Remember the Atomos Shogun 7? I had almost forgotten all about it. It was announced just prior to NAB back in April. I thought it was time to put it through its paces. If you aren’t familiar with the Shogun 7, it is a 1,500 nit Monitor-Recorder-Switcher with Dolby Vision Output. According to Atomos, a … Continued
Lightroom is a complex and intricate application, and it can be easy to overlook features in the program that can make your life far easier and efficient or even open up new capabilities. This helpful video features three tips that anyone using Lightroom should definitely know about.
When it comes to camera brands most appreciated by photographers for their colors, Fujifilm and Canon generally get top nods. Which of those two do you prefer? Try out this blind comparison test to see if your preference is really as strong as you think!
On many cameras, there’s something incredibly satisfying about pushing a button and feeling the mechanical shutter — especially combined with a big chunky mirror — flick in and out of place in a fraction of a second. Some, however, are plain awful. Which ones do you like, and which ones make you feel like the camera is about to fall apart?
For many, wildlife photography is all about natural colors and objective realism. The light, composition, and behavior captured should do all the talking. And for the most part, I agree — for that other tiny little bit, though, I beg to differ. Please allow me to elaborate in more ways than one.
It seems as though almost every time I ask one of my close friends about a particular aspect of their photo, I usually hear the same reply: “I forgot” or “I didn’t think of that.” My answer is, typically, “make a checklist.”
Tonight, The 24th Annual Emerging Cinematographers Awards (ECA) will be in the Television Academy’s Wolf Theatre at the Saban Media Center in North Hollywood at 5:00 p.m. The International Cinematographers Guild (ICG) will honor award-winning writer and director Patty Jenkins with the Distinguished Filmmaker Award, and the ten honorees will be recognized. The honorees and […]
Is any purpose of creating more important than producing something of lasting value?
Getting familiar with Photoshop is a long process, and who better to reveal some little-known features than someone with more than 20 years of experience? This excellent video from Jamie Windsor will speed up your workflow and uncover some powerful features that you might not have known exist.
Sigma’s Art series of lenses continues to impress, and perhaps one of the most alluring in the entire lineup is the 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art, which offers excellent wide-open sharpness along with the ability to turn any background into a gooey swath of bokeh. How good is it? Check out this quick and practical review.
Sony is pushing hard on the new Global Shutter sensor tech. The question is when we will get this tech on APS-C and FF cameras. I guess we still have to wait a couple of years… Press text: Sony to…
In the previous articles in this series, I elaborated about the advantages of the drone, specifically that the drone offers more compositional opportunities, is cheap to run, portable, available anywhere and able to hover in place.
In this article I’d like to conclude the discussion of the drone’s advantages by mentioning its ability to hover in place and its most fun facet: its fearlessness in the face of danger.
Ability to hover
The ability to effortlessly hover in place is unique to the drone. True, good helicopter pilots can hover efficiently, but neither with the same GPS-controlled accuracy as the drone, nor with its ability to go near the subject. In terms of stability, a drone can only be compared to a tripod in the sky, which in turn means that it allows three things: relatively long exposures, parking abilities and immaculate precision.
Long exposures can be useful when the photographer wants to convey a sense of motion in an image. For example, an exposure of half a second or more can smear moving water, creating pleasing lines and a clear feel in an image. Under sufficiently still weather, a modern drone can shoot sharp images at half a second, a second or even more. Multiple attempts can result in a sharp shot even when shooting a several second long exposure – an unprecedented achievement for any aerial shooing (that doesn’t use a heavy, expensive gyro-stabilizer).
|A long exposure of Fossa waterfall, Faroe Islands. If I had an ND filter handy, I could’ve extended the exposure even more.
DJI Mavic II Pro, 1/2 sec, F11, ISO 100.
