iPhone Wallpapers

31 07 2008

I’ve made some iPhone wallpapers out of some of my pictures and saved them on Flickr:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bdewey/sets/72157606481647847/

If you have an iPhone, feel free to download any or all of these and use them.





Grip

31 07 2008


20080731-IMG_0827, originally uploaded by B.K. Dewey.

Patrick is slowly getting the ability to hold on to things…





Brothers

28 07 2008


Brothers, originally uploaded by B.K. Dewey.

So far they get along…





This just in…

27 07 2008

This just in. Alex peed in the potty yesterday. You can now go back to whatever you were doing.





Patrick at 6 weeks

21 07 2008

Patrick turned 6 weeks old today. Here’s a photo:

20080721-IMG_0707

You can see a few more photos from today here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bdewey/sets/72157606309238629/

At 6 weeks, Patrick will occasionally smile at Molly. (I’ve never seen it.) And he coos every now and then.





Go Away, Daddy!

20 07 2008

This past week, Alex has greeted me the same way. “No, go away, Daddy!” And he always punctuates this with a violent thrust of his hand forward, as if he could push me through the air with some new superpower.

When I get him up in the morning? “No, go away, Daddy!” Push.

When I see him after school? “No, go away, Daddy!” Push.

Sometimes, for variety, he’ll elaborate. Like when I went into his room after nap today. “No, go away, Daddy!” Push. “Only Mama!”

No, Go Away Dad!

He went through this phase when both of his grandmothers came to visit. “No Nana! No Grandma!” I’m sure they’ll be glad to know he treats everyone who’s not his mama the same.





I was wrong: I now have and love the Kindle

16 07 2008

A while back, I decided I wasn’t going to buy the Amazon Kindle. I wrote about it here: Why I’m Not Buying a Kindle (Yet)

Well, the following things changed my mind.

  • Simple logistics. Amazon dropped the price $50 and actually has the devices in stock (they’d been sold out for months)
  • With Molly on maternity leave, I knew I’d be spending a lot of time commuting by bus or vanpool instead of carpool. I wanted to use that time for reading, and I thought the Kindle would be great for commuting.
  • I wrote that I’d be willing to pay lots for an e-library instead of an e-book. One day, it dawned on me: With Kindle’s built-in wireless connection to Amazon, I have purchased an e-library. Essentially, Amazon’s entire stock of Kindle books is my e-library, where I only have to pay for the books I wind up reading.

That last point has the potential to really change my book buying habits. Today, I have a pretty large collection of books that I’ve purchased because I wanted to read them someday, and I haven’t gotten around to it. I buy these books because I want them available to me when I’m ready to read them.

With the Kindle, I don’t have to buy the books well in advance. Instead, I can buy it one minute before I actually sit down to read it. Even better, most Kindle books have free “samples” (the first chapter or so). That’s lead to a new pattern for me, which goes something like this:

  • I peruse the New York Times book review, or hear about some book on NPR that sounds interesting.
  • If the book has a Kindle edition (and most new books do), I send a free sample of the book to my Kindle as soon as possible. This way, I build up a list of books I’d like to read someday on my Kindle, without spending any extra money.
  • When I’m ready to start a new book, I peruse the samples on my Kindle. I start reading whatever matches my mood of the moment. If I like the sample, I buy the entire book.

So far, this system works great.

I have to say the experience of reading the Kindle is in many ways more convenient than reading a paper book, at least for my current lifestyle. It’s all because the Kindle is easy to read with just one hand holding the Kindle, and it requires very little movement to turn the page. This makes it easy to read the Kindle while standing on a crowded 545 bus. Or something I never expected: It’s easy to read the Kindle while holding a 4-week-old baby in one arm and with the pinkie of one hand in that baby’s mouth. Ain’t no way I could read a paper book that way.

And finally, if you’re reading this, Jeff Bezos, you should put me on your payroll. I get the same question 1-2 times per day on my commute: “How do you like that thing?” Subsidizing the Kindles of commuters in major cities is probably the best way you can get the word out.

