The Great Journey in Photography

Posts tagged “Forster’s Tern

Cry to the Heavens – For Arron Swartz (2014)

Cry to the Heavens  Forsters Tern

Last week marked the one year anniversary of the death of Arron Swartz. A short time after that I wrote the following post. Remarkable to me was that virtually none read it. When it disappeared from Google Plus I became suspicious but like most back then didn’t think anyone would be concerned about what I have to say after all I am just a little old bird shooter griping about big mean government. A lot has happened in the last year and all of us have learned about things that happen without our knowledge or consent. Today I am absolutely convinced that my writing that day was censored and that only further illustrated the abusive things that are happening around us. Please don’t misunderstand though, I know that WordPress.com has generously provided the bandwidth where this blog lives, they and only they have the right to censor or revoke it’s content. Today I am re running that post and I will continue to do it every year for the foreseeable future. If it shows unusual views again, next year I will get my own server and host it there. We, the Americans citizens own our government and I for one want the keys back.

It is time to put your cameras down and listen up for a bit. I am outraged by recent events.
Arron Swartz was an internet activist and a pioneer in technology whose contributions helped shape the internet into what it is today. Beyond his technical genius his main motivation was to ensure a free and open internet for all of us. Arron Swartz was also facing a 35 year prison term and 4 million dollars in fines from the United States Justice Department for what is at worst a violation of terms of service with academic data service JSTOR. You know terms of service, pretty much like that 37 page document you are presented with every time there is an iTunes update. Yeah one of those, 50 years, 4 million!
Swartz was an enemy of the state and the United States Department of Justice set out to destroy his very existence. You can read an interesting article comparing the prosecution of Swartz to violent crimes prison terms here. What he did was download too many files from the service, he didn’t share them with any one or make them public though that may have been his intention, he was a valid subscriber to the service also. So where is the crime? According to most, including the State Attorney General of Massachusetts there was no crime, at worst a civil matter.

On January 11 Arron Swartz took his own life. Friends and family say the in progress prosecution was the main factor. I am outraged by his death and by the off the rails government that caused it. It is a growing trend for the DOJ,willful disregard for the welfare of its citizens, a disregard for the law, and a complete lack of any moral or ethical guidance. They will surly have their own version of events and they will be lies, the same lies as the other outrages, the same rationalizations as always. The end of justice.

Back in the day I had a few employees who believed that our companies’ human resources department was there expressly to provide to their needs and best welfare. To be their advocate in all things. I would tell them to make no mistake about it that the Human Resources Dept., every HR Department was in place to protect the best interests of the business. They maintain the rules to avoid lawsuits and if that helps you along the way that is fine but if it doesn’t they will go against you. Eventually they all learned that the hard way.

It is hard to say when the big change happened but it is obvious to even the most casual observers that the United States Federal Government’s sole interest is to feed its own system heavy from decades of greed and corruption. It’s own bureaucracy consuming every resource available, it has no interest in considering its citizens needs short of getting a vote, the only motivation is to provide for its self and the DOJ is their HR department. That department is corrupt from the top down ignoring all attempts at oversight provided for by the constitution. Attorney General Eric Holder is currently held in “contempt of congress”, one of the highest levels of legal discipline for lying to and withholding evidence from congressional oversight. He is, at the highest level of government, obstructing justice.

Don’t expect to hear much about any of this from American mainstream media either. All the usual suspects, CBS, NBC, ABC et al. are standing mute, and why not, they are the ones who have the most to gain from Arron being dead. Shutting down the internet is the only way they can maintain a stranglehold on television advertising and ratings. Increasingly I hear the term “State Run Media”. It reminds me of  old Soviet Russia when I was growing up but it really is applicable here. Our National, shall I say traditional media is the state-run media. They deliver the government narrative on a daily basis, lie, mis-represent facts, and employ propaganda techniques right out of Nazi Germany. Probably the most sinister crime against journalism these folks commit however, is shaping the message by omission. Not telling the stories that need to be told, ignoring many important events acting as if they never happened. They think themselves cute and clever bouncing from role to role, pundit when it is convenient, spokesperson when it pays enough, and journalist when no one is watching closely. Void of ethics, on whole they are a shameful disgrace to the very notion of journalism, they truly are America’s corporate whores. Thankfully their time is rapidly coming to an end, regardless of outcome the American mainstream media no longer has the respect or ear of informed people.

