Thursday, May 28, 2020

The Photo that Got Me In Trouble...

Hammock Swinging

Also In This Issue:
  • The Increasing Value of Crappy Shots
  • Video of Hearts for Hue
  • Schedule time with me - I'll undercut Sony's price
  • In the Pipeline

[Special note: I had lofty goals for this blog post.  I was going to share my tests of Sony's new video stabilization phone app for the newer cameras.  My plans got cut short by a life event.  Read to the end for more info. -GF]

The Shot That Got Me in Trouble With My Physicist Friends

The shot at the top of this page is a shot I took in Hawaii back in the 1990's (with film).  The hammock was swinging, and I took my Minolta Maxxum 9xi (hated that camera), set it to a "slow" shutter speed (I think it was about 1/8th or 1/4 of a second).  When you use a slow shutter speed, anything that moves relative to the camera looks blurry.  So placing the camera on my chest and with the self-timer invoked, I got this clever little shot.

"You clearly Photoshopped that!", said one of my know-it-all physicist friends.  Of course I hadn't; and I had a negative to prove it.  Didn't matter.  "Look at the roof!  It's nice and sharp whereas you clearly only blurred the vegetation!"

Hmmm... And I have to tell you that had me scratching my head for awhile.  

After a few days I figured out the answer: With a slow shutter speed, things that move look blurry.  And the further away you are from the axis of rotation, the greater the blur.  In this case, the axis of rotation is that wire that's doubling as a clothesline near the roof in the picture above.  The ends of the hammock are attached to the ends of that wire.  The further away you get from that wire, the blurrier things get.

And there you go.  I have been vindicated!  Moral to the story: Don't have smart friends.

In the Pipeline

  • Fujifilm X100V by Tony Phillips is now complete!  (printed versions, .pdf, .epub, and azw3 versionsl all finished)
  • Fujifilm X-T4 (1st release estimated for June 7, completed July 27th.  Pre-order at a discount!)
  • Olympus E-M1 III  (Slated for September.  Pre-order at a discount!)
  • I'll probably do a book on the Sony ZV-1 camera as well just because I've always preferred twist-and-flip screens.  

Vietnam - What I Saw
It's been over a year since I was in Vietnam documenting the humanitarian work of "Hearts for Hue" NGO.  In addition to lots of stills they can use for fundraising, I also produced this short video which provides a convenient overview.  (Make sure you watch it until the very end!)

One-2-One Consulting

I see that both Olympus and Sony are offering online consulting.  (Olympus' is actually free!)  So since you have a lot of burning questions about camera settings and the craft of photography, and I have a lot of spare time until my ZV-1 arrives, I'm going to offer Zoom online consulting (And I have a good video setup!) cheaper than Sony: $50 for 30 minutes.  Send me an email (Gary at Friedman Archives dot com) to schedule a time.

The Increasing Value of Crappy Shots

I never thought much of the Las Vegas Magicians Siegfried and Roy until I saw an ABC special documenting their life in showbiz. I didn't know that they created the illusions and staged the show themselves (I just thought they were presenters.)

So Roy Horn died on May 8th.  Upon hearing the news, my mind went back to 1988, when I got a crew pass for a TV special they were filming at Disneyland starring George Burns. At the end of the hour, S&R made the castle disappear. I wasn't allowed to bring a camera, but I did sneak in my mom's point-and-shoot with no exposure compensation control and 1 roll of Fujicolor 400 film.

So I dug up those negatives and scanned them. They say that snapshots are like fine wine; they get more valuable to you as they age.  Case in point: these shots are horrible, but they got a lot of likes on Facebook. :-)

You can see a few other crappy shots from that night here.
I enjoyed that night. I got to walk underneath Star Tours and see the flight simulator mechanism. I got to see Mickey Mouse with his head off (the actor was taking a break.)  The best quote of the evening was made by George Burns, between takes: "I'm standing here shaking like a son-of-a-bitch."

A Life Event

Hospice nurses use the term "transitioning" when a patient is just days away from dying.  That's how they described my father this morning.  Normally the happiest guy in the world, now he lays unresponsive in a nursing home.  They estimate that he has 1-2 days left.

So I'm not going to have much time for electronic communication in the next few weeks.  And I'll probably post another blog post honoring my dad's life - he was 10 of the smartest people I've ever known.  Stay tuned.


He was chief designer of the B2 stealth bomber.  He was a Vice President of Northrop.  He invented a new branch of math called Constraint Theory.  He taught graduate level Engineering at USC for 20 years after he retired.  And he's had Alzheimer's for the last 4 years.  This is my niece holding his hand as of this morning.


