Saturday, December 31, 2016

Our Task in 2017: Be Better Americans Than the Incoming President

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It's tough. We like our presidents admirable. We like them smart and shiny, with verifiable resumes, successful academic careers, a lack of ongoing lawsuits, demonstrably adult speech patterns, and character traits like integrity, honesty, intelligence, and political gravitas.

We've had a few of those. We've also had a few who were less so -- less shiny, less honest; occasionally less elected (Bush v. Gore still rankles). But even in those lesser cases there was still the sheen of presidential distinction and stateliness; still the expected standards of respect, decorum, and good manners (even when spun homey by Carter, Bush, or Clinton); still the aura of loftiness surrounding not only the office, but the man (yes, still just the man) who held the office.

Then Election 2016 happened.

On Wednesday, November 9, 2016, over half the country woke to the realization that America and its noble assignation of "President of the United States" had been crassly modified; dumbed-down, diminished, slapped with cheap faux gilt and the bluster of mob mentality. With a hearty blend of lies and innuendo, hackery and foreign intervention, ingrained and relentless sexism, and the low-bar appeal of Trump's thuggish vision of "greatness," the painful blink of an electoral college eye dismissed the popular vote winner (by almost 3 million) to award our "country 'tis of thee" to a reality-show huckster best known for grabbing women's private parts, tap-dancing past the tax collector, stiffing his students and small biz vendors, and firing hapless B-list celebrities on air.

Heads exploded worldwide as we'd ushered in the "champagne wishes and caviar dreams" of a Donald J. Trump America.

Dramatic, perhaps, but sometimes life actually is as histrionic as purple prose. It allows inane plot twists to proceed despite their being unhinged and unimaginable; it follows story arcs that so clearly lack foundation, sense, or substance that we can't believe where the damn things are going or that we're actually being taken there against our will.

But while we liberals, progressives, and other left-leaning folk were busy pulse-checking Nate Silver and following Rachel Maddow like frantic groupies, convinced the sheer lunacy and daily drip of disqualifying factors surrounding the GOP candidate were sure to keep him from the White House, the poison of a campaign corrupted by myriad influences, including our former Cold War opponents, had already been administered; we just didn't know until it was too late for the antidote.

So now we stand with our families, our children, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, and the question becomes: WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT?

We want to look away, ignore the insanity; shut the spigot of endless sensationalism, the idiotic prattling, the tedious, terrifying political posturing, to simply get on with our lives, rebuild our sense of civic stability; focus on the positive activism of people of conscience and compassion. But we can't look away; we can't afford to ignore the large, lumbering elephant soon to be sitting in the middle of the Oval Office. In fact, we must not only keep paying attention; we must keep paying attention with vigilance.

I see the daily posts of outraged citizens, politicians, pundits, cable talkshow hosts, opinion writers, and investigative journalists, all sharing and shouting not only about the latest malfeasance, but asking why NOTHING IS BEING DONE ABOUT IT. How many times have you heard someone remark: "If Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, or fill in the blank with any name you can possibly think of did that, they'd be impeached, arrested, banished, imprisoned, drawn and quartered; charged with treason, but NOTHING HAPPENS TO DONALD TRUMP... WHY???" It's a fair question which I, too, would like answered.

Because how we can teach our children, our growing teens and young adults, to become civically active, to aspire to greatness and reach for the highest ideals, while daily they're bombarded by the murk and corruption of our incoming leadership?

WE CAN'T. Because we will not have that kind of leadership after January 20th. The moment Trump is sworn into office we will lose the perk of having a president, a leader, a representative who is admirable, sharp, dignified, and inspiring. We will, instead, have a man in the Oval Office who is generally the opposite of what we want our children, our teens, our young adults -- hell, our damn peers -- to aspire to. And while that is a tragic and dispiriting legacy of Election 2016, we are each and every one of us capable of transcending and resisting it. How?

By being better Americans than the incoming president:

  • By being better people, better leaders; better teachers, mentors, inspirers, and creators, embodying exactly the kind of people we want our children to be.

  • By being industry leaders and innovators who conduct business with respect, integrity, and unassailable ethics.

  • By opening our minds and hearts to learn and absorb new facts and verified truths -- not propaganda, not biased misinformation -- about people, cultures, ethnicities, religions, and orientations that are "different" and unfamiliar.

