Posts tagged ‘photography’
Radley Balko linked this article about Virginia drivers being fined for not having proof of insurance, something that is actually not illegal in the state. Apparently, it is illegal to drive without having insurance coverage, but there is no requirement to carry proof of insurance or any crime defined in law for not carrying such proof.
SO there is some "confusion", but note that the only confusion is in the mind of state law enforcement officers, who are attempting to exceed the law. The obvious solution, to me, would be to educate the officers and prosecutors on the damn law. Of course, agents of the state have a different solution (emphasis added)
Lynchburg Commonwealth's Attorney Michael R. Doucette agreed that failure to have proof of insurance while driving is not illegal.
"Rather, the offense is having an uninsured motor vehicle and not paying the uninsured motorist fee of $500 per year," Doucette said.
Doucette said requiring drivers to present either proof of insurance or proof of payment of the uninsured vehicle fee would go a long way to clear up the confusion. The General Assembly has considered such a mandate at least three times, but has never passed it.
Get it? The best way to solve the problem of the state exceeding its authority is to just give the state new powers and criminalize more things so its actual authority matches it's desired powers. I fear that this will also be the state's answer for the fact that photography is not a crime.
I am a terrible photographer and seem to struggle getting any good pictures. But with a little patience and some study, my yield has gone up, though it still is well under 20%. Just for self-motivation, rather than any sense anyone out there is interested, here are a few of my recent photos that I thought came out pretty well. A couple are experiments with HDR photography. As usual click for enlargement:
Cinque Terre. The HDR process in the first one really brings out the details, but like a sharpness filter turned up too high, the image falls apart when zoomed too much.
The next one could have been awesome if I had waited, say, 12 hours for the sun to be in the right place
This is the town of Portovenere
And at night, which was beautiful but I tried a zillion exposures and could never get quite what I wanted
I loved all the little winding staircases. I struggled to capture the romantic element that attracted me to them. This one came out the best, but still failed to get what I wanted
A couple of views from the roof of the Milan Duomo. I really loved walking among the flying buttresses and thought these made interesting subjects. These are probably my favorite shots from the whole batch. They are both HDR shots.
And here are the spires on the same roof:
The Grand Canyon and Sedona
Haze seems to be my never-ending enemy of good landscape photos. I have tried filters of various sorts. In the shot below, I tried HDR which really cut the haze but left the tree in the foreground as a blur (due to its movement between the photos that were combined to make the picture).
Some really nice pre-WWI color photography from Russia. I am a sucker for old color photos.
Never heard of tilt-shift photography until today, but it is cool. Here is an example - real scenes are digitally manipulated to look like it is a model. Which in fact is exactly the opposite of what I try to achieve with my model railroading.
Update: The video seems to have left the building.
Thanks to my readers, I have cracked the problem of finding white non-fluorescent paper, which I will post here for the benefit of future Google searchers. At first I tried some natural bond paper, and it didn't fluoresce, but it added too much yellow to the final product. I was just in the middle of playing with Photoshop to see if I could compensate, when Agesilaus said that this was a concern in archival and art photography and what I wanted was OBA-free paper. OBA is the term for a class of optical brighteners that fluoresce and are used in most papers, and because they can cause fading, artists and photographers create a market for OBA-free paper. It can be expensive, like 70 cents a sheet, but since I can put most all the signs and details I need on a sheet or two, that is no big deal. Here is one source, not surprisingly from the comments, a photography outlet.
PS - TJIC thought the scorpion thing was creepy. It sort of is, but it beats shoveling snow.
It is easy to find examples of police enforcing made-up laws. Here is an example from the Department of Homeland Security:
"There are certain things that the press cannot do when it comes to national security, and filming federal buildings is one of them," said Luis Martinez, a spokesperson for the Dept. of Homeland Security.
This is a total crock. If it were true, no tourist would ever leave Washington DC -- they would all end up in jail. Via Carlos Miller, who is doing a great job blogging about the growing efforts by police to make public photography illegal. Mr. Miller, by the way, is still fighting in court against charges that he committed the ultimate no-no (as far as police are concerned) -- photographing a police officer in public.
Police have decided that the way to avoid having problems like the Rodney King beating which was caught on film is too.... prevent anyone from filming them! The police can fix just about any evidence, they will back each other up in even the most outrageous of stories, but the one thing they can't fix is video, so they want it banned. Lacking cooperation from legislatures in actually banning video, they have decided to ban it de facto if not de jure through their actions on the streets, hoping a cowed public will not question their actions.
