Prides cometh before a fall….

Sleeping prides are no problem to pick off with your DSLR video rig.

Okay. You name the parable, metaphor, or simile that involves overconfidence and overweaning ambition combined with lack of experience, and you can put it in the lede of this post about my foray into being a fulltime videographer on my recent safari through Tanzania.

By day two, I had visions of myself in a second career as a cameraman for Wild Kingdom. I pretty much went through the week like that…until I got home and really looked at my work. Ay carumba! What can I say….those were just delusional dreams brought on by the strength of the sub-Saharan sun!

Oh sure, I could harp on the fact that video-enabled DSLRs have a long way to go in convenience and handling before they become viable machines for documentary work (if you have actors who can do several takes of every shot, the image quality of the video from these machines completely overshadows their handling shortcomings).

And there’s nothing like multiple takes to help cover a myriad of handling mistakes, too.

It’s no mystery that the videos Nikon and Canon are using to promote their video-enabled SLRs are more like short movie features or commercials, with multi-man crews, rather than documentary projects. As Hilary says, “it takes a village” to raise a child. To that I’d like to add that “it takes a crew” to make great video.

But if you have baboons who don’t take direction, or lions who march to the beat of their own drummers, you are in deep doo-doo if you have only one chance to capture this video action on the move with a DSLR.

Hit the jump for a rundown of the things that plagued me, and why I won’t be giving up on DSLR video anytime soon! (more…)

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Studio in the Street

Photo © Bob Krist

As a travel and location photographer, I rarely get to work in a studio, but that doesn’t stop me from looking for what I call  “studios in the street.”  These are interesting, found backgrounds—usually painted murals, textured walls, unusual facades—that make great backdrops against which to photograph people, either in posed portraits, or just grab shots as they walk by.

Last week in Miami, using some of the mystery gear that has many of you in a major tizzy (more about that later), I used the same technique. But before you going searching the EXIF information of these pictures, these examples are not from that assignment! So you can relax.

The takeaway from this post will not be some top-secret coded reference to the gear (seriously, there was an entire deconstructionist discussion on DPReview (or was it Nikonians? I forget)  on the use of the word “huge” in my last post that rivaled the bulls__t you’d hear in a post-doctoral seminar in Proust at Princeton!)

No, the advice I can give you here is in certain travel situations, it’s often a good idea to find an interesting background first, and shoot what comes along in front of it.  In the case of street murals, billboards, etc. I often just wait for some kind of activity–walkers, joggers, bicyclists, etc to occur in front of it, as I did below in Havana.

Or, if I find an interesting person who’s part of the city scene, I’ll often bring him or her to the background and use it as a studio backdrop, as I did with the musician in New Orleans above.

Photo © Bob Krist

So keep your eyes open on your next trip for studios in the street, and you’ll be surprised how often they can help you make pictures where they might not otherwise exist. It really helped me, much more than did the equipment, make some interesting shots last week in Miami, when the weather completely went south, or more accurately, went north on me.

Now, as for that equipment, hit the jump for my thoughts on that…. (more…)

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Miami Ice

Photo by Joe Reyes

I’ve been down here in Miami for four days now, and it’s been freezing and either rainy or cloudy the whole time, except for one afternoon. Then it was just freezing and sunny.

I’m shooting another one of those jobs that I can’t share with you (until the client uses the pictures) and it’s a gig that I can’t even show you the gear I’m using (that’s proprietary too).

It’s one thing to play a priest on the internet (for that I’ll go to hell, but at least I won’t lose a client….they’ll all probably be down there with me:-)), but I don’t want to be one of those photographers you read about who do behind-the-scenes Tweets, posts, and videos of their ad shoots and then get fired because the client is furious because you’ve jumped the gun and trumped and precluded their own announcements.

Plus I haven’t figured out Twitter or Facebook yet, so I’m safe in my Luddite-ness. Who says ignorance isn’t bliss?

But that does explain the shot of the back of my head and the back of the camera for this post.  We’re shooting aerials of Miami…at twilight.

As Paris Hilton might say, “That’s huge.”

Hit the jump to find out what I can tell you at this point! (more…)

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Travel Photography in the Time of Underpants Bombs…

….will be much tougher than Love in the Time of Cholera.  I just flew down to a job in Miami from Newark Airport (good old Terminal C, my home away from home and the same one that was shut down the other day because somebody waltzed up the down staircase) and while it wasn’t too bad, it’s not going to be the same either.

The time of one carryon and one carryon only is coming. Especially on overseas flights. I’m flying to Tanzania in a couple of weeks, right through Amsterdam, and I’m currently figuring out how to jam two carryons worth of stuff into one bag.

It’s a safari and I thought my only concern was the 33 lb. limit on my checked bag for the regional charter in country. Now I have to get the long lens gear, audio stuff, and the backup stuff in one bag that will pass muster in Schipol Airport (and weigh less than 13 lbs). Remember the Minox?  I might be the first guy to shoot a safari on a cellphone. What the hell, it worked for Chase Jarvis!

Hit the jump for a couple of strategies to consider: (more…)

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