Apr 232009

It’s funny: sometimes everything works like a charm, sometimes everything is hard and finally does not satisfy you at all.

Today’s attempts are the meager result of a long walk all through Vienna. I was fetching some printing material, ink and paper from a shop that’s pretty far from work, and I decided to go all the way. Weather was sunny and warm, everything should have been perfect … and nothing was.

OK, I was probably not really in the mood. I was fuming, to be precise. It’s that censorship thing in Germany again. It is so incredibly obscene how those politicians lie, I simply don’t understand how anybody could possibly get away with it.

Remember the “Stop” page that I told you about? Remember that there is a secret list of websites, ostensibly containing child porn or links leading to child porn, a list of sites that you are not allowed to see, a list that you can not check for correctness without committing a crime?

OK. The last time, I guess two days ago, they said that the IP addresses of people hitting the stop page would not be logged. It is even in the text on the draft of the stop sign.

Today the draft of the law was presented, that currently is thrown together to get the remaining Internet service providers on board. And, lo and behold, suddenly the IP addresses must be logged by the providers and the police has the right to access them online. Just so.

Pretty dangerous to surf these days, because you don’t know where a link ultimately will lead you, and not only don’t you know what the secret list contains, you are not even allowed to know it.

Even more dangerous, because many people let their mail readers display images by default. Each of these images is an access to the web server containing it. Get a SPAM mail, BANG! You hit the list, because the mail reader tried to access the image.

Of course you won’t see it, because instead of an image, the mail reader would have got another page, the stop page. A page is not an image, thus your mail reader will gracefully ignore it. Your access will count though. See where this dangerous nonsense leads?

Now imagine people sending you carefully prepared emails of exactly that kind. You may ask why they should want to do that? Well, as an attack? To ruin your reputation? The get you and your business out of their way? It has happened. How are you going to defend yourself?

But, but, in any civilized legal system there is the presumption of innocence, right?

Nope. In an elegant move they have taken away with that as well. Criminal liability is constituted the moment that the user cannot prove that it was a mistake or an automatic redirection. Not they prove that you have committed a crime, you have to prove that you didn’t! How would you do that when the access was made by your mail reader on behalf of a SPAM mail that you have deleted since?

OK, that’s why I was fuming. That’s why my results were rather poor today. I just couldn’t relax and can’t even now. This is obscene. This is the worst attack on the foundations of the German legal system since the Nazis were defeated. This is the setup for a witch hunt, and at the same time it is the perfect means to get rid of critics. Welcome to the Middle Ages.

I have no idea why I originally chose “On The Sentimental Side” by Billie Holiday as Song of the Day. Must be something in the images.

Anyway. I just got a 10 CD box for 10€ from a bargain bin. 10 CDs of great recordings by Billie Holiday. You won’t get it outside of Austria or maybe Germany, thus I link to a collection that also contains the song. Deezer has it as well.

Feb 272008

Can you remember when Ted discovered European cars? The 2CV? And then the Smart, the car that fits in every parking lot?

Well, here in Austria even the Police drives them. Here is one in front of the side entrance of our parliament. Had it been a night shot, I surely would have chosen Jethro Tull’s “The Mouse Police Never Sleeps” as Song of the Day, but alas, it was right in the morning when yesterday I shot this image.

This is again the Sigma 70/2.8, this time, with plenty of light, at f8 and still at 1/400s. Some tiny enhancements in lighting after the fact.

The Song of the Day is “Ain’t No Big Thing” from John Lee Hooker’s 1997 album “Don’t Look Back”. That’s his co-production with Van Morrison.

And now? I guess I owe Ted some hundred answers to his questions from yesterday’s comment. I promised to answer little by little, and in fact I’ll try to answer one point per day. Is that fair? This should only take me the next 500 posts, at least as long as Ted stops asking 🙂

Ted, you asked what I have discovered “about the ‘if only’ cursing that happens when you see the results on your computer screen and wonder ‘if only’ you’d panned a tad more left, pulled a tad more back, grabbed a tad more sky, earth, chest, or leg?“. That’s an easy one for starters:

Most of the time it is no curse at all. 95% of my images are shot in everyday locations, locations that I can go back to whenever I like. 95% of my people images have the people blurred and in the background. It may be difficult to impossible to get another opportunity for a missed shot, but in most cases it is not. And then, when all the shooting is done, there is still Photoshop. Mind you, not as a means to rescue bad images, no, simply as another stag in the “making” of images.

No, I have no problem to miss a shot. I may create something different in Photoshop, or I may go back the other day and try it again. Or the other year. In fact, there is a shot that can only be taken within a short range of days, maybe not more than one or two, in January. I have partially missed an opportunity during winter 2005/2006, and since then I have forgotten every year, but one year I’ll get it 🙂