Category Archives: Photography

Reports: Ferguson, Missouri, and militarized cops


Three video reports, two from Democracy Now! and one from RT America, look at the Washington-fund-and-armed militarization of American police and the ongoing war on photographers and journalists by police unhappy with their reports.

From Democracy Now!:

Program notes:

Protests are continuing in Ferguson, Missouri, over the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager who was shot by police on Saturday. But the mood in Ferguson has changed drastically over the past 24 hours. On Wednesday night, the city looked like a warzone as police fired tear gas, stun grenades and smoke bombs. Police arrested at least 10 people, including a St. Louis alderman and two journalists. But last night the mood was less tense after Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon put an African-American highway patrol captain, Ron Johnson, in charge of security in the town of Ferguson. Johnson marched with protesters and ordered the riot gear put away. We go to St. Louis to speak with the Rev. Renita Lamkin, who was hit with a rubber bullet by police on Wednesday while attending the protest, and Patricia Bynes, Democratic committee member of Ferguson Township.

[Editor's Note: Rev. Renita Lamkin was incorrectly identified during the interview. Democracy Now! regrets the error.]

From Democracy Now! again:

Cops or Soldiers? Pentagon, DHS Helped Arm Police in Ferguson with Equipment Used in War

Program notes:

The events in Ferguson over the past week have sparked a national debate over racial profiling and the militarization of local police forces. On Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder said, “I am deeply concerned that the deployment of military equipment and vehicles sends a conflicting message.” What Holder did not mention was the federal government’s role in supplying local police forces with military-grade equipment. The New York Times reports Department of Homeland Security grant money paid for the $360,000 Bearcat armored truck on patrol in Ferguson. Most of the body armor worn by officers responding to the Ferguson protests was also paid for with federal money. We speak to Radley Balko, author of the book, “Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces.” “When we take domestic police officers and we train them like soldiers and we give them military gear and we dress them up like soldiers and we tell them they’re fighting a war — a war on crime or a war on terror — they’re going to start to see themselves as soldiers,” Balko says.

And from RT America:

Controlling the narrative: Ferguson police target journalists

Program notes:

Journalists reporting on the unrest in Ferguson, MO were in the crosshairs of police Wednesday night, with violence and intimidation directed at many prominent journalists. Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post and Ryan J. Reilly of the Huffington Post made headlines after being confronted, assaulted and arrested without reason or justification given, while a crew from Al Jazeera America was targeted by SWAT forces who fired tear gas directly at the team while filming a protest. Christopher Chambers, a journalism professor at Georgetown University, explains to RT’s Ameera David why law enforcement seem to be targeting members of the media.

UPDATE: On a related note, consider this chart from Reuters:

BLOG Noteworthy

PhotoPlay: Encountering a bellicose scofflaw


Back toward the end of our reporting days with the Berkeley Daily Planet, we set out one afternoon to cover a story, then made an impromptu decision to photograph of some of the properties of Reza Valiyee, a landlord who routinely flouted city zoning laws, transforming yards into concrete parking spaces needed to accommodate students who rented former single-family residence and small apartments transformed by more non-permitted construction into densely packed rooming houses. [For one former tenant's account of life of one of Valiyee's abodes see this post at Miheespeaking's Blog, which also uses one of our photos without attribution.]

Even with the concrete paving expanses, the resulting dwellings grabbed more scarce street parking, irritating neighbors, who flooded the city with complaints.

Oh, and he also claims to have invented a perpetual motion machine.

A photographic close encounter

Here’s what happened when slowed our car and grabbed our camera to shoot one instance of concrete metastasis.

As I grabbed my first shot, an overall-clad worker alerted the gentlemen in center frame, who then stomped over his non-permitted curb cut, the non-permitted concrete expanses visible in the background.

13 August 2009, Nikon D300, ISO 320, 48 mm, 1/1000 sec, f5.6

13 August 2009, Nikon D300, ISO 320, 48 mm, 1/1000 sec, f5.6

It was, of course, Reza Valiyee, who thrust his hand through the open car window and made a grab for my not-inexpensive camera and lens, banging the Nikon body into our eyeglasses.

