Author Jim Zellmer

A Glorious Sunset

Door County, WI September 2014

A wonderful La Brioche Lunch on the Day of the Lord

David, Jackie and their colleagues continue to impress.

What does one ask a hermit on Mount Athos?

Martin Puchner:

I still don’t know. Fermor didn’t encounter any hermits, though he passed a hermit’s hut, wryly observing that it was the most desolate sight he had ever seen. Perhaps being a hermit was one step too far for the convivial Fermor. Despite his skepticism, I’m sure he would have known what to say: it would have been the ultimate test for this gifted conversationalist.

Periodically the monasteries on Athos crack down on the hermits, accusing them of encouraging personality cults. They undoubtedly do. But I think there is another reason for the crackdowns: the hermits capture a truth about Athos. Having set itself apart, the island lays in waiting for pilgrims and travelers, waiting for our questions, fears and desires, a Christian oracle speaking in voices that are not of this world.

1st 4K/2K Odyssey 7Q Sequences from Beunos Aires’ Ezeiza International Airport

Cesar Meloni:

4K/2K Sequences from the incoming project of Ezeiza International Airport. Shot on 2 Sony FS700 and 2 Odyssey 7Q. Graded in Davinci Resolve Lite 10, exported to ProRes and timeline edited in Adobe Premiere CC.

Sony and Canon EF lens were used + metabones adapter + follow focus.

Aeroparque as well.

Faith & Money or Money & Faith; Chobani + 16% & The Dolar Azul

“How do you know that the babysitting money you deposited in the bank a few days ago will still be there next week?” – a conversation with our children during the “Great Recession”.



I pondered the state of money today after reading Benedict Mander’s latest: “Companies fear radical turn in Argentina”.

Argentina features a “pegged” currency in contrast to the many notes that “float”, where the “market” determines the exchange rate. In Argentina’s case, the government sets the peso conversion rate, currently about 8 to the dollar. Yet, the Country’s black market rate, or “dolar azul” currently trades at 13.8 pesos to the dollar.

I experienced this contradiction firsthand during a recent joyous trip to Argentina. A friend suggested taking cash to trade for Pesos. Spot on, our trading ranged from 9.5 to 13 Pesos to the US Dollar. 13 was found in the far north and required perfect US bills, no tears or wrinkles. The exchanges were quick and matter of fact. One money changer asked why more Americans don’t bring cash? “You save at least 50% compared to paying with a credit card.” “Americans must be conditioned to use credit cards”.

Not completely naive, I asked my last counterparty about his rates? “13 to 20. It’s crazy and changes daily”. Another local friend said that they expect a devaluation within a year’s time.

Attractive buys are to be had, from great bottles of wine for $2.00 to inexpensive sumptuous dinners. However, one must not underestimate the cost of such currency swings to local businesses. The proprietor of a delightful restaurant in Buenos Aires’ Palermo neighborhood related how difficult it is to “plan for anything. It’s crazy. I don’t know what to expect from day to day.”

And so, it was, while reading Mander’s article that my mind raced to Solomon’s words, inspired long ago: “All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” – Ecclesiastes 1-3.

It is remarkable to witness the faith that people put in money, particularly fiat money, or currency that has “value” because the Government says so.

The price of such faith can be seen when observing inflation. Exhibit A: Chobani’s Pomegranate yogurt had long been priced at $0.99/cup at Madison’s Woodmans. It now requires $1.15, an increase of 16%!

United States’ Dollars include the term “In God We Trust“. Obviously, this is all that matters.

1. Argentina’s insatiable—and destructive—appetite for U.S. dollars.

2. Politics is the biggest hurdle to developing Argentina’s enormous Vaca Muerta field via the Economist.

Interested in a deeper dive?

Money of the Mind: Borrowing and Lending in America from the Civil War to Michael Milken by James Grant.

Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed.

Enchanting: Casa de Campo La Paya Near Cachi, Argentina

An especially delightful destination after a beautiful drive, La Paya is well worth a visit. The family vineyards, bounded by walnut trees, produce 2000 bottles annually. The grounds and rooms were refreshing, quiet and relaxing. The family’s hearth produced piles of sumptuous empanadas for dinner, followed by a delicious onion soup and an assortment of desserts.

Dive in: Sunrise panoramic image (tap/click and pan in any direction).

Learn more. Thanks to Clark Expediciones for the discovery and arrangements.

1975 + 39

I listened a bit to the KCRW app stream last evening (8.12.2014 Morning Becomes Eclectic Show) when, out of the blue “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” jolted my ears.

