Saturday, February 28, 2009

Red Chair - A series takes shape

This is the next installment in what I plan on being a series partly inspired by the incongruous black object on the cover of Led Zeppelin's Presence.

This was taken with the extremely wonderful Lubitel 166. While I've bought a few cameras (including a Holga and Diana) from the Lomography folks, this was an eBay purchase from last year, with the camera made sometime between 1977 and 1980. It's taken a little while to get used to but, in conjunction with the Agfa Portrait 160, everything that's come out of it has been great, except where the photographer's been a dullard. And he's an idio... oh wait...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Tilt Shift Helicotper Rescue

I love tilt-shift photos, me. I've even taken a few. But this is fabulous... Like "Thomas the Tank Engine" meets "Tellietubbies".

Bathtub IV from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday evening

Another day at work. Can I differentiate it from the others? I'm feeling a bit more on top of things than I have over the last few weeks, but I still always feel behind. At least I'm getting used to that.

Today I caught up with Jenny, an old colleague, who's now working on a project to work out what the hell we're going to do about our coastal regions once climate change gets slightly more serious than it is now.

This is not an aerial shot of the future coast, by the way. It's a holey rock I saw the weekend before last at the Otways. It sat just short of the pool at the bottom of Stevenson's waterfall, where a collection of incredibly large rocks sat in some dark water...

I also adjudicated a debate between the communications folk and some transport policy people. Sigh.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Who's a Clacker now?

I've been waiting for this for a week or so, and wanting to buy one for a while, but an Agfa Clack arrived for me today from the UK.

I've been mad keen on trying a Clack for a couple of reasons. First, the negatives are so amazingly large - they were designed to be contact-printed only - and their shape is a bit more 16:9 than 4:3, which should give some great results for wide, horizontal shots. Second, from what I've read it sounds like they're a bugger to get a decent photo with. Some comments I've read suggest they have only a very small focus sweet spot in the middle of the frame, and that's it; everything else is a softened blur. I've also read they have a relatively long shutter speed, so bracing against lamp posts looks like the go. The photos I've seen on flickr have been pretty impressive, so I'm not too worried.

I'm going to put a film through it in the next week or so. As soon as I have, I'll post some shots, at least if they're any good.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Future Sailors/ Prostitute Robots

Still not postful minded.

Highlight of the week was hearing a report from Jess, one of Will's carers. Jess was half humming, half singing, "Future Sailor" to herself, when Will said, "that's a Mighty Boosh song!". Jess was suitably, and wonderfully, shocked. Four year old children aren't usually given to being able to identify surreal, punk musical Pufnstuf-esque Brit-com, but that's Will, I suppose.

It's a wonderful follow up to the few years ago, when F was taking Emmy through the supermarket. Emmy, about seven-ish, walked up to F in a supermarlet aisle with a plastic lunchbox on her chest, and in a loud, clear steady voice, said, "Mum, look... I'm a prostitute robot from the future."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

More bushfire

The toll from the bushfires just keeps getting worse. 181 and we're being braced for more. We had a briefing on Monday from our security and emergency management team to suggest things would get much worse (it was about 100 at the time).

I've got about a dozen people from my team (of about 120) working on bushfire issues; mostly communications people. Friends at the road organisation are working flat out. Anything we can do....

Sunday, February 8, 2009


The last 24 hours have seen the State's worst bushfires in recent memory. Last night before going to bed the number of dead was 25; we woke to 50. Now it looks like there are at least 76 dead.

We have become news junkies. The first times we needed the constant fix of facts was the Tiananmen Square protests in '89 and then again in the first Gulf War - an incessant, desperate need for more information as though there was something useful we could if only we knew some missing piece. Or perhaps we were just waiting for someone to say that things have peaked and won't get any worse.

Tonight we watched a couple of news programs, commercial and non. Both had live interviews with both the Premier (Brumby) and the Prime Minister (Rudd). Everyone, whether politico or journo looked haggard and struggling with emotion of the day.
"Why don't the newscasters cry when they read about people who die?
At least they could be decent enough to put just a tear in their eyes
...sang Jack Johnson, but tonight both Peter Hitchener and Ian Henderson were struggling to keep it together.

Some hours later, we've just heard that one of their peers (and competitors) looks like he and his wife were killed in the fires. It doesn't make it any worse, but it does put a familiar face to those who've perished. The places close to Melbourne that have burned I know - King Lake and St Andrews in particular - and will miss as they were. But even putting a face to it, I still can't fathom that so many have died.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Google Ice Cream Duck

Tonight as I was going through my flickr stats - most viewed, comments etc and tracking back to find out how people found the photo. There were the usual links from Google, Yahoo and their respective images searches, but one of the Google searches was for "ice cream duck". Rather wonderfully, repeating the search produced the following result...

