“Spirit Guides” at the Denver Botanic Gardens

I recently had the opportunity to see the “Spirit Guides” exhibition at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Scattered amongst the plants were a series of 8 sculptures — imaginary hybrid animals inspired by the Zapotec calendar — made by Jacobo and María Ángeles of Oaxaca, Mexico.

Armadillo-Insect sculpture

Armadillo-Insect by Jacobo and María Ángeles

This colorful fellow is poised to greet you, right as you enter the gardens. As you can see, he’s a tall one.

These hybrid creatures combine two kinds of spirit animals from Zapotec legend — one represents a protective animal, the other is a spirit animal with personality traits similar to yours. Continue reading

Mobile backups — don’t lose your photos when you’re on the move!

(Hopefully) most photographers have settled on a good backup scheme for use while they’re at home. Backups can be life savers when it comes to protecting against data loss — whether due to human error, hardware failures, software problems (either accidental or due to a hacker’s intrusion), theft, even natural disasters.

But of course, it’s easier to have and use a robust photo backup approach when you’re sitting still in your own home, compared to when you’re on the move. Routinely backing up your photos while you’re traveling introduces a number of challenges and complexities. You have to contend with limits on the weight and size of your backup hardware, you may or may not be able to count on a WiFi connection, and you’ll have additional constraints on your time. In particular, it’s much more challenging to do automatic (set-and-forget) backup while traveling.

But fear not, gentle reader — not all is lost on the mobile backup front. The march of technology has been a big help to us lately.

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The new OM System OM-1 Mark II — my first take

On January 30, 2024, OM System announced an upgrade to their previous flagship camera. The OM-1 was released early in 2022, and is now being replaced by the OM-1 Mark II. As you might expect, there is no shortage of commenters online — some are enthusiastic fans of the upgrade, others quite disappointed by it.

OM-1 II stock photo

Image courtesy OM System

I… have some thoughts.

Mind you, I definitely haven’t had access to one of the new bodies, and they won’t “hit the street” for until the end of February (at least, in the U.S.), so what follows is based on published data and early reviews.

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The Hungarian parliament building — seen on a river cruise through Budapest, Hungary:


This striking building was built between 1885 and 1904, and as you can see, bears a strong resemblance to the Palace of Westminster (seat of the U.K. parliament) in London. This was no accident, as Hungarian reformers of the time looked to Britain as their political role model. Accordingly, the Hungarians also wanted to make their parliament building *just a little bigger* than the British model — but ironically, slight construction errors added up, and the end result was slightly smaller than Westminster.

In any event, it’s still a beautiful sight at night, reflected in the waves of the Danube river.

OM System OM-1 camera, M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II lens
ISO 2000, 12mm, f/3.5, 1/30 sec, 2-photo panorama

The crown of an English queen

That’s the somewhat humble label of this beautiful and historic piece of work — on display in the Treasury of the Residence Museum in Munich, Germany.

Crown of an English Queen

Also known as the “Bohemian” or “Palatine” crown, it was made ca. 1370-1380 and is thought to have belonged to Anne of Bohemia, the wife of England’s King Richard II. But Richard was deposed in 1399 by Henry IV — and so the crown was given to Henry’s daughter, Princess Blanche, who brought it to Heidelberg as part of her dowry when she married the Palatine Elector Ludwig III in 1402. It moved to Munich in 1782, and is the oldest surviving crown of England.

OM Digital OM-1 camera, 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II lens
32mm, f/6.3, ISO 6400, 1/60 sec

Colorful Reflections

A scene from 2023’s “Blossoms of Light” at the Denver Botanic Gardens.

Colorful reflections

Blossoms of Light” is always an enjoyable and visually arresting visit in the run up to the holidays. This view looks south across the Monet Pool toward the Hive Garden Bistro.

OM System OM-1 camera, M.Zuiko 12-45mm f/4 lens
ISO 2000, 19mm, f/11, 0.8 sec