Monday, 9 March 2009

Lucy in Oxford, Harrison Ford in Blade Runner

With my 'friend' (we'd both much prefer to say 'partner', but the gender issue has got in the way) I took the caravan to Oxford for a few days. The place was absolutely buzzing with people and things going on. But not everything we wanted to see was accessible: for instance we couldn't get into Balliol College, and the Ashmolian Museum was shut for refurbishment. Still, it was a wonderful place for just strolling around, especially with a camera. Every few seconds another street scene or architectural feature presented itself. Or a don in a gown. Or beautiful girlies speaking Italian. Our shutter fingers were very busy, and we took about 600 shots between us on one day. Back at the caravan the poor old Asus laptop had to work overtime viewing, editing, and backing up most of these shots to CDs. One of the problems with more and more megapixels is the demand on storage space. One backup CD can barely accommodate 300 seven-megapixel shots, and even fewer of my twelve-megapixel Nikon shots. And we are speaking of JPEGs of course, not big RAW files. The original photos don't stay on the laptop, which has only 80GB capacity. I use it simply for processing 'in the field' and then for immediate storage (it cut its teeth on our 50-nights-in-a-campervan New Zealand trip in 2007, when between us we took 12,000 shots). All the photos end up on my 640GB home PC. But the day when even this becomes full up is on the horizon, and I'm reluctant to hasten that day along by investing in a 25 or 50 megapixel camera.

Mind you, it would be nice to repeat the scene in the super-stylish 1980 sci-fi film 'Blade Runner' where Harrison Ford pops a Snappy Snaps type photo into a machine that can zoom in and around with mere voice commands, and then provide a 'hard copy' at the end. Clearly by the future date in the film (2014) even everyday plastic cameras are capable of superb 100-megapixel resolution, and Harrison Ford gets a usable image of a wanted female replicant from the reflection in a tiny ensuite bathroom mirror tucked away in the background of a hotel room scene. (His job was to hunt down and 'retire' replicants, which were tough but short-lived artificial humans with attitude, used in 'off-world' exploration) Amazing stuff, and presumably the likes of Hasselblad can or will make it all available by the 'real' 2014. But at huge cost of course - and I may need to use the cash on more personal things, if you get my meaning.

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