Every American citizen living in the country has one representative in the house, two senators, and one president. They are supposed to be your elected representatives. While they are in reality only beholden to their campaign contributors, arguably they still serve at the pleasure of the voting public. I suggest you contact one or more of those people and let them know that things have to change, let them know that “by the people, for the people” has been lost. Tell them that the Department of Justice is not an acceptable steward of the constitution and if it does not change you will be voting for other candidates. Then go out and vote for someone else. No more glass half full rationalization, Vote For Another Person.
I know many of you are from another country but this is important for you too. You are not beyond the persecution of the DOJ. Kim dotcom, Julian Assange, and thousands of assault weapons sold to Mexican drug lords are just 3 examples of DOJ international crimes. You can help. Ask your government and the United Nations why are they meddling in international business.

A few days ago the activist group Anonymous took control of one of the DOJ’s websites and posted a 9 minute video declaring cyber war against the government in the name of Aaron. Government and media are taking the three monkey’s approach to the action. See, hear, and speak no evil. I am sure keeping the public un-informed is for our own good. Fortunately, there are alternative media outlets and places like here to disseminate information too. The fact that they were able to take over such a website is well, in a word, powerful. Anonymous would have you believe that they are the “Rebel Alliance” or True Freedom Fighters. Given the right circumstances the may come true for them. It is hard to imagine exactly how a cyber war between the two will unfold but I will tell you the one guaranteed looser will be you and I. I doubt Government will emerge victorious. For years they have been promoting a lifestyle of dependence for the sake of votes, and frankly it has become exactly that, fat, slow, and dumb depending on others to do the work for them. The only thing it truly excels at is collecting, containing, and killing. They will rely on those skills when needed, and we the common citizen will be the guaranteed looser.

Imagine a day when the government says they must take control of the internet to curb terrorism, to filter which websites you can visit, maybe have a national database like Facebook where you must store your entire digital life to be examined when desired. Imagine government scanning all your documents and communications in search of a terrorist plot, allowing photography in designated areas only, licenses for blogging and podcasting, censoring any words that may be construed offensive. “You are a bully, you are a racist, you are a psyco killer”, anyone can make the accusation, they can search your life and if everything is not exactly the way they want, you are off. Think that is far-fetched? It happens elsewhere and there are elements within the American government planning those exact things today.

So Yeah, I am outraged. Another line has been crossed in the great march to fascism and the lie known as the war on terrorism. Arron Swartz is that line, one remarkable young man lost at least in part because the American government trying so desperately to control and have the things they just cant have. Life and Liberty. He was oppressed, his rights violated and I cry to the heavens for him. It needs to be the last line. I am just the voice of one and you are the voices of many, together the voice of one and the voices of many can join together and speak out for all the Arron Swartz’s of the world.

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness….”

Thank You–
For all the Arrons of the world-God’s Speed.


Cry to the Heavens – For Arron Swartz

Cry to the Heavens  Forsters Tern

It is time to put your cameras down and listen up for a bit. I am outraged by recent events.
Arron Swarts was an internet activist and a pioneer in technology whose contributions helped shape the internet into what it is today. Beyond his technical genius his main motivation was to ensure a free and open internet for all of us. Arron Swarts was also facing a 35 year prison term and 4 million dollars in fines from the United States Justice Department for what is at worst a violation of terms of service with academic data service JSTOR. You know terms of service, pretty much like that 37 page document you are presented with every time there is an iTunes update. Yeah one of those, 50 years, 4 million!
Swarts was an enemy of the state and the United States Department of Justice set out to destroy his very existence. You can read an interesting article comparing the prosecution of Swarts to violent crimes prison terms here. What he did was download too many files from the service, he didn’t share them with any one or make them public though that may have been his intention, he was a valid subscriber to the service also. So where is the crime? According to most, including the State Attorney General of Massachusetts there was no crime, at worst a civil matter.

On January 11 Arron Swarts took his own life. Friends and family say the in progress prosecution was the main factor. I am outraged by his death and by the off the rails government that caused it. It is a growing trend for the DOJ,willful disregard for the welfare of its citizens, a disregard for the law, and a complete lack of any moral or ethical guidance. They will surly have their own version of events and they will be lies, the same lies as the other outrages, the same rationalizations as always. The end of justice.

Back in the day I had a few employees who believed that our companies’ human resources department was there expressly to provide to their needs and best welfare. To be their advocate in all things. I would tell them to make no mistake about it that the Human Resources Dept., every HR Department was in place to protect the best interests of the business. They maintain the rules to avoid lawsuits and if that helps you along the way that is fine but if it doesn’t they will go against you. Eventually they all learned that the hard way.

