This is my submission for the obligatory fourth of July fireworks photo of the year. It was shot from my backyard, looking northwards from Poway, California. It was shot on a Pentax K2000 with a Promaster 70-300mm lens at 100mm, f/4.5, 15s shutter at ISO 100.
Though most Americans learn about the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in standard history classes, very few actually seem to realize the significance of this event. Many dark moments in history are preserved and remembered by photographs of destruction and despair, but very few images of the atomic bomb's sheer power exist. As stated in this article on Design Observer, the U.S. Government imposed a strict code of censorship with regards to Japan's destruction just over a month after their surrender. This was obviously put in place to lessen the realization of America's pure destructive power, and to lessen the human side of the conflict. Fortunately, some photographs survived.
Flickr user afigallo posted a comment on the previously aforementioned article, bringing to light a series of photographs taken by the user's grandfather just after the bomb dropped. These photographs, found in this Flickr set, were "smuggled" via shoe boxes, as the images were not meant to be leaked at the time. And thanks to Flickr's services decades later, these photographs can be shown to the world.
Nagasaki, victim of the world's second atomic bomb attack, was destroyed on August 9, 1945 at 11:02am. The American strike resulted in 73,884 fatalities, as well as another 74,909 injured and several hundred thousand diseased and dying as a result of radiation. Another 140,000 were killed in the attack on Hiroshima. The vast majority of these deaths were civilian casualties, as well as Allied POWs, Korean and Chinese laborers, students, and Japanese American citizens. Though defenders of the attack claim that the death toll of the war would have been much higher had an invasion been planned, opponents consider this claim illogical and the attack inherently immoral.
I've seen quite a few Flickr API mash-ups, but this has got to be one of the most creative. Idée Inc. has created the "Multicolr Search Lab" that uses a collection of 10 million Creative Commons licensed images on Flickr to match photographs to a user-selected color palette.
As the user selects up to ten colors from the palette on the right, the mash-up searches an index of matched colors and pulls up results in the form of thumbnails, each linked to the image's Flickr page. Not only is this just plain fun, but because of Creative Commons licensing, an artist can quickly find images to use in a project (as long as he/she gives credit and shares alike). Idée's Piximilar, the engine behind this app, seems to be a very powerful and groundbreaking image analysis system. It will be interesting to see how this algorithm is incorporated into future projects. For now, you can check out Multicolr at http://labs.ideeinc.com/multicolr/.
The image above is from my personal photography collection. The original photograph was taken in downtown San Diego whilst trying to find a way to drive around a stuck freight train while listening to a Swedish radio station. Yeah, it's complicated. Anyway, I rediscovered this photograph the other day, and decided to try a few editing techniques involving Corel Painter X that I had been meaning to experiment with. What you see above is the result. In order to bring more depth into the photograph, I added more bokeh into the background of the image, increased the vignette, and selectively muted and enhanced the colors. I recommend going to the photo's Flickr page and viewing it at a larger size.
I came across this photograph by Flickr user Bernard Schul the other day, and felt the need to write about it. From what I can tell, this photo was taken during a reenactment of the attack on Bastogne, Belgium during World War II. The Siege of Bastogne lasted from mid-December 1944 to January 1945, and was a result of the German desire to control the crossroads where several main roads in the Ardennes met. Though this photograph was taken of a mere reenactment, it still captures the emotion of the moment in a fantastic manner. The depth of field and tonal range of this composition are also superb, and really reflect upon the dramatic undertones of the image. I'll be writing about more of my favorite photographs found on Flickr in upcoming posts.
Alright, so the truth might not be quite this simple. Nevertheless, Laugh-Out-Loud Cats has managed to bring humor to a situation that's becoming increasingly worse. On Monday, the fourth-largest investment bank in the United States, Lehman Brothers, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The BBC has a great article concerning how it affects the average individual. Think of Lehman Brothers as a wholesale investment bank. While you don't deal with them directly, many of your banks do. As the BBC states, "This in turn is likely to intensify the credit crunch, with potentially dire consequences for businesses and consumers." Seriously, folks. Why not just live within your means?