  • By extending the compassion and understanding garnered from the above to treat people better, to seek new ways to help, find effective steps toward tangible solutions.

  • By shaking off fixed notions about what sexism is, gaining greater understanding of how it pervades and influences; adjusting our thinking to realize and implement respectful, honorable, and gender-equality behaviors and attitudes towards women.

  • By teaching and exemplifying decorous, respectful, civil, and productive discussion skills, for both virtual and tangible conversation and debate. Trollism has had a deleterious effect on our culture and, unfortunately, the new president is the King of Trolls. Let's change the trend and raise the bar.

  • By realizing that "politically correct" actually means being sensitive and aware of evolving culture, mores, ideas, and attitudes, and adjusting according. That rejecting the notion of "politically correct" is most often the tool of those who traffick in bigotry, hate, racism, sexism, trollism, and verbal abuse.

  • By understanding that loyalty and patriotism do not require blind acceptance of the words, actions, and policies of any one person, including the new president, nor do they preempt one's right to free speech and civil liberty. They do, however, suggest one not aggrandize the dictator of an antagonistic foreign government over one's own.

  • And, lastly, and in an umbrella overview: by acknowledging and staying vigilant to the new president's long and growing list of negatives, using those as bullet-points of what not to be, do, and emulate. That almost makes it easy, doesn't it?


We are a deeply divided country, but there is nothing new in that. We've been divided from the moment the Mayflower landed and Manifest Destiny pushed some to destroy our native population while others fought for peaceful coexistence; since brothers fought brothers in the Civil War; since World War II convinced some Americans to imprison our Japanese citizens; since the civil rights era made our racial sin a bloody and still-unhealed tear; since Vietnam made us realize not all wars were justified; since Watergate made clear our presidents could be criminals, and since 9/11 gave us a new kind of fear that metastasized into ethnic bigotry and xenophobia.

We have also survived, evolved, and grown. Marriage equality was achieved, healthcare was passed; new environmental measures were implemented. Harriet Tubman got the $20 bill, unemployment hit a new low, and enough women of color were elected on November 8th to make history. We can cross our fingers and hope the new administration doesn't destroy all that forward progress and more, or we can embrace, like it's a mission from God, the task of maintaining and raising the level of integrity, ethics, and honor in our lives and in this country, despite having leadership bereft of those qualities.

The beginning of a new year -- the ending of what was and the dawning of what will be -- seems a perfect time for such pledges. So let's do it. Let's take the task on: no matter what happens with the day-to-day drama of our impertinent, impermanent new occupant of the White House, let's be the kind of Americans we want to be, need to be, to keep our country, our citizens, our "brand" of progress and compassion moving forward.

Remember: his "reign" is temporary. Ours as American is not.

Photo by Aaron Burden @ Unsplash
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Stunning Drone Photography from around the World - Crixeo (satire) (press release) (blog)

We try to capture the perfect photograph in many ways: lying on the ground, using a selfie stick, leaning dangerously over an edge or simply moving one step to the left or right to block the sun. While smartphones make it very easy to snap and go ...



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Photography column: Composition and the Rule of Thirds - Laramie Boomerang

Photography is a form of visual communication and the main goal in taking almost any photo is to draw peoples' attention to the finished photo and then keep their attention long enough for them to derive a message from the photo. Learning some basic ...



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Ep. 138: Pointed Photography Predictions For 2017 – and more

Episode 138 of the PetaPixel Photography Podcast.
Download MP3 –  Subscribe via iTunes, Google Play, or RSS!

Featured: Ian Norman from Lonely Speck

In This Episode

If you subscribe to the PetaPixel Photography Podcast in iTunes, please take a moment to rate and review us and help us move up in the rankings so others interested in photography may find us.

Ian Norman from Lonely Speck opens the show. Thanks Ian!

Pointed predictions for the photography industry in 2017.

A Magic Lantern breakthrough seems ready to give Canon users lossless 14-bit DNG in-camera. (#)

Pixsy releases its data on image theft in 2016. (#)

Canon releases a set of printers which shun cartridges. (#)

Looking back on the year that was 2016 for the PetaPixel Photography Podcast.

Outtakes

Connect With Us

Thank you for listening to the PetaPixel Photography Podcast! Connect with me, Sharky James on TwitterInstagram and Facebook (all @LensShark) as we build this community.

