The Canadian Internet Authority (CIRA), which manages all .CA domains on behalf of all Canadians, has followed up the success of its first set of extremely Canadian stock photos with a winter and cybersecurity themed “Series 2” set launched today.
CIRA has described the purpose of the images as a way for anyone to add “a little Canada” to their website. While the agency says that original, custom images are always preferred, it admits that it believes that stock photography, while weird, is sometimes necessary.
“We understand that sometimes you just need a picture of someone staring at an iPad (or a moose skateboarding),” the agency writes.
For example, CIRA recently shared a photo of hands on a keyboard:
But made sure to also include the “lumberjack” version:
As mentioned, the CIRA released an initial series of extremely Canadian stock photos last year but has expanded the gallery to include specifically winter-themed photos as well as cybersecurity and IT security based on feedback from its community. Below are some of the other results of its efforts:
While the visuals are comedic, CIRA’s captions are even funnier and filled with Canadian-themed puns making each photo worth an individual look. That last image, for example, is accompanied by the following:
Cassie saw something in the logs. Hackers had been trying to break their defenses. Time for a power play!
When PetaPixel originally reported on the library of stock photos, CIRA only had 73 total images available to download. Since then, the group has been hard at work and that number has jumped to 126 with the addition of Series 2. The photos can be perused all at once or via one of many different tags that specify certain search criteria such as “axe,” “bartender,” or “maple syrup.”
If you want to take advantage of this free resource or just get a few laughs, head over to the CIRA gallery.
Facebook has announced that it will remove what it calls “severe sexualizing content” that targets public figures, and specifically points to sexualized photoshopped images among other targets.
The changes come as an update to Facebook’s existing bullying and harassment policies that it says are in place to protect the people on its apps. The goal of these updates is to help protect users from mass harassment and intimidation.
Facebook already says that it removes attacks on public figures that come from a range of possible harmful sources, but now specifically will remove a range of sexualized content posted to profiles, pages, events, or groups. These include drawings, negative physical descriptions that are tagged or mentioned to a public figure’s account, and photoshopped images.
The changes to Facebook’s policies were published to its website this week and specifically call out sharing “derogatory sexualized photoshopped imagery or drawings” as a “Tier 1” violation.
“It’s important that everyone on our apps feels safe to engage and connect with their communities. We do not allow bullying and harassment on our platform, but when it does happen, we act,” Antigone Davis, Facebook’s Global Head of Safety wrote in a blog post. “We remove content that violates our policies and disable the accounts of people who repeatedly break our rules. We also regularly pressure test these policies with our safety experts, making changes as needed.”
Davis says that the company will remove coordinated efforts of mass harassment that target individuals that it says are at “heightened risk” of offline harm, which includes victims of violent tragedies or government dissidents. She says Facebook will do this even if the content on its own wouldn’t violate company policy.
“We will also remove objectionable content that is considered mass harassment towards any individual on personal surfaces, such as direct messages in inbox or comments on personal profiles or posts. We will require additional information or context to enforce this new policy.”
The adjustments specific to the idea of photoshopped imagery are tied to Facebook’s belief that public figures should not be subjected to degrading or sexualized attacks, and have been added based on feedback “from a large number of global stakeholders.”
Davis says that in addition, Facebook will remove unwanted sexualized commentary and repeated content that is sexually harassing.
“Because what is ‘unwanted’ can be subjective, we’ll rely on additional context from the individual experiencing the abuse to take action,” she explains.
Facebook has been under heightened scrutiny after a major report showed the company was aware that its platforms can cause mental harm to teens. The changes to Facebook’s policy here do not directly address those issues, but the company will likely take additional steps in the near future to help repair its damaged public image.
Today was yet another grey day. Not quite so bad as last week, when the rain set in almost as soon as we set off on the walk, and I got no usable photographs at all. I did do a little better this week.
I am still without my Olympus. I am told that it may take a month to repair. So, once again, I am using my Panasonic TZ70, which has made today a real getting to know my equipment day.
I am often quite curious as to why designers make the decisions they do, when the logic of the decision is not at all obvious. For instance, the TZ70 has a ‘Dynamic Monochrome’ mode, which I use for this project. If I use this mode, I have no control over when the flash will fire. I fancied trying daylight flash in the gloom, so tried to set the camera so the flash always fired. This would potentially have made some interesting shots with a highly illuminated foreground against a dark background. I would have thought such a shot was dynamic. But I am denied any such control. Why? The same mode also seems to accentuate the contrast. To get a decent monochrome from a lot of the images I took today, I would definitely need to go back to the raw file and do the conversion myself.
