Phew! Good news for most Europeans

Unless you’re French, Italian, Belgian, or Greek, sadly.

A threat to the “freedom of panorama” concept has been shot down in the European parliament. This proposed law would have restricted people from taking photos in public places that happened to include certain buildings.


Anti time-lapse

The night sky in its majesty.

Monkey business

Interesting legal arguments here. Recently a British wildlife photographer had his camera taken from him, or left a camera where it would be taken from him, by a wild black macaque monkey. The monkey took some amazing self-portraits of itself inadvertently, and one particular shot has been making the rounds of the news media and the press. The shot of the monkey baring his teeth at the lens is a fantastic photo if you haven’t seen it yet. Plus black macaques are weird-looking monkeys!

But that also brings up an interesting question. Can the photographer claim copyright on the photo? Some people have argued that he can’t, because he didn’t take the photo - the monkey did. And monkeys can’t claim copyright.

I don’t really see how it’s different from, say, a photographer sticking a camera on a tripod with an infrared sensor, and taking a photo of a passing animal. Sure, the animal triggered the shot, but the photographer is still the photographer. I suppose the difference here is that the monkey physically pressed the button, it’s not clear if the human photographer had any intentionality about the monkey portraits, and monkeys are seen as closer to human sentience than, say, a sparrow or a mushroom.

Margaret Atwood’s thoughts on publishing

Canadian author Margaret Atwood has some interesting thoughts on the topic of publishing in the age of the Internet. As one of the 90% of authors who does not subsist on publishing income, I find it a particularly interesting talk.

Send in the clowns

Those daffy, laffy clowns.

Photographing the Bomb

NYT slideshow of declassified US military photographs of above-ground atomic bomb testing. The high-speed stuff, taken by an uncredited Harold Edgerton, is particularly spooky.

The slideshow includes audio commentary by cameraman George Yoshitake, one of the few men who worked in the field alive today. (many of his colleagues have succumbed to radiation-induced illnesses)

Thanks to everybody who attended my talks!

I hope you enjoyed hearing them as much as I did giving them! Vancouver was a challenge, since I had to reschedule my post-volcano trip for May, and that put me right on the Victoria Day weekend when everybody was out, you know, camping and stuff. But London and Seattle had awesome turnouts.

Thanks to the Regent Street Apple Store (London), Chapters Granville and Broadway (Vancouver), and Ravenna Third Place Books (Seattle).

Blue-green and orange

An impassioned plea.

A darkly hidden cost of digital technology

It’s so easy to think about the nasty hidden costs of our computers and cameras. All the junk that gets swept under the carpet.


CompactFlash version 5 hits crazy limits

The new CompactFlash spec was published today. Future cards will have a theoretical ceiling of a completely bonkers 144 petabytes, up from the current 137 GB.


And it was only a few years ago that you’d see CompactFlash cards with 256 MB of capacity and stuff.