Tuesday, 16 of September of 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

It’s been another busy week in the world of photography. Photojournalists have been out covering stories ranging from the troubles in Ferguson, MO to the Little League World Series and the Stromboli volcano. Sony and Samsung have made headlines as well with their announcements about cameras coming in the near future and Nikon made a huge splash this week with the reveal of their newest camera.

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


Learning the Night Sky

Learning the Night Sky

Since there are so many astronomy-related events coming up in the next few months, I promised you an explanation of how to find out where to see things in the night sky. After spending a lot of time looking through incredibly confusing star charts and making images that were great…but you had to know what you were looking at and roughly where to find it already, I stumbled across these great articles over at Outer Space Universe that do a much better job than the guides I was attempting could have done. So, to learn more about the constellations and where (and how) to find them in the northern night sky, read up on their guides about the summer, fall, winter, and spring constellations.

Now, why is it important to know where the constellations are and how to find them? Well, if you’re ever interested in astrophotography, the constellations are kind of the road signs of the night sky. If you’re trying to take a photo of Jupiter, for example, it will be helpful to know that it might rise in or near Virgo. If you’re going to watch a meteor shower, it might be useful to know that it’s going to be appearing in the same part of the sky as Draco. And, if you’re interested in trying to get a photo using your telescope and DSLR of one of our neighboring galaxies, Triangulum, it helps to know when and where to find it in the night sky. Lastly, the night sky has begun to grow unfamiliar to many of us with the increase of light pollution from cities. Unlike earlier generations, many of us can’t find some of the more common constellations because we never see them. Therefore, it’s nice to give yourself an excuse to get away from the lights of the city and to spend time under the same canopy of stars, finding your way through the different constellations, that have fascinated humanity for countless generations.

And, if all else fails, it’s helpful to know the stars in order to navigate should you ever find yourself appointed captain on a boat without GPS or other helpful navigation tools.

– da Bird


Getting Ready for Fall Photography

Getting Ready for Fall Photography

Even though summer is still in swing and autumn won’t be setting in for over a month, the time has come to start planning any trips you might make to do some special fall photography. In the United States, along the northeastern seaboard, the trees and forests that are native to the region do put on a spectacular show as the seasons move from autumn and into winter. The leaves on the trees go from a verdant green to tawny golden-yellow or bright red before they finally fall to the ground to become compost for the next generation.

If, like many people, you’d like to capture this changing of the seasons, you’ll need to make a few travel plans and set aside some gear to ensure that your trip will be well worth the effort. We have some helpful tips on things you should look into below.

1) Location, location, location — The northeastern states are popular travel destinations for many reasons. Take time to decide where you want to go and to check with local photography groups in the area to see if they have any special trips or specific suggestions about where you should shoot from. Do try to stay a little off the beaten path so drive if you are close enough or rent a car if you must fly in to your destination. Fall is also a great time to explore so don’t be afraid to set up your GPS and just drive around until you find a few good locations to photograph from.

2) Once you’ve decided where, check for the best “when” — Once you know where you’d like to go to do your photography, you’ll want to check the local state and region information on when the color change takes place. Usually you can find this on a state tourism website and there are apps that can help you determine the best time for your trip. The change in colors doesn’t happen all at once so do some research and plan your trip accordingly.

3) Go for soft lighting — Bright, sunny autumn days aren’t the best time for fall photography. You’ll do better to wait for the softer sunlight around the sunrise or set or to find ways to decrease the ambient light such as shooting on days that are somewhat cloudy.

4) Experiment with different ISOs — In order to ensure that you get photos that really bring out the richness of the leaf colors, set your ISO low and consider using matrix metering to help you achieve the look you want with your photos.

5) Get high — In terms of elevation. ;) Try to find a road or path that will let you get above the forest canopy and get a shot of the forest as a whole instead of just a few of the trees.

6) Update your camera kit with lenses and other good accessories — Take some longer lenses such as an 85mm or a 70-200mm lens with you in addition to the normal 35mm wide angle lens you might carry. You may also want to add a good sturdy camera bag conducive for hiking and a tripod to your photography kit if you don’t have them already. Also, a good flash can be helpful if used sparingly and to help highlight shadows or elements closer to the camera.

