June 2007

Meta19 Jun 2007 at 18:08 by Jean-Marc Liotier

As you can read from My Pet Jawa, Howie’s Moisture Farm and The Dread Pundit Bluto, some stupid spammer has apparently taken upon himself to promote the increasingly dubious prose of the CIPDTF. As I am providing anonymous hosting services to the CIPDTF, I am as usually taking some heat for anything related to them. So once again I have some explaining to do. The few last times I had to do that chore the controversy involved mostly French speakers so I wrote my CIPDTF disclaimers in my French speaking blog. Now it seems that time has come to make things clear in English too…

It is really a pity that I have to add another categorical denial to the already thickening pile, but here it is… Once again I want to make clear that I have never participated directly or indirectly in the content of the CIPDTF nor in any action aimed at promoting it by any means, especially the obnoxious and illegal ones.

In the name of the freedom of speech that was under very strong pressure during the heights of the Ivorian civil war, I am providing free anonymous hosting services to an Ivorian collective. My contact with that collective goes through a person I know under the pseudonym “Jacques Koulibaly”. I handle hosting services and that is all – I have nothing whatsoever to do with contents, nor with the actions of the CIPDTF or its sympathisers.

With the Ivorian crisis settling down, maybe the time for the CIPDTF‘s radical, provocative and plain bizarre humor has passed. That is my opinion, but that is not my problem. The CIPDTF is becoming ever stranger, I believe that the quality of its publications has sharply declined and my problem is that I wish to make clear that I am not associated with the CIPDTF in any way.

As you may know I am an extremely patient person and I will remain faithful to my past commitment to provide hosting unless unethical content appears on the site. But I am quite fed up with issuing disclaimers. So as a first step in making the demarcation of responsibilities more clear I have asked the CIPDTF to register their own domain name.

In fact I asked them long ago, but I did not follow up. Lending a sub-domain to those impecuniary people was supposed to be a temporary measure but I let it go on way past its expiration date. So two weeks ago I gave them a deadline : register your own domain before the 14th July or I shall discontinue hosting your site. The recents events reported by the aforementioned blogs have only confirmed my determination on this matter.

I hope that my position is now clearer for everyone involved. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask them here so that the debate can enlighten everyone.

Photography and Picture of the day18 Jun 2007 at 8:45 by Jean-Marc Liotier

Sometimes even clumsy old men like me manage to frame action. I quite like this picture I took last week-end of my daughter impacting the bottom of the pond after loosing her footing on the slippery bottom :

Now you are certainly all in awe of the über-quick action photography skills that yielded this nice aquatic instant. But then you are mistaken – this sort of picture is not really about the reaction time but about anticipation.

I was actually busy portraying the other girl when I sensed Pauline entering the pond and the periphery of the frame. First lesson : even when shooting keep the other eye mostly open so that you remain aware of your surroundings in spite of the viewfinder’s tunnel vision.

I knew that Pauline was barefoot and that on the smooth marble bottom she was bound to slip – and I had no time to stop her. So I just kept my index fully pressed on the shutter button and went cyclic, capturing frames continuously and as fast as my camera would bear. In three seconds I had a dozen frames and only this one worth keeping.

But I no longer care about a keeper’s ratio : a few years ago digital began to erode that notion, but now with thirteen gigabytes in my pocket I have enough memory so that the number of frames I record is no longer relevant at all. Second lesson : if there is even a remote chance that something interesting might happen, shoot first and ask questions later.

If you shoot video, this certainly sounds very familiar and it is : what I am actually doing is shooting a four frames per second video and later choose the frames I like. The purists are probably shuddering at the thought, but nowadays action photography is just video frame grabbing with a lower frame rate.

Photography frame rates are increasing, with the Canon 1D MkIII producing ten 10 megapixel frames per second with live preview, but video definition is increasing too – the Red HD digital video camera produces twelve megapixels at sixty frames per second with quality similar to a modern DSLR albeit at a quite different price point. You may have missed it, but convergence has already happened.

Journalists now have the technical means to produce photo as well as video. Just as people choose to make color or black and white pictures, whether you do it or not will soon be a matter of style, not of technical limits.