Production Gear

Before deciding which gear to stick to, try to get experience with different cameras and lenses shooting different subjects under different lighting conditions. Eventually you will get the feeling what you really like.

There are two big questions to answer:

Question 1: Full Frame or Crop?

Question 2: Prime or Zoom?

My current answers for my own photography:

Answer 1: Full Frame only.

Answer 2: Prime only.

Here is the gear itself:

Now let me explain how I came to this conclusion, and why I did not include other options.

My goal is to get the best quality within my budget that fulfills my needs.

I am not a professional photographer, photography is not my single source of income, therefore I am not under any pressure to get the right gear for my next session or my next client. For professional photography the gear is a completely different question.

My primary genre is portrait and travel.

For travel I need something small and light that I can carry with me all the time.

For portrait I need something that gives pleasing and undistorted image with any natural or studio light. The size and weight does not matter. It should work with the wireless triggers and tethered shooting.

So, why not a crop sensor body?

Any crop will convert the focal length of the lens to something else, and the look will change from 35 mm film body. You have to do mental calculations to remember that this 32 mm is actually acts as 50 mm, and this 50 mm as 85 mm and so on. I want my results to be the same on my DSLR as on my SLR with the same lens. It will train my mind to have better visualizations.

The biggest question is a mirrorless body. Why Canon R5 did not make my list?

The EF lenses for SLR can be adapted to the RF mount, but eventually I would go after RF lenses, which are big, heavy, and costly, and will duplicate my EF lenses for SLR.

Leica Q has a fixed lens. 28 mm is a new normal. I shoot it with 35 mm fake crop. I cannot mount any other lens on Leica Q, so I do not need to worry about other lenses and spend time and money.

The next big question is a classic zoom lenses: Canon 16-35mm f/2.8, Canon 24-70 f/2.8 and Canon 70-200 f/2.8.

F/2.8 aperture is good, but f/1.4 is better for low light and bokeh.

One thing about prime lenses is that they train your visualization ability by creating constraints. Zoom lenses remove the constraints.

And the last question about Canon 50 f/1.2 and Leica 50 f/0.95.

Phone photography shifted the standard view in the collective mind from 50 mm to 28 mm. 50 is not wide enough, does not capture a context from the short distance, and can be easily compensated by 35 and 85 combo. For street photography 35 mm is better. Leica put 28 mm on Q for a reason.

Post-Production Workflow

The workflow ideally should be simple and stable, independent from various gear and software changes.

  1. Pre-Production
  2. Production
  3. Post-Production
  4. Publishing

Let’s talk about step 3, Post-Production.

Usually the film is scanned into digital files, so I do not treat analog photography differently from digital.

The digital camera always records the image in the RAW format, which is the Digital Negative analog of the film. Some cameras hide the RAW file and allow to get the processed JPG file instead.

My understanding is that the RAW file is what we are talking about here.

Task 3.1 Import Original Files

Usually people choose Adobe Lightroom Classic or Capture One software.

Adobe Lightroom Classic
https://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop-lightroom-classic.html

Capture One
https://www.captureone.com/en

Capture One offers Catalog or Sessions for the library function. I prefer Sessions. The copied files are saved in Capture folder.

Capture One Import Window

Adobe Lightroom Classic offers Catalog only in the Library module.

Adobe Lightroom Classic Import Window

Task 3.2 Backup Original Files

Making two backup copies in addition to the one that was imported.

Get Backup Pro
https://www.belightsoft.com/products/getbackup/

Get Backup Pro

I use two G Drives 4 TB each, PROD and BACKUP 1
https://shop.westerndigital.com/products/external-drives/g-technology-g-drive-usb#0G03594-1

Task 3.3 Select Images to Process – Culling

Both applications offer Contact Sheet View, which is how the analog photography editors looked at the film to decide which image to choose.

Magnum Contact Sheets
https://www.magnumphotos.com/theory-and-practice/magnum-contact-sheets/

Capture One in Sessions uses a special folder called Selects, and has menu items and a keyboard shortcut to move a file from Capture folder to Selects folder.

Capture One Contact Sheet View

Lightroom has a special flag called Pick and a keyboard shortcut to mark the file as Selected.

Adobe Lightroom Classic Contact Sheet View

Task 3.4 Process Selected Images

This step is the most complicated, and can be expanded to the infinity.

The main idea is that the photographer before taking a picture has a visualization of the end result in mind. The camera cannot capture it exactly, and therefore, the captured image needs adjustments to reflect the original visualization.

