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Category Archives: Technology
Wow, what a trip Senegal is! Incredible place but tough on docs and patients using the less-than-ideal infrastructure. Take the above photo for instance.
My friend Dr. Al Ruenes and his colleague, Dr. Serigne Gueye, were doing a fistula repair on a patient in a remote clinic south of Dakar when the power went out. So they’ve got the patient opened but can’t see a thing.
Well, as much as I love my Nikon Speedlights, it was continuous lighting that saved the day because I pulled out my little headlamp flashlight and my Lite Panels Micro Pro LED on camera video light, handed them to the docs, and they were able to finish the operation with a nice main light and a broader fill!
The docs liked the light quality so much, they continued to use it even when the lights came back on (probably a good thing, since we lost power a couple of times that day!)
We’re wrapping up here today and hope to be home tomorrow. It’s been an incredible experience seeing what obstacles are faced and overcome here on a daily basis. Hope to have some video up (but, it’s going to take a while).
I hardly shot a still while I was here….video took up all my concentration, and I’m still making rookie mistakes. I’ll have more on that in another post.
I’m off to Senegal to shoot a short documentary on the volunteer work of my friend Dr. Al Ruenes. Al is a urologist who regularly visits Senegal to teach new techniques to surgeons from all over Africa, and while he’s there, does a whole slew of pro bono procedures for Senegalese patients.
Also coming is renowned plein air artist Bob Beck. He’s going to make paintings of the trip, I’m going to make the short video, and when we get back, we’re going to try to use this stuff to raise money for an operating theater Al hopes to fund in Dakar.
Originally, my son Brian was coming along to do the video duties, and I was just doing stills and audio. But then, young Brian had to go and get a great new gig as an associate producer for a new series at Discovery Channel and couldn’t get the time off.
(Oh sure, let a little thing like a major career move get in the way of a trip with the old man….sheesh, these kids!)
So it’s up to me to do my one-man band routine.
I’m only mildly panicked, as I’ve spent a lot of the summer studying up, shooting a lot of video to try to get my chops somewhat up to snuff. Even at that, I’ve got a long way to go as a videographer, but I’m ready as I’ll ever be by tonight, anyway!
And just like in my still shooting, I’ve been researching and finding the smallest, most reasonably-priced stuff that will do the job right.
So it’s going to be a little quiet on the blog for the rest of the month. And comment moderation could be very slow, so if you post a comment and it doesn’t show up for a while, it is nothing more nefarious than a bad or non-existent internet connection in my location!
For a look at the gear I’ll be bringing on this one man band gig, hit the jump. Continue reading
I had the opportunity, a few months ago, to work with prototypes of the newly-announced Coolpix P7000 on an assignment in the Southwest US. It was for Nikon’s ad agency in Japan. The P7000 is a fully-featured compact that would be the perfect backup/stealth/walkaround camera for a travel photographer.
This is not a review. So, if you are looking for MTF charts, camera-to-camera comparisons, and all the stuff a full-blown review offers, stop reading now, please.
It is, as the headline clearly states, my impressions of the machine. On these gigs, I’m handed a camera or a lens and I have a limited time to make as interesting a set of pictures as I can, not do side-by-side comparisons. So, tech heads, please forgive me in advance:-).
When I got the call, my client said “bring along your DSLR too, in case we see something special and you want to shoot it on your main camera.” I thought it was a very generous offer, but based on my previous experience with a variety of compacts, I declined. I knew that, in the heat of a great photo opportunity, I’d probably forget to use the compact altogether (Oy! Can say “blown assignment?”).
So, in order to save me from myself, I went out without a “net,” and after a day or so of getting used to using the LCD screen (although there is an excellent, if not 100% accurate, optical viewfinder), I didn’t miss the D90 nearly as much as I thought I would.
In fact, I’m using one of the pictures from this assignment in the oversize calendar that I do as a promotional piece for clients every year. I’ve done the calendar for years and never used anything but DSLR pictures. But I got my early copies last week from the printer, and the P7000 frame is indistinguishable from the DSLR frames. Not bad!
To read more about the camera and see a few JPEGs, hit the jump.
Nikon announced several new lenses today, one of which I got to play with a while ago.
Of course, I knew that an announcement was forthcoming, I just didn’t know when (because like the husband, the photographer is always the last to know).
In fact, If I hadn’t gotten a nasty email from a Czech photographer this morning who absolutely hated one of the pictures used in the official Nikon web announcement (namely, mine!), I would have never known the lens was launched.
Ah yes, there’s nothing quite like getting a new orifice torn while you’re enjoying your morning java to really jump start your day!
Unlike my critic, however, I was blessed with the opportunity to play with a prototype of the 28-300mm for a couple of days out in San Francisco last February.
I have to say that this lens, along with the venerable 18-200mm Nikkor, has completely turned my head around when it comes to the viability of a variable aperture uni-zoom as a professional tool. This one, in particular, blew my mind and spun my head around 360 degrees…(think Linda Blair in The Exorcist!). I couldn’t find a downside to it.
It’s sharp end to end, not too big or heavy, and ergonomically pleasing to use. It features a zoom lock, which is important because, while it’s not overly large for what it is, it’s a substantial piece of glass, and I highly recommend keeping the zoom lock on while you’re walking around. You can read about the specs here and also see the full-sized samples here .
You know I’m not too technical (they had to loan me an FX camera, a D700, to shoot with) but I can tell you that this is an awesome piece of glass. You literally could shoot a whole job with this baby with no compromise that I could discern (although I’m sure someone in, um, the Czech Republic might be able to!)
The VR works well and makes up for the F/5.6 at the long end (although, as a regular user of the 70-300mm VR on my D90, this is no surprise, or hardship, for me). If I were an FX travel shooter, this lens would be in my bag (paired, most likely, with the 16-35mm f/4 VR).
Man, that would be a combination (throw in the 24mm f/1.4 and the new 85mm f/1.4 for available light and bokeh issues, and you’re in FX travel-shooting heaven, my friends! Four lenses that can do it all). But if you could only carry one lens for your FX explorations, this would be it, no doubt.
Here’s another frame of a very cool performance artist called Chi Energy, whom I bumped into while shooting the Chinese New Year parade in San Francisco:
Hit the jump for more of Chi and San Francisco with the new lens… Continue reading
For those of you who may not recognize his name, Andrea is one of the busiest and most talented travel shooters around, with a string of publication credits that would choke a horse. If I had a quarter for every assignment I lost to Andrea over the years, I’d be very well off—this guy can shoot (and write, in English, even though he’s Italian!).
I highly recommend taking a read of the whole post, but to summarize, Andrea posits that travel photography as a profession is gone, primarily because most of the publications that made assignments are either gone or severely cutting back. But he ends with a very cogent and insightful observation:
“I keep thinking that the world has a lot of stories worth to be covered photographically. The real task is to modernize our scope, create new ways of distribution (using the new technologies, think of the iPad for example), reach the young reader.
For the Travel Photographer the time has come to drop the “Travel” label. Everybody has a camera in his pocket today. The photographer is somebody able to see in a personal, strong way, and pass the message on..
Wow, Andrea’s analysis really hits a home run (or, more culturally fitting, scores a big goooooaaaaaal). To find out what this might mean, hit the jump.