making the ancient camera a thing of the past – and taking with it the noble art of genuine image creation… i am something of a luddite, i admit… but i aint being tetchy about technological achievements for the sake of it… there’s no, as one tedious soul pointed out, craft to the digital age of image creation. it’d be interesting to view the results of a 3d single lens camera (something conventional cameras cannot achieve unless we involve the zoetrope or stereoscopy – though that’s the melding of several images together) or a camera which can take photos in low light situations – something a normal run-of-the-mill film camera can do, anyhow… just push the film (low light) or pull it (strong light). or better still have 3200iso film handy for those low light, no flash situations… the digital camera isn’t making inroads to new visual highs it’s taking away a learning curve that most photographers agree should be part and parcel of the growing pains of photography… i for one celebrate my image creation failings just as much as any picture i deem worthy of a picture frame… in all i’ve shot about 5 rolls of film that i’m happy with – featuring a couple of women in the studio and images of my father and his brother.
Camera Start-Up Lytro Promises to Revolutionize Photography
With a new kind of camera, Lytro wants to remove the headaches of focus from
Lytro, a start-up based in the Silicon Valley, hopes to revolutionize the
camera industry by bringing “light field” cameras to the market this year. This
type of photography captures the color, intensity and direction of individual
light rays, allowing the user to refocus the picture even after it has been
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Lytro’s founder and chief executive, Ran Ng, likened
the technology to a multitrack audio recording, in which each instrument is
recorded separately and mixed later.
Clicking anywhere on the picture
changes the point of focus, causing other parts of the scene to blur into the
post on Lytro demonstrates the concept with an interactive photo. Clicking
anywhere on the picture changes the point of focus, causing other parts of the
scene to blur into the background. A picture gallery shows more
Lytro also claims that its cameras work in low lighting without flash, and
can produce 3D photos with a single lens.
“We have something special here,” Ng wrote. “Our mission is to change
photography forever, making conventional cameras a thing of the past.”
It’s a lofty goal, especially at a time when smartphones are already
jeopardizing conventional digital cameras. But if Lytro’s first cameras really
are better and more convenient, they may pose a threat to high-end digital
cameras and DSLRs. That will depend largely on pricing and portability; we’ll
see what Lytro comes up with later this year.
TSA curbs checkpoint photography by travelers — but it’s legal
Taking a snapshot or video in a public area in the U.S. — such as a TSA airport security checkpoint — may get you in trouble, even if photography is legally allowed.
Tribune Media Services
Taking an innocent snapshot in a public area in the U.S. may get you in trouble, even if photography is allowed. It almost landed Ryan Miklus behind bars when he flew from Phoenix to Reno with his parents recently.
When Miklus tried to videotape an altercation between his mother and a TSA agent, another officer tried to stop him. “You are not allowed to film,” the officer says on the video. “You need to go. You cannot film us.”
“Where does it say that?” Miklus asks. “Show me the law. Show it to me and I’ll stop.”
The agent doesn’t answer, but leaves and returns with several airline employees, one of whom tells Miklus that it’s “against the law” to take photos at a security checkpoint.
“Put down the camera!” the employee orders. Miklus continues taping. A police officer later refuses to arrest him.
Such incidents are becoming increasingly common, making shutterbugs hesitant to take pictures that they’re well within their rights to take. They include security guards harassing a photographer shooting in a Los Angeles park and a man being threatened for videotaping a whale in the Florida Keys. TSA screening areas are a flashpoint for these encounters, with officers sometimes threatening passengers, blocking their view or citing nonexistent rules in an effort to force them to stop taking photos.
“I used to deal with one of these a month,” says Mickey Osterreicher, the general counsel of the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA). “Then it was weekly. Now it’s almost every day. Citizens are being told that they can’t take pictures out in public — whether it’s a building, a bridge or a train.”
Travelers are confused. Bridget Garrity, an attorney from Torrington, Conn., recently spotted a sign at BWI Marshall Airport suggesting that taking photos of TSA screeners is illegal. “It was hung on the wall right above the entry to the security lanes for the machines,” she says. “It did have some reference to a federal code, but I couldn’t get it all down.” Garrity was tempted to take a picture of the sign, but was afraid that she might be breaking the law.
Jonathan Dean, a spokesman for BWI, confirmed the signs near the screening area, saying that they’re there because “TSA typically discourages photography at its checkpoints.”
Why the crackdown on photography? Carlos Miller, a Miami-based multimedia journalist and author of the blog Photography Is Not a Crime, says that law enforcement agencies have felt threatened by photographers since the videotape of Los Angeles police officers beating Rodney King made the rounds in 1991. It accelerated after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and has spun out of control with the development of social media, location-based technology and cellphones with easy-to-use digital cameras. “Cops feel as if they have to protect themselves,” he says.
There’s a second reason why photography in public places is frowned upon, according to Miller and others. Officials assume that there’s a link between photography and terrorism, so anyone taking pictures of airports, screening areas, parks, bridges or any other site that terrorists could put in their crosshairs becomes a suspect, they say.
The Miklus incident has prompted the TSA to review its policy on photography at screening areas, according to a post on the agency’s website. Many agency-watchers worry that the government will try to ban photography, but when I asked the TSA about the review, it said that the statement on the website has been misinterpreted. “We recognize that using video and photography equipment is a constitutionally protected activity,” TSA spokesman Greg Soule told me.
The agency is only reviewing its guidance to officers, he said, “to ensure consistent application” of its regulations. TSA posted a clarification on its site shortly after my inquiry.
What really are the rules?
So what are the rules? And what should you do if you’re told to stop filming or photographing?
Osterreicher says that there are only two public areas in the United States where you can’t shoot pictures: military bases and nuclear facilities. “The warnings are clearly posted,” he says. “Otherwise, if the public is allowed, then so are their rights.”
But officials don’t necessarily agree with that broad interpretation. For example, the TSA’s current policy is that photography at security screening areas is permitted, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the screening process. But what, exactly, constitutes interference? The agency also prohibits photography of its screening equipment, specifically the screen that shows scanned items. But that rule would appear to contradict federal law, since the screening equipment is in a public area.
And while it’s OK to take personal photographs in state and national parks, commercial photos usually require a permit. Park police who don’t want you to take pictures can exploit that rule by drawing a fine line between an amateur and a professional photographer.
Indeed, what constitutes the difference? Is it the tripod, the price of the camera or the quality of the footage? When I tried to take photos in Florida Caverns State Park near Marianna, Fla., last year, a park official told me that I would have to pay $75 for a photography permit. But I could avoid the fee if I left some of my equipment in the car — specifically my tripod.
It’s an odd predicament, since we travel in a surveillance society. Law enforcement agencies can place cameras in public areas and monitor our comings and goings, but when we try to take pictures, we’re sometimes told that it’s not allowed. Why the double standard? Should you stand up for your constitutional rights the next time you try to take a snapshot of your family at the airport and a stern-faced security agent tells you that it’s illegal?
If you’re on vacation, it’s probably not worth it. That’s the advice Osterreicher gives NPPA members, too: It’s not worth a trip to jail. “Be courteous, be respectful and don’t get into an argument,” he says. “Should you have the time and want to push the issue, ask to speak to a supervisor or report the incident to that agency as soon as possible. Otherwise, they have a badge and you may lose the argument.”
“Just say, ‘Yes, officer, thank you, officer.’ And walk away.”
Christopher Elliott is the ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler magazine and the co-founder of the Consumer Travel Alliance. His column runs weekly at seattletimes.com/travel and occasionally in print.