Category Archives: Photography

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)