Monday, July 6, 2020

In Stitches


Love that pastel Green (and all the miscellaneous frames, windows and geometric shapes)!   
Photo: © Stan Banos

This is a reshoot of the panoramic I mentioned a while back that did not stitch together properly. Truth be told, this one also had a a few minor aberrations- which I cleaned up with Mr. Clone. Perhaps it's: a) the outdated software (Elements 9), or b) I simply needed to take yet more frames, but... a) I do want to keep it as in house as possible,* and b) I didn't want to set records for challenging oncoming traffic in what I had rather mistakenly assumed was a rather traffic free street. 

I must say I'm rather pleased to now have a coupla successful panoramics courtesy of my GR under my belt. I don't expect a whole series, but I now have the confidence to actually do them should the opportunity arise- if I can remember that they are, in fact, a viable option. When I had my Widelux... I had to get into a whole 'nother frame of mind, a very different mindset to see and create panoramics- you even had to hold that camera differently, lest your fingers appear in the frame! But when I go out with the GR, I can see and handle 2:3, 3:4 and 1:1 aspect ratios simultaneously, and I think I can now add panoramic to the mix simply because... they can all be done with the same camera. Yeah, that simple fact makes it easier for my mind to deal with all the various, competing formats. 

Of course, there is a major drawback: crowd scenes are out for obvious reasons. You can only include people (and other moving objects) if they're relatively static and few in number- you simply must keep tabs on their location (harder than it sounds), as you proceed from interlocking frame to interlocking frame... As a small plus, you retain all camera/exposure controls and functions as opposed to the three shutter speeds of a Widelux!

All said and done- a nice and much welcomed tool (however specialized and/or limited) that can come through now and then to save the day...
  
* I tried out a coupla other photo editing programs earlier in the pandemic (Wow- does that ever feel like eons ago, when we all thought... R&R for two weeks, then back to usual!) and after a few half hearted attempts at reinventing the wheel, pulled a quick and hasty retreat back to the welcoming womb.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Irony of... Ironies.

I love all the Yahoos getting their 'I told you so' jollies at the expense of those shot in Chaz/Chop/Whatever... somehow it's meant to prove obvious police superiority. Yet, if one follows exactly what that irony reveals- it's that anarchistic mob rule yields results similar to an officially commissioned and highly funded, equipped and 'well trained' police force...

Friday, July 3, 2020

Happy 4th- And Don't Forget...


Photo: © Stan Banos
 Fourth of July! The day when even... Archconservatives celebrate- REVOLUTION!!!


But this- this is where it lives....



Thursday, July 2, 2020

Monday, June 29, 2020

Don't We All...

Photo: © Stan Banos

Jokes aside, everyone should be proud of who and what they are- just not at the expense of any other group, or individuals. Cause truth is, we're all flawed, all incomplete, all in need of god knows what at god knows when. Or as another sign said, "Claims of superiority are small dick energy." At least on this planet...

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Hearing Problem...

Trump didn't hear the LOUDEST single refrain in the entire video ("White Power!"); or hear anything about the Russian bounty on US soldiers... which later metamorphosed into it wasn't... credible.  Uh-huh.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Hypocrisy At Its Finest!

Asshat Deluxe (and very Repub) Bolton says Dems made a major mistake in not trying to include Repubs in on impeachment (as if they were tottering on the fence all along), and then goes on to state that their pleas for his damning testimony wouldn't of mattered anyway- not too contradictory... And no one has yet to call him on it!

Anyway, we'll always have... this-

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Good Cop/Bad Cop

I look at this poster with deeply mixed emotions- the same experience as when I look upon the Red, White and Blue.* A lot of cops are pretty decent people, some exceptional, some actual heroes... And for those cops, its demeaning for them to be portrayed as pigs. But there are way more than just "a few bad apples." And as far as they're concerned, that depiction is an insult to pigs everywhere. 

Unfortunately, we'll never know the actual ratio- those records don't exist, at least, not for public perusal. And as for "decent" cops, well... all depends on how you interpret the word "decent." And do we even want someone who's just... "decent" for a cop? Hell, I don't want someone who's just decent as a cook, if I'm paying good money at a restaurant! And to paraphrase Chris Rock, how many commercial airlines admit, however grudgingly, that they employ a "few bad apples" as... pilots
 
Photo: © Stan Banos

Hey, being a cop is a dangerous, thankless job- each and every goddamn day! You don't get easy days for a job well done. It's tension, tension, tension! Non-stop, 24/7- ease up and you may earn yourself a permanent vacation! That's why if you're gonna give someone the power over life and death, you're gonna need someone who's far above decent, far above average- someone who's goddamn fuckin'... Exceptional! Ethically, emotionally, morally! Was gonna say intellectually, but nah, not necessarily; you gotta be street smart, people smart... emphatic- not to "coddle" criminals, but to deescalate, reason and yes, sometimes even help. The best can display authority without resorting to outright violence; respect can go a lot further than needless degradation and humiliation, it's not an overnight quick fix, but a long term and eventual, mutual solution.

