There aren’t a lot of people that can say they’ve been a photographer for Saks Fifth Avenue, but for Gatekeeper’s Dallas Shaefer the experience was short but sweet.
Shaefer has worked for over 10 years in the surveillance industry, but said he took a break at the outset of Covid-19 to pursue his lifelong passion for photography full-time.
He landed a job with Saks Fifth Avenue taking photos of their merchandise, an experience he said that was surreal at times.
“In a given day, I would have a wheeled cart with sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise,” he said.
But when the economy took a turn, Shaefer said he wanted a career with more stability and decided to get back into surveillance. He joined the Gatekeeper team about 9 months ago as a Tech Support and Mobile Installation Specialist.
Shaefer’s previous experience was in commercial surveillance, and he said he quickly found out there was going to be a learning curve moving into mobile surveillance.
“A camera in a grocery store doesn’t go anywhere. Whereas our cameras are, at any given moment, moving anywhere from 20 miles an hour to 70 miles an hour down the highway,” he said.
Shaefer said he’s enjoyed the challenge that’s come with having to learn an industry that requires more of a dynamic, whole-picture approach.
“You have to factor in a lot of different things, you have to consider the aiming of the cameras, the safety of the operation of the vehicle, how to maximize the availability of the data storage. It’s quite a different animal from just a stationary camera in the milk aisle,” he said.
Even though Shaefer’s relatively new at Gatekeeper, he said that he’s flourished in the collaborative spirit of his department and has already been able to help develop special projects.
“I helped put together what we call the ‘bus in the box’, which is essentially a case containing an entire Gatekeeper system, from turn signals, stop arm activation, brake activation, ignition and the driver alert button turn. And that system integrates in with two different DVRs, a view monitor, and a selection of two IP cameras and two analog cameras,” he said
“With this available to me I can basically show up anywhere in the world, plug it into a wall, and demonstrate hands-on with school staff and maintenance staff how to operate, troubleshoot, install, and service our DVR systems,” he said.
When he’s not on the road for Gatekeeper, Shaefer said his passion is still photography, just maybe not handbags and jewelry.
“I like to shoot black and white street photography. I’ll travel into Philadelphia and New York City and take candid photos of people moving through the city, which also becomes handy for layovers in airports. If you’re stuck in Charlotte for three hours because your flight is delayed, it’s a nice way to kill some time,” he said.
Shaefer with Gatekeeper’s “Bus in a Box”