Photographers have long brought the beauty of nature across the world into our books, televisions, and computer screens so that we can enjoy it and learn from it no matter where we are. Each year, London’s Natural History Museum honors some of the most talented photographers with their Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest.
This year’s top winner, Laurent Ballesta of France, snapped a rare and fleeting moment: an underwater grouper mating that happens once per year, for half an hour, around the full moon in July. Capturing this phenomenon required careful planning – a newly created dive protocol that allowed him to spend 24 hours 65 feet under the ocean, a dedicated dive team to accompany him, the precise mix of gases in his oxygen tank, and the bravery to endure being in contact with sharks without a shark cage or metal shark suit for protection.
Another honor was bestowed on 10-year-old Vidyun R. Hebbar, who earned the title of “Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year” after photographing a tent spider under the bright lights of a passing rickshaw in his home country of India.
Standards have long supported the work of photographers. The Society for Imaging Science and Technology (IS&T), a member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), has published many standards that promote digital camera technology, such as American National Standard (ANS) ANSI/IST IT10.2000, Photography – Digital Still Cameras – JPEG 2000 DSC Profile. Other standards support film cameras, like ISO 1007, Photography – 135-size film and magazine – specifications. This International Standard was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) technical committee (TC) 42, Photography. The U.S. holds the secretariat of TC 42. ANSI administers the U.S. TAG to ISO/TC 42, sponsored by IS&T, to coordinate national standards activities for existing and emerging photographic technology.
Amateur photographers benefit from the support of standards, as well. Many people forego carrying a standalone camera in their travels and instead rely on their cell phone for snapshots. Tremendous developments in cell phone camera technology have allowed people to capture clear and bright images at a moment’s notice. ANSI member and accredited standards developer IEEE offers a standard to guide the performance of camera-equipped mobile devices: IEEE 1858, IEEE Standard for Camera Phone Image Quality. This document includes information on metrics and procedures appropriate to the types of sensors, lenses, and signal processing routines present on such devices.
Wildlife enthusiasts rely on videos to bring them even closer to sights around the world that they may not get to see in person. Standards committees support the advancement of moving picture technology, and their work is being recognized internationally for its contributions to the entertainment industry and to society. The file format subgroup of MPEG Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG) recently earned a National Academy for Television Arts and Sciences Technology & Engineering Emmy® for 20 years of work on the ISO Base Media File Format (ISOBMFF). The Emmy recognizes the achievements of ISO/International Electrotechnical Commission's (IEC) Joint Technical Committee (JTC) 1, Information technology, Subcommittee 29, Coding of audio, picture, multimedia and hypermedia information, which organizes the file format subgroup of the MPEG Systems working group ISO/IEC JTC1/SC 29/Working Group 3.
Learn more and see photographs taken by this year’s Wildlife Photographers of the Year in the National Geographic news item.