365.259 the Miracle(s) of Jury Duty

First, I must apologize. I made no attempt to make a good picture for the 365 today, nor did I attempt to learn anything new about making pictures.

Second, I must apologize again, because this post will be rather lengthy. Given that few of you read my posts anyway, the uninspiring picture is unlikely to illicit much reading, and if you do read it all, it’s unlikely to provide much.

Third, the Jury Trial is a sacred institution, designed to protect common people from tyrants. This sacred trust is under constant attack from the rich and powerful (not to mention judicial overreach), and we must protect it.

Now, on to my observations.

1) There were about 30 people in the Jury waiting room. We were there from 1pm until 3:53pm, and many of us were there far longer. (I arrived at 12:10, and there were people already waiting.) Until the arrival of the cheerful bailiff to tell us that there was a good likelihood we would all be sent home early, there was absolutely no chit chat: the triumph of the introverts.

2) there was absolutely no visible security, the bailiff was rarely to be seen, and spent most of the time in some other part of the building. Imagine the havoc 35 people could wreak if so inclined! And, similarly, no one tried to sneak out early.

I almost commented on both of these aloud, but stopped myself, probably for the same reasons there was no chit chat and no havoc-wreaking.

Now, to my comments.

A) This was a jury summons for municipal court in the City of Dallas. That means, the trials all concerned traffic violations (under $200), class ‘C’ misdemeanors (under $500), code violations (under $2000), and rare cases of civil trials valued less than $2000.

[During the Congratulations on Being Selected as a Juror, Valued Citizen welcome video, the Municipal Judge, the Honorable What’s-his-Name, specifically mentioned Red Light Cameras and Water Restrictions (there are restrictions on when and how you may water your lawn in TX, and many other locales).]

They run two shifts of trials per day, 8 dockets, 80-90 trials per docket. That’s roughly 1,300 trials per day, and they call 70 people to serve as jurors for those trials.

That’s a fairly low turnover rate.

B) Take a look at the furniture and other accoutrement in this drab space.

If you removed the flags (or shoved them into a corner), you’d have a for-profit university lecture hall or megachurch meeting space or a community center multipurpose space.

If you removed the rows of chairs, dais, and flags, and if you added many more cubbies, you’d have an average office space.

What is this setting supposed to evoke?

Awe in the power and processes of the legal system?
Confidence in your powers as a Juror, in the Judicial system itself?
Comfort in the familiarity of the objects, materials, colors, and their arrangement?

Did anyone consider what this setting might evoke when they constructed it in this way?

The Patriotic part of me is dismayed by the soul-crushing dullness of it.
The Communist part of me is overjoyed in the proletarian-ness of it.
The Philosopher in me wants to go far deeper into all of this.
The Art Historian in me wants to take the conversation in a different direction.

Believe me, I could go on.

But I won’t. Kudos if you’ve read this far!

One last thing (largely unrelated): given that the iPhone 5 was announced today, I think it’s appropriate that I submit an picture from the iPhone 4, the camera that got me interested in making pictures in a serious manner. And I believe today marks roughly the second anniversary of my iPhone. Nice.

iPhone 4. 645 Pro. ISO200, 1/15th, f/2.8 (all controlled by the app). Minor tweaks to bring the image closer to my memory, and a tiny bit of straightening to bring the flag vertical.

365.176 some kind of spinning away

This is much more garish on the interwebs than it appears in Aperture. Apologies.

I may have mentioned this before, but I spend quite a bit of time on Google Street View at work, verifying business existence (at the time the GSV passed, at the very least), and keeping an eye out for interesting sights.

Like this.

I’m not quite sure what was going on with the cameras here, but it sure was groovy looking, like Warp Speed Mr. Sulu, or something. But whatever it is, the traffic is taking off!

And I’m glad it was, because I’m running a bit behind today, so it’s good that I made this picture earlier, since I’m whipped and really don’t feel up to shooting this evening.

I used 645Pro so I could get a tiff file with as much information as possible, and then played around in Topaz Labs DeNoise and Adjust 5, and Aperture, of course.

GSV and iPhone 4 with Jag.gr 645 PRO, on Night Mode. ISO100, 1/15th, f/2.8 (all picked by the app, of course). Absolutely crushed in post, and titled after, yes, Brian Eno and John Cale’s Spinning Away.

365.122 645 PRO tiff test

645 PRO is an iPhone camera app that can be set up to save a tiff file with no compression instead of—or addition to—the jpegs it makes with various film styles and whatnot. I made this picture this morning, while waiting to help a friend help a buddy move (that’s right… I helped a friend help a buddy move. that’s just the sort of person I am…) and the tiff did indeed have quite a bit more information to play with than the jpg, and I was able to pull some detail and color out that should’ve been lost forever.

The app features a great ‘night’ mode, that slows the shutter speed (thereby forcing the ISO down). I use this mode almost exclusively, and plan on trying to make some interesting, iPhone-based impressionist photography with it.

The app has quite a few fancy tricks up its sleeve, including a live histogram and the aforementioned film effects, but the tiff-file save is brilliant (though you have to download it through iTunes, as these files aren’t saved to the camera roll).

Here’s the jpeg that the app produced in addition to the tiff that became today’s 365 image. I used the H5 b/w film stock setting.
In case you’re interested, 645 PRO is available on the App Store for $2.99, and it’s worth it: believe. Visit the developer’s website if you’d like to learn more, and no, I’m not in any way affiliated with jag.gr, I just really like this app: best camera-replacement app EVAR, pretty much.

In other news, I went to the (rather distant) local camera shop to play around with the X10 and X100 and G1x and P7000, as I have designs on getting a smaller ‘carry everywhere’ sort of camera, something more robust than the iPhone, but more discrete, smaller and quieter than the D7000. I was more impressed with two of them than I expected to be, found one to be about what I expected, and was rather less impressed than I expected to be with one of them. Can you guess which ones and why (hint: cost is not a determining factor). I didn’t return with a new camera today—and probably wouldn’t buy from them anyway, as the guy gave off a vibe that made me think he’d rather a daft amateur like me not buy anything from him or his employer: surely I mistook this, right?—and may or may not buy one any time soon, as the iPhone really is a decent camera, and I wasn’t impressed enough with any of the cameras I played with to part with the cash just now.

iPhone 4. 645 PRO app. ISO80, 1/129th, f2.8 (all determined by the app); tiff file processed with a rather heavy hand in Aperture.