On the plus side, the TZ70 has a tiny sensor ( I believe the crop factor is over 5), which gives great depth of field, which is ideal for macro work. My lead image of a teasel head is a fine example of this.
Perhaps, not surprisingly, given the prevailing lighting conditions, all my successful shots today were made keeping the camera very close to the subject.
This next shot is of some late flowering dandelions. It is the kind of situation that interests me – the different shapes and textures in the undergrowth. Here, the nettles contrast nicely with the grass, while the dandelions themselves provide focus. For someone like me, who is interested in natural history, this is a picture of ecology in action, as the three plants fight it out, each having its own strategy for hogging the light, inhibiting other competing plants, and dealing with marauding herbivores. I have thought of making a false colour image, such as NASA images of a distant planet. I haven’t yet tried though.
This image is also all about differing textures. This field was just a mass of hawkweed (I think). Now late in the season, there are just a few flowers left among the grey feathery seed heads.
When I first set out, I intended to photograph fungi. But it wasn’t until nearly the end of the walk that I found any. I liked this one with a strong contrast in both lightness and texture to the surrounding ivy.
My final image if of an inkcap toadstool. Taking this picture made me really miss the fully articulated screen of my Olympus. Not being able (or willing) to lie down on the boggy ground, this image was made with quite a lot of guess work. This is also a nice illustration of the depth of field with the TZ70, sharpness extends for inches beyond the fungus.
Overall, I feel this has been my most successful foray yet.
This week joined by Mrs T I went in search of Dartmoors southernmost Tor which some say is Ugborough Beacon but Western Beacon is almost as high and is further south. A quick Google finds both Wikipedia and Tors of Dartmoor listing Western Beacon as the southernmost hill (Wiki) Tor (Tors of Dartmoor). Furthering the confusion is that in the Dartmoor 365 Book by John Hayward he states that Ugborough Beacon is the southernmost Tor and that Western Beacon isnt formally a Tor (but he does say that it is the southernmost hill) also in the Dartmoor Tors pocket guide by Janet and Ossie Palmer the Gazetteer of Dartmoor Tors only lists Ugborough Beacon. ??
Our walk started below Western Beacon but I had seen a disused Quarry marked on the map so we went to have a look at that before setting off up Western Beacon. It turned out to be a lot less of a Quarry than I had expected.
On the way to the Quarry we passed what appeared to be an old bridge long since disused/derelicted. Had we not got a long hike ahead of us I would have liked to go down to explore it but it will have to wait for another visit.
We had more pressing matters (the beacons) so we went back to the Moor Gate and headed up Western Beacon.
On the way up the first slopes we could see the rather quaint looking Mooraven Village.
Western Beacon itself has been quarried but that isnt evident from the map.
It also has a rather odd group of rock piles on the Cairn.
Once over Western Beacon we headed for Butterdon Hill which is also further south than Ugborough Beacon and is also known as Black Tor by some.
The Stone Row points the way which takes you past the Longstone beside Black Pool (not the seaside town). This view looking back towards Western Beacon.
On Butterdon Hill there is a Trig Point and from that point we could see across to Ugborough Beacon.
But sadly looking to the West we could also see the scar of the Clayworks at Lee Mill.
From here we could see Hangershell Rock, this was not on the original route plan but we decided to go over and have a look.
Once at the Hangershell Rocks we took time out to have lunch in the lee of the rocks.
From our lunch spot we could see across to Tristis Rock which is on my list of sites to visit but not for this trip, it sits on the opposite bank of the River Erme and needs to be approached from that side. Another day.
As we moved away towards Ugborough Beacon looking back we could see all the way to Plymouth Sound.
We made our way towards Ugborough Beacon.
Passing Main Head which is the start of the spring/stream.
Ugborough Beacon isnt the biggest Tor I have visited but it does have some interesting rock formations.
And some nice views.
I spotted a Kestrel out looking for lunch, I managed to get a shot but I really dont have the right kit for these kinds of shots (Im a landscaper not a wildlifer).
Anyway, it was now time to head off back to the car.
On the way back we saw some curious things, this water hole seemed to be a natural drain for the rainwater into the stream below.
We also passed this derelict building, not sure what it used to be though.
Finally we got back to the Moor Gate and the car.
We did see some Ponies on this trip though.
Thats all for this week folks. As always, comments welcome.
