sasha_feather: Amelie, white woman with dark hair, smiling cheerfully (Amelie)
My photography tips. All of these are guidelines not rules!

1. Take more pictures than you think you will need. Then take even more.

If you grew up before digital photography, you'll probably feel like you are "wasting film"-- you'll have a conservative approach to hitting the shutter button. Film and printing photos were expensive. It's a process to unlearn those old habits and take more photos, to take a liberal, abundant, and playful approach to taking photos. To snap with abandon.

2. It's not a rule to have fun, but being experimental and playful can help.
(Have fun should not be a rule from real social skills)

3. Get closer, especially to people. I want to see their eyes and faces and expressions. I want the subject to fill most of the frame.

4. If you are able, get at eye level or a little above. Taking a photo from below the person's eyeline is rarely flattering. One reason the Dogist ( is so great? He has hard knee pads. He gets down on the ground to get on the dog's eye level. Then he squeaks a toy so they will look at the camera. (I know that not everyone can kneel.)

5. Pay attention to what is in the background of your photo. Junk and clutter are distracting. There are many funny photos online of mirror reflections of people's naked butts, or sex toys sitting out on the counter, etc, that they missed because they didn't look at the background.

6. Natural light is best! Flash tends to wash things out. Sometimes bathrooms provide good lighting too; I think it's the mirrors and the typically white walls that reflect the light around.

7. If you want to try the "Rule of thirds", dividing an image into 3 or 9 parts, or aligning the eyes on the top third line, (again this is not really a rule but a guideline), many cameras and iPads have built-in guides-- superimposed lines over your screen that divides the image into thirds both vertically and horizontally. I think that the iPad also has a Fibonacci spiral guideline on it!

Some of the reasons I got more into photography:
It doesn't hurt my body (unlike other hobbies like knitting)
You don't have to learn much to see some results (low point of entry)
It's relatively cheap and portable, due to the advent of digital cameras and phone cameras
I find that it helps me pay attention to my environment, in a meditative, mindful way: even on horrible days I can find interesting things to look at and snap photos of.


Mar. 18th, 2012 12:25 am
sasha_feather: Bright green grass (green grass)

A young lamb with black legs and face, and mottled black/white nubbly wool. It's lying on some old carpet and some hay.
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
It's been a long time since I've been this run down. I'm too tired to do much of anything, including reading, and Facebook games are not loading. So I suppose I'll write a post.

1. Is there an internet etiquette for quoting people from locked LJ/DW discussions, even if it's to another locked post? My gut feeling is not to do it without express permission, even if nearly all the people involved are mutual friends.

The reason I ask is because we have a good/frustrating/thought-provoking discussion of fanfic going on in [ profile] mystickeeper's journal, in a locked post. I want to talk about it more, in my own space, maybe even in a public post, and I'm wondering if/how to quote and attribute people. Maybe I'll just say my own piece and have done, but that ignores giving credit whereg it's due. It's the push and pull between privacy and attribution, which I have struggled with before. And the only way through it is to get over myself and ask people straight out, I suppose.

[eta: mystickeeper unlocked the post, and it is here.]

2. I can write a post about photography ethics even with my brain half turned off, I think, because I've thought about it a lot.

If there's a way to be grateful for something horrible that happened, a silver lining in my own experience of a bad event, then the WisCon troll incident forced me to take a hard look at a couple of my own issues: taking photos of people, posting said photos, and body image issues in general. Body image issues I've written about elsewhere, and that's outside the scope of this post.

The issue: taking photos of people in public places, or semi-public places. Related issue: posting said photos on the internet.

Someone who was on my f-list does this in what became apparent to me was an assholish and entitled way of doing things. I left and a comment and then defriended him, when it became apparent he didn't take my objections seriously. I also sought opinions via email from a few friends.

[ profile] antarcticlust said:
"It may be legal, but is it really ethical to take photos of people if they tell you they don't want to be photographed? The photographer Michael Hutchinson described it as an exchange - a person in a photograph is a living being, not an object, and so there has to be some kind of relationship between the photographer and the photographed. Whether it's ethical is clearly subjective (like all issues of ethics), but I know that a lot (most?) photographers will respect the wishes of someone NOT to have their photograph taken if they express it. I know some that offer their contact info and free prints in exchange for their being a subject, as a way of saying thanks and diffusing the situation.

"So yes, it's legal, unless you're photographing children and putting them on the web - that can be sticky. Or taking photos of women in Pakistan, or any other number of places where it IS illegal (or culturally frowned upon). [The photographer] can't legally use the photographs for commercial purposes without a model release, which is a separate issue entirely."

My standard is clearly higher than that of the law. I like taking pictures, but overall in life, my actions ideally are motivated by compassion, empathy, and treating others as I would wish to be treated. As opposed to entitlement, and getting the photo I want at the expense of the person photographed. People are ends in themselves, not a means to an end: in this case the end being a good photo.

But, as in point number 1: I don't always seek express permission. I sometimes just go with my gut, I read body language, or I put the impetus on the person being photographed to express their displeasure. And this still makes me a little bit uncomfortable. Not everyone has the same body language, and not everyone is comfortable expressing displeasure or asking after the fact to have the photo deleted or locked.

Sometimes I ask outright, especially new people, "are you OK with me taking (and/or posting) photos?" Sometimes people are surprised when I ask this.

[personal profile] jesse_the_k told me about a system at some conference or other where there were many people present who were not neurotypical, and thus didn't have the same body language and social skills as neurotypicals. At the conference they used a system of stickers on name badges to express whether or not it was OK for people to take photos. This system is better, but it only works at a place where people wear badges, not out on the public street or at parties.

