Monday, August 29, 2011

Congratulations Radomir and Michelle

Radomir and Michelle tied the knot yesterday;  Radomir is a friend who also happens to be my manager. 

The ceremony and reception were held at the beautiful Kohl Mansion in Burlingame. 

I wanted to stay out of the way so I opted to bring just my little Fuji X100. 

There's Kim looking as beautiful as ever.

What wedding would be complete without the celebratory cigars?!

They rented a sweet ride to get to the mansion!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza is probably one of the most visited sites on the Mayan Riviera. It was about a 2 hour drive from where we were staying and was very hot and humid.

After getting there, we got a very nice tour of the area along with some interesting bits of information about the Mayan culture of the era.

Human sacrifices and the end of the world in 2012 are probably two of the most commonly associated things with the Mayan civilization. However, the obsession with tracking time and the precision to which they built their structures is impressive.

Also interesting is the different ways in which the end of the Mayan calendar can be interpreted. One interpretation, the most popular is that it signifies the end of the world literally. However, a more plausible explanation is that it simply signifies the end of an era in the Mayan calendar system.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Random SIGGRAPH / Vancouver images

Urban Park - Leica M9, 50 Summilux, ~f/4, 1/750s, ISO 160

Immediately after returning from SIGGRAPH last friday I left on a family vacation to the Mayan Riviera, Mexico so I have had a chance to post any images from my time at SIGGRAPH.  I didn't do much photography in Mexico last week but figured I'd get all my images from Vancouver up.

The Vancouver Convention Center is not only large enough to dwarf SIGGRAPH but the architecture is also beautiful.  Its also located ideally which all combined together makes it the finest convention center I've visited. 

The only downside I can think of is that its hard to focus on the conference when the entrances to the rooms face the ocean with mountains set behind.  How are you supposed to get any work done?

SIGGRAPH itself was also good, I don't know if it was the location but I think I enjoyed it more this year.  The electronic theatre was disappointing for me but I attended a few non-technical talks which were good and many papers which seemed to be more practical.

Cheers! - Leica M9, 21 Summilux, f/1.4, 1/15s, ISO 1600
Of course the right company can really make a conference fun.  The food in Vancouver, especially on the waterfront was pretty pricey, I'm just glad work was paying the way :)

The food, though pricey was delicious.  In addition to seafood, I had an amazing Ramen noodle soup along with excellent Japanese Tapas.

I mentioned in a previous post that for this trip I was foregoing the laptop and using just an iPad 2.  In short, it sucked.  I would much rather have had a 11" Macbook Air.  The iPad 2's hardware was fine but the software for what I wanted to do really left me wanting. 

Its the imaging workflow on the iPad that is sorely missing, especially when you get used to the ease and speed of working with something like Lightroom.  I settled on using just Nik's SnapSeed and though it kind of got the job done, it was no fun.  There is a serious software gap here that someone needs to address.

It was also a bummer that the NPAR/CAe/SBIM conference that was co-located distributed the proceedings via USB key, so I had no way to view the papers while at the conference.  The iPad did work out great for email and web browsing though.

In spite of there being thousands of people, I never felt that it was very crowded.  There are so many restaurants within a 10 minute walk that I think people just diffuse in every direction. 

In addition to great food, we ended up discovering a great lounge in Gastown (Guilt & Co.) which we returned to a couple of evenings.

In all, it was a great conference and I really hope ACM decides to to SIGGRAPH in Vancouver again.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Dinner with Friends

Most of the other people from my lab arrived yesterday for SIGGRAPH. After a very nice dinner nearby we wandered around and checked out a few places including Granville street which I'd heard was an interesting sight on a Saturday night. I'm still liking Vancouver a lot, though not liking the food prices.

There was a fireworks competition last night. Even though one of us had a a corner full window room on the 30th floor, another high rise blocked much of the view.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Vancouver waterfront is gorgeous

I arrived in Vancouver yesterday afternoon, I'm here for about a week attending a couple of conferences. SIGGRAPH (the largest graphics conference in the world) will start on Sunday but today, tomorrow and Sunday morning I'll be attending the NPAR/CAe/SBIM triple symposia. I decided to go light this year, opting only to bring my M9 and an iPad, leaving the laptop at home.

Since I very much dislike touch keyboards, I'm using a Logitech ZAGG keyboard/case combo which is working extremely well. I got the camera connection kit before I left to get the images off the M9. For image editing I am using SnapSeed, which doesn't do quite everything I want but is better than nothing. I am uploading my images directly to Zenfolio (and the Zenfolio iPad app. is working extremely well for this). As this post should demonstrate with a reasonably fast internet connection, everything works very well.

A few steps from where I'm staying is the Vancouver convention center where you can find this curious 'pixelized' whale.

I went for a long walk yesterday before the welcome reception for the symposia. Saw lots of people (like the ones above) relaxing and enjoying the sunset. It looks cloudy today, hope the rest of the week is more like last night and not this afternoon...

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Bonsai Rock in Afterglow

Bonsai Rock in Afterglow - 5D2, Zeiss 50, f/5.6, 30s, ISO 100
This past weekend, I was in the Lake Tahoe area mostly on a family vacation.  However I had Saturday evening and Sunday morning available for doing some landscape photography.  Since I'd never seen Bonsai Rock, that was my subject for Saturday evening.  Getting down to the shore was a bit of a challenge since I didn't know there was a direct path leading right to the optimal spot to photograph this scene.

I worked just as the sun started to set but my favorite images are definitely from after the sun had set, with the long exposures smoothing out the water and the pinks and purples in the sky. 

The water level was quite high in Lake Tahoe, no doubt partially because of the record snowfall this past winter so a lot of the surrounding rocks were submerged.  I'll definitely have to return here and re-photograph this scene.