One of the most frustrating things I see is photographers limiting their knowledge of light to one modifier. So much so, that there are people who can build whole portfolios with just one single type of light. While this is not wrong, it must get boring for the viewer after some time. That is why I went searching for some of the most unusual light shaping tools.
Here are 12 that I found and tested, in no particular order. Note that some products may be discontinued, so you may need to find them on the used market or rent them if you’re interested in trying them yourself.
#1. Narrowbeam Reflector
The Profoto Narrow-Beam reflector is made from highly reflective metal and can be used to create either very even light patterns with little falloff or the opposite. Because it can create even patterns with no falloff, it’s perfect for lighting backgrounds. On the other hand, when used as a modifier with dramatic falloff, it can produce a narrow beam (pun intended) that will light up just the face of a model such as in the image below. In order to light her up purple, I focused a narrow beam of light on her.
#2. Cine Reflector
The Profoto Cine Reflector is a rather versatile light shaping tool originally made for video usage. In simple terms, it’s a regular Profoto zoom reflector to which you can attach various lenses, barn doors, and even a PAR. Out of the 5 lenses provided, I used the Fresnel in order to create the dramatic falloff you see. Further, I attached barn doors to get a horizontal penumbra. Lastly, a PAR (mirror-like cone inside of the reflector) increased my light output and gave it even more specularity.
The Profoto ZoomSpot is a modifier that uses optical lenses to produce very fine light patterns. In a way, it is a very advanced version of an optical snoot. The beauty of a ZoomSpot is that it has controls that let you adjust focus and shadow edge width. I used the ZoomSpot for two images to show two functions.
Firstly, I used the ZoomSpot’s four metal shutters to create the strip of light you see on the model. Making it slightly out of focus let me have an interesting transition between the red fill and white key.
Secondly, I wanted to create a theatrical effect with it. Here I used the iris which let me create the circle you see.
The striplight is like a stripbox, but it is a lot more expensive and a lot more niche in its application. The problem most softboxes have is that they can never produce a perfectly straight and even light. Despite the double layer of diffusion, there is still a noticeable hotspot in the middle and a gradual falloff towards the edges. It doesn’t make a difference if the light you use has a recessed or exposed flash tube, all the matters is that light is concentrated in one spot.
A striplight solves that problem by having an even light distribution. This, essentially means three long flash tubes that create a perfectly even narrow strip of light. This does imply needing several generators to run the system. Striplight XL needs two generators, while M and S need one.
This is useful when reflections are crucial, such as when working with latex or other shiny surfaces.
The hardest light you can get. The Profoto HardBox is essentially a modifier that minimizes the size of your light source. The way it works is by making the flash tube smaller. Every flash tube has a horseshoe shape which is relatively round. The beauty of a HardBox is that it takes that round tube and turns it into a small strip of light by turning the flash tube sideways. The HardBox has a black interior, so a lot of light is absorbed. Because of this, it can get very hot, I was in for an unpleasant surprise.
The light it produces has razor-sharp shadow edges and can be perfect for bringing out detail in your subject. It can also be used with gels as I did in the image below. In order to create this look, I had just one HardBox placed far away. In order to create the red color effect, I found a large gel and placed it as close to the model as I could. In fact, you see a little bit of the gel in the top right corner. Nonetheless, that way, I would get a sharp edge from red to white.
The ringflash is another must-try light shaping tool. It’s an easy way to get a “soft” light without taking up any space. The magic of the ringflash is that it creates a perfect shadowless light. Well, there are shadows but we don’t see them because they’re precisely behind the model. This is because the light direction is coaxial with the lens. You can try achieving a similar effect by placing a Speedlight very close to the lens, however, the result will be far from a ringflash. An easy way to tell a ringflash was used is by looking at the catchlights. In my photo they are round.
The image I created using a ringflash is an intimate portrait. Because the light produced is so soft, it was perfect for capturing a flattering image of the model. It was also crucial for me to focus only on the face, allowing the rest to blend. In order to achieve this, I placed 2 flags on either side and used a black background that was very far away from where the model was sitting.
The Broncolor Flooter can be described as a Fresnel lens is a modifier that creates a classic movie light. A Fresnel lens is ideal for creating a contrasting light with a long throw and dramatic falloff. Another useful feature of a Fresnel is the ability to focus the beam. The Flooter can be used to light up large sets as well, for you can create wide beams with it.
#8. P45 Reflector
Broncolor’s P-series reflectors have a numbering system where the digits reflect (pun intended) the light spread. Tightest of them all: P45. It is not very common to use such a long throw reflector, but that depends on what your goal is. The beauty of a long-thrown reflector is that it can be used to produce hard contrasted light.
