Friday, December 04, 2009

Blue Amber

Dominican Blue Amber jewelry shoot for Custom Design Gem

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ricoh GXR

Well, I think it’s a brilliant idea. The sensor should be coupled with the lens. It makes sense if it’s going to be digital. The sensor won’t get dirty this way. The bw back is a nice idea. The leading companies like Leica, Canon, and Nikon have a legend of lens that seems to hold back camera designs. The Leica M9 is a good example. Ricoh has some heritage in older equipments but is not hold back by it. In the future when sensors improved, the body still works and if you want to shoot with older sensor for a retro look that’s cool too. It’s like going back to the film cameras of the 80s or 70s.

In fact this should have been the very first design of the digital camera because as we see the sensor technology has improved increasingly, this would have save us some money and let us upgrade only the lens and sensor and allow us to get used to the body and it’s menus and buttons. It seem a little bit too late in the game because sensors are so superb now. Ideally, the new camera should have interchangeable sensor separate from body and lens like a Hasselblad. This is when it’s possible to shoot with a 50’s Hasselblad with the new digital back. It’s a good start to move away from film based camera of the SLR. But this move seems like it could harken back to the medium format cameras.

I would think that the next progression it for an interchangeable sensor. It doesn’t seem far fetch. It makes sense to have the body separated because the digital technology has maxed out at 3 inch for the display screen. Any bigger would be bulky and 3 inches seems the right size to view images.

The digital view finder also flips to 90 degrees which is like the medium format style of shooting at waist level.

Update:  Recently, Ricoh have added the module which allows the Leica M Mounts.  So the resurgence of the GXR is back.  The only reason I knew about the M mount module is through Tomas Van Houtryve.  National Geographic asked their photographer what's in the bag.  Here is his gear.  His book on Lao is here:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Contax TVS Digital

Test Shots

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hood River Fruit Loops

Recently I joined a photography group.

I toured the Hood River Fruit Loop.

I asked her if I could take the photograph. She thought I wanted to make a portrait. I just wanted to photograph her hands and the way she held those apples. She said these are bad apples and that they are to be thrown away. She began to fix her hair. Then decided to put the other hand with this one.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Serious Compact Cameras

I like Leica a lot! This particular model Leica L Lux 3 is compact. Panasonic makes a cheaper (Panasonic Lumix LX3 and FX37) type using Leica's lens. I still think Leica has the best lens all around. The Leica L Lux 4 is a little bigger and pricer but probably what I would go for because I like bigger camera.
There are so many cool cameras out right now for compacts, I think it will rule the market. I prefer these to the bigger DSLR.
I have been looking at the Canon G series. The G10 was a year ago is replaced by the Canon G11. $500 but not as compact or pocketable.
But my new fave is the micro four thirds with interchangable lens.
Panasonic makes one call GF1 $900
and Olympus digital Pen $900
My first two digital cameras are from Panasonic with Leica lens. The LC1
has an amazing full size Leica Lens on it.
I think the Leica L Lux 3 is a very good compact. I would not hesitate to get it at $350 price. The name Leica is stylish and fashionable and the quality is very good.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Friday, August 21, 2009

Variations sauvages

Variations sauvages

But it wasn't until she met her first wolf that she discovered there was something missing in her life.

Late one night in 1991, Grimaud encountered a wolf-dog hybrid in Florida and felt an immediate, instinctual connection to the animal-one that the wolf also seemed to share.

The wolves are all over her. There is a photograph on the cover of 'Variation Sauvages' where her wolves muzzel her ears and face with kisses.
Some people say she turns into a wolf during her concerts. "And after seeing her play live, I'm sure she's turning into a wolve herself. Her hair looked like, and waved just like wolves' hair".

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Buddha Temple

Buddha Temple, originally uploaded by Duc N. Ly.