We’d love to answer your question on the show. Leave us an audio question through our voicemail widget, comment below or via social media. But audio questions are awesome!

You can also cut a show opener for us to play on the show! As an example: “Hi, this is Matt Smith with Double Heart Photography in Chicago, Illinois, and you’re listening to the PetaPixel Photography Podcast with Sharky James!”



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Maine Photography Show calls for same - Republican Journal

In 2015, he completed photography training videos on landscape photography for Creative live and Craftsy; and in 2016, he was named a Hasselblad Ambassador. He runs photography classes and workshops around the world with his company Muench ...

and more »


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Book on Street Photography - Financial Tribune

“If you're new to street photography, want to learn the fundamentals, or refresh your existing knowledge, try out techniques for yourself. Some of the approaches may or may not work. Ultimately you want to pursue your own vision of street photography.



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What Photography Does to Unborn Children - Patheos (blog)

You cannot take a picture of a general “mother” or “child.” You cannot photograph the idea of “pregnancy,” “family,” or “abortion” — only this pregnancy, this family, and this abortion. A photograph of a child is always of a real, particular child ...



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Photography Project Celebrates Austin's Transit Riders - Next City

The campaign, titled the Austin Collective, sent roughly two dozen photographers and videographers to document transit riders across the city. They made images and videos and recorded transit riders' stories — not just about how they use the bus, but ...



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Stunning Adventure Photography by Eric Bunting – Elbunt

Downgraf | Design Inspiration and Web Developing Blog
Downgraf | Design Inspiration and Web Developing Blog - Best Place for Design Inspiration source. You’ll find WordPress Themes, Developing Resources, Logo Design, Web Design, Digital Art, Illustrations and Much More.

Here’s some stunning adventure photography by Eric Bunting known as Elbunt also.

Elbent took these stunning adventure photography that will take you to that land. He is a self-taught freelance photographer. Showing the al fresco at an early age he fell in love with exploring every aspect of natural world.

He now do his utmost to share his passion for the outdoors through his photography and adventures. He is specializing in landscape and adventure photography and always look for inimitable place or shot that others have never seen before.

He wants others to mesmerize by his photos that’s why such photographs that will take you on that place. By creating and sharing his images, he hopes to instigate others to get outside to enjoy and explore these natural wonders for themselves.

“There’s no better time than now. Don’t hesitate. Don’t wait. You never know what you may find”. He says.

“Exposed to the outdoors at an early age he fell in love with exploring every aspect of our natural world. He now strive to share his passion for the outdoors through his photography and adventures,” said Eric.

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Eric Bunting | Instagram

Stunning Adventure Photography by Eric Bunting – Elbunt
Editor



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Photographer Captures Wacky Facial Expressions on His Dog

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When photographer Tamás Szarka of Budapest, Hungary, takes his down Strawberry for walks, he often brings a camera to capture the 6-year-old boxer’s crazy facial expressions as she sprints around.

The 33-year-old owner shoots photos of Strawberry at fast shutter speeds to freeze her face as she bounces through outdoor trails.

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“[Strawberry has] always pulled funny faces and over time I decided I wanted to capture the precious moments with her which is why I started to learn photography,” Szarka tells the Daily Mail. Over time, Szarka has built up an impressive portfolio of Strawberry photos.

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Finally, here are a couple of photos of Strawberry (and her face) at rest:

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You can find more of Szarka’s work on his website, Facebook, 500px, and Instagram.

Image credits: Photographs by Tamás Szarka and used with permission



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Don McCullin Knighted for His Services to Photography

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British photojournalist and war photographer Don McCullin was knighted this week for his “services to photography.”

The news was published today as an official public record in the The London Gazette, which reads:

“THE QUEEN has been graciously pleased to signify her intention of conferring the honour of Knighthood upon the undermentioned: Donald McCULLIN, C.B.E., Photojournalist. For services to Photography.”

The 81-year-old McCullin first began his photography career nearly 60 years ago, in 1959. Much of his word in that time has focused on war and the needy in society.

In 1964, McCullin won the World Press Photo of the Year award for his images showing the war in Cyprus.

Photographer Donald McCullin with his winning work at World Press Photo 1964. Photo by Nationaal Archief.Photographer Donald McCullin with his winning work at World Press Photo 1964. Photo by Nationaal Archief.

