Category Archives: Technology

Playing with Diana

Haha…bet that made you wonder who Diana is and what sort of play I meant. Wink, wink!

Since we are in polite company, I shall resist the temptation to make salacious remarks and put my double entendres away. (I’m sure there’s meant to be a comma in there somewhere, oh there you are 😄).

The “Diana” in question here is not a person but a camera. A cheap plastic camera made in Hong Kong in the 1960s, which caught the imagination of enthusiasts even after being discontinued, so much so that there has been a resurgence in its popularity and a renaissance in its production. To own an original Diana camera today is a sign of enthusiasm for photographic nostalgia (not to mention money). Luckily, because modern-day Dianas are easily available, you can get your dirty hands on a new one for less than $100.

Yes, it’s delightfully analogue! It even uses Film! It’s untouched by Apple or Android, it doesn’t know what an App is! Actually, that’s not quite true true…because, even though the Diana remains analogue, and relies on film rolls (what are those, I hear some of you ask), there are many websites and online forums devoted to Diana photography, and there are also Apps showcasing Diana cameras and other retro plastic cameras.

Personally, my introduction to mobile photography came about via Lomography, or lo-fi photography from the likes of the Diana and other plastic cameras. I remember playing with my iPhone 3 back in 2010, and discovering Apps with Lomographic filters and effects. And just like that, I was hooked. I didn’t go as far as to buy a modern Diana camera, though they were easily available online on eBay and at retro shops such as Pigeonhole in Australia. What put me off was the fact that the camera relied on actual film, which needed processing at a camera shop, and that meant trips to the shops, which meant money to be spent on processing and on film. Do you know how hard it is these days to even find analogue film? And don’t forget to factor in the cost of processing film. Also, with me being digital on the iPhone, I could see at a glance whether a photo would be retained or simply deleted from my camera roll, and I could choose which photos to develop. Not so with the Diana, where you don’t get to see what your shots look like, before they are developed.

Having said that, today’s Diana offers pinhole functionality, where you basically remove the lens and use a pinhole filter instead. The resulting image is captured onto the film. This makes for an array of interesting effects such as blurred images, colour bleeds, double exposures, haloes and strange blobs. Very retro chic indeed. Hmmm…maybe I should get a Diana after all, just for this function…or I’m sure there’s an App for that, right?

I downloaded an App the other day called aptly enough, “Diana Photo“, which is happily available both on Android and Apple iOS. The user interface is simple enough – you simply load up 2 photos from your smartphone, then choose what effects you want to use for blending them. Now, this is different from standard photo editing blend modes (screen, difference, multiply, overlay etc). You can’t tweak any of the parameters, so it really is pot luck whether a blend works or not. Here’s a screenshot of the user interface:

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Yes, it’s all in square format. Instagrammers will love this App.

Here are the different blends available on Diana Photo. There are 21 in total (sorry, they wouldn’t fit on just one screenshot):

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I was just playing with this App when it struck me that these “accidental” double exposures were beautiful in their own right, and it would be a waste not to to create a Lenormand divination card deck using this App.

And so I have. The “Diana Lenormand” by AlyZen Moonshadow is now in production as I write this. When I get the printed copy I will share the results with you all.

Meanwhile, here are some examples of the type of images the Diana Photo App produced:

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Cymatics

Awesome video! And based on fact, not fiction. Science meets Music meets WOW!

http://youtu.be/Q3oItpVa9fs

Cymatics is the study of visible sound. It was first pioneered by Dr Hans Jenny, a Swiss scientist. Today there are a growing number of fans and proponents of this fascinating new(ish) genre in music. Nigel Stanford is an electronic musician based in New Zealand, who specialises in trance and ambient music. The video above of Nigel’s, which I first saw on a friend’s Facebook wall, ably demonstrates the physical manifestation of music. Also remember to check out and download Nigel’s other tracks.

