August 19 – Say cheese!

Today’s factismal: It is National Photography Day – go be a shutter bug!

Ah, photography! Just as the vinyl record made musicians out of those who couldn’t play an instrument, the camera has turned those who can’t draw into artists. (For the record, I can neither sing nor play an instrument nor draw. I’m a triple threat!) Though early photographs took eight hours of exposure to create an image (which is why they are primarily of windows and bowls of fruit), today anyone with a smartphone has a camera that can snap amazing images in a fraction of a second.

My favorite vacation picture (My camera)

My favorite vacation picture
(My camera)

And that’s where the science comes in. You see, we don’t just use photographs to record trips to Disneyland or awkward high school moments. We also use them to identify plants and landforms from space and to track migrating animals and to predict the weather. We can even use them to track the environment!

Using Picture Post, you can create a panorama of nine pictures (one for each cardinal or intercardinal direction and one of the sky above) and put it out where researchers can use it to track environmental changes. Even better, they’ve got tools on the website that allow you to do your own research on your photos or the pictures taken by other folks. So get out that camera and get snapping!

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