Saturday, February 21, 2015

My 2015 Oscar Predictions

Over the past several years, I have sporadically posted my pre-Oscar picks particularly when I believe that the year had a good selection of films in competition.
This year was an exceptional year for the movies, maybe because only the best non-blockbuster scripts gets funding beyond the slew of franchised animation, remakes, sequels, prequels, bestseller and comic book adaptations that come out from Hollywood these days.
Anyway, here are my picks for each of the major categories for the Academy Awards. I usually get 50% of them right. Let's see how I do tomorrow night:)
Postscript: The winners are out (my guess in red, actual winner in yellow). I got 8 out of the 14 categories I included here in this blog-- a 57% hit! I am getting better every year...
For some reason, I seem to be always in the money for Best Director and Best Cinematographer. I guess it just shows that I am really familiar with my chosen crafts ;)
American Sniper
Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Boyhood - winner
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything
Alejandro G. Inarritu - winner *
Richard Linklater
Bennett Miller
Wes Anderson
Morten Tyldum
Steve Carell
Bradley Cooper
Benedict Cumberbatch
Micheal Keaton - winner
Eddie Redmayne
Marion Cotillard
Felicity Jones
Julianne Moore - winner *
Rosamund Pike
Reese Witherspoon
Robert Duvall
Ethan Hawke
Edward Norton
Mark Ruffalo
J.K. Simmons - winner *
Patricia Arquette
Laura Dern
Keira Knightley - winner
Emma Stone
Meryl Streep
Emmanuel Lubezki - winner *
Robert Yeoman
Lukasz Zai/Ryszard Lenczewski
Dick Pope
Roger Deakins

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Photo Mural Commission - Part 3

"Trinity" an original photo-triptych by Atom Magadia

"To see a World in a grain of sand
and Heaven in a wild FLOWER
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
and Eternity in an hour..."
William Blake
"There is Nothing you can see
that is not a FLOWER..."
Matsuo Basho
"No more words
In the Name of this Place
we drink in with our breathing
Stay quiet like a FLOWER
so the Nightbirds will start singing..."
Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

Beside the actual artwork

Friday, February 6, 2015

Canon's New High Resolution 5DS & 5DS R

My long wait is finally over! Canon just came out with cameras I actually want... and need.

The new Canon EOS 5DS R and its twin 5DS

As a commercial studio and fine-art photographer, image resolution is critical to my work. The last time I was this excited about a camera was 13 years ago when the Canon EOS-1Ds first came out; arguably the 1st successful full-frame DSLR, after the pioneering Contax N Digital failed. Its successor, the 1Ds Mark II, has been giving me wonderful high quality images for my magazine and newspaper assignments ever since.  But I still have to rent digital backs for my Mamiya RZ67 Pro IID and my Sinar P2 whenever I have high-resolution (Billboard Advertising, Wall Mural) projects. Not any more... 
The Canon 5Ds and 5DS R are 50.6 Megapixel, full-frame DSLRs!
The two new high-resolution models are exactly alike, except for the absence of the Low-pass filter on the 5DS R model. Both are equipped with a newly designed 50.6 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor with dual Digic-6 processors; a 61 point High Density Reticular Auto Focus; full HD (1920 x 1080) 30p video with time-lapse function; continuous shooting up to 5 fps; dual card slots (1 CF + 1 SD); an intelligent viewfinder with 100% coverage; a 3.2 inch Clear View II LCD monitor (170 degree viewing angle, 1,040,000 dot VGA); and a magnesium-alloy body. Additional features include an EOS Scene Detection System with a 150,000 pixel RGB+IR Metering Sensor for more accurate exposures; an advanced mirror control mechanism and selectable shutter release time lag that helps suppress camera vibration for added image clarity; an Anti-flicker function to compensate for flickering light sources and assist in acquiring consistent exposure and color; and user selectable 1.3x and 1.6x crop capabilities for added flexibility. The normal ISO range for both cameras is 100-6400, with expanded speeds up to 12800-- pretty decent for studio applications.
The absence of the Low-pass filter on the 5DS R is an option reserved for specialized applications that need extra-crisp focus, like high-resolution advertising, landscape and fine art photos. There have been a lot of Canon users in the past couple of years who have experimented with removing the LPF from their stock 5D and have claimed an improvement on their camera's sharpness and overall resolution. Canon is now offering that option in the 5DS R.
To everyone familiar with my blog, you all know that I just recently acquired my fourth complete digital camera system (Fuji X) for my everyday "Street" and travel work so I do not have the budget this year for this camera. But I am dusting my Canon Lenses in anticipation... 
I am also anxiously awaiting the launch of the 5D Mark IV, the successors to the 1Dx and 1Dc models, as well as the "mystery Canon camera" that has been rumoured (3D?). But for my current needs, these two models are already sufficient. Thank you Canon!!!!

Here is a video by the Canon Digital Learning Center on the 5DS and the 5DS R:

--Images and video taken from Canon, USA