Having heard that Phoenix has been coming down hard on folks for the "crime" of photographing in public places, The Northern Muckraker went to take a look. The Photography is Not a Crime blog has a partial transcript:
Hester: I'm free to go, correct?
Guard 1: Not yet.
Hester: Am I being detained?
Guard 1: Are you videotaping my building?
Hester: Am I free to leave?
Guard 1: You're are free to leave, go "¦ but if I catch you videotaping the building again you will be arrested by the Phoenix Police Department.
Hester: On what charge, sir?
Guard 1: On charge of "¦ we'll talk to the Phoenix Police Department about it.
Guard 2: You're not supposed to videotape any federal court building.
Hester: What law?
Guard 2: National Security Act.
Guard 1: Oklahoma City, that's why.
Guard 2: It all comes down to Homeland Security and all that.
Guard 1: If you want to talk to our Homeland Security people, we can arrange that right now and we will detain you.
He further observes that the National Security Act, passed in 1947, does not seem to have any mention of video recording.
Update: Apparently, according to an official Houston PD statement, photographing and taping a police officer is sufficient probably cause for being charged with "assault on a police officer."
Mr. Haven admitted to verbally disagreeing with Officer Dickerson. He also admitted to photographing the police vehicle and Officer Dickerson, and taping their conversation. Under these circumstances, it is not unreasonable for Officer Dickerson to have believed that Mr. Haven's relevant actions, taken as a whole, constituted more than "speech only" [and therefore constituted sufficient probable cause for arrest]
Several people have said they have had difficulties with comments. I don't know if it is a real problem, or if it is just that I was gone on Sunday and a bunch of stuff piled up in the moderation queue (any comment with multiple links goes to a moderation hold for me manually to check for spam). I will look in to things.
Update: Several comments on the post about police and photography creepily were sent straight past moderation into spam. I have recovered them.
This was a bit of history I never knew:
"Wall Street bomb." Aftermath of the explosion that killed dozens of people in New York's financial district on September 16, 1920, when a horse wagon loaded with dynamite and iron sash weights blew up in front of the J.P. Morgan bank at 23 Wall Street. The attack, which was attributed to Italian anarchists, was never solved. 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection.
This is from Shorpy.com, a blog that has daily posts with really nice photography from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The photo above is actually just a thumbnail - go to the original post and click on the full size image. All of their photos are posted in huge, high-resolution scans.
Activist: A person who believes so strongly that a problem needs to be remedied that she dedicates substantial time to ... getting other people to fix the problem. It used to be that activists sought voluntary help for their pet problem, and thus retained some semblance of honor. However, our self-styled elite became frustrated at some point in the past that despite their Ivy League masters degrees in sociology, other people did not seem to respect their ideas nor were they particularly interested in the activist's pet issues. So activists sought out the double shortcut of spending their time not solving the problem themselves, and not convincing other people to help, but convincing the government it should compel others to fix the supposed problem. This fascism of good intentions usually consists of government taking money from the populace to throw at the activist's issue, but can also take the form of government-compelled labor and/or government limitations on choice.
I began this post yesterday, with the introduction above, ready to take on this barf-inducing article in the Washington Post titled " Fulfillment Elusive for Young Altruists In the Crowded Field of Public Interest." Gee, who would have thought it difficult for a twenty-something with no real job experience to get someone like me to pay you to lobby the government to force me to pay for your personal goals for the world?
Fortunately, since it is a drop-dead gorgeous day outside, TJIC has already done the detail work of ripping this article apart. Here is one snippet, you should read the whole thing:
So the best they can imagine doing is "advocating".
Here's a hint: maybe the reason that your "sense of adulthood"
is "sapped" is because you haven't been doing anything at all adult.
Adults accomplish things.
They do not bounce around a meaningless series of do-nothing graduate programs, NGOs, and the sophisticated social scene in DC.
If you want to help the poor in Africa, go over there, find
some product they make that could sell here, and start importing it.
Create a market. Drive up the demand for their output.
Or find a bank that's doing micro-finance.
Or become a travel writer, to increase the demand for photography safaris, which would pump more dollars into the region.
Or design a better propane refrigerator, to make the lives of the African poor better....
One thing that disgusts me about "wannabe world changers" is that
mortaring together a few bricks almost always is beneath them - they're
more interested in writing a document about how to lobby the government
to fund a new appropriate-technology brick factory.
Special mutual admiration bonus-points are herein scored by my quoting TJIC's article that quotes me quoting TJIC.
