A hard look at Micro Four Thirds for journalism

43rumors.comSo I’ve been using a Micro Four Thirds system for about half a year now to do more serious work than I have been doing with my old Panasonic GF cameras. After some problems with my Nikon D600, I bought a Panasonic GH3 to do some video while the D600 was in the shop. I thought I’d only really use it for video, but I’ve been pretty wrong on that – it’s become my go-to fun camera, as it’s smaller than a Rebel yet still (almost) as fully featured as my D600.

It’s true, it’s got a smaller sensor and for some things it will not be able to touch my dedicated DSLR setup, but for many things – my back included – it’s just write.

Take a look at the post over here at 4/3 rumors!

Sandy, one year later (and then some)

Last year, I ended up in the town of Roxbury after Hurricane Sandy – it wasn’t my intended destination, as like every other journalist I was heading towards Breezy Point when I decided to make a detour to the area right next door. But it was a place where I discovered much devastation – and a community not like most others.

It was with those people in mind I went back this year to see how the community was faring after one year. While many were back, “back” is a relative term when it comes to Hurricane Sandy victims. Many had homes with open walls and exposed wiring – half-measures to get back home, but far from recovered. Resident after resident talked about the red tape that they were caught up in, whether from the government, their insurance company or both.

So with that in mind – I produced this piece highlighting a couple of the families that were still coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Especially this time of year, it’s good to remember that it’s not over for many of these folks.

You can also check out a writeup about the piece here at the Queens Tribune or here at 43rumors.com.

Have a safe and happy new year.

The 2013 holiday camera-buying guide for student journalists

After a year hiatus, it’s time again for a collection of the best camera deals for student journalists. I’ll start with a section of the best camera deals at various price points, and then end with a running collection of the best deals for Black Friday. If you have a deal you’d like to see added to the list, send me an email or comment below and I’ll add it to the list.

My criteria for including a camera on this list is that it must have a large sensor (Micro Four-thirds, APS-C or full frame), it must include some sort of lens, and it must include a microphone input to record audio for video. Point-and-shoot models, super-zoom cameras and models without video won’t do much for the student journalist in this situation, so they are not on this list. This is not unlike my standing guide that I have written up here. I’ve also included links to reputable places to buy the camera – too many times people get scammed from less-than-honest camera dealers, so be careful about where you buy. If a price is too good to be true, it probably is.

So let’s take a look – first up, the budget models:


Up to $500

This class of camera is purely entry level – you won’t find professional grade weather-sealing, dual control dials or anything like that at this level. But the dirty little secret of camera manufacturers is that the sensors they use in their high-end cameras are the same ones used in this class of cameras – just in stripped-down plastic bodies with less features. The image quality, however should match cameras costing two or three times as much, in most cases. So with that, here are three picks in this category, with their strengths and weaknesses.

Nikon D3200

Nikon D3200

Nikon D3200

The Nikon D3200 is Nikon’s entry level model, but they didn’t hold back much here – you get the same 24 megapixel APS-C sensor from the D5200/7100, and so image quality is excellent, even in low light. There’s a microphone input so you can plug in one of those, and a very standard, if not earth-shattering, 11-point autofocus. With only a 4-frame-per-second burst rate, you probably won’t be shooting sports.

Strengths: Good image quality, low light ability compared to a point-and-shoot, easy-to-use guides on screen, low price, good entry point into Nikon system.

Weaknesses: Autofocus and burst rate won’t cut it for sports, simplified controls means hunting in the menus to change things, no tilt/flip screen for video, slow video autofocus, can only take G-type lenses with focus motors built in (meaning older lenses won’t autofocus on this camera).

Links to buy: Amazon ($496.96) | B&H Photo ($496.95) – Both places include a free bag and memory card.

Panasonic G6

Panasonic G6

Panasonic G6

The Panasonic G6 is the company’s midrange model this year – but it’s essentially a retread of their top model from last year – the GH2. This isn’t a bad thing, as the GH2 was an excellent camera.