Usually a camera has a low dynamic range, problems with the white balance, gives flat looking images that need some crop.

The assumption is that all the things that can be done right in the camera itself are done in the camera. The post is not for making an image, just for the modest corrections.

Lightroom Classic has a whole marketplace of presets and plugins, Capture One not so much.

My favorite plugin is Nik Collection, which works with Lightroom and Capture One
https://nikcollection.dxo.com

One thing about Lightroom Classic – you do not need a subscription to process the image. The Library module still has access to the adjustment controls after the subscription is expired.

My preference is Capture One. It has that high end experience that Lightroom lacks.

Task 3.5 Export Processed Images

The export requirements are given by the client or publishing provider.

Instagram requirements – 1080 pixels
https://help.instagram.com/1631821640426723

Capture Pro has a built in Instagram optimized export recipe (preset). The exported files are saved in a separate Output folder.

Capture One Instagram Recipe

Lightroom has also some Export presets.

Adobe Lightroom Classic Export Presets

Task 3.6 Backup Processed and Exported Images

In this case not only files need to be copied, but also a Catalog backup needs to be done, because all the changes to the RAW file are preserved in the Catalog or Session file only.

Capture One Catalog allows to import Sessions, so all the adjustments can be saved as one backup. This is how the backup folder looks like after being created by Capture One or Lightroom Classic. Usually it takes less space than when you copy the entire catalog manually.

Capture One Catalog Backup
Adobe Lightroom Classic Catalog Backup

Conclusion

That’s the major steps that I would take for any film or digital photography. The mindset and concepts should be the same regardless of the gear or software. The idea of the workflow is to stop thinking about the post-production steps, but rather free yourself to focus on what matters – the image itself.

IT as Psychological Models

Information Technology (IT) became an inseparable part of our daily life, at work and at home. We know that at this point our devices and software are “hybrids” of the traditional algorithms and re-emerging Artificial Intelligence (AI).

In IT Architecture field we talk mostly about component-based architecture or service-oriented architecture (SOA). We assume that we are talking about software only, and use the same old hardware architecture.

While discussing AI, we finally talking about modeling our brain functioning. There are latest research and publications, cutting edge machine learning algorithms and quantum computing. It’s a bright future like Tesla and SpaceX.

So, what is that about? It’s about our collective cognitive dissonance.

We are still using the same old Turing machine from 1936. All attempts to move to something different had failed. The modern CPU is basically implements the Turing machine concept. We still running Assembler code under the hood. Our chips are made of simple logical elements.

What we had done is added several layers of abstraction to hide our primitive basic understanding of the reality.

We had the cognitive psychology model. Our brain is a set of procedures. All we need to do is to replicate them in C, Pascal, or Cobol.

Since the complexity of the programs increased to the level of difficulty to manage the code, we moved to the object-oriented model. So, a program is a replication of objects (people), who politely asks each other to provide some services, and keep their know-how and data to themselves (black boxes).

And the next level of complexity was solved by modularization into separate components with tight cohesion and loose coupling.

And then we distributed components and called them “services”.

What is the point here? The Computer Science started from the modeling of the language as logic, then cognitive psychology came up with the procedures as algorithms, and eventually the rest was purely complexity management regardless of logic or psychology or neuroscience. The model behind hardware became irrelevant, because the programming models were so easy to change to the point of the paradigm shift for the system and software architectures, and developer mindset.

IT is a mess of many different models.

Why this is important? Because it helps to reflect what we can think as humans in psychological modeling terms.

Let’s take a look at the Business Architecture.

What we see is Departments, Lines of Businesses, Offices that deliver products. It sounds like component-based architecture.

Later we started to see a shift toward business services. It makes sense, SOA.

What a business component or a service does called a business process. Should we call it SOP – Standard Operating Procedure? Or a workflow?

That’s it. An IT procedure implements a business procedure – a basic cognitive psychology model for IT – and for business. Not much of a difference.

Now, Enterprise Architecture aligns Business and IT. Which psychological model should we use to resolve the mix of the different models and make it psychologically easy for leadership, architects, and developers to understand, perform the analysis, and design new business-IT operating environments?

Archimate modeling language, as the only EA-specific standard, operates in SOA terminology. We have a Business Service, which is realized via an Application Service, and supported by a Technology Service. There are no systems, no components, no offices with scenic windows. SOA is well-suited for cloud computing models such as SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. ITIL promotes IT Service Catalog. This is a beautiful abstraction applied consistently from end to end.

