Here's an interesting one from a copyright/licence point of view:
It seems that Microsoft and Nikon have got together to create a competition called Iconic Britain. On the surface it looks like your average online photography competition. But there's a twist: you don't need to be a photographer, you don't need to take any photographs at all.
The idea appears to be that you enter the competition in one of two ways. You can either submit a photograph and stand a chance of winning a Nikon camera, or you can vote on photographs and, each time you vote, stand a chance of winning a Nikon camera.
It's the submission part of the competition that's interesting. The site appears to be encouraging people to submit images they find using Microsoft's Live Search for images. You search for something you think is iconic of Britain, you look at the resulting images, and then you drag one into the submission box and submit it into the competition. When doing so you have to agree to the terms and conditions of the competition. There's an interesting item in there:
Entrants acknowledge that some images generated by Live Search may be subject to the intellectual property rights (including copyright) of a third party. Microsoft does not encourage or condone Entrants submitting images to the Competition that infringe the rights of a third party. In the event Microsoft is notified that an image infringes the intellectual property rights, or any other right, of a third party it shall promptly remove the image from the Competition.The problem here is that, when you do a search via the site, there's no attribution for the work, no link through to the source of the image, no simple method of knowing if you're abiding by the above rule.
Simply put, the site seems to be designed such that your average user can never truthfully agree to the terms and conditions.
Someone hasn't thought this through.
Yesterday I took my cameras to the 141st Heckington Show. This is often said to be the biggest village show in the world (note the careful wording in the banner on their website).
Along with the usual displays of livestock and the normal events you'd expect to see at a village show there was also a display by UK FMX — a motorcycle stunt team. It's the first time I've ever tried to photograph anything like that so it was quite a challenge. As it is, I think I got a handful of reasonable shots.
You can see the full set of photographs from the day over on my main site in the 141st Heckington Show gallery.
I've been after a flash for my EOS 400D and PowerShot G9 for a while now but I've never really had the spare cash. As much as I'd love to spend £250+ on a Speedlite it just wasn't going to happen.
And then, last weekend, while having a browse around Amazon, the Sunpak PF30X popped up as a related item to something I was looking at. The price (£49.88) looked too good to be true so I did a little more digging about. Pretty much everything I could find suggested it was a good flash for the price. What was even more encouraging was the fact that "the price" tended to be closer to £100. A quick search on eBay confirmed that this was a good price with most of the "Buy it Now" offers being around £75.00.
And so a purchase was made...
It turned up this lunchtime and I've just had a (very) quick play with it. It worked fine on the EOS 400D and, after some messing about, on the G9 too. For some reason, when I first attached it to the G9, it just wouldn't fire. After turning the flash and the G9 off and on again everything seemed to work just fine. I'm not sure what happened there.
I'm now looking forward to having some free time to have a proper play. I think I can also feel some on-the-cheap off-camera flash action coming on at some point soon. :-D
I've been running my ruby and graphviz weblog tool on an ad-hoc basis for a while now, generating my photography search hits page, and it's been running pretty well. I've had to iron out one or two small issues but mostly it's run smooth and has been interesting.
I did an update earlier on today and found this:
It's pretty cool that people are finding my RAF Waddington photos, but it's even more cool to see XH558 turn up there.
Yesterday I took a drive down to Bourne to have a wander around, and photograph, the Bourne Family Fun Day. The event was held at the recreation ground in Bourne and was held in aid of the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance and another charity whose name escapes me at the moment.
The highlight of the day had to be watching an Elvis impersonator performing a cover version of Nirvana's Come As You Are. Life doesn't get much odder than that. ;-)
You can see the full set of photographs over here.
I love this photograph for three reasons: 1) I love a good zombie movie, 2) It's funny, 3) I love the idea of a city having a zombie gathering.
Zombie Bridal Party by Cathie Tranent
Last weekend was the 2008 RAF Waddington air show and, as we've always done ever since we moved to Lincolnshire, we went along on the Saturday.
The forecast was awful. Mostly rain but with the chance of it clearing up a little in the afternoon. This would normally be disappointing anyway but it was worse given that this show was going to be the return to the skies of the privately rebuilt Avro Vulcan XH558.
As forecast, the morning was wet and horrible and hardly anything was flying (although the Red Arrows managed to put on a small display despite the fact that the cloud was very low). Thankfully the forecast chance of better weather in the afternoon did happen and we ended up with a nice sunny day.
Given that I had the PowerShot G9 with me as well as the EOS 400D I decided to try recording some videos too:
A joint display by a Typhoon and a Spitfire:
XH558 takes to the sky:
A joint flypast of XH558 and the BBMF's Lancaster:
It wasn't all videos though. I shot plenty of photographs too. For those see my Waddington 2008 album on my main photography site.
For reasons I don't really understand myself, recently I've been messing about with the idea of code on t-shirts. Sure, it's not exactly a new idea, but I couldn't resist it. I started out with this Lisp t-shirt (mainly because I wanted one myself, the order is in and I'm looking forward to getting it) and then went on and did this one (which I'll probably end up buying at some point in the near future).
And then I got to thinking that it might be interesting to have a go at creating a t-shirt that was, in effect, self-documenting. The idea being that the design would contain code that would, as much as possible, be usable in creating the design. After thinking on this for a while I decided that a Mandelbrot set would be a good place to start.
Having already done some Lisp I thought it was time to do something with ruby. So, I sat down and knocked up a quick script that would plot a Mandelbrot set, emitting it as a PBM file, just to make life easier. I then converted that to a PNG. After that I loaded up Photoshop Elements, created an empty image sized correctly for a RedBubble t-shirt design, added in the Mandelbrot and then layered the ruby source code over the top. A tweak or two later and I had a finished design:
I'm rather pleased with the result.
That said, the idea still needs some more work. While the shirt contains the code to produce the background image it's not a fully self-documenting t-shirt in that running the code on the shirt won't produce the whole design. That's to say: you can't run the code and get a PNG that's ready to upload to RedBubble.
I think a bit of reading of the documentation for RMagick is in order.