Barn swallow video

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video about barn swallows is called Two swallows don’t make a summer! British Birds Wales UK.

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Puffins counted on Farne Islands

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video from Britain says about itself:

Puffin-cam: Live from the burrow

May 17, 2013

The very first National Trust “Puffin Cams” have now been installed in the Farne Islands puffin breeding colony off the coast of Northumberland. The cameras will record highlights throughout the breeding season, charting the ups and downs of these plucky little birds. See how the cameras were installed and find out what it means for the future of the Farnes colony. For all the latest updates, follow @NTsteely, Tweet #puffincensus or check out our web pages at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/northeast.

From Wildlife Extra:

Puffin count starts on Farne Islands

5 yearly census underway

May 2013. A Puffin census has begun at the north east’s most amazing wildlife habitat, the windswept Farne Islands, as National Trust rangers attempt to find how many breeding pairs of these iconic birds live on the Islands.

Every 5…

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Mobius

The talented Nolan Nitschke. He’s got an exhibit at The G2 Gallery in Los Angeles opening June 11.

You’ll dig his stuff.

Pot vs. The Environment

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Since the 1960s, primarily, pot smoking and tree hugging have gone hand in hand for many would-be world peace advocates and drum circlers. In the 60s, hippies cried out for everyone to come together, get along, care about the planet, and also, light up. Today, there are many environmentalists who smoke, and the legalization in California, Colorado and other states has resulted in lots of marijuana farms cropping up (literally).

The problem is, many of these farms, both legal and illegal, are bad for the environment. Yes, that’s right – green isn’t green.

What’s a modern hippie to do? Pot farmers are using pesticides and rodenticides, killing off wildlife and allowing the runoff to drain into various bodies of water – it’s like factory farming in terms of its negative environmental impact.

One of the answers, of course, is to nationally legalize the drug – that way, regulations could be placed upon these farms. As it is now, no such regulations can be handed down because that would validate the farms as legitimate, legal businesses, which could get each state’s government in federal hot water. For the states, they must either crack down on the marijuana farming which they themselves legalized, or they’re complicit with marijuana farming by nature of their regulation. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

So of course, environmentalists who smoke pot are going to say “Legalize on a federal level” and there’s certainly valid arguments to be made for that. The problem is what happens in between now and the day when that happens, because government is slow and progress is incremental; don’t hold your breath. Until the day (most likely 2020 or beyond), smoking pot isn’t any more environmentally friendly than buying food from Monsanto or driving a Hummer (at least in principle).

If you’re a true environmentalist who drives a Prius/bike, eats sustainably, reuses, reduces, recycles and fights for the conservation of this planet, you can’t smoke pot without exhaling a little bit of hypocrisy. Not yet. If you want to smoke without hurting the planet, lobby your congressperson or do your research on where you’re getting your stuff (Disclaimer: I’m only saying this to people who live in states where this is legal, of course). Until marijuana farms stop hurting the planet, you’re better of going green by not smoking green.

“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and White, you photograph their souls!”

–Ted Grant

Do Photographers Live?

Looking through old family photo albums, there is usually one person not pictured very often. This, of course, is the person behind the camera. They are the documentarians of what is happening, or oftentimes, the director of what is happening. Sit here. Smile. Drop your arms. Actually smile. Stop making that face. Perfect.

These documentarians of life are vital to capturing beautiful (and not so beautiful) moments in time. More broadly, photographers put themselves in the midst of the action – from war zones to back yard barbecues – and freeze a slice of time so that others can see it, reflect on it, remember it, and cherish it. Everyone appreciates that these photographers do what they do. But is it problematic to remove oneself from the moment to take a picture? 

Today, people photograph their food, their feet, their surroundings, their friends and anything else that’s happening even if it doesn’t reach the level of “mildly interesting.” It’s created an observer culture that straddles the line between documentation and voyeurism; between the joyous capture of life and an undeniable distancing effect.

With the advent of camera phones and social media, we’re oversaturated with pictures of people “living.” The great irony is that to take the picture, you have to pause living. You have to get into your head and out of what’s happening.

This is not a value judgment on whether it’s wrong or right – it just troubles me. It troubles me how much importance is put on capturing moments in time instead of enjoying them. I don’t want to be an observer in my own life and look back on pictures to remember good times. I want to experience those times and remember them on their own merit. I don’t want to step away from existence to capture existence.

Sometimes, however, someone has to do just that.

It’s a fine line to draw, but I think what it comes down to is sacrifice. I don’t believe photographers lead hollow, empty lives; quite the opposite. I think people who photograph everything from political riots to poverty to their families playing kickball are incredibly important. There is a need to unselfishly share what they’ve seen; what they’ve experienced. In the action of snapping a photo, they take away from their own experience in order to create a new experience for someone who wasn’t there.

A true photographer makes a sacrifice, and gives his or her eyes to the people who view the work. A true photographer gives away an authentic experience of a moment so that the authenticity is captured for the rest of the world, or maybe, just one person. A true photographer does dissociate – it’s simply an intangible hazard of the trade.

So yes, most photographers live. There is an element of removal that comes from wielding a camera, but most photographers live. And more importantly, they remove themselves so others can insert themselves – an equal transaction in the grand collective of experiential currency.

For that, I say:  Thank you.

 

Fujifilm X100S First Look

Old is new with this camera. Fantastic look.

Oxford School of Photography

The Fuji X100S is a much coveted camera, it definitely has style, if what you look for in technology is something that harks back to before you were born. It also has a pedigree of fine technical excellence so do you want one?

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When Fujifilm announced its FinePix X100 retro-styled compact at Photokina 2010, it instantly captured the imagination of serious photographers. With its fixed 23mm F2 lens and SLR-sized APS-C sensor, it offered outstanding image quality, while its ‘traditional’ dial-based handling and innovative optical/electronic ‘Hybrid’ viewfinder gave a shooting experience reminiscent of rangefinder cameras. On launch its firmware was riddled with frustrating bugs and quirks, but a series of updates transformed it into a serious photographic tool. Certain flaws remained, apparently too deeply embedded into the hardware to be fixable, but despite this, it counts as something of a cult classic.

Fujifilm X100S key features

  • Fujifilm-designed 16.3MP APS-C X-Trans…

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