Sundance Institute Announces Tabitha Jackson as New Festival Director

During the festival’s 2020 awards ceremony tonight, the Sundance Institute announced Tabitha Jackson, the Director since 2013 of the Institute’s Documentary Film Program, to be the new Director of the Sundance Film Festival. Jackson will succeed John Cooper, who, after 11 years as Director of the Festival, will move into a newly created Emeritus Director role. Said the Sundance Institute’s Executive Director, Keri Putnam, in a press release, “Tabitha is fiercely devoted to independent artists, has been a visionary member of the Sundance Institute’s leadership team for the last six years. Her authenticity, experience and perspective will serve her well […]

CineGizmo CineControl Multicam for ARRI

CineGizmo has released CineControl Multicam for ARRI. As the name suggests, it is an app-based system for controlling multiple ARRI cameras at once. It works with the ARRI ALEXA Mini LF, ALEXA Mini, and AMIRA. You need to be aware that CineControl Multicam only works on the iPad, not iPhones. If you are on set … Continued

The post CineGizmo CineControl Multicam for ARRI appeared first on Newsshooter.

“What If This is the Goal? This is Everything?”: Writer/Director Edson Oda on His Sundance Hit, Nine Days

Ever so often you’ll have a film at Sundance that hits at the right time, place and with the right crowd — so that you feel the theater buzz. The last moment of the film, before it cuts to black, rings out over silence (aside from the sniffling of a handful audience members.) For me this year that film was Nine Days on Monday night at the Eccles theater. A feature debut from director Edson Oda, the expansive piece is equal parts grounded sci-fi, drama and a delicate exploration of emotion and existence. Let’s just say you don’t want to […]

A Whale Tail: Overcoming Fear to Swim with Humpback Whales

It’s 2019, I’m 80 miles away from land in the Atlantic Ocean, and I just have to laugh. I just got out of the water and noticed that my camera housing is leaking. I couldn’t afford the Nauticam rental this time, so I went cheap and hoped for the best. It’s my third trip to the Silver Bank with Tom Conlin and Aquatic Adventures and once again my photographic luck was left behind on solid ground.

Oddly, I’m ok with this and it’s time to get back in the water. I grab my phone for some snapshots, slide on belly over the side of the boat and swim over to this mama humpback whale and her calf. Yes, that’s right I’m swimming with humpback whales.

Most of my Whale Tail comes from everything around my three one-week trips to the Silver Bank in 2015, 2017, and 2019. I could tell you all about my trips and the cameras I used, some of that will be mixed in, but this story is more about fear and overcoming obstacles.

The location of Silver Bank in the Atlantic Ocean north of the Dominican Republic.

The trips themselves were incredible and beyond words. Moments and experiences and friends that have changed my life forever. Memories and stories that most people can’t imagine and a few photographs that don’t capture the moment.

I don’t know where the idea to do this came from — it wasn’t like I especially loved whales as a kid. Growing up, I was never much into adventures. I do believe in animal rights and support those who stand up for our oceans. I am drawn to underwater photographers and the beauty they capture from a world just below my normal vision of the surface. I often purchase their photographs so I can support their incredible talent.

I heard about these “snorkel with whale” trips in a random conversation and decided to try it myself. I booked it and neglected to do any real preparation. I swam in high school gym class and was a good swimmer 30 years ago. Back in the day, that just meant I could swim from one end of the pool to the other without touching the bottom. So, I figured I was okay.

Of course, I researched the important things like underwater cameras, swim fins, wet suits, because the right equipment makes all the difference.

I decided a week before the trip that I should get my feet wet and try some underwater photography. I booked a trip to the Homosassa River in Florida to swim with manatees and discovered as I tried to descend into a six-foot-deep river that I am absolutely terrified of water.

After 10 minutes of clinging to the boat ladder for dear life, a manatee came by to introduce itself. I let go of the ladder long enough to gather my senses and flailed about the river like an injured human. I made so much noise that the manatees and other humans on the trip kept their distance. But at least I thought that had figured out this water thing and was pretty much ready to go.

My 2015 trip was not a success. A six-foot-deep lazy river is a little different than swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. I was scared and seasick, which is not a good combo. I got in the water once and will spare you the details. I spent the rest of the trip with my eyes fixed on the horizon and photographed surface activity.