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Here’s Wikipedia’s definition of Cymatics:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cymatics

Cymatics is exciting, as it is happening Right Now. And it continues to be researched and developed by different people from different walks of life, each with an aim of their own – scientists, mathematicians, visual artists, musicians. And when everything comes together, that’s when pure Magic happens.

Happy Christmas, everyone! May 2015 bring all your dreams and aspirations to fruition.

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More Videos of my Lenormand decks

Yesterday I posted up videos of 3 of my Lenormand divination card decks. Since then, I have created slideshows of 3 more of rhe decks I’ve made, using the moviemaking App “Videoshow”.

And here they are, for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy! (All rights reserved AlyZen Moonshadow).

1) The Time-Worn Lenormand

2) The Geometrical Lenormand

3) The Eclectic Lenormand

All my Lenormand cards were created using only my Samsung Galaxy S4, Android Apps, and my own photographs or images from the public domain and clipart.

These decks are, or will shortly be, available for you to purchase on my eBay and Etsy store listings. Just search under AlyZen Moonshadow, AlyZenM, or simply type in the names of the decks. :)

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane…

…it’s a plane. On Saturday 25th October 2014, as I was out in the garden watering my plants, I heard the drone of a plane overhead. Where we are it’s not uncommon to see biplanes and vintage planes flying over, and on celebration days like Anzac Day, the jets that fly past Perth often go over Rockingham first. Nearby Garden Island houses Australia’s largest naval fleet, and sometimes we hear their jet engines.

But this day was rather different. As I looked up, expecting to see one of the usual suspects, what I saw instead was something quite different, and something I’d never encountered before. My son’s best friend, Cooper, was over for a playdate that afternoon, so I called both boys out to witness the strange plane in the sky. Cooper is quite an aviation buff, but this had even him scratching his head.

This is what we saw (yes, I had to Google it until I found it, as I didn’t have my camera or mobile phone on me when it happened):

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Weird, huh? Like a kite.

I’m sure you’ll agree it’s not something you see every day. After finding the image on Google, I still had no idea what this plane was. I couldn’t make out it if had 2 or 4 engines, it was too far away, and I only managed to find some images on Google after searching under several possible keywords (some of them being such as “plane with diamond-shaped struts, plane with cables, kite-like plane”).  But at least I was in the right area. I decided to search under the name on the tail – Fugro, for more information.

Turns out it’s a “Geophysical survey aircraft, undertaking magnetic and electromagnetic surveys for mineral exploration companies” (Source: http://www.airliners.net) This particular model is the CASA C-212-CC40 (or possibly CC50). Not much information is forthcoming from the internet, but judging by the look of the cables suspended in a diamond-shaped configuration between the head, wings and tail of the aircraft, one would assume perhaps they are to aid in the collection of data or geological mapping of the ground.

Sounds about right. Western Australia’s most important industry is the mining industry.  I Google “Fugro” and found the company’s website. I found some information about aerial mapping from this link.

Well, there you go.  You learn something new every day!

I can hardly contain myself!

Well, I couldn’t help it, you know I love puns. I also like recycling and repurposing, and some time ago when I was researching beach huts and garden sheds, I also noticed a proliferation of container houses. It’s an intriguing idea alright. Perhaps some day…

Pinterest, my favourite go-to for visuals (Google for text based articles, Pinteresr for images), generously dished out these gems. Enjoy!

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They Have Eyes But Do Not See

…or rather, they choose to see only what is in front of them. I’m talking about Materialism in this sorry old World of ours.

Nevermind the Apple vs Samsung or iOS vs Android debate. Today I went into the city to buy some of my favourite coffee. (Cubania by Nespresso, limited edition while stocks last only). Yes, I do like my coffee, but it’s my only worldly vice, apart from wanting to buy every oracle/tarot/lenormand card deck there is ahem!!

So up to Perth CBD on the train I go. I’m walking along Hay Street towards Elizabeth’s Secondhand Bookshop (where they have a nice little New Age/Spiritual section), and I notice some men in high-visibility vests conducting crowd-control. For yeah, there was indeed a crowd on the street. Ahhh yes, the penny dropped. Today was the day Australians got to see and/or buy the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Hurray for them!

imageThe front of the queue on the road. These are people who are buying the new iPhone.

