kwartzlab is like no other place I know

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This is what engagement photos look like at kwartzlab.

Ok, ok, James and Agnes are not engaged AFAIK, but this hacked thermal imaging camera is great example of the kind of awesome projects that surprise and delight visitors at Tuesday Open Night. This is a Fluke E4 Thermal Imaging Camera that James picked up online for a thousand bucks. Happily, this device has all the capability of the $6000 E8 model and is merely and purposefully crippled in firmware by the manufacturer to hit a different market segment. James applied a firmware patch created by some clever hackers, boosting resolution from 80×40 to 320×240. You can snap stills, overlay data from an integrated visible light camera, and see through walls with this rig.  Now my only question is when is James going to show up to the 3rdThur monthly photo review with a thermal image.

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1shot #167-nobody cares for the woods as I care for them

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It’s a great face.


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Where do all the photos go?

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I wandered about in the very sunny St. Jacobs Market on Saturday, thinking about what to shoot, and I noticed lots of cameras and many of them were larger than phones. I only captured a dozen or so here. It got me thinking about the disposition of all these high resolution images. Mine go here, on makebright. That’s how I maintain a discipline to keep shooting. But what of all these others? Maybe they go to their own blogs. Maybe to facebook. Maybe dropbox’d to relatives. Maybe viewed once and forgotten. I often ask photographers what they do with their work. About half the time, the answer is: “nothing”.

Something even more interesting to muse about is the social reaction I often get when I shoot photographers shooting something else. Meta photography. It seems that photographers are unaccustomed to being photographed themselves, and it leads to a lot of strange looks in my direction. Now that is very interesting to me. Something worth exploring further.

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1shot #166-don’t stop

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After the photo review, Tony and I were walking up King Street.  Waiting at the light at Bridgeport, Tony nudged me and said, “Shoot that.” So I did.

Young love on King Street is a surer sign of spring than robins on the lawn.


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Another pop-up photo review

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I got together again with the Foto:RE folks for the second iteration of 3rdThur Photo REview on Thursday night. Fourteen showed up, more than doubling last month’s attendance; both validating the concept and posing new challenges.  But that’s the whole approach, eh?  Do it, learn, iterate and improve, GOTO 10. Met new people, learned things.

This shot above has a kind of Last Supper feel to it, and I suppose we are disciples of photography. L-R Karl Griffiths-Fulton, Joe Martz, Jen King, Matt Weiler, David McCammon, Bert Matzek, Mark Essner, and Shayne Noel. Serious faces; everyone looking to improve.

Shout out to Death Valley’s Little Brother for hosting us.  Thanks a lot. Click through for more pics of people looking at pics.

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1shot #165-some days all you see is the fence…

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But today I saw beautiful, impermanent lenses sparkling in the noon sun. This is the fence around the lot where ish & chips burned down on King St in uptown Waterloo.  Water must have dripped down from the adjacent building and froze here. The light-bending ice was as delightful as the negative spaces punching through to the empty lot.

The fence has absurdly enclosed the flat, featureless, gravel lot for the past year and a half, however today it made possible something really quite stunning.


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3rdThur Foto:RE photo review this week


Yep, it’s the 3rd Thursday again, and Jennifer King is running this Foto:RE gig at DVLB, 84 King Street N Waterloo, Thursday, April 17 at 7PM sharp. Beer, wine, whiskey, snacks, all for sale.

Like last time (though different venue this month to mix it up), you get 5 minutes to show and get honest and direct feedback on one (1) of your photos, and n*5 minutes to give feedback on the work of others. No lurking, all participating. Bring your work as a print, or on an iPad or laptop.  We don’t have a fancy projector and screen (yet), so showing up with your image on a USB key… won’t work.

The idea, well… my idea of this recurring gig is to get better as a photog.  Running open loop, without informed critical feedback leads to you unfairly hating all your work or unwisely loving all your work.  So, for example, some feedback I would expect to get on the photo above that I shot in Waterloo Public Square might include:

  • If you’re going to do symmetrical then really nail it.  You need to move about 5 inches to the right to line up between those notches
  • You might try to bump the exposure on the feet up a half stop so they’re really part of the composition
  • You went a bit nuts with the post-pro vignetting. Try backing that off to the corners more.
  • I can tell you’re taking a picture from the shadow, but it’s just not that interesting visually. When people stand straight up with minimal arm gestures, they just look like pylons to the camera.
  • Hmmm, a selfie, eh?
  • The three tiers of the photo is a good idea, like the diminishing size, but try it like this…

Ok, see you on Thursday. You can ping me if you have questions.


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Skaters gonna skate

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If you want to see what perseverance looks like, look at skaters. They’ll work on a trick dozens of times before they nail it. Impressive. I connected with skaters Jimmy and Adam in Waterloo Public Square when there were some hard shadows that looked interesting.

I like this image of Jimmy in particular because I imagined him continuing to float up into the sky. Landing the trick really wouldn’t matter because, unexpectedly, he could fly.

This is Waterloo.

More pics on the other side

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More jam! Imbibe Open Jam style

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When Thursdays roll around, I’m really ready for fun.  And the confluence of Bro Night, great food, great beer, and Tessa “Bobessa” Elise’s rockin’ regular Open Jam at Imbibe make it my go-to destination.  Yes, I shot an iteration of this event only a month ago, but dammit this is such a fun intersection, and spring demands fun.  In fact, there was a sufficient amount of fun had to disrupt the usual makebright turnaround time of next-day for photos/blog post.  I blame my poor judgement and Stephen Preece.

Above, this dude was playing out front of Imbibe around dinner time and later inside.

Click through for a completely unnecessary number of photos and vague comments…

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Internet of Things Waterloo–first meet up

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This is not a bomb, though considering it is embedded in a piece of hardshell luggage, you’d be hard pressed to find a TSA agent who would not freak out a bit upon seeing it.  This is, in fact, a prototype of “smart luggage” from the guys at as presented by Kal Sobel and Stephen Kraemer.  They gave the first of two talks at the first ever Internet of Things Waterloo meetup on Wednesday night, organized by my friend Ian Pilon.

Click through for more pics and musings

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