The Moléson VF with the Narrative Clip 2

The Narrative Clip 2 is a specialist camera that can be programmed to take photos at regular intervals whilst you enjoy activities. This is sometimes referred to as life logging. The idea is that you wear the camera either on clothing or place it somewhere where it can capture the passage of time.

For this event the camera was worn around my neck and took pictures throughout the activity. As you can see from the last image I had the Ricoh Theta S on a monopod and the Sony Xperia Z5 compact for other pictures. You do not see that I had a fourth camera with a 30 times optical zoom.

The camera took over four hundred images during this event and I chose just a few. I avoid sharing images of people unless I have their informed consent. I share the images that best represent the pleasant moments.

If I took the time I could rotate this camera to be horizontal and I could capture daily timelapses. Every time I go for a bike ride or a hike it would capture regular images. The camera has enough battery power and you can keep the camera in your pocket until you want to start logging the event. When the event is finished you can place the camera back in to your pocket and head home for example.

An improvement which I have recently noticed is that when you put the camera to charge it can automatically upload the day’s images to the narrativeapp website and you can then select what you want to share.

As cameras get smaller and more portable and as they become more specialised so we have an opportunity to get different types of images. One is for time lapses, the other has a powerful zoom, the third allows us to capture spherical images and the fourth is practical for sharing to social media.

 

Social Media and The Human Return on Investment

Social Media and the Human Return on Investment, because contrary to popular belief we use social networks to socialise, not to shop.

As we grow older and more mature our close network of friends changes and evolves. We go from school friends to university friends and then to professional friends. In the process we move from a village to another village, from a town to another town and eventually from one city to another. In the process the links we have with some friends strengthen and others degrade over time. This is modern life.

I find it hard to discern whether the return on time invested on social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and others is decreasing because people’s understanding of these social networks is shifting or whether it is related to growing up. As the people I know get married and have children their priorities change and privacy becomes more important. We have to keep the children safe.

Facebook, as a social network is less engaging than it used to be. The people I have as friends post less frequently, the events we can participate in together is shifting and the content shown in timelines is evolving. To compensate for the decline in friends engaging in social networks like twitter and Facebook people are following publications, brands and news sources. This flow of information is tailored to the lowest common denominator. The sensationalist writing style discourages me from following these sources of information.

I have a concern that what were social networks until two or three years ago have become advertising networks on which people occasionally socialise and interact with other individuals. I feel that a bigger and bigger portion of the time that people spend on advertising networks is looking at mainstream content and comments. On Facebook as I scroll down the timeline I notice an increasing number of adverts. Personal posts are less and less frequent. Has the community left this “social” network?

I have spent years thinking about online communities and how they interact. During this time I have seen the ebb and flow from one type of community to another across multiple platforms and applications. Within the next two to five years social networks will be virtual reality environments such as we saw with World of Warcraft, Everquest and Second Life. The question is whether people will want to socialise in virtual reality or whether it will be populated by gamers.

Every online social network is stigmatised. This stigmatisation prevents people from fully exploiting the potential of social networks. We see this stigma through the use of dating apps rather than Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other social networks. Dating apps are stigmatised but at least you swipe left or right and you’re done. ;-). You’re only “active” for a few seconds at a time. On Facebook and twitter you need to be active for hours, days, weeks or even months… You have to be careful. You may be stigmatised. 😉

Now that most people see social networks as a waste of time it gives us more time to do other things. It gives us time to read, to do research, to watch television and even to go two or three hours without looking at a mobile or computer screen. Imagine that. 😉

I believe that on the one hand the stigmatisation of Social networks as a waste of time has discouraged people from using them to their full potential. As a result of this people feel comfortable spending ten to fifteen minutes a day on these networks. On the other hand I see marketers, public relations specialists and advertisers push for their campaign to be seen. As peer to peer communication goes down and human return on investment (ROI) decreases, and as marketing campaigns take over the timelines they are effectively closing the door on people’s motivation to spend time reading through their timeline.

 

Social conversations and the social media

If you read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” you see how important it is to take notice of other people, to be positive and to be interested in what they are doing. That can be a challenge for everyone. We all have different priorities so putting other people first is a challenge.

The World Wide Web is a place where we can listen and talk at the same time. We listen to a conversation and then we comment. We can start our own conversation and wait for others to see it and respond. As a result we are both engaging with others and letting others engage with us. There is a bilateral trade which leaves both parties feeling good.

Social media, today a misnomer, was a conversation place. Everyone talked with everyone and everyone became familiar with everyone else. The Global Village that Marshall McLuhan wrote about looked like it would become a reality.

At the time when this reality looked the most feasible was the time before mobile phones and proper data plans. At this time we used computers from a fixed location, either at home, an office, university or other places. With Wifi we had some freedom but nowhere the freedom that smart phones and data plans have provided us with.

That’s why people’s feeling that mobile phones are disconnecting people is such a ridiculous notion. In my vision of the world, in the adoption cycle that I observe the mobile phone is the great connector. We meet people online, we appreciate them, we meet them in person. Seesmic and the early days of twitter were very good tools for this lifestyle.