It is hard to say when the big change happened but it is obvious to even the most casual observers that the United States Federal Government’s sole interest is to feed its own system heavy from decades of greed and corruption. It’s own bureaucracy consuming every resource available, it has no interest in considering its citizens needs short of getting a vote, the only motivation is to provide for its self and the DOJ is their HR department. That department is corrupt from the top down ignoring all attempts at oversight provided for by the constitution. Attorney General Eric Holder is currently held in “contempt of congress”, one of the highest levels of legal discipline for lying to and withholding evidence from congressional oversight. He is, at the highest level of government, obstructing justice.

Don’t expect to hear much about any of this from American mainstream media either. All the usual suspects, CBS, NBC, ABC et al. are standing mute, and why not, they are the ones who have the most to gain from Arron being dead. Shutting down the internet is the only way they can maintain a stranglehold on television advertising and ratings. Increasingly I hear the term “State Run Media”. It reminds me of  old Soviet Russia when I was growing up but it really is applicable here. Our National, shall I say traditional media is the state-run media. They deliver the government narrative on a daily basis, lie, mis-represent facts, and employ propaganda techniques right out of Nazi Germany. Probably the most sinister crime against journalism these folks commit however, is shaping the message by omission. Not telling the stories that need to be told, ignoring many important events acting as if they never happened. They think themselves cute and clever bouncing from role to role, pundit when it is convenient, spokesperson when it pays enough, and journalist when no one is watching closely. Void of ethics, on whole they are a shameful disgrace to the very notion of journalism, they truly are America’s corporate whores. Thankfully their time is rapidly coming to an end, regardless of outcome the American mainstream media no longer has the respect or ear of informed people.

Every American citizen living in the country has one representative in the house, two senators, and one president. They are supposed to be your elected representatives. While they are in reality only beholden to their campaign contributors, arguably they still serve at the pleasure of the voting public. I suggest you contact one or more of those people and let them know that things have to change, let them know that “by the people, for the people” has been lost. Tell them that the Department of Justice is not an acceptable steward of the constitution and if it does not change you will be voting for other candidates. Then go out and vote for someone else. No more glass half full rationalization, Vote For Another Person.
I know many of you are from another country but this is important for you too. You are not beyond the persecution of the DOJ. Kim dotcom, Julian Assange, and thousands of assault weapons sold to Mexican drug lords are just 3 examples of DOJ international crimes. You can help. Ask your government and the United Nations why are they meddling in international business.

A few days ago the activist group Anonymous took control of one of the DOJ’s websites and posted a 9 minute video declaring cyber war against the government in the name of Aaron. Government and media are taking the three monkey’s approach to the action. See, hear, and speak no evil. I am sure keeping the public un-informed is for our own good. Fortunately, there are alternative media outlets and places like here to disseminate information too. The fact that they were able to take over such a website is well, in a word, powerful. Anonymous would have you believe that they are the “Rebel Alliance” or True Freedom Fighters. Given the right circumstances the may come true for them. It is hard to imagine exactly how a cyber war between the two will unfold but I will tell you the one guaranteed looser will be you and I. I doubt Government will emerge victorious. For years they have been promoting a lifestyle of dependence for the sake of votes, and frankly it has become exactly that, fat, slow, and dumb depending on others to do the work for them. The only thing it truly excels at is collecting, containing, and killing. They will rely on those skills when needed, and we the common citizen will be the guaranteed looser.

Imagine a day when the government says they must take control of the internet to curb terrorism, to filter which websites you can visit, maybe have a national database like Facebook where you must store your entire digital life to be examined when desired. Imagine government scanning all your documents and communications in search of a terrorist plot, allowing photography in designated areas only, licenses for blogging and podcasting, censoring any words that may be construed offensive. “You are a bully, you are a racist, you are a psyco killer”, anyone can make the accusation, they can search your life and if everything is not exactly the way they want, you are off. Think that is far-fetched? It happens elsewhere and there are elements within the American government planning those exact things today.

So Yeah, I am outraged. Another line has been crossed in the great march to fascism and the lie known as the war on terrorism. Arron Swarts is that line, one remarkable young man lost at least in part because the American government trying so desperately to control and have the things they just cant have. Life and Liberty. He was oppressed, his rights violated and I cry to the heavens for him. It needs to be the last line. I am just the voice of one and you are the voices of many, together the voice of one and the voices of many can join together and speak out for all the Arron Swarts’s of the world.

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness….”

Thank You–
For all the Arrons of the world-God’s Speed.


Is Google+ a Minus?