Kwan Yin Temple in North East
Portland, Oregon

Monday, July 06, 2009

Contax G1

Contax G1, originally uploaded by Duc N. Ly.

a classic

I have a Panasonic Lumix LC1. The body is bigger then the G1. I find the proportions of the Digital cameras are all off! Maybe it's because in film camera, the chambers dictate the shape...form follows function. The digital camera like the G10 feels small. Why can't they just make a digital g1 or g2?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Yashica G Electro 35

Yashica G Electro 35, originally uploaded by Duc N. Ly.

I got this from Goodwill

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Camera quest: trying to get a fast xD type H card is not easy. I called around the usual suspects but non had it. A search on google shows Overstock had it for $25. The only other place is on EBay for $57. I almost ordered it but I did not. I'm glad I searched Google for the best price.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Minolta XD

Minolta XD, originally uploaded by Duc N. Ly.

I bought this camera at a goodwill auction for a very good low price. This is an alternative to the more expensive f1.4 lens. This is my fastest lens in my collection. The meter works great.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Lives of the Artists

Lives of the Artists

This book confirmed that Richard Serra is a total Dick head. And I mean that as a compliment to the author for making it obvious in each paragraph. If you are a great artist you too can get away with this The title borrows from the classic Giorgio Vasari's 'Lives of the Artist'. Tomkins work allows him intimate access to the house and studios of these fine artists. The writing seems less serious then Vasari's. I attempt to read it long ago but it proved to be a snooze-fest. Perhaps I'll try to read it again.
Dare I say that Tomkins work is more 'Chatty' meaning less formal compare to Vasari but that's the times that these artists live in. What was not consider as art during Vasari's time is now art. For example, Serra's empty steel cages with objects in them. New materials have arrived since then such as tires, rubbers, and Core Ten steel. While Johns goes back to the ancient's method of Encaustic, his subject matter is contemporary: maps, arabic numbers, and targets. So to say that the writing is 'Chatty' is not a total loss. It probably adds to the tone. What is art criticism or art reportage now a days when the colloquialism of the blogs attempts to respond to works of art and to get a closer glimpse into the mysterious workings of the artist.

Reading about James Turrel's work in Ganzfeld. It made me realize that artist like Turrel is trying to make us realize that we put together the world through our perceptions. It is our blue sky. The perception of space is oriented within relations to other visual clues.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Box of Matches

A Box of Matches

I like the cover concept of this book. This has been on my radar for a long time now. I'm starting to read it. Lately, I wanted to sellect short books that I could finish and feel accomplished. It's a slim volumn. Hearth and home, that has been the archetypal image of dwelling that goes back to the time of cave dwellers and the discovery of fire. The fire place is becoming rarer. I don't have a real wood fire place. Reading this book make you yearn for a fire place, a place to contemplate and meditate before the real world invades. It seems to be the perfect place to do the The morning page as assigned by Dorothea Brande in a book call 'Becoming a Writer'. I had an image of the narrator, diarist using a fountain pen and handwriting his thoughts on paper but I was a little dissappointed that Emmet wrote on a half open old laptop. He did this partly because he did not want to turn on the electric light. He is careful to keep the modern world at bay, waiting for the sun to rise. He makes coffee in darkness and fumbles around in dimness. The descriptions of blind navigation is amusing. [book:Becoming a Writer76788]

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Vietnam A book of Changes

Vietnam: A Book of Changes

This image is a good example of how photographers have great eyes for story telling. It has a pop art feel to it because of the repeated imagery, like Andy Warhol's portrait of Chairman Mao. The other similarity is the iconography of the subject mater. Since it is a bust, it has that Roman classicism to it. It's interesting that I find capitalism in the way the art is presented. Warhol's pop method elevated our taste for consumerism and fame. He put it on the same level of art. It is a new art form. I like how each sucessive image is reveal and how the news paper wrapped around the bust seem to convey the passage of time and also to herald in the news of the day, the change of regime and the impact that it will have on the land. I do remember the requirement to have a picture of Ho Chi Ming on the wall of every house hold. This idea was borrowed from Chairman Mao. In the essay, Mitch mention how much change he saw on the subsequent trips Vietnam. These pictures were made over a long period of time during the 1990s. It is my favorite image of the whole book.