I’ll explain and demonstrate what I mean by ‘parking abilities’ with an image I took earlier this year. I was shooting the total solar eclipse over lake Cuesta Del Viento, in the San Juan province of Argentina. Totality lasted for a mere 2 minutes (which seemed more like 45 seconds), during which I tried to shoot a wide-angle focus-stack, a telephoto closeup of the corona, and an aerial of the eclipse reflecting in the lake above the badlands. Naturally, I had set up my wide angle and telephoto compositions beforehand, but the point here is that the drone allowed me to set up my aerial composition as well.
|A wide angle focus-stack of the eclipse above the badlands||A telephoto closeup of the corona|
I composed the shot about 5 or 10 minutes before the totality, and left the drone hovering in place. Once I was done with the two DSLR shots, I took the remote to find the aerial composition exactly how I had left it. This saved me precious time and allowed me to take all three shots in a very narrow time frame. The drone reflection shot, more than anything, is a true once-in-a-lifetime shot.
The drone aerial I took after the two DSLR shots.
Finally, the controls of a modern drone allow for unprecedented precision. The drone can move very delicately (some drones offer a ‘tripod mode’ for extra delicate movement) and enables the photographer to create and capture a balanced image. This is especially important when shooting in close distances to certain subjects.
|The window of showing the boat in the middle of the arch was very small. Delicate movements of the drone allowed me to get the shot with ease.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro, 1/40 sec, F5.6, ISO 200. Disko Bay, Greenland
Fearlessness in the face of danger
A major advantage of the drone is the fact that you can endanger it with little consequence. As a nature photographer who lives and breathes extreme environments, I can’t stress enough how overwhelming it is.
A drone doesn’t care about breathing toxic gases. A drone doesn’t care about being uncomfortable, hot, cold, breathless or tired. A drone is a robot, a slave to your will and it will go wherever you tell it to go. It will scream if the battery is about to run out, it will quietly protest if you try to fly in windy weather, its sensors will avoid contact with close-by objects, it won’t let you fly near airports (thank goodness). But other than that, it will obey the commands of its master, however stupid or dangerous… which gives the photographer a perfect opportunity to be as daring as he wishes.
|This shot is hazy because it’s taken from within a caldera filled with toxic gasses.
DJI Mavic II Pro, 1/25 sec, F6.3, ISO 100. Kawah Ijen, East Java, Indonesia
Please note that I’m only legitimizing risking the drone, not people’s health. I will cover drone etiquette in a future article, but for now, let me stress that I’m talking about flying both legally and (even more importantly) morally, where there are no chances of people or the environment being harmed by the drone. Luckily, as a nature photographer, it’s easy to stay on the right side of legality and morality, simply because I do most of my shooting alone in the wild, without people or buildings around me. The worst thing that can happen to me is losing the drone (that has happened, of course, a tale which will be told in the future).
No person, and no manned aircraft for that matter, would dream of flying meters above an active volcano. Only uninformed people would go near an ice-arch, which can collapse at any moment with tragic consequences. But a drone can, and will do so happily. This fact opens a myriad of options which simply aren’t there without a drone. Let’s see some examples and explore the dangerous side of landscape photography.
I wrote extensively about my Hawaii volcano photography in a previous article, but I’ll mention here that it was an amazing shoot during which I flew my drone very close to the lava, closer than I’d ever venture myself. The red-hot lava was so hot that it melted my drone camera, the perfect example of the drone going where no man would, and coming back in one piece (if damaged).
The shoot was more than worth losing the drone, both financially (the images and videos sold for many times what I paid to fix the drone) and in the images I got from it. It was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and I risked the drone knowing very well I could lose it at any moment. Actually, it was the very fact that I melted the drone camera, rather than the unique images I got, that made this series go viral, and got me a front-page National Geographic website feature and interview.
|The point where the lava burst out of the mountain side was extremely hot.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro, 1/100 sec, f/6.3, ISO 400. Taken outside of Volcanoes NP, Island of Hawaii.
From lava to ice. It is well known that large icebergs can be extremely dangerous. They can not only collapse catastrophically, but they can flip over, and both these scenarios involve dislocation of a huge amount of ice and water, creating high waves and endangering everyone sailing within a substantial radius. But again, a drone doesn’t care. It will fly under close-to-collapsing arches, hover meters away from gigantic icebergs and go where no man would dare.
There are even more advantages to using a drone. The more you use it, the easier it is to use and the more freedom it gives you. Other points I won’t elaborate on are:
- The drone, unlike a manned aircraft, doesn’t pose any obstacle to shooting. Manned aircraft have rotors (in helicopters), wings or beams blocking your view. The windows in light planes can also limit your range of motion.
- Your carbon footprint is significantly lower with a drone compared to manned aircraft.
- It’s a good conversation starter.
- It’s so much fun to fly.
In the next article in the series, I’ll discuss the other side of things: the disadvantages and limitations of the drone.
If you’d like to experience and shoot some of the world’s most fascinating landscapes with Erez as your guide, take a look at his unique photography workshops in The Lofoten Islands, Greenland, Namibia, the Argentinean Puna, the Faroe Islands and Ethiopia.
Erez offers video tutorials discussing his images and explaining how he achieved them.
More in This Series:
- Landscape Photography with a Drone – Part 1: Forward / What is a Drone?
- Landscape Photography with a Drone – Part 2: Advantages of the Drone (i)
- Landscape Photography with a Drone – Part 3: Advantages of the Drone (ii)
Selected Articles by Erez Marom:
- Parallelism in Landscape Photography
- Winds of Change: Shooting changing landscapes
- Behind the Shot: Dark Matter
- On the Importance of Naming Images
- On Causality in Landscape Photography
- Shooting Kīlauea Volcano, Part 1: How to melt a drone
- The Art of the Unforeground
- Whatever it Doesn’t Take
- Almost human: photographing critically endangered mountain gorillas
A critic is supposed to assess a film completely based on its quality, putting aside all of their prejudices and biases. The general film audience doesn’t have this obligation, and frequently they rate a film in black and white; they defame on social networks, or praise beyond what it deserves.
It’s rare, but there are occasions when the judgment of these two opposite sides of spectrum meets and generally, the case is the release of a polarising motion picture. A scarce number of select audience members may understand the true potential of such a film because of their expertise on that special area, and a lucky film could later be reevaluated and reappraised to achieve a cult following, which is the case of many films.
Again, art is subjective. One person’s masterpiece is another’s trash. The social conditioning, stratum, and exposure has more to do with it. A person can’t be expected to understand all the facade of life. The political atmosphere also plays a huge part in determining the fate of a film.
Ultimately, a citizen is nothing but a physical manifestation of prevailing social and political values. This list concerns such divided films whose original intention was misunderstood by the viewers for some reason. Without further ado, here are the 10 most misunderstood films of the 21st century.
“Watchmen” collapsed in its ambition to trump the source material. But it is not true and exists only in the mind of the forever apprehensive. The name Zack Snyder is synonymous with exuberant visuals and his films have always garnered extreme reactions from passionate film viewers.
This time, the devoted fan base of Alan Moore’s original comics was added to the mix. Their criticisms about the film adaptation were the usual: the adaptation doesn’t live up to the original. The non-comic book fans were equally disappointed with the dark, grimy atmosphere in which they are unfamiliar.
But it has to be admitted that it was not possible to include everyone’s individual favorite sequences into a two-and-a-half hour movie and what the filmmakers did with the adaptation had perfectly translated the spirit of the graphic novel onto the silver screen.
The political climax was also not suitable for the release of “Watchmen” in 2009 and the world hadn’t seen many dark superhero films at that date. Watching the film in 2019, especially the ultimate cut, confirms the fact that it is one of the most widely misunderstood films of all time.
2. American Sniper
It is blasphemous to question the motives of the forever patriot Clint Eastwood when he makes a war film. But “American Sniper” was such a film that could be molded for the advantages of many political ideologies, especially of the left and right wings. Based on the life of sharp-shooter and U.S. military sniper Chris Kyle, the film showed the hesitation and moral conscience present on the battlefield, when it concerns the life of innocent citizens.
Kyle was always haunted by the memory of his war duty, be it during the holiday break in his home or the execution field. It affected his personality, family connections, and life. This devastating psychological effect shown in the film was the weapon of the leftist supporters to campaign it as an anti-war film. On the other side, the right-wing political party glorified the work of the patriotic soldiers, inciting Kyle’s commitment to his work regardless of his self-doubt.