Forsters Tern at Bolsa Chica

300mm f5.6 250iso 1/2,500sec

Hence forth known as G+, the social sharing service from Google has a slick interface and beautiful photo presentations that attract many a photographer but is it helpful to someone in selling his or hers photos? While it is picking up steam everyday it is also fair to say that G+ has for the most part been occupied by photographers and early adopter nerds. Google has in the past made attempts at social sites that all failed so there is a certain amount of  uncertainty with G+. If it does not meet Google’s expectations will it be killed leaving users in the dark? For right now it appears that they are “all in” and making every effort to attract a broader user group. Even at that, the question is how will it help you sell a photo? Maybe it won’t.

Not too long ago when the digital photo market exploded and everyone and their brother set out to become a “pro” photographer, the really clever and experienced photographers turned away from selling prints to selling their knowledge to those who want to sell their pictures. They became instructors teaching at workshops, festivals, conventions, and tours. If you are going down that road G+ is your very best friend. Circles, communities, and hash tags all allow the wise user to organize and attract the vast database of photographers who are using the service. The great presentations will allow you to show your work in the best possible light. Years ago when I wanted to take my first workshop I searched for a long time and one of the top considerations I had was the images the instructor presented. If the instructor has a crappy low resolution website to display their work it was a certain turn off and I was unlikely to pursue their services further. G+ allows an instructor to reach out to potential customers in an elegant and interactive way.

If you are trying to sell photos, G+ is not going to be your best friend. Neither is any other social service either. Yeah I know there are plenty of stories from people about how Twitter or Facebook has revived their business. I tend not to believe most of that, reality is if you get off your ass and do some hard work your business will improve regardless of the medium you are using. When I was much younger I took a fair amount of training in relationship selling. At the time I thought it was kind of stupid (it did not have a lot to do with my job at the time) but as I get older I am glad that I remember much of it and saved all my seminar materials over the years. To sell photos you need to make relationships with clients, you need to service those clients, and you need to do it better than the competition. Social sharing really doesn’t lend it’s self to that, now does it? Please don’t confuse that with the internet. The internet and all things digital has revolutionized all business and that is an entirely different thing than Twitter, Facebook, or G+ as a whole.

But still, if you are a photographer of any kind you need to be on G+, you need to be on it more than any other service in my opinion. Not to sell but to learn, explore, discover, and network, and that is where Google shines. There is a whole world of photography related communities, places to stay in touch with people you meet on the trail, places to solve problems, read about other’s experiences and critique photographs. I am going to say that the vast majority of photographers don’t have a formal education in the subject so you can think of G+ as the world’s largest classroom. It is all out there just floating around, all you have to do is reach out and take it.

 

Thanks for reading everyone. Happy Trails, you can check me out at G+ here.


Tern Time

Tern-at-Bolsa-Chica

300mm f5.6 250iso 1/2,500sec
click for larger image

All of a sudden it has become mid-Summer, hot hazy days of Summer, my how time can fly. Not the best time of year for bird photography, Summer photography for me features the Terns of Bolsa Chica. Skimmers, Least, Caspian Common, and Forster’s are all plentiful this time of year and are usually easy to find. They are by no means easy to photograph. This year I have yet to witness one of the legendary feeding frenzy when large numbers of the Terns assemble in mass and take turns diving for fish, impatiently, and often colliding in the air. The conditions have to be right for a frenzy, wind and tide play a large role. I have had two sessions when I thought conditions were perfect but nothing ever developed. There are always a handful of birds regardless of the conditions so making photographs is always possible. Overshadowing the Tern activity this year has been the remarkable quantity and behavior of Brown Pelicans. None the less there are some great Tern images to be made.

As a quick review for photographing this birds always remember that fast rules everything. These guys are incredibly fast with lots of jerky motions and sudden changes in direction. They are relatively oblivious to humans while fishing and will fly very close to you at times so that means that focal lengths of 200-300mm will work just fine. You will want however, to have have a camera with a fast frame rate, a fast lens, and back button focus enabled. All of our Terns are high contrast subjects in one respect or another, very often with a patch of black in the head area, so watch that the highlights don’t get blown out at all. I have found that recovering blown out highlights that are less than a stop over yields less detail then if it is right in camera so I say default to the underexposed side. In order to get eye detail in many cases when that portion of the head is black you need to capture the eyes in direct sunlight.
Lastly, take some time to watch their behavior. Each bird will have it’s own pattern of flight and fishing. They repeat these behaviors over and over, that makes them predictable, and that knowledge will help make you successful.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed todays picture. If you click on it you will be able to see the full size version. Notice the eye detail.

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