13 August 2009, Nikon D300, ISO 320, 18 mm, 1/4000 sec, f5.6

13 August 2009, Nikon D300, ISO 320, 18 mm, 1/4000 sec, f5.6

Needless to say, we kept shooting, getting this:.

13 August 2009, Nikon D300, ISO 320, 38 mm, 1/640 sec, f5.6

13 August 2009, Nikon D300, ISO 320, 38 mm, 1/640 sec, f5.6

Here’s how we described the 13 August 2009 encounter in a 20 August Berkeley Daily Planet story, which only used the last of the photos.

A reporter who drove past one of his properties Friday afternoon found himself in a momentarily tense confrontation with the scofflaw landlord.

Within seconds after the reporter began shooting photographs from inside his car of a Valiyee rental at the southwest corner of Ellsworth and Derby streets, a worker doing plumbing repairs spotted the camera and went to fetch Valiyee.

The pair approached the car, and both men repeatedly reached inside the car to cover the camera lens, the worker demanding, “Where’s your permit to take pictures?”

“It’s called the First Amendment,” the reporter replied.

Finally Valiyee told his employee to ease off, and he asked the reporter why he was taking pictures.

After he was told that neighbors had complained about illegal construction, Valiyee said, “All I am doing is providing housing for students who really need it.”

Street Seens: A remarkable Berkeley building


The run-down building at the northeast corner of the intersection of 65th Street and San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley has been transformed into what is perhaps the city’s most remarkable display of street art. We dodged traffic to grab a few shots.

And, as usual, click on the images to enlarge:

We begin with the fence to the north of the building facing San Pablo Avenue:

27 July 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 6.9 mm, 1/1300 sec, f3.9

27 July 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 6.9 mm, 1/1300 sec, f3.9

Next up, the building’s northern wall, which largely escapes the attention of passers-by:

27 July 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 6.9 mm, 1/1300 sec, f3.9

27 July 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 6.9 mm, 1/1300 sec, f3.9

The next four shots feature two scenes from the building’s San Pablo Avenue footage, first with this strange critter:

27 July 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 4.3 mm, 1/320 sec, f4

27 July 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 4.3 mm, 1/320 sec, f4

Next, more of the frontage:

27 July 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 13.3 mm, 1/400 sec, f5

27 July 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 13.3 mm, 1/400 sec, f5

And a detail of a door critter with a Freudian nose:

27 July 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 5.4 mm, 1/400 sec, f3.6

27 July 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 5.4 mm, 1/400 sec, f3.6

And this hidden detail, on the side of column, may explain the nasal condition:

27 July 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 5.4 mm, 1/400 sec, f4

27 July 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 5.4 mm, 1/400 sec, f4

Next, the western half of the building’s southern wall:

27 July 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 6.9 mm, 1/800 sec, f3.9

27 July 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 6.9 mm, 1/800 sec, f3.9

And the eastern half:

27 July 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 4.8 mm, 1/1000 sec, f4

27 July 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 4.8 mm, 1/1000 sec, f4

A detail:

27 July 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 41.3 mm, 1/500 sec, f5.6

27 July 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 41.3 mm, 1/500 sec, f5.6

And, finally, the fence to the southeast:

27 July 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 41.3 mm, 1/500 sec, f5.6

27 July 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 41.3 mm, 1/500 sec, f5.6

From NASA: A Solar Filament Erupts


Via Astronomy Picture of the Day. And do click on the image to enlarge to its full spectacularity:

BLOG Solar flare

Explanation:

What’s happened to our Sun? Nothing very unusual — it just threw a filament. Toward the middle of 2012, a long standing solar filament suddenly erupted into space producing an energetic Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). The filament had been held up for days by the Sun’s ever changing magnetic field and the timing of the eruption was unexpected. Watched closely by the Sun-orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory, the resulting explosion shot electrons and ions into the Solar System, some of which arrived at Earth three days later and impacted Earth’s magnetosphere, causing visible aurorae. Loops of plasma surrounding an active region can be seen above the erupting filament in the ultraviolet image. Over the past week the number of sunspots visible on the Sun unexpectedly dropped to zero, causing speculation that the Sun has now passed a very unusual solar maximum, the time in the Sun’s 11-year cycle when it is most active.

Street seens: Images from the Berkeley Pier


For our first entry after a long delay [computer problems, now hopefully solved] some street art, for the most part shot on the city’s fishing pier at the Berkeley Marina. . .