7) Fog and mist are great — These can lend an air of mystery to your photos. Don’t moan if the forecast calls for them but instead figure out a great way to work them into your photography!

8) Autumn composition is unique — A stream you might have just walked past in the summer will look much more photogenic in the fall with the golden leaves reflected in it. A pile of mushrooms can make a great photo that brings autumn to mind without relying so heavily on coloration. Though autumn is a very transitional season, take the time to do some exploration and experimentation because you won’t be able to come back in a few months and see things quite the same way.

What are some suggestions you have for fall photography? Where are your recommended places to visit? Let us know in the comments below!

– da Bird


Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

Another week has drawn to a close and this week has been full of events. On Monday, Robin Williams passed away at his Marin County home. His passing has dominated the news cycle this week. However, there were also stories about the supermoon with many great photographs taken of this annual lunar event. Nikon announced a new camera — the D810 — and more information about the events and reveals planned for Photokina were announced.

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 highlights for you below!


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

– da Bird


Supermoon and Astronomical Events

Supermoon and Astronomical Events

On Monday night, the moon made its closest approach to Earth for 2014. As the moon was full at the time, this event was called “the Supermoon” and was an opportunity for some great lunar and astrophotography. However, don’t worry if you hear all kinds of doomsday scenarios about a supermoon — instead, read up on what Astronomer Phil Plait has to say about what a supermoon actually is and what it isn’t.

One thing a supermoon is is a great time to get some photos of the moon. Photographing the moon, though, can be a bit of a challenge. Luna, it seems, while being very photogenic, is also very camera-shy. In order to get a good shot of her, you’ll generally want to use a DSLR with at least a 200mm lens (though a 400mm would be better and an 800mm would be perfect if your budget will stretch). If you don’t have a DSLR, there are teleconverters that can help you make it work. You’ll also need to make certain your timing is good and that you’ve noted down when the moon will rise (and possibly when it will set) as well as the phase it will be in (full moons are the best and easiest to capture but waxing or waning can also net wonderful results). Pick a good spot where you can see the moon come up and have it be against or near something in order to get that “the moon is HUGE” effect.

That's no moon, that's a space sta...no, it is a moon. Never mind.Another thing to be careful of is white-balancing. The moon is a very bright object on a very dark background so it is easy to over-expose it. Use a low ISO setting (start at 200), f/11 for the aperture, and 1/125th of a second for the shutter speed and adjust from there as needed or desired for effect. For more advice, check out this great article over at Digital Photo Secrets.

Lastly, taking photos of the moon is one great way to get started in the field of astrophotography. The night sky has fascinated mankind since our earliest days. While taking photos of distant stars, planets, galaxies, and nebula requires some specialized equipment (telescopes, mounts, tripods, etc), there are some events you can capture with just a good DSLR. Sea and Sky has a great calendar of these events but we’ll list a few of the major upcoming ones for you below.

August 18, 2014 — Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter. Look for this near sunrise. The planets will appear near the constellation Cancer in the sky.

August 25, 2014 — New moon. The moon will not be visible in the night sky making this an excellent time to observe more distant phenomena such as galaxies and star clusters.

September 9, 2014 — Full moon. Though it’s not the Supermoon, the full moon is a great time for some lunar photography.

October 4, 2014 — Astronomy Day. This is a day when astronomy experts and enthusiasts reach out to new people and try to share the wonders of astronomy and the night sky with them. Check out your local astronomy groups to see what kind of events they have planned and make a note to check them out. This is also a great time to introduce children to the majestic wonders of the universe that can be viewed through a telescope.

October 8, 2014 — Total lunar eclipse viewable from most of North America, South America, eastern Asia, and Australia.

October 8 – 9, 2014 — Peak of the Draconids Meteor Shower (the event runs from October 6 – 11). The Earth will pass through the part of space containing rubble from the comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner. Though the full moon may make seeing the meteors difficult, it is still worth checking out if you can get away from bright lights and the light pollution common in cities. The meteors will appear mostly in the region of the constellation Draco.

October 22 – 23, 2014 — Peak of the Orionids Meteor Shower (the event runs from October 20 – November 2). The Earth will pas through the part of space containing rubble from the Halley comet. As the moon will be a waning crescent and then a new moon, these meteors should be easier to see than the Draconids. They will appear in the sky mostly in the region of the constellation Orion.

