Friday, May 1, 2009

My Camera Phone Will Not Be Denied: Peter Bjorn and John at Webster Hall

Those of you who know my last name know that I’m a proud Swede on my Dad’s side; a “svenska pojke,” as my grandmother used to call me. (It means “Swedish nancy boy.”) Oh, how often I've wanted to add a "j" to my name to make it Tjim. (It would still be pronounced the way my mama says it: "Tee-um".)

Anyway, as a result of my being a stone cold Swede, sort of, I have an inborn connection to any music coming out of Sweden. It’s why I’ve seen the Cardigans twice. Twice. Unnecessary, right? (Yes. Unnecessary.) It’s also why I agree with the historical fact that ABBA is one of the best bands ever (This is proven by science, and I don’t have to defend myself, so shut up, snobs.) And why I think it’s a tragedy that Komeda is not a household name and The Knife will one day save the world (after first scaring it shitless).

So of course I had a great time at the Peter Bjorn and John show at Webster Hall the other night with my non-Swedish Italian friend Alex. (Grazie for treating, Alex!) PB&J put on a great show and are freakin’ adorable. And they played “Young Folks”!

And now a message for the old folks: remember, grandmas and grandpas, when you went to live shows in the days before readily available digital technology that allowed you to photograph and film every freaking thing you saw that you regarded as semi interesting? Remember those days? When you had to just rely on your own memory power to conjure up images of a great concert you went to given by the Sugarcubes (Rialto Theater, Raleigh, 1988) or The Cure (Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, 1989) or Siouxsie and the Banshees (Walnut Creek Ampitheater, Raleigh, 1991), or Juice Newton (Chataqua Ampitheater, Lake Chautauqua, 1982)? When you may not have been able to text your friends all of your impressions in real time, but you could still, I don't know, talk to them about it later?

Those days, ancient mariners, are over. The last two shows I’ve gone to in NYC have proven that beyond any reasonable doubt. At PB&J on Wednesday I was forced to watch the band play “Young Folks” through the LCD screen of some dumb teenager standing right in front of me with his arms and digicam lifted triumphantly in the air for the entire. F**king. Song. That was a lot of fun. And during Ladytron last month a gaggle of dumb kids in front of me and my friend Kelly spent the entire show passing around text messages to and from their friends who weren’t at the show and the sickly glow from their phone screen just about gave me epilepsy. I looked at one of the text messages they sent. It said, “Ladytron’s light show is soooo pretty! OMG!” Really, dummy? Then why don’t you put the phone in your pocket AND F**KING WATCH IT?!

Stupid, meddling kids. (And before you yell at me saying "But Tim, you obviously took a picture with your camera phone, why are you such a hypocrite?!" let me tell you this: I lifted my phone in the air for about 2 seconds to take that picture. And if you can read what the backdrop on the stage says [one word, repeated over and over] without clicking to enlarge, I'll come and sing "Young Folks" at your next bar mitzvah.)


Muzzle Mammoth said...

Tjim it is, then. It'll probably still have two syllables, but I can't help that, ah'm southern.

Kelly said...

May I suggest an additional label for this post? Growing old, dude.

The Camera Fanatic said...

Outstanding blog. My personal favorite camera is the Canon PowerShot SD1100IS. I wrote a review for it, please let me know what you think:

UPDATE: This camera is currently on sale at Amazon. You can find the link here:

If you need a solid, reliable, and stylish point-and-shoot ultracompact digital camera that produces high-quality images, then the new Canon PowerShot SD1100IS may be right for you.

I am an advanced amateur photographer and own 2 Canon digital cameras (G2 and 20D). Both have served me well over the years but recently I have found myself needing a decent ultracompact camera that I can easily carry with me at all times for unexpected photo-ops.

Other current Canon models that I also researched before my purchase of the "bohemian brown" SD1100IS included the SD950IS and the SD1000.

Here is my take on the SD1100IS:

- 8MP CCD sensor with DigicIII processor (excellent resolution images with good dynamic range)
- Solid construction (most of body made of anodized aluminum)
- Feels sturdy and well-balanced in the hands
- Easy to use (logical user-interface) with minimal need to consult owner's manual for basic operation
- Multiple shooting modes to fit variety of situations (action/sports mode is a glaring omission but read section below to see possibly why)
- Advanced metering system with accurately exposed pics in even "tricky" situations (great balance of highlights and shadows)
- Tack-sharp images (much more so with sufficient lighting and use of built-in flash)
- Macro mode can result in stunning close-ups with outstanding level of detail
- Optical IS feature helpful when shooting in either low-light conditions with flash off or at telephoto lengths
- Fast start-up with acceptable shutter-lag (when not using flash)
- Bright 2.5" LCD monitor (100% coverage, 230k pixels) made of polycrystalline silicon; fairly scratch-resistant (can't vouch if this applies to keys and coins)
- Optical viewfinder (though only a tiny peephole, it is essential when LCD glare and washout become an issue shooting in bright sunlight or when LCD cannot be used as battery power is nearly depleted)
- Camera made in Japan (at least those from the 1st shipment; this easily may be subject to change)

- Lack of manual control over aperture, shutter speed, and focusing (for the obssessive control-freaks)
- Noise is noticeable beginning at ISO 400 (ISO 800 still useable but probably for only 4x6 images; ISO 1600 mostly unuseable)
- Fastest shutter speed is 1/1500 sec (not fast enough to stop action for some sporting activities)
- Auto-focus speed inadequate to follow fast-moving subjects
- Shutter-lag accentuated with flash on (precious Canon moments lost while waiting for flash to recharge)
- Cannot adjust focus or optical zoom while shooting in movie mode (focus is fixed for distance selected at first frame, and digital zoom is permitted instead, resulting in significant image quality deterioration)
- Battery/memory card cover and hinge made of plastic (no safety latch that needs to be de-activated first before sliding cover out, in order to prevent accidental opening)
- Minor vignetting and chromatic aberration (albeit, difficult not to expect from compact p&s)
- Pincushion and barrel distortion at the extremes of the focal lengths
- No RAW shooting mode

Battery power in camera mode with LCD monitor on is mostly as advertised, allowing for approximately 240 images. If your budget permits, I recommend investing in a few spare batteries as backups and replacing the supplied 32MB memory card with a pair of 4GB SDHC memory cards--vital purchases if you plan to use the movie mode frequently.

Overall Impression:
Even with some serious limitations inherent to virtually all digital cameras in this class, I am recommending the Canon PowerShot SD1100IS. It does what it's supposed to do. This camera allows one to take beautiful photographs in an ultracompact, reliable, and elegant device that is both easy and fun to use.