Wednesday, 1 of July of 2015

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Photography History: In the Beginning…

Photography History: In the Beginning…

DA Bird here. Today’s entry was inspired by the history degree our resident nerd isn’t using. In honor of history geeks everywhere, we’re gonna take a little trip back in time. So, get the flux capacitors fluxing (don’t forget the spare plutonium) and let’s go back to the early days of photography. Time circuits set to some time in the 5th century BC — History Geek Alpha’s got the pedal to the floor ’til we hit 88 miles per hour — and we’re off!

Photography is something most people consider a more recent hobby. However, photography and cameras have actually been with us for a pretty long time — since the fifth century BC. The first written account we have of photography is from Mo Ti [1]. The first cameras were the camera obscura — essentially a large box with a pinhole drilled into it and some light-sensitive paper inside [2]. Pinhole photography was all that was available for several centuries and is a discipline that has lasted until this very day. There are still many photographers who study this branch of the art and make use of it in their photography practices [3].

Now we’re going to jump ahead a couple thousand years. History Geek, set the time circuits to the 1800s, would ya?

Pinhole cameras, while allowing for great depth of field, had several drawbacks. First, they could not capture images of objects in motion. Secondly, colors are often washed-out or distorted. Lastly, the images do not scale well and cannot be enlarged without showing severe distortions. Therefore, photographers and inventors began working on devising a camera that would better suit their needs and desires. Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, often credited with being the inventor of photography, was among the first to experiment with taking a permanent picture with a camera obscura by using chemicals to etch or engrave the image into a stone or metal tablet. Niépce partnered with Louis Daguerre, seeking ways to improve his photographic processes with optical images. After Niécpe’s death, Daguerre went on to invent a process that bore little resemblance to Niécpe’s attempts — the Daguerreotype.

Niépce’s first photograph — photographs using early processes often came out blurry, much to the photographer’s chagrin. Blurriness was seen as less-than-desireable until Bigfoot enthusiasts discovered blurriness as a way to breathe life into their claims of “evidence.”

The Daguerreotype process resulted in a cleaner image but still had plenty of artifacts. This process, while superior to Niépce’s, still could not render an entirely clear, crisp image.

The Daguerrotype was the most commonly-used photography method until the 1860s. In 1835, William Henry Fox Talbot developed the calotype process which he would incorporate into photo-mechanical reproduction leading to the creation of the photoglyphic engraving process, the precursor to photogravure.

Photogravure and mechanical cameras, building on chemical discoveries over the centuries, in turn constitute the beginnings of modern photography. Check back next week for Part II of this essay series! Until then, History Geek and I are gonna go see some of my ancestors. Yeah, that’s right — I’m talking about seeing some dinosaurs!


Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

It’s Friday and if you weren’t paying attention during the week, you might have missed out on some of the cool stuff we found for you. So, here’s a quick recap of stuff that piqued our interest over on Twitter. You may notice that the “OMG SPACE IS COOL” club sends a lot of stuff our way. I suppose I can’t blame ‘em. Space is kinda cool.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

— da Bird

Mother’s Day Shouldn’t Be Such A Hassle…

Mother's Day Shouldn't Be Such A Hassle...

Once the “OMG SPACE IS COOL” geek club finished their meeting today here at Beach Camera (seriously, they’re the biggest group of stoners who don’t actually do drugs I have ever seen), I checked the calendar and saw that Mother’s Day is coming up soon. As in the-weekend-after-this-weekend-soon.

Now, I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but Mama Bird can be kinda difficult to shop for sometimes. I’ve gone the traditional route with flowers and she just uses them to line the nest. I’ve sent cards but Ma’s a little…nearsighted. However, now that Mrs. DA Bird and I have a couple of chicks on the way, Mama Bird’s decided she’d be a dear and send me some rather unsubtle gift ideas. So, when I stopped in at her place a few nights ago on my way home from work, she said “I’d like a camera now that you work at a camera store.”

