3395 – Young Racers

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Feb 042016
 

Directly below the Miradouro there is a park. It’s a fine place to stop at a kiosk and enjoy a sip of white wine. Well, it was only from a plastic cup, but nevertheless it was nice.

The light was already low and golden, and of course I couldn’t resist taking a few more images. I like this one for the perfect position of the young man and for the way the edge of the cloud mirrors the way through the park 🙂

1447 – Spring And Fall: To A Young Child

 Tamron 17-50/2.8 VC  Comments Off on 1447 – Spring And Fall: To A Young Child
Oct 012010
 

It’s Friday, I’m on the train to Carinthia and here is the image of yesterday. Just a tiny children’s bike that I saw on my way to work. It stood next to a big car, and the juxtaposition was funny, but I could impossibly make it into a composition, so I played off of the lines of the sidewalk and the fence 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Spring And Fall: To A Young Child” from Natalie Merchant’s new album “Leave Your Sleep”. We already had it once, but I can’t praise it enough, so here we go again. YouTube has a live performance.

Apr 182009
 

Yesterday was a sad day. We have experienced a terrible blow to democracy.

I am Austrian, not German, but I can’t say that I’m unaffected by what happens in Germany. Normally everything repeats here as well – with a little delay, but it certainly does.

What has happened, you ask? I tell you what has happened: Germany has joined China, Iran, Burma and Saudi Arabia, that has happened.

Yesterday one of the currently worst German populist politicians, Ursula von der Leyen, has finally got her will. Five of the biggest German Internet providers, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone/Arcor, Hansenet/Alice, Telefonica/O2 and Kabel Deutschland, have signed an agreement to block child pornography on the Internet. The others have refused to sign, because there is no legal foundation for such a system.

Huh? What’s bad about that?? I tell you what’s bad. The badness happens on several levels:

Technically, the proposed “solution”, manipulation of the Domain Name Service (DNS), is very simple to circumvent. If you want to get around it, you simply can use a different DNS server. Thus, the “solution” solves nothing. It may probably keep unsuspecting surfers from stumbling upon child porn accidentally.

But can you stumble upon child porn accidentally? I use the Internet since 1990. I have been in quite some of its shady and its glimmering places, but I have never stumbled upon child porn. Well, I have, once, maybe about 1991. There was such an image in a binary newsgroup. As far as I remember, it showed a naked girl that was clearly pre-teen, along with a boy of the same age who had an erection. It was a B&W image that looked old, like scanned from an old image. I can’t remember any details. I forgot. This was a time when you could buy nudist magazines on every newsstand. No erections there, but certainly lots of pre-teen girls. Since then, awareness of sexual exploitation of children has heightened, the magazines have vanished.

Since then: nothing. Nothing at all. I did not stumble upon anything. I strongly suggest that you will have a hard time trying to stumble upon child porn. Child porn is completely taboo on the Internet, even and especially on porn sites.

I suggest you try to look for yourself. You may not like porn, you may find it even disgusting, but you will easily find it. It’s a healthy exercise and it gives you a handle in discussions with those who brazenly lie into your face, just like Ursula von der Leyen, when she claims that there is big business with child porn on thousands of web sites.

There is not. There may be child porn and there may be some specialized business, but that must happen in closed circles. Nothing to stumble upon. Nothing that would be even remotely affected by the “safety” filters. That’s for the lie on the surface.

I can’t tell you how mad I am about those populists that lie to take our rights away, those idiots who destroy our democracy for a cheap victory in the next elections. Even if they do it only for selfish reasons, they prepare the way into a totalitarian society.

But Germany is a democracy, it sure has checks and balances, has it? Nope! With child porn, the proponents of censorship have finally found the ultimate vehicle to reach their goals. It goes like this:

The Internet providers have agreed to block certain domains as soon as they get notice from the German police. The requests are redirected to a page showing a stop sign (yes, a traffic sign) with text that tells the user that the address is blocked because it is associated with child porn. It further says that the search for child porn and the securing of evidence is exclusively job of the police. In other words: you can’t check. They say that they don’t store your IP address, but this is most certainly a lie as well. If they don’t do it now, they will in the future, just like they said they would not use road charge data for any other purpose than road charges. It’s the old thing: wait a while and someone will say “Now that we have the data, it is immoral not to use it”.

Now to checks and balances. In constitutional proceedings if someone is charged, there is a way to defend oneself. Charges are open and can therefore be contradicted. Not here. The list of blocked addresses is top secret. You can’t check its rightfulness, because you are not even allowed to know it! There is no control against arbitrariness and abuse whatsoever! They can put on the list whatever they want. This is not protection against child pornography, this is the Great Wall of Germany. This is completely undemocratic and unworthy of a constitutional state that respects its citizens. This is a totalitarian instrument of control … and I dare say they will abuse it like that.