Do people usually think that way? In general I use a phone, not phone services, I use a computer, not computer services, I use a stove, not stove services. People naturally think in terms of tangible things they can see and touch. A service is an abstraction, not a thing – one cannot see it or touch it. Hence components, capabilities, offices. It is funny that business architecture is actually catching up with the more advanced IT models.

There is an article that talks about how these IT models influence how people think and behave. We are a part of this new abstract virtual world now, and we are getting confused by the changing or mixed-up psychological models which are not natural for humans. The same people get to work, and get to manage, analyze and design business and IT. The same is happening with the management theories, which are stuck in-between of micromanagement and delegation to agile. By the way, brainstorming as the daily management model is a way to admit a failure of the existing models.

A good example is Leica M6 film camera. The psychological concept behind it is so simple that users move beyond the camera to discuss the topics of composition, contrast of the image-making. And when Leica moved to the digital era, it preserved the same concepts in Leica M10 and Leica Q, while many, many other companies piled up new models into the cramped digital camera features to the point of total shift of the conversation toward the gear itself, not the image-making.

This is a problem space.

Our business models and IT models went beyond our natural psychological models into an artificial, unnatural, and hard to understand “cultural” “thing”. It needs a clean up.

The solution?

Psychology should define what is the natural, simple, and easy way to understand the world. Business, management, and IT fields should follow those concepts, not to drive them. The new humanistic psychological model, not neuroscientific cybernetical materialism, is the only way to replace the layers and layers of abstractions with the new clean and simple foundation.

Living between Worlds

Living between Worlds. Finding Personal Resilience in Changing Times” is the latest book, written by Dr. James Hollis on the topic of modern challenges of coping with anxiety and help from Depth Psychology. 

The author is Dr. James Hollis, or Jim, as we call him, is a well-known scholar in the field of Depth psychology. I met Jim personally during my tenure at the Jung Society of Washington, D.C. 

This book is an introduction to the field of Depth psychology for general public. It is also a summary of Jim’s personal journey and his previous books.

The author tried to solve the following problems:

  1. What are the causes of anxiety in our time
  2. Why our social institutions are failing
  3. What is Depth psychology, its principles and practices
  4. What we can learn from literature and folklore
  5. What are our tasks
  6. What are the major concepts of Jungian psychology

Jim explained the major concepts in plain language and illustrated in different ways before giving the official terminology. It makes the complex material much more accessible. 

The main problem was framed using the following concepts:

  • Instincts – the unconscious, inner guidance, primary phenomenon, the transcendent Other, the energy, the gods. 
  • The ego – our consciousness, which contains the secondary, epiphenomenal, our subjective images of the phenomenon, our concepts and the worldview.
  • Anxiety – the psychopathological symptoms, the split, caused by the separation of the ego from the instincts.
  • Anxiety Treatment – an approach of Depth psychology to healing by reconnecting the ego to the instincts, based on the ideas of Carl Jung. 

What are the causes of anxiety? The social function that focuses us on the outer values like power, wealth, status, and disregards inner guidance such as dreams. The idea here is to show that our modern civilization is moving in the wrong direction, and creating more, not less, anxiety in people.

In order to provide a solution to the problem, Jim described his view on the principles and practices of Deep psychology. 

The principles: 

  • It’s not about what it’s about
  • What you see is a compensation for what you don’t see
  • All is metaphor

The practices:

  • Journaling
  • Dream Interpretation
  • Active Imagination

What are our tasks to live with dignity?

  • Recovery of personal authority
  • Seek meaning, not happiness
  • Ask more from ourselves, less from the Other
  • Become conscious of own Shadow
  • Acquire steadfastness and philosophic patience in the face of suffering in-between the worlds.

The author presented the holistic framework of the human psyche that explains how changes of energy, feelings, and dreams are connected to the social function and psychopathology.

Unfortunately, the book does not have any pictures or visualizations, and I, as a visual person, developed the following diagrams to understand the text better.

Figure 1. The structure of the psyche

As we can see on Figure 1, we are the Ego, and we are focused on the demands of the social function: education, work, family, and society. Because those demands do not include our personal instincts, we are experiencing the psychopathological symptoms, i.e. anxiety. This anxiety actually prevents us from fulfilling the demands of the social function by isolating us into a severe personal crisis known as neurosis that requires a special treatment. The problem arises when the accessible and socially approved treatments such as pharmacology are not helpful, and we find ourselves in the stuck places. This is the pattern that Dr. Hollis called “the passage”, and makes a reference to his earlier book called “The middle passage: from misery to meaning in midlife”.