The whole issue of linking identities to photos complicates it again.
sasha_feather: a head full of interesting things (head space)

If you want me to interview you--post a comment that simply says, "Interview me." I'll respond with questions for you to take back to your own journal and answer as a post. Of course, they'll be different for each person since this is an interview and not a general survey. At the bottom of your post, after answering the Interviewer's questions, you ask if anyone wants to be interviewed. So it becomes your turn-- in the comments, you ask them any questions you have for them to take back to their journals and answer. And so it becomes the circle.

Wonderful questions from [personal profile] wintercreek

1. Tea or coffee or something else?

I have recently come around to tea: iced tea, chai, greens, herbals, mint, chamomile, and others. I like to hang out at a tea house, which helps my appreciation, and I'm so happy to have started liking tea because it gives me more beverage options! I don't like coffee-- it's bitter.

2. Roadtripping with podfic: what are your observations? Are there podficcing conventions you noticed that could use some changing? Practices that one podficcer has that others should adopt? General awesomeness of podfic?

It was fantastically awesome and made our 7.5 hour trip go really fast! We actually looked forward to the drive in order to hear some stories we had picked out. I liked the readers who included the fic headers such as warnings. Our biggest problem was hearing the fic, which is a technology problem involving the iPod, the car stereo, road noise, fuzzing out due to being near stop lights and such; I'm not sure what's to be done about that. We had the stereo and iPod up as loud as they would go and still I had to giggle silently so I wouldn't giggle over the sound of hilarious fic!

I am relatively new to pod fic and I just loved it in this context. Most of the stories I had read before but not heard before, and it enhanced my love of them to hear them read aloud. Car trips are my favorite way to listen to things; even music I don't listen to all that much outside of driving. So this was an ideal opportunity to get some podfic time! I'm reflecting a bit now on the openness of sexuality in fannish communities and how awesome that is--- women listening to smut together and not finding it weird. I didn't have anything like this before fandom! I'm so glad to have it now.

3. Talk to me about photography. Does it affect how you see the world even when you don't have a camera in your hands?

Photography has nurtured my natural tendency to observe the beauty of the world around me, which is something I love about it. I notice natural light; when I'm waiting for my tea order I might think, ooh, the light is nice here, and I'll take my camera out. It's also turned my eye toward the beauty of the city in a way I like, since I'm deeply a nature and country person and it's taken me a while to learn to live in, and love, the city.

Something I've been very conscious of is putting up photos of people on the internet (see WisCon 32, cough cough), and I've been actively trying to apply this to my own self-image as well: post photos of myself, and allow others to do so. Don't be overly critical of those photos. I'm working on this. I do untag photos of myself on Facebook for reasons of vanity, but not often. As a feminist I try to own the way I look; I try to give and take the advice of being as kind to myself as I am to my friends, and to love the way I look. It's a process, and photography has helped, because I do take self-portraits. I think the way a photographer looks at other people, and themselves, can come through in their photographs, in subtle and unconscious ways-- it's best to examine that, and feminism has helped me with this, in conjunction with photography.

4. How do you find new fic to read? Rec lists, newsletters, Delicious, other?

When I was brand new to slash fandom, about 2 years ago, I relied heavily on rec lists, sga storyfinders, and intensively reading the same few authors that I knew I liked. Originally I asked for recs from [personal profile] fullygoldy and for a little while, she was the one person I knew to ask! These days, my fandom buddies and I pass around recs via email, and I watch my reading list/friends list for new fic and recs. I also read sga_noticeboard, but it's rare that I read outside of my favorite authors or recs from friends. Occasionally challenges and festivals will change that and introduce me to new authors--and I hope others are reading my stuff this way too!

5. What are the best and worst things about the Kindle?

I have an intense love for my Kindle the way some people love their iPods, their car, or their computer. It is gorgeous and it is my baby! I would say the best thing for me is that I can increase the text size, making text much easier to read than most print books, and that I can carry hundreds of books and fics with me wherever I go, all in 10.2 ounces.

So, generally speaking, the best thing about the Kindle is its disability friendliness. It's light to hold and carry, making it easier for those who can't hold or carry heavy books. It's easier on the eyes than computer screens, because it's not backlit. One can turn the page from both sides at the touch of a button, making it easier for those with hand impairments to turn the pages. The "Whispernet" wireless technology makes it so one can download a book in under a minute, so, if someone can't get to the bookstore because she or he is just too tired, or in too much pain, or immobile, or lives too far away, or the bookstore is closed because it's 2 AM, well, one can just download the book. PDFs, text, and HTML files are also available via emailing them to the Kindle. Also there is a text-to-speech feature! It isn't great in quality, but it is wonderful in that is universally incorporated in all Kindles!

I haven't found a personal "worst" yet. I have heard plenty of people express negative feelings about the Kindle, and many of these are around valid and important issues. Sometimes I feel like people are just saying, "I like paper books too much", and that's fine, that's their perogative, but-- I view that as a teachable moment about disability, which is when I launch into the above spiel. Paper books are not accessible to everyone. Paper books also don't need batteries and they have and will be around for millenia, so I don't feel like the one needs to be a threat to the other; I don't think it's an either/or.

Many people (including me) have genuine issues with Amazon as a company, fear the death of independent booksellers because of increased use of Amazon and eBooks, and feel that the high price of the Kindle is a barrier to access. I trust that the price will come down with time-- as we've seen with iPods and computers. I still buy paper books, even if I don't always read them (I really do prefer to read on the kindle). I support my local indie bookstore as best as I'm able. I seek sources of eBooks that are not Amazon, if I can, and I look for free ebooks. (If anyone knows of sources, do let me know!) Cory Doctorow does have some good things to say about free ebooks and pirating-- usually people who use the free items and who pirate are also the people who *buy*. They are the most loyal customers.

But, I'm still mulling over some of these ethical issues, and I look forward to seeing how some of this works out over time.


sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)

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