The basement

The basement

The basement, originally uploaded by rutty.

I haven’t been taking so many photos recently and I’ve started to miss it. I love photography, I have plenty of gear and I need to get back to using it.

I decided that it was about time that I got out my tripod and took some photos that weren’t baby-related. Photos for fun, and took this one of the basement for the Dotdragnet “Choose A Room” photo contest.

I added the chair and bear for random interest and editted it in iPhoto.

Ruby

Ruby’s hand, originally uploaded by rutty.

We visited a good friend of mine last year and his youngest son had just had a little baby girl. She was gorgeous, and had the rather lovely name Ruby.

We’d been trying for a baby for a few months at this point and decided on names. Ruby was our choice for a girl too. They’d even chosen the same middle name: Elizabeth.

I took some photos of the possible name-a-like and this was probably the best. It’s a bit on the clichéd side but I still like it.

There’s a photo competition at work which requires photos based around the theme “newness and excitement” and I don’t think there’s anything more new and exciting than a newborn baby. I’ve entered this shot.

I’ll have my own baby to take photos of come September! Looking forward to that. The baby, I mean, rather than the photo opportunities.

Links for April 27th

Giving It Away

The thing about an e-book is that it's a social object. It wants to be copied from friend to friend, beamed from a Palm (nasdaq: PALM – news – people ) device, pasted into a mailing list. It begs to be converted to witty signatures at the bottom of e-mails. It is so fluid and intangible that it can spread itself over your whole life. Nothing sells books like a personal recommendation–when I worked in a bookstore, the sweetest words we could hear were "My friend suggested I pick up…." The friend had made the sale for us, we just had to consummate it. In an age of online friendship, e-books trump dead trees for word of mouth.

Plan to monitor all internet use

Communications firms are being asked to record all internet contacts between people as part of a modernisation in UK police surveillance tactics.

The home secretary scrapped plans for a database but wants details to be held and organised for security services.

The new system would track all e-mails, phone calls and internet use, including visits to social network sites.

Speculative Microeconomics for Tomorrow’s Economy

An interesting article about the Information Economy. Related to my latest OU assignment

50 Incredible Photography Techniques and Tutorials

In this post we present useful photographic techniques, tutorials and resources for various kinds of photography. You’ll learn how to set up the perfect environment and what techniques, principles and rules of thumbs you should consider when shooting your next perfect photo.

Book Review: Questions of Truth: God, Science and Belief

John Polkinghorne's former student Nicholas Beale runs a website on behalf of his mentor, on which questions about religion, and the relation of religion to science, can be posted. This apparently self-published book is a compilation of 51 of these website questions with Beale's and sometimes Polkinghorne's answers. The questions range over creation, the existence of evil, evolution, intelligent design and most of the other familiar old debating points, plus "How does the death of Jesus save the world?", "Why believe Jesus rose from the dead?" and "How much do you need to believe to be a Christian?"

Since these latter questions premise membership of the asylum already, I shall focus just on the various questions that touch on the relation of science and religion

Owning a camera doesn’t make you a criminal

When George Bush pronounced the war on terrorism as the "war on tourism", we thought it was because he was an idiot.

Maybe not, because it seems that tourism and terrorism are the same thing – or at least, they are to some police officers. How else can we explain the harassment of tourists who took photographs of a bus station?

Study finds pirates 10 times more likely to buy music

Piracy may be the bane of the music industry but according to a new study, it may also be its engine. A report from the BI Norwegian School of Management has found that those who download music illegally are also 10 times more likely to pay for songs than those who don't.

40 Amazing Online Photography Magazines

Whatever country we live in, we’re probably all familiar with the well-known photography magazines available in our newsagents and bookstores. The UK has Practical Photography, France has Photo, the Italians have Zoom and the Americans have American Photo. What you may not know is that there are many more photography magazines that are only available online. And some of them are good, very good.

Free data sharing is here to stay

Since the 1970s, pundits have predicted a transition to an "information economy". The vision of an economy based on information seized the imaginations of the world's governments. For decades now, they have been creating policies to "protect" information — stronger copyright laws, international treaties on patents and trademarks, treaties to protect anti-copying technology.

The thinking is simple: an information economy must be based on buying and selling information. Therefore, we need policies to make it harder to get access to information unless you've paid for it.

That means that we have to make it harder for you to share information, even after you've paid for it.

Links for February 18th

  • Novelist Pratchett becomes a Sir -

    Author Terry Pratchett has been knighted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace for services to literature.

    Sir Terry, 60, was named in the New Year Honours list.

  • Wonder twins telescope sees star’s dying gasps -

    500 light years away, the star T Leporis is dying.

    It used to be much like the Sun, but the store of nuclear fuel in its core is running out. Due to the nuclear processes going on deep inside it, its energy production has vastly increased, blasting out thousands of times the energy it did when it was a stable star. The outer layers of the star absorb this energy, and, like a hot air balloon, expand hugely. Even though it is now far, far brighter than it used to be, the expansion actually cools the star’s surface. It has become a bloated, swollen red giant.

