Friday, November 29, 2013

Alexander Tsiaras- Humans From Conception To Birth- Video

A breathtaking look at human development from conception to birth from image-maker Alexander Tsiaras.

This is a little under 10 minutes TEDTalks.

Fascinating stuff.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Google India's Powerful Search Ad Touches On The India/Pakistan Partition

Google India has created a powerful and very touching ad for its search engine that has had quite a positive impact on both Indian and Pakistani viewers, considering the contentious relations between the two countries since the 1947 partition.

“Reunion” portrays two childhood friends, now elderly men, who haven’t seen each other since they were separated by the 1947 partition that created India and Pakistan from the old British empire in South Asia. Partition sparked a mass exodus as millions of Muslims and Hindus fled across the new borders amid religious violence.

In the ad, one of the men reminisces to his granddaughter about his happy childhood in Lahore and how he used to steal sweets from a shop with his best friend, who the ad implies is Muslim. His granddaughter uses the search engine to track down the childhood friend in the Pakistani city. Then, with the help of the Pakistani man’s grandson (and naturally, Google), she arranges a journey to New Delhi for a surprise reunion.

Kudos to Google for using this ad campaign to actually humanize the issue. 

Advertising with a heart.

See if you can watch this without getting misty eyed.

The beautiful haunting music was created by Clinton Cerejo, sung by Piyush Mishra, with lyrics by Neelesh Jain, a creative director at Ogilvy and Mather.

For more on this story and the troubles between the two countries: Gulf News

This version translates the song as well. It's beneath the Hindi subtitles.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Elk That Butted Heads With Photographer Euthanized By Park Services

There's not much a photographer won't do to get that special, hopefully spectacular, photo. That often means getting up at early hours, staying up all night, trekking through fields and in some cases getting up close and personal with wild animals.  I love taking photos of animals, but I'm perfectly happy when they're on the other side of some kind of fence. That doesn't always happen, however. In the wild, you have no control over what wild animal might approach you. That's what happened to photographer James York when he was up one early morning taking photos in the Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina.  Cataloochee Valley is famous for its elk. Photographer Vince M. Camiolo also happened to be there when a young elk apparently walked up behind York and started investigating York's equipment.  It seemed the bull was initially in search of food, but the encounter turned physically aggressive, and Camiolo wound up videotaping most of it.

Camiolo asked York why he allowed the abuse, and his answer:

"My first thoughts were "wow, he's getting pretty damn close here." But I've been up close before without incident. I hoped being still and passive would see him pass on. When he lowered his antlers to me, I wanted to keep my vitals protected and my head down. I felt that standing up would provoke him more and leave me more vulnerable to goring. I think that while protecting myself with my head down, having my head down was a signal that I was rutting with him. I was concerned at first, but when he started rearing back and lunging at me later on, I got scared and pissed off. That's when I wagged my finger at him to cut that shit out. I was relieved to see the Ranger coming.

So I guess at some point if the Ranger hadn't of pulled up, I would have had to disengage the best I could. I've joked with my friends that at least he took me for a buck and not a cow!"
Some of you may have seen snippets of the video, since it went viral, but as a result the National Park Service felt the elk's aggression warranted euthanizing the animal. Apparently this was not the first aggressive encounter with humans. Both photographers were heartbroken, but the problem lies with people who feed the wild animals which makes them fearless in seeking food from other humans.

Camiolo posted a statement (along with York's) regarding the elk's demise.

Camiolo's  statement:

I am deeply saddened by the fate of the elk. It has certainly pulled a black cloud over this whirlwind "viral video" experience.

I spoke to the reporter who broke the story and she assured me the decision was based on a pattern of aggressive behavior that began prior to the incident documented in this video. The behavior was the result of visitors feeding the elk and conditioning them to seek food from humans. This video only serves as an example of the elk's dangerous behavior, not an impetus to it.

Again, it brings me great sadness to learn of this beautiful animal's demise and the unfortunate circumstances surrounding it.

I'm looking into a destination for proceeds from this video to help the NPS educate visitors on the dangers and consequences of feeding wildlife.

I also want to be clear that James, the photographer, was not complicit in a behavior that led to the elk's demise, but rather was made an example of the result of such behaviors. The elk approached him from behind, likely looking for food as he was conditioned to do.

York's statement:

I love and respect animals and that's why I photograph them and don't hunt them. I am deeply hurt by the loss of such a beautiful creature that in its own way bonded with me. I looked forward to watching him grow to a mature bull as the years passed.

