After Friday's Jazz Disappointment, I decided to go back to the Blue Note with a better ticket and a very punctual arrival time, and it was worth it

I have admired Nate Smith as a drummer for a long time, and the fact that I didn't know the people he was playing with didn't matter. No known songs were played, just 90 minutes of improvisation.

It was fascinating to hear all these little motifs emerge over the course of the set; everyone on stage listening to each other and adapting, making these totally spontaneous moments of music sound anything but.

The 5th Avenue and 53rd Street subway station in New York currently has large parts of the MTA design standards on display in place of any advertising. It's a beautiful and truly iconic piece of design, but I can't allow the irony to go unchecked.

So much of the standards manual refers to clarity of information and communication, but anyone who had used the New York subways knows that understanding how the system works, knowing where you are once you're on a train, and finding the right platform (or track) is far from straightforward.

Jazz disappointment isn't some kind of freeform setback, although it could be. No, today this is the double tap of visiting the Nation Jazz Museum in Harlem and finding that it's one small room with very little in it, and then going to the Blue Note jazz club (finally!) and discovering that a ticket that allows bar access offers a very obstructed view of the stage and a chorus of dishwashers and ice machines.

Driving in the USA is easier than driving in the UK.

Being on the opposite side of the car and the road feels totally normal after a few minutes, even if those few minutes are trying to navigate an SUV the size of an aircraft carrier out of a car park and into the streets of Manhattan.

I didn't see a single roundabout in 400 miles, and every junction was wide and easy to navigate. Speed limits on the freeway are officially between 50 and 55 and get no one, not even the trucks, are going any slower than 70.

Lanes are a free for all, and bobbing a weaving between them to get where you're going it totally acceptable. Trucks stay in the middle lane, and everyone else just goes where they want.

A long haul economy seat is a hostile place. The person in front will put their seat all the way back, and I'll remain too polite to subject the person behind me to the same. The German couple beside me will mock the flight attendant's voice, openly. The babies will cry for 6 hours. People will stand up over your seat for some reason. The person behind is utterly incapable of getting up without pulling themselves out of their seat by the back of yours. The food container will be too hot to touch and somehow still be frozen in the middle. Someone will suggest they take your bag from the overhead so they can put theirs up there.

But for Not much money you get transported to another part of the world THROUGH THE SKY. It's worth it.

I've written before about why I like to use film when taking photos. Now I want to go over why I am going digital.

  • Results. I am simply not skilled enough to get good results with film, reliably. My hit rate has always been pretty low. When I get what I was looking for, it's extremely satisfying. But I miss a lot.
  • Cost. So the obvious solution to the above point is to practice more, right? I agree, but the cost of buying film, getting it processed, then the time of scanning and converting negatives is absolutely massive. Add high quality scanning (either as equipment or as a service) and things spiral.
  • Quality. I could have the sharpest lenses and nail the focus every time, but if the film scan isn't capable of getting that detail, so what?
  • Process. I like that shooting film is manual. I have to focus, I have to frame, I have to meter the light and set the shutter speed while considering depth of field. All of this can be automated with film if you get the right SLR, and all of this can remain manual with a digital camera. The medium that captures the image doesn't have to change the process of taking the photo.
  • Hassle. I do the majority of my photography while travelling and I have had multiple rolls of medium format film destroyed by a scanner more than once. Not all security staff are particularly professional, and some are by-the-book to the point of absurdity. Their guidelines state that any film at 400ISO or slower can be scanned. It's simply not true.
  • Trust. Once filled a roll of film has to be posted to a lab to be processed. That's a lot of points where things can go wrong.

Digital isn't going to make me suddenly good at this, but it will allow me to practice. When I reach a point that I'm taking one photo, checking the result, and being happy with it, then I'll use film again. But never alone and never just for practice.

Ideas are cheap. Execution is everything.

I don't build apps, but I can understand why people think I do. It's all the same thing; making boxes on a screen. I have lost count of the number of times someone has told me they have an idea for an app that's going to be vastly popular, and I politely decline. I've never seen any of them even make it past the idea phase.

I'm not good at execution either. When working on this site, I have a branch that has progress for a photography section that pre-dates ALL 573 daily posts. When taking photographs, I have an idea of what I want to get but I almost always leave my camera at home and never make enough effort to put myself in the right place at the right time to get the shot.

Who gives a fuck about ideas.