January 30, 2008

That light you loved last April.

Last April, when I was in Austin, I blogged this photograph of a colored lamp in front of a convex mirror:

DSC_0080.JPG

I got more comments on that photograph, and lots of people asked me what the store was. I couldn't remember. But I made a point of figuring it out when I was back in Austin last weekend. The store is Maya:

Maya

The round light isn't there, but the beautiful convex mirror is, along with some new, but similar lights:

Lights and a convex mirror

Here's the Maya website, and I think they'll help you find that round light if you want. Ah! Here it is.

Me, I'm in love with the mirror. It's expensive — over $1800 — but as I thought about possibly buying it, I realized what I wanted if for was to take pictures, and therefore what I really should buy is a fisheye lens for my Nikon D50.

ADDED: Is this the fisheye lens I need? Tell me, camera nerds. You know I love distortion, and the question — as always — is: Just how much bloggable fun can I possibly have?

45 comments:

Palladian said...

Convex.

MadisonMan said...

I'm wondering what Maxine will say. Someone looks bored.

Pogo said...

Palladian,
The masters knew it all.

Cancave is like a cave, I was told.
Says I, But what is convex like?
It's just not a cave. Got it?
Um. Okay.

Pogo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pogo said...

"That April I loved last light" is a whole other story.

George said...

Shades of van Eyck's Arnolfini Wedding.

In "Secret Knowledge" David Hockney contends that many old masters used arcane viewing devices to achieve spectacular effects.

Best of all is the anamorphic image in Holbein's The Ambassadors"....

Palladian said...

Ann, that's a great lens, given that you (of course) understand the limitations of a fisheye lens. I have that lens for my D-80.

I also recommend this wonderful lens for less distorted but wonderfully wide images. It's a little pricey, but well worth it.

ricpic said...

1800 bucks for a mirror? Jeez. I've had good luck finding mirrors, especially mirrors, in second hand furniture stores/barns/warehouses. Used to be every farmhouse had lots of wood frame mirrors with really nice woodwork; square shaped, rectangular, as well as round and oval; wall mirrors, dresser mirrors, free standing hall mirrors. I've picked up several for under $100. Sure the glass was slightly marred and the wood had some chinks but still.....

Maxine Weiss said...

I'm a retailer.

I'm a Mom & Pop retailer, and I own a specialty/novelty type store.

I'm not doing too well, and I barely get one sale per day, if even that.

All of the sudden a middle-age Mother, with her adult-son in tow, gingerly, gamely, enter the store.

It becomes obvious these two have absolutely no intention of buying anything. All they want to do is browse and take pictures.

And, I, a Mom & Pop, am supposed to be profusely grateful because of all the free publicity, I will, supposedly get, once looky-loo Mom puts the pictures up on her well-traveled Blog.

And, that's supposed to guarantee me, in a down economy, increased sales ???

Gee thanks, Mom & Son.

ricpic said...

Are you kidding? Those places are goldmines. What's the markup on that mirror, 2000%? And what's to say she didn't pick up some little tshotchka on impulse? Those novelty shops thrive on impulse buying alone.

Pogo said...

Maxine,
If it is true that the store is failing, it would be quite useful for Mom & Pop to learn to sell something that people want at a price they can afford.

45 years ago, business guru Peter Drucker said "There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer".

One customer a day who does not buy anything?
That's a museum, not a business. Mom & Pop need to do something else. Fast.

Ron said...

I am also a Nikon user and second Palladian's comments on the lens.

Maxine Weiss said...

Mom says that she realized all she really wanted to do is take pictures.

So what kind of "free-publicity" is that?

The merchandise is good enough to photograph , but not good enough to buy.

Beware Shops on South Congress: ---If you see middle-aged Blonde Mother, with unshaven Son in tow, making a beeline for your store...... Be advised, these two don't plan to buy a thing, they just want to use you to add to their photo albums .

---Every Merchant's dreaded nightmare. I'd like to see these Two go snapping away photo after photo at Target or WalMart !

Maxine Weiss said...

"I realized what I wanted if for was to take pictures,"---Althouse

In 6-months, 'Maya' loses their lease, defaults on their loan, files Bankruptcy, stiffs their investors and employees, the store is gutted, and now South Congress turns into nothing but runned-down blight.

...but at least Ann Althouse was able to get good photos !!!!

ZPS said...

Hey Maxine...I just got a new apartment in Long beach (your favorite city) and when I saw that cute light I thought it would look great in my apartment. I might buy some stuff from them if they deliver and I can order online. So maybe Ann is doing them some good?

Your jealousy of Ann's life is so transparent.

lumiere said...

I remember discussing a wide-angle P/C lens with you in Madison. Nikon just announced a new one specifically for digital photography:

Nikon today announced a new Nikkor unlike any before it and likely to prove an effective 'halo' product as well as an invaluable tool. The PC-E NIKKOR 24mm f/3.5D ED is a wide angle lens offering both tilt and shift movement.
http://www.dpreview.com/news/0801/08012907nikkorpce24.asp

While not as wide as a fish-eye, it offers the possibility of less distortion- especially on architectural shots.

Richard Fagin said...

I like the light. It has balls.