But how many responses are there to a search of "ice cream duck"... Quite a few as it turns out. Far more than you might have guessed....

Wow... So that's the most popular ice cream duck out of 4.7 million.....

Half an Orange Head

Today was full and wonderful and fulfilling moments. Jane R sent me a joke today that is the best I've heard in ages. A quick Googling suggests it may not be that new (at least a couple of years), but that's not the point. It goes:
"A man walks into a bar. Half his head is a giant orange. He walks up to the bartender and says, 'I'll have a pot of light and a double scotch and water thanks.'

'Sure,' says the barman, and starts pouring his drinks. 'But - and I hope you don't mind me saying - I couldn't help noticing half your head is a giant orange. What's up with that?'

'Well,' the man says, 'that's quite a story.'

He pulls up a bar stool, downs his scotch, and begins. 'A few weeks ago I got a call from my auntie. She wanted to know if I could come over and help her clean out the attic. I was just watching the cricket, so I figured I might as well. I show up, and she tells me she wants everything out of there: anything I want, she says, I can keep.

'So, I've been fossicking around in there for about half an hour when I find this lamp. It looks pretty sweet - perhaps an antique - so I figure I can clean it up and flog it off on ebay. I pull out my hankie and give the thing a bit of a rub and - what do you know! - a genie appears!

'"You have freed me from the lamp", he tells me, "and consequently, you have three wishes"

'Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather. Anyway, I pull myself together and come up with my first wish. "I want a wallet," I tell the bloke, "with a million dollars in it, and whenever I spend some of it it just fills up again."

'Just like that, kapow, this wallet appears, and in it there's a million dollars.'
The man pulls out the wallet and puts it on the bar. It's massive.

'Boy, was that a mistake,' he says. 'This thing weighs a ton. Ever since I got it I've had terrible sciatica, and most of my money goes on chiropractors.

Anyway, enough about that. For my second wish I said, "I want every single woman I meet to fall in love with me". Again, what was I thinking? Look around this place.'

The barman does. Every woman in the bar is sitting and staring at the man with the orange head. It's not a very nice bar, and they're not very nice women.

'Y'see? Everywhere I go this happens. Walking past primary schools has become a legal impossibility. Anyway, as you've probably guessed, around now the genie says to me "And what would you like for your third wish?"'

'And I say to him, my third wish? For my third wish I'd like half my head to be a giant orange.' "

(Photo by textileseahorse)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

G-Spot Tornado

I'm lost for words. A marching squad/team/group/collection marching to Zappa's "G-Spot Tornado". The synclavier version was madcap enough, but the Ensemble Moderne version is the bee's knees, or possibly even the ant's elbows. Which is pretty impressive, considering it wasn't intended to ever be played by humans....

Monday, February 2, 2009

The doctor is in

The doctor may not be in, and there's no particular reason to link to this now, but I came across it and it made me smile. I've seen a few interviews with Thompson, but this one captures a tone and speech rhythms that I heard when I read "The Joke's Over" by Ralph Steadman.

I ate a bit hanging off my duck

There have been some wonderful moments, and wonderful quotes in the last few days:
  • Friday I met A Mayor. This particular Mayor had previously sought higher office, and F made the observation that his acceptance of his current role was like an aspiring captain of the school cricket team accepting the captaincy of the rounders team. Hoorah for big school! He has a turn of phrase and disposition that made me think that Hunter Thompson must have once had a school master. "A pocket of toxic incompetence" was my favourite...
  • Saturday we drove through Fairfield at night to get Will to sleep. Wonderment upon wonderment, a train went through the crossing and The Dog's* eyes lit up! The navigation light on his tail was also on, but his tail didn't wag (although I have seen this happen many years ago). I've been told by someone on the Council that sometimes he works and sometimes he doesn't and it seems to be pretty random. I consider a wagging to be some sort of blessing.
  • And finally, tonight, eating some duck red curry Will said, - "I ate a bit hanging off my duck". I think we can all sympathise. Unless you're a duck.
*(aka FIDO - the "Fairfield Industrial Dog Object")

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Introduction of the Lubitel and another Holga shot...

This one was taken on Betka Beach last week, using Auntie Holga. Agfa Portrait 160.

This was also taken at Mallacoota, but is the product of the first real outing of the Lubitel 166. It appears to be an old one (bought off eBay) rather than a Lomography one. This is using the same film as above (the Afga Portrait 160), but the colour cast is slightly different. Soft light seems to bring out the oranges more. A really soft and warm film, which I suppose is what portrait film is supposed to be.

I just can't help myself - I'll be using both cameras a lot more in the coming months. I'll also get some more Fuji Provia 100 which produced some fantastic, saturated results in strong beach light.