Life is good…

I normally don’t pass on postings like this, as Ezra Levant is quite well-spoken on his own. However, his observations about our Prime Minister playing hooky at Whistler are spot on, and how the CBC gave him a free ride on it (as noted here) provides quite a study in contrast.

I was there in 2007, having decided to treat myself to a bus ride up the Sea to Sky Highway (which is a great experience). As it turned out, while snow was falling up there, Vancouver was having a disastrously huge snowfall, which I only found out when experiencing long delays on the return trip that evening. It was still a great day!

Take a look at these views:

At the hill side of the village, there are the gondolas for going up the slopes:

And the village itself it easy to walk around:

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I’ve never been one for the slopes, but the village itself was great. The shops are pricey and the restaurants definitely cater to the kind of crowd that can afford them, which has to be seen to be believed. Definitely worth returning to sometime down the road, to see how the élite get to meet in such environs!

Musings on what can be…

Flag of the Republic of China

The last time I was in Taiwan, they were gearing up for their next election. The campaign was quite raucous, and I was fascinated with how they went about it, as well as the refreshingly different posters being posted all over. They convey the message more bluntly than in campaigns I see over here!

Here is how the presidential campaign ended in March 2008:

ROC 2008 Presidential Election Township level

Here are the results from the elections that were just held recently:

ROC 2016 Presidential Election Township level

Over there, blue represents the Kuomintang (国民党), and green signifies the Democratic Progressive Party (民主进步党) who won this time around. That one orange district was taken by the People First Party (親民黨).

As you can see, the KMT is retreating across the island, but is still strong in the rural, mountainous districts. The DPP took practically all the populous areas, and that is quite a radical change. I wish the winner, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) all the best.

What happened there was significant for the entire Chinese-speaking world. No other nation in that area has become capable of peaceful transitions of power such as this. The Mainland obviously won’t allow it, and Hong Kong and Macao have elections that are relatively rigged. Singapore is somewhat better, but they always arrange for the same party to win all the time, with the winner always being a Lee.

As an avid follower of election results, I always care about how events like this turn out. May things continue to improve.

A Canadian in Taiwan…

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It’s amazing what you come across in your travels. Take this picture, of a memorial located just outside of Taipei, in a port town by the name of Tamsui (淡水|区), also known as Danshui (depending on which method of transliteration you prefer).

It’s dedicated to George Leslie Mackay (偕叡理 or 馬偕), who was a Presbyterian missionary who was stationed here. He married 張聰明 (Tiu Chhang-mia), and is still highly regarded there.

Here’s an image of the plaque in front:

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It was said that Mackay “allowed himself to truly encounter and to be transformed by the people he sought to serve.” The Mackay Memorial Hospital in Taipei is named in his honour.

Why am I fussing about this? It turns out that he came from the small village of Embro, located just south of Stratford.

Why am I bringing this up? It appears that a person’s influence can last well beyong their time here on Earth. When I was there in November 2007, there was a good cool blast of air coming in from the Pacific, which really cooled down Taiwan at that time, as well as drying out the normally humid air. It was quite refreshing, and I had my jacket unzipped in order to really take it in, while everyone around me seemed to be wearing sweaters! I wasn’t paying any attention, until I noticed that some locals were talking and pointing towards me, until someone said, “Oh, Canada!” That seemed to explain what people were wondering about.

And I didn’t mind at all…

Taking a look back…

It’s hard to believe that the last time I was in China on my own was in November 2007! The above is what greeted me in Hong Kong when I checked in to the Excelsior Hotel in beautiful Causeway Bay.

That was my favourite place to stay, and I had been there every year from 2004. I just liked the location, and obviously was becoming a regular by then.

Why Hong Kong? Victoria Harbour is just a stunning place to be, as these pictures show:

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I just loved the Star Ferry. Where else in the world can you get such a stunning view for just a quarter?

Another city I love to see is Taipei, and a really good place to stay is Les Suites Ching Cheng. It’s a boutique hotel and relatively hard to find, but it’s amazing inside!