It’s an interesting camera in that it’s not a DSLR in the style of Nikon or Canon – it’s an interchangeable lens camera without a mirror, meaning that instead of looking through the viewfinder and seeing through the lens, you are seeing an electronic image, just like a video camera. It still takes pictures and still has a large sensor (Micro Four-Thirds) but it takes a little bit of getting used to. If you come from a video background, then you might even appreciate this. The benefit of going without the mirror is two-fold – first, it makes the camera much smaller and lighter to remove that entire part of the camera. Second, it means that without the mirror in the way, the camera’s contrast-detection autofocus can focus in video very fast – indeed if you’re main purpose is to shoot video, you might be better off this way. However, it means that still image autofocus is a bit slower, and can’t track moving subjects the way a phase-detection system on a “traditional” DSLR can. Still, as a former owner of Panasonic’s GH2 and a current GH3 owner, aside from tracking moving subjects, the autofocus is fairly swift.

Strengths: Price – there’s a lot of camera here for not a lot of money; Excellent video quality and blazing fast autofocus in video (compared to Nikon/Canon DSLRs), lots of controls on body, very small and light, tilt/flip screen for video.

Weaknesses: Electronic viewfinder isn’t for everyone, smaller sensor means low light performance won’t match most APS-C DSLR models (but it’s close), definitely a more video-oriented camera (this is a plus for some).

Links to buy: Amazon ($498) | B&H Photo ($498)


Up to $1000

Canon 60D

Canon 60D

Canon 60D

Canon’s 60D was just replaced by the 70D, but that just means it’s a great deal right now. This camera has a flip-screen for video, a tried-and-true 9-point autofocus system that just works (not the fastest on the block, but very reliable as it’s been used in some form by Canon forever), and a good 18 megapixel APS-C sensor that offers good quality even in low-light. A big reason it makes the top of this category is that in this price, it includes a much better than average 18-135 kit lens – a nice range lens with good quality (I have one and can tell you the image quality easily beats most kit zooms).

Strengths: Good image quality, good still image autofocus, a fair amount of external controls compared to entry-level models, tilt/flip screen for video, good video quality, good kit lens at this price.

Weaknesses: Poor video autofocus, no headphone jack at this price point to monitor audio

Links to buy: Amazon ($999) | B&H Photo ($999) – Both places include a free bag and memory card.


Up to $1500

Nikon D7100

Nikon D7100

Nikon D7100

The Nikon D7100 is a camera I’ve had a chance to have a lot of seat time with – it’s the camera we use here at Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism for our students. Why is it my choice to teach students with? The biggest reason is that it’s got a nice mix of video and photo features – its 51-point autofocus system works better for still photography than even the professional cameras (Nikon D2H, Canon 1D Mark IIN) that I used in the field only a few years ago, and its color and image quality is brilliant. For video, it has a headphone jack to monitor audio and it has audio meters as well. Like all DSLR models, video autofocus isn’t great, but once you learn how to manually focus, it works (and looks) great.

Strengths: Excellent autofocus system for photos, image quality second only to full-frame models, great audio controls for videographers, sensor “crop” mode gives you a telephoto boost if you need it, fast burst rate (in JPG) for sports, Good range with new kit lens (18-140 – avoid the older 18-105 kits), has built-in wireless flash control, has built-in focus motor for use with almost all Nikon F-mount lenses ever made, cheapest DSLR of any manufacturer that includes a headphone jack.

Weaknesses: Small buffer means RAW files can slow down camera if shooting at high speeds (i.e. for sports), video autofocus is nothing to write home about, no tilt/flip screen for video.

Links to buy: Amazon ($1396.95) | B&H Photo ($1396.95) – Both include a free memory card and bag, B&H includes an extra battery while Amazon includes a larger memory card.


Money is no object – the full frame cameras

Cameras in this class have a much larger sensor than anything above – meaning they’ll be able to shoot in very low-light and still produce usable images, and as a general rule, image quality will always be better. But this comes at a cost – these cameras can’t (to their full extent) use lower priced lenses designed for APS-C sensors (DX in Nikon, EF-S in Canon). They will also be heavier than their APS-C counterparts. The two cameras I have listed here are the best entry points into each manufacturer’s system (there are higher and lower models for each manufacturer, but in considering features and price, these are the best bets in my opinion).

