The fine folks over at Nashvillest have attempted to top their famous reader-submitted “CMA Bingo” game this year by having a submission contest for this year’s. By the time you read this the contest will have closed, but look on Nashvillest.com tomorrow to see the winner. I don’t know if anyone can top last year’s though:

Some quick science tidbits before I get into my “rant”….

The Japanese Kayuga probe has been orbiting/studying the moon since 2007 and will make a controlled impact on the lunar surface today. No, it’s not landing, it’s actually going to crash into the surface at full orbital velocity. In other words, it’s going to make a crater. It’s done its duty, so might as well go out with a bang eh?

Remember when I told you about project VORTEX 2? A quick refresher- it’s a huge team of scientists that are currently chasing tornadoes out in the plains to gather data and improve on warning systems/prediction. Actually I think it ended today. But they did capture one piece of truly phenomenal footage when a twister they were filming turned/roped sideways and gave their videographer a view straight down the throat of the funnel. Check it out here. Absolutely amazing! Via Live Science.

Fair warning: I’m about to rant on something. But it’s very much worth ranting on.

As you know if you’ve read this blog before, I’m a photographer for the Nashville Scene. Last year I covered Bonnaroo for them and this year I’m doing it again, only this time my photos will be used across most of the blogs and papers owned by Village Voice Media. Photo contracts are quite commonplace at concerts involving big-name artists/bands. Bonnaroo, being the biggest festival in the country, is obviously no exception. They have a blanket contract that photographers have to sign in order to cover the festival at all. Last year its was a pretty basic contract just limiting the usage of your photos to whatever specific publication or wire service the photographer was shooting for. Without any kind of contract, legally a photographer can sell his/her images of a band or artist’s performance to any agency or news publication without a model release from the people in the photos because that is considered editorial usage, which is different from commercial usage (which requires a model release from anyone in the photo). In recent years, as the music industry has crumbled due to its unwillingness to adapt to technology, labels and artist management firms have introduced what are known as “rights-grabbing” contracts that get shoved in a photographer’s face right before they go in to photograph a show. These contracts have gotten more and more outrageous in the last few years, and this year I got my first taste of a full copyright-grabbing contract. I won’t say which artist/s I’m referring to, but suffice it to say that there are a few specific artists every year at Bonnaroo that have a separate contract than the overall festival photo contract, and they also have a restricted list of photographers who will be allowed to photograph them. This year there were 4 that did this. (So far I’ve been approved for 3 of them.) This particular artist’s contract stated that I would have to turnover the full image rights to the label, and that the images could be used only once for the specific publication I was shooting for. After that, the label would then own the images and wouldn’t have to pay me a dime for them. Furthermore, this meant that the label could then use my images in merch, promotional items, or whatever they please, and I wouldn’t get a penny of royalties or any other compensation. If I don’t sign it then I won’t be allowed to photograph the artist. Let it be known that I will certainly NOT be signing such an outrageous contract and that thankfully VV is backing me up on it. They agreed that the terms of the contract were completely unreasonable and didn’t expect me to sign it, and were fine doing without photos of said artist. It’s really pathetic that these record labels are not only screwing their artists out of money, they’re now trying to screw the photographers who cover their artists’ concerts. These people literally must have no shame or dignity. What these contracts do is essentially steal and then exploit. If you’re a music photographer, please read these contracts before you sign them. If an artist insists on such a ridiculous contract, then they are NOT WORTH YOUR TIME IN THE FIRST PLACE! And if the publication for which you’re shooting does not back you up on this, then you are working for the wrong publication, and they are not worth your time either!

Thank you and good night.

P.S. Don’t expect to see many posts on there over the next few days. I have no idea if I’ll have time to blog at all, and if I do it’ll be a very quick blurb about something crazy I witnessed.

Image via Time.com

Apparently Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber is on the list of TIME magazine’s candidates for the 100 most influential people. You can vote to rank each individual’s influence on a scale of 1 to 100. Seriously? Everyone’s heard of the “Pitchfork effect,” but I think it has become less relevant over the past 2 years or so. It just seems to me that people start regarding over-hyped “blog-buzz” bands as “Pitchfork bands,” and rightfully so, because most of the bands they’ve hyped over the last couple years have had little staying power. Ex.- Vampire Weekend, Deerhunter, TV on the Radio, etc… Hipster Runoff has a take on this issue.

Rapper T.I. has been confirmed as the “other” headliner for this year’s Rites of Spring, and it will probably be one of his last performances before starting his 1-year jail sentence. Kinda weird but kinda cool at the same time?

In other festival news, the 2nd All Points West lineup has been announced, and it includes Nashville/Bowling Green act Cage the Elephant. These guys have a very festival-friendly live show from what I’ve heard, so it’s really no surprise, especially since they’re also playing Coachella and Bamboozle.

It had to be invented eventually… shoes that grow with children’s feet.

President Obama signed a very important environmental bill into law yesterday called the Omnibus Public Land Management Act. This protects wildnerness areas in California, West Virginia, Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico, Michigan, Utah, Virginia and Oregon. It also protects a thousand miles of rivers. This act has been in the works for many years, so one can only credit Obama with the final push to make it law. Still, a big win for our country’s natural beauty. Via the Daily Galaxy.

NASA unveiled a mock-up of the Orion Crew Vehicle yesterday on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. For some reason I can’t find any photos of this in the public domain, but it basically looks just like the Apollo modules from the 60’s. Technologically, though, it’s vastly more advanced than the Apollo modules. The new Constellation project (of which the Orion Crew Vehicle is a part) will carry astronauts to the ISS beginning around 2015, to the moon in the early 2020’s, and hopefully to Mars in the mid 2030’s. I really hope that I’m still around when that happens.

Finally, the National Weather Service in Nashville has completed their assesment of the storm damage from this past Saturday. As you probably know if you’re from here, a tornado warning was issued for western Davidson and eastern Cheatham Counties around 5:30pm. The storm that prompted this warning did indeed drop an EF1 twister that hit northern Cheatham County. Also, another storm that hit Rutherford County dropped an EF1 twister that hit very near downtown Murfreesboro. This tornado was orginally thought to be and EF0, but further damage assesment prompted the NWS to upgrade it to an EF1. They have very good aerial survey methods that can determine whether damage was caused by straight-line winds or a tornado. The Enhanced-Fujita scale uses damage to estimate the wind speeds in the tornado. There is still no direct way to measure the wind speeds inside the actual funnel, unless the tornado happens to directly hit a wind vane and it somehow miraculously survives. But the chances of that happening are slim to none. If you know me I’m sure you’re wondering whether I chased either of these storms, and the answer is yes, I did attempt to track down the one in Davidson County, but chasing in TN is very difficult, mainly because the roads are not laid out in nice, easy-to-navigate grids like they are in the plains, and also because the storms around here tend to be High-Precipitation Supercells, rather than Low-Precipitiation Supercells which are more common in the plains. This means that most of the tornadoes in TN are shrouded in rain and thus very difficult or impossible to spot from a distance. So no, I was unsuccessful in seeing/documenting this tornado.