Thursday, February 26, 2009

Let the sun shine in.

Photo journalist and blogger Mark Bralley, link, and I,
have gotten up before the sun three times,
in order to webcast from the
Senate Rules Committee.

Webcasting these meetings is not our responsibility;
it is the responsibility of our servants in public service
Santa Fe.

Three times,
I have made it clear to the two people who own the room;
Committee Chair, Senator Linda Lopez and a senior
sergeant at arms, that there is too much sunshine on
the process of creating more
sunshine on government.

Bralley owns a serious video camera; not state of the art, it weighs a ton, but never the less, a good camera. As the camera pans from one part of the room to the other, internal workings and hidden mechanisms adjust for changing light levels. Sophisticated as it is, it cannot separate a person from a bright background. The camera tones down for the bright background, and the person becomes a silhouette.

Also, if you pan past a bright window, you get a "flash" because the camera cannot shut down fast enough to prevent a good look at the sun. The camera arrives on the dark side with the lens choked down from staring at the sun, and unable for a moment, to resolve itself.

Bralley used a still camera to shoot a mild example of the effect.
The wall washing ceiling lights produce a similar effect as you can see. They aren't a problem because they're out of our shot. The window is directly on eye line; it cannot be avoided.

The video camera picks up something more like this, and worse.

Three times, I have asked for a little less sunshine, and as many times, the request has gone without a satisfactory resolution. The blinds were drawn part way on the third request. You can see how pulling the blind part way, would create plausible deniability, while at the same time affording no real relief. And they don't make it easy to argue about it.

Being a cynic, I see some deliberation: some push back,
from people who resent our intrusion into "their" space.
Bralley thinks I'm over reacting.

In my own defense,
just because I'm paranoid, doesn't mean that
aren't screwing with our shot.

There is no good and ethical reason (that I can imagine)
that the blinds will not be adjusted in the public interest.

Of course, there is no good and ethical reason either,

why webcasting is left up citizens to provide for themselves,

rather than the legislature owning the installation and operation
of the most the most robust webcasting setup
that tax dollars can buy, and rather immediately.

The right time to do the right thing is always right now.
(the Great Debaters link, derived)

UPDATE; our fourth sojourn into webcasting the
Senate Rules Committee saw a little less sunshine, the blinds were drawn per our request.

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