  • Not safe for work: the git that keeps on giving -

    Remember: if you steal a man’s fish, you’ll make him hungry for a day, but steal his nets and you’ll keep him hungry for a lifetime.

  • 50 Mobile phone apps to change your life -

    If you’ve recently got a new phone for Christmas, be it an iPhone, G1, Nokia or a spiffy BlackBerry, we bet you didn’t know it could change your life.

    Download any of these apps and become more efficient, thinner, fitter and better at saving on the go, so you’ve still got time to sit around in your pants whenever you feel like it.

  • Maybe Facebook should just offer a loyalty card instead -

    Facebook has more than 150 million users. You would think that that must be valuable. The problem that “social networking” sites are throwing up, though, is that while you might have a lot of users, how do they ever become something that’s actually valuable?

  • New law making it an offence to photograph a policeman should worry us all -

    More than 300 photographers descended on New Scotland Yard this morning to protest about a new law that could criminalise anyone taking a photograph of a police officer. Section 76 of the Counter Terrorism Act, which came into force today, permits the arrest of anyone taking photographs of the police, the armed forces, or the intelligence services which are “likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”. Now a policeman might not be your first choice of subject but this should concern us all.

  • Babies’ gestures partly explain link between wealth and vocabulary -

    Babies can say volume without saying a single word. They can wave good-bye, point at things to indicate an interest or shake their heads to mean “No”. These gestures may be very simple, but they are a sign of things to come. Year-old toddlers who use more gestures tend to have more expansive vocabularies several years later. And this link between early gesturing and future linguistic ability may partially explain by children from poorer families tend to have smaller vocabularies than those from richer ones.

  • Creationists are still denying Darwin -

    The fundamental ideas behind the theory of evolution have been scientific gospel for decades – and yet creationists refuse to go the way of the dinosaurs. Who exactly are they? And just what do they believe?

  • Facebook ‘withdraws’ data changes -

    The founder of Facebook says the social network will return to its previous terms of service regarding user data.

    In a blog post Mark Zuckerberg said the move was temporary “while we resolve the issues that people have raised”.

    Users had complained after new terms of service seemed to suggest Facebook would retain personal data even if someone deleted their account.

  • Westboro Baptist Church justifies UK picket -

    This is the full text of the Telegraph’s correspondence with the Westboro Baptist Church, about its plan to stage a picket in Britain for the first time. The church has threatened to demonstrate outside the staging of anti-homophobia play The Laramie Project at a school theatre in Basingstoke, Hampshire on Friday.

Bookmarks for February 15th through February 16th

  • NABBC National Convention -

    A bright but cold morning recently greeted the delegates for the 2009 National Convention of the National Association of Brass Band conductors (NABBC) at their convention venue in Lincoln.

    Our band performed at this event. We were delighted to be conducted by the legendary Major Peter Parkes

  • Don’t be bitter as Twitter gets fitter -

    Click reporter LJ Rich talks about Twitter and whether the surge of interest in it is improving or impairing the micro-blogging system.

  • Join the Internet Blackout – Protest Against Guilt Upon Accusation Laws in NZ -

    Join The New Zealand Internet Blackout to protest against the Guilt Upon Accusation law ‘Section 92A’ that calls for internet disconnection based on accusations of copyright infringement without a trial and without any evidence held up to court scrutiny. This is due to come into effect on February 28th unless immediate action is taken by the National Party

  • Join New Zealand Internet blackout protest against insane copyright law -

    Reason didn’t work and the Parliamentary process failed, which is why we in New Zealand now have arguably the world’s harshest copyright enforcement law. Sections 92A and C of the amended Copyright Act establish a guilt upon accusation principle that can see anyone accused of “copyright infringement” getting his or her Internet connection severed.

  • Npower urged to drop ‘juice’ row – Npower seem to think that they came up with the term “Juice”. They’re idiots
  • 50 Wonderful, Inspiring Photoblogs -

    A photoblog is a very specific type of blog. Its focus is photography, and there are typically few words beyond a caption and comments. Photoblogs are easy to set up and maintain, and they make great photo galleries for photographers who are put off by the complexity of HTML coding or installing a CMS such as WordPress.

    It’s because of this simplicity, not to mention the development of free yet sophisticated tools like Pixelpost, that photoblogging has exploded in popularity over the last few years. Photoblogs.org, for example, lists over 32,000 photoblogs! That’s a lot of photos, and a lot of photographers vying for your attention.

    Dedicated as ever to making your life easier, we’ve handpicked over 50 brilliant photoblogs for your viewing pleasure.

  • Galaxy has ‘billions of Earths’ -

    There could be one hundred billion Earth-like planets in our galaxy, a US conference has heard.

    Dr Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution of Science said many of these worlds could be inhabited by simple lifeforms.

    He was speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago.

Not all photographers are sex pests

It seems like nary a day goes by without reports of some poor photographer having his collar felt for taking part in their hobby. Boing Boing have this particular subject close to their hearts and are regularly reporting on incidents where people with cameras are finding their days spoiled by suspicious-minded idiots.

Last month South Shield’s premier blogger Curly spent a few minutes having to explain himself to some policemen after taking some photos at a funfair. There were children playing on the dodgems and some local made the logical assumption that Curly intended to molest some of the poor dears and called the police.

