Thursday, February 25, 2010

A couple essential links for landscape photographers

A standby sight of mine for tracking the various stages of twilight is the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command sunset moonrise table:

You can plug in cities or coordinates of anyplace on the globe, to get a break down of all the phases of Twilight.

Perhaps even better is "The Photographer's Ephemeris"

I'm still checking this out, so we'll be evaluating it together.

If you want to listen to a great podcast that describes what happens to light during the day -- particularly during dawn and sunset, Craig Tanner has a great podcast on the subject:

The Ebb & Flow of Natural Light

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Magnum in Motion: Time of Change

Magnum in Motion: Time of Change by Bruce Davidson

    "They (the police) asked me if I was an agitator, was I a communist, was I a communist sympathizer."

    "And I said, 'I'm none of those things.'"

    "He said, 'You're going to get out of town by 6 O'clock tomorrow morning, or we're (the police) going to stomp you.'"

Bruce Davidson joined a freedom ride which inspired him to photograph the racial divide for the next several years. Hindsight, it was the right thing to do -- to document this movement, to stand up against authority that promoted racist views. It's easy with a couple generations of revised textbooks to think of the civil rights movement as a timely and obvious thing that was a long time being obvious that the U.S. people would do the right thing and get behind it.

But I'm reminded that early on that was far from the case. We -- particularly people that were not alive in the early 60s, often overlook that white people who documented racism and joined the civil rights movement were ridiculed, threatened, labelled inappropriately bad labels like "communist agitator," or just beaten, sometimes to death. Often, it was those in authority (the police) that did the beating or people who were quietly sanctioned to take it upon themselves to be the authority.

What Bruce Davidson did, by doing his job as a journalist and artist, was an act of supreme courage. Yes, when threatened with his life, he avoided the danger...left town before sunup. But that did not deter him overall from documenting an injustice.

Side note: -- some good reading if you want some material that covers the extent of these kinds of policies:

Sundown Towns by James Loewen. While not exclusively about the civil rights movement, it may blow your mind when considering the level of racism. Check out the list of sundown towns in MN: