The wandering mind of a focused projectile

Last week, we photographed some architectural interiors for a new client out at O’Hare Airport, in the international terminal.

Let me tell you, it’s difficult going to the airport and not have a ticket to some other place, but even harder to be in the international wing without a destination into some warm wonderland of exotic beauty.

Lately, the weather is our arch enemy. We walked into the airport in zero-degree temperatures with our equipment. The cold is unrelenting. The voices on NPR keep reminding us that it’s the coldest winter since the 70s. Somebody yesterday said something about since the 20s.

I haven’t complained all that much, until recently. It’s March. And you half expect that when March rolls in that the temperatures might at least reach up and stick their toes in the twenties.

But yesterday morning it was zero. And the morning before that. And the morning before that. When you grow up in the south, snow is a novelty. You pine for it in a way that makes your brain explode with nervous energy. When they call for snow, your excitement is excruciating. And when it snows, you make fists and raise them up by your face and shake them.

Snow used to mean a mini-vacation from school and responsibilities. It was a white wash of fun.

Since moving to Chicago, snow lost its luster. Snow means a longer commute if you have to leave the house. Not just on the roads, but to leave your parking space, you gotta clean off your car. You leave 15 minutes early to clear your car, and make sure you bring a broom with you, because it would take 10 extra minutes to clean it using a window brush.

If you’re parallel parking, make sure you can get over the first mound of snow. Sometimes I hate the fact that we have a Honda CR-V, but not in the snow. All-wheel drive gets us into parking spots that regular cars spin their tires in.

Tribulations with eBay

I sold my first item on eBay recently. It was a video camera I bought, because at the time, I got burned by using a DSLR as my main camera, and sometimes you need a run and gun camera.

I spent almost $3,000 on a camcorder that I thought would work well for us, and match to our DSLRs, but it didn’t. I can’t believe that Canon doesn’t put similar sensors in a $3,000 camcorder than it puts in a $2,500 DSLR.

So I finally sold it at around half of what I paid, with the intention that we’d possibly upgrade our cameras to the next best Canon. But you know what? I’m holding out.

I have three cameras, two Canon 5D Mark IIs and one Hasselblad. I recently did a side-by-side comparison with a friend’s 5D Mark III, the upgrade to my camera, and for what it’s worth, I think I can hold out a little longer.

I said “tribulations” above, because I listed the camera a couple weeks ago. I thought I clicked, “No international buyers,” but I was wrong. I had to do this in a separate preference area.

I know from experiences on Craigslist that you do not take any foreign inquiries seriously. One scam that almost got me was someone asked me to send the camera overseas and they would pay me $500 more than asking. After a bit of concern, I googled it and it was a known scam.

So on eBay, I listed this camera and it was purchased within an hour … from a Nigerian.

I immediately went to the phone. I first called the number given on the account, which was an unworking number in Washington, D.C. I tried contacting the “buyer”. No luck.

Since I’m a new seller on eBay, it shut me down for seven days while the matter was resolved.

Although, I don’t know if I’ll use eBay again. I heard selling on Amazon is much better and they take much less percent of the purchase. With eBay, you pay them 10% and paypal takes its share.

As for my next camera purchase …

I can always rent cameras if I need. 

Electronics are stupid investments, and marketing is the real Satan if there were one. As soon as the shiny new upgrade comes out, we — men especially — get so horny for the glitz that we forget that the differences are marginal at best.

Apple will release a new computer and I’ll get a major boner. But you know what the difference is between the one I have and the other one? Maybe a few seconds here or there.

One of my Canon cameras is on its last leg, but it still works and it’s still giving me viable images and video. So screw it.

I recently rented a lens — a 15mm Zeiss Distagon — that I thought would maybe make my short list of new lenses to buy. It’s a $3,000 lens, and Zeiss glass is the Ferrari of lenses. I currently own a Canon 16-35mm, which isn’t cheap, but it’s a zoom lens and the distortion is difficult to work with especially between f2.8 to f8. I’ve had a love hate relationship with the lens.

Currently, I wouldn’t trade the 16-35mm for anything. I use it a lot.

My new favorite rental house is

My favorite camera is definitely the Hasselblad, but I can’t use it for everything. There’s a reason why it’s the best tool in the box for certain things. I bought an L-Bracket for it recently that makes it easier to do a stitched shot in vertical placement.

Gear-wise, I feel okay. If I had a million dollars, I’d probably go a little nuts buying gear, though. 🙂

le Cafe Witteveen is dying

In case you haven’t noticed, this site is dying. I’m not posting here that much, and the controversial — or what others might think is controversial — is dried up. It’s not that I’ve changed my mind. It’s just that I’m not so concerned with belief vs. non-belief anymore.

The site’s hits haven’t been this low since 2010.

I hope I’m able to build our new endeavor as well as I built this one — back in the day.

I’m near the allotted amount of data that wordpress gives me for free. Once I hit that, I’ll either blog primarily at, or just keep pushing our pro work at here (which is live, but isn’t all that public in terms of us sending clients there). would be a little freer and open to a variety of posting ideas. Wittefini would be more art, photography, corporate-y related info.

Anyway, I thought I’d do a written blabber and here it is.

That’s it.

Go on.