I have been a travel photography columnist in one or another major American magazine non-stop since 1986. That’s a long, and I’m fairly sure, unmatched, continuous, 28-year-tenure as a photo columnist that began at Travel&Leisure, moved to National Geographic Traveler, then to Popular Photography, Endless Vacations, and currently at Outdoor Photographer magazine.
Many times over the years, I’ve written about how video didn’t interest me because, while I love the storytelling aspect of it, to do it well, you needed a crew. And I always have worked by myself, or with just one assistant or fixer, and I’m not about to change my ways at this late stage of the game. As it turns out, I was wrong…. Read More
Birth order is a strange and powerful force….more and more, the research points to the fact that in most families, a lot of your personality is not only developed because of your innate qualities, but also where you appeared in the birth order of your siblings.
This is certainly case for the Sony RX10 series….the first one was introduced with one of the Sony A7 series, the flashy big brother, and the Sony RX100ii, the precocious baby, and so of course, the uber-talented middle child was overlooked (and no, I’m an eldest child, so this isn’t my life story disguised as a camera review:-).
And this same thing has happened with the introduction of the RX10ii, which was completely lost in the kerfuffle about the A7Rii and the RX100iv cameras in the same release.
Every few years, Peggy and I save up and splurge on renting a cottage along the coast of Cornwall in southwestern England. It’s where the family roots of my mother, an English warbride from WWII, are firmly planted. Essentially, the area is a series of small fishing villages and great coastal scenery, and we just poke around, like the couple of fairly active senior citizens that we are, and explore the various festivals, pubs, cliff walks, and scenic views the area has to offer.
This year, I piggybacked it on an assignment that ended in London, and I had my full complement of travel video gear with me, but since I had no plans to do anything serious (photographically) during this trip, I decided to see if I could indeed just use one, basic camera, the Sony RX100iii, for my vacation, and still make some reasonably satisfying pictures.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last few years of shooting motion, it’s that you really need to support that camera for smooth footage. Tripods and monopods are just a couple of devices in my ever-growing, but still compact, arsenal of support devices.
Today, I’d like to acquaint you with three small support options, each of which played an important role in my recent month-long trip around the world documenting National Geographic Expeditions “Celebrating Exploration” private jet tour. In fact, the video here, Afternoon in Bhaktapur, was shot entirely with the tabletop tripod in shoulderpod and bellypod mode (explained below).
There are a lot of times when a hardwired audio connection just isn’t going to cut it in a run and gun situation. And the first place most of us turn is to a good wireless mic setup. I’ve got an older version of this one from Sony, and it is rugged, reliable, with great sound.
The problem with the pro wireless units is that they are fairly bulky (you wouldn’t be carrying it around full time in a camera bag, unless you are seriously doing only interviews) and at $600, rather expensive.
TSA inspectors don’t like them because they look like part of a detonation system. Overseas, customs inspectors don’t like them because they look like something you could start a revolution with. They’re strictly for bigger, professional productions.
Wouldn’t be nice if there were a reasonably priced ($179), tiny, lightweight (2 oz.) wireless system you could throw in your bag on fulltime basis to use for those travel gigs where you will occasionally find a character you’d love to mic up for a quick interview?
If you’ve ever tried to edit a big folder of stills, or God forbid, put together a video while you’re on the road with your laptop, you’ll know the myopic experience of trying to work with 24″ inches of information on a little 11″ or 13″MacBook screen. Well, relief is in sight, and the good news is that it won’t involve trying to jam your 27″ iMac into an airline overhead.
I was recently invited to submit some of my travel films to a new section on the website of a major American publication. It’s a showcase of short films and when you go to the site, it’s full of spectacular nature, adventure, and travel films that are daringly executed, expertly shot, and beautifully edited…and, to watch one, you have to sit through a 30 second, non-fast-forwardable commercial.
Can a newly minted full-frame video and still shooter find happiness using a bunch of 80’s -era compact cheap lenses? Could the old Nikon Series E lenses be the Sony E-mount lenses of choice for the new A7s in full frame mode?
Contrary to the popular misconception among family and friends that I am some kind of hopped up gearhead, most of the time, I actually hate to upgrade or switch cameras. It takes me 6 months to catch up with the workings of a new camera, and frankly, most of the time, the incremental improvements are rarely worth the bother of learning all the new button, dial, and menu placements. Of course, there’s always an exception to that “rarely worth the bother” clause, and the Sony A7s is one of them.
If your knees get a little weak when you check out the price ($500-1000) and the size (relatively humungous) of the XLR pre-amp adapters available for your Sony A7 series, RX10, Nikon and Canon DSLRS, or your Panny GH4, you’ll like this post.
The longer I do the video thing, the more I appreciate a shooter who can get a great interview out of an every-day person; the type of subject who isn’t a media-savvy professional used to being on camera and giving soundbites. Although he is known for so many other visual things in the world of DSLR videography, Philip Bloom seems to be able to get great interviews out of ordinary people, which is just one of the many reasons I admire him.