2015. Surface fin slap.
2015. Surface tail.

Even with this limited engagement, I found something I loved. The day I got back home; I sent an email for a request for a date in 2017.

So, with two years to prepare, I again waited until a few weeks before the trip to practice. It was back to the Homosassa River for two days this time. I practiced getting into the water and did a little better once I calmed down. I did research better alternatives to the Dramamine that made me sick and with my motion sickness patches and a new set of fins I was ready to go.

2017 had some crazy storms that came through along with some pretty rough seas. Luckily, the swells were a few inches below the unsafe maximum height for small craft, so we were able to search for whales for four days without any success. We couldn’t even see the blow as the whales surfaced because the wind immediately whisked it away. Then, on the last day about 30 minutes before we had to leave for port, we found a mother, calf, and escort in the shallow 30-foot coral reefs.

2017. A mother and calf visit at the last minute.

I had been waiting for this moment for two years, so when they said go, I slipped into the water without hesitation while at the same time trying not to soil my wetsuit. I immediately panicked but somehow recovered my senses, then swam the best I could toward the whales. I just couldn’t keep up with the others and ended up 20-30 feet behind them. It was far, but I was in the water and seeing my first set of whales.

The next part always brings tears to my eyes when I think of it. I heard Tom yell out, “Lorenzo, grab John and bring him to the front” So Lorenzo (our in-water guide) swims back to me and grabs my arm and swims me up to the front, just past the group, up to ten feet from the mother whale. I start to stutter gasp a little as if I’m about to uncontrollably sob and I feel the tears well up in my eyes for a moment. Just a second. And then I just feel pure joy, like I’m a little boy and the world is magnificent.

I’m just in front of her flipper, her eye is closed, and you can tell she is just relaxing while we babysit her calf. She opens her eye, looks at me, looks at her baby, looks at the other snorkelers and goes back to sleep. The calf comes by and like every other bratty child, biffs her mom’s nose with its tail. With three effortless tail swishes the calf does a full breach out of the water then swims off. The mother and escort follow, and we return to the boat.

As soon as I got home, I sent an email requesting a date for a 2019 trip.

After several months of procrastinating, I signed up for a pool membership in April 2018. I have been swimming laps an hour a day ever since. Around July 2018, I had overcome my fear of water, and by December 2018, I quit smoking because it was interfering with my swimming. By 2019 I was ready to go.

There is always a test run at the beginning of the trip to evaluate everyone’s swimming ability. They took me to the side and said that they remember my “swimming abilities” from the previous years so I could skip it if I wanted to. I said no, I need to get in the water. And I did, and I swam like a fish!

With the saltwater and a wet suit, my new leg muscles were twice as effective as the lap pool. The whole trip I would be first to the whales and the last to return to the boat. I just wanted to swim in one of my favorite places on earth as if I found my home.

2019 was an indescribable experience. The goofy whale sleeping vertically, the curious baby that came right up to the boat, the singer, the breaching adult five feet from the back of the boat, and we were in the water with whales at least 5 times a day.

2019. A close-up photo of a calf.

The second day was when I noticed that my camera housing was leaking, and I didn’t even care. I was finally in the moment and enjoying all of it. The daily swimming had helped tremendously but I think I had also entered a different state of mind. I grabbed the photos I could with the equipment I could afford but the best part of the experience was just being there.

2019. A leaking housing photo.
2019. A leaking housing photo.
2019. Me in the water.
2019. Me swimming with humpback whales.
2019. A surface breach.

When I got back this time, I couldn’t afford to book another trip right away but I’m hopeful that I can return in 2022.

After this third trip, I tried to share my journey with others. With a lot of experimenting, I decided to print my images on Hahnemühle Photo Glossy. Glossy paper has never been my first choice or even my last choice for printing photographs however I am always learning something new. A print on Hahnemühle Photo Glossy paper beautifully represents the fantasy world of super slick and contrasty computer screens and phones. Hahnemühle Photo Glossy is excellent if you want to proof your images for aluminum printing.

