Capturing RAW

I am often asked why I shoot my photographs in RAW format. RAW capture refers to the direct transfer of the information acquired by the sensor of a digital camera to the memory card without any in-camera processing. In the 18-megapixel Canon EOS 7D, this translates into files of 25MB, compared to the 6MB of a high-resolution JPG-compressed file. Why would one like to shoot RAW files? The RAW format contains all the information captured by the sensor and is therefore most amenable to corrections of exposure, saturation, chromatic aberrations and noise during post-processing. Compressed JPG files contain a reduced amount of information and so are much more limited to adjust during post-processing. Why would someone want to adjust a photograph? Shown below are three examples taken during a recent trip to the Otavalo valley in Northern Ecuador. In all cases, the top image is straight-out-of-camera, while the lower image is after conversion in Adobe CS4 Camera Raw (no Photoshop in any of these examples!). Read more...

Food Photography II: L’Accanto Gourmet Restaurant, Seiano, Italy

Food photography is a challenging photography genre wiht many books and articles written about it. Lighting, framing angle, arrangement, freshness, speed are some of the most important elements to consider. A recent meeting of our Molpark EU research network took us to Seiano, Italy where we enjoyed a few days of great science amid magnificent views of the bay of Naples and stunningly crafted meals.

Here are some dishes from our stay at the Grand Hotel Angiolieri in Seiano, spectacularly located on the northern coast of the Sorrento peninsula. The L’Accanto Gourmet Restaurant is the “hotel’s temple of flavor”. Recently awarded its first Michelin star, the restautrant serves amazingly creative dishes based on local products and firmly rooted in the Mediterranean tradition. Read more...

Making science (part I): Discovery

Making science is about being where none else has been. Seeing what none else has seen. Walking on an unknown planet for the first time, without leaving the walls of the lab.

This is the essence of being a scientist. Of course, day to day life in a research lab can be difficult. We don’t walk on a new planet everyday. Reagents that don’t work, mice that don’t breed, experiments that don’t make sense… Many things can get on our way to the answers we are looking for. Sometimes we get answers to questions we have not asked. It’s a journey into uncharted territory. And like any journey, it is prone to surprises. Discovery is the driving force. But not every question asked leads to a discovery. How to know what questions to ask? That’s another matter altogether… Read more...

Wolfgang Muthspiel with Larry Grenadier

FASCH10_1031Guitarrist Wolfgang Muthspiel performed at Jazzklubb Facshing, Stockholm, on April 22nd, 2010 accompanied by Larry Grenadier on bass. Muthspiel is a very versatile player with superb technique and feel. In the concert, he featured an electric guitar and a body-less nylon with abundance of effects, live dubbings and electronic percussion. Awesome playing by Muthspiel. Grenadier outstanding, as always. Video clip recorded on the Canon EOS 7D and EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L lens. A selection of photographs taken during the concert can be seen HERE.

Vijay Iyer Trio

FASCH10_0828A remarkable concert featuring Vijay Iyer Trio live at Fasching on April 13 2010 in full power. Here is Vijay in full concentration at the piano (pic taken with my EOS 7d and the 100-400 L, which I took by mistake thinking that it was the 70-200L 2.8!). In addition to Iyer on piano, the trio includes Stephan Crump on bass and Marcus Gilmore on drums. Their most recent album is “Historicity” (2009) on the ACT label. Several of the pieces of that album were featured at the Fasching concert. Vijay Iyer uses thick chords sweeping across the keyboard generating an orchestral backdrop onto which melodic lines navigate. Improvisation remains the central theme. From Vijay Iyer’s website: “his powerful, cutting-edge music is firmly grounded in groove and pulse, but also rhythmically intricate and highly interactive; fluidly improvisational, yet uncannily orchestrated; emotionally compelling, as well as innovative in texture, style, and musical form.” Read more...

Journal podcasts: Nature, Science, Cell

After subscribing for over two years to the Nature, Science and Cell podcasts, my preference falls clearly with the former. The Nature podcast is snappy, lively, fun to listen to and has great interviews. The journalists have human voices, sound like real people and manage to confer the excitement of science with a touch of humor.

The Science podcast has several problems, the biggest one is podcaster Robert Frederick. I can not imagine a more unnatural, robotic voice on Earth. Does he speak like that to his friends? Even the text-to-speech voice in my Mac sounds more human that this guy. I also find the usual bit about science policy terribly uninteresting. As in the World Series, this is only concerned with US policy, of course. If listening at night in bed, I am surely asleep by this moment. Both Nature and Science have another feature in common that I think takes unnecessary space, that is the bit on news at the end in which one journalist interviews another. This practice has become very popular in TV talk shows and news programs, and sometimes I can see the point of asking questions to a journalist deeply specialized on a particular topic. But those are not the guys at Nature or Science. I find it totally uninteresting, I much rather have the actual scientists telling the story. Read more...

Food Photography I: Xiao Wang’s Home Restaurant, Beijing, China

A few dishes from one of the landmark restaurants in Beijing, the Xiao Wang’s Home Restaurant at Ri Tan Park. Serving superb food from across the whole of China, some personal favorites are the lamb ribs with cumin (Xinjiang) and the fish with chilli simmering in oil (Szechuan). Also featured here are the traditional Pekin duck, prawns with cashew nuts and fried aubergines with peanuts. The images were taken using available light on the EOS 7D with the 24mm f/1.4 L II lens.

Jonathan Kreisberg Quartet

FASCH10_0243-copyGuitarrist Jonathan Kreisberg played with his quartet at Jazzklubb Fasching, Stockholm, on March 18, 2010, along Will Vinson (saxophone, piano), Joe Martin (bass), and Mark Ferber (drums). The two sets included most material from Kreisberg’s latest album of originals “The South of Everywhere” (2007, Mel Bay Records) and pieces from his Criss Cross 2009 ballads album “Night Songs”. Kreisberg demonstrated very strong playing and virtuosity, feeling at home just about everywhere on the neck of his hollow Gibson guitar. A taster can be seen in this video -recorded on the Canon EOS 7D and EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L lens- also featuring fellow drumer Ferber raising to the occassion. Photographs taken during the concert can be accessed from the the link under the photo gallery on the left side bar. Read more...

Canon 5D MarkII takes a shot at the Nobel Committee 2010

Here is the 2010 Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine photographed by the Canon EOS 5D MarkII. It is the same photographer  that comes every year for the committee picture, and he always works hard to get some smiles. The last couple of years he has used the EOS 5D MarkII with the 24-70L “brick” lens and a couple of external strobes. I was shocked to learn that he shoots jpg, not raw, and does minimal or no post-processing. As in the classiscal school, he wants to get the picture right already in the camera.

Science, Jazz, Photography