Ann Althouse said...

lumiere: I saw that new lens and was interested in it too, but first I'm in the mood for distortion. It's a positive for me. Getting rid of it (esp. for buildings) is a separate matter, also good.

michael farris said...

"I'm a Mom & Pop retailer...
I'm not doing too well, and I barely get one sale per day, if even that."

I figured something like that.

Actually, storekeepers tend to not mind some non-buying foot traffic since nothing gets people into a store like the sight of other people already there. And the more people in the store the more chance of sales.

rishigajria said...

Ms.Althouse, Could you increase the size of the first picture so I can use it as my desktop background.

Sheriff Cobb said...

It is quite offensive that you called them "colored lights." The correct usage is that they are "lights of color." I know you were in Texas and all but gee.

J said...

Did you get to meet Gladys Mayo, or did she just talk on the phone the whole time?

Middle Class Guy said...

Sheriff Cobb,

Do we now call black light African American light?

Rick Lee said...

There are two kinds of fisheye lenses... the full frame coverage kind and the circular kind. Both are cool in their own way. The circular kind usually cover 180 degrees (or more, which seems impossible but it's not) If you want the full-frame kind, I think the one you noted is probably the best. Here is a link to all of the lenses available for Nikon digital cameras (smaller sensor than 35mm film).

Rick Lee said...

Rishigajria... click on the photo and then select "All sizes" to get the original sized photo.

Sheriff Cobb said...

Only if you call blue light, Smurf
light.

Sheriff Cobb said...

Now red light is of course Native American light. Or Pamela Anderson light. If of course you are a whore.

Palladian said...

The "round" kind of fisheye lenses are silly in my opinion, since they waste much of the frame on nothing but black space. The 10.5mm is a full frame and using various pieces of software, you can "un-distort" the central parts of the image for interesting effects.

Another wonderful feature of the 10.5 mm Nikkor Fisheye is that it has a rated Macro focal distance of 5.5 inches from the sensor, which on this lens means that you can focus sharply on things that are about 1.5 inches from the lens!

Sheriff Cobb said...

Now a yellow light would be a chinese latern. Or a Margaret Cho light if you are an untalented lesbian. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Maxine Weiss said...

Magnet shops, novelty shops, etc....already get a high degree of foot traffic. What they need most is sales.

That's not the message Althouse is sending out.

The message Althouse is sending is to simply walk into a store, find whatever you like, and---rather than purchase it, take lots of pictures, and just use the pictures as wallpaper.

Five years from now South Congress will be total urban blight with boarded up vacant storefronts, trash-filled gutters, and graffiti-laden walls.

And somewhere, standing in an unemployment line, will be a former Shopkeeper, now gone out-of-business, remembering how Ann Althouse swept through Austin, with her camera, doing nothing to encourage spending.

rhhardin said...

Buy a bicycle mirror, or a garden globe.

Sheriff Cobb said...

A green light would be a Martian light. Or a Pamela Anderson light
if you were a whore. Because she alway's gave the green light. She's very popular.

Verso said...

Not to embarrass anyone, but your son is quite a handsome fellow.

Palladian said...

True of both sons, Verso.

I say this hoping that Althouse knows that I'm not, like "Maxine", a perverted obsessive creep who leers at her offspring.

Ann Althouse said...

For a larger version of any of the pictures, just click on it and then select "all sizes."

Ann Althouse said...

(Rick already said that...)

Thanks for the confirmation on the lens. Think I will get the thing.

And thanks for the compliments on my sons.

Maxine Weiss said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
somefeller said...

"Gee, I've not heard John, nor Christopher complain about me."

They are younger men, and much more well-versed in two rules of internet culture and contemporary culture in general: (a) don't feed the troll and (b) don't talk to the psycho chick. Thus, no complaints or other forms of engagement from them.

And I have no idea why I am violating those two good rules with this comment. Just feeling charitable, I guess.

Kurt said...

You can also get the distortion effect of that mirror with an image editing program like Photoshop.
In my experience, special purpose lenses don't get enough use to justify the expense, space, weight, etc.

Maxine Weiss said...

If there were anything improper, Mama Bird wouldn't hesitate to swoop down and ban me from here.

Maxine Weiss said...

As a rule, I never look at Flickr photos without zooming-in first. I go to the very highest zoom setting.

Many people put pictures up on Flickr, without giving the option to zoom-in. I'm sure Althouse and Co. know how to disable the zoom feature if they wanted. You can also set Flickr to private.

They like the attention. Why else would you put pictures up on Flickr, for all the world to see, and zoom in on ?

Maxine Weiss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bissage said...

Nice cross-bridging!

Nataraj Hauser said...

About that lens: I use a D40, not the D50 you have, but be certain you don't need to buy AF-S lenses rather than AF. With my D40 (which replaced the D50), the ability to auto-focus is driven by a servo motor in the lens itself, as opposed to being driven by a screw drive in the body of the camera. I suspect you're fine with that lens, but thought I'd mention the distinction. I have no experience with fisheye lenses. eyeDance

Michael said...

Yes, that Nikon 10.5 fisheye should give you some very interesting distortion to your wide angle shots.

If you ever want to see what photos a certain lens is capable of producing, you can search by lens.

BTW, I was the one who brought the Nikon D200 and Sigma 10-20mm lens to the Althouse Madison meetup.