Tuesday, 2 of September of 2014

Archives from month » March, 2013

Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

It’s been a short week here at Beach Camera due to the Passover holidays. Next week will also be a shorter week with the offices and warehouse being closed on Monday and Tuesday. Everything will return to normal on Wednesday.

But even though it’s been a short one for us, the action-packed world of photography has ticked along with nary a pause. Journalists have been out in droves covering the major events taking place around the world. Photos from North Korea showcase the weaponry that the country claims to have and military memoirs hearken back to the Vietnam War as newly rediscovered photos from soldiers come to light. With the weather finally acting more spring-like, photographers are out trying to capture the change of seasons and the early blooms and buds of spring.

All of these stories and more were covered on our Twitter feed this week. However, if you’re not following us on Twitter then we’ll recap the week in news for you below!


That’s all for this week, folks. See you again next week!

– da Bird


Shorter Hours for Passover/Easter

Shorter Hours for Passover/Easter

For the next week and a half, our offices will be closed several days for the observation of Passover. The schedule of our hours will be posted below. Also, please note that New Jersey and other parts of the Northeastern United States are currently under a winter storm advisory until midnight. Weather conditions here may impact FedEx shipping and deliveries. Please check the FedEx site to see if the weather is affecting the expected delivery date of items ordered from our store.

And now, here is the schedule for the next week and a half.

Monday, March 25, 2013 — Offices and warehouse close at 3 pm. Orders placed before noon should ship out as normal.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 — Office and warehouse closed all day.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 — Office and warehouse closed all day. Some customer support and shipping department employees will be in after sundown (7 pm EDT) to process orders placed during the times the office and warehouse were closed and assist with customer support issues reported via email or other channels.
Thursday, March 28, 2013 — Office and warehouse open as normal (10 am – 7 pm EDT)
Friday, March 29, 2013 — Office and warehouse open as normal (10 am – 3 pm EDT)
Monday, April 1, 2013 — Office and warehouse closed all day.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013 — Office and warehouse closed all day. Some customer support and shipping department employees will be in after sundown (7 pm EDT) to process orders placed during the times the office and warehouse were closed and assist with customer support issues reported via email or other channels.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013 — Return to normal schedule

Have a great week!

– da Bird


Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

Please Note: Due to the observance of Passover next week, Beach Camera’s offices and warehouse will be closing in the early afternoon on Monday and will remain closed until Thursday morning. Orders placed during this time will ship out as soon as possible after the holiday. Emails to customer support will also be answered as soon as the holiday ends.

It’s the first Friday of spring — not that you’d know it from the way the weather has been acting up here. Cold, windy, and the weatherman is predicting snow. Still, despite the weather, it’s been a busy week here at Beach Camera and in the world of photography. There were a lot of anniversary stories surrounding Iraq in the news this week and photographers dusted off their photos from 10 years ago and took new ones from this year in order to show the changes in that country. Several cameras had their first “real world” tests. Photography pros are taking photography newbies under their wings and offering plenty of seasoned and practical advice on how to improve and get into photography as an art.

All of these stories and more were covered in our Twitter feed this week. However, if you’re not following us on Twitter then we’ll recap the top stories for you below.


That’s all for this week, folks! Have a great weekend and see you again on Monday!

– da Bird


Photography, Copyright, and the Internet

Photography, Copyright, and the Internet

I’ve been listening to some of the chatter around the office lately. It seems that there is a lot of activity on the issue of copyright law and the Internet. History Geek filled me in on some of it. Most of it involves movies and music but he did mention something odd. Photographs are often shared over websites like Facebook, Twitter, and on millions of other websites around the ‘Net, often with attributions removed or edited out. Some of the most well-known instances of this are iconic images like the photo of the three firemen raising the US flag at Ground Zero that was taken by Thomas Franklin or the photo of the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima (taken by Joe Rosenthal). There are others, of course. Many of these photos wind up on sites like LOLCats, 9GAG, and Memebase and, if the meme around them is successful, they’ll spread over the Internet like wildfire.

However, very rarely do any of the photographers attempt to stop the spread of these images. Music companies and movie studios will sue anyone who attempts to distribute one of their works — provided, of course, that they can find who is behind it. They’ll also sue people who download their works. These organizations have even gone to Congress and had laws written that would have given them broad surveillance powers and almost police-like authorities over Internet users they suspected of downloading their movies or music. However, photographers rarely do more than gripe on their personal sites or mention it in interviews. The news of their complaints rarely gets as far as the original image did. Sometimes these photographers might be successful in stopping a meme from spreading when it makes use of their image — Michael Yon has gotten anti-military memes stopped when they make use of his photo “Little Girl” — but most photographers rarely bother with a lawsuit unless it’s a commercial enterprise making illicit use of their work. Why is that?

