San Francisco meetup: Amber, 11/11/07. November 13, 2007 1:26 PM   Subscribe

Photos of last weekend's San Francisco meetup.

In attendance were Christophine, DaShiv, es el Queso, hydrobatidae, Koko, Medusa, miss lynnster, parmanparman, Rash, smartyboots, the_bone, trip and a half, whir, yentruoc, and one guest.

See also: Medusa's photos. We're still waiting on Koko's as well!

Sorry for the late posting -- I had to work through my wedding backlog a bit more before I'd let myself look at the meetup photos, plus I was so jetlagged that I wound up sleeping through most of yesterday anyhow. The timing of my actually posting any meetup photos is always a bit of a crapshoot.

Speaking of jetlagged, I'd just returned home this past weekend from an overseas product shoot, where I was gifted/bribed with a DSLR and a couple of lenses for my labor. So I was working with a completely different DSLR system this meetup, and hence the technical difficulties some of you may have noticed that night as I was fiddling with making things work. More immediately obvious though is the very different "look" of the photos, due to my experimenting with direct (and often harsh) off-camera flash. I've been dissatisfied that my shooting style has become too static, and hence I tried to add more drama, dynamic lighting, and looser compositions into the mix. So if you don't look as flattering as you expected, you can blame my artsy-fartsy pretensions.

Lots of fun, as usual -- see you next time! (And ook ook again to the monkeys!)
posted by DaShiv to MetaFilter Gatherings at 1:26 PM (47 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

How come men never kiss DaShiv?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:38 PM on November 13, 2007

Nice pics. People should use them in their profiles!
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:41 PM on November 13, 2007

He doesn't like how our mustaches feel.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:43 PM on November 13, 2007

Man, I'm so not missing the next SF meetup.

though, to be fair, I missed this one because I forgot about it, and I forgot about it because I was recovering from a two-person birthday bash at our house, where people didn't leave until 3 am, there was a corset - not ours! - on the couch the next morning, and it took me four trips to take all the empties down to the recycling bin.
posted by rtha at 1:47 PM on November 13, 2007

Okay, so I took Matt's suggestion & replaced my beloved Norma Desmond profile picture with an Official DaShiv. At the next meetup I shall wear a veil and body sequins and walk around looking ready for close-ups, though... because maybe that way I can still integrate Norma Desmond into my future profile photo.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:59 PM on November 13, 2007

Great pics as always!
posted by brain_drain at 2:04 PM on November 13, 2007

I love the pics! I love your artsy-fartsy pretensions!
posted by taz at 2:22 PM on November 13, 2007

Someday maybe I'll have half your skill at that.
posted by DMan at 2:31 PM on November 13, 2007

Amazing how DaShiv shows up only at meetings where everyone's good-looking. (I highly approve of your taking the suggestion, Miss Lynnster!)

Also, what taz said.
posted by languagehat at 2:42 PM on November 13, 2007

Is miss lynnster really that cute or is that just DaShiv trickery?
posted by vronsky at 2:48 PM on November 13, 2007

I was struck by the uncommonly awesome collection of glasses frames. Y'all are quite stylish.
posted by vytae at 2:58 PM on November 13, 2007

rtha, I'm going to assume that "two-person birthday bash" means that two of the many bash participants were celebrating birthdays, and not that, with only two people attending, you managed to produce a mystery corset and multiple trips of empty bottles.

posted by occhiblu at 3:02 PM on November 13, 2007

Nerds in not being misshapen shocker!
posted by klangklangston at 3:03 PM on November 13, 2007

Very nice pictures, everyone!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:08 PM on November 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

I didn't say I replaced it with an Official DaShiv of ME.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:15 PM on November 13, 2007

dashiv, I hate you, not for being a slut, but because of that goddamned "suck shit losers, look what Romeo gets, and you get NOTHING!!!!" look on your face.
(I want to wear that day.)
But seriously, lovely looking pics of lovely looking people.
posted by peacay at 3:24 PM on November 13, 2007

Hmmm. Yes. It was a multiple-person bash celebrating the birthdays of two of the er, bashees. Bashers? Anyway. Left a corset, emptied four bottles of gin, at least two of vodka, and too many bottle of beer to count. Made a serious dent in the various bourbons as well. The kitchen floor was frighteningly sticky the next day.
posted by rtha at 3:54 PM on November 13, 2007

Harsh thing to say about the Quidnunc Kid, there, Liquorice.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:01 PM on November 13, 2007

GODDAMNIT that's two DaShiv meetups I've missed.

