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Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

It’s Friday again and that means it’s time for another one of our weekly wrap-ups. This week has been a fairly full one for photojournalists and for travel photographers in general. The southern part of the United States was hit with a rare snowstorm and weather photographers as well as photojournalists were out in force to capture the chaos caused when snow falls in the South (where it quickly melts, turns to ice, and then gets hidden by more snow which makes driving virtually impossible). Photojournalists were also busy covering the riots in the Ukraine which seem to have brought down the current government. We’ll have to see how that plays out. And, Sony was making headlines this week with their newest camera, the Sony A7, being reviewed by several different agencies.

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


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

– da Bird


Remote Photography: Antarctica

Remote Photography: Antarctica

While looking around for some more abandoned places to post about, it struck me that one of the most desolate but beautiful areas on the planet was one I was ignoring: Antarctica. Believed to have existed since the classical age, this inhospitable continent was not actually “discovered” until the late 1700s. Formal observation by the Russians in 1820 led to this desolate landmass being finally firmly included in maps more accurately. Antarctica is the one continent that hosts no permanent human habitation and was never settled by or claimed by any humans until well within the historical era (humans were “native” to or found on every other continent: North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia. You could even find humans living quite happily in the Arctic circle).

So, with no stains of conquest or industry, Antarctica is not only a great place to see some truly unique sights, it’s also a place that every landscape or wildlife photographer should visit in order to really test their mettle and toughness. With average temperatures never getting above 59 degrees on the coast during the summer, it’s hardly a vacation destination. Instead, mostly scientists, wildlife photographers, and researchers make the trek to this wild and untamed continent to study its history, ecology, wildlife, and to learn more about the Earth’s ancient past.

Penguins Are AwesomeAntarctica is the best place to find penguins (though they are found throughout the southern hemisphere). Penguins are one of the few creatures to have no innate fear of humans and often will waddle up to visitors but not approaching them too closely (visitors are encouraged to keep at least 3 meters of space between them and any penguins).

And, in case you’re wondering (like some of us here at Beach Camera were) why Antarctica is so much colder than the Arctic, it’s because Antarctica sits on a continent instead of floating on top of the water (the Arctic Ocean keeping the temperature of the northernmost ice sheet warmer than one would expect) and because the average elevation on Antarctica is over a mile up (the glaciers are about 1.2 miles thick). So, without the ocean beneath it and with it being about the highest point on Earth, Antarctica is pretty cold and will remain that way for the foreseeable future.

Have you ever gotten the chance to see this remote continent? Would you go for a visit (and take your camera) if you could? Let us know in the comments below!

– da Bird


Abandoned Places: Ani

Abandoned Places: Ani

Lately I’ve been on a bit of a kick with my obsession with places where time stands still or places that time just forgot. Parts of Cuba (the parts that visitors generally don’t get to see), Battleship island, North Korea, Priapyt — these are all places that photographers can go to in order to capture a day in the life of a bygone era. However, if it’s the Classical era you’re looking to see more of, you should definitely check out InFocus’s photo-essay on The Ancient Ghost City of Ani.

Ani was largely abandoned by the 1400s but, in its heyday, it had been the capital of the medieval Bagratuni Armenian Kingdom that covered much of present day Armenia and eastern Turkey. It was known as the City of 1001 Churches and even its ruins show the beauty and complexity of the architecture and artistry that dominated the area during the early Middle Ages. Ani was “rediscovered” by Europeans in the 1800s. In the past, the Turkish government required visitors to obtain permission to visit and photograph Ani but that requirement has been done away with since 2004.

Considering how long civilization has been around and how far flung it is, there must be thousands of places like Ani that are abandoned with time and the elements slowly moving to reclaim the ground humanity has marked. What are some abandoned places (towns, buildings, or even streets) that you know of? Do you know of any secret locations that most others do not — like some of the secret subway stations in New York City? Let us know in the comments below and we might see about helping you to photograph and publicize some of these secret and abandoned places.

– da Bird


Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

This week has been one for the photography historians out there. Not only have photojournalists been out over the world covering things like the Dakkar Rally and the protests in the Ukraine, but there’s also been a definite uptick in interest in historical photography. Since this past Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, the week started out with historic photos of MLK and the different marches and boycotts he participated in during his quest to bring down Jim Crow laws and other discriminatory laws and practices. After that, though, the week just seemed to swing around and around in history with historic current events as well as coverage of historic past events.

Not to mention that photographers have also been busy churning out gear guides and technique tip books for the newbie photographers out there.

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 highlights for you below!


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

– da Bird


Photography and the Internet

Photography and the Internet

There have been a lot of discussions in the tech sphere lately about various rights people should have when online. There’s the right to privacy, the right to be left alone, the right to decide what downloads to your computer (which is why Internet advertising is nothing like television advertising) and the right to decide what sites you are going to visit. However, there is also the right to expect that if you put any of your original work up on the Internet, whether it be photographs or writing, then it will not be stolen and/or attributed to someone else. Unfortunately, though, it is more often the case that photographs and images posted online are taken by others and used without the creator’s permission. Sometimes even in a commercial manner.