Most people think that my whale images are screen saver shots and the prints just don’t make sense unless they look like a screen. With a glass-like smooth surface, the printed water looks wet, as if you are looking through a window at this incredible world. I think that an underwater image of a humpback Whale is too fantastic to be believable or completely understood.

A female humpback is the size of a school bus and a newborn calf is about the length of a Honda Civic. Photographing whales is like photographing the moon with your longest telephoto and the moon ends up being a small white dot. When I look at my images, they might not be the best whale photographs, but they are my whale photographs and I will cherish them for my lifetime.

It has been an incredible adventure swimming with whales and the stories are much longer than I care to write about. I would rather share my many misadventures on doing something I love along with the successes. Instead of sharing that one good image on Instagram, I hope my stories prove that I can be a little foolish, clumsy, and unsuccessful, and that I’m okay with that. I just keep trying and enjoy every moment of it.

As a photographer, I am grateful for the teachers who lead photography tours and as a photographer, I focus on creating my own vision but also buy other’s work to support their vision. I hear “I’m jealous” or “I wish I could” too often when it comes to photography or adventures. I hear about photographers quitting before they even start because they don’t have the “right” lens or the “right” camera. I also hear “someday” or “maybe when my skills are better.”

The best photographers I know are out there taking photographs with the best equipment they can afford. If it is a phone or the latest full-frame camera, just use it. My thought behind this story is a message to myself as well to others. The light will never wait for you and the moments you miss will be a lost opportunity.

It doesn’t matter how often you fail — just record your own vision and experience and appreciate how wonderful it is.

About the author: John Granata has a long 28 year storied history with photography and currently teaches printing classes at Richard Strongberg’s Chicago Photography Classes in Chicago, Illinois. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors. He presents a unique argument with an odd mix of technical and emotional reasons why printing is essential to every photographer and has a strong passion to create prints that speak to the viewer. Past projects include photographs taken and processed with that “John” look with several unique alternative printing methods and materials. He has a website that surely needs to be updated and possibly reworked. Currently, he is on hiatus from actively working photographically but is telling stories about past projects in order to rediscover his vision for new ones.

Documenting the Fate of the Northern White Rhino

My fascination with documenting the last two remaining northern white rhinos at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya began in April 2019 as I launched my personal project Kindred Guardians. The project tells the stories of people who have dedicated their lives to helping animals. The caretakers of the rhinos felt like a perfect way to launch the project.

It wasn’t easy to obtain access, as the conservancy is overwhelmed with media requests and there I was without any work in the animal conservation world to show, nothing for the project yet either, and asking for over a week of rare access getting up close and personal with the rhinos and caretakers. I’m not a wildlife photographer, I shoot documentary photography so it’s essential for this project that I can get close to my subjects so I was asking a lot.

It took a lot of back and forth and being persistent, but in the end, it paid off and I booked a flight to Kenya. People have asked me how you get access to something like this and to stories in general. For me, I’m making a career pivot into more personal projects and stories related to people and animals. In the beginning, it was challenging because I had very little work in this field. What I do have is a career shooting for high-profile media clients so I highlight them. However, I never embellish and I never promise or mislead them into thinking the story will run in any of these publications, which is unethical and just plain wrong.

For each chapter of my project, I pitch the stories to media outlets after the fact, not before, and I never make promises I can’t keep. I believe in full transparency about the access I’m looking for and being clear about my process after I’ve finished shooting each story. The disadvantage of doing it this way is obviously that I won’t get my expenses paid for by a publication and it also makes it a lot more challenging to get access as most people and organizations will rightfully wonder what’s in it for them.

The advantage of pitching after the fact and why I take this approach is that I’m photographing this project a very particular way and experimenting with my storytelling style so I don’t want to be beholden to any publication. I realize this isn’t a great financial model but that’s why I do commercial work — to fund projects like this.

A personal project is about experimenting and discovering new things about your craft and when you’re on an assignment you don’t have time to do that. The only promises I make to my subjects is I donate a selection of my images to the person/organization and I do my best to pitch the stories afterward while also promoting on my social media network. I’ve reconfigured my Instagram account to focus primarily on this project and it’s been a rich resource for raising awareness and connecting with people in the wildlife world.