Hong Kong is very easy to travel around, whether by land or sea. Taipei is landbound, but walking around is excellent, and anyone who loves motorcycling will find lots of company there. There is plenty of opportunity for hiking in the hillsides south of the city, which are quite accessible by the Maokong Gondola.

It was always fascinating to see how close the countryside could be to such a bustling city:

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The Taiwanese are such avid hikers that the trail maps that were posted in the hills all had GPS coordinates marked on them! That is an innovation that I still have not heard of being introduced here, but it would really be helpful.

There were other destinations as well on this trip, such as Shenzhen, Macao, Vancouver and Whistler. It was the first time I had taken three weeks’ straight for a vacation, and it was very much needed at that time.

Is it time to return to what I still feel is one of the most beautiful parts of the world? Let’s see what the future brings…

And once the weather broke…

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After the nasty blast of freezing air and heavy snow that befell us recently, it was great to see blue sky and good weather today. It was time to go on a tear.

I have never been to Windsor before: the furthest west I had ever gone in Southwest Ontario was to Kingsville, and that was almost 30 years ago! Today, I was determined to break through the psychological barrier, and, as a result, the above picture was taken on the Detroit River looking over to the Renaissance Center at 1pm. This was at the park around Riverside Drive and Ouellette Avenue.

Windsor is not a pretty place. The downtown is in even worse condition than Sudbury’s, and I thought that had been bad! Still, when I went westwards along Riverside under the Ambassador Bridge, it turns into Sandwich Street, and that neighbourhood is rather attractive. It must be due to the University of Windsor, which is right next to the Bridge. There’s even evidence still that streetcars once ran along that stretch, which I thought was fascinating.

I proceeded down to Lasalle, then over to Malden Road and back up to Highway 3. Afterwards, it was over to Kingsville, then to Leamington, and then up to the 401 and back home. All of the area is obviously dedicated to market gardening, with some very huge greenhouses being constructed there now.

It’s quite obvious that Essex County was first settled by the French. There’s lots of place names that are of French origin, and Google Earth reveals that the land along the Detroit River is arranged in the same manner (in narrow strips) as along the Saint Lawrence River, when the farmland is still present.

Detroit’s influence is quite obvious here. The strongest radio signals are from that side of the river, and they can be picked up to the east as far as Elgin County before breaking up. The nicest one I picked up was WRCJ at 90.9, which is the classical/jazz public radio station whose license is held by the Detroit Public Schools. It’s nice to know that did not go up in smoke when the city declared bankruptcy not that long ago. I found out afterwards that they have a great app for Android, and I’m listening to their night-time jazz program now.

Maybe next time, I’ll dare to cross the border, but I’ll wait until the exchange rate swings back to a more realistic level!

At the Canadian Juniors

Here are some shots I took, with real film, at the Canadian Junior Curling Championships that were held in Stratford two weeks ago:

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They were taken with a Pentax ME Super fitted with a 135mm telephoto lens, and the film is Ilford XP2 400. It is developed with the C41 process, the same as for colour film, and I had it done at Downtown Camera Centre in Toronto. Somehow, there are things that black-and-white can reveal that colour cannot. Enjoy.

Once more into photography…

One of the consequences of my move to Stratford is rediscovering how much I have enjoyed photography in the past, and what kind of equipment I still have. The following is available to work with:

I had forgotten about the Espio camera, and there was a roll inside that had 9 exposures taken out of a 24-exposure roll. Let’s see later what those were, once I take some more to finish it off prior to getting it processed.

I have checked out the Stratford Camera Club, which appears to have a good schedule for the fall and winter, with lots of competitions and workshops on the go. There was also a vintage camera show going on in London a few weeks back that was also worth attending, and various ideas are beginning to stew.

I have to admit that photography is not as free and easy as it was when I first started playing with it in public school and high school. You could take lots of pictures, but sometimes the processor would not print some off due to “technical reasons” (but in high school we figured out quickly what that really meant). Going digital has caused an awful lot of changes in how we go about this.

Nevertheless, there are certain considerations we need to keep in mind in how we pursue photography, whether as a hobby or otherwise. I’ll concentrate on the hobby aspects here, where they affect:

  • the taking of photographs;
  • their publication; and
  • your intellectual property rights.

