As a photographer or filmmaker carrying your gear is something that gets talked about a lot. Just about every photographer I know has thoughts on what bag is the right bag, and no one ever seems to have a consensus on this. Needless to say this means that there are often a series of bags sitting gathering dust in our respective offices and studios, because no one has found the perfect bag.
Needless to say, a reliable and versatile camera bag, capable of safeguarding precious equipment while offering ease of access and comfort during long shoots is essential. For a long time I have used F-Stop Gear, which when they started, opened up a whole new category of camera-bag solutions with their separate internal compartments and rugged shells. It’s a formula that’s been much copied, and for good reason; because is works (you can read my thoughts on living and traveling with an F-Stop bag here).
Traveling as a photographer is not without its pitfalls. Airlines are becoming increasingly strict about the weight and the nature of what its passengers can carry with them. It can make getting to your chosen destination an extremely stressful exercise. Below are some of the tips we have from many years of leading photographic workshops in various far-flung parts of the world.
Is passion important?
You often hear the advice that one should ‘follow one’s passion’. I want to break this down a little. What exactly do ‘they’ mean by ‘passion’. According to the Oxford English Dictionary that I still keep like a bible near my desk, passion is: 1) a strong, barely controllable emotion, 2) an outburst of anger, 3) intense sexual love, 4) strong enthusiasm. In essence though the wording really revolves around the intensity of the emotion. In some ways the Concise OED doesn’t quite define the intensity of the interest enough. The online urban dictionary does a better job in my opinion (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Passion):
“Passion is when you put more energy into something than is required to do it. It is more than just enthusiasm or excitement, passion is ambition that is materialized into action to put as much heart, mind, body and soul into something as is possible.”
For photographers keen on getting better lighting for their macro photography, you can watch the video Emil put together on using Leofoto Magic Arms for holding lights here and you can also download articles on macro photography and on modifying light for macro photography in the links below.
The problem with photographic bucket list locations is that they are often on other people’s bucket lists as well. This of course means that when you do finally get to go to said bucket list location, that imagined idyll of you and your camera and the perfect landscape sans hordes of other photographers is anything but. Any visitor to Iceland or other much instagrammed photographic locations (Antelope Canyon anyone?) knows the frustration of dozens of other photographers blocking the view to some extraordinary scene.
“You’re going to Namibia in November?”
There’s usually an aspect of incredulity accompanying the above comment when I tell people that I’m off to lead a workshop in Namibia in November. Most photographers tend to associate shooting in Namibia as a winter or late summer early autumn experience. The former for the night skies and the incredible Milky Way opportunities and the latter for the late summer rains. Both are excellent times of year to visit this amazing country, but November can be as good.
First off, November is usually the start of the rains in Namibia. This means for dramatic cloudy sunsets, rain dumps and long dawns. Secondly, It isn’t nearly as hot as December through to February (although it can reach the mid 40’s centigrade in some places) which is what most travellers think when you tell them you are heading there in November. Thirdly, it’s the start of the tourism low-season, so you get fewer people at the top photographic locations. This has served us well for several years on our ‘Composing the Dunes’ workshop which runs in the south of the country.
Going on a photographic workshop can be exhausting. You’re up early, you’re out late, you’re constantly exercising the creative muscles in your head in crafting compositions and thinking about exposure. It’s no wonder that at the end of any such trip it’s really easy to put the camera down and not think about photography for a bit. Unfortunately the mindset often sets in before you’ve even left the photography location.
If there is one tool that every digital photographer should know and understand (at least a little) it is the curves dialogue. Concurrently the most asked question I receive when teaching anything to do with post-production is, “what is the curves tool and how do I use it?” To try and simplify this then, here is a very quick and dirty explanation of the curves dialogue that will hopefully clear a path through the murk that is post-production.
Oddly the way a camera feels in the hand is often the last thing that a potential buyer considers when selecting a camera. This is particularly the case now that the internet has become the great big mall in the sky. It's so easy to click on a button and 24 hours later a shiny toy arrives at the gate. Then the buyers remorse sets in as you quickly realize that although said toy looks like the pictures on the websites, it doesn't feel anything like you thought it would.
Right now one of the primary decisions someone is faced with when deciding to buy a camera, is whether to buy a Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera (or DSLR), or a Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera (usually just referred to as a ‘mirrorless’ camera). This series of articles are geared towards someone buying their first camera, but equally many photographers who already have a DSLR are eyeing out the new breed of mirrorless cameras with interest. What follows below is our advice to someone trying to decide between the two.
(scroll to the bottom if you prefer tables to reading)