Fly’s Eyes and Virtual Reality: Rethinking Photography

Over…done…finished. Time to say ta ta and wave the hankie.

Ciao to the single lens reflex camera – film or digital – which has not changed shape since 1949, along with its supporting cast of lenses, gew-gahs and the Duck Dynasty vests needed to carry them. Ciao to the hulking video camera (I once carried a 7 pounder plus an equally heavy VCR and a suitcase full of tapes and batteries through the jungles of Borneo).

My aching back and tired shoulders have schlepped this stuff to some 60 countries since the 1980s. Good riddance, I say.

I have been rethinking the process of photography for the past few years.

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Caving In To Champagne

Near Epernay – Photo (c)Russell Johnson

The night they invented champagne
It’s plain as it can be
They thought of you and me
The night they invented champagne
They absolutely knew that all we’d want to do
Is fly to the sky on champagne

Lyrics from”Gigi” (1958) (Lyrics : Alan Jay Lerner / Music : Frederick Loewe)

Champagne has always been about celebration, like greeting the new year.

I had always enjoyed it, regarded it as a fizzy beverage, but never appreciated its subtleties. I had a binary rating system : zero to one…maybe a “meh” in between. I was long overdue for an attitude change.

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Photo Gallery: Burmese Days: Sunrise on a New Myanmar

Temples of Bagan – Photo (c) Russell Johnson

I read George Orwell’s “Burmese Days “while traveling through Burma aka Myanmar on a filming assignment in the 1990s  The country looked then as if it hadn’t changed much since Orwell’s 1930s. Burma was oppressed, frozen in time, isolated from the rest of the world. That has gradually changed, largely due to social media, militant monks and the presence of Aung San Suu Kyi the country’s face of freedom.

Today, after a free election, the jackboots of the ruling generals (depicted on their currency as men with small heads and large hats) may have finally been lifted.

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Grove of the Old Trees

TreeBuddha1SMPhotos (c) Russell Johnson

Occidental, California, a railroad stop in earlier times, is known for its family-style Italian restaurants. Negri’s has been a popular spot since 1943 and The Union Hotel claims to have been dishing lasagna since 1879. In nearby Bohemian Grove, the fat cats of industry and politics (mostly Republican men) frolic – sometimes naked – in the summer. In the 1940s, the Manhattan Project, which gave birth to the atomic bomb, was planned there.

But high above the clanking of forks and the clicking of tongues, is a verdant, meditative stand of old-growth redwoods called Grove of the Old Trees.

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