Tue 26 Nov 2013
Click. Click. Click. Cameras are everywhere. Mobile devices, security in buildings, and those dreaded traffic cameras. (Raises hand, I have been busted.) The warning to a new generation is “someone is always watching AND recording.” It sounds scary. How does this impact Techlife readers?
Science is all about data and more data equals more knowledge. In 2011, Linda L. Kerley (Zoological Society of London) and Jonathan C. Slaght (Wildlife Conservation Society) caught something on film that not only had never been recorded but had never been documented as possible by scientists. The pair actually found documentation stating this should never happen. But it did.
Footage and stills from devices have helped during disasters and news embargoes. Bringing unedited, raw images to governments, scientists, rescue workers and sharing them with news organizations have helped make the world a place where video and stills have improved the quality of life. (Despite my experience with a traffic cam.)
Linda and Jonathan study Siberian tigers in Russia using infrared camera triggers to track animal movement. Plagued by the same woes as the rest of us, batteries and storage, the cameras need routine visits to keep them running. During a visit to a camera Linda saw a deer carcass close by but oddly no other animal tracks were in the snow. The deer tracks showed it had been running and then it just stopped and died?
Stopped and died like your smartphone on a vacation? Cameras use a lot of power, as the screen is active during shooting and if you activate the flash that small burst can drain the battery even faster. Learn to frame and shoot quickly and reduce the use of the flash. Your device will live longer. I have set my smartphone to never use the flash.
Linda’s discovery was a scientific first. The camera caught three images during a two second burst of a golden eagle attacking a sika deer. Golden eagles have powerful talons combined with a massive wingspan. Their stealth air attack combined with speed and talon piercing often crushes their prey quickly. Also of note was the forest attack, unusual for these open space hunters. These shots were not only a first for science in recording an event unknown to us, but they serve as reminder to scientists to keep an open mind about our world.
Click. Click. Click. From your local town to the remote forests of Russia, cameras click and whir capturing what passes before their lenses. Like Linda and Jonathan your unintended capture might result in a key historical moment. Keep your hand steady, and remember a camera is the chance to capture a moment in time. What is your most amazing photo?
Photo Credits: Linda Kerley, Zoological Society of London (ZSL)