Peter Esegon, 47, one of the primary rhino caretakers at Ol Pejeta conservancy relaxes with Najin as she takes a nap. The caretakers live away from their families at a small camp within eyesight of the rhino holding area for 20 days on and 6 days off.

First Visit

I knew right when I arrived in Kenya at Ol Pejeta Conservancy and laid eyes on Fatu and Najin (the last northern white rhinos on the planet) that this story was special and that this wasn’t going to be just a one-time visit.

I’ve covered stories about the illegal rhino trade in Vietnam years ago for TIME magazine and for the UN and it left a mark on me, but this was the first time I’d seen a rhino horn attached to a live rhino and the sadness over the finality of it all felt personal and potent. The whole experience was a whirlwind of emotion; anger and disappointment in humanity and respect and inspiration for the caretakers and rangers.

I spent over a week there documenting the caretakers and rangers and was touched by their dedication and passion for the rhinos. The way my project works is that I typically will only focus on one type of animal and one visit for each chapter but sometimes you must recognize when a bigger story is staring you right in the face, this was one of those times.

Things worked out after that first visit and along with having the first chapter of my long-term project, I got the story published in the Washington Post. They’ve been a great outlet for my project and extremely supportive ever since with several of my other chapters of the project set to be published soon.

I wasn’t the first and only person to cover this story but we got great exposure from my work not just in the Post but I did an exhibition in NYC, a panel talk in NYC on the illegal wildlife trade, and the story also ran in Paris Match and My Modern Met, among others.

Many photographers tend to shy away from doing a story that’s already been done before. It’s something to consider and you never want to repeat or copy other’s work, but stories aren’t owned by any one person. You can always bring a unique angle to a story and do it your way stylistically. That’s the great thing about stories, they can be told so many ways while still be accurate and fair. In addition to that, we live in a new era for self-publishing your work and for reaching people through social media so even if one photographer did the story, you might be able to reach new people and help in your own ways.

I started to build a relationship with Ol Pejeta and we began to collaborate on raising money and awareness about the plight of the rhinos. I stayed in touch with their head of communications Elodie Sampere and she kept me up to date on the latest news about the rhinos.

Ol Pejeta rhino caretakers try to rock Najin into position on the ground after she is slightly sedated to prepare her for the procedure where she will fully undergo anesthesia.

Second Visit

Months after my first visit I was transiting in Hong Kong and I checked my WhatsApp, Elodie from Ol Pejeta messaged me about a historical procedure they were attempting, a collaborative effort of the BioRescue program, the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW), Avantea, Dvůr Králové Zoo, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, and the Kenya Wildlife Service.

Semen of Sudan, the last male northern white rhino that died in March 2018, is prepared for reallocation from Kenya to Germany. The semen was stored in liquid nitrogen since it was collected in 2014. Using special transport containers also filled with liquid nitrogen the semen made its way safely to the Leibniz-IZW where its usability for future in-vitro embryos will be examined.

The ovum procedure would involve placing the rhinos under general anesthetic. With an ultrasound to guide them, veterinarians would use a probe to harvest eggs from Najin and Fatu. After the eggs were harvested, they were to be transported to Italy where the embryo would be created. The embryo is stored in liquid nitrogen, the next step would be for the embryos to be transferred to a southern white rhino surrogate mother with hopes for the birth of a northern white rhino calf.

Najin, the elder of the two northern white rhinos, is looked after by one of the Kenya Wildlife Service Veterinary staff while undergoing anesthesia during the ovum pick up procedure on Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.

Upon hearing about this Hail Mary attempt, I knew I had to go back to Kenya, but it wasn’t that easy. The decision wasn’t solely up to the conservancy as many organizations and individuals were involved but Elodie fought hard for me to come. For such a procedure like this, it’s extremely stressful for the rhinos and for the veterinarian team so I completely understood their trepidation to have anyone there that wasn’t essential personnel — it’s about trust.

The fate of a species was in their hands and putting such a large animal under anesthesia is always a gigantic risk. One mistake and the population of the species would be down to one, I can’t even imagine that pressure.

Discussions were had and a lot of back and forth and while I missed the first attempt I was granted permission to come for the second attempt along with 2 local photographers and only one other international photographer.

