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HELIX "Camera and Video (& 'Fish' Books)


Bob Fenner  

Wow! Where'd you get that.....? How often have you heard or said this? A further extension of the saying "It's not what you know, but who you know" has got to be "It's not what you know but how to find it". Let's face it, even without considering the current and upcoming electronic info-highway, multimedia compact discs and videos, there is a huge amount of good printed stuff to find and use.

Let me address this issue in another way. Given limited time to teach, learn and enjoy a subject, how much emphasis would you put on raw facts, ideas, methods, attitudes, etc. versus how to find the same. This dilemma is faced by every formal and informal instructor. Some basic background information is necessary for descriptive understanding of what we're talking about in any field, but this should be only a beginning; a complete education includes how to further search out what is already known.

So we all agree being able to find "the right stuff" is power. Various authors, myself included, have let on as to how to go about utilizing the reference resources of large libraries, CD-ROM and computerized literature searches, but ofttimes looking for printed and electronic materials comes down to knowing a source company name, address and/or number. This brief article will introduce you to one of my favorite outlets of books, videotapes, & yes, "fishy" CD's; HELIX of Chicago, Illinois.

This venerable retail and mail order company has a few divisions. The bulk of their business is camera and video sales; they carry all major makes and models as well as the accessories, film and other paraphernalia to go with them. If you have more than a passing interest in still or motion photography, above or below water, request and use their catalogs. HELIX also manufactures some underwater photo gear. The AquaFlash (tm) strobe lights are their products as well as Helix Nikonos extension tubes.

For Pet-Fish Types:

What will attract aquarists is the Helix Underwater Booklist. As you might assume from the name, many of the titles offered deal more with "diving" topics; Scuba Techniques, Salvage, Treasure & Archaeology, Dive Sites, and Underwater Photographic Techniques. However divers and aquarists have much in common in appreciation of the living underwater world; Helix offers many titles in Fish, Invertebrates and Shells, Mammals, and Natural History categories.

Some of these the astute aquarist will recognize as regularly available pet-shop fare from the publishers Tetra and Tropical Fish Hobbyist. Numerous authors names should be familiar. Roger Steene, Gerry Allen, Hillary Hauser, John Randall, Joseph Nelson, and many more. For those aquatics book collectors, finally you have a source for Halstead and Parsons works on Dangerous Marine Animals, Hansen's Book of Fishes, Steene's Coral Reefs: Nature's Richest Realm; Randall, Allen and Steene's Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Or such out of print classics as Nelson's Fishes of the World, 2nd Ed. or the reprinted The Shore Fishes of Hawaii by that minor prophet of democracy David Starr Jordan and Barton Warren Evermann... and there are lots of "new listings": Hawaiian Reef Animals by Hobson & Chave, Dewitts Ocean Wildlife, Lippe and Abbot'ts Living Shells of the Caribbean and Florida Keys. And as we all say, much, much more; including several appealing video titles. Sea Cam Presents Fish Music Videois like MTV for the pet-fish crowd, and the Friendliest & Funniest Fish In The Sea will bring you many smiles.

Mail Order: What?

Yes, dear friends and fellow aqua-enthusiasts I do use mail order businesses. Not in abeyance of local retailers but for all the same reasons as ordering fish gear via the post:

1) When I know exactly what I want and the total cost

A) Price + B) Shipping and handling + C) The inconvenience

of waiting + D) Lack of local 'help' with use + E) Warrantee


2) What I want is otherwise unavailable.

I do utilize outlets that are close to home and encourage you to do the same. Where else can we get one on one service and answers to our infinite questions of availability and application? Support your fish stores or lose them.


HELIX prices for books and videos run right around standard suggested retail. Additionally there is the requisite sales tax if ordering within Illinois and a nominal UPS delivery charge. Are you ready for my Arrr Arrr (bark like a...) "Seal of Approval"? I have ordered thousands of dollars worth of products over the years and have always enjoyed good, prompt service and undamaged, number-one merchandise.


Call or write for a booklist. 312/CAMERAS inside Illinois, outside 800/33-HELIX, 310 South Racine Ave., Chicago, IL 60607.


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