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imageInside the Apple Store. A multitude of people gawking at the new iPhone models. But, if you decided you just Have to get one today, haha Mister, join the queue, literally!

imageThis is the iPhone 6 actually, not 6 Plus. Only a man could call something 5.5 inches a “6 Plus”!

imageSuckers Customers buying the iPhone 6.

imageThe iPhone 6 Plus. Well done, Apple for finally catching up with the competition!

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imageSome people had actually camped outside overnight. So sad. I was also embarrassed to see that 95% of the desperados queuing up were Orientals. It looked like the entire Asian population of Western Australia had descended on the Apple Store today.

Materialism gone mad. On the one hand, we have all these people wanting the latest gadget in their hands. They don’t know why, it’s not something necessary to their lives, they certainly don’t Need it. But they Want it. Because they believe that it will bring them happiness. Hello? Things can Never bring you happiness. $1000 for a badic iPhone 6? That can feed a family of 4 for an entire month!

On the other hand, and in the next street, actually, I befriended Shane, a homeless man, and bought him a chicken and mushroom flaky pastry, orange juice and a bottle of water. I had a pastry and a cappuccino. We sat on the bench and talked. We talked about Life, what was important and what wasn’t. We spoke about Shane’s personal circumstances. I encouraged him to get himself together once the City Council had found him a home (he’s 4th on the waiting list). I showed him photos of the queue outside the Apple Store, and we laughed ourselves silly at the thought of psychologists labelling Shane crazy, when out there in the very next street were possibly over 2000 lunatics queuing up for an expensive toy!

Shane was pretty clued up about things, for example, he’d read and heard that cannabis oil cured cancer. So we talked about the efforts of some groups to decriminalise cannabis. I showed him Rick Simpson’s video on how to make cannabis oil.

I also showed Shane a couple of Tarot/Oracle card Apps on my Samsung Galaxy S4. His cards came out really positive – 2 of Cups, 7 of Pentacles and 10 of Cups. I told him those were the cards he’d chosen, and he now needed to put himself in the path to make it happen. I said he shouldn’t think of himself as down and out, because Up was the only way he could go from here. I gave him a big hug before I left.

I know who I’d rather have as a friend in this world. Not any one of those people in the queue, that’s for sure! They have eyes but they do not see.

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INCANDESCENCE

She had a way about her
That lit up the room
When she entered it
She did not even have to try

Incandescent
That’s the word for it
She had an Incandescence
About her Being

Pure and simple
Effortless joy
A presence that filled
The heart with pleasure

Not an earthly pleasure
But a higher one
That of lighting the mind
Like a light bulb glowing

She was a being evolved
Like no other human
Therefore, when the time came
She simply shook off her physical form

And so she is Now
Truly Incandescent
And Nascent Everywhere
Now her real work begins

She is the First Light of Dawn
The Last Rays at Sunset
And All that’s in between
Incandescent

image (Google Image : Scarlett Johansson from the film “Lucy”, 2014)

By:
AlyZen Moonshadow

Note:
I was inspired to write this poem after watching the superb movie “Lucy” starring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman. In the film, the main character, Lucy’s body gets infused with a synthetic drug called CH4, and her brain starts developing at an exponential rate, from a normal human’s 10% to ultimately, 100%. At that point Lucy has no further need for corporeal form, and transcends humanity into the very fabric of her environment…i.e she becomes Incandescent. She is Everywhere. If humans could ever utilise 100% of our brains, we would all be Gods.

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You’ve come a long way, baby!

Some ads from the 1950s and even earlier: (as seen on Pinterest)

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And who uses these appliances?

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That’s right! The lady of the house! Look at that beatific smile on her face as she irons, washes, hangs out the clothes, sews, scrubs and mops! Doesn’t she look like she’s enjoying every last second of it?

