearing the display hats for the purposes of having their photographs taken. Or at least I think so; there were no hats in the vicinity of this particular notice.

Bedside Chocolate

Bedside Chocolate

This is another "snapshots from my travels" picture, from a recent trip to Zürich, Switzerland.

In many countries, it's common to find an inedible boiled mint on your hotel pillow. In Switzerland, hoteliers apparently have tastebuds that work.

More Pixies Inside

More Pixies Inside

There used to be a joke in photographic circles that most people had rolls of film printed with "Christmas at each end and a beach in the middle". This blog hasn't been idle quite that long, but I've just got back from a very nice vacation in Bruges inspired by the visit I made for the conference mentioned in the last two entries.

Mmmmmm, chocolate… and, apparently, pixies. Who knew?

Dueling Fingers

Dueling Fingers

Originally uploaded by nklingenstein

The wireless networking may have been problematic, but the human networking was excellent. Spirited argument between friends (see picture) is always great fun.


Twigs card

I've been promising myself a set of properly prepared MOO cards since I got some free samples a year ago.

I finally got round to doing this; the cards arrived just in time for my trip to the Internet2 Fall Member Meeting, and literally an hour before the postal strike started.

For this batch, I went through a lot of old images looking for images that would work in the 70mm by 28mm format; most of the results are still crops from much larger images, though. One thing I found very helpful this time round is that you can download a Photoshop template for the card format, including guides to help you allow for a safe area and off-card bleed.

I've uploaded all the images I used for this batch as a flickr set for anyone who is interested; they are CC-licensed, so feel free to use them for your own cards if you like them.

Piraeus Lion

Arsenale Lion

Originally uploaded by iay.

I was contacted a couple of days ago by a Wikipedian who had seen this picture in my flickr stream. He had a story to tell about this lion, he said, and would I be prepared to re-license the image appropriately to allow this?

Of course I agreed, and the Wikipedia article on the Piraeus Lion is now available. Of course I'm immensely chuffed that something I took as a holiday snapshot should turn out to be a bit more useful than that.

I knew there was some sort of story connected with one of the lions when I took the picture, but wasn't able to see the rumoured graffiti even with it right in front of my face. One of the most interesting things to me about the Wikipedia article is that the second image illustrating the topic is actually an enhanced version of a detail from my own image.

For someone who believes in the Creative Commons, this is a pretty nice unbirthday present.


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