First up, an enigmatic offering:

15 June 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 1600, 6.1 mm, 1/15 sec, f3.7

15 June 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 1600, 6.1 mm, 1/15 sec, f3.7

Next, a face to remember:

15 June 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 500, 4.3 mm, 1/15 sec, f3.3

15 June 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 500, 4.3 mm, 1/15 sec, f3.3

A high flyer takes wing:

15 June 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 320, 4.3 mm, 1/60 sec, f3.3

15 June 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 320, 4.3 mm, 1/60 sec, f3.3

Cosa Nostra or cozy nostrum?:

15 June 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 1600, 4.3 mm, 1/60 sec, f3.3

15 June 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 1600, 4.3 mm, 1/60 sec, f3.3

Another enigma:

15 June 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 1600, 11 mm, 1/15 sec, f4.8

15 June 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 1600, 11 mm, 1/15 sec, f4.8

And a warrior takes up his arms:

15 June 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 1250, 4.8 mm, 1/15 sec, f3.4

15 June 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 1250, 4.8 mm, 1/15 sec, f3.4

Younger daughter catches another form of art:

15 June 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 320, 4.3 mm, 1/160 sec, f3.3

15 June 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 320, 4.3 mm, 1/160 sec, f3.3

And for our final image, another kind of street art, closer to home on Shattuck Avenue:

25 June 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 35.6 mm, 1/200 sec, f5.5

25 June 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 35.6 mm, 1/200 sec, f5.5

Sadie Rose, happy as a clam with her new digs


Grandma just sent a new snap of the apple of our eye after Sadie’s mom and dad move into their new digs in Los Angeles, necessitated by her arrival and the need for more space.

So we indulge a Grandpa’s prerogative and share it with the world:

BLOG Saide Rose

Our candidates of the day for liquidation. . .


Yeah, why not?

When corporations do malicious things that reek of patent [in both senses] absurdity motivated solely by greed, let’s liquidate them. Or better yet, let’s give their ownership over to the community of folks who’ve been vicitmized by their depredations.

And in that light, we bring you a delightfully bile-arousing clip from Abby Martin’s Breaking the Set:

Program notes:

Abby Martin goes over the top 5 most ridiculous patents in the US, citing everything from Amazon’s patent of white background photography to Apple’s patent of the shape of a rectangle all leading to the rise of patent trolling and a complete abuse of the system.

Street Seens: Spring in Berkeley, plus one


Just some random shots, three of flowers one of the ocean, grabbed during strolls.

First up, just a red, red rose. . .

Panasonic DMC-ZS19 3 May 2014, ISO 100, 20.6 mm, 1/250 Sec, f5.3

Panasonic DMC-ZS19 3 May 2014, ISO 100, 20.6 mm, 1/250 Sec, f5.3

And another rose, paler in hew. . .

Panasonic DMC-ZS19 3 May 2014, ISO 100, 5.4 mm, 1/125 Sec, f3.5

Panasonic DMC-ZS19 3 May 2014, ISO 100, 5.4 mm, 1/125 Sec, f3.5

Some more flowers, both botanic and carved into fence stakes by a neighbor. . .

Panasonic DMC-ZS19 3 May 2014, ISO 160, 7.4 mm, 1/250 Sec, f3.9

Panasonic DMC-ZS19 3 May 2014, ISO 160, 7.4 mm, 1/250 Sec, f3.9

And finally, the San Francisco coast near sunset, with a hang glider high overhead. . .

Panasonic DMC-ZS19 3 May 2014, ISO 160, 4.3 mm, 1/1300 Sec, f3.3

Panasonic DMC-ZS19 3 May 2014, ISO 160, 4.3 mm, 1/1300 Sec, f3.3

Droned: Is this a $10,000 storm damage video?


That’s the question currently confronting the Federal Aviation Administration, which is looking closely at whether and how its rules apply to small drones used by photographers to capture news videos and stills.

The basic rule seems to be that you can send you camera drones aloft, but only if you’re not usually them commercially, but many questions remain. . .