(Cue sound of DJ scratching record)

Luckily, you’ve come a long way, baby. Here are some household appliances, gadgets and innovations the modern house already has, should have, or will have in the very near future: (images also taken from Pinterest)

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All to make your life much easier…after you’ve just returned home from a long day at work and find that you’re still expected to cook, clean and tidy up after the kids and the husband.

Luckily, there are always willing slaves to help you out…The following images are from a witty little book called “Porn for Women” ;).

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Like I said, you’ve come a long way, baby!

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http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Artist Inspiration : Dušan Beňo

Dušan Beňo is an amazing Slovakian photographer specialising in Macros of insects. Enter his microcosmos here.

Dušan’s photographic skills are not limited to Macros; he is also a dab hand at human portraits, animals and flowers, as evidenced on his site.

Here is what I managed to glean about Dušan, from various searches online:

He is a student of Matej Bel University in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia.  He’s 27 years old and has been shooting and specializing in macro for over 7 years. Dušan loves the details of his insect subjects and finds their bright colours and characteristics charming. His favourite camera is the Canon MP-E, which he considers the best universal lens for macro shooting.

Here are some examples of Dušan’s magnificent insect Macros:
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Here’s a photo of Dušan, the photographer, himself. Keep up the wonderful work!

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I also found a YouTube video by Dušan himself which showcases his wonderful insect Macros:

 

Artist Inspiration : Alexander Semenov

Alexander Semenov is a marine biologist with a wonderful sideline in undersea photography. You may recall recently that I posted up some images of jellyfish in a previous post. Some of those images may well be by Alexander Semenov. This young man is no landlubber, preferring a life on the high seas!

In Alexander’s own words:

In 2007, I graduated from Lomonosov’s Moscow State University in the department of Zoology. I specialized in the study of invertebrate animals, with an emphasis on squid brains. Soon after, I began working at the White Sea Biological Station (WSBS) as a senior laborer. WSBS has a dive station, which is great for all sorts of underwater scientific needs, and after 4 years working there, I became chief of our diving team. I now organize all WSBS underwater projects and dive by myself with a great pleasure and always with a camera.

When I first began to experiment with sea life photography I tried shooting small invertebrates for fun with my own old dslr camera and without any professional lights or lenses. I collected the invertebrates under water and then I’ve shot them in the lab. After two or three months of failure after failure I ended up with a few good pictures, which I’ve showed to the crew. It has inspired us to buy a semi-professional camera complete with underwater housing and strobes. Thus I’ve spent the following field season trying to shoot the same creatures, but this time in their environment. It was much more difficult, and I spent another two months without any significant results. But when you’re working at something every day, you inevitably get a lot of experience. Eventually I began to get interesting photos — one or two from each dive. Now after four years of practice I get a few good shots almost every time I dive but I still have a lot of things that need to be mastered in underwater photography.

And the most important thing — I love Sea.

Some images of Alexander’s amazing sea creatures, courtesy of Google Images:

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And here are a couple of photos I found of Alexander Semenov himself, one as he is, and one with his underwater photography and diving gear:

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Alexander Semenov’s underwater photography can also be found on these sites:

https://m.flickr.com/#/photos/a_semenov/

We owe a debt to Alexander and other photographers of his mien, who constantly work tirelessly to bring us images of deep sea creatures that we would otherwise never encounter in our daily lives. Maybe “work” is not the right word for what Alexander does, it is clearly his passion and more a way of life than a hobby.  It is his calling.  He’s one of the lucky ones who actually does what he loves for a living. Thank you, Alexander Semenov!

Postscript: Alexander replied to my email enquiry and provided some further insight to his aspirations. His newest and most ambitious project is Aquatilis, a 3-year expedition on the high seas to capture images of deep sea creatures. This will be an epic, scientifically important project. Please show your support if you can!

Aquatilis TV

Aquatilis Indiegogo Crowdfunding

Aquatilis Flickr