Photographs in Public Buildings

Little PO BoxesWhen you go in to Roslindale Post Office, you see a wall consisting mainly of Post Office™ Boxes. Since they are rather lovely old boxes, I’ve been wanting for a while to photograph them.

Now, I am of a anxious nature, and eager to avoid a one-way trip to Guantánamo Bay, and Uncle Sam,who of course owns US post offices, is of a suspicious nature these days. So I asked the very pleasant person who served me if I might be allowed to photograph the boxes.

She told me that permission was required to take photos in Post Offices. I asked who I needed permission from, she told me that it was the manager, went to ask said manager, and returned a minute later to say that permission had been granted.

After snapping the PO boxes, I went to the nearby and recently-renovated Roslindale Community Center. As an aside about community/public access, shouldn’t a community center have a web site? There are a few details on various Boston.gov pages, but I was unable to find a site that told me about services, hours, etc.

I went in, asked if I could take some photos, was told that I could and asked why I wanted to. I took one of the front desk (and no, I’m not sure why the word of the day was venal). I also took one outside, although I didn’t feel I had to ask permission to do that. (I actually took more than that, but only posted those two to Flickr. And no, the map image isn’t here by mistake in place of either of them; it’s from Boston.gov).

Rozzie LibraryOn a roll, and having some books to return, it was on to the library. There, I was told that I was not allowed to take pictures inside the library without permission from HQ. I was given a phone number there. I didn’t call the number. Instead, I looked up the photography policy on the BPL web site: We are happy to have you take photographs of our buildings for your enjoyment but… (follow the link to see the restrictions; they seem rather reasonable to me). Anyway, I contented myself with taking a photo of the outside of the library.

It has since occurred to me that I should go to the USPS site to seek the Post Office’s official photography policy, but I find it hard to find simple information (such as the postage to airmail a birthday card to one’s mother in the UK) at that site. But that’s another post…

NowPublic: The Something of Crowds

Lobster Traps Above the HarborI got email from NowPublic, asking me for permission to use this photo for the wonderfully-named story Cyborg Lobsters Foil Poachers.

I was initially flattered, then saw that there are over a hundred lobsterish photos associated with the story, then saw that most of them are very good and was flattered again. The NowPublic people didn’t need to ask permission: on Flickr, as here, I use the Creative Commons Attribution license.

Bad Signs Badly Captured

One of my favorite Flickr groups is Bad Signs. I’ve contributed a photo or two over the years (yes, self, it has been that long).

24 Hour Access to Driveway?I tried to get good photos of two of my current favorite bad signs, which happen to be less than a hundred yards apart in Jamaica Plain. Here’s one. Due to the setup of the sign and the driveway, I could have got a good shot of the sign itself or of the reason it’s a bad sign. Since this photo is a compromise that makes clear neither the sign nor the reason for its badness, I’ll explain. The sign says “Please do not block driveway. 24 hr access.” A glance at the car, its tires, and the vegetation around and in front of it suggests that the car hasn’t moved in 24 months, let alone 24 hours.

My attempts to capture the other sign were even less successful. It’s a sign that proclaims that “Boston police seek aggressive drivers.” It’s on the District E-13 police station. I’m wondering how many people have gone in there saying something like, “I’m an aggressive driver and I’d like to apply for the job.”

I thought it unwise to get to take a photo of that sign from too close. That would have put me either in the middle of Washington Street, which would have meant trouble with traffic, or right next to the sign itself and hence the station, which might have meant trouble with the police. “Ridicule of District E-13, eh? We don’t take kindly to people shooting that film.”

So I remain free to take further bad photos.

Sad Signs From Yesterday

Ardent is a One-Way StreetI am surprised that this street sign has yet to inspire a country and western song called “Ardent is a One-Way Street.”

Yesterday was an interesting day as far as storefronts go. On the same walk along Belgrade Avenue in Roslindale, I snapped this sad sign of the Boston real estate times. I also noticed that the location where the Aldrich Dry Cleaners used to be, before it moved to a larger place a little further away from Aldrich Street, has been taken by… another dry cleaners. Are we particularly messy in Roslindale, that we need so many dry cleaners?

Later in the day, we went to Brookline, where we encountered another sign that times are tougher than they were a few years ago.

Photojojo Eye-Fi Memory Card

Photojojo! We find the best photo shiz anywhere“Eye-fi is a magical orange SD memory card that will not only store 2GB worth of pictures, it’ll upload them to your computer, and to Flickr, Facebook, Picasa (or 14 others) wirelessly, invisibly, automatically!” I first saw that quote at Signal vs. Noise; it originated at the product page at Photojojo.

Would I like one? Yes please, along with some of the other cool photo-related stuff from Photojojo.

Editing Flickr Photos Using Picnik

Picnik has teamed up with Flickr to bring photo editing awesomeness to all Flickr users, reports the possibly biased Peter Picnik. The more impartial Mike Arrington also has the story. “The deal has been signed and implementation will occur sometime in the next few months.”

I created the image in the post from a photo already on Flickr, initiating the edit by clicking on the “edit in Picnik” icon above the original. No, that doesn’t mean that I used a time machine to go ahead a few months. It means that I’m using the Picnik add-on for Firefox.