Monday, June 08, 2009


LC1 Circa J, originally uploaded by Duc N. Ly.

The camera is Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC1. What ever happened to the days of simple camera names like Leica M3, M4 etc. For simplicity's sake, I will call it the LC1. This camera has the Leica lens. There is a bit of troublesome dust spot which needs to be fixed. I did not see this problem until after the trip. I have to remember to be better prepared with equipments. The LC1 is light weigh and has manual switches and buttons to make adjusting the camera easier. It's like the old cameras, I don't have to dig through the manuals to find the functions. It has a 28mm lens for wide open shots of the landscape. Although, I think it does distorts the picture a bit.

I had the circuit board replaced for free by Panasonic because of the Sony Sensor problem. I'm enjoying the camera's shots much more now. It takes fantastic pictures, good color rendition in day light. However, there's a dust spot appearing in the sky shots.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Dog Mountain

I put some of the images on Fotolia and Redbubble:

May 24, 2009 Sunday around Memorial Day Weekend.

We left the city by 9am and arrived to a full parking lot already on this beautiful Sunday of Memorial Weekend. The trail head , somewhere near the Bridge of the Gods and Char Burger. We anticipate the carpet of yellow flowers around May which by August had died.

It has been four or five years since we last went up to Dog Mountain. I was younger and in maybe better shape. I don't remember the hike being this hard to walk up. Right off the begining, the climb is steep, worse then stairs. There is a series of switch backs. Today, the narrow path is like a highway with dogs, and humans passing opposite and from behind me. I did not stop, I just walk slowly. If I stopped at the beginning, the climb might be hard the rest of the way up. I had to push no at the beginning to set the pace, the tone of the hike. The yellow carpet of flowers would be the pay off. The gorgeous views would be there waiting.

This is a story made in The camera is Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC1. What ever happened to the days of simple camera names like Leica M3, M4 etc. This camera has the Leica lens. There is a bit of troublesome dust spot which needs to be fixed. I did not see this problem until after the trip. I have to remember to be better prepared with equipments. The LC1 is light weigh and has manual switches and buttons to make adjusting the camera easier. It's like the old cameras, I don't have to dig through the manuals to find the functions. It has a 28mm lens for wide open shots of the landscape. Although, I think it does distorts the picture a bit.

This is me at the Summit of Dog Moutain. Tim took this photograph.

I found this man taking a nap at the summit. He's 'Dog tired'.

There are plenty of dog at Dog Moutain. This one seems very regal. Man's best friend is also useful for caring water and other essentials.

Leica M4-2

Leica M4-2, originally uploaded by Duc N. Ly.

I need a base plate for this monster.

Koi At Japanese Garden

Koi At Japanese Garden, originally uploaded by Duc N. Ly.

Koi At Japanese Garden
Taken with Panasonic LC1


Charlize theron

Charlize theron, originally uploaded by jens021.

Great Movie

Red leaf Minolta f 1.4

Red leaf Minolta f 1.4, originally uploaded by Duc N. Ly.


Taken with the Minolta XD

lens: f1.4

Nikon F4s

Nikon F4s, originally uploaded by Duc N. Ly.

The Nikon F4s is a professional film camera.
It is designed by automobile designer Giorgetto Giugiaro.
It has become popular with film shooters because the price is now affordable.

DSCN Maple wings 1170

DSCN Maple wings 1170, originally uploaded by Duc N. Ly.

One of my favorite shots with the Nikon E990

Seiko Sowa

This bezel has some tooth to it.

Roman Numeral Date

Seiko Sowa, originally uploaded by Duc N. Ly.