The better way to get unstuck is to include in the worldview the nature guidance such as energy level, feelings, dreams, and practice journaling, dreams interpretation, and active imagination. The warning from Dr. Hollis was to avoid what is called lucid dreaming when the Ego is reasserting itself rather than learn from what was presented.

The author presented the functions as different energies, and a concept of an archetype as a cluster of those energies.

Figure 2. The transformation process

The archetype is the organizing function, that includes a cluster of energies, responsible for the specific type of a split, and a corresponding compensatory function. It forces the subject to grow in order to overcome the limitation. The concept of energy follows the rule that nature does not waste it, which includes dreams. 

Personally, I found it very insightful. A typical hero archetype described as something you need to do. Jim showed that an archetype is actually a result of getting into a victim mentality in the first place. Basically, a complex is a creation of an archetype. The wholeness can be broken in many ways, and the archetype is that resulting form that has both sides – the force that got us broken, and the hidden force that is formed to get us healed. Our mature spirituality and meaning seeking will lead us through a resonance system to the inner peace and contentment. The most useful reads for that practice are “Tracking the gods: the place of myth in modern life”, and “Living an examined life: wisdom for the second half of the journey”.

“Living between worlds” is a summary of Jim’s previous works, and serves as the introduction and a navigational framework for the reader. It is also a good reference with the list of the publications available to read next, and the index for terminology used. 

I feel that this book is similar conceptually to the C.G. Jung’s work called “Man and his Symbols”. It was designed as a general introduction to Analytic psychology, and has served me well before. At the same time, Jim’s book reminded me about another work of Carl Jung, “The undiscovered Self”, where Dr. Jung focused on the society at large. 

I read Jim’s previous books as well as other authors, related to the topic of Depth psychology, and found his way of sharing ideas through a mythopoetic style quite distinctive. His practical advice often illustrated by the examples from his deep knowledge of literature, to show the universality of the archetypes across different times and cultures. Even now, at the age of 80, he is very active in his own analytic practice, gives interviews and lectures, and just shows up.

Metamodel

FEAF 2.0 provides the Consolidated Reference Model (CRM) for Portfolio Management and Shared Services which is used across the agencies, and provides consistency in investments planning and reporting. At the same time, CRM describes the business capabilities and services, data assets, IT systems, and technology platforms. Those building blocks are not explicitly prescribed by FEAF, and each non-DOD agency is trying to define them in a silo. DODAF, TOGAF and Archimate do provide metamodels to describe such building blocks.

Scott Bernard published an article “The Importance of Formal Documentation In Enterprise Architectures” in the Journal of Enterprise Architecture, August 2009, where he proposed a Metamodel of Artifact Relationships in the EA3 Cube Approach, but it was not included into the official FEAF 2.0.

HHS EA built own metamodel based on the changing guidance and initiatives from OMB which eventually become too cumbersome to maintain. Other agencies share the similar story.

The lack of the standard metamodel creates inconsistency and confusion not only in collecting and storing the EA data, but also in generating reports and getting value out of EA. 

Here I am proposing a draft of the metamodel that includes FEAF CRM and common building blocks. It uses the concepts commonly used in CPIC and Cybersecurity, as well as OMB policy and CIO Council. I used Archimate as a modeling language and Archi as a modeling tool.

FEAF Metamodel

An organization has a set of goals. Each goal has a set of objectives. 

To reach a goal and its objectives an organization needs to define a strategy. A strategy is an approach to change the architecture using different business capabilities and different initiatives. 

Goals, objectives, strategies, capabilities, and initiatives define a Strategic Plan.

To implement a strategic plan, an organization needs to define the Current State of its architecture in terms of its Business, Data, Application, Infrastructure, Security, and Investment domain portfolios.

Next, an organization needs to gather requirements for the Future State. It includes a Strategic Plan, an analysis of the Current State, Department’s Business and IT (IRM) goals, objectives, and initiatives to align to. 

In order to facilitate domain portfolio management, a set of FEAF Reference Models is applied to the Current State in order to identify duplications and gaps:

  • Business Reference Model (BRM)
  • Application Reference Model (ARM)
  • Data Reference Model (DRM)
  • Infrastructure Reference Model (IRM)
  • Security Reference Model (SRM)

After all requirements are identified, an organization develops a Vision of the Future State, and details in the same terms as the Currents State: Business, Data, Application, Infrastructure, and Security domain portfolios.

Next, the Gap Analysis determines the difference between the Future State and the Current State. Those gaps need to be addressed via projects (Projects Portfolio). Projects will be funded by Investments. The list of the proposed investments (Investment Portfolio) will be submitted to the Investment Review Board for approval.