At first, I was conflicted about what kit to bring. For my personal work, I’ve been using a minimalistic set up of a Leica M10D (please let’s not have a Leica debate here in the comments section) coupled with a Leica 35mm, 75mm, and a 135mm. This being an event with other photographers to work around, something I hate doing, I debated taking a more conventional set up of 2 Canons with an army of lenses but I’m moving away from working that way so stayed with my simple set-up. I feel very comfortable with manual focus and with using predominantly a 35mm. I knew the procedure would be covered by 3 other photographers so I could approach it my way with my project in mind but also getting the collaborative team a unique set of images for their press release, something I offered to do.

Adj. Professor Robert Hermes(left) and Prof. Dr. Thomas Hildebrandt(right) both from Leibniz-IZW and BioRescue team search for oocytes inside Fatu during the procedure.
A medicine travel box with sedatives, anesthetics and emergency drugs to provide immobilization and anesthesia for Fatu and Najin’s procedure. The veterinarians applied a specific anesthesia protocol optimized for safe and repeated application of advanced assisted reproductive technologies in rhinos.
Prof. Thomas Bernd Hildebrandt looks under the microscope at the eggs collected from one of the northern white rhino females on December 17th, 2019 immediately after the procedure. It is the second time that Hildebrandt and his team have collected eggs from the northern white rhinos, a procedure never done before August 2019.

I spent days leading up to the procedure sharing meals and talking with the procedural team and learning more about their work, incredible, they are the navy seals of veterinarians, scientists, and conservationists traveling the world performing cutting edge procedures to save species from extinction. The procedure was led by Thomas Hildebrandt, Head Department of Reproduction Management at Leibniz-IZW and his team. Hildebrandt also invented the unique system for harvesting the oocytes along with his engineering friends.

That’s me on the top of the fence trying to get a top down angle of the procedure.

I discussed with them about where I could and couldn’t go and they assured me confidently that if I got too close or in the way, they would let me know. Many photographers feel entitled and can be quite aggressive, that isn’t my style nor was this the situation to do that. I respect these guys and was there because they granted me permission and obviously, their work is much more important than mine and the safety of the rhinos is paramount

Northern white rhino caretakers Zacharia Kipkirui (left) and Peter Esegon (right) usher Fatu and Najin into their holding area at the end of the day at Ol Pejeta conservancy in Central Kenya a couple days before their procedure.

I was there a few days early to capture some moments between the caretakers and the rhinos before the procedure to help tell the story. Documenting before and after an event was something I learned from my professor at university and it’s always stayed with me. They were tense and obviously worried, the rhinos are like family to these guys as they spend more time with them than with their own families.

The day of the procedure was stressful for everyone, but it went smoothly. They operated on one rhino at a time and each procedure took a few hours to complete. By the second attempt, one of the veterinarians was encouraging and even inviting me to get closer. Being unobtrusive and respectful is the right thing to do and I’ve found it pays off a lot more than being aggressive and entitled.

Adj. Prof. Robert Hermes loads the nine immature egg cells (oocytes) – three from Najin and six from Fatu – onto a plane from Nanyuki town en route to Nairobi and then to Italy at the Aventea lab, where they will be fertilized with northern white rhino sperm in the hope of creating pure northern white rhino embryos. These egg cells were harvested from the animals’ ovaries using a probe guided by ultrasound.

Just a few hours after the procedure was over I followed the team to the airport where they carried the extracted oocytes to a small plane on their way to Germany through Nairobi and I captured some crucial images to help tell this story.

At the request of the entire collaborative team involved, I waited for them to send out their press release before pitching the story around and sharing any images. After the embargo was listed, the Washington Post ran my images and interviewed me about the procedure. I found my minimalistic kit worked out well for me as it made my move more and think more.

Th layout in the print version of the Washington Post.

It was an incredible experience to document something so historical and I feel truly honored to be allowed to be there and I never forgot that or took it for granted. They still have a long way to go with this attempt to save the northern white rhino, but I intend to be there every step of the way.

As a documentary photographer, you need to recognize when a story has more to offer and find a way to be there when it does.