Seiko 6309 is a professional diver's watch.It is designed by Ed Harris wore it on the film 'The Abyss'.Mick Jagger also wore on.

I used the Coolpix 990 for these macro photographs:


Visual Notes

Visual Notes for Architects and Designers

Thursday, June 04, 2009


I took my Leica M4-2 camera to the Coast.

Andy came to visit us.

Lovers lay on the beach protected from the wind.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


I was listening to InHouse Music with Jeremy Peterson while playing StarCraft. This show reminds me of the early Kboo days of WDYBK (What does your brother know). The show was DJed by Rebecca, she went on to be come the lead singer of the Spinades. I listened live as the The Love Language play 'Providence'.
It's a great song. there are several other songs which I could watch live and record!

Monday, June 01, 2009

coolpix 990

coolpix 990, originally uploaded by Duc N. Ly.

Great Camera

Here's the link to some of the photos I took with this camera.

PhotoKina recently announced a slew of amazing new digital cameras, some known as micro 4/3, which is making Digital SLR smaller and smaller and pushing the mega pixel up and up. The good news is that the digital cameras of lower resolutions and slower shutter speed camera are on the used market for a very good price. I purchased this Nikon Coolpix E990 from Goodwill for $30. It take four AA batteries. The compact card and reader costs more. E990 has a magnesium body not plastic. In 2001, Time magazine awarded this model as the product of the year. It was the first 3. mega pixel under $1000. I’m amazed with the macro lens. It’s tricky to get it into macro mode but not impossible. The results are satisfactory. It picks up the fine hair line fiber caught between the nib gap. (I really need to clean this nib! The ink has corroded the once gold ring.) I also used the White Balance to measure the white surface to adjust to the typical white office lights. The camera performs well under low light interiors and had a soft tone without the flash.

I use this camera for macro photography. I don't need to attached anything else to it. The lens that comes with this camera is great for macro. The swivle helps to get the right perspective. Here's a series of the Seiko Sowa taken with the Coolpix 990:

Thursday, May 28, 2009



A few words about the photograph. It's by Willi Ronis. He's a street photographer.

This book could have been two books. I felt that it was rushed to the end a bit. The pace picked up and became less poetic when it should have been more poetic as the later part of the book concentrates on Lucien the poet.
I was not disappointed. After The English Patient and In the Skin of the Lion, I read Anil's Ghost. That book wasn't as poetic. Divisadero is poetic but also high in concept without the accoutrement that goes with high conception. It begins with understanding the title of the novel. In the Skin of the Lion is also a title that suggests the craft of story telling but in Divisadero the suggestion of the craft of the story telling is carried out. In other words, it's not just a decoration but a device to tell a story. To witness this craft in action is quiet exciting. To explain a little bit what 'In the Skin of the Lion' means. It is a line taken from Gilgamesh. I imagine a group of people sitting around a fire at night and the skin of the lion is passed around from one person to the next. When you wear the skin, you have the podium, the floor, and it's your time to tell your story, to dazzle your audience. That's the craft of story telling. Divisadero, is a division of time, connection, and distance. It is through this perspective of distance that one can see clearer what has happen to those events that change one's life. It is as if one must assume the lion's perspective, be protected in this lion skin to tell this story and make sense of the Violence that Ann when through which tore the make-shift family apart. The high conception comes in the notion that the past and present can be entered through imagination and memory, the tools of a story teller. For Ann, she enters the skin of the lion in France, far away from her family back in California. She enters the story of Lucien the poet. It is from this safe place protected by the distance which is her lion skin to tell a story that is somewhat similar to her past circumstance.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being: A Novel