Medusa, please get a MeFi account.
posted by loquacious at 4:27 PM on November 13, 2007

This one time I was giving an ex of mine 30 days' notice that I'd be moving out, and it took me a while to figure out why she was behaving even more angrily and irrationally than usual while accusing me of "being all smug about this": I was smiling. In truth, I was upset about the situation and worried as all hell (I had neither a new place lined up nor the cash for it at that moment) but I was stubbornly determined to try to be pleasant and civil despite the awkwardness. As it turns out, my forced smile always causes a tense crinkling in the eyes and an unconscious skewing of the mouth that together reads "swagger" rather than "nervous", and she took it as a sign of antagonism. And it's the same smile that I'll inadvertently force when posing for pictures. That's why I have so much sympathy as a photographer for people who don't photograph well: I've never been good at "looking natural", either.

But in this case it's not such a bad thing. You see, there are three basic tenets to the Mythology of DaShiv: cameras, beers, and women. Years from now after I'm dead and gone, historians and biographers will be piecing this "DaShiv" character together from my photos, and this is what they'll find: a woman on my arm, a beer in my hand, a camera around my neck, and a smug smile that says: "suck shit losers, look what Romeo gets, and you get NOTHING!!!!" And by my countenance shall they know that I was the master of my domain. Forget the truth: the myth and the legend will be what they remember. All hail DaShiv.

Hey, thanks again for the kind words, everyone!
posted by DaShiv at 4:50 PM on November 13, 2007 [7 favorites]

Hey DaShiv, you're rocking new gear? Spill man, spill!

Also I have to say that this photo is particularly striking and I'm not quite sure why.
posted by Skorgu at 5:30 PM on November 13, 2007

It's the eyes. Those crazy eyes!
posted by wemayfreeze at 5:44 PM on November 13, 2007

The orange wall in this shot makes it look like one of those Google headshot things every high ranking employee seems to have (which is a long way of saying it looks great for an impromptu bar shot since it looks like a prepared studio shot).
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:52 PM on November 13, 2007

Once again the internet proves that everyone is more attractive than me.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:44 PM on November 13, 2007

Must be something in the water, rtha (besides oil). I didn't make the meetup because I was attending MY birthday!
posted by brundlefly at 9:25 PM on November 13, 2007

Oh, and everyone looks hawt.
posted by brundlefly at 9:25 PM on November 13, 2007

I forgot about it because I was recovering from a two-person birthday bash at our house

Me too, only it was my birthday party, and it wasn't at your house. Unless you live at Walzwerk...

Anyway, looks like the meetup was fun.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:33 PM on November 13, 2007

Well, I missed it because I was having a pity party with my broken ankle. I'm consoling myself with Vicodin.
posted by cali at 10:46 PM on November 13, 2007

Happy birthday, brundlefly! Hope your celebration was fun.
posted by rtha at 11:53 PM on November 13, 2007

I didn't make it back from Yosemite in time... *sigh* Not that I really regret it. But it would've been nice to do both. ;)
posted by po at 1:25 AM on November 14, 2007

Hey DaShiv, you're rocking new gear? Spill man, spill!

Yes, Yes!
posted by TedW at 6:45 AM on November 14, 2007

I commented on your one shot, but I wanted to say that since I've been looking at your photos, I've acquired an off-camera flash and a diffuser. Thanks for the inspiration.
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:16 AM on November 14, 2007

To answer your question, I shot the meetup with a Pentax K10D and DA 70/2.4.