It goes without saying that I’m not providing legal advice of any kind. I’m just passing on what I have been able to read in perusing the Web.

Taking photographs

There are relatively few restrictions, but they are important:

  • If you are on private property, and the owner has posted notices stating that photography is not allowed, you commit a trespass if you take pictures nevertheless. In Ontario, this is governed by the Trespass to Property Act, under which you can be convicted and be subject to a fine of up to $2000 and paying damages of up to $1000 more.
  • If you loiter or prowl near a dwelling house on someone else’s property at night, s. 117 of the Criminal Code makes that a summary offence.
  • If you surreptitiously take pictures of someone in the nude, indulging in sexual activity, or otherwise showing off their “private parts”, where they had a reasonable expectation of privacy, that is voyeurism under s. 162, which is an indictable offence.
  • Taking pictures of a similar nature of anyone under the age of 18 constitutes child pornography under s. 163.1. This also covers possession and distribution of such images.
  • Avoid doing anything that might constitute paparazzi behaviour, as that could be construed as harassment under s. 264.
  • Under the various laws governing federal, provincial and municipal elections, it is an offence to take a picture of a ballot you have filled in.
  • Similarly, you are not allowed to take pictures inside polling places. Even if you are just at the entrance to one, you still need to obtain permission from the deputy returning officer in charge.
  • Photography is prohibited in areas designated for national security reasons under the Security of Information Act.
  • Court proceedings can be photographed, but only when the presiding judge has authorized it to occur.

Publication

  • Even if you take pictures of “intimate images” with someone’s knowledge, publication or other distribution of them without consent is an indictable offence under s. 162.1 of the Criminal Code.
  • It’s OK to publish pictures of sculptures or architectural works without violating the sculptor’s or architect’s copyright. This does not extend to two-dimensional objects such as paintings or other photographs.
  • If you take a photograph in circumstances that would mean that publication would constitute a breach of confidence, you can be barred from doing so. This arises from a notorious divorce case in the 1960s. This has been placed on a firmer statutory footing in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • In the common law provinces, you are generally allowed to publish pictures that were taken in a public place. That is not the case in Quebec, where it has been held that pictures focused on identifiable persons, other than those incidental to an image or those “whose professional success depends on public opinion” (eg, artists and politicians), can be barred from publication. It does not matter whether they were taken for commercial purposes or not.
  • Any pictures you may distribute for news or research purposes may be subject to verification for purposes of image integrity. Discussion of this can be found here and here. At the very least, you should disclose the details of what processing you may have done in Photoshop or GIMP.

Intellectual property issues

Here are the basic copyright protections to keep in mind:

In Canada, there is no copyright in any photographs taken before 1949. Otherwise, the general rule is that it lasts for the creator’s life and for 50 calendar years thereafter. However, unpublished images by photographers who died after 1948 but before 1999 will not enter the public domain until 2049.

In the United States, there is no copyright in your photographs if they entered the public domain prior to 1996 under Canadian law. But the situation is not really that simple. The current rule is that images are protected for the life of the photographer and for 70 calendar years thereafter. However, under previous legislation the following have fallen into the public domain:

  1. Works published in the U.S. before 1923.
  2. Works first published in 2003 or later by authors who have been deceased for 70 years.
  3. Works published in the U.S. between 1923 and 1977 without a copyright notice.
  4. Works published in the U.S. between 1978 and March 1, 1989, without a copyright notice, and where the copyright was not later registered.
  5. Works published in the U.S. between 1923 and 1963 with a copyright notice but without later copyright renewal.
  6. Works published outside the U.S. before 1923, except possibly in the 9th Circuit, then before July 1, 1909.
  7. Works published outside the U.S. between 1923 and 1977 which were in the public domain in their home countries on January 1, 1996.

If you have contributed any images you have personally taken to another work, such as a yearbook or a corporate slide show, make sure that you have signed off a licence to that effect. You also have moral rights that would continue in those images, unless you have waived them in writing.