The character Tomas was born out of a situation.
Ever wonder how people meet? It's one of the questions asked of couples. Usually the answer is in a bar. While this is a short summation that would suffice for an answer, it is elaborated upon by the author who seems to bring into question coincidences and fortuities. Tomas's room at the hotel is number 6. She gets off at 6. He calls them the bird of fortuities. Milan uses the image of the birds flying down upon the shoulders of Saint Francis of Assisi. "A single metaphor can give birth to love." These are signs that bless the unions, the more the better. And to not notice such details is to miss out on one of the pleasures of life. It is a great romance. He is an unfaithful womanizer. She, Teraza, is a provincial girl, naive, almost a pure maiden. How is she able to capture his heart so thoroughly and yet be tortured at the same time by his infidelities? Milan talks about compassion and how heavy it weighs into the heart of Tomas. "for there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one's own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes." He has compassion for Tereza. His lightness has left. His womanizing and his infidelities are his lightness. They are Tereza's heaviness. The characters make choices. And because they only have one life, this choice is difficult. "We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come." So Here is where Milan disagrees with the Eternal Return idea that says everything has already occur. Milan brings up Nietzsche's idea of the Eternal Return in the beginning. Some say that he spends the rest of the book defending this thesis. I think it's an academic outlook. And to come into the book with this perspective misses a lot of the other insights, insights into women, the heart, and relationship between the two. Fortunately, unlike life, one can re read a book.

Milan brings in Anna Karenina and looks at the symmetry of how Ann first met Vronsky at the train track. Someone was killed, run over by a train. The irony is that Anna commits suicide by throwing herself on a train track.

Tomas wrote about Oedipus Rex comparing Oedipex to the communist of his country.

Milan likes to bring up these references. His presence is always seems to be in the background of the narrative. So there are philosophical ponderings peppered through out the novel.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Genius Loci

Genius Loci

Christian draws a lot on Heidegger’s essay 'Building, Thinking, and Dwells'. This essay is included in 'Basic Writings'.
Christian extracts certain passages such as the explanation of a bridge as a presence to draw together the two banks of a river much as a building will draw into different reference points of the landscape. In fact, it is the location of a building not it's points in space of a Cartitian grid that gives it place; the location and the reference to the surrounding landscape that is the main concern.
There has been a resurgence of phenomenology in architecture. Peter Zumthor and Steven Holl are two proponates of it.
Christian is a pioneer in drawing the cross discipline of philosophy into the architectural discussion. He was the first to talk about this.

In Praise of Shadows

In Praise of Shadows

Tadoa Ando recommends this book. There's a great introduction by Charles Moore. One of the basic human requirements is the need to dwell, and one of the central human acts is the act of inhabiting, of connecting ourselves, however temporarily, with a place on the planet which belongs to us, and to which we belong. - Charles Moore.

House Saga

Laurie Bertrand photographed a series of great vinettes of her and her husband's new home in South Dakota.
The set is accompanied by this quote: "Too often when we're buying or building a house we do not consider each room. We are carried away by one charming feature and are blind to details that will give us trouble later on." - Dorothy Draper

Aspinal Jewel Calf Pen Case

I've been looking for a pen case for my fountain pens. This item is good price and of great quality.
Aspinal Jewel Calf Pen Case

Here's a close up

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Antonello Serio Man PE2009 02

Lately, I've been tired of having my mobile phone, wallet, keys, and mp3 players strapped on to me and cramping my jeans. The solution is to get a small shoulder bag to carry this all. Now our counter part in Europe have been doing this for a long time. I've been shopping around for a small man bag. This seems to hit the spot. I stumbled upon this gem in of all places. The bag is clean in design, understated, yet luxurious. I love the brown suade feel and the white contrasting shoulder strap in web canvase is racy. There are no bulky straps or details to get in the way. It's ver masculine. Antonello Serio is an Italian designer making beautiful fashion for men and women globally.

