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….
Thanks to the DSLR revolution and the addition of video capabilities to still cameras, that crew requirement is no longer true. Combine that with the fact that print outlets are dropping faster than the income of the American middle class, and the amazing capability to share your stories worldwide on the web, and you’ve got the perfect storm that allowed me to explore my desire to tell visual stories with the added elements of motion and sound.
And so, for the last few years, I’ve been indulging my inner filmmaker and learning to shoot and edit video and multimedia stories. It’s a long hard road, but it’s certainly a rewarding one, and although I’ll never live long enough for my film chops to match my stills chops, I’ve learned a ton (and have a few hundred tons more to learn). But I realized that for most of my career, it was the story, and not the individual images, that excited me the most and this new form is all about story.
So the purpose of this blog is to share what I’ve learned, and am continuing to learn, from the point of view of a traveling, one-man-band, former still shooter of a certain age who abhors anything that is one iota heavier or bulkier to travel with than it needs to be. And that will be the critical difference in the point of view of this blog, because the one thing that you pick up when you cruise most filmmaking blogs is that these folks have a completely different frame of reference than we do.
The same piece of gear that a filmmaker might describe as “compact and reasonably-priced,” most of us would call “huge and cripplingly expensive.” That’s because they come from a Hollywood or big-production house environment, where a $12,000 Canon Cinema Camera really is considered to be a tiny piece of bargain kit.
So, when it comes to gear needed to tell our visual stories, the credo of the Old Man in Motion will be: smaller, lighter, faster, and hopefully, cheaper.
For the most part, I won’t be dealing with post production issues like editing, color grading, etc. …that I’ll leave to the experts.
Instead, I’ll be concentrating on fieldcraft and travel issues, where my 38 years of professional still photography factors in and stands me (and you too, dear reader) in good stead as we venture together in the world of cinematic storytelling.