Nikon D610

Nikon D610

Nikon D610

The D610 is Nikon’s entry-level full-frame camera – it has the same body as the D7100, but a much larger sensor. The autofocus sensor is from the old D7000, but it is still quite capable at tracking focus and the image quality is excellent. Low light ability is on par with the classic D700, but with 24 megapixels, which is fantastic. The camera, like the D7100, can use Nikon’s wireless Creative Lighting System, and it has a built-in autofocus motor to drive any old F-mount lens you can throw at it. Video mode is on par with the D7100 – it has a headphone jack and audio meters.

A warning, though – this camera is the successor to the now-discontinued D600. I bought a D600 the week it came out, and after only a couple of thousand shots, I had dust and oil spots all over my sensor – something that seemed to be a common occurrence if you believe the forums online. After sending it into Nikon for a free repair under warranty, the problem is not as bad, but it’s still there. If you’re thinking about saving money by buying a used D600, it is something to consider. I have been shooting with many cameras for years, and there was nothing in my technique that would account for this much dust when every other camera I had didn’t have an issue. Nikon says there is an improved shutter on the new model, so this should not be an issue anymore. Other than that one issue I have had to deal with, this series of camera has been an excellent bang-for-the-buck.

I ended up recommending this model over the D800 for two big reasons – for journalists, the 36 megapixel sensor is overkill and will make it harder to transmit files to editors because of file size, and because it’s significantly more expensive without any major gain for the student journalist (aside from its superior auto-focus sensor).

Strengths: Amongst the best image quality of any APS-C, Full-Frame or Micro Four-Thirds camera, Good still photography autofocus, interfaces with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System, headphone jack and audio meters for video, lightweight body compared to other full-frame cameras, has built-in focus motor for use with almost all Nikon F-mount lenses ever made, can work with DX lenses at lower resolution (10 megapixels), decent 24-85 kit lens.

Weaknesses: Autofocus points clustered all near center of the frame, slow video autofocus, weather sealing good, but not as good as D700 or D800 (at least from my experiences – I have a D700).

Links to buy: Amazon($2496.95) | B&H Photo ($2496.95)

Canon 5D MKIII

Canon 5D MKIII

Canon 5D Mark III

While I have had extensive seat time with the rest of the cameras on this list, I have not had much time with the Canon 5D Mark III. I did have a Mark II as my main camera for almost four years, however, and that was a fantastic camera. Unfortunately, it’s a camera that has been eclipsed in almost every way – which is why I don’t recommend its spiritual successor, the 6D – it’s not a good value anymore, given that it is at the same price point as the D610 and doesn’t include a headphone jack, a more sophisticated auto-focus system or even wireless flash control from the camera. However, since we’re on the “Money is no object” category of this post, I’ll include its bigger brother – the 5D Mark III, which rectifies some of these complaints. It’s 22.3 megapixel sensor is an evolution of the 5D Mark II and should be large enough for anything you’d need in journalism. One of the biggest complaints I (and many others) had against the Mark II was the autofocus system, which was slow and inaccurate beyond the center point – something that’s been remedied with a new 61-point system (41 cross-type sensors) on the Mark III. Video quality is probably the best of the bunch here – and you have your requisite headphone jack and meters at this price point. Autofocus for video, like all DSLRs isn’t fast, but again, it’s something you learn to work around.

Note that the price on this is so high mainly because its kit lens is one of Canon’s “L” line lenses – meaning it is of very high quality and a constant fairly wide aperture of f/4 compared to its peers. You can save $600 by forgoing the lens, but then you would need to buy one of those as well.

Like the note about the Nikon D610 – the 5D Mark III had a problem with light leaking through its LCD panel and ruining exposure in early-run models – be careful if you buy a used model that you don’t get one that had this problem. Canon can fix it through its service centers, but it’s probably a safer bet to buy a new model with the problem already fixed.

Strengths: Excellent still autofocus system, great image quality and low light performance, high-quality video with a headphone jack and meters, professional grade build-quality and weather-sealing.

Weaknesses: Poor video autofocus, high price.

Links to buy: Amazon ($3899) | B&H Photo ($3899) – Both give you a free bag, memory card and monopod with purchase.