First up, the footage in question, shot by Brian Emfinger:

Arkansas Tornado Damage Aerial Video 4-27-2014

Program note:

Drone video I shot right after the tornado moved through just south of Mayflower, Arkansas. Continue to follow KATV for the latest information and tomorrow we will have more drone video.

And the story, from PetaPixel:

FAA ‘Looking Into’ $10,000 Fine for Using Drone to Document Tornado Damage

In an effort to document the intense and widespread damage of the tornados that ripped through Arkansas this past week, storm chaser and videographer Brian Emfinger made use of a drone, flying it above the damage and rescue efforts to bring to light just how bad the damage was. Unfortunately for Emfinger, the Federal Aviation Administration may have an issue with his drone use.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is reporting that the FAA is indeed investigating the situation of Emfinger’s use of the drone (as well as other entities who made use of drones).

However, just as the video brought to life some controversy on the use of drones, the FAA’s investigation has also brought some controversy with it — specifically questions regarding the First Amendment and the agency’s ability to impose its rules over the right of freedom of press.

The potential fine could be upwards of $10,000 if any of the storm chasers or journalists who covered the storm and damage using a drone are indeed fined, but the FAA is walking on some slippery slopes if it does intend to enforce the fines. Laywer Greg McNeal writes at Forbes that “many news organizations, lawyers [...], and other drone enthusiasts would be united in opposition to the agency’s efforts to enforce non-existent rules.”

Challenging racism: Of bananas and melanin


There’s a key rule of derogatory history: The more melanin you have in your skin, the more likely you’ll be called or compared to a simian.

Here is the U.S., African Americans were often compared to gorillas or, in the case folks sitting on stoops or in a once ubiquitous by now-vanished architectural feature of single-family homes, “porch monkeys.”

And Adolf Hitler, that most famous of European racists, called darker skinned Mediterranean peoples [including Arabs] as angemalte Halbaffen [painted half-apes] and back Africans as Halbaffen.

Now as everyone knows, thanks to countless cartoons [both on the printed page and on screen], apes like bananas.

Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker

For one famous African American, the association between her dark skin and the banana was made over. Josephine Baker became the toast of Paris and Weimar Berlin by her brilliant ovation-evoking dances. And one of her most famous routines was danced topless, wearing a wryly subversive skirt of jiggling costumer’s bananas. But when Hitler came to power, the last thing he wanted was a black nightclub star, so Baker retreated to Paris, and when Hitler’s troops invaded, she joined the Resistance, ultimately winning the Croix de Guerre. After her return to the U.S., she became active in the civil rights movement.

But the association between bananas and a derogatory view of folks with an abundance of melanin remains strong in Europe.

Consider the case of Italy’s first black cabinet minister, who has several times been the target of banana-throwing racists.

BBC News describes one such incident in this 27 July 2013 report:

Black Italian minister Kyenge suffers banana insult

Italian politicians have reacted with anger after the country’s first black minister had bananas thrown at her during a political rally.

Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge, who has suffered racial abuse in the past, dismissed the act as “a waste of food”.

But Environment Minister Andrea Orlando said on Twitter he felt the “utmost indignation” over the incident.

An earlier International Business Times article on 1 May 2013 reported on incidents that had led to a call for a government investigation:

Kyenge, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is an eye surgeon, has been targeted by racist and far-right websites, as well as by a member of the right-wing Northern League party.

She was appointed integration minister by new prime minister Enrico Letta on Saturday, making her one of seven women in the new government.

Now, in the wake of racist taunts from an array of sources, including epithets that described Kyenge, 48, as a “Congolese monkey,” “Zulu” and “the black anti-Italian,” equal opportunities minister Josefa Idem has ordered the National Anti-Discrimination Office to investigate.

One venue where banana-throwing has become almost a regular feature is the European soccer match [though Canada hasn’t been spared either], as NBC Sports documented back on 23 September 2011 in “A brief history of racist banana-throwing incidents in sports.”

But the latest such incident generated a genuinely interesting response.

From TheLocal.es:

Spain goes bananas for anti-racism campaign

FC Barcelona player Dani Alves decided to eat a banana thrown at him during Sunday’s game against Villareal, a quick-witted reaction which is quickly turning into a worldwide anti-racism campaign with the help of his teammate Neymar.