As data plans included more and more data so it would follow that social media websites would be about individual to individual conversation. It would logically follow that people would feel more at ease conversing online as their friends adopt the technology and have chats. Facebook, twitter and Google Plus should be social web forums where people are interested in the people they follow.

What I see, as data plans and smartphone adoption rises is the opposite. People share links and promote rather than converse. Social media should be rebranded as Ego Media, brand media or advertising media. The platforms that should have made us conversational have been overtaken by advertising.

It’s a good time to continue blogging. It’s a monologue until you contribute a comment. The World Wide Web is a de-centralised conversation tool and we move from platform to platform looking for the places where the personal connections are strongest. As the social media days fade in to history now is the time for each of us to blog, to write about what we feel passionate about.

Village Photography

On Google Plus, one of my muses, I saw that instead of Street photography someone suggested Village photography. I like the idea because villages are such an integral part of my life.

Life in villages is a privileged one. Every time we go for a walk we cross people we do not know and say hello. We walk from field to field and along paths. We see which crops have been planted and which ones are being harvested. We see frequent horses and dog walkers. We also see families. We hear the sound of rifle practices at the local gun range. The practice is for military service most of the time.

We also have fountains and old buildings. We hear the church bell every half hour and hour. We see the fountains with wooden chalet to protect from the cold in winter.

Villages are seasonal. In summer the sounds of children playing, of fireworks and of barbecues can be heard. In Autumn the sound of wind blowers can be heard. In Winter we see lights on as the neighbours prepare their evening meal.

In the mornings we see parents bring their children to school before the bell rings and they head in to their classes to sit and wait impatiently for the school day to be over so that they may go out on adventures.

That’s why village photography captivates my imagination. I know villages well. I appreciate them. I look forward to looking at images from the past, and preserving today for future generations.

Two via ferrata later in Leysin

Running down a ski slope in hiking shoes is fun. You’re jumping, bounding and landing back down. The snow is slush and you sink, you rise up and fall on the second thought. Continue for a few hundred meters and you get to the bottom. You can also sledge down and get soaked without worrying about it. The truth is that was the easiest part. You still have a 30 minute walk straight up a hill to the base of the cliff. From here you walk across and to the right until the beginning of the via ferrata. As a distraction you may spot the occasional marmot at this time of year.

The via ferrata itself starts vertically and then goes by two chimneys before flattening out. By the time you’re to the top the vista is nice.

If you’re not tired by the first via ferrata there is a second one lower down the valley. This is an adventure one with quite a few bits of overhanging rocks a dozen or so meters off the ground with a short patch over two bridges and through the trees. It is divided into three sections. The first one is the hardest for the arms and particularly for the hands. The second part is quite easy but if you are slightly shorter be methodical about your actions. You might get stuck. For the third part you have two ladders going out from the rock and outwards. There is a squeeze between the bag on your back and the ladder. The way down is more comfortable.

81st International Motorshow Geneva, as seen via a blackberry torch 9800.

I went to the car show today and despite the crowds I was able to test the blackberry torch. You can see the results here.

 

Ridley Scott is exploring an idea discussed by Dziga Vertov several decades ago

Disclaimer: These are thoughts, rather than a well structured post.

Ridley Scott wants your user generated videos for a film “A Day on Earth” and whilst people are hyping this idea as something new the concept is an old one. Dziga Vertov had an idea that he would capture Life Unawares. Eventually he would end up with an experiment in six reels called “The Man with the Movie camera”. It’s aim was to show Soviet Russia as it was. It was an experiment in editing and in story telling.

Skipping ahead you also have the Cinéma Verité movement, where the camera and micro trottoir would go out into the street to interview people and find out their opinions on a variety of topics. I would be more specific but I haven’t watched the film in a long time. What I do remember is the Eclair camera with “crystal” sync sound. Technological innovation freed the camera operator and sound man to continue experimenting.

Today everyone has a video camera. Everyone has one on their phone as well as their photo camera. Life is constantly being documented in video form. 24hrs of video are uploaded a minute to youtube. video recording is an everyday part of life. I’m sure we will see a great diversity of moments, some births, some sailing, some rock climbing, some sporting event and more.I haven’t taken a look at how long they want the finished result to be.

Seesmicers have had fun with this idea already. We had hat days, we had other events, we would go out with the cameras and film. With Qik too we did this. There is nothing new about the process. There is only a far greater ease to share the material internationally and collaborate.

As a side note we still remember Pangea day, another event with the same line of thought, but where people presented finished products rather than moments.

A walk through the Vaud countryside.

Every sunday I try not to use the car at all. As a result I went for a walk through the local countryside and experimented with the new camera. I was looking at the streams but they were quite low, not such a great opportunity to test the underwater part.

Paléo Festival De Nyon images, Nexus and Olympus

Here are some images of the Paléo festival.

These pictures were taken with the Nexus One

And these pictures were taken with the Stylus tough 8010 minimu tough 8010.