To justify the proposed investments, an organization needs a business case and the architectural description, including a Transition Plan in terms of planned projects and the timeline.

The first step to establish EA in an org is to start managing portfolios.

Application Portfolio contains IT Systems, which are different from the cybersecurity “systems” also known as Security Authorization Boundary (a.k.a. ATO). ATO can have one or more IT Systems.

Application Portfolio enables Mission and Business Services to realize Business Capabilities of the agency.

Technology Portfolio contains Software Product Versions. Each Software Product Version has a vendor support Lifecycle and user licenses. Technology realizes IT Systems. An org can establish an approved list of its Technology Portfolio in order to limit duplicative technology proliferation (IT Technology Standard).

CRM describes different portfolios in order to identify duplication and gaps, and thus enables Portfolio Management, for examples, promoting reuse of the existing technology, and so, limit IT cost.

The shared metamodel across government agencies helps to mature further OCIO capability to manage and align IT to business by providing clarity and interoperability between various tools, helping to speed up time-to-market decision support data, and establishing a consistent common language for executives.

CONOPS

Enterprise Architecture is about how an organization is aligned to its Mission and Vision. A Vision is a high-level sketch while the Architecture is more detailed. One way to conceptualize the architecture and express it through a Vision is to use Business Capabilities.

A Capability is a stable, strategic concept to achieve a desired effect. It is used for Strategic Planning to implement a Strategy. Also it’s useful for briefing leadership, including such concepts as a capability gap and a capability increment. It provides a clear strategic thinking framework without the clutter of the details.

A Vision of the Operations, or the Concept of Operations (CONOPS), expressed via Business Capabilities, allows to quickly grasp what the organization is trying to do, and how it intends to do it. It shows external stakeholders, a supply chain, and internals in terms of capabilities.

Here is an example of the major elements of the CONOPS diagram. It contains the boundary of the enterprise, external stakeholders, and internal capabilities.

Now we can get people on the same page. If we stick to the same common language of capabilities, we can talk about capability gaps, and capability-based planning, and capability increments. We can change processes, applications, technologies while keeping the same capability concepts. Also, we can add or remove capabilities. It’s a simple, high-level, strategic LEGO game.

A CONOPS graphics helps to visualize the architecture of the complex organization, and connect different parts in a meaningful manner. That image-making creates a shared understanding of what is, and what is to be. It creates consistency over time and survives the chaos of the projects.

Now, for each capability or a set of the related capabilities, we can apply a concept of the segment architecture. Each segment is responsible for specific capabilities. A Segment contains program offices and shows a different perspective of the org chart. This way a conversation can continue on the implementation side, and give a proper understanding and a meaning to project managers and contractors on what exactly they are doing.

Image-making

Humans are essentially image-based creations. We always perceive the outer and inner realities as some series of images, accompanied by other sensory experiences.

Humans also create images. Sometimes we recreate what was perceived, sometimes we make abstract art that is different.

Every text is somewhat obscure until we derive some clarity out of it by visualizing it. We use simple drawings to understand things.

How much we study and perfect the art of image-making?

Visual art such as painting and photography developed the entire conceptual schema around image composition rules and their emotional impact, yet we are not required to know it or follow it by our culture norms. We learn it as we go.

One thing that I learned over the years is that image-making is beautification. We do not want to experience or create any kind of image – we want to make them feel good, to have some connection to the joy of the divine experience.

That’s what life is about.

When we can’t make it better, we experience fragmentation, disconnect, discontent. Our anxiety means nightmares, dark times, feeling lost. The only thing we want is to feel better.

Images do have power over humans. The image politics can be found on TV and YouTube, cathedrals and museums. We also need to know this.

Image psychology is about our mind eye. What is it. Why psychology is so different from physics, and yet we all use it every day without knowing it properly.

Image philosophy is about our life. Here is the way for cognition and metacognition, and for influence and control. Not literature, not math. It is not logical.

At the core of C. G. Jung theory is the unification of the ancient and modern ideas for the contemporary educated individual to form a better worldview to interpret the images. How much of the psychological content is behind the composition rules? How to understand in modern terms what is kundalini, the serpent, love, meaning – as our mind eye perception? Why people make pictures and like them even when they are worse than many others available? Are we really here just to be creative in order to feel better? Can we create real images?

We live in a post-Jung era. Nothing has changed. Our culture managed to absorb very little. Resistance to feel better can be as simple as lack of education or lack of attention. But the image-making never stops.