Why Pentax? I'm finding that I don't take my work Canon rig out for personal shooting nearly as much as I'd like to these days. Canon's f/1.2-1.4 L-primes and f/2.8 L-zooms are amazing when it comes to bringing home the bacon, but they're just too conspicuous and unwieldy for my liking during casual use. And while there are certainly smallish lenses available for the Canon mount, Pentax is the only manufacturer that's still making those wonderful relics of photography's past: pancake lenses. It's almost like shooting with rangefinders again. (The DA 21 has a miniscule 43mm filter size compared to 55mm for the compact Leica 21/2.8 ASPH and 77mm for the Canikon pro lenses.) With either the DA 21/3.2 or DA 70/2.4 lenses mounted, my K10D slips into a coat pocket, attracts no more than a single dismissive glance when shooting passerbys, and balances marvelously for one-handed shooting. The last bit has proven invaluable for my experimentation with off-camera strobes: compare the old DaShiv technique with the new DaShiv technique (camera in one hand, beer + strobe in other hand). Fun.

The real surprise was just how usable the K10D has been as a camera. Little touches like having dedicated dials for both AF drive and AF point selection without going into menus or even the top status LCD. Or shooting archivable Adobe DNGs raw files natively (almost everyone else insists on a proprietary raw format), then developing the raw file in-camera (including adjusting white balance afterwards, etc) to drop off a particular JPG on one of my family member's laptop, no Photoshop or other software needed (or memory-consuming raw+jpeg mode). What struck me most though while shooting with the K10D were the fine-tuned ISO controls and the programmable command dials. For instance, while I was shooting candids in a flower expo I set the camera to TAv (shutter-aperture priority) to lock the shutter/aperture for the DOF and motion-freezing speed I needed, then let the K10D scale the ISO automatically while I walked in and out of the lights at the various booths. Or when being lazy, I set the camera on Sv (ISO priority) between ISO 100-800, select shutter-speed emphasis (to maintain handhold speed) among the 4 program line options (including an MTF option to maximize resolution per-lens), and do nothing more than point-and-shoot under most lighting conditions and still get great shots. My favorite so far for ultimate control is Av (aperture priority) with front dial set to aperture, rear dial set to ISO, and ISO set to auto between 100-400. Easy to adjust aperture/shutter speed under good light with some ISO tolerance for lighting changes, and one quick turn of the rear dial overrides the auto ISO settings under poor light (again, no menus, status LCDs, or even additional button presses). Back under good light again, hit the green button next to the shutter and the camera goes back to auto ISO. Canon, are you taking notes here?

Canikon cameras and lenses are like performance sports cars that become expensive liabilities to drive during gridlock traffic (stupid stick shift). The Pentax system is no technological match for sure (especially the AF, although the K10D's screw drive AF is extremely responsive when paired with a featherweight pancake lens), but it's great as the zippy and quirky little car you drive around town to a party or to fetch groceries. Currently priced in the $600-something range plus rebates, the K10D is the best bang for the buck DSLR on the market, a prosumer camera (weather sealing, lots of extra dials/buttons/controls, in-body stabilization, dust removal, etc) at an entry level price. If your primary concerns are a huge library of fixed-focal lenses (including compatibility with all M42 screw mount lenses via adaptor), compact sizes, great viewfinders, and lots of controls, the Pentax system is IMO the only worthwhile third-party alternative to the Canikon systems. Just be aware that AF speed and long teles are the Achilles heels of the Pentax system; otherwise, it's a great second system for a pro (especially for shooting candids) and a very worthwhile look for keen photo enthusiasts.
posted by DaShiv at 7:28 AM on November 14, 2007 [14 favorites]

Great photos - it was a treat to see you in action, DaShiv. Except of course that by your thread description, I wasn't actually there - I obviously dreamed the whole thing, including the custard-wrestling threesome I had with trip and a half and a lemur. This will teach me not to inscribe my name upon the sheet marked: names.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:41 AM on November 14, 2007

Plus, you know, that whole uggo thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:58 AM on November 14, 2007

Oh yeah. Good point.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 8:27 AM on November 14, 2007

Thanks, DaShiv; that comment needs to be referred to for all those "what camera should I get?" AskMe posts.
posted by TedW at 8:28 AM on November 14, 2007

Cool. Ms. Lynnster looks just like I thought she did.
posted by misha at 8:31 AM on November 14, 2007

Awesome photos, DaShiv. Here are mine; see if you can tell which ones were taken after you fiddled with my camera (thanks for that btw).