To the Peelers’ credit, however, they quickly determined that our photographic protagonist was, in fact, an upstanding member of the British Public and let him go. Unfortunately there’s still some semi-panicked moron in the area seeing peadophiles at every corner.

Where is this going to end? Why didn’t this person just as Curly why he was taking photos rather than assuming the worst and called the feds? Why are photographers seemingly becoming the latest object of fear when people should be more concerned about people they actually know.

Taking photos in public is not illegal

There have been a few news articles recently covering the problems that some photographers are having while using their cameras in public places. It seems that there are a growing number of incidents where the police, or other figures of “authority”, are mistakenly apprehending photographers because they think that they are operating illegally.

The BBC had an article last week suggesting that some photographers are being mistaken for “terrorists”:

Misplaced fears about terror, privacy and child protection are preventing amateur photographers from enjoying their hobby, say campaigners.

Phil Smith thought ex-EastEnder Letitia Dean turning on the Christmas lights in Ipswich would make a good snap for his collection.

The 49-year-old started by firing off a few shots of the warm-up act on stage. But before the main attraction showed up, Mr Smith was challenged by a police officer who asked if he had a licence for the camera.

After explaining he didn’t need one, he was taken down a side-street for a formal “stop and search”, then asked to delete the photos and ordered not take any more. So he slunk home with his camera.

Wow, so taking photos in the middle of Ipswich is illegal? What about elsewhere in the country? Boing Boing have an article today about one photographer who was hassled by security guards in Middlesborough. He was threatened by a number of people, included some seemingly ignorant members of the public, because he’d taken some photos of these security guards. Boing Boing links to this photo on Flickr where the guy explains what happened:

My friend and I were photographing in the town. I spotted a man being detained by this security guard and a policeman, some kind of altercation was going on, i looked through my zoom lens to see what was happening and then moved on.

Moments later as i walked away this goon jumped in front of me and demanded to know what i was doing. i explained that i was taking photos and it was my legal right to do so, he tried to stop me by shoulder charging me, my friend started taking photos of this, he then tried to detain us both. I refused to stand still so he grabbed my jacket and said i was breaking the law. Quickly a woman and a guy wearing BARGAIN MADNESS shirts joined in the melee and forcibly grabbed my friend and held him against his will. We were both informed that street photography was illegal in the town.

Clearly these incidents are distressing for the photographers involved. I’ve taken a few candid shots in public places before and I’ve been lucky enough not to have been hassled like this.Unfortunately it seems that street photographers are now considered to be a huge threat to public safetly. Why is this?

There’s an air of paranoia in the UK, and elsewhere in the world, at the moment. Someone is out to get us and everyone is subject to suspicion. Chapter Thirteen Photography has an excellent article about this very thing called Public Photography – Stop and Search:

Unfortunately in the current age of tabloid press and moral panic there is an enemy under every bed. In fact if the press are to be believed the general public is composed solely of sinister people we are to all to fear and distrust (for our own good and their circulation…).

Are they looking at me? (by rutty)Sadly for photography the collateral damage of this culture of paranoia has been a certainty in the eyes of many of the public that any photographer in any public place is either a paedophile or a terrorist. It would seem in the eyes of the angry mob that there is no possible other motive for taking pictures in public places. The magazines heavily illustrated with photographs tell them this so it must be true. Right?

This misplaced paranoia has led to a terrible public backlash against street photography. What used to only arouse peoples curiosity and often their cooperation, now causes suspicion or hostility. Occasionally it also causes a call to the police from the general public.

The article paints a bleak picture of life on the street for the jobby photographic artist. My own experience hasn’t been anything like as terrible as they’re letting on but then I’m not out there every day waving my camera around at the general public. However, when I have tried street photography I had this constant thought going around my head: “I hope that no-one gets upset about me taking their photo”.

I really shouldn’t care what people think if I did. People have no right to privacy in public places, as Chapter Thirteen mention in their article:

Your rights are covered in superb detail at the following site: Sirmo.co.uk. I summarised below but think the document at the link is excellent and worth a thorough read.

  1. It is not ever illegal to take pictures in a public place in the UK, irrespective of what is going on.
  2. Children have no more right to privacy than an adult does when in a public place.
  3. Any member of the public has no powers to demand ID from anyone under any circumstances.
  4. Forcible deletion or removal of images or destruction of film from your camera is an assault.
  5. Detaining you and taking your camera would constitute an unlawful imprisonment or theft and both would include an assault.
  6. Even child protection officers (CPOs) have no right to stop you or demand ID, only the police may do so

I personally feel like I’m invading someone’s privacy when taking photos in public. I’ll try not to take pictures of individuals because that makes me feel uneasy, but it is not illegal to do so and photographers that do enjoy candid street photography in public places should be defended by the authorities, not illigitimately assaulted by shopping centre goons and wet-behind-the-ear police officers.

MP Austin Mitchell seems to be leading the charge to protect photographers’ rights. I whole-heartedly support his lobbying and hope that this situation does not get any worse. Photographers’ rights need to be protected as much as any individual in the UK.