I enjoy KCRW’s app and music streams, tolerating their occasional lapses into a Sting/Police song. That said, I am not much of an oldies fan, but in this case, the 1975 song whisked me back in time and brought a smile to my face.

I recalled the days of the (expensive) album. Some were masterpieces, such as Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, the Who’s Quadrophenia and Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick road among many others.

So, props to Jason Bentley and his KCRW crew for a subtle (and rare) plug.

Not for Everyone

The party is more state of mind than event. Foodies, political types, writers, thinkers, endless PhD’s. Every six months. A blast and a fascinating slice of Madison.

Six years ago. Around the time that I took this photo at Glacier National Park:

The camera that captured this image was a Sigma DP1, in 2008 (one year post iPhone, more on that later). I remember being astonished at the DP1′s sharpness and rather unique color expression.

I “like” to carry a small, high quality walk around camera.

Oh, the party. I brought the DP1 to collect a few images of friends enjoying wine and a myriad of food. Our friends are deep, serious foodies. A blast every six months.

Not more than 30 minutes into the party, a long time, now retired art and portrait photographer spotted the DP1. He ran over and waxed on and on about the “foveon sensor”. “May I?”. Yes, of course. Off he went to collect some great people shots.

So, the DP1.

I kept it, despite its operating flaws, including poor battery life, notoriously slow camera and post processing software and lack of file format support from the large image processing software vendors.

Two years ago information about the DP2 Merrill or “DP2M” arrived in my newsreader. I managed to find a great price and bought it, then sold the DP1 to an Atlanta photographer.

The camera responsiveness was somewhat improved, though the post processing software was still terrible. Image quality was and is fantastic, including low light opportunities:

That said, the camera’s responsiveness, battery life and occasional lockup during a “decisive moment” is annoying. The battery and memory card flap died 6 months ago – not great on a two year old camera.

However, the image quality continues to appeal.

Now comes the DP2M’s replacement, the DP2 Quattro or #DP2Quattro.

I had an opportunity to collect some images with it over the past few days while walking around Madison. I’ve made no attempt at deep, technical comparisons. Rather, I was interested in how well it performed when walking around – my DPx use case.

The camera’s responsiveness and build quality are substantially better than previous iterations. Sigma’s post processing software is somewhat improved, but still much too slow. It is a very good walk around camera.


The camera market could not be more different than the DP1 era, 6+ years ago. Today, iPhone is the “camera” of choice for many. The iPhone’s image quality, connectivity and incredible software environment has decimated much of the entry and mid range camera market.

I took the following image with my iPhone 5s moments after capturing the same flowers with the DP2 Quattro (above). The iPhone image can be quickly shared (and edited if necessary).

The new DP2 Quattro lacks an interesting wireless interface for apps. DP2Q users’ must collect the image and somehow move it from the SD card to their computing device. For most of the market, that device is a smartphone. Currently, the images must be post processed using Sigma’s software for Windows or Mac. Nothing exists – as far as I know – for iPhones, iPads or Google Play devices.

Ideally, Sigma should have included an iOS app to control the camera and move images. Reasonable editing should also be available on these devices. Sony has taken a few steps into this space with “PlayMemories Mobile”.

I asked our college student children if they were interested in trying out the DP2 Quattro. “No.” Both, along with millions of others do quite well with their iPhone cameras + apps.

I hope that Sigma introduces apps to create and use the beautiful images on iPhones, iPads and Google Play devices. Time is of the essence. The iPhone 6 introduction is just around the corner.

Oh, that party? It’s days away, again.


Foveon Sensors.

Sigma Photo USA

Most popular cameras on Flickr.

Canon’s 2014 Q2 financials: dslr sales -19%, compact digital cameras -38%.

Sony’s PlayMemories Mobile in the App Store and Google Play.


My iPhone 6s log.

iPhone 5s & Sports Photography.

P.S. A further wish: A tilt-shift version of the DPx series.

“My Uber Driver…..”

Walking around a bit at the Wisconsin Memorial Union Lakefront.

The Best of Peter Drucker

Steve Denning:

Everyone knows that Peter Drucker was the founder of modern management. But how do we come to terms with the writings of a man who wrote 39 books? Even to read his 811-page classic, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices (1973) or the revised edition of 572 pages (2008), is more than most readers get round to. Inevitably most of us pick and choose.
 An excellent introduction to Drucker’s thinking—and one of the real “raisins in the cake”— which was recently flagged by Jim Hays, is Peter Drucker’s nine-page paper for The Economist in November 2001: “Will The Corporation Survive?” Drucker’s answer to his own question was: “Yes, but not in the form that we know it.” The paper was incorporated into the 2008 edition of Drucker’s Management, but it is also available here.