Black Friday Specials

There are some cameras that are excellent deals that will only be running on Black Friday. This list is evolving, but here’s what I’ve been able to find that should be good bets for bargain hunters (again, feel free to comment below or send me an email if you hear of a deal that should be on this list:

Update 11:15 a.m. on 11/28/13Nikon Deals at Amazon.com and B&H Photo: If you buy almost any Nikon camera model, you get a bunch of money off of lenses. Some good ones on the list at both sites – this seems to be only for today and tomorrow.

Nikon D7000 at Best Buy for $799: The predecessor of the D7100 – you don’t give up much with this camera in comparison – the three major differences are a 39-point autofocus system instead of a 51-point, 16 megapixels vs. 24 megapixels, and the lack of a headphone jack. I’ve used this camera for years – it’s a good one with great still and video quality. This kit includes the new 18-140mm kit lens, which is a good range for a kit lens. It’s hard to tell from the circular when this deal starts – it seems like Best Buy has “doorbuster” deals at 6 p.m. on Thursday, but then more deals at 10 a.m. on Friday. I’d call ahead to your local Best Buy to find out what the exact deal is on this camera if you’re interested. Link to information here.

Nikon D5100 at Wal-Mart for $499: The predecessor of Nikon’s current mid-range models, the 5200 and 5300, this camera has the same sensor as the D7000, with a slightly less sophisticated autofocus system and more menu-based controls (like the D3200 above). Image quality is the same as the D7000 though and the flip screen makes it easy to shoot video. What you give up vs. the D7000 though is a built-in autofocus motor, so you won’t be able to autofocus with vintage Nikon lenses, and the ability to take manual control over video (it’s auto-only). It does have a microphone jack though and comes with an 18-55mm kit lens. From the circular, it looks like this sale starts at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Link to information here.

Nikon D3200 at Target for $499 with an extra zoom lens: Same camera as the one up top, but with a 55-200mm zoom lens thrown in. Kit zooms aren’t really all that great, and there are some great deals on older zooms online, so while this is a decent deal, I wouldn’t wait out in the cold for this one (I might wait for the D7000 one from Best Buy above, though). This seems to be a “doorbuster” deal but it’s unclear from Target’s site when that is, exactly. Again, I’d call ahead if you’re interested in this one. Link to information here. Best Buy is running the same deal as well.


That’s what I’m able to find for now. Bear in mind – sometimes you’ll see that a week after Black Friday, these prices become the norm – the best rule of thumb is to look at what your needs are and buy based on that – after a few years of hanging onto a camera, $100 or so difference in price will equal itself out.

Basic Photo Tips: Workflow

Using Adobe Photoshop and Bridge to keep your files organized and never lose a photo

(This tutorial assumes you have access to Adobe Bridge and Adobe Photoshop)

So you’ve gone out and shot 1000 or so photos from your last assignment, and you’re ready to get to work. Where do you start?

I’ve seen students plug in cards and just click through all 1000 photos individually in Preview, looking (mostly in vain) for the perfect photo. Stop. Don’t do this.

If your highlighting the photo and going through them without using any organizational software (such as Bridge, Lightroom, Photo Mechanic, etc.) - as in this photo, which uses the basic Mac OSX viewer - you're working really innefficiently.

If your highlighting the photo and going through them without using any organizational software (such as Bridge, Lightroom, Photo Mechanic, etc.) – as in this photo, which uses the basic Mac OSX viewer – you’re working really innefficiently.

You’ll end up getting frustrated with how slow things are going, you’ll lose track of which photos you wanted (or both) and then just give up, never knowing if your best photo was in that last 100 you didn’t bother to look at.

Instead, use some common sense and Adobe Bridge to help you out – you’ll find that perfect photo faster.

Step 1: Off the card and onto the computer

Don’t ever work on your photos while they are still on your memory card. This will slow everything down and could wear out your card faster. Instead, plug your card into a card reader (for most Macs, there is an SD card reader on the side) and then pull up the card after it shows up on your desktop. Don’t use iPhoto or any default program to import files. Some programs can lower your photo quality, or won’t understand RAW camera files. Manually copying files over ensures nothing can go wrong.