Part of it probably is because picture files are very small and spread very quickly. A photographer can upload an image to Flickr, Picasso, Facebook, or share it over Twitter and within a few hours, it can have been downloaded and re-uploaded to hundreds of thousands of other computers and sites. And, since it’s the image that is so compelling, people rarely bother to note who took it. If there was copyright text included in the image, someone will eventually crop it out or paint over it and then that image will spread, making it harder for people who might want to give attribution or to know how it was or who captured it to get that information.

Photographers also rarely have the resources of large multi-national corporations. Since launching a lawsuit against half the Internet would be costly, they rarely bother. And, many of them may no doubt be somewhat thrilled that their photograph is being shared and seen by so many. They may, like Michael Yon does, repress a sigh when they see grandmothers sharing the image on Facebook and only take action when the use is offensive or misrepresents the story behind the image itself. Even then, lawsuits usually are not used, being reserved only for when someone is profiting off their works.

At least that’s what I think. If any of you have been in the position of having one of your images spread quickly across the Internet with no one knowing it was yours, let us know what you thought and how you felt about it in the comments below!


The Hobbit and Frame Rate

The Hobbit and Frame Rate

Back when The Hobbit was first released in theaters, there was a lot of hand-wringing over the higher frame rate versions. Many people were afraid that if movies began to move to using 48 frames per second instead of the most commonly used format of 24 frames per second, they would look either “too real,” causing the suspension of disbelief to break down or too jerky as the silent films of old appear to us today. Given that the human eye really only sees about 16 frames per second, I had a hard time understanding the controversy. But then, I sat down and watched a few movies that made use of 24 or 48 frames per second and I can see why there was some concern.

Higher frame rates can be a mixed blessing, of sorts. They can create much more depth in color and field and bring a new level of “realness” to the film. However, they do require the director, the set manager, and the actors be ready to make adjustments because higher frame rates means that motion plays a little differently. This problem harkens back to the original silent movies where the frame rate was only 16 frames per second and the motion in those films looks very jerky to us.

Many feared that the same thing would happen in The Hobbit. However, it looks as though Jackson has done a good job keeping the film smooth in both normal and higher frame rate versions. Have any of you seen this movie? Which version did you watch and why?


Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

Another Friday marks the end of another great week in the world of photography. Photographers from around the world have had their work cut out for them as they capture images of the continued fighting in Syria, the election of Pope Francis I, and the last gasping wheeze of winter trying to cling desperately to power. Samsung was a major topic in the news late in the week as they unveiled their newest Galaxy S4 smartphone and updated camera specs. The comet Pan-STARRS is blazing through the sky at the moment and can be seen from most points in the Northern hemisphere.

All of these things and more have been covered in our Twitter feed. However, if you are not following us on Twitter then we’ll recap the top stories you might have missed out on this week!


That’s all for this week, everyone. Have a great weekend and see you again on Monday!

– da Bird


Photobombing: A New Trend In Photography?

Photobombing: A New Trend In Photography?

In recent months, more and more photos are showing up on the Internet and being shared across social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. One early example that took off on the Internet is an intentionally set up photobomb involving a sting ray, three girls, and water. Now, however, photobombing — the art of becoming the primary subject of a photo where you’re not the primary subject of the photographer — is quickly becoming a trend in photography.

The earliest example of this trend I can track down is that very same sting ray photo. The New Yorker has a fairly good article covering how that photo came into existence. In brief: it was a set up. If you see an unedited version of it, you can see that there is a man behind the sting ray holding it up so that it looks like it’s got its arms wrapped around the girls. Apparently the trio set up this photo in the hopes of it being featured on the Ellen DeGeneres show. When it wasn’t, the photo went on to languish in obscurity for five years (a veritable eternity in Internet time) before someone noticed it and began sharing it. Now, you’re lucky if you go a week without seeing it.

Another fairly famous (or infamous) photobomb is that of Bill Clinton at the 2012 Inauguration. Bill Clinton is one of those people who just can’t help up-staging everyone whenever and where ever he shows up. Not only did he manage to make headlines at another President’s inaugural, he managed to photobomb the girl who is considered the best photobomber ever. Of all time. That’s class.

Lastly, we have the Kelly Clarkson photobomb or the Photobomb to Beat All Other Photobombs (except possibly those involving Bill Clinton). While at the Grammy Awards Show, Clarkson managed to become the primary subject of a photo involving Ellen DeGeneres. Since the first ever recorded photobomb was an attempt to get on the Ellen Show, can we argue that photobombing the cause of photobombs may have brought the meme full-circle?

