Culture

Remember The Beaches CRAMMED With #FloridaMorons in Jacksonville? Here's What The Beaches Really Looked Like.

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It was everywhere this weekend. Jacksonville, Florida’s, beaches were crammed full of people after the mayor opened the beaches for socially distanced fun and recreation. But there were so many people there that everyone is going to die!

The actress who made the movie “Beaches” predicted doom for Floridians.

Florida reopened some beaches today & they were packed. I guess in a way it makes perfect Florida-sense. To try to get a little sun so you look healthy at your funeral.
#FloridaMorons

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced that starting Friday evening the beaches would be open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and in the mornings from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and that social distancing would be required.

The Washington Post showed very full beaches.

#FloridaMorons trends after people flock to reopened Florida beaches.

The New York Times did too.

As soon as the clock ticked past 5 p.m. on Friday – signaling the limited reopening of beaches in Jacksonville, Florida – people flocked to the shoreline in droves, despite concerns about spreading the coronavirus further.

The Daily Beast piled on. Gee, that Getty photo is looking familiar.

Very, Very Scary: Officials Dumbfounded as Florida Beaches Reopen, 3 Days After Death Spike

But when the mayor got a look at The New York Times and other media coverage, he chided them for failing to accurately depict the crowds.

We need methodical steps to open our cities. Shutting down cities indefinitely is not an option. National media has responsibility here. I’m gonna lead a step by step way forward. Governors and mayors will do the same . National media please think responsibly before you publish.

Local TV station WJXT4 reported that there was an explanation for that crammed-looking Getty photo of the beaches in Jacksonville. It’s something you’ve probably guessed by now. It’s obvious that the photographer was using a telephoto lens to condense the mass of people into an image that looked like they were crammed together.

WJXT4 reporter Vic Micolucci was assigned to beach duty on Friday evening and provided several different photos, all taken at approximately the same time in the same place.

The first image is from a Getty photographer who appears to have been shooting with a professional camera and a telephoto lens. A lens like this, likely in the 200-400mm range, gives a compressed look. Think football photos in the newspaper.

He said these two photos were taken at about 6 p.m. on Friday evening.

The second shot is from my personal live coverage on WJXT at 6 PM Friday. On the left side is live video from my photographer partner who is on the sand with me. On the right side is live video from our helicopter above. You will notice that the left appears to show more people than the right. We showed you both for transparency.

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The third photo was a telephoto shot the station uses for live shots.

The third and fourth photos are from our Panasonic video camera which we used to go live.

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Here’s the same scene from the WJXT4 “Sky 4” helicopter camera:

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Here’s one the reporter took with his iPhone 11 about the same time.

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The reporter said different cameras tell different stories.

The moral of the story is, different cameras, different lenses and different angles make the beach look differently.

A helicopter shot looks different from a drone shot which looks different from a telephoto shot which looks different from a smart phone shot.  The optics are different. The angles are different. As your car mirrors say, objects may appear further than they are. Use your best judgement.
There was not a secret meeting for reporters and photographers to mislead the public. Quite frankly, we have all been so busy that we wouldn’t have time to doctor anything.

Here’s one on-the-ground video of the beaches. They don’t seem crammed.

Micolucci says he certainly was not trying to make the beach look more packed with people.

Do you think The Washington Post, The New York Times or Daily Beast were trying to do that?

Leave your answer in the comments section.

PERSPECTIVE:Jacksonville area journalists are being accused of lying to the public about the images shown of the…

Posted by WJXT4 Vic Micolucci on Sunday, April 19, 2020

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