A new surprise among library books: Famous Photographers Course, in three oversized volumes.

Yes, it was published by “Famous Photographers School,” which apparently is now completely defunct after being absorbed a while back by Al Dorne’s Famous Artists School (which doesn’t offer anything about photography at this point, AFAIK). These books were published back in 1964.

What attracted me to them initial was the list of “faculty” instructors, including Bert Stern, Richard Avedon, Alfred Eisenstadt, Irving Penn, Philippe Halsman…

1 min read

Fastest Thumb in the West

Contax G2 the RIGHT way


After having to answer this over and over again, and by request, I’m making a permanent entry here on the subject of fast accurate focusing with the Contax G2. The next time a Leica collector starts up about “slow AF” (this from a guy with no AF), I’ll at least be able to lean back and type a URL to them with a smooth, authoritarian air.

So here goes:

8 min read

GPU Gems 2

GPU Gems 2

It’s here! Today I had a copy of GPU Gems 2 in my hand, newly back from the printer. Like new cars, freshly-printed books have that Special Sellable Smell all their own. Sweet. You’ll find a teensy print of this photo inside the front section, as I’ve reprised my section-editor role from the previous edition — though this time I’ve stepped back to let other people write more of the book content proper.

My section, titled simply “High Quality Rendering” covers innovative uses of GPUs in image processing for movies like SpiderMan; in high-end compositing programs like Apple Motion and rendering programs like Gelato; and a handful of other push-the-envelope imaging methods aimed at getting the best quality images possible from a high-speed GPU pipeline. You can get a glimpse of them by checking out the Visual Table of Contents that’s printed inside the book’s front cover. We think this new edition is even better than the first best seller.

You can order Gems 2 from Amazon or just show up at the Moscone Center for the Game Developers Conference 2005 where there are sure to be copies on-hand and on sale. Last year’s conference booksellers sold as many copies of Gems 1 as the printer could ship!



It’s been a crunch week and only now for the long weekend do I get a chance to even start looking at the photos from last weekend’s wedding of Nicole (obvious in this shot) and Brandon (with the cake). Still haven’t processed the Ektachrome.

Side Projects

Free view pair

After having an enjoyable swipe through a few best photo books of 2004 lists, I thought the task was worth expanding — so a new project is to work through the titles in Andrew Roth’s The Book of 101 Books: Seminal Photographic Books of the Twentieth Century and read each one I can find. A couple of them, I happily realized, I already owned (okay, not originals but I’m not after originals — the goal is reading, not collecting). After a couple of weeks of picking-around, the score so far:

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