The Brazilian full-back picked up the banana as he prepared to take a corner (see the video here) in his side’s match at Villareal on Sunday, and rather than take offense to the racist jibe, he gobbled up the fruit in one bite.

“I have been in Spain 11 years and it has been the same for 11 years,” Alves said after his team’s 3-2 comeback. “You have to laugh at these backward people. We are not going to change it, so you have to take it almost as a joke and laugh at them.”

Here’s the video, via Barca Vs Madrid Multimedia:

Dani Alves Eats Banana Thrown From Public – Villareal vs Barcelona 2-3 La Liga 27 04 2014

The response on Facebook and Twitter was immediate. Here’s an example, in tis case posted by Alves’s companion Thaíssa Carvalho [via Independenti.e]:

BLOG Bananas

 

UPDATE: A new, high level development, via ANSA. Photo and more at the link:

Renzi, Prandelli eat banana to back Alves

  • Premier, Italy coach show solidarity against racism

Premier Matteo Renzi and Italy coach Cesare Prandelli on Monday ate a banana, copying Barcelona player Dani Alves’s reaction to racist abuse and giving a symbolic demonstration of solidarity.

Brazilian defender Alves won international acclaim for his intelligent response to having a banana thrown at him from the stands while taking a corner during Sunday’s 3-2 win at Villarreal – peeling it and then taking a bite. Renzi and Prandelli showed their support during a meeting with Italy’s Five-A-Side football team, who were recently crowned European champions. Many other high-profile Italians also hailed Alves.

“Bravo Dani Alves. Fight racism forever. With elegance and imagination,” tweeted former immigration minister Cecile Kyenge, whose short tenure as Italy’s first black minister under ex-premier Enrico Letta was plagued by racist verbal attacks and gestures from the anti-immigrant Northern League party.

But there’s another factor in play: The spread of a fungus that threatens the very existence of the fruit.

The story from NBC News:

Bananas can’t seem to catch a break.

The fruit is under assault again from a disease that threatens the popular variety that Americans slice into their cereal or slather with chocolate and whipped cream in their banana splits. But aside from its culinary delight, the banana is the eighth most important food crop in the world, and the fourth most important one for developing nations, where millions of people rely on the $8.9 billion industry for their livelihood.

“It’s a very serious situation,” said Randy Ploetz, a professor of plant pathology at the University of Florida. In 1989 Ploetz discovered a strain of Panama disease, called TR4, that may be growing into a serious threat to U.S. supplies of the fruit and Latin American producers.

“There’s nothing at this point that really keeps the fungus from spreading,” he said in an interview with CNBC.

If the banana does go the way of the dodo, let’s just hope racist fans don’t take to throwing that other “fruit” so frequently linked with blacks by racists. Via Free Republic:

BLOG Melon

And now for another word from our sponsor


Sadie Rose again, this time with Grandma [and esnl ex] Laura, both happy as clams:

19 April 2014, Canon EOS Rebel T3i, ISO 400, 27 mm, 1/60 sec, f4

19 April 2014, Canon EOS Rebel T3i, ISO 400, 27 mm, 1/60 sec, f4

Grandpa alert: Sadie Rose pays a visit


Sadie Rose, her mom and dad, Grandma B, and mom’s old friend came for a visit, and we headed out for a delightful lunch at Berkeley’s own Easy Creole.

After lunch, we cleared the table and mom put her down on the nice, cool ceramic tile tabletop. The first reaction, uncertainty. . .

18 February 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 800, 4.3 mm, 1/50 sec, f3.3

18 February 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 800, 4.3 mm, 1/50 sec, f3.3

And the tile feels so strange, so cool on her hands. . .

    18 February 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 800, 3.5 mm, 1/60 sec, f3.6

18 February 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 800, 3.5 mm, 1/60 sec, f3.6

And decides she likes it. . .

18 February 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 800, 3.5 mm, 1/60 sec, f3.3

18 February 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 800, 3.5 mm, 1/60 sec, f3.3

And so does mommy, and whilst daddy’s busy textin’. . .

18 February 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 800, 5.4 mm, 1/40 sec, f3.6

18 February 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 800, 5.4 mm, 1/40 sec, f3.6

Sadie discovers she can crawl! Mom, dad, and Grandma take delight!

