Happiness

“Happiness isn’t hiding somewhere in some fantasy land” – Pharrell Williams’ creative director, Mimi Valdez

Photo: Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard. f13 1/90s, f=63mm, Leica SL & Leica Vario 24-90 SL lens

The Edge

Svalbard 2017 Copyright Om Malik.

VÂrsolbukta, Camp Millar. Made with Leica SL using Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. focal length = 90mm, aperture = f4.8. Exposure time 1/1000

Taking over Leica USA’s Instagram

leicaSLI have the honor of taking over Leica USA’s Instagram account for two days — today and tomorrow. They are sharing photos made by me on recent trips to Iceland, Japan and the Pacific Northwest. Most of these are made with the y trusted Leica SL and Lecia M-Monochrome M246. As someone who has been trying to make sense of this hobby, it is great to to get this shot in the arm from a company whose products are my preferred tools. Thanks Leica USA!

The Om Show Podcast: w/guest Shakil Khan

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Shakil Khan, the head of special projects at Spotify and co-founder of Student.com is one of the fixtures in Internet circles. And connected as he is — is the guy who got many of my peers to support CharityWater — no one really knows him. These days he is Spotify’s special ambassador and a wellknown and beloved fixture in tech circles. He is “Shak,” not “Shaq.” It is hard to describe this tall, British-Pakistani guy who starts his Sunday by sharing some amazing desi songs from Spotify’s vast library of music with me and a handful of friends of South Asian heritage.  He is always there to help his friends, make impossible happen. He hides behind an easy smile, putting his rolodex towork for others and tweeting links to some of the best desi (aka South Asian) music. I met Shak ten years ago and we have become what is known as Internet friends.

Recently, Shak had a heart attack (much like me about ten years ago). I shared some tips with him on how to get better, how to focus on the right things and why he needed to take a step back and focus on health and life. And during those talks, I wondered if he would come on my podcast — which I am re-branding it from The PicoCast to The Om Show — and share his story. He agreed and bared his soul to me: from dealing with racial slurs in BNP’s England to running away from home, becoming a street kid, a thief, a drug dealer, a convicted felon. From his personal hell, Shak clawed his way up. Don’t read my words — just listen to his story. To be honest, I am still shook up with what I heard — and so much so, decided to not even bother editing the file. You can get it on iTunes or listen to this on SoundCloud.

On Apple’s Portrait Mode Ads

Apple’s latest ads for the iPhone 7+ are touting the “Portrait Mode.” As I have written in the past, I love the bokeh-like capabilities of this mode which blurs out the background elements. Sure it isn’t the same as the real lens on a real camera (like my old Leica Summicron 50mm on my Monochrome) but still not bad on a phone. I have argued that it’s like having a brand new camera. 

That said, portrait mode is a hit-and-miss feature. It works about three out of five times. You need really good light and clear definition in the subject to get it right. The distance from the subject and light requirements are not predictable, and as a photographer I am always searching for the sweet spot make the photo. If you try and let the phone take the photo, often the subject itself gets blurred out. In other words, the portrait mode is still work in progress. It definitely needs more polishing and still feels like a beta product. 

That said,  when “portrait mode” works, it is pretty amazing! Check out these photos of mine! 

May 3rd, 2017. San Francisco!