Friday, May 01, 2009

A Clock Work Orange

A Clockwork Orange

Drawing on the cover is by Robert Longo

Peter Zumthor

Thinking Architecture: 2nd Expanded Edition

Zumthor just won the Pritzker Prize. This book reminds me of 'Basic Writings' by Martin Heidegger. There is an essay by Heidegger call "Building, Thinking, and Dwelling." I had a hint of the relation. Then I found a Wikipedia article that mentions Zumthor mirroring Heidegger.

Zumthor mentions the term “presence” of the materials in his work. I remember reading 'Building, Thinking, and Dwelling' and try to grasp Heidegger's meaning of the bridge as the beginning of a 'presence'.

Is Zumthor a senualist? In a sense he is but not the same as those that sprouted in the Roccoco period. Later Modernist such as Adolf Loos strip the ornamentation and the buildings became bare until it was cold. Zumthor seems to bring the warmth back with out all the ostentation. Architecture has always been about light, material, and sense. Zumthor finds innotive ways to let the material speak, or he treats the ordinary material into exterordinary ways. He seems to use material the way a writer uses words to compose a poem.

The English Patient

The English Patient

With bursts of warm light, Ondaatje illuminates the scene through poetic prose, rendering a tale of love and betrayal in times of war.

Book designed by Chip Kid. Photo by Cecil Berton.

Ikepod Sea Slug

The vintage Seaslug.
Designer: Marc Newson
Marc began his design tinkering with a watch. In his teens, he started to study watch making. He's expanded to other products.
Here's an interview with Marc:

Quantum of Solace Book

Pentagram has made a special edition of Ian Flemming's collection of Short Stories.

Never Let Me Go Book Review

Never Let Me Go

I don't know how Ishiguro did it, but I felt like I had stumble upon a journal or a story written by Kathy H. The first impression is an intimacy with the story teller that I had not experience in a long time.

Objects have a special meaning in ‘Never Let Me Go’. The title is taken from the song by Judy Bridgewater, a fictional singer from the album Songs After Dark. It is in the cassette that Kathy bought at the Sales. This object came from the outside world. It is a reminder of the time Kathy experienced at Hailsham. The objects produce memories. The wooden pencil box is also imbued with mystery. Kathy mentions Tommy's favorite Ruby shirt.
The album has a woman smoking a cigarette. She had to hide it because smoking is forbidden for donors. It destroys organs. This is one of the ways that Kathy casually reveals the fact that they are donors. The books with smokers or smoking illustrations have been torn from the volume.

I like the fact that Madame selects the special art work for her gallery.

"I don't know how it was where you were, but at Hailsham ..."

I was asking myself this question of purpose and length of a life. On the one hand Kathy knows her purpose in life. On the other hand, she also will know when she will 'complete' her life. It reminds me of Blade Runner because the replicants have their own expiration dates to think of.

Tusting Bags

Tusting came over the border into Levenger's line up years ago. They make the popular Stanley, now updated Livingston bag. Levenger commission Tusting to make briefs that have an English tradition and look. Known as an angler's bag, these have become popular business briefs that are not so stiff and have an outdoors causualness about them. I own one. It is fully lined. The new leather smell is masculine.
Seirra Trading sells them on line.


Nooka's story of a start up watch company. Watchismo has a profile on Nooka's start up. The dials bring a fresh perspective on tracking time. Futurist in style and concept, each creation presents a challenge to traditional horology.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Originally uploaded by Duc N. Ly
My Watch

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Agenda Series

---------- ducly wrote :----------

I'm interested in your Agenda series.

can you tell me more about it?

Dear Ducly,

thank you for your email.

My agenda series are simply photographs of my own agendas, which I use since 2004. They are the result of my daily life, and they try to capture a part of my own memory.

It is the result of an obsession with understanding time as a concept and our relationship with it. We are in the middle of a transition in a world of new technology, where memory is captured differently (e.g. writing an email becomes stored in other ways within our memories than writing by hand, I would believe.) As a result the form of our traces are changing, as well as the archives of ourselves.

It seems important to me to capture this, as also an excuse to continue to produce.

All the Best


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