18 February 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 800, 5.4 mm, 1/40 sec, f3.6

18 February 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 800, 5.4 mm, 1/40 sec, f3.6

And Grandpa’s happy too. . .and so is Sadie Rose!

18 February 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 800, 4.34 mm, 1/50 sec, f3.3

18 February 2014, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 800, 4.34 mm, 1/50 sec, f3.3

Grandpa alert: Sadie Rose, leanin’ in


Another shot of granddaughter arrived form Grandma, and how could we not share?:

BLOG Sadie Rose leanin in

Trevor Paglen: Panopticon State Architecture


NSA headquarters, Ft. Meade, Maryland, by Trevor Paglen

NSA headquarters, Ft. Meade, Maryland, by Trevor Paglen

Trevor Paglen, who holds a doctorate in geography from UC Berkeley, has emerged as the preeminent documentor of the iconography of the national security.

He has revealed the bizarre military patches of black operators, the landscapes of surveillance, and now, in his latest effort for Creative Time Reports in partnership with The Intercept — the new website edited by  Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, and Laura Poitras — he presents us with nocturnal aerial images of three agencies which play crucial roles in the emerging panopticon security state.

From Creative Time Reports:

What does a surveillance state look like?

Over the past eight months, classified documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have exposed scores of secret government surveillance programs. Yet there is little visual material among the blizzard of code names, PowerPoint slides, court rulings and spreadsheets that have emerged from the National Security Agency’s files.

The scarcity of images is not surprising. A surveillance apparatus doesn’t really “look” like anything. A satellite built by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) reveals nothing of its function except to the best-trained eyes. The NSA’s pervasive domestic effort to collect telephone metadata also lacks easy visual representation; in the Snowden archive, it appears as a four-page classified order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Since June 2013, article after article about the NSA has been illustrated with a single image supplied by the agency, a photograph of its Fort Meade headquarters that appears to date from the 1970s.

The photographs below [at the link, esnl], which are being published for the first time, show three of the largest agencies in the U.S. intelligence community. The scale of their operations were hidden from the public until August 2013, when their classified budget requests were revealed in documents provided by Snowden. Three months later, I rented a helicopter and shot nighttime images of the NSA’s headquarters. I did the same with the NRO, which designs, builds and operates America’s spy satellites, and with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), which maps and analyzes imagery, connecting geographic information to other surveillance data. The Central Intelligence Agency—the largest member of the intelligence community—denied repeated requests for permission to take aerial photos of its headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

Read the rest.

And now for the video:

Trevor Paglen’s Visual Vocabulary of the U.S. Intelligence Community

Program note:

Artist Trevor Paglen photographs the National Security Agency (NSA), National Reconnaissance Office, (NRO), and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA)

Sadie Rose loves that butternut squash


With just enough of a touch of cinnamon to bring a smile to granddaughter’s face in this forwarded image from Grandma:

BLOG Sadie Squash

Bella Venezia: Sad signage of the times


Sent by Gray Brechin from Venice with the comment, “We are so doomed.”

Corporate environmental pollution viewed from the water:

10 January 2014, Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS, ISO 100, 4.4 mm, 1/100 sec, f4.5

10 January 2014, Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS, ISO 100, 4.4 mm, 1/100 sec, f4.5

The same, close-up:

10 January 2014, Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS, ISO 400, 4.3 mm, 1/400 sec, f2.7

10 January 2014, Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS, ISO 400, 4.3 mm, 1/400 sec, f2.7

And another side sign of the times, notable most in that it’s now necessary:

10 January 2014, Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS, ISO 400, 4.3 mm, 1/160 sec, f2.7

10 January 2014, Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS, ISO 400, 4.3 mm, 1/160 sec, f2.7

The English translation:

DRESS

You may not walk around Venice in swimwear or bare-chested, nor plunge or paddle in canals. Please behave respectfully in the city. You can find beaches on the Lido Island.

South Berkeley Street Seens: New Year’s Eve


Sights encountered on a stroll to the Adeline Street post office.

First, a skyline seen at the end of the block. . .

31 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 160, 47.3 mm, 1/500 sec, f5.8

31 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 160, 47.3 mm, 1/500 sec, f5.8

A fencesitter encountered in a town known for treesitters. . .