I'm truly heartbroken to know he is gone.
I think I'll stick to the other side of the fence or sitting in my car snapping shots. I'm not that bold or courageous.  It's a pretty amazing video though.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Strange and Alien Worlds Created Through Microscope Photography.

Is this some exotic plant, or some fancy spaghetti? Nope, it's a microscopy photo of a toothbrush. It's quite amazing what things look like through a microscope.

The following is of the leaf of a Virginia Spiderwort.

Here are some more strange, wonderful and icky images.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Fallen Princesses"- Dina Goldstein's Photos Take a Darker Look At Disney Characters

Born in Israel, Canadian conceptual photographer Dina Goldstein looks at things a little differently. In her Fallen Princesses series she shares the darker side of  Disney Fairy Tale characters. Reversing the "happily ever after" theme that is part and parcel of the Fairy Tales we have come to love, we see what happens to these 'princesses' when they actually have to deal with real life issues including eating disorders, addictions, aging and mental issues and poverty.

So we see Snow White with a brood of kids living in suburbia with her jobless prince, Little Red Riding Hood with a penchant for fast food, Belle getting botox, Pocahontas as an agoraphobic cat lady, an alcoholic Cinderella who couldn't conceive, Jasmine's as a soldier somewhere in the Middle East, Ariel is on display in an aquarium, The Princess and the Pea lives in a landfill, Sleeping Beauty never wakes up while her prince waited and is now old and  Rapunzel getting chemo.

Her inspiration:

“My daughter was very small and getting into the whole Disney princesses culture, and at the same time my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer (she’s totally fine now). I started to think: what if these princesses had to deal with cancer, or financial discourse, or any of the real-life problems people have to go through?”
“I began to imagine Disney’s perfect Princesses juxtaposed with real issues that were affecting women around me, such as illness, addiction and self-image issues,” says Dina. “With limited funds, I began to assemble my series.”

She has published a book called Fallen Princesses.

She also has a Barbie series, called In The Doll House.

Demilked has all of the photos, and The Daily Beast has more information on Dina.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Adobe Email/Password Hack Up To 150 Million - Tool To Check If Yours Was Compromised

Were you one of those lucky ones to have your account compromised in the Adobe hack?  I was. Thankfully I received an email from Adobe alerting me to the fact so I was able to immediately change my password, but many people were not and they have remained blissfully ignorant. And now it turns out there might have been many more accounts compromised than previously thought. 

Initially only 2.9 million users were estimated to have been hacked, then it jumped to 38 million, now they think it could be a whopping 150 million. That's 150 million user names and passwords out there ready to be used by some reprobate criminal. 

If you haven't been notified you should still check, and there's an easy way to do that. LastPass has created a free tool that will let you know if your account was hacked, and notify you of how many people had the same password as you.  I decided to check, just for the heck of it, and as expected mine had been hacked.  What shocked me, however, was that my password, one that I thought was pretty dang unique, was used by 73 other people. May not seem like many, when you consider there were so many people effected, but still.  Now I need to purge that password from any other account I might be using it with.

Petapixel (source of this post) reminds everyone about Adobe's advice to account holders:

It’s more important than ever that you heed the initial advice Adobe doled out: change your password (all of them if you tend to use the same one on multiple accounts) and check your bank and credit card accounts often over the next few months.

Oh, and here’s another sad tidbit that has come to light thanks to the Adobe hack: the three most popular passwords used by the Adobe users who were hacked are “123465″, “123456789″ and “password” — with security like that, who needs encryption!

NakedSecurity (Sophos AV) has information on the Adobe hack, and how woefully inadequate  it was.

Last Pass Secure Tool to check if your email was hacked.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Shane Black's Beautiful Time-lapse Photography Video "Adventure Is Calling"

I love time-lapse photography. It's something I have absolutely no patience for, which makes me appreciate it even more. Ohio photographer Shane Black took a two month road trip with two buddies, and together they traveled almost 13,000 miles through 32 states, visiting13 national and state parks, in a Dodge Caravan capturing the beauty of this country and eventually turning it into a video. That's a lot of terrain for such a short period of time, but what he came up with is incredibly beautiful.

If you click on the link below the video, Shane explains the reasons for the trip, and lists all the equipment used.

Well done, Shane!

Adventure Is Calling from Shane Black on Vimeo.