After you navigate to your card on the computer, find the folder that contains your photos (usually a subfolder under the “DCIM” folder). Now, wherever you save your photos regularly, be it a hard drive or a storage server at your school (The J-Drive for Stony Brook Students), create a folder for the shoot. Never create this folder on your desktop, as it’s easy to misplace and on some servers your desktop gets deleted after a logoff.

Name your files so that you can find them later. My regular structure looks like this:

The folder structure for shoots that I use is demonstrated here.

The folder structure for shoots that I use is demonstrated here.

yearmonthday-slug (i.e. 20120917-Occupy_Wall_Street)

(Note I don’t use spaces – some operating systems and the Web don’t handle them well.)

I then create two folders within the main folder: RAW and SELECTS.

I then drag and drop all of the photo files from my memory card into the folder labeled RAW. Your SELECTS folder will hold your finished, edited photos.

By shooting your camera in RAW quality, and organizing your photos this way, you will never lose anything.

Step 2: Make a first edit

Now that your photos have been copied to the computer, open up Adobe Bridge.

Adobe Bridge is a media management tool. You look at files and folders through it. It does not store your files and folders. When you are asked where you saved your photos, saying “I saved them in Bridge” is never the correct answer for this reason.

Set your application to a standard view by going to “Window” –> “Workspace” –> “Essentials.” For good measure, under the same menu hit “Reset Standard Workspaces.” This makes sure we are on the same page for this tutorial. You can see that your computer’s folders and servers are in the favorites/folders pane on the left. In the middle window (content), you will see thumbnail photos of whatever is in the folder you have navigated to (you should find the RAW folder of your shoot). Preview currently selected photo from content on the preview pane right with information about the file (metadata) underneath it. You can grab the edges of each window and enlarge or shrink to your preference. I usually make the preview window a bit larger.

You can see that using a combination of stars or colors (whatever works for you), I can narrow down just the photos I want very quickly because of the filters to the left.

You can see that using a combination of stars or colors (whatever works for you), I can narrow down just the photos I want very quickly because of the filters to the left.

Now, you can quickly shuffle through all of the photos. As you are doing this, hit the COMMAND + “1” through “5” keys on your keyboard. You’ll see stars added to photos you selected. As you rate the photos, a set of filters appear on the bottom left panel that let you view only 1-star photos, or 2-star photos and so on – these are called ratings. You can also color-code photos by hitting COMAND and 6-9 at the same time. These are called labels in the filters panel.

Once you are done selecting the photos you want to use for the shoot’s SELECTS edit, filter so that you can see only them (For instance, you’ve selected 10 photos and given them 5 stars – meaning you think they’re great and want to use them). The other photos are all there, Bridge just hides the ones you are not using.

Step 3: Work up the photo

Here's what a RAW photo looks like when you double click - you open up an extra set of editing options in Camera Raw.

Here’s what a RAW photo looks like when you double click – you open up an extra set of editing options in Camera Raw.

When you shoot in RAW mode on your camera (Set the quality to RAW as opposed to JPG), double-clicking an image in Bridge will bring up Photoshop’s Camera Raw, where you can make adjustments to many characteristics of a photo without damaging the original photo. You can even save photos you thought we’re too overexposed or underexposed, or incorrectly white balanced.

You do not have such a degree of latitude with JPEG files. They are already processed and the extra information that would have helped you save a file that isn’t properly exposed is already thrown out. When you are in a tricky situation, shooting RAW gives you a safety net.

As RAW photo processing is a process in and of itself, there’s a whole separate guide about it on a post here.

Step 4: Add metadata and save the photo

You want credit for the photo, right? Once you have finished editing the photo in Camera Raw, hit “Open Image” and you’ll enter Photoshop.

Hit “File” –> “File info” and you will enter the file’s metadata screen.

Metadata is all of the hidden information about the file that you can’t normally access. There is shooting settings, time, date, type of camera, etc.

Caption your photo via the "File Info" option under the "File" menu.

Caption your photo via the “File Info” option under the “File” menu.

What you are interested in is the section labeled “IPTC” information. This contains your credit line, contact info, caption, etc. you’ll want to put those in. Especially, if you are committing journalism, a caption. Enter your caption into the “Description” field of IPTC. Most content management systems will then suck in the caption with the photo.

