Paintings from Sunset Series by Spence Munsinger, Color Field + Blank White Canvas + Realism + Contemporary Abstract Art, original paintings for sale

"Every good painter paints what he is."
― Jackson Pollock

National Grid says “called and reached voicemail”…

This is a bit of a rant, only because I am still pissed off. I’ve written to my customer service rep and my customer service rep’s boss, called National Grid support several times to find out who else could be contacted, wrote a tweet, wrote a review at the Better Business Bureau.

Here’s the thing. I have a house with a brand new furnace. The process is first they remove the old furnace. This starts a period where the house no longer has heat. This happened Monday. Then there is an inspection. That’s Tuesday. Still no heat. Once the inspection is complete you can call for a meter set. This was all done. The meter set appointment was for today. Third day without heat. In New England. In November.

On calling National Grid the appointment is an “all day appointment”. But they do say that what will happen is that the installer will call 15 minutes before showing up. Ok then. That I can do.

I received no phone call. I was pulling my iPhone out and checking for any indication there was a call of any kind and no such call occurred. At 3PM I call the service line. The tech left a report that he called at 9:40 AM, reached voicemail, and then went by and no one was there.

Here’s the thing. An iPhone records every call. Missed, voicemail, whatever, it’s network traffic and there is in my experience ALWAYS a record of a call. It may show up after the fact, but if the call was made it shows. There was no call made. At all. There is no such thing as a call that disappears especially when it was specifically reported that the call reached voicemail.

So I am basically being blamed for not answering the phone, for not being a conscientious consumer, and yet I know for a fact no call was actually made to my phone. The installer may have misdialed, he may have not called at all, but what he said, that he called me and reached my voicemail, DID. NOT. HAPPEN.

If National Grid had said at the outset “we find that people are better off staying at the house the entire day until the tech shows up because our people are somewhat incompetent when it comes to using a telephone” I would have been at the house. And annoyed but not pissed. And I’d have the goddamned meter in place.

—spence

ADDED 10 Novemerber 2016

National Grid showed up today at 8:40 AM after calling 20 minutes before arrival, and installed the meter. The phone call came through without an issue.

National Grid also replied to my tweet about this, and my service rep responded as well.

There is something about being stuck without heat in late fall that is unnerving. My biggest concern was that tonight, when the temperature dips to 30 degrees, the house would still be without heat. That did not happen.

It’s a measure of how much the iPhone and similar designs have changed how things work. Before 2007, “I called and reached voicemail” would have been an untraceable event. You’d have to accept it, there would be no way to verify your cell phone had not dropped off the network. Now we have videos as civic responsibility, you can take a picture of that business card and have it on file, you can fax things with your phone, and the phone gives an accurate record of call activity, even on missed calls. It’s all network.

Two Fuji X-Pro 1 Camera Bodies – Perfect Sensors, Great Camera

Both Fuji X-Pro 1 cameras had the sensors replaced. Both seem to be perfect copies of the camera now. I’ve owned one of these before, and I thought at $1700, it wasn’t enough camera, so I sold it.

Several months later I realized that some of the most interesting images I’ve ever taken came out of that X-Pro 1 body and the 35mm f1.4 Fuji lens – the combination is extraordinary.

Casual test shot, X-Pro 1 and 35mm f1.4 lens…

Fuji X-Pro 1 after repair 1986 (#2)

Unfortunately my X-T1 came back with misbehaving pixels. Back it goes for the third time tomorrow.

—spence

Canon 5D…

There’s something about a camera that fails to work, and then can’t be effectively fixed, that makes the other camera look so much less bad. Yes, a 5D Mk III with 24-70mm glass weighs about 4.5 lbs. But – it works. Always. Consistently. The focus is always acceptable. And 22.something megapixels of full-frame image is nothing to dismiss.

I’m working through getting consistent results with the Fotodiox Rhinocam captures – I’ve had acceptable images, but nothing yet as crisp as the Canon 5D with a Zeiss 50mm lens – just not quite as clear. I know I can print full size from the Canon images. I’m still testing the Rhinocam stitched captures. The last ten paintings I took photos of were coming out soft, losing detail – like the focus missed. Manual focus using peaking and zoom, and f8 so should have been better than that.

I’ll have to take a day and do some focus bracketing and assembly of the images, see what’s truly possible.

Meantime, keeping the Canon beast camera…

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99 Megapixels: Fotodiox Rhinocam With Mamiya Lens and Fuji X Camera

One of the huge advantages of mirrorless cameras, Olympus, Panasonic, Sony and Fuji, is the shortness of the dimension between lens mount and sensor. I have adapters for M39 rangefinder lenses, Olympus OM lenses, and they work beautifully on my Fuji cameras. I have an EOS – FX adapter to use my Lensbaby 5mm Fisheye on the Fuji camera. All of this is possible because you can move the lenses designed for 35mm film dimensions out to where they need to be to focus on the mirrorless sensor with an adapter.

