Fresh Faces 18

A few months ago now I made a very stupid decision. I’m not going to go into the details but the result is that I curtailed my photography a bit. That hiatus has been a good thing. It’s allowed me to focus on some other areas and to think about new subjects for my photography. In the end there might be a silver lining to what was certainly a dark cloud.

With that overly mysterious intro out of the way, I DO have some new faces to share. These are all from 2010 and I hope you’ll find a few in here that you enjoy. As always, let me know if you have an event coming up that you’d like to have captured.

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Liberty and Responsibility

There’s so much conversation about individual liberty being trampled these days. Personally I’m not feeling it myself but you hear a lot about it from conservatives and libertarians. Health care reform is discussed this way, so are things like helmet laws, financial deregulation, etc. All of these – and more – are presented as examples of the government overstepping its bounds and stopping people from doing the things their way.

Last night I was watching Frontline’s program The Vaccine War. It was excellent – using published research from around the world to debunk the alleged connect between vaccines and autism. Toward the end there was a public health official speaking with several mothers who had opted not to have their children vaccinated. He raised the question – what if your choice not to vaccinate results in illness for a child that cannot be vaccinated?

The response was that they were responsible parent and wouldn’t let their child be around other kids if they were sick. The public health official pointed out the often people are capable of transmitting an illness before they show any symptoms. To which there really was no very effective response.

There ought to be some mechanism for people to exercise their desired level of freedom while still assuming responsibility for their actions. This mechanism ought to be onerous enough to force people think hard about the potential consequences of their decisions.

My thought is that anyone wishing to exercise their “full freedom” sign an affidavit stating they understand that they will be held personally liable for any consequences of their actions. For example, if someone wishes to ride a motorcycle without a helmet they would be financially responsible for the cost of the emergency services and/or treatment to the extent it isn’t covered by their insurance.

Or if a child becomes ill as the result of exposure to a disease carried by an unvaccinated person that person (or their legal guardians) would be held responsible for any cost associated with treatment. This responsibility could be guaranteed by agreeing to a lien on any property or through the purchase of supplemental insurance to cover the potential outcome of their actions.

This would give people the freedom to act as they desire without placing the burden of the results of their actions on others. It irritates me that people want to have their cake and eat it too. It would annoy me less if they were forced to pay for the cake (and its consequences).

Not the camera of my dreams but still a dreamy camera

For a while I resisted the move to HD video. Most of the stuff I’ve been doing has been talking head videos for the Web. How much could HD matter? In general, I tend to think that it’s distracting and a waste of time and effort to shoot most of that stuff in HD.

Last week though I had the opportunity to shoot the Tesla Roadster Sport as part of a project I’m doing for an online motorsport community – MMR. In that situation HD made more sense to me. I was planning on borrowing a camera from my pal Matt but I wasn’t able to reach him. With time running out I bit the bullet and decided to buy a camera.

Now I knew exactly what camera I wanted – a Canon Vixia HF S100; but the deck was stacked against me . . . I needed the camera the next day. I also needed to buy it on credit – preferably without any interest for a while (I’ve been out of work for seven months now . . .). That limited my choices to BestBuy, BestBuy or BestBuy.

So I went to BestBuy.

First though I went to BestBuy.com to see what they were selling. Unfortunately, they weren’t selling the S100. Of the available models I went with the Canon Vixia HF M30.

So far I’m happy with it. I shot with it a few times and have been happy with the experience. I like the touchscreen controls a lot. I have a Canon ZR 950 SD camera and find the joystick control a little clunky. The touchscreen works much better for me. I also like the size. I can easily put the camera in my pocket and go out and about. Another thing that’s cool is the ability to span storage. The camera came with 8GB of internal memory and I added another eight. If it runs out of storage on one it switches seamlessly to the other. That’s pretty nifty.

There are a couple of things I don’t like about it. One is the battery life. It sucks. Fully charged I’m lucky to get 100 minutes. Even a smidgen more – two hours – would be great. I’d read a couple of reviews of a number of Canon cameras and seen people complaining about the noise of the lens cover when closed. “What a bunch of babies,” I thought. But you know what, it is disconcerting to hear the thing rattling around.

Another problem I had was with the AV out jack. I plugged in a set of headphones and was greeted by some terrible noise. I got one channel of audio and one channel of REALLY LOUD STATIC. It turns out you need to specify the output device and the default *isn’t* headphones. I was afraid something was wrong with the camera and was on the verge of returning it – but then I read the manual.

I haven’t done anything with the Tesla footage (someone else will be editing that) but I did shoot a heartwarming scene the other day at the Garden in the Woods. As my family and I traipsed along its verdant trails we espied a dead mouse being eaten by two ants. A gross scene perhaps but one that came out fairly well. (Unfortunately, the embedded video isn’t in HD . . .)

The bottom line is that I’m happy with this camera. It isn’t everything I wanted but such is life. It’s better than what I had and it gives me more flexibility.