Author: George Burgyan

Acting

Sorry for keep going back to the well of the Rocky Anniversary show… it’s something that’s sticking with me. Getting up on stage is something that is some completely different from my normal way of moving through the world. I tend to stay in the shadows and not draw attention. Not having a literal spotlight on. I grew up shy. I owe Rocky and the cast a huge debt for where I am now. As I looked at this picture that En took of me a minute into my performance. What stood out is that everyone is looking at us; in the spotlight, the rest of the world turns into the void. Inspecting the photo I now see the people from the darkness. Maybe that’s how I did it. And got me the confidence to do a lot...

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Polaroid

I got an email last week from Polaroid of all things. Polaroid was a company that had in all ways died. But it’s back selling film — even refurbished cameras. You can even order some 8×10″ film, amazingly enough. It doesn’t hold a candle to 20×24″ Polaroids, but 8×10 is still pretty legit. It’s stupid expensive. $18.99 for 8 shots. It sounds expensive, and it is… but Polaroid has always been expensive as well. But it’s also magic. The chemistry behind how they self-develop is amazing. You first take the picture, of course, and the picture ejects out of the camera. In the process of sliding out the developer which is in the thick edge gets smeared over the print. The instant the developer hits the emulsion it makes it not-light-sensitive. From there the chemicals do the full job of developing and fixing the photo. Finally the fixer clears the opaque layer created to block the light as the picture ejected. It’s amazing it works — and has worked for 70...

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Workbench video mount

Total cost: around $5 + some weights I had lying around. The key if you make something like this a tripod mount is 1/4″ 20 TPI. If you’re looking for this, look for something like “1/4-20” and you’ll be good to...

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Before the Show

30th Anniversary show at the Cedar-Lee Theatre — backstage. Frank helping Frank with makeup. Olympus Pen-F with Panasonic/Leica 12-60 lens. Backstage felt so familiar. I’ve not stepped foot in the theater for over half a decade and it was like yesterday. Everything was where it was when I left it last. But more people. And different...

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Working at Amazon

(I asked before posting this; no trade secrets or anything; opinions expressed are my own…) One of the things I find rewarding about working at Amazon is that I get to work with really smart and giving people. Today was our third charity shirt day; the first was at Dunlap Elementary, the second was at MLK Elementary. Miguel, my boss’s boss’s boss who is the director of the group, one day asked “how are we making things better?” This isn’t one of the core Amazon leadership principles, but likely aught to be. That got the ball rolling on this bit...

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Airmail3

I’ve been bouncing between email clients for years now, never quite satisfied with my choice. I used to use Mailbox for Gmail, but that was purchased by Dropbox and promptly killed off. For Gmail I typically stuck with the piss-poor web interface. It gets the job done, but lacks the flexibility I was getting with Mailbox. At Amazon we use Exchange, and its native client Outlook is what comes preinstalled. I can’t stand Outlook on a Mac. It just sucks being slow and clunky all the time. I need to use it occasionally regardless of the mail client I want to...

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Auto-focus

Growing up I had my Minolta X-700 as my camera. It was the early 80s and the notion of autofocus was a foreign concept. There were companies that were working on autofocus, but it was early days. (Oddly, Leica had some of the most advanced implementations before they sold off the tech. But that’s for a different day.) I grew up with a focus ring. For the first 10 or so years, I only had manual focus. It was like magic when I first got my Canon A2E that had autofocus. Point and click. I shot with autofocus until a few years ago when I got my Leica M typ 240. That’s when I realized that manual focus still had a place in the world. In many cases, I think having autofocus is almost a requirement now. If I’m shooting a fast-moving event in a documentary way I can offload some of my workload to the camera. It works well enough so I can try to engage with my subject more. But then I get to low light — when you think it would be harder to focus manually — when I miss having my eyes in the control loop of the system. I can focus my Leica rangefinder in light that I can barely see in myself; the magic of the coincident rangefinder system shines in dodgy light. Can I...

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