Somebody asked what role fantasy has compared to reality and the question it asks is, what is reality? For example, a messianic Jew or a messianic Christian might believe that the world is heading in a certain direction and that certain things in the future will happen.

Ask someone on the street today and in many places in the world the answer will be that they do not know and have no idea.

An atheist might well believe that nothing is going to happen other than whatever is simply the outcome of the random generation of mutations that fit the environment.

But if you are an atheist then you have a problem, which is that you have still got to answer the question, Why?

An atheist might answer that that’s just how it is.

Others are going to say that that’s just not enough. It’s not satisfactory.

You could be an existentialist and take the view that you’re not going to bother your head with any of that metaphysics because it’s just going to do your head in.

If you are an existentialist, you could say you’re just not going to become wrapped up in versions of reality and the best thing to do is simply to look forward. The best thing to do is to look around, see where you are, see what you perceive, and just go on from there as your curiosity dictates. You might say that only the present moment exists, and whatever life demands – that is the reality you face.

But then a question comes up. Where does my ethic come from? Where does my morality come from? How come I won’t do this and I am prepared to do that? Is it all just from my experience of being here?

Now that doesn’t seem right either.

R D Laing talks about the reality of experience and the interface between inner experience and outward reality. He talks about what is considered normal and how in the 20th century one hundred million people killed and died for somebody’s vision of reality.

For many of those who killed and were killed it was almost certainly not their ultimate vision of reality. It was one that they walked into when they were born, when they were young, when they were growing up.

Laing talks about imagination, an inner experience as valid as the experience of a commonly experienced reality.

Some people let their imagination run riot. Others put a lid on their imagination.

Who among us explores with their imagination? Who has a sound grasp on how to use their imagination? Who has any kind of relationship with their imagination?

Categorized as Society

The Quality Of The Fuji X100s

I took the photos in the previous post (Ditch and Stream) with the Fuji X100s that I have mentioned a couple of times before. It is a fixed lens camera with a 35mm equivalent focal length lens. There are screw-in adaptors that can give it a longer or shorter focal length, but the adaptors are bulky. And that kind of defeats the idea of having a go-anywhere camera that packs up small.

The X100s – the ‘s’ model – was the second iteration in the series. I am not sure how long I have had it, six or seven years at a guess. Things have moved on and there are new models of the X100 with sharper lenses shot wide open, and other refinements. And from time to time I am tempted. Such is the appeal of things in the world.

This is a close-up of part of the scene in the photo above. I think it is sharp enough, no matter what the later models might offer. But… there is still the attraction of new shiny things.

And then there is the algorithm that compressed the image to a useable size here on WordPress. The camera is capable of sharpness that one cannot really show on a computer screen.

This is the camera – and one of its nice features is that you can switch the view in the viewfinder between an optical finder and a digital one.

What that means is that with a flick of a switch (the lever with the red dot that’s on the front of the camera) you can switch between looking through the little glass window that’s over on the side of the camera, or you can look through a digital overlay of the scene.

Digital viewfinders were fairly new when I bought this camera, and I wasn’t happy to make the jump. Digital viewfinders were very ‘laggy’. That meant that if you moved the camera it took a fraction of a second for the view to catch up.

And the view was very contrasty, which meant the the bright areas were super bright and the dark areas were dark black. It didn’t look natural, so I was glad it had an optical finder. At the same time, the digital viewfinder wasn’t too contrasty and it wasn’t laggy. But still I clung to the ‘old’ way of seeing the scene with an optical finder.

This camera offered an easy introduction to digital viewfinders. And for the first three years I almost always used the optical viewfinder and hardly ever used the digital viewfinder. But then after experimenting for a year or so I switched over. There’s a reason for it, and the biggest reason is that with a digital viewfinder you get an accurate picture of your exposure before you press the shutter.

That’s important because while it is true that you can bring up the shadows in post-processing in Photoshop, you are still operating with less digital information in the file than you could have captured with a proper exposure. For well lit scenes that isn’t the end of the world, but with scenes in low light it makes a lot of difference to how good the final photo can be.

And now I use the digital viewfinder all the time. True, when something I want to photograph is too far away, I wish it had a longer lens. But a longer lens is a bigger and heavier lens. For the right subject it is a good compromise between image quality, usability, and weight. The photo at the top of this post – the street scene in Bhaktapur in Nepal – is the kind of subject the camera seems built for.

That said, the Provost from the previous post – here he is again – also made good subjects.

Categorized as Photography

Reminder: Sunday, 14 March is Mother’s Day.

To be precise, Sunday 14 March is Mother’s Day in the UK. We (that is, Flying Twigs) are located in the UK and the date we advertise in our promotions is Mother’s Day in the UK.

Otherwise, it gets too complicated. For example, for 2021…

In Egypt it’s on Sunday 21 march. In Israel it is on Friday 12 February. In Spain and Portugal it is on 2 May. In the USA, Canada, Italy, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand it’s on Sunday, 9 May. In France and Morocco it’s on Sunday 30 May. And so on…

Flying Twigs Mother’s Day cards.