The Fotodiox Rhinocam Viselex rig mounts a medium format lens on the front. On the back you have a ground glass viewfinder that is useful primarily for framing the future assembled image on the left side, and a mirrorless camera mount on the right, along with two sliding tracks, one vertical and one horizontal, and dots for positioning. All of this works for taking 8 overlapping 16MP images that can be assembled into a 9000 x 11000 pixel image. You are taking these images and focusing through a medium format lens, moving the mirrorless camera around in that lens’s field of view.

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I’ve taken 6x7cm medium format film of a painting, scanned it in a Nikon film scanner, and come up with an image about that size. Way more work, and the detail in film is not as clear as the detail in an X series sensor. There aren’t alot of action photographs you could take with this rig – actually anything that moves won’t work unless it happens to be restricted to within a section of the image. And I would avoid dusty environments – the camera is somewhat protected while in the rig from dust, but nowhere as well protected as with a single native lens. So there are limits to what it can do. But for photographing works of art in polarized lighting in a studio at high resolution without spending $40000.00 on a Phase One medium format rig, this is awesome.

Assembling the photographs sometimes works in Lightroom – about 50% of the time – it seems to consistently work in Photoshop. I’ve had one failure in Photoshop, where two sections ended off above and below the rest of the image, disconnected. I think I can take more individual images, overlap them more, and maybe get it to work, but I haven’t tried it as yet. That same image worked in Lightroom, so go figure. The resulting images are about 9000 x 11000 pixels, or roughly 99 Megapixels. The resolution is outstanding, the detail and focus are every bit as good as medium format film.

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—spence

…And Both X-Pro 1 Cameras are Back – Untouched, Sunshined

Mechanics or at least Service Managers have a name for it – the sunshine treatment. Take the car and sit it out on the lot in the sun and then tell the customer it’s all set…

I picked up two Fuji X-Pro 1 cameras from Fed Ex today – both of them Fuji X-Pro 1 cameras, both brand new out of the box and both with significant sensor spots – dust or specs behind the sensor glass. I had sent the cameras to Fujifilm Camera Repair in Edison, NJ, with the required invoice/proof-of-purchase, warranty card, Fujifilm Service form filled out to indicate what the problem was, and images with frickin’ circles around the frickin’ spots that appear on the sensor, and actual images of my studio showing how the spots show up in actual photographs as well.

None of that made any difference.

Neither camera was fixed.

Both had white printouts indicating the customer said dust on sensor, with no service indicator at all – my Fuji X-T1 which went in for exactly the same issue, came back with a yellow service ticket carbon showing what was done. Basically someone just shoved them back in the box and sent them back and counted it as work done.

Steve – every time I call Edison NJ, Steve answers, apparently there are only two, but it just seems like more – Steve, who is becoming my fellow sufferer in all this, says any notes would be on the service ticket, and that someone took the problem ticket and worked on it.

Not that I can see. Looking at images from the sensors before sending them and then once they are returned – there’s no difference. Even the smudges which would have been changed if the sensor had been cleaned even lightly, are still there. Both cameras. No change.

(Cough…)

bullshit_detector4

I believe Steve will find the return shipment when it comes in, I do, and I believe a supervisor will ensure it is made right. I believe that because sending these cameras back again pretty much guarantees I’ll be outside the 30-day return window for just sending them back to the merchant by the time they come back to me. So, I believe that can happen.

What’s bullshit is that no one actually cared enough to look at the cameras. At all. Because the flaws are obvious, resolvable and they were not even touched.

—spence

A CD Project – Ruby Rose Fox

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I saw Ruby Rose Fox at the Cabot in Beverly, Massachusetts several weeks ago – and despite the sound system not doing her and the band any favors, the show was amazing, Ruby Rose Fox has stage presence. She is part of the song she is singing and she rocks. Brilliant band making it possible. Ruby Rose apologized as she was under the weather and struggling to make it through the songs – even so, she just captured the song and lost the pain, there was no sign of it in her voice. She and her band work very hard, and they are worth hearing if you can make it to a show.

I found one semi-CD of music on Amazon in Prime Music – and four more songs to purchase. Not a CD in sight – I really prefer CD rather than 256K files, and Amazon still doesn’t offer a lossless format – just mp3. I searched further, found her website at RubyRoseFox.com, and on the first page a link Click to Pledge”. She is making a full length CD! I hope she meets her goal on this.

—spence