Yes, defund police, and have them do less of what they're not supposed to do- something they've been crying out for themselves, and rightfully so! Hire more social workers, mental health professionals, drug rehab counselors. Give police the competent, professional training they justifiably need and deserve- demand higher standards of them, and yes, pay them more!

You may argue about that artist's rendering all you want, rightly or wrongly- but that statement above... 
100% Undeniably True!

* Another story, another time.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Names, Fame... And What Really Counts

Back in the analogue days of yore pre-2000, I would usually get introduced to great photographers through... their work. That is, I'd first see this great photograph or body of work, then go about finding out who the hell made it. Yeah, even if your 'research' consisted of no more than aiming your line of sight at the caption directly underneath- you became impressed with the actual work, first. 

Things function kinda different these days, one often sees the name first, through: vlogs, Instagram, FB, Twitter, whatever social media they happen to be on (usually all the aforementioned and more). The Bigger their star status, the more their name keeps popping up until finally one makes the effort to find out who the hell they are. On the way you're usually treated to: each and every social platform they're on, who their equally famous friends and associates are, what social platforms you can find them on, what products everyone has to sell, their current workshops, future happenings, and various likes, opinions and wish lists. Somewhere along that road of discovery you'll eventually come upon their actual work, and then realize why social networking dominates their name recognition, instead of their work doing the heavy lifting. And hey, good on them- they've mastered the formula, it's the hustlers who get to first base!

My YouTube logarithm popped up one of those names recently- Zack Arias. Again, have seen it a thousand times in photo related media, but what photographs instantly pop into mind... ninguno. But this time, for whatever goddang reason, I clicked on it and now I'll most definitely remember his name- instead of thinking he and...  Chase Jarvis are one in the same (another of the predescribed names of fame of which I also know nada).

And what Mr. Zarias did was create a vlog post that went far beyond good photographic advice, far beyond the display of good or even great photography. What he did was give an honest, earnest accounting of his own racial epiphany- an epiphany which he readily admits occurred not because of some heartfelt interaction with a person of color, but because a White man finally broke it down for him and translated it into far more easily digestible bits and pieces. In other words, (and he says as much) his enlightenment occurred not because of the message, but because of the messenger. Had a Black person said it, it would have fallen into the usual background file of racial noise and platitudes. 

It is heartening to see Mr. Zarias now embarking on a road to share his privilege with those less so... This is how White Privilege can function in a positive manner- by not only opening one's heart and mind, but by opening doors for those accustomed to having them shut in their face. 

And here again is the man in question, of whom I posted back on my original (and now ravaged) blog- god love him, and do hope he's alive and well...



Friday, June 19, 2020

Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities

 
Quote: © Voltaire     Photo: © Stan Banos

Ya gotta give credit, where credit is due, and Donald Trump is the epitome of just how far people will not only tolerate and excuse, but ultimately reward and even praise... stupidity, if only in the name of racism (the latter just one of the shallowest and most obvious manifestations of the former).

I was thinking of posting on how Trump was surprised to learn that Britain was a nuclear power when he visited with Theresa May, or about the question that each and every reporter should keep asking each and every day until fully addressed and answered:

But this complete ARROGANCE SUPREME takes the cake for today... All Day!

I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous. It’s actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it.    -Little Donnie Dotard 


Nevertheless, let's all end on the ever lovin' good foot on this day of celebration with my now favorite Karen moment- of which there are many, with many sure to come. It's short, all too predictable- but 2:15 makes it all worthwhile! Peace...

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Emergence!

Photo: © Stan Banos

The most interesting thing about this whole Pandemic Affair is that it finally exposed grown up adults, those with all the supposed answers, including those in power, pretty much looking at each other with no definitive certainty, not even sure what the questions should be. Scientists, politicians, all the big minds and bigger gasbags wondering aloud if A is better than B before crossing fingers, choosing sides, and hoping the rules they conjure are the ones that actually belong to the game being played...

And then, of course, there were the absolutely clueless, who purposelessly chose to remain clueless. And who remain so to this very day...

But emerge we must- unsure, unknowing, but confident that, eventually we must... 


Photo: © Stan Banos

Monday, June 15, 2020

About Time!

