January 31, 2014

Have you ever looked _down_ on one?

"I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth."
– Genesis 9:13

On Tuesday, while flying over the Atlantic, I looked down at a rainbow:

(iPhone photo; click image for full-screen)

January 19, 2014

Under the influence.

Heraclitus said that you can't step into the same river twice, but sometimes I wondered whether I was photographing the same dog twice, thrice, and more.

I like to photograph Bucky. Sometimes, though, I found that I would take a photograph of him, and it would look very familiar:


(Click any image for full-screen.)

Old dog, new photo. If you photograph the same dog, repeatedly, how different can any new photo be...?

Last weekend, I visited the Yousuf Karsh exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery (USA). In spite of my familiarity with some of Karsh's truly iconic images (his portraits of Churchill & Hemingway, for instance), looking at his prints moved me. Wow. What exquisite compositions! What use of light - and darkness - to frame, and to highlight!

After visiting the exhibition, I took these two photos (click any image for full-screen), indoors, by available window-light; I think they are different from all my earlier photos of Bucky:

Thank you, Mr. Karsh!

And thank you, Bucky.

January 5, 2014

Such ugliness should be an opt-in, not a secret vice. (An open letter.) [Puzzling color corruption in uploaded images turns out to be Google "auto-enhancement."]

Dear Google, please consider making the "auto-enhancement" of uploaded images an opt-in choice, rather than a hidden default.

I like your picasaweb cloud-based photo-hosting service, which I've been using for years. Recently, though, I discovered that I had a problem: newly uploaded photos had corrupt colors. Ugh. I tried deleting and repeating; same problem. What could the issue be? Was this a color management problem for which I was somehow responsible? Actually, no. Turns out, it was something that you, Google, see as a feature.

A few months ago, I found that it was necessary to upgrade my Google account to a "Google plus membership," in order to attend a meeting via a "Google plus video hangout." So, I did. Turns out that you processed all my image uploads thereafter using a feature that you, Google, call "image auto-enhance." Those bad colors were your idea of "enhancement:"



I've now cancelled the "enhancement" of those photos (individually, as you gave me no way to do so en masse; I was relieved that I did not have to re-upload everything). And I've also turned off the "auto-enhancement" of newly uploaded photos, going forwards.

In general, I do not alter my photographs. Light goes through a lens, and hits a sensor, and electrons get happy, and a file is written; that is what I want to see. How dare you, Google, presume that you should "auto-enhance" any image that I entrust to you for storage? And how dare you, Google, presume to do so without even telling me?

In closing: Dear Google, without mentioning that you would modify the images I uploaded, you made them ugly. I've fixed this issue with respect to my own image uploads. I respectfully suggest that in order to spare other people similar ugliness, confusion, and delay, that you please make image "auto-enhance" an opt-in choice, rather than a hidden default.

Jim Pekar
Kensington, Maryland, USA

January 1, 2014

Cooking with NeuroCooking 2!

Last year's Cooking with NeuroCooking was so popular that we are updating it with this season's best new dishes. And wishing you, dear readers, a new year filled with good fun, great food, and healthy brains and bodies!

Here are some of the tasty recipes we enjoyed this holiday:

Banana Rum Cream Pie
Basic Spaetzle
Cricket Ball
Dan Barber's Braised Short Ribs
Kale Salad with Kabocha Squash, Pomegranate Seeds & Toasted Hazelnuts
New York Sour
Pomegranate Roast Lamb
Porcini & Rosemary Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Port Wine Sauce
Va Va Rouge


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