Most people in today’s society have a mobile phone. Most mobile phones have cameras. Anyone and everyone has become an on-the-scene photojournalist, reporting on everything from major news events to the odd and crazy.
Some of these picture-worthy events take place on everyday flights. Shutter-happy passengers, snapping or even video recording the woman on the next aisle over acting unusual or a fellow passenger being disruptive. It’s undeniable that we are curious beings, and want to document and share events we witness. But not everyone is pleased citizen photojournalists.
If you’re planning to attend the Kentucky Derby early next month, you might want to make sure you’ll be content with capturing your memories with a smartphone or point-and-shoot. Churchill Downs, the racetrack that hosts the famous horse race, has unveiled new security measures that will prevent attendees from bringing certain items onto the grounds. Among them: all interchangeable lens cameras.
‘Showrooming’ is something that’s having a big effect in the camera equipment industry and something that many brick-and-mortar retailers are trying to address. It’s when consumers walk into a store not with the intention of actually purchasing a camera or lens, but instead to play around with them and evaluate them in person before making the actual purchase for a lower price online.
One store over in Brisbane, Australia has come up with a novel strategy (but not so consumer friendly) for combatting showrooming. To ensure that only customers looking to purchase products walk through their doors, the store is charging a $5 fee just to browse its wares.
“Deadly sniper shot through the lens.” That’s the title of a photoblog entry published over on Reuters last week by staff photographer Goran Tomasevic, who’s covering the deadly conflict in Syria. The photo above was accompanied by the text, “A tank fired a couple of shells onto the top of the building and rubble fell down around us.”
The images offer a grim first person view into what it’s like to find oneself in the midst of the fighting. They also sparked debate over the ethics of putting photographers directly in harms way for the purpose of journalism. At least one news outlet is now taking a strong stance: The Sunday Times is reportedly refusing to receive photos from freelancers due to the risks involved.
Over the last few days, many Instagram and Facebook users received a nasty shock when they were unceremoniously locked out of their accounts. The lock-out was accompanied by a message asking for government-issued proof of ID before being let back in.
If these were famous people or celebrities, that would be understandable. But all manner of users have been locked out of their accounts over the last week pending identification; some are even being asked to provide birth certificates if their IDs are deemed unacceptable. Read more…
If you live in California and have been eyeing some camera gear on Amazon, you might want to bust out your wallet and make the purchase this week. On September 15th, 2012, Amazon will start collecting sales tax for purchases made from California. The tax rate ranges from 7.25% to 9.75% depending on where you live, so the cost difference could be quite significant depending on what you buy. For a $1,500 camera or lens, the tax could be as heavy as $150.
Bad news for photographers in Southern California: the Los Angeles Police Department issued a notice regarding its official terrorism handling policy earlier this week, and the document still identifies photographers as potential terrorists. The intradepartmental correspondence, sent out by the Chief of Police, warns officers about the following:
Photography. Taking pictures or videos of facilities/buildings, infrastructures or protected sites in a manner that would arouse suspicion in a reasonable person. Examples include taking pictures or videos of ingress/egress, delivery locations, personnel performing security functions (e.g., patrol, badge/vehicle checking), security-related equipment (e.g., perimeter fencing, security cameras), etc.;
Observation/Surveillance. Demonstrating unusual interest in facilities/buildings, infrastructures or protected sites beyond mere casual or professional (e.g., engineers) interest, such that a reasonable person would consider the activity suspicious. Examples include observations through binoculars, taking notes, attempting to measure distances, etc. …
Dennis Romero of L.A. Weekly writes that “the LAPD is now poised to detain and question half the L.A. Weekly staff.”
Remember Facebook’s “zombie photo” problem? Photos that users deleted on the website actually remained very much alive on Facebook’s servers, available to anyone who held on to the images’ URLs. Earlier this year Facebook acknowledged the issue and promised changes that would ensure permanent deletion within 45 days.
Now, it appears that Facebook has honored its word. The company tells Ars Technica that deleted photographs are now vaporized from the web within 30 days — a claim that Ars has confirmed through tests.
In mid-January, Nikon sent an letter out to independent camera repair technicians across the US, informing them that “it will no longer make repair parts available for purchase by repair facilities that have not been authorized by Nikon Inc. to perform camera repairs.” After July 13th, 2012, unauthorized repair shops will no longer be able to repair Nikon cameras — a huge part of their business — with official manufacturer-approved parts. iFixit writes,
Scott Jarvie, a full-time photographer, outlined his concerns with the policy in a detailed Google+ post. He demonstrates how silly the new policy seems by comparing cameras to cars. What if your car broke, and you went to your favorite mechanic, but he told you that you’re out of luck? Though he could fix your car by tomorrow, your car’s manufacturer will no longer allow him to buy the necessary parts. Instead, you have to send your car to your car manufacturer’s own repair shop (which, if we’re taking this analogy all the way, has a much poorer BBB rating than your own local shop) or one of two dozen manufacturer-authorized repair shops—oh, you don’t live near one of those? There’s not even one in your state? Too bad. Forget driving to work this week; you’re going to have to ship in your car.
If you want to speak out against this new policy, there’s an online petition you can sign that has already raised thousands of signatures.
How Nikon is Killing Camera Repair [iFixit]
Image credit: No more photos temporarily by Stefan Marks
Adobe caused a stir last November after changing its upgrade policy to only cover one version back instead of three. This meant that only Photoshop CS5 owners would qualify for the upgrade price on CS6 when it’s launched, leaving CS3 and CS4 owners the not-so-nice option of buying the CS5 upgrade before buying the CS6 one. Perhaps in response to the angry customer response, Adobe announced a “special offer” for CS3 and CS4 owners today:
[...] we want to make sure our customers have plenty of time to determine which offering is best for them. Therefore, we’re pleased to announce that we will offer special introductory upgrade pricing on Creative Suite 6 to customers who own CS3 or CS4. This offer will be available from the time CS6 is released until December 31, 2012.
We’ll find out just how much of a discount those users will receive once CS6 is released. It also appears that Adobe isn’t planning to restore the old upgrade policy — today’s announcement is more of a one-time fix for angry customers.
(via Adobe via John Nack)
Image credit: Adobe Creative Sweet CS5 by pcfishhk