The image you see is a prime example of using a P45 reflector. Because of the narrow light spread, I placed it fairly close in order to get a dramatic falloff on the neck. Further, I used barn doors to limit spill on the hair and the rest of the model’s body.
#9. Satellite Staro
The Broncolor Satellite Staro is a large perfectly round modifier that is diffused. Being large helps it create soft light while being diffused works towards evening out the light spread. As you can probably tell, it will be one of the best modifiers to use for classic beauty photography.
This is exactly what I did. The makeup look had very soft tone gradients which begged for a soft beauty light. Unlike the beauty dish, the Satellite Staro produces a perfectly even light, while the beauty dish has a “sweet spot” in the middle.
#10. Pulso F4 Spotlight
The Broncolor Pulso F4 Spotlight is a modifier that can have multiple functions. By default, it comes with a Fresnel lens which will let you focus the light to some degree. To be an absolute control freak with your light, you will need a projection attachment. It will be like an optical snoot, but this one (unlike the ZoomSpot) is designed for much finer patterns. As you can clearly see, the circle is perfectly focused with a razor-sharp edge. In fact, you can create your own gobo masks and project them using the Pulso F4 Spotlight.
The Broncolor Mini-Satellite is a highly reflective large modifier that creates a focused beam of light. In a way, it acts as a mirror. The light created is exceptionally hard and contrasted, moreover, it is closest to real sunlight. A Mini-Satellite will bring out every detail, as well as catch any reflections.
For the image I took with the Mini-Satellite, I was looking for a modifier that would give me detail in the white gesso on the face, as well as catch the metallic texture in the makeup. I deliberately placed it rather low in order to get a sharp triangular nose shadow.
Lastly, because the mini satellite produced a very focused beam of light, I was able to direct it away from the hair, which added more form and structure to the whole image.
The Broncolor Boxlite is yet another specialist modifier used commonly for product photography. The reason being is that it produces an even light spread with fine edges which is exactly what one needs when working with shiny reflective surfaces. The Boxlite I used was rather small, and I placed it close to the model to get dramatic falloff on the neck as well as a clearly visible straight reflection edge on the brush.
These are just some of the unusual modifiers that exist out there. In fact, there is an infinite number of modifiers. You could even use an IKEA flashlight and a glass prism to make some very unusual and unique light. So, what is an unusual light modifier? Everything that light interacts with that you use for your photo. Moreover, these modifiers mentioned in this article are all expensive and all bar one cost north of one grand. Hence, it rarely makes sense for you to buy them.
I would, however, encourage you to rent as many as you want to and create photos using the modifiers I mentioned in this article.
I think I’ve found my calling! Well, at least for this particular time in my life. In the last few months I’ve been engaged in flower photography and loving it. Who would have thought. Here’s just one of my images for you to enjoy.
There is a strange phenomenon when Sue and I go on holiday. All roads lead upwards. How it is that we can choose routes that we have to walk up and then find we’re still walking upwards on the way back is one of those mysteries of the universe….well the ideal place to suffer from this is Cragside. Take two thoroughly unfit photographers (I blame Covid19 restrictions) and place them in an environment chosen for its suitability for hydro-electric power then it’s a perfect result, I won’t say exactly wheezing and gasping up the hills, but it was hard work. Now we’re back and hills don’t seem to exist around here, so I assume we are now toned and fit.
So, a few pictures from the outside areas of Cragside, a huge estate, and actually it’s a pretty good day out.
The awards started out as a magazine competition in 1965 and have continued to run annually since. The photographic competition and its touring exhibition aim to inspire a love of the natural world and to create advocates for the planet.
Last year, the competition saw 49,000 entries submitted and awarded Sergey Gorshkov with the Grand Title for his image of a Siberian tigress hugging an ancient Manchurian fir tree.
The competition judges entries across several categories — such as “Animals in their Environment,” “Animal Portraits,” Behaviour: Amphibians and Reptiles,” “Behaviour: Birds,” and others — with all category winners considered for the grand title.
Today, French underwater photographer and biologist Laurent Ballesta was announced as the winner at the Natural History Museum during a virtual Awards ceremony from 50,000 entries submitted by photographers across 95 countries. His enigmatic image, titled “Creation” captures camouflaged groupers exiting their milky cloud of eggs and sperm in Fakarava, French Polynesia. Every year, Ballesta and his team returned to this lagoon, diving day and night as not to miss the annual spawning that takes place around the full moon in July.