Galaxy M106October 23, 2014 — Partial solar eclipse viewable from most of North and Central America. If you plan to photograph or observe this, please take protective measures such as using aluminum-coated mylar plastic sheets to cover your telescope lens or camera lens (the “Mylar space blankets” are not a suitable replacement!), number 14 arc welders glass, telescope glass filters (sold by astronomy and telescope stores), or pin-hole observation. Do not look directly at the sun without suitable protection (and sunglasses actually worsen the damage since they cause your pupils to dilate to let in more light) and do not point your camera or telescope at the sun without proper protection as you can damage the lenses, optics, and sensors!

November 5 – 6, 2014 — Peak of the Taurids Meteor Shower. Though this is a long-running shower (from September 7 – December 10), it peaks the night of November 5. However, the full moon may make watching the peak difficult. This shower happens when the Earth passes through the part of space containing rubble from Asteroid 2004 TG10 and Comet 2P Encke with most of the meteors appearing near or inside the constellation of Taurus.

November 17 – 18, 2014 — Peak of the Leonids Meteor Shower. Though this is another semi-long running shower (from November 6 – 30), it peaks the night of the 17th and the waning crescent means that observing it will be easier. This shower occurs when the Earth passes through the part of space containing rubble from the comet Tempel-Tuttle and the meteors will appear to be in the vicinity of the constellation Leo.

December 13 – 14, 2014 — Peak of the Geminids Meteor Shower. This is the king of meteor showers. Though it will be occurring during a waxing moon, the Geminids are so bright that the light of the moon should not be a problem. The shower runs from December 7 – 17, peaking the night of the 13th. The meteors will appear in the region of the sky with the constellation Gemini and are from the rubble of the 3200 Phaethon asteroid.

Galaxy M106December 22 – 23, 2014 — Peak of the Ursids Meteor Shower. Though this is a minor shower producing few meteors from the rubble of the comet Tuttle, this year will be one of the best to observe it due to the lack of moonlight during the new moon. The shower runs from December 17 – 25 and will appear mostly in the region of the sky with the constellation Ursa Minor (also known as the Little Dipper).

Astrophotography is probably one of the most scientific and interesting fields to get into. The images you can capture doing astrophotography will put awe into anyone. So, get your camera and gear ready and make sure to take a nap so you can stay up and watch the wonders of the nightsky and capture them for the daywalkers to see!

– da Bird

Photo of the 1999 solar eclipse copyright Luc Viatour.
Photo of the M106 Galaxy copyright Robert Gendler


In Memoriam: Robin Williams

In Memoriam: Robin Williams

As many of you are no doubt aware, Robin Williams, one of America’s best-known and most well-loved comedians and actors, passed away Monday at his home in Marin County, California yesterday. He was 63.

Robin Williams was known for his humor, his ability to make people laugh, and his gentle nature. Even in his most dramatic roles, he brought a depth of talent and humor that could make even the darkest part of the film brighter. Williams never let himself be pigeonholed as “the funny man.” He took on roles like Chris Nielsen in What Dreams May Come, Dr. Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting, John Keating in Dead Poets Society, and Dr. Malcolm Sayer in Awakenings. In each of those films, Williams was able to bring to life a complex, complicated, and sometimes dark character and give them a depth and lightness that transcended a man merely acting a role. And, even when he was playing an irreverent funny-man, such as in Good Morning, Vietnam or Aladdin, he handled the darker twists of the plot with a humanity that helped to make those films such rich and enjoyable experiences.

Williams got his start by playing the alien Mork in Happy Days and his character’s popularity was such that it resulted in a spin off — the well-known (and still one of my personal favorites) show Mork and Mindy. From there, he went on to headline several stand-up comedy acts such as Off The Wall, An Evening with Robin Williams, and Robin Williams: Live at the Met. He went on to star in some of the his most famous roles — several of which have already been listed — and in some roles in films that have a very strong following despite not achieving box-office or critical success. One of these films is my all-time personal favorite Williams film: Bicentennial Man.