I didn’t think so either.

– da Bird


Historical Photographers: Vivian Maier

Historical Photographers: Vivian Maier

One of the most overlooked photographers of the more recent era is Vivian Maier. Born in New York City and raised in France, this photographer did most of her work as an adult after returning to her home country from abroad. In her forty years as a nanny in Chicago, she took over 100,000 photos of the city, its people, and the urban landscape. Her work was largely unknown — and in many cases, undeveloped — until a Chicago historian discovered her work near the end of her life. Only two short years after her death, Vivian Maier’s first photography book, Vivian Maier: Street Photographer rolled off the presses. Her work has also been exhibited around the world though posthumously and through her fans.

Her work, featuring mostly the cityscapes and people of New York and Chicago, was first discovered when some of her developed and many of her undeveloped negatives were sold at an auction after she was unable to pay the storage fees for them. John Maloof was the purchaser and he returned to that auction several times to acquire more of Maier’s work as well as her cameras and other paraphernalia. However, he was unable to trace her down until shortly after her death. His first information about the photographer whose work he had grown fond of was reading her obituary.

Two other fans, Ron Slattery and Jeffery Goldstein, own most of the rest of Maier’s work. Slattery first began featuring her work on the Internet in 2008 and Goldstein is responsible for the publication of her first book.


Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

We’re now mid-way through the month of March and it’s roaring like a lion. That means that it should go out like a lamb. However, the photography industry is, as ever, kicking it out in high-gear. Canon this week gave a demonstration of what is the most sensitive camera sensor in the world. New compacts for enthusiasts are scheduled to hit the market soon and many of the cameras demoed at CES are either on the shelves or making their way to the shelves. Photojournalists and photographers from around the world continue to publish some of their best work on the Internet and photography historians continue to look back to some of the great controversies and revolutions of photography past.

All of these stories and more were featured on our Twitter feed this week. However, if you’re not following us on Twitter then we’ll recap the news you might have missed out on for you below!


That’s all for this week, folks. Have a great weekend and see you again next week!

– da Bird


Other Uses of Photography: Reconnaissance Photography

Other Uses of Photography: Reconnaissance Photography

Photography is more than just an art form or a means of reporting events. Many different professions make use of photography in helping them with their jobs. Film crews and studios use photography to decide where best to shoot their movies. Police use photography in line-ups to help point the finger at a suspect in a crime. Insurance companies use photography to help determine when insured property was damaged and whether or not their policy covers that damage. However, one of the most well-known non-artistic uses of photography is military reconnaissance photography.

Military units around the world make use of both satellite and aerial photography to determine what they might be about to face. Such information can help them deploy their forces in the best method to defeat their opposition or to use maneuvers that would force their opposition into an undesirable or untenable spot. Use of these tactics and this kind of information gathering has been part of many nations’ military doctrine since airplanes first became practical in warfare during the first World War. However, one of the most dramatic events of reconnaissance photography shaping the course of history occurred in 1962: the Cuban Missile Crisis.

For those of you who, like me, weren’t around during that time and, unlike me, don’t have access to a history major who has no issue contacting his parents to ask them questions for me, the Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest the world has ever come to a full-out nuclear war and the catastrophic and apocalyptic destruction that such a war would bring in its wake. The short version is that the leader of the USSR, Nikita Khrushchev, thought that the President of the USA, John F. Kennedy, would not take any hard action to stop the USSR from putting missiles in Cuba and would be willing to trade West Berlin for the USSR’s removal of the missiles. However, when aerial photographs from the Corona satellite and U-2 overflights of Cuba came to Washington DC, the Kennedy administration went into action.

While the US was preparing different strategies to contain or destroy the missiles in Cuba, the USSR was claiming that the missiles were purely defensive and that the US was being provocative. Further overflights of Cuba were ordered and Naval photographers came back with clearer pictures that the missiles were not “defensive” but were capable of hitting every city in the United States except for Seattle. These photographs, presented to the UN by Adlai Stevenson, gave the US support for their quarantine of Cuba and their insistence that any vessel attempting to enter Cuba be searched by them in order to stop any more missiles from getting into Cuba.

In the end, the USSR agreed to remove the missiles. Six months later, the US removed its obsolete Jupiter missiles from Turkey. Berlin remained divided into East and West. No nuclear weapons were fired. Only one death occurred in combat during the Cuban Missile Crisis: that of Major Rudolf Anderson, Jr.

– da Bird