I will add one thing: I have to lay a lot of this failure on universities like my own. Having made students jump through unbelievable hoops just to get admitted, and then having charged them $60,000 a year for tuition, universities feel like they need to make students feel better about this investment. Universities have convinced their graduates that public pursuits are morally superior to grubby old corporate jobs (that actually require, you know, real work), and then have further convinced them that they are ready to change to world and be leaders at 22. Each and every one of them graduate convinced they have something important to say and that the world is kneeling at their feet to hear it. But who the f*ck cares what a 22-year-old with an Ivy League politics degree has to say? Who in heavens name listened to Lincoln or Churchill in their early twenties? It's a false expectation. The Ivy League is training young people for, and in fact encouraging them to pursue, a job (ie 22-year-old to whom we all happily defer to tell us what to do) that simply does not exist. A few NGO's and similar organizations offer a few positions that pretend to be this job, but these are more in the nature of charitable make-work positions to help Harvard Kennedy School graduates with their self-esteem, kind of like basket-weaving for mental patients.
So what is being done to provide more pretend-you-are-making-an-impact-while-drawing-a-salary-and-not-doing-any-real-work jobs for over-educated twenty-something Ivy League international affairs majors? Not enough:
Chief executives for NGOs, Wallace said, have told her: "Well, yeah, if
we had the money, we'd be doing more. We can never hire as many as we
want to hire." Wallace said her organization drew more than 100
applicants for a policy associate position. "The industry really needs
to look at how to provide more avenues for young, educated people," she
Excuses, excuses. We are not doing enough for these young adults. I think the government should do something about it!
Update: Oh my God, a fabulous example illustrating exactly what universities are doing to promote this mindset is being provided by the University of Delaware. See the details here.
I have never been satisfied with my pictures of the rock formations on my parents ranch. They have always lacked the depth and detail I saw in nature. I played around this week with HDR photography, which uses multiple exposures of the same image to bring out more contrast and detail. Here is a closeup of the rocks. I also got a nice effect with the clouds, combining multiple exposures with small cloud movement. (click for higher resolution image)
Unfortunately, it was long distance and dark, so conditions were not very good for photography. Still waiting for that perfect photo-op, but it's surprisingly hard when most family visits we get are at sunset and sunrise.
Update: By the way, for any of you dog photographers out there - is there a good way to get rid of the bright eye / green eye in dog (or coyote!) photos that is the equivalent of human red eye?
I had meant to post pictures of my pumpkin, and just forgot. Here are a couple of my world pumpkin, which I carved by thinning out the pumpkin where the landmasses are, but not carving all the way through, such that the skin over the land was more translucent.
(click on pictures for larger view). I didn't have a tripod handy so my long-exposure night photography is kind of shaky.
Over the last two days, Phoenix put out an order to boil tap water before drinking and not to bathe or shower. Many restaurants closed for the two day period, and many many people went out and loaded up on expensive bottled water.
What I found interesting was that through the whole "crisis", and now after the fact, Phoenix officials continued to say that they thought the water was safe, that they had not gotten any bad test results, but that people still shouldn't use the water "as a precaution".
Given the current state of liability and torts, I probably would have done the same in their shoes, but is this really the world we want? There are costs to shutting off water in a city of 2 million plus people. Shouldn't those costs be justified by some real risk?
When I was an engineer, my job was often to rule on whether some condition was "safe". Every day I had to make decisions like "should we shut this part of the plant down, or can we keep running it safely". Certainly we wanted to err on the side of safety, but ruling every little concern as cause for shutdown would have caused the plant to be shut down almost all the time. In that job, I had to take responsibility and make a decision, balancing risks and costs. People want to say that shutting the plant (or the water system) at every hint of a problem is the "responsible" thing to do -- but in fact it is just the opposite. It is an avoidance, both of decision-making and responsibility.
Unfortunately, no one wants to make such decisions anymore. My wife's mammogram had something on it the doctor said he was 100% sure was just an artifact of the photography, but to cover his butt he said he had to get her to go have a biopsy (painful, expensive, and time-consuming) which was of course negative. We are loading the economy down with risk-defense costs, an invisible tax that is already hammering the medical field.
But beyond just the costs, at what point does this hair-trigger defensive posture lead to a chicken-little syndrome where no one pays attention to warnings any more? I know that the next time we get a warning about Phoenix water, I will be much less likely to be careful, because I remember that the last time nothing was really wrong with the water. How many people pay attention to homeland security alerts any more? Do you even bother to read warning labels any more, on the off chance it is a useful warning and not a "this toaster should not be used as a water ski" type warning?