Oh, and while I’m on the subject, if you forget what makes a good journalistic caption, refresh your memory by clicking here.

One final step that is a good idea to take when shooting RAW is to go into “Filters” –> “Sharpen” –> “Unsharp Mask” – this detects contrast within the image and enhances the edges, making the final output just a bit crisper and sharper. The camera does this automatically when shooting JPEG and so you have to do this last step manually in RAW. There are three settings to fiddle with under Unsharp Mask – Amount, Radius and Threshold – and each camera handles this differently, but you can find a detailed explanation of how it works here.

When you save, make sure you've selected your SELECTS folder to save in, and that you're using the JPEG file format (for compatibility). Save it at highest quality on the next screen, 12.

When you save, make sure you’ve selected your SELECTS folder to save in, and that you’re using the JPEG file format (for compatibility). Save it at highest quality on the next screen, 12.

Now you can save. Go to “File” and then “Save As” – you can’t save a raw file as a raw file (hence why it’s great for a workflow that keeps your originals safe) but you can save it as a JPEG – a web and print-friendly output file.

Save as a JPEG image to your SELECTS folder, giving it a name that makes sense (I usually use the folder name with a number at the end for each photo). When asked about quality, crank it up to the max (12) – why throw away quality?

That’s it – you’re done. With this one photo, anyway. Rinse and repeat for the rest.

Student journalists vs. their university … but it doesn’t have to be that way

So with the semester at Stony Brook wrapped up, it’s safe to say it’s been an busy one. Not busy in the Occupy Wall Street/Elections/Superstorm Sandy way, but busy in that we’ve had some great successes and spectacular failures when it came to relations with student journalists on our campus.

iMediaEthics on Police Relations at SBU

My piece iMediaEthics on student journalist-police relations at SBU.

There were a few incidents on campus where student journalists had their rights trampled on by university police – including one where they took me to be one and tried to bend the rules about where I could and could not stand for photography of a burning building on campus. Another incident saw two students get asked to leave campus by police after filming in front of Stony Brook Medicine.

Both of these incidents led me to speak with the assistant police chief for an hour (in addition to the dean of the School of Journalism speaking with the police chief) for an article about these incidents for iMediaEthics.

The talks with the campus police were productive – there’s been an increased spirit of cooperation and understanding – they better understand what journalists do, and we better understand what they do. We’re hoping to expand this into a series of video workshops for both student journalists and police next semester, as well as face-to-face meetings with student journalists and police officials to better understand the demands of both jobs – and how both groups can work with each other instead of against each other.

Since the article was published, students have reported to me that things have improved. One student went so far as to say he had a “good experience” and a “friendly” interaction with an officer while filming from the same spot the students were asked to leave. While it should have always been a friendly experience – from both sides – where it wasn’t before in some cases, it now is. Progress.

As for the failures I mentioned? Well, just read this piece (by a former student of mine, Alexa Gorman) about troubling incidents with the University’s Media Relations department

Stony Brook University’s 53rd May Commencement


Stony Brook University celebrated its 53rd May Commencement – this one held a lot of special meaning for the School of Journalism. The commencement speaker – for the second time in the SOJ’s short history – was one of our own, Philly Bubaris. Though the clouds loomed overhead and the wind didn’t make things easy, the show went on. At least it wasn’t one of the days with the sun bearing down on everyone there.

Check out the view from the field in the panorama above, or click here for more photos of the graduation on the School of Journalism site.

The 2013 Roth Pond Regatta at Stony Brook University

The Roth Pond Regatta has become somewhat of a tradition at Stony Brook University – students, faculty and staff construct boats made mostly out of cardboard and duct tape and launch them across Roth Pond in a race to the finish line. This year’s Regatta took place on April 26, 2013.

This year’s theme was “America” – and so the boats, shaped like various American icons ranging from Dunkin’ Donuts boxes to McDonald’s Happy Meal containers, floated (or sometimes not) across the pond, with participants furiously paddling to get to the finish.