“The image works on so many levels,” sats Rosamund ‘Roz’ Kidman Cox OBE, Chair of the judging panel, writer, and editor. “It is surprising, energetic, and intriguing and has an otherworldly beauty. It also captures a magical moment — a truly explosive creation of life –leaving the tail-end of the exodus of eggs hanging for a moment like a symbolic question mark.”
Dr. Doug Gurr, Director of Natural History Museum, says that “this year’s Grand Title winner reveals a hidden underwater world, a fleeting moment of fascinating animal behavior that very few have witnessed.”
Ten-year-old Vidyun R. Hebbar was awarded the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021 title for his colorful image. “Dome home,” above, depicts a tent spider as a tuk-tuk passes by. Vidyun first featured in the competition when he was just eight years old and loves to photograph the often-overlooked creatures that live in the streets and parks near his home in the city of Bengaluru, India.
Below are the other winners from the other categories:
The judging panel consisted of industry experts, such as Rosamund ‘Roz’ Kidman Cox OBE, Chair of the Jury, wildlife photographer Javier Aznar González de Rueda, Natural History Museum researcher Dr. Natalie Cooper, wildlife filmmaker Sugandhi Gadadhar, and others.
Both winners were selected from 19 category winners, with each entry anonymously judged by the panel for its originality, narrative, technical excellence, and ethical practice.
The next round of the 2022 competition opens for entries on October 18, 2021, and closes on December 9, 2021. All finalists from this year’s competition can be seen on the organization’s website.
Image credits: All photos individually credited and provided courtesy of Natural History Museum.
So, with only a little more ado, let’s have a look at Popular Photography’s completely unofficial winners of the 2021 Comedy Pet Photography Awards. While the real competition gives away £2,000 (that’s about $2,700) to the overall winner, we can’t even hand out bragging rights.
The Comedy Pet Photography Awards have five self-explanatory categories:
Dogs: Our Best Friends
Cats: Our Fabulous Feline Friends
The Mighty Horse
All Other Creatures Great and Small
Pets Who Look Like Their Owners
There’s also a Junior category for those under 16 and an “Awesome Video Clip of Your Pet” category, but we’re going to focus on the five big ones. For each, we’re going to pull out a winner and a second image that we highly commended. (We’re not going to pick an overall winner, instead, we’re hedging our bets that one of the photos we choose from the 40 finalists will win!)
Dogs, pups, and bowsers
Choosing the best dog photo is like choosing the best dog: a nearly impossible decision we don’t want to make. But, alas, in the name of competition, we must.
Our Dogs category winner is Diana Jill Mehner with this ridiculous photo of her dog playing in the autumn leaves.
The runner-up goes to Christine Johnson for her shot of her mighty pooch elegantly missing the ball.
Cats, kittens and wannabe killers
Most cats probably don’t need or want the validation of being an “Award Winning Pet Model” (they all just consider it their due), but for the few that do, we’ve got some prizes to give out.
Kathryn Trott takes the top spot for her shot of these two ferocious felines. We don’t know if they’re laughing or planning murder (we suspect Kathryn doesn’t either).
And our runner-up is Kenichi Morinaga for this photo of a beast in seemingly seductive repose.
Horses off courses
With only three horse photos listed among the finalists, we feel this category is a bit of a gimme. Still, we can only pick two.
So, in first place, we have Jakub Gojda (we feel this shot also would have had a chance in the “Pets Who Look Like Their Owners” category, too).
And the runner-up is David Poznanter for his photo of this elegant steed. The personality really just shows through.
Best of the rest
While calling cows, sheep, and chickens “pets” might be stretching the dictionary definition of things for “city folk”, they all still have a place in our hearts—and our competition.
Our first place in the All Other Creatures Great and Small category goes to Pier Luigi Dodi for his photo of his extra-long cow. Can you imagine how much milk it produces?
And, since butts are never not funny, Robert Moore gets the runner-up trophy.
We’re sure you’ve noticed that many pets look like their owners—and someone with a photo to prove it is about to get an award.
We think Luke O’Brien (on banjo) and his dog (vocals) have the closest resemblance—and perhaps also the hatred of their neighbors.
And the runner-up is Ken Whalley for his photo of a pair of long-haired blondes.
How to enter next year
If you have an entertaining pet and want a chance to win £2,000 next year, keep an eye on the Comedy Pet Photography Awards website. The competition for next year hasn’t been announced yet, but all the details will be posted there first.
For what it’s worth, the deadline for entrants was August this year. It cost £5 to enter five photos or £10 to enter 15.
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