The Great Video Dilemma…Redux

It would have been cool to have a video clip of these Shinto priests processing out of the temple after a ceremony, but while my video rig wasn't ready, my camera was! Photo © Bob Krist

Well, my marathon trip is coming to a close in beautiful Istanbul. And one other thing (besides the weather) has been bugging me on the trip.

Whether it’s a speed dating tour like the one I’m currently on, or a more in-depth assignment like my recent city profile of Buenos Aires for National Geographic Traveler, I am having a devil of a time fitting in the time to shoot video, let alone collect audio.

I’ve seen such stunning work from younger PJs who are combining both in beautiful stories. Maybe it’s because I’m from a pre-multi-tasking generation, but I really find it difficult to do both, or all three. I’ve written about this before and it hasn’t gotten any easier since.

I think part of the reason is that, while video-enabled DSLRs produce stunning-looking video, shooting video with them still presents, shall we say, ergonomic challenges.

First you put on your Zacuto viewfinder, then you put on your mic, your mixer, and your follow focus rig, and by the time you do that, the subject you want to video is three towns away, and maybe even retired. When, I wonder, will Nikon or Canon come up with a camera with the same chip, that takes the same lenses, but is actually designed to shoot video and not jerry-rigged to do so?

For my speculation on that and other video ironies, hit the jump.


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Soaring into Kazakhstan

Photo © Bob Krist

We were supposed to go to Uzbekistan as part of our Silk Road adventure, but there’s a State Department travel warning (or was) so we flew into Kazakhstan instead.

Yes, Kazakhstan: the country made infamous by Sacha Baron Cohen, aka, Borat.

So everybody kind of modified their expectations and our first view of Almaty, the main city, didn’t do anything to lift them. But then we started touring around, and Kazakhstan turned out to be a sleeper hit on the last leg of this long jet journey.

We visited a falconer (where I shot the above sea eagle, D90, 70-300mm VR, Vivid jpeg, ISO 400, Aperture Priority wide open) and got great looks at a variety of raptors, attended an Orthodox  service in the Cathedral of the Assumption in the main park, heard a variety of unique folk instruments playing haunting melodies at the music museum.

We hit a big open market where all the vendors were friendly and open to being photographed, and ate some great food. Authentic and as yet unspoiled by mass tourism, K’stan is on my bucket list to come back and explore in depth. For a look at some of the situations that convinced me that Sacha Baron Cohen was all wet, hit the jump.


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Chillin’ in the Gobi

Photo© Bob Krist

What a difference latitude can make. And not just in your attitude.

We’re in the same desert as Dunhuang, but we’re further north, in Mongolia now, one of my all time favorite places. We spent a day in Ulan Bataar, where we caught a big service at Gandan Monastery (cool to shoot outside, but not of the monks chanting inside). Then we flew back out to the Gobi desert, to the Three Camel Lodge.

Last time I was here, it was early October of 07 or 08 (I forget) and we had a freak blizzard. Now, I’m here in late April, and guess what? Temps in the single digits and snow! Can you say “Weather Jonah”? I’m beginning to think my weather karma has really run out.

Time for an office job? Maybe become a Photoshop guru? Grow my beard really long and talk about 64 bit processing and stuff like that????? Nah, I’d rather be shooting in the Gobi, even in the snow!

Fortunately, our gers were heated with wood burning stoves, the Flaming Cliffs  were beautiful (and we got to hike them with one of my fellow speakers on the jet trip, Mark Norell.  Mark is chief paleontologist of the American Museum of Natural History and a real 21st century Indiana Jones. Going fossil hunting with him is like taking batting practice with Derek Jeter….it just doesn’t get any better.)

For a look at more from Ulan Bataar and the Gobi, and an insight into the type of motivation it takes to leave a toasty ger in the predawn twilight to shoot friggin’ icicle pictures, hit the jump. (more…)

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