“A camera, Ma? Any idea what kind of camera you want?”

“A pretty one that will take some nice pictures of my grandchicks.”

My Ma — I love her — is not always very helpful with tips. So, I went over to the guys at work and asked them for some pointers. They pointed me to the Canon PowerShot A3400 IS camera set that is on sale for Mother’s Day. It’s pretty, easy-to-use, and can take good pictures and videos of the little ones. There is also the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H90 set that is not as pretty a color but is also easy-to-use and provides lots of different modes to help get good pictures. The third recommendation was the Nikon COOLPIX S4300 bundle that is very pretty (Ma’s favorite color is purple. Remember that because there’ll be a quiz on it later). It’s also simple to use and can do photos and videos.

All three of those camera deals are on sale for Mother’s Day so if you’re wracking your brains like I am, there, I’ve just helped you out. Don’t say D.A. Bird doesn’t do his part to help out.

Now, if cameras aren’t your mom’s kinda thing, there are a lot of other ideas out there. You could get her something for the kitchen if she’s into cooking. If your mom’s more into music and sometimes needs to drown the world out, then she might like some of our headphones. If sports and running are more your mom’s thing, then one of these GPS wristwatches might be up her alley. I especially like the Garmin Forerunner 405, but that’s just me. Now, if your mom could easily fit in with some of the Comp Sci nerds around here, then maybe she’d like one of our many laptops. Some of them are good enough to run World of Warcraft or Star Wars: The Old Republic if listening to the gamer geek is any guide.

So, there you have it. If you’re still searching for something for your mother for Mother’s Day, D.A. Bird has got your back. Just let us know what your mom is into and we’ll send you some ideas. Also, if you do your shopping by color, check out what we have for you over at our Pinterest boards.

— da Bird

Smart Camera Is Smart

Samsung has just revealed its newest line of Smart Cameras. These cameras are so smart that they can take your photos for you. If they were any smarter, they’d be able to do your taxes for you.

So, just how smart are these cameras? Pretty smart. We turned on one of them and it started quoting Deep Thought and turned on our computers so that it could design the computer that would know the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. When it started propounding upon Aristotelian properties as set forth by Classical era playwrights, we started to get a little worried. However, we were able to negotiate with the camera and get it to agree to let us use it and check out some of it’s nifty features.

The new Samsung Smart cameras know all kinds of tricks. They can transfer your images from the camera to your computer wirelessly. They can even wake your computer up if Wake-On-LAN is enabled. Once the camera has finished bothering your computer with its photos (rather like an obnoxious know-it-all younger brother), it can let your computer go back to catching some zzz’s and saving you a hefty power bill. Your camera can not only transfer images to your computer — it can transfer them to your Android, iPhone, or tablet without having to send them as text messages. As if that wasn’t cool enough, you can toss the extra memory cards in the bit bucket. The Samsung Smart cameras can connect directly to AllShare or Microsoft Skydrive cloud services, backing up your photos while on the go and letting you carry around extra memory without taking extra space.

The Samsung Smart camera also knows its way around the World Wide Web. This camera knows how to contact Facebook, Blogger, Picasa, or YouTube with Social Share. The Social Share feature lets you share your photos with the world without needing to carry around a computer or laptop. Also, you can email your photos and a quick explanation, again, without needing to hook up to a computer or laptop. Finally, you can stream movies to any DLNA Certified® devices in your home.

Lastly, this camera is so smart that it can talk to your smartphone, turning your phone into a remote control. The remote viewfinder lets you frame, zoom, adjust the camera settings, and set up a perfect shot on your phone. This lets you take group shots and include yourself in them without needing to set a timer and then trip over your own feet trying to get in place in time.

All Samsung Smart phones are equipped with the ability to connect directly to any WiFi network even without a hotspot. WiFi Direct makes it so that your camera is always connected no matter where life takes you. These new cameras are sure to go fast so head over to our site and buy yours today!