If you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil it for you. The role Williams played in that film was something akin to the “man from Mars” type role he played as Mork. However, the humor in Bicentennial Man was much more poignant and moving. In the scenes between Williams and Australian actor Sam Neill, the emotions are palpable and I think that anyone who doesn’t at least have a hitch in their breath during the final scene with those two actors doesn’t have a heart. There are many other parts in the movie where Williams’ humor and gentle nature bring a smile to the lips and a tear to the eyes which is why, even if it flopped at the box office, I think that Bicentennial Man is one of the best films made in the late twentieth century.

What are some of your favorite Robin Williams roles or moments? And, if you had the chance to meet him, what would you say to him? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

– da Bird


Shark Photography

Shark Photography

Even though the summer is beginning to draw to a close, there is still plenty of time to get some great underwater photography done. While many photographers — especially those who are new to underwater photography — will stick with photographing coral reefs, downed ships, fish, and dolphins, those who are bit more experienced may want to try their hand at a bit of shark photography. If you are an experienced underwater photographer with plenty of SCUBA experience under your belt, then you may find these tips helpful in getting a start in photographing one of the ocean’s most dangerous but fascinating creatures.

Please note: Sharks are dangerous creatures. Even the smallest sharks can easily inflict serious or fatal injuries. Do not attempt this line of photography until you have mastered safer types of underwater photography and until you are very experienced with SCUBA diving. Unlike other wildlife photography where you can be at a safe distance from predators and where humans are somewhat matched against the predators on land, sharks are completely in their element in the water and humans are not. There is no climbing up a tree, throwing a rock, getting into a car or house, or other protective measure you can take to get away from a shark while in the water. So, do not attempt even a caged dive until you have prepared yourself and understand the risks you are undertaking.

1) Safety first — Getting into the water where you know sharks are is dangerous. So, take plenty of time to research the area you’ll be diving in and learning about the specific types of sharks you might encounter there. Talk with local divers and marine biologists to learn about their particular warning signs and how to interact with them. Then, take a local and experienced dive buddy with you to act as your spotter while you do your photography. If possible, have a paramedic unit standing by on the boat or on the shore in case someone is bitten.

Never, under any circumstances, dive alone. Always have a dive buddy.

2) Stay near coral or rocks (if available) and stay away from other divers — If you’re diving with a group, especially for a deep sea dive, then make certain the group knows what you are planning and that you do your photography away from them as many may not be prepared to handle close encounters with the shark kind and instinctive panic can easily turn a photography encounter into a nightmare.

3) Coordinate with the feeder — If you’re going to attract sharks to a specific spot with a feeder, make certain you coordinate the exact drop locations with him and position yourself so that the sharks will be moving away from you after the feeding. You’ll also want to position yourself in a spot that will not give you a bunch of chum-filled images.

4) Sharks are easy to overexpose — With their white underbellies, it’s easy to overexpose your shark shots. So, be careful with your strobes and flashes and aim them higher than you normally would to avoid this.

5) Photography gear to take with you — Sharks are skittish so you’ll want to use a lens that isn’t too wide. A 2-24mm or 17-35mm is a good choice with a 10-17mm fisheye lens can be used with sharks that are accustomed to people or have been domesticated in a preserve and will allow you to get closer (but remember: domesticated is not tamed! They are still wild animals). The fisheye can also be great for shots of schools of sharks. You’ll want to make certain that whatever lenses you’re using are fairly fast and have a maximum aperture of F2.8 to F4.

6) You can’t out-swim a shark even if you’re Michael Phelps — Don’t chase after the sharks to try to photograph them and don’t swim around them to try to get a better angle. Instead, position yourself in the best spot you can and let the sharks come to you.

7) Let sleeping sharks lie — If you’re moving toward a group or sharks or an individual shark who is napping, take it slowly and make no sudden movements. Better to let the shark stay asleep and you get some great shots than to make a lot of sudden movements and noise that might wake the shark up and (at best) result in him moving away or (at worst) you being invited to dinner…as the main course.

8) Be careful with movement — Quick, jerky, sudden movements can startle any wild animal. Make smooth, slow, careful movements. Again, don’t try to swim up to a shark (he might take this as a possible threat and attack) but if a shark swims up to you, depending on the species, you can sometimes gently nudge them away. Speak with someone experienced with the kinds of sharks you’ll be photographing and make certain your dive buddy knows what to do if a shark gets a little too “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. De Mille” with you.