“I’ve made this huge journey from the beginning of my life where it was very poor and impoverished,” McCullin tells BBC News. “I’ve managed to get away from that and I’ve managed to educate myself by travelling with great journalists.”

The photographer also tells BBC News that he’s retiring from conflict photography after making a trip to Iraq last month to document the Battle of Mosul. He does, however, plan to continue shooting other kinds of photos for as long as he’s able.

Image credits: Header photo by TV Brasil – EBC and licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0



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Travel photography tips with Susan Portnoy - USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES - Travel photographer Susan Portnoy, author of theinsatiabletraveler.com blog, joined us on Facebook Live this week. She has some great tips on taking travel portraits and what type of equipment to use on a safari. Portnoy often leaves her ...

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George Eastman Museum announces 2017 photography workshops - Fairport-E.Rochester Post

"Digital Negative Making for Alternative and Historic Process Printing" will help photographers harness the precision of digital imaging to produce negatives with their inkjet printer for a variety of historic and alternative printing processes March 1 ...
George Eastman Museum releases a quarter million photographs online Boing Boing

all 2 news articles »


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Make a DIY Polarizing Filter From an Old LCD Screen

Polarizing filters can be an essential part of a photography tool set, as they suppress glare, make blue skies pop, and offer an additional way to control the light in your scene. And if you have some old electronics that you can mine for spare parts, you might already have a filter.

Read more...



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Make a DIY Polarizing Filter From an Old LCD Screen

Polarizing filters can be an essential part of a photography tool set, as they suppress glare, make blue skies pop, and offer an additional way to control the light in your scene. And if you have some old electronics that you can mine for spare parts, you might already have a filter.

Read more...



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From 1897 until today, the history and technique of timelapse photography - imaging resource

It's a photographic technique where a photographer captures a series of images at a set interval over some period and then displays those images faster than real-time. You probably knew that, but did you know that the technique was first used in 1897 ...



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OurMine Group Hacks Nat Geo Photography's Twitter Account - Hack Read

After taking over the verified account of Nat Geo Photography the group posted their signature tweet about the hack stating that “Hey, it's OurMine, we are just testing your security, please contact us for more information.” Then came two more tweets ...



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Stunning Action Sports Photography by Marcelo Maragni - Business Recorder (press release) (registration) (blog)

Marcelo Maragni is a professional Brazilian photographer based in Sao Paulo. Marcelo shoots a lot of action sports, lifestyle and portrait photography. Maragni believes that technology supports creativity and expands the possibilities of what can be ...

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Prime lens in event photography– limitation or possibility?

I had an interesting discussion in a photography group on Facebook some time ago. It started with my question about the 35mm prime lens, and somehow I ended up discussing zoom lenses with a member of the group. He said that, as an event photographer, he doesn’t have the luxury of moving around and focusing […]

The post Prime lens in event photography– limitation or possibility? appeared first on DIY Photography.



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Prime lens in event photography– limitation or possibility?

I had an interesting discussion in a photography group on Facebook some time ago. It started with my question about the 35mm prime lens, and somehow I ended up discussing zoom lenses with a member of the group. He said that, as an event photographer, he doesn’t have the luxury of moving around and focusing […]

The post Prime lens in event photography– limitation or possibility? appeared first on DIY Photography.



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10 images for the price of none?

Here is why (I think) you shouldn’t sell your files in bundles! Doing IPS (In Person Sales) does not mean that you cannot sell your files – but it does mean you shouldn’t be giving them away as a Shoot and burn photographer (S&B). And now some of the S&B’ernes will object, they are not […]

The post 10 images for the price of none? appeared first on DIY Photography.



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10 images for the price of none?

Here is why (I think) you shouldn’t sell your files in bundles! Doing IPS (In Person Sales) does not mean that you cannot sell your files – but it does mean you shouldn’t be giving them away as a Shoot and burn photographer (S&B). And now some of the S&B’ernes will object, they are not […]

The post 10 images for the price of none? appeared first on DIY Photography.



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Friday, December 30, 2016

Death and the Daguerreotype: The Strange and Unsettling World of Victorian Photography - The Creators Project (blog)

Having an eternal thirst for commemoration and remembrance, the 19th century was influenced by the Victorian obsession with spirituality and early photographic techniques. The introduction of the daguerreotype, a 19th century photography technique, ...



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