  1. So sorry to here that. Our thoughts are with you Gary

  2. So sorry to hear that Gary our thoughts are with you.

  3. Gary- how very sad for your father, but what a life he has had.
    You and your family have my condolences.

  4. I am very sorry to hear the sad news about your father, Gary. My thoughts are with him, you and your family. My dad died of the same dreaded disease 3 years ago.

  5. Sorry, Gary. It happens to us all, unless we die first, which is not an attractive alternative either.
    He must have been proud of you.

  6. I can empathize with you and look forward to a future post dedicated to him. Sounds like an extraordinary man.

  7. May joy, peace and happiness be with him always.

  8. My condolences Gary, literally. My mother passed away from Alzheimer's too but what brings back the memories is your picture. That is exactly how she appeared in the end and I really appreciate you sharing it with us. I have enjoyed your books, blog and your experiences with the NGO are motivating me to do the same. So I feel like "part of the family".


  9. Hospice helped our family through my father "transitioning" a year ago. My sincerest condolences, Gary.

  10. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  11. I love the photo that got you in trouble. Great shot!
    So sorry about your dad. These are really tough times, and losing someone in the middle of all this social distancing is even more heart-wrenching. He sounds like an amazing man. Long-distance hug to you and your family.

  12. A very difficult time. Condolences.

  13. My wife was a geriatric nurse until she retired two years ago. She noted that dementia patients don't normally suffer if well cared for; the families do the suffering. Your father is incredibly lucky to have family to see him through - many do not.

  14. Gary - my mum is on the same road. I know we have to walk it, but I'm not looking forward to it. Our thoughts are with you, your father and your family. He sounds like an inspirational man - just like his son.

  15. So sorry about your Dad, Gary. Peace to you and your family.

  16. Be well Gary. Wishing you strength in this trying time.

  17. Gary, it has been a blessing that you have enjoyed him for such a long time. Looking forward for your story y que la tierra le sea leve cuando le llegue su hora. Un abrazo.

  18. Thoughts are with you and your family Gary. Not many have the chance or ability to leave such a legacy behind. His accomplishments are certainly something to be proud of and celebrate. I wish your family peace and healing.

  19. Gary, so sorry to hear about your Dad.
    This might have only been a short post but it, certainly touched a few emotions, celebratory, inspirational and educational to name only a few

  20. Peace to your dad in his passing and blessing to you and your family as you honor and remember his life!

  21. Our thought are with the family from here downunder Gary. Whilst it is sad for those left behind it is sometimes a blessing for those passing.
    keep the memories from when he was in his prime. john

  22. "My dad's life - he was 10 of the smartest people I've ever known" - the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. My condolences, Gary.

  23. When I say that someone is one of the ten smartest people I know, it does not mean much. Coming from you, and knowing your background and your history, that statement carries a lot of weight! You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I have been reading / following you for at least ten years now, and hopefully you will find comfort in the thought that I am sure that your father must be as proud of you as you are of him.

  24. Gary,
    My prayers are with you and your family as your dad makes this journey. I wish we had been able to see you in Kansas City last weekend but you're right where you need to be right now.
    ❤️ and peace to you.

  25. I will pray for you & your father - tough loss at any age

  26. Jacob in AustraliaMay 30, 2020 at 7:56 PM

    Life is a miracle and a mystery.
    The miracle is that it can go past boundaries not even known to exist.
    Like your fathers creations.
    The mystery is that we don't understand why the lives of our beloved ones have to end in such sadness - did we expect a glorious exit parade and a medal from the great overseer ?
    Great glorious happy funny memories will soon take over the sad ones. I'm sure you have tons of those !

  27. Gary,
    Our prayers are with you at this time and all we can say is continue to talk with him as his hearing is the last to go. Live on his memories and not his passing. John & Myrie New Zealand

  28. So sorry such a wonderful life ends this way. Alzheimers is unforgiving. But it sounds like you have many happy memories to help you get through this time. He sounds like an amazing man.

  29. Condolences for your impending loss.

  30. Gary condolences, will pray for your father and your family be proud of him....will stay virtually near to you Gary and your a life path.


  31. Gary condolences, will pray for your father and your family be proud of him....will stay virtually near to you Gary and your a life path. Massimo and family from Italy.


  32. Condolences on your lost Gary. We lost my father-in-law just as the restrictions to Covid-19 hit. He didn't suffer from full alzheimer disease but he would go in and out of what the doctors called "sundowners". It was very difficult on my wife and sister-in-law (and me) to watch as the man they had always known to be a great dad and life of the party type of guy slowly become a shell. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, we were only able to celebrate his life with a few family and close friends. I share this with you and your readers as my way of sharing in your loss. As another reader said, we all go through it if we are lucky enough to not proceed our parents in death. Nevertheless it's not an easy experience.
    Best Wishes,

  33. Hi Gary, you mentioned you're offering one-on-one sessions. Can you expand on what camera(s) and depth of specific instruction is available? I realize the more time purchased the more you can cover.