About the author: Justin Mott is an award-winning editorial, travel, and commercial photographer and director based in Vietnam for over a decade. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Mott has shot over 100 assignments throughout Vietnam and Southeast Asia for the New York Times covering tragedy, travel, features, business, and historical moments. You can find more of his work on his website, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. This article was also published here.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III – First Look

BSC Expo 2020 in London, and our team had a chance to catch up with Barry from Canon to talk about the brand’s newest flagship camera: the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III. Let’s take a closer look at it!

The newly announced Canon 1D X III. Photo credit: cinema5D

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III – Features

The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III was announced at the beginning of January 2020 during CES 2020. If you’re new to Canon’s latest flagship DSLR camera, here is a quick sum-up of all its features:

  • The magnesium alloy body houses a Full-Frame 20.1MP CMOS sensor.
  • With the new DIGIX X processor, the camera is capable of capturing photos at 16 frames per second and 20 frames per second in LiveView mode.
  • You can shoot videos in 5.5K (5,472 x 2,286) up to 60fps in RAW 12-bit with no crop.
  • 4K DCI up to 60fps in 4:2:2 10-bit in Canon Log using an H.265 / HEVC codec. There is a slight crop in 4K DCI mode, around 256 pixels on each side.
  • For slow-motion and B-roll lovers, you can record at up to 120 frames per second in FullHD 1080P.
  • The 1D X Mark III uses CFExpress cards to store your media, and they are two slots for redundancy purposes. Also, you can set the camera to use the first memory slot to record your RAW footage and the second memory slot to store Proxy media.
  • The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III’s sensor is not stabilized. There is a Movie Digital IS to compensate a bit by cropping in the image.
  • New AF sensor that covers 90% of the image sensor. Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology is still there, but it doesn’t work in 4K 50P/60P uncropped modes and 5.5K RAW 60P video shooting modes.
  • Peaking and focus guides are available in video modes.
  • There is a headphone jack, 3.5mm mini-jack input, and micro HDMI port. You can record externally through the micro HDMI port of the camera in 4K 4:2:2 10bit but you can’t record RAW externally.

In the video above, our own Nino Leitner had a chance to take a first look at the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III. We learned that you can store around 12 minutes of RAW footage onto a 128Gb CFExpress card. Indeed, it means that if you intend to shoot in RAW format, you’ll need a lot of these very expensive memory cards.

Also, the internal RAW recording is not exactly the same as the one in the Canon C200 or C500 Mark II. This Canon RAW format is larger, and it is not Cinema RAW Light either. Otherwise, the 1D X Mark III should be the perfect B-Cam for C500 Mark II shooters.

The newly announced Canon 1D X III. Photo credit: cinema5D

Price and Availability

The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III should start shipping in the upcoming weeks. You can already pre-order it for $6499.00/6439.12€.

What are your thoughts about the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III? Did you already pre-ordered it? Let us know in the comments below!

The post Canon EOS-1D X Mark III – First Look appeared first on cinema5D.

US Department of the Interior Grounds All of Their Chinese Drones

US Department of the Interior (DOI) issued new order, which means DOI’s employees can no longer fly drones made by foreign-owned companies or those made with foreign-manufactured components due to cybersecurity concerns. With the new order, DOI has basically grounded their entire drone program. The only exception from the new policy are emergency situations. It is not yet clear, whether it is a temporary measure or not.

DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise in action. Source: DJI

On January 29th, the US Department of the Interior (DOI) issued a new order number 3379. This order reveals a new department policy that takes aim at drone technology. According to the policy, DOI employees can no longer fly drones made by foreign-owned companies or those made with foreign-manufactured components.

This new policy basically means that DOI has grounded its entire drone program. The DOI communicates cybersecurity concerns as the sole reason behind the new order. Emergency situations are an exception to this order, according to DOI. In case of an emergency, DOI employees can further make use of their current drone fleet. The full order can be found here as an image or directly on DOI’s website as PDF. It is not yet clear, whether it is a temporary measure or not.

Order Nr. 3379. Source: Ministry of the Interior

DJI’s Reaction

DJI is a Chinese tech company and a global leader in the drone market. In reaction to the new order, they published a post on their blog (you can read the whole post here). According to DJI, the DOI’s fleet of 810 civilian drones (only about 20% of which are DJI products) is the largest in the federal government. The DOI flew many drone missions (over 10.000 in 2018) to support everything from surveying migrating birds to fighting wildfires, or monitoring volcanos.


