Desktop Madness Vol. 99

This installment of Desktop Madness features a nature photograph which was good enough to fool me into thinking someone else had taken it!

Geez, have I really done 99 of these things? Wow.

Today’s wallpaper has a slightly amusing story to it. As you might know, I use John’s Background Switcher to cycle randomly through my entire wallpaper collection.

Well, the other day a picture came up in the rotation, I thought to myself, “gee that’s a nice picture, I should post it as a desktop madness entry.”

It took a few minutes for me to remember that actually, that was a picture I’d taken!

So anyway, here’s the photo that inspired this post. Enjoy!

tiny red leaves closeup

(Remember: you can download the full-size version from this picture’s Flickr page.)

Around the Next Bend

Recently, I was out for a walk at a place where I’ve gone for walks dozens of times in the past. But this time, I noticed a trail off to my right that I’d never seen before… and so, with no real destination in mind, and some free time on my hands, I turned off the main path and down this new one, just to see what was there.

Turns out, there is a whole other system of trails, and some beautiful big fields (where you can find wild bunnies frolicking, no less!) which I never knew about. I can’t even begin to tell you how happy (and surprised) I was to find this, just a little ways away from where I’d been so many times before.

Is this an analogy for life? You bet.

The thing is, you really do never know what is coming around the next bend, and life being as unpredictable as it is, you never know when you’re going to see that turn coming that leads you to someplace really special.

what lies around the bend

Having personally been in some dark places over the years, I can tell you, it’s hard to believe that these turns or special places even exist – but they do, and eventually, one way or another, you always seem to find them when you least expect it.

Desktop Madness Vol. 98

Roses are #F0000, Violets are #0000F … you know the rest. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Can’t believe I’d never posted this one before.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Internet… may your memes never fade!

Desktop Madness Vol. 97

I always go a little crazy on Valentine’s Day… no special reason.

Oh, it’s that time of year again – Valentine’s day. So I guess I should put up some Valentine related wallpapers, eh?

What? Oh, by Valentine’s Day you didn’t mean Faye Valentine. Sorry, my bad.

Ok, ok, I’ll stop now.

…Enjoy your Valentine’s Day.


Same Picture, Different Lenses

More experiments with digital photography – this time, learning the differences that different lenses (and different focal lengths) produce!

It’s winter around here at the moment, and there’s not much to do outside. So I’ve been spending some time playing around with my new lenses, and learning what kind of effects they have.

And what better way to experiment than to take pictures of… my bookshelf?

my manga shelf 3

This first picture (above) was taken with my kit zoom lens, at its widest setting (14mm). It’s an OK shot, but because the lens I used here is so wide (and the bookshelf itself is so short), it isn’t terribly interesting.

manga shelf - sayonara, zetsubou sensei

This next picture (above) was taken with my 20mm (f/1.7) prime lens. I like this picture a lot more, because the longer focal length (narrower field of view) works better with the size of my shelf, and helps keep the books themselves as the focus (if you’ll pardon the pun) of the picture. Also, the nice shallow depth of field helps bring attention to just the set of books in the middle there, which I like as well.

my manga shelf 2

This picture (above) was again taken with my kit zoom lens, again at 14mm. This one is a little bit better than the first one, but it’s still not terribly interesting, because the books on the left are still too much in focus, even though they are not the ones I was pointing at. Still not bad, but not great either.

manga shelf - lucky star

This final one was taken with my 20mm prime lens. Unlike the first two pictures, I actually took this one from a slightly different position – I backed up a bit – to make up for the narrower field of view. So even though you can actually see a little bit more of the shelf, the books in the middle (my Lucky Star collection) are in sharp focus, but the rest of the books both to the left and right are out of focus. This keeps your attention squarely where I wanted it, and is exactly what I wanted to do.

By performing these experiments, I’ve really gotten an intuitive feel for what sort of results I’ll get with each lens, and with the different focal lengths (and, of course, f-stops). Sure, I knew intellectually what should happen, but until I see it in action, I don’t really get a feel for it – and I’m one of those sorts of people who learns best by seeing & doing.

There’s still more for me to learn about photography, but these experiments are a neat (and fun!) way to learn (and understand) techniques and give meaning to all the often confusing terminology used in the world of photography. I highly recommend trying some experiments of your own – you might be surprised at what you can learn!

(If you’re interested, you can see all the pictures I took (along with others in my office) here.)