“Fake News” Or Real Overcrowding Photos, Were Lenses And Techniques Used To Distort The Story? You Decide

May 17, 2020

Photos, video and story by: Dennis Symons, Jr.

Photos were taken Sunday Morning, May 17, 2020

BELMAR, NJ (MONMOUTH)—After seeing several photos posted online yesterday of massive crowding at the Jersey Shore it seemed that people were all over the place violating Governor Murphy’s “Social Distancing” rules. To an untrained eye it looked as people were on top of each other in large massive crowds. One of the locations was Belmar, New Jersey where a “local” told us that a record of over 3,000 beach badges were sold in a single day. The local also told us that the line was long but most of the day people were obeying social distancing rules. When asked about the photos posted on social media and used in regular news media, they said the photos were incredible.

Looks terrible people are not social distancing? If you think that look below and see how lenses can distort what is actually happening especially if photos are taken from few angles. Not saying that social distancing violations did not happen but some photos posted online seem very suspicious of using a “compression” technique.

Today people were lined up again this morning to purchase beach badges in Belmar. The line was not as long as yesterday but it was a good opportunity to investigate social distancing. Were photographs shared in social media and news media sensationalized, borderline “fake news” using certain photography techniques or were people observing the rules?

For this experiment we will use a Canon 5D Mark IV that has a full frame sensor with lenses in range from 24mm to 600mm in length.  I will take photos from an elevated position looking down boardwalk using a wide angle 24mm to a 600mm telephoto lens.

From the street and beach take another set of photos to show the spacing between people on the boardwalk.  A “normal” lens of what a typical eye sees, with a full framed sensor is between 35mm and 70mm. A variety of focal lengths will be provided to show lens compression.

Below photographs showing proper social distancing as viewed from the street and beach:

Post by Belmar, NJ showing social distancing Saturday from a drone:

How the NY Post played the story: