I've spent the last couple weeks going through some older coverages looking for specific photos that for some reason never made it into file. Sometimes I'd find the photos I was looking for and sometimes I'd find something unexpected. Here is a small series of photos I made waiting for a ferry to cross the Tsiribihina River in Madagascar.
The wait was long, the light was nice so I shot pictures of workmen hauling bags of rice from a small river boat to waiting trucks.
The photos have nothing to do with the story I was on. Honestly I had forgotten that I made them until I went back through the coverage earlier this week.
above, the milky way seen last month over KwaZulu-Natal, SA Canon 5D MK III iso 1600 8 seconds @ f1.8
Winter always gets me thinking about the night sky. Winter nights are long and give us some of the clearest skies. I simply love being outside at night shooting the stars. Like so many things in photography the newer generations of cameras make photographing the night much easier than it used to be. When I made my first night sky images for National Geographic my cameras only operated well up to iso 200. So to make this image I needed a 6 minute exposure. It took a special telescope head that tracks the earth's movement to keep the milky way sharp. The image below took a ten minute exposure on a custom built equatorial mount.
above, the milky way near Flagstaff, AZ iso 200 10 minutes @ f 2.0 on an equatorial telescope mount
There were some interesting cameras at Photo Plus this year. Nothing earth shattering but cameras continue to get incrementally better, in fact much better. Here are three that I think are worth looking at.
Sony A 77. Sony has been making a big effort to enter the pro/semi pro camera market but so far has not made much of an impact. The A77 might change that. Sony answers some of the questions that I have had about cameras since I went digital years ago. Namely why does my camera have an optical view finder? The A 77 has an electric viewfinder, 24 megapixel sensor, gps receiver and it shoots 12 frames per second. The camera's body is made of a pro grade magnesium alloy. What is not to like? If you don't need super long lenses or underwater housings the Sony might be the way to go.
Canon 6D. A full frame, 20 megapixel canon camera for under $2100. The camera is slightly smaller than the 5D MK III that most of us carry and more than a thousand dollars less. It adds wifi support and a a gps receiver. However, you give up the MK III's superior autofocus and near full frame viewfinder. The camera would make a great back up to a 5D MK III outfit, but then again so would the 5D MK II that most Canon shooters already own. The 6D should be available soon.
I also held in my hand the D1x and the D1c. They are slight variations on the same pro body. Big difference between them is the D1c shoots 4 k video along with being a 18 megapixel camera. They are wonderful, workhorse cameras that should shoot essentially forever. They are also very heavy.
Panosonic GX1. Ok the GX1 has been around for a little while but I still think it is one of the most impressive compact cameras around. Anyone who reads this blog knows I'm a fan of the GF-2. The GX1 seems to be a worthy successor. 16 megapixel sensor, iso to 12,800, new, bright external viewfinder if you are looking for a compact camera that doesn't make you feel like you aren't carrying enough machine, this might be the one for you.
It comes in a whole variety of kits. Personally I would only use it with the 20mm f 1.7.
More later, I'm tryint to get to Lima now for a series of lectures.
I wanted to follow up to last week's Istagram post and a comment that I received on Instagram.
formlessness@salvarezphoto in my opinion yes that's exactly what it is, but that's not to diminish instagram in any way, twitter after all has had an important role in world events over the last few years...
I didn't mean to denigrate Instagram or anyone who uses it. In fact I put pictures up almost every day. I find it democratic and exciting. It isn't a professional platform, but it is going to effect professionals and publishers in a big way. How remains to be seen, but all "National Geographic Photographers"* now have the ability to publish photos straight to the NGM Instagram feed anytime we feel like it. For the first time in NGM's history the highly talented and tremendously skilled editors who determine what an audience sees are outside the publication process. That is a revolution, now there is no editor or publisher in between the photographer and the audience.
a storm blows in above highway 41a near Dechard, TN
Last year I worked on a long series of European panoramas for a commercial client. Because I needed to travel light I shot them all with a simple manfrotto panoramic rotator. It was small to pack and nearly fool proof. About a week ago I replaced it with a robotic head that (among other things) lets me designate the upper right and lower left corners of the picture then the head fills in the photos. It is taking some getting used to and the photo above is the first worthwhile frame I've produced.