Most photographers do not mind if someone links to their portfolios or saves a few sample images to use in an article as long as proper attribution is made back to the photographer. Most also don’t mind if an image of theirs “goes viral” as part of some popular Internet meme — so long as the image is ultimately attributed to them. And, most photographers don’t mind if their images end up on Pinterest or Facebook, again, so long as they get credited for taking the photo. However, that does not mean that people should download photos willy-nilly and post them all over the place and photographers’ tolerance of non-commercial fair use certainly does not mean that they would allow a magazine or newspaper to use their work for free.

Recently, Google has gotten on the bandwagon with the photography community and is making their image search give results that are filtered by the rights the original author has reserved or waived on his work. Additionally, there have always been technical ways for savvy photographers to keep their images from being downloaded (covering the image with a clear transparent pixel.gif works well enough to keep the less-technically inclined out). Watermarking images has also become more common, especially on stock photography sites. However, at the end of the day, a person who is absolutely determined to get a photograph “for free” will find a way to do it. So, what should be done in these cases?

When it comes to movies or music that is downloaded illegally, studios often favor the government issuing heavy fines. Should photographers follow suit? Or should they seek more moderate or lenient fines in exchange for the person agreeing to give credit to the photographer?

Photography and the Internet can be great allies as the connected community gives photographers a place to show off their skills and also gives newcomers a chance to learn more about photography without having to invest first in expensive equipment or courses. However, copyright concerns are one stumbling block that keep some photographers from sharing their photographs and their knowledge freely with others. What do you think can be done to resolve this problem? Let us know in the comments below!

– da Bird


Creepy Photography Places

Creepy Photography Places

My love of abandoned, creepy places is well-known on this blog. I’m always fascinated by places that time and humanity have left behind like Pripyat in the Ukraine — the site of the Chernobyl meltdown, the forgotten subway stops in New York City, parts of Cuba, or Hashima Island. However, right now, the holy grail for “time forgot this place” photography has got to be North Korea. First of all, outside of heavily state-sanctioned photo ops, foreign photographers are not allowed to take photographs inside the country. Pulling out a camera in North Korea is met with about the same level of reaction that someone pulling out a bazooka in a family restaurant would get in the rest of the world.

Still, every once in a while, the planets align properly and a journalist either manages to sneak in some photography gear and then sneak out without it being detected or the ruling regime decides to let the rest of the world see the glorious happiness in which the enlightened and self-sufficient people of North Korea live. One of these latter instances let Time Magazine photographer Tomas van Houtryve capture images and put together a photo essay called “A Rare Look Inside North Korea.”

It’s strange to look at photos that would have seemed normal thirty or forty years ago and know that they’re only a few years old. Places like North Korea are like living, breathing time capsules. If it weren’t for the horrific conditions that the regimes force their people to live under, they might make interesting studies in history. Still, it is a very unique chance to get to travel backwards in time with photography and to see a world where time moves much more slowly than in the rest of the world.

What are some abandoned regions or places that time forgot that you’d like to see photographed more? Let us know in the comments below!

– da Bird


Weekly Wrap Up

Weekly Wrap Up

Another week has gone by in a flash and that means it’s time for another one of our patented weekly wrap-ups. This week has been a fairly full one with lots of news about the new cameras and camera lines unveiled at CES 2014 as well as plenty of photographers out there giving their two cents on ways to improve photography or gear or things that no photographer should be without. Reviews and hands-on galore snagged most of the headlines this week but there are still plenty of bloggers, photography aficionados, and experts out there filled with advice on how to take photography further both on an individual and an institutional level.

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


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

– da Bird


Curved Screen TVs: The Next Big Thing?

Curved Screen TVs: The Next Big Thing?

CES 2014 has come to a close and now everyone’s talking about the new gadgets and gizmos that were shown off at the trade show. While we’re all eagerly waiting the next generation of cameras, cell phones, and tablets, televisions made another big splash this year. Now that 3D seems to be out since it’s too difficult to record and too unwieldy for the average TV watcher, the TV manufacturers need another gimmick beyond their “bigger and badder” push (after all, there is an upper bound on how large a television screen can be). So, following in the footsteps of cell phone and tablet makers who want to make their devices a little more flexible and a little easier for long-term use, now television manufacturers are getting in on the “curved screen” game.

However, while there are some benefits to having a curved screen on a hand-held device, is there really that much benefit to having a large television with a curved screen? Hard-core computer gamers often have several monitors positioned in an arc around them — isn’t a curved television screen largely the same thing?

No, it’s not. This excellent article from our friends at Ars Technica does a great job of explaining the circumstances under which a curved screen might be useful (hint: there are very few and none of them really apply to the average American home) and showing the problems of image and color distortion caused by curved screens. In short, though our eyes and brains are capable of giving us a faulty view of what we’re seeing, the curved screen is correcting a problem that doesn’t really exist. Very few screens are so large that the edges need to be brought in physically closer to the audience in order to deal with the problems of light-loss or color diffusion.

So, while television manufacturers would definitely love to sell more large TVs with curved screens, we doubt this is a trend that is going to catch on.


Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

Not only is this the end of the week but this is the week that ended the year and began a new one. That means that this week’s top news stories were filled with recaps of the top gear and top news story in the world of photography for 2013 as well as a lot of stories about cameras that are slated to come out in 2014. With CES happening, many new camera line and feature stories have been hitting the airwaves and, still holding on to that post-holiday glow, photographers and photography lovers have been out and about offering advice on how best to take advantage of the camera you may have gotten this Christmas.

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


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

– da Bird