While I tried to do the best I could with an iPhone, the 40mm or so that the lens reaches isn’t enough to do any real damage, and so I pulled out the D600 and my 300mm lens for this one. I did manage to get one decent panorama here:


But the rest of it … D600. Sorry for the non-phone phonescapes post today!

Several boats begin to race across Stony Brook University's Roth Pond during a heat for the 24th Annual Roth Pond Regatta on Friday, April 26, 2013. The race features boats made of cardboard and duct tape as students and staff construct various vessels representing a theme and their area or group on campus. This year's theme was "America." Photo by Wasim Ahmad.

Several boats begin to race across Stony Brook University’s Roth Pond during a heat for the 24th Annual Roth Pond Regatta on Friday, April 26, 2013. The race features boats made of cardboard and duct tape as students and staff construct various vessels representing a theme and their area or group on campus. This year’s theme was “America.” Photo by Wasim Ahmad.

Seniors Dani Klupenger and Taryn Schoenbeck race across Stony Brook University's Roth Pond during a heat for the 24th Annual Roth Pond Regatta on Friday, April 26, 2013. The race features boats made of cardboard and duct tape as students and staff construct various vessels representing a theme and their area or group on campus. This year's theme was "America." Photo by Wasim Ahmad.

Seniors Dani Klupenger and Taryn Schoenbeck race across Stony Brook University’s Roth Pond during a heat for the 24th Annual Roth Pond Regatta on Friday, April 26, 2013. The race features boats made of cardboard and duct tape as students and staff construct various vessels representing a theme and their area or group on campus. This year’s theme was “America.” Photo by Wasim Ahmad.

Travis Tam takes a dive out of his boat as his fellow orientation leaders Bryan Nguyen and Saira Afzal look on after a heat for the 24th Annual Roth Pond Regatta on Friday, April 26, 2013. The race features boats made of cardboard and duct tape as students and staff construct various vessels representing a theme and their area or group on campus. This year's theme was

Travis Tam takes a dive out of his boat as his fellow orientation leaders Bryan Nguyen and Saira Afzal look on after a heat for the 24th Annual Roth Pond Regatta on Friday, April 26, 2013. The race features boats made of cardboard and duct tape as students and staff construct various vessels representing a theme and their area or group on campus. This year’s theme was “America.” Photo by Wasim Ahmad.

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Does up and down count as a panorama? The Top of the Rock and a piano man

So I took a trip to the top of Rockefeller Center for the first time ever (and yes, I live in New York, I know, I know) and tried to get a panoramic shot with my phone. A little more difficult since there was so much building in the shot – they set the viewing platform just a bit back from the edge. Instead of a panoramic, I ended up getting this … a little up and down movement, but that’s all. Oh well:


So to keep this post in panorama-land, I took in some music from this fellow at Union Square. My question – how did he get the piano out there and back?


I Instagrammed a couple of shots of the same as well – the square crops actually made for some interesting compositions:

The Top of the Rock, Instagrammed. 3/22/13.

The Top of the Rock, Instagrammed. 3/22/13.

Union Square Piano Man - 3/23/13.

Union Square Piano Man – 3/23/13.

What’s left of the Bavarian Inn

I’ve been driving past the Bavarian Inn on my way to work almost every day since I moved out here (though since I just moved, not so much anymore). I always wondered what happened to it – it looks like it was so close to Lake Ronkonkoma it probably kept constantly flooding.

So in January, my friend and I took a look around. It was a bit too dark inside to make much of a picture, but I did end up with this panoramic:


I did wander around inside, and it was fascinating about how some things were ravaged and some things were left untouched. There was a room upstairs that had plaques of appreciation from the seventies and such on the wall.

And, since I’m clearly phoning it in here by pulling out something from January, here’s a bonus picture of the front.

The Bavarian Inn, January 8, 2013. From the iPhone.

The Bavarian Inn, January 8, 2013. From the iPhone.

And a couple with the Micro Four-Thirds camera I brought with me that day as well (Panasonic GF3):

The Bavarian Inn - a Mirror

The Bavarian Inn – a Mirror. 1/08/13.


Broken glass, stuffed things and other detritus.

Broken glass, stuffed things and other detritus at the Bavarian Inn. 1/08/13.