Photo: © Stan Banos    6/10/19

I think it wiser,” the retired military leader wrote about a proposed Gettysburg memorial in 1869, “…not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered.  -Robert E. Lee

About fuckin' time it came down!!! Took this shot a year ago in Montgomery, AL. A statue of a terrorist traitor standing tall before a US HS dedicated in his name. Imagine, just imagine, being a Black student going to a school dedicated to the man who fought to keep you and every one of your ancestors and family in chains for... perpetuity. Imagine having to pass that statue every goddamn day to do time in an institution named to honor his 'ideals,' only to pass him on the way out again; all the while knowing that the people who work there, the very people teaching you, also look up to him as a goddamn fuckin' hero! 'Cause if otherwise, they themselves would have done the right thing, the moral thing, the only proper and ethical thing- and tore it the fuck down themselves to set the proper example. Joe Pernell has every goddamn reason in the world to smile and be proud! 

Now... when are they gonna give that school a proper name? Is it really that hard to find someone who doesn't represent every racist's dream of standing on the necks of the largest percentage of their student population? How about- naming it after any one of the people commemorated in this nearby institution?

PS- And while they're wracking their mighty minds for a name- when is Montgomery going to condemn and raze the adjacent, bed bug infested Red Roof Inn? Made sure to throw out the suitcase after that trip!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

E-M-P-A-T-H-Y...

 Empathy- the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

This is what it looks like, this it what it sounds like... someone honestly, fervently trying to put themselves in someone else's shoes- and realizing the task a worthwhile and honorable one, even if the end game is never totally achievable. It's people like this, not those "in power" that give me some modicum of hope; and humble as they are, few as they may be- they are out there...

Monday, June 8, 2020

Here And There...

AMEN!          Photos: © Stan Banos

This weekend, amongst the legion of protests throughout the country, indeed, throughout the world, protestors briefly commandeered the Golden Gate Bridge to make their voices heard. It was the second enormous and possibly most scenic protest within one week in San Francisco- both of which were organized and led by individual seventeen year old girls! What were you doing when you were... seventeen?

6/06/20
Remember when "taking a knee" was a gesture so outlandish, so completely and utterly beyond the pale that it was complete anathema to any White male? Remember how Colin Kaepernick was vilified, banned and threatened for attempting to proclaim and propagate the truth with the most simple, respectful and graceful of gestures? Yeah, I do too. 

Why does it take acts of violent, senseless and preventable death for humans to finally denounce insanity, no matter how ingrained, and embrace the most basic of truths, to acknowledge the most obvious of realities that control and confront us each and every day?

Friday, June 5, 2020

Consequences

Photos: © Stan Banos

Two weeks ago, a White man in a uniform killed a Black civilian- a scenario so common, a list so long that I no longer remember all the: dates, names, locations... excuses- that last detail being the very thing that set this killing apart from the rest. None was exhibited, none could possibly be offered. This murder was a direct and woefully prolonged message- that police could kill openly, deliberately, without pretense of fear or consequence. This public servant purposely ignored the eye of the camera, the desperate pleas of the public, even the very passing of the life he controlled beneath his knee as he continued to debase a then pulseless body.

Somehow, George Floyd's death ignited its own spark of life throughout a nation already so inured to the official taking of life by a power structure ironically monikered: To Protect And Serve. Hope is a youthful playground, I don't know if this movement, this awakening even by some long ensconced in denial or disinterest will amount to any permanent, worthwhile change. Those who ignore that hope, and focus myopically on the violence it has spawned forget that MLK would not have been anywhere near as successful in having legislation passed, had government not well realized that failure to deal with him would have meant being forced to deal with those much less willing to turn the other cheek in the face of racism and injustice.

George Floyd's murder was but the latest manifestation and consequence of White Privilege- blatant, heinous, undeniable. It is where the denial of that simple fact ultimately leads...

Before George Floyd's death, I would have done the proverbial eye roll upon viewing this image, their sincerity and dedication being very much in question to say the very least- as if it was my judgement to make. Being at that march in San Francisco this past Wednesday, with so much youth all around me of every color did present a vision of a new possibility, a hope of what equality can look like when not tainted with the baggage that I personally carry, a realization that it will take all of us...

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

The Clown President

I've read this book so much, I never had time to make any friends!     Photo: Reuters

The visuals above are about as surreal a moment as one could wish for... Judge sentences defendant to wear an oversized clown suit and stand in front of a church he never attends holding a book he never reads. Clue in Law & Order bump-bump.

That alone was ludicrous enough, but... BUT, after this woefully forlorn shot, the great Unifier-In-Chief then orders his administrative cronies to stand on either side for the Grand Finale Group Shot. And nothing, I MEAN NOTHING shouts out healing racial goodness than an All White Ensemble of rich empowered sycophants!

It wasn't till I got home that I discovered that Herr Trump had tear gassed a peaceful demonstration just so that he could casually meander on over (sans golf cart) to use this church adjacent to the White House as a visual prop without their permission, and much to their consequent dismay...

Some of my best friends are... whatever.    Video still: CNN