In regards to DOI’s cybersecurity concerns, DJI said:

We worked diligently with DOI officials, who themselves worked with independent cybersecurity professionals and experts at NASA over the course of 15 months to create a safe and secure drone solution that met DOI’s rigorous requirements. The result of this collaboration was our Government Edition (GE) solution which provides additional safeguards so drone data is not intentionally or accidentally shared with unauthorized parties. Just a few months later, at the request of the Department of Homeland Security, our GE drones were independently evaluated a second time by the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Lab, which also found no areas of concern related to data leakage.

DJI says, that this order makes clear that the U.S. government’s concerns about DJI drones have little to do with security and are instead part of a politically motivated agenda to reduce market competition and support domestically produced drone technology, regardless of its merits.

By the DOI’s own admission, all of the drones it has procured are made in China or have components made there, including drones from companies headquartered in the US and Europe. Therefore, following its own policy to its logical conclusion would mean that the agency plans on keeping these drones grounded indefinitely, wasting the millions of dollars spent on procuring them.

DJI is concerned, that this policy might also require a restriction on other equipment used across DOI, like smartphones, laptops, radios, etc. They did not forget to mention lower cost and increased safety of using unmaned aircrafts versus traditional helicopters for certain tasks.


As an alternative to DOI’s strict policy, DJI suggests:

Instead of focusing on country of origin, a more effective solution would be to treat drones as any other information technology asset like a laptop or smartphone, and set clear industry-wide technology standards and requirements that ensure their safe and secure operation, much like those the DOI shared with us when we developed our Government Edition solution. Drone manufacturers would in turn ensure their products are built to meet the standards that are prescribed for the intended mission.

What do you think about the recent DOI’s order? Do you agree with DJI on this topic? Do you think chinese products have serious cybersecurity issues? Let us know in the comments underneath the article.

The post US Department of the Interior Grounds All of Their Chinese Drones appeared first on cinema5D.

Does Photographing a Moment Steal the Experience From You?

Countless photographs are snapped every day by people looking to preserve their life’s experiences, but is the incessant picture taking actually robbing us of them? Travel photographer and writer Erin Sullivan recently gave this interesting 8-minute TED Talk on the subject.

In growing her popular Instagram account, Sullivan was interested and amused by how many similar photos she found online of the same places she visited and captured.

And after going to famous landmarks and seeing people get out of their cars, snap a photo of the location with their phones, and then get right back into their vehicles, Sullivan began thinking more about this behavior.

Sullivan notes that recent research revealed that photo-taking can increase our enjoyment of experiences. But if a person shoots a photo solely with the intention of sharing it, there isn’t an increase in enjoyment.

“Let me be clear: I am not trying to discourage you from taking photos,” Sullivan says. “Even if thousands of people have been to whatever exact location and taken whatever exact photo, I encourage you to get out and create too. The world needs every voice and perspective, and yours is included.

“But what I’m trying to show you is that the phone or camera doesn’t have to stay out all the time. What I’m trying to encourage you to do is to put it away, just for a moment — a moment for you.

“[…] The next time you [pull out your camera], first stop, pause, take a deep breath, look around. What do you notice? […] Remember that this moment only comes once. Photography can be part of a beautiful experience — just don’t let it be a block between you and reality. Be intentional, and don’t lose a beautiful, irreplaceable memory because you were too focused on getting the shot.”

Here’s a 2020 Celestial Calendar for Astrophotographers

If you’re getting into astrophotography, the telescope manufacturer Celestron has published a helpful “celestial calendar” to give you a heads up of notable things you’ll see in the night sky through the end of 2020.

The calendar contains events like eclipses, supermoons, and planet oppositions. Each event has a date, description, and information on where on Earth they’ll be visible from.

A detailed calendar and guide can be found on the company’s blog, but there’s also a downloadable compact poster version of the calendar that could look great on your wall.

If you’re looking for info on how to get started in photographing these things, here’s a 15-minute beginner’s guide to astrophotography, here’s a 30-minute guide to buying your first telescope, here’s an article on using a star tracker, and here’s an article on how to photograph night sky objects like Jupiter from your own backyard (for cheap).

(via Celestron via DIYP)