Amazon Kindle





Tourists in our own town

16 07 2008

Sunday was such a beautiful day in Seattle. We had a great time at Gasworks Park before my mom had to head out to the airport. As we left the airport, Alex kept saying, “I go to Maine! I go to Maine!” I guess he’s looking forward to his own trip in a couple of weeks!

20080713-P7130761





Stuff I Like: Olympus E-410

15 07 2008

I’ve been using my Canon 5D for a little over a year now. (I bought it for myself as a father’s day present last year.) Since I’ve owned it, I’ve been continually impressed with how great a photographic tool it is. Without a doubt, any deficiencies in the pictures I take come from me and not from my camera or my lenses. In particular, I love how the camera performs at high ISO and I love the final quality of the pictures.

There’s just one drawback: The size and weight. My typical “walkaround” configuration for the 5D is the Canon 24-105 F/4L lens. It’s a versatile combination, but it’s heavy and bulky. Given that most of the time I get to take pictures I also have to be ready to chase after a child at a moment’s notice, size matters. A zoo trip with Alex means bringing the 70-200 F/4L as well; while that’s a compact and light lens for what it does, just try running with it slung over your shoulder!

So for the past 9 months or so, I’ve been searching for my ideal second camera. This is one that’s all about being light and compact, but I also don’t want to sacrifice image quality or responsiveness (critical when there are kids involved!). I tried a couple of point-and-shoot cameras, but they’re just too slow and the image quality is poor once you stray from the most well-lit circumstances.

Then, for my birthday, I splurged on a used Leica M6. This was almost my ideal second camera. Compact. Responsiveness suffers from no auto-focus or auto-exposure, but it’s balanced by no shutter lag. And the image quality was just superb. There was so much to love about this camera — but in the end, film doesn’t really match my lifestyle right now. I need something digital. I sold the M6.

Oops, he left the lens cap on.

I think I may have found the perfect second camera this past week: The Olympus E-410. It’s supposedly the world’s smallest digital SLR. It’s about the same size as the M6, but lighter (and substantially cheaper, in both price and, admittedly, construction quality). The two-lens kit gives you the flexibility to go from 28-300mm (35mm equivalent) in far less weight and size than the 5D with one lens. No contest, the E-410 and its two kit lenses are what I’ll grab the next time I follow Alex and Patrick to the zoo.

In spite of its diminutive size, it’s still an SLR. It’s vastly more responsive, and with better image quality, than any point-and-shoot I’ve used. And the image quality is great. When I zoom in to 100%, there’s a lot more noise than what I see from my 5D images. But when I look at the whole image instead of individual pixels, everything just “pops.”

As a testimonial, this past Sunday I went out to take pictures at sunrise, sans kids. I brought both the 5D and the E-410. I took pictures of sunrise on Puget Sound as seen from Alki beach for an hour or so using both cameras, and a couple of lenses on each camera. Then, as usual, I picked my favorite pictures from the set to post to Flickr. Without realizing it, all but one of the photos I posted I captured with the E-410. I think it says a lot that the photos from this entry-level camera hold their own with the 5D.

Here’s the full set:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bdewey/sets/72157606156778299/

Here’s the single 5D photo I posted from the set:

Skyline

Here’s a representative photo from the E-410.

The Morning Ferry

Finally, here’s a snapshot of the 5D and the E-410 side-by-side. It gives you an idea of the difference in size.

20080715-IMG_1137

All in all, because of its size and its image quality, the Olympus is the most “fun” camera I own. In contrast, the 5D is my “serious” camera. I’ve been so impressed with the E-410 that I can’t help but ogle the other camera bodies and lenses that make up the Olympus Four-Thirds camera system. I’d definately recommend it to anyone getting started with SLRs, or anyone looking for a lightweight kit to supplement their existing cameras.





Some new family pictures

14 07 2008

I’m slowly working through a backlog of pictures that I took when my mom was in town. Here’s Alex showing Patrick his toy man:

Here, Patrick, let me show you my man!

And here’s a rare photo of Patrick. He looks bored, doesn’t he?

Lethargic Baby

I like this close-up portrait of Alex. He looks so serious.

Game Face

And I got an extreme close up of his eye.

The Eye!

You can see all seven photos in the set here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bdewey/sets/72157606175507884/