    1. Is the Sony program you mentioned? Sony DMPC Presents:
      Behind the Camera Training Series
      This appears to be movie only.

  34. Hello Gary,

    I am very sorry that you and your family are losing a special person. Hospice will make sure your dad's journey is painless. You and your family are his best legacy.

    Peace and prayers for you and yours.


  35. Gary, so sorry to hear about your dad. My thoughts are with him, you and your family.

  36. He sounds like a great man. I'm sorry this happening to your family.

  37. Thanks for sharing that moment and let us know that remarquable person. Peace to you and your family.

  38. You are very fortunate to have had a father that you hold in such loving respect. I am sure he felt the same about you. Our condolences for your loss.

  39. Very sorry about your Dad, Gary. I am inspired by your posts and your positive attitude. Thanks very much.

  40. Such a terrible disease. Blessings to him and your family in this uncertain time. Now he will be able to "Reach out and touch the face of God".

  41. Special thoughts to you and your family Gary. Our parents are our link with the past. The coming days will be hard, but the love and the memories of your Dad in better times will live on.

  42. I have been down that path with my mother. That is why I take photos, for my grand children-because I do not know how much time I have....Gary take care and come back when you think time is right.

  43. Trevor Cooper-TydemanMay 31, 2020 at 2:54 PM

    Gary, Peace be with you. Enjoy your pride in your father's achievements and in your family memories. They are greater than the sadness.

  44. Gary, I wish I'd known your Dad. He's had an amazing life. Life can be incredibly wonderful and incredibly cruel. Degenerative neurological diseases are so cruel. My mother travelled a similar path and my father is travelling it too. Always remember the wonderful times that you've had with you father and what amazing things he did. My sincere condolences.

  45. Condolences from Denmark

  46. Thank you Gary for sharing this very private time.

    Words are never expressive enough at times like this.

    You are in my thoughts tonight.


  47. I was in the same position 3 years ago when my dad passed of the same dreaded disease. I'd be shocked if our dads didn't know of each other -- mine was a VP at McDonnell Douglas, building planes; CalTech engineering.

    Take care, Gary.

  48. Our thoughts are with you and your poor Dad

  49. "he was 10 of the smartest people I've ever known"... wonderful tribute! Such love.

  50. Hi Gary
    Your father is a very special man as you wrote. Sorry for your situation. You are also very special, the best "teacher" in making me see life through a lens 😀 I whish you and your family all the best!
    Best regards
    Kim (DK - Copenhagen)

  51. Gary,
    My thoughts are with you and your family
    Kind regards,
    Koen (BE-Brussels)

  52. Hi Gary, Sorry to know about your Dad. He is a truly remarkable man & his qualities certainly pass through to you. Life is a mystery & a miracle, & it is only our faith & the human spirit that keeps us going. May God give courage to you & your family.

  53. Hope you and your family will be fine, hold in there.
    Altzheimer is horrible, you see your dear ones slowly degrading mentally and fisically.
    But then again, you won't remember him like this but like brilliant man he was. And you'll be proud of him.
    Best regards, Gary.

  54. I'm sorry Gary. God Bless your Dad and your family.

  55. Many condolences Gary.
    Unfortunately, it's the natural progression of generations.
    My Dad died suddenly - a heart attack.
    Now I'm the old(er) one - most of my kids are married and settled - they're all adults now with their families growing.
    When I and the missus come to pop our clogs, they're ready to take over.
    Luckily, they still want to include us in everything.
    But I see that as a privilege, not a right.
    I can see you're very proud of your Dad's achievements. I'm sure he's very ptoud of your's.
    That's ideal.

  56. Gary- My heart goes out to you. What an incredible man. What a life to celebrate.

  57. So Sorry Gary. My condolences to you & your family.

  58. Hello Gary, very sorry for your loss. Many condolences.
    Would like to ask your recommendation. I own very Sony 77MkII camera and would like to add a gimbal that is compatible with this camera. What would you recommend? So far I could not find any that allows to control camera (take shots and video). Thank you in advance for help!

  59. I wish to thank everyone for their condolences; both here and in email. The love and support is overwhelming, and very much appreciated. My dad died on May 31st while we were present; my next blog post will be dedicated to him.

  60. Condolences Gary. What a fantastic life he must have had. Looking forward to reading more about him in you next blog post.

  61. Please accept my sincere condolences Gary, I too lost my wonderful father a few years ago after a battle with Alzheimer's. Take time to grieve in your own way.


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