Sharks are one of nature’s most beautiful predators. In the water, they are the very incarnation of fatal beauty. Fascination with these creatures permeates our culture. And, with proper preparation and respect for just how deadly they can be, photographing them in their natural environment can be a very fun and very rewarding experience. Just take care not to become shark bait yourself!

– da Bird

The first shark image (“Sunset Shark”) is copyright Michael Muller. The second image (“Smiling Shark”) is copyright Todd Bretl.


Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

Another Friday brings us to the end of another week in the world of photography. This week has been filled with disaster and war photography from around the globe as photojournalists rush here and there to capture the images of the top news stories. Aside from that, there’s been a lot of advice on everything from wedding to landscape photography in the news and even a quirky story about a copyright dispute over a monkey’s selfie.

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 highlights for you below!


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

– da Bird


Great Places for Late Summer Photography

Great Places for Late Summer Photography

The school year is getting ready to begin over the United States within the next few weeks. Some places will be starting later than others. That means that this is really the last chance for summer photography trips so, you’ll want to go to some place that is within driving distance for you. Not to fret, though, regardless of where you live, there’s some place special within at least a day’s driving. We’ll go over a few of the biggest ones for you below from west to east and south to north.

1) Sequoia National Park — Located in central California, this park is home to General Sherman, the largest tree on Earth, along with many other famous redwoods. Accommodations surrounding this park are easily found and easy to get to considering that it is one of the major tourist sites in California that isn’t one of the beaches or in the larger cities.

2) Crater Lake Park — For those who are big on landscape or astrophotography, Crater Lake in Oregon is the perfect place to go to. Best suited for those who prefer the outdoors, this is a great spot to visit for hikers and campers who don’t mind roughing it if they want to see the best places the site has to offer.

3) The Grand Canyon — In western Arizona, the Grand Canyon is one of the most famous places to visit in the United States and is also one of the most photogenic. There are plenty of things to see and do when visiting the Grand Canyon and local accommodations run the gamut from college-student budgets to five-star resorts.

4) Yellowstone National Park — Everyone should visit Yellowstone eventually. Located in northwest Wyoming, this national park has plenty of natural beauty to capture and many accommodations accustomed to handling large numbers of travelers to this nature preserve. If Yellowstone isn’t your thing, though, there is always the Grand Teton Park, Devil’s Tower, Fossil Butte, or Hot Springs State Park.

5) The Alamo — One of the most famous places to visit in Texas, the Alamo is a great place to learn a little history and get some photos of the monument itself as well as the surrounding area. However, Texas is a big state and if the Alamo isn’t your cup of tea, you’re sure to enjoy the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, the museums in Houston, any of the Six Flags parks around the state, or the Pleasure Pier in Galveston.

6) Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens — This is an absolutely beautiful place to visit in Kansas. It’s a great way to show different flowering plants, trees, and more to children as well as a great place for some spring and late summer photography as the changing seasons have a profound impact on the plants.

7) Mount Rushmore — Located in South Dakota, Mount Rushmore is a great place to visit, learn a little American history, and get some great photos of a natural and man-made site all at the same time!

8) The Natchez Trace — A highway in Mississippi that runs alongside the historic Natchez Trace, this is a great place to see some very diverse terrain and plants and, if you’re the rugged outdoors type, walking the path of the historic trace is a great way to get back in touch with nature and with your ancestors. If that’s not who you are, though, there are plenty of historic sites and parks in both Natchez and Vicksburg along the Mississippi River, beaches down in Gulfport and Biloxi, William Faulkner’s home in Oxford, and the birthplace of Elvis Presley in Tupelo.

9) The Cumberland Gap — A beautiful stretch to see in the Appalachian Mountains, the Cumberland Gap is in Kentucky and quite easy to reach. If this isn’t your thing, though, there are other great sites in Kentucky such as the historic birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, the Mammoth Cave, the Lost River Cave, and Churchill Downs.

10) Arlington Cemetery — Located outside of Washington DC, this is a great place to visit to pay your respects to those who have gone before you in the Armed Forces. It is also located near the Pentagon, Mount Vernon, Monticello, and Washington DC if you’re up for a good road trip through historic America.