Thanks to everyone for showing up. It so far exceeded my expectations that I was just blown away. I had a fantastic time. You people kick ass!
posted by Koko at 11:49 AM on November 14, 2007

DaShiv, the auto ISO features on the Pentax sound absolutely perfect. It's incredible that the other two haven't figured this out yet. Thanks to you, I'm considering selling off all my Canon and switching.

How is the quality of the Pentax lenses?
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:21 PM on November 14, 2007

That was a lemur?
posted by trip and a half at 3:51 PM on November 14, 2007

Is that the 540FGZ flash? If so, do you mind commenting on it? I've been looking into the Pentax, Sigma EF-500, and Metz flash for my next purchase.
posted by junesix at 5:12 PM on November 14, 2007

The orange wall in this shot makes it look like one of those Google headshot things every high ranking employee seems to have

That's actually a big foamcore orange wall that I bring with me to every meetup. It takes a while to set up, but it's worth it for the high-ranking Google effect. (Doesn't stop me from grimacing every time someone takes my picture though.)
posted by whir at 7:11 PM on November 14, 2007

DaShiv: Pentax is the only manufacturer that's still making those wonderful relics of photography's past: pancake lenses.

Umm... the Nikon 45mm f/2.8 is a pancake.

Voigtländer just announced a Voigtländer Ultron 40mm F2 SLII Aspherical that is pancake-ish.
posted by gen at 11:10 PM on November 14, 2007

D'oh - I forgot. One of these days I'll make it.
posted by alexei at 11:15 PM on November 14, 2007

Koko: Thanks! These two photos of me are pretty hilarious -- I had no idea I looked so absurd doing my double-fisted shooting.

wemayfreeze: Canon and Nikon do have limited auto ISO settings on their newer higher-end cameras, with the Nikon implementation being more robust. But neither are as extensive and useful as the Pentax implementation, IMO.

As for Pentax lenses, their primes are great -- I've been using the DA 21mm and DA 70mm wide open with no reservations at all. And the columnist Mike Johnston names a couple of the Pentax Limiteds (FA 31mm and FA 77mm) as two of "The Best (Autofocus) Lenses Money Can Buy". The Pentax zooms are rather mediocre compared to the Canikon pro zooms though; other than the competent DA 16-45/4, most Pentaxians are more mixed about the rest of the lot. I would look at the lens tests before plunking down any cash -- or selling any Canons if you're looking for specific replacements.

junesix: Yes, that's the Pentax 540FGZ flash. It's large (about the size of my Canon 580EX II) but surprisingly light (about the weight of my Canon 430EX). I've heard some complaints of its locking mechanism breaking (see: DPReview, PentaxForums) but I've been gentle and the foot has caused no problems in my brief two weeks' use. I don't find the Pentax P-TTL to be too consistent though -- it tends to get spooked very easily by stray spectacular highlights into underexposing. Recharge speed was also not as fast as the Canon 580EX II (though to be fair, the 580EX II is fastest flash I've ever used). I haven't used the Sigma 500 to compare for myself, but I've heard good things about the consistency of the Metz thyristors in auto mode, so that would be what I'd investigate next if I can't change my shooting style to work around this issue with the 540FGZ.

gen: Nikon isn't making pancake lenses anymore, and hasn't been for a while now. The Nikon 45/2.8 is out of production (according to Thom Hogan) and is not carried by either B&H or Adorama. The lens is supposed to have fabulous Tessar optics, but I've never gotten my hands on a sample. It's not a focal length I'd use much on a cropy body anyway.

The just-announced (and thus still unavailable) manual focus C/V 40/2 is a in short-barrel style, but I'm not sure it's really compact enough to be a true pancake. There's a comparable Pentax equivalent (a stop slower but with autofocus and much smaller) in the form of the Pentax DA 40/2.8, but I didn't ask my benefactor to pick one up for me because it's not a copy-body focal length that I use much.

I'm a fan of the C/V rangefinder lenses and I find their latest SLR offerings intriguing, but they're availble in the Pentax mount as well if I really wanted to try them out. For me though, the (currently unavailable) Nikon-mount pancakes are a real dead end compared to the Pentax options.
posted by DaShiv at 2:01 AM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

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