Even though the film became a political pawn to advertise various ideologies, Eastwood confirmed that the intention of the film was neither of the advertised. It was just an exploration in the mind of a sniper soldier, nothing more to that. Outside of all the politics, it is a good film with great acting by Bradley Cooper and should be accepted as such.
The world of the new millennial has been divided into two groups: one who despises anything that promotes feminism, and the others who judge the same thing solely based on its quality. When “Ghostbusters” released in 2016 with a gender reversal of the original movie, spectators were so annoyed at this so-called unsubtle honking of feminism that they forgot to analyze its qualities from a neutral viewpoint. The negative comments started coming as early as the trailer hit the internet; the original fans were furious to preserve the legacy of the original.
But the new reconstruction – which is the best way to describe the film as the story was the same – was not feminist propaganda. There is an argument that if the film had been remade by another all-male cast, the film would be equally bad and it is partly true as rehashing the same story again and again is never a good thing. But the film was fairly decent, judging the quality of contemporary franchise offerings, and Melissa McCarthy was great as usual. Time has already tamed the fury and the unbiased admit the film was greatly misunderstood.
4. The Neon Demon
Famous film critic Todd McCarthy described “The Neon Demon” as “stultifyingly vapid, ponderously paced allegorical critique of the modeling world whose seethingly jealous inhabitants can’t wait to literally chew each other up and spit each other out.” But the point was exactly that.
Inspired by B-grade giallo and exploitation flicks, Nicolas Winding Refn’s film needed to be understood in the context of the history of cinema. If the substance of the film and the character of the protagonist feel vapid and lifeless, that’s because the Los Angeles modeling scene is exactly like this. This is a film not to watch, but to experience.
The film’s tagline is “Beauty is not everything. It is the only thing.” This tagline is expanded to the universe of the film where beauty is the sole parameter to judge one’s position in it. It is equally suited to our society where everything is sexualized and beautified to suit our need for aesthetic pleasure.
From the Coca-Cola bottle to the French furniture advertisement. “The Neon Demon” presents a suitable commentary to our present society with a hypnotic, allegorical look where the metaphors range from necrophilia to cannibalism.
5. The Bling Ring
Unlike her father, Sofia Coppola has always been an underrated and misunderstood director. Her films always have many thoughts from those who watch them. This rings especially true for “The Bling Ring,” which was misunderstood by the critics.
Coppola’s subtle satire to the millennial obsession of influencer culture introduces the viewer in the heart of the glamorous world. This first-hand experience, which provides a virtual key into the lifestyle of this influencing culture and the worshippers’ mentality, was wrongly taken as the glamorization of the very thing it despises.
“The Bling Ring” was neither a caper, nor a comedy story; it was a timely commentary to the ever-increasing popularity of the broken celebrity culture and worship to hedonism. That “The Bling Ring” was intended to be a satire was lost on many critics and viewers.
CookeOptics TV has some great content and in this episode, cinematographer Ben Davis BSC talks about his approach to working with LUT’s. Ben Davis has lensed such movies as Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, and the upcoming Eternals starring Angelina Jolie. It’s interesting … Continued
Featured: Editorial, fashion, lifestyle and glamour photographer, Nino Batista
In This Episode
Editorial, fashion, lifestyle and glamour photographer, Nino Batista. Thanks Nino!
Fujifilm previews its upcoming X-Pro3 rangefinder. (#)
Monogram’s Creative Console is unveiled. (#)
Fujifilm nixes the 33 for an ultrafast 50. (#)
Lacie gets rugged…and rugged-ish. (#)
Nikon’s Nikkor Z 24mm f/1.8 S. (#)
Sigma cuts loose Pentax K-mount. (#)
Connect With Us
We’d love to answer your question on the show. Leave us an audio question through our voicemail widget, comment below or via social media. But audio questions are awesome!
You can also cut a show opener for us to play on the show! As an example: “Hi, this is Matt Smith with Double Heart Photography in Chicago, Illinois, and you’re listening to the PetaPixel Photography Podcast with Sharky James!”