Locals in my hometown of Adelaide, South Australia will recognise that we’re in the early stages of an unusually wet winter. Since we’re placed in one of the less fortunate corners of this arid continent of ours, I never view rain as a curse and instead take great delight in seeing the foliage and watercourses flourish in times like these. In the past fortnight I’ve also taken pleasure in catching another symptom of the season, the awe-inspiring rainbow, on several occasions- recording them with whatever devices I had handy at the time. After proving popular on Twitter, I thought I’d break the Creativity Base blog-post format, and post this triptych of recent rainbows for your enjoyment. Of course, we have the divine science of refraction to thank for these gifts, and if you’d like to read some more on rainbows, Wikipedia provides a pretty good catch-all for the curious.
Shot on Emma Sterling’s cellphone, I tweaked the saturation to bring up the rainbow colour intensity in the above image.
You’ll notice in the above double rainbow, the colour band order is reversed in the outer, feinter rainbow.
This one was snapped through the windscreen on my cellphone while driving. At the rate cellphone cameras are improving, i won’t be bothering with a digital point n’ shoot by the last quarter of 2010… but that’s another blog post! Enjoy the rainbow season, everyone!
I was searching on Twitter tonight for discussions on online video, and look what I turned up. KFC (or Kentucky Fried Chicken as it was known before the re-brand in Australia) has been in and out of the spotlight over the years for countless allegations of animal cruelty practised by its meat suppliers. Since hearing the claims and viewing similar video footage years ago, I changed my buying habits- one of the best methods for making your position felt. I haven’t had a Zinger Burger Deluxe for many years now, and seeing this video has reminded me exactly why. The video footage shows examples of chickens contained in dense populations with their beaks clipped, top-heavy and overweight and cruelly treated on their often slow passage to death. I’m not a militant vegan by any stretch, nor am I against the breeding of animals for human consumption. I am however against cruelty towards people and animals alike, and the video you will see below goes way beyond acceptable, by even the most relaxed standards of human behaviour.
I find the choice of Pamela Anderson as the main spokesperson for the cause a bit peculiar and can’t help but feel Sir Paul McCartney of the Beatles (who also supports the PETA campaign against KFC’s barbaric practices) would have made a better narrator. At any rate, if the story moves you, there are many ways you can help. Start by tweeting this post, then head on over to the PETA’s Kentucky Fried Cruelty campaign website to learn more. There you can sign an online petition and send various media to friends and lobbyists to help spread the word. You can even make yourself a customised banner for your own website, like the one at the top of this article.
Oh, and lets be reasonable- you don’t need to stop eating chicken to be part of the solution. Our favorite chicken shop here in Adelaide Chickens-to-Go proudly states on their welcome-window that their chickens are organically fed, free-range stock, and we can taste the difference. As commentator Brad has pointed out however, ‘free-range’ can be a far-cry from a guarantee that the animals are treated adequately, and the label doesn’t necessarily indicate that the chickens are provided with adequate space and conditions to live a low-stress life. Ask your local chicken shop where their meat comes and if they know how they’re treated. If they can’t give you an answer, write their supplier a letter asking about their chicken’s living conditions. Let your local retailers know that the well-being of the animals is important to you, and if they can’t tell you how they’re chickens are raised, you’ll be taking your business elsewhere… most certainly not to KFC!
Some of you will already know that I’ve had a long-standing love affair with photography and the natural world. Eight odd years ago, I bought my first digital SLR camera. A second-hand Nikon FE, I bought my first prime lens (a 50mm f1.4) and ever since, I’ve had great trouble putting it down. I learned to burn film like a chain-smoker does cigarettes- I rolled my own reels of film, developed black and white stock myself and loved every minute of it. Combined with my life-long passion for observing and recording wildlife, my photographic kit expanded rapidly and considerably, absorbing an extensive range of prime lenses, a couple of zooms and a box full of filters. Often seen toting two camera bodies and multiple lenses, my kit became formidable- both in its image-making potency and for the sheer weight of all that metal and glass.
Around 2004, my interests shifted more into 3D photography (stereography) exhibiting 3D works in Adelaide twice in 2005, before I veered into Super8 filmmaking. The leap into HD video-making followed in 2006, and since then I’ve been keeping a keen eye on the photographic forefront, waiting for an opportunity to put my beloved old lenses back on a DSLR body. I guarantee it’ll be a Nikon or a Fuji when I finally commit, as both of these offer Nikon F-mounts and I can snap my ol AI-S lenses straight on the body and shoot with all the manual controls that make photography equal parts art and science.
Until that day comes, I’ll be content excercising my Panasonic DMC-FT1 camera (or DMC-TS1 as it’s known in the USA) that I purchased earlier this year. The rugged little point-and-shoot has allowed me to take 12 mega-pixel photos in an environment that has always fascinated me- the Southern Ocean (along with 720p HD video, but, that’s another blog post). Seldom photographed by comparison to warmer Australian waters, I was encouraged by PanasonicAU on Twitter to submit a gallery of my recent work to LumixLife: an exhibition they were then planning. Several weeks later, I’m very pleased to announce that my collection of ten images has been selected from a field of about one-hundred-and-eighty galleries and will be exhibited on October 8th in Global Gallery, in Paddington, Sydney. Featuring a collection of starfish, sweep, cuttlefish and a colony of ascidian sea squirts, my shots are also visible online, but unfortunately will not be offered for sale at the gallery site.
After receiving some very warm compliments from my social networks on Facebook and Twitter, and being the entrepreneurial sort, I decided to look into options for selling photo prints online. The site I’ve settled with is RedBubble, as suggested by Simon Loffler from the creatively-connected blog, Home Slice. Like many other print-on-demand services, Red Bubble allows artists to upload high-resolution artwork, select from a range of printing options, set their prices and make enlargements available to the world. It’s free to register and offers a remarkably easy and expedient process for turning your artworks into saleable products. Many comparable sites offered much murkier pricing structures, uglier interfaces and in some cases, prohibitive registration fees.
If you’d like to support this blog and my photographic efforts, please consider buying an enlargement or two from my recent exhibition. If you do so, please shoot me a message, or better still take a picture of the artwork once it’s hanging in its new home- I’d love to see where my local surveys of underwater life end up next!