11) Atlantic City — Whether you’re there for the beaches or the gambling, Atlantic City in New Jersey has something for everyone. However, if you can’t find amusement there, Coney Island is just a few hours away which is another great place for a late summer vacation and for some photography!

What are some other places you’d add to this list if you could? Let us know in the comments below!

– da Bird


Appropriate Photography Behavior at Memorials

Appropriate Photography Behavior at Memorials

There are places that can sober anyone when their names are spoken. Gettysburg. Verdun. Normandy. Auschwitz. Iwo Jima. The poppy fields outside of Flanders. The Highland Clearances Memorial. The USS Arizona. The Vietnam Wall. These places all contain commemorations of some of the most horrific evils that men can inflict upon each other. That makes theses places that are somber, deserving of respect, and usually very quiet. Having visited several of these places, I can tell you that people fall silent upon entering them. Voices are kept to a hushed tone and only used at need.

Photography is common at many of these places and, until recently, photographers or visitors who brought cameras were careful to engage in photography in a manner that was respectful and not disruptive or discounting of the sobriety of the site. However, in recent days, “selfies” and other inappropriate photography techniques have begun to crop up at these places. Therefore, we have a few tips for anyone considering visiting one of these sites or one similar in order to help them avoid committing a grave faux pas.

1) Photography isn’t always allowed — Some sites don’t allow photography at all or only allow it in specific areas out of respect for the memorial and for the departed. Don’t break this rule even with your mobile phone. Sometimes the restriction on photography is done to encourage crowd flow and to keep people moving through the memorial instead of letting them clump up. Sometimes it’s done to protect the area as repeated flashes can cause damage to paintings over the years.

2) Dress comfortably but appropriately — Some famous sites — especially in Europe — will not allow visitors in who are dressed inappropriately. Notre Dame de Paris will turn visitors away if they are wearing tank-tops, short shorts, mini-skirts, crude t-shirts, or other attire deemed inappropriate for a grand cathedral. Make certain you check to see if there is a dress code and, even if there is not, you dress appropriately. Tennis shoes are generally acceptable — especially if you’re going to be walking — and heels are generally forbidden for the damage they can do to the floor.

3) Respect the quiet of the place and the other visitors — It may sound a bit crazy but when you enter a place like Gettysburg, the Memorial cemetery at Vicksburg, or the memorial for the USS Arizona, you can feel the weight of the years pressing on you. It makes you quiet and reflective. Respect that. Where photography is allowed, feel free to take photos. However, do so in a manner that doesn’t make light of the site itself and doesn’t cause problems for other visitors.

4) Pay attention to the signs — Signs aren’t always just put up to tell you where to go or to explain what happened at a particular part of the site. Sometimes they’re up to warn you about a potential danger such as the signs on the beaches at Normandy that warn of treacherous footing or tidal activities. Pay attention to what they say and if they tell you not to enter or pass beyond a certain point, don’t ignore it even if it would be a great place to stand and get a photograph. That’s a good way to fall into a sinkhole in some places.

5) If you’re uncertain as to whether or not something would be appropriate, don’t do it — You’ll never hear laughter on the USS Arizona or when you pass beyond the gates at Dachau or Auschwitz. Levity has no place when you’re looking down at the rows of headstones in Arlington, VA or Normandy, France. Watching the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace or the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier isn’t a time to engage in horseplay or to try to get close for snapping a few photos.

6) Take a selfie at a memorial site and post it online only if you want to look really, spectacularly stupid and have it haunt you for years — The teenage girl whose selfie at Auschwitz set off an online firestorm might not regret it and might think she did nothing wrong now but give her ten years. She’ll be embarrassed to have done it and her “fame” for it will probably cost her down the road. People who do the same at other memorials — the 9/11 memorial, Normandy, Arlington, and more — will look back and wonder what they were thinking to engage in such self-centered and silly antics at a place where the focus of their thoughts (and their cameras) should not have been on them but on the event that made the site a memorial in the first place.

If you’re going to visit a major historical site, it would be a good idea for you to understand the importance of that site and to treat it appropriately. Otherwise, the photos you take there today may not make treasured keepsakes but instead could become testaments to shame later on down the road.

– da Bird