If you’ve made it down here: try to defend your rights. If you are German, change to an Internet provider that does not censor. Make use of your right to terminate your contract on grounds that your provider has breached it. In fact that is what actually happens, and maybe financial loss may make them reconsider. Money changes everything.

Apart from that: help spread the message. Make sure that children are not abused for political reasons. Make sure that the people who have died for democracy and constitutional rights have not died in vain.

The Song of the Day is “Take Care Of All Of My Children” from the 2006 Tom Waits masterpiece “Orphans”. Hear it on YouTube – as long as YouTube is not blocked.

Aug 202008
 

I’m back to color again with three of yesterday’s images, one from the morning and two night images.

The first is shot into a street on Spittelberg, the heart of Vienna’s 7th district, home of a lively artistic community. 270mm, f5.6, ISO 2200 at 1/15s, handheld. Did I ever say I love VR?

The second is a Harley that I simply could not ignore. Even for 70mm and already with my back against the wall, I was a tad near, thus the composition. Still, with the rails in the background, I think it works.

The Image of the Day is straight from the camera. Why exactly this image? Well, it’s something in the gesture of the child, something carefree, something trusting, something comfortable that appealed top me.

The Song of the Day, “Mother Stands For Comfort“, is from Kate Bush’s 1985 album “Hounds of Love“. Hear it on YouTube.

557 – Sarah

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Apr 262008
 

May I introduce my niece Sarah? She is a year and some days old, daughter of my sister Astrid and her husband Martin, and she is the delight of my father, who has spent the last two weeks working in Vienna and living with them. Yesterday we returned to Carinthia.

These images are from my visit on Tuesday evening. I had already worked on them and uploaded them to SmugMug, thus I can post this entry. The other images of the week, Wednesday and Thursday, are unrecoverable at the moment, I will post them when I am back in Vienna.

The Song of the Day is “Sara” from Antonello Venditti’s 1978 album “Sotto Il Segno Dei Pesci“. The lyrics are not exactly what one would write about his baby niece, but Bob Dylan’s “Sara” wouldn’t have been better in this regard 🙂

See Antonello Venditti perform live on YouTube.

Mar 222008
 

There are days of need and days of plenty. Thursday was a day of plenty, and that’s one reason why it took me so long to come up with this entry.

In the morning it began completely innocent, with a little sunshine, too cold for the season but friendly. I tried to get on with my series of images with de-focused foregrounds of color. After Wednesday’s pink and green I wanted to tackle blue, a much bigger challenge. I had already tried it the last two days, had tried cars and traffic signs, but whenever there was something blue, the background did not work. That’s not always a problem in photography, but with these shots it is: after all, you have to focus on the background.

This magnolia tree is very near to where I work. It stands in front of a baroque palace, and I have made these two shots from the other side of the street, the front lens more or less inside some flowers. It’s the same tree, and if you look very carefully, you can see that I have removed a branch from the yellow image, that I have left in in the blue. In the blue image it works, because the movement is mostly horizontal, but in the yellow image with the strong diagonal composition it was out of place.

Fast forward in time. I left work at 4pm, and that’s how Vienna looked like. Sort of a backlash. I’m afraid there will be more of that the next days. In fact, the very moment that I write this, Saturday noon, it has just stopped snowing.

The next image again reminds me of those environments that you see in sci-fi computer games, the techno-industrial environments that you run around and where you frag your enemies.

This is the same escalator that we had in “475 – Up with People“, but this time I ran to be first, in order to get it devoid of people. There is nothing wrong with people, but in this case, using the Nikon 18-200 VR at 18mm, I wanted the neutrality that allows me to think of this place as a sci-fi environment.

What can you do on a winter day in early spring? What about swimming? Actually that’s what I did, and this time I took a borrowed Fuji FinePix F11 with me, along with an underwater bag. The F11 is a six megapixel camera with Fuji’s SuperCCD sensor, and it makes quite good images, obviously copes well with strong contrasts, has moderate noise levels at ISO 200 and delivers usable results up to ISO 800.

I took about 80 images while fogs rose from the warm water, snowflakes drifted, and for a short moment it looked like the sun would brake through the clouds.

In the end it decided to stay veiled, and shortly after these images were taken, snowfall returned with might. Well, there are worse things than to float in the warm water and let the snow fall on your face 🙂

The Song of the Day is “For You Blue” from “Let It Be“, the last album published by the Beatles. See a video from the movie on YouTube.