31 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 160, 4.3 mm, 1/320 sec, f4

31 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 160, 4.3 mm, 1/320 sec, f4

And a face-to-face encounter. . .

31 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 100, 4 mm, 1/400 sec, f4

31 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 100, 4 mm, 1/400 sec, f4

A fellow pedestrian. . .

31 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 160, 16.1 mm, 1/400 sec, f5.2

31 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 160, 16.1 mm, 1/400 sec, f5.2

Traces left by a pedestrian past. . .

31 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 125, 31.5 mm, 1/80 sec, f5.4

31 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 125, 31.5 mm, 1/80 sec, f5.4

Evidence of another past walker. . .

31 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 100, 21.8 mm, 1/100 sec, f5.4

31 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 100, 21.8 mm, 1/100 sec, f5.4

Adeline Street Post Office parking lot skyline. . .

31 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 100, 4.4 mm, 1/1300 sec, f3.3

31 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 100, 4.4 mm, 1/1300 sec, f3.3

The Stately Homes of Prince Street. . .

BLOG Stately r

And the latest sigil appearing on the wall near Casa esnl. . .

31 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 100, 31.3 mm, 1/500 sec, f5.4

31 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 100, 31.3 mm, 1/500 sec, f5.4

And, after the jump, the obligatory selfie. . . Continue reading

Portrait of a South Berkeley businessman


Bill, born in Bethlehem and the longtime owner of Roxie’s Delicatessen at the corner of Ashby and Shattuck Avenues in Berkeley, California:

4 April 2007, Nikon D200, ISO 320, 60 mm, 1/60 sec, f4

4 April 2007, Nikon D200, ISO 320, 60 mm, 1/60 sec, f4

Once upon a time, there was this stuff, film. . .


From BuzzFeed Yellow, a surprisingly insightful primer for folks familiar only with the digital:

Film Photography Explained To Modern Kids

Program note:

The past was not that long ago.

Sadie Rose pays a Christmas Eve visit


Sadie Rose came north from Los Angeles for the Christmas holidays, accompanied by mommie Jackie and daddy Krys, along with her uncle Derald. Grampa ensl came along for a celebratioln at younger saughter Sammi’s Oakland apartment. . .

Sammi [l] welcomes Derald, Jackie, and Sadie Rose. . .

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 800, 4.3 mm, 1/60 sec, f3.3

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 800, 4.3 mm, 1/60 sec, f3.3

Sadie spurns a proffered libation, with mommy’s approval. . .

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 500, 4.3 mm, 1/60 sec, f3.3

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 500, 4.3 mm, 1/60 sec, f3.3

Aunt Sammi gets a happy hug. . .

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 800, 14.2 mm, 1/60 sec, f5.1

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 800, 14.2 mm, 1/60 sec, f5.1

Derald asks Sadie if she’d like a Grampa hug. . .

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 400, 4.3 mm, 1/20 sec, f3.3

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 400, 4.3 mm, 1/20 sec, f3.3

And gets an emphatic response. . .

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 400, 4.3 mm, 1/20 sec, f3.3

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 400, 4.3 mm, 1/20 sec, f3.3

Then Sadie gives him a try. . .

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 800, 4.3 mm, 1/50 sec, f3.3

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 800, 4.3 mm, 1/50 sec, f3.3

They hold a tête-à-tête, initially with skepticism. . .

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 800, 8.5 mm, 1/8 sec, f4.2

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 800, 8.5 mm, 1/8 sec, f4.2

Then with a little less. . .

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 100, 8.5 mm, 1/60 sec, f4.2

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 100, 8.5 mm, 1/60 sec, f4.2

Then with curiosity. . .

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 100, 8.5 mm, 1/125 sec, f4.2

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 100, 8.5 mm, 1/125 sec, f4.2

And, finally, with  contentment. . .

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 100, 8.5 mm, 1/60 sec, f4.2

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 100, 8.5 mm, 1/60 sec, f4.2

Sadie Rose tries out her holiday tutu. . .

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 500, 23.1 mm, 1/250 sec, f5.4

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 500, 23.1 mm, 1/250 sec, f5.4

Then calls a session of her fan club. . .

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 100, 8.5 mm, 1/60 sec, f4.1

24 December 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 100, 8.5 mm, 1/60 sec, f4.1