JVC unveils HEVC Encoder for its CONNECTED CAM Series

JVC has had a range of CONNECTED CAMS for quite some time that allows users to stream images directly from their camera. Well, now they have a new HEVC Encoder called the KA-EN200G. The KA-EN200G H.265/HEVC Encoder which will make its public debut at this year’s NAB show (if the show still goes ahead). The … Continued

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How Benh Zeitlin Made an ‘Impossible’ Film (and Why the Industry Is ‘Disturbing’)

After the breakout success of Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin had Hollywood in his pocket. But he refused to play its game.

When it comes to Sundance success stories, nothing quite rivals 2012’s Beasts of the Southern Wild. The micro-budget film was produced by a small, scrappy New Orleans filmmaking collective and helmed by a first-time director. It starred non-professional actors and was made guerilla-style, with the crew often working out of an abandoned gas station in the Bayou. Beasts took the festival by storm, winning the Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic, and was eventually acquired by Fox Searchlight for $2 million. It went on to gross more than $20 million at the box office and garner four Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture and Best Director.

“After Beasts of the Southern Wild, we realized we had this opportunity to make something impossible.”

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How to run a successful video production company

On the Go Creative Show podcast, filmmaking entrepreneur and founder of Next Level Creators, Paul Xavier, talks to host Ben Concoli about how to run a successful video production company, Paul and Ben share techniques that can help us grow your businesses, where video marketing is heading in 2020 and beyond, best practices for marketing … Continued

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The Evolution Of The Mirrorless Hybrid Camera With The Fujifilm X-T4

The new Fujifilm X-T4 Mirrorless Hybrid is the latest offering from Fujifilm.

As you’ve seen if you’re tapped into camera/production social media and it’s resulting blogosphere, Fujifilm recently announced the successor to the Fujifilm X-T3, one of the most popular cameras it has ever produced. We shot a project for a Los Angeles NPR station two years ago and had a chance to use our client’s Fujifilm X-T2 as a gimbal and B camera, gathering various moving b-roll footage around the station as we shot interviews with our A camera in their on-air studio. Overall, I found the X-T2, despite some glaring video omissions, to be a pleasant camera to use with some nice results.

The Fujifilm X-H1 Mirrorless Hybrid had more video-driven features and IBIS but was larger than the X-T series bodies and it still lacked some video features.

I then covered the launch of the Fujifilm X-H1, a more video-centric model with in-body image stabilization (IBIS) and a few more video features. After using the X-H1 a bit and speaking with the engineering team that was over from Japan at Fujifilm’s offices in Los Angeles, I knew that Fujifilm was close to introducing a camera that, while primarily a still camera, would have enough solid video features to be useful for me.

The Panasonic Lumix GH4 was our first 4K-capable mirrorless hybrid. It had some great video features but some fatal flaws, as well, for our needs.

My Mirrorless Hybrid History

A bit of background: I owned the Panasonic GH4, it was our first 4K camera, but I found that the Micro Four Thirds imager seemed to be too noisy for my shooting style, and I found the skin tones lacking, with a pastel quality that had to do with the noise reduction the GH4 applied. I also had experience shooting with my producing partner’s Sony A7 II on a few shoots and while I found its high ISO ability to be useful for low-light shooting (we shot some footage in a dark nightclub for a documentary where we couldn’t light the shots), I found its constant overheating when shooting 4K and its color science to not be appealing to me.

I have a DSLR, the Canon EOS 80D, that wasn’t a bad video camera, but it only shot 1080 and I found the footage to be marginal when any kind of grading or even mild color correction was applied. As we were heading into production for a docu-series that we wanted to produce in 4K, I was on the hunt for a 4K-capable mirrorless hybrid. I really liked the Panasonic GH5; it was a big improvement over the GH4, but its autofocus wasn’t very good even though the rest of its features were very appealing for video shooting.  

Full-frame mirrorless hybrids like this A7 II allowed Sony to capture a huge portion of the mirrorless market, but the A7 line has languished as competitors have moved ahead with specifications and capability.

I was planning on using whichever mirrorless hybrid we ended up with primarily on a gimbal and as a handheld, in a cage mount for shooting in cars, on small boats in the ocean or in other locations where bringing in our A cameras, the Canon C300 MKII and the C200, fully rigged, would be too conspicuous.

The Fujifilm X-T3 has been a resounding success for Fujifilm simply because it was a great camera at a very good price with amazing capabilities as both a still and video camera.

Enter The X-T3

When Fujifilm introduced the X-T3 in late 2018, I knew that it could be a good contender to serve as the gimbal and B camera for our docu-series. It seemed that Fujifilm had improved on the X-T2 and X-H1 video capabilities with the exception that the X-T3 lacked IBIS. But it had improved autofocus, the ability to use the AF while shooting 4K, great color science, a very detailed and good looking sensor called the X-Trans 4 and not only a way to shoot Flog, Fujifilm’s log format, but also the ability to shoot using Fujifilm simulation presets.

I knew that Flog would generally yield the most dynamic range, but I had seen some YouTube clips shot using the X-T3’s film presets that I thought looked very good too. With the X-T3, Fujifilm introduced a new film simulation called Eterna that looked to be a great starting spot for light grading and color correction. The other intriguing thing was that the X-T3 shot 10-bit H.265. 10-bit, which has gone from being considered an exotic high bit rate to what’s now considered standard fare in mirrorless camera video, but at the time of the X-T3’s introduction, 10-bit 4K wasn’t common. The ability to shoot at up to 400 Mbps made other competing camera’s 4K data rates (100 Mbps on all Sony A7 variants!) look weak and inadequate for post-production.

The Fujifilm X-T3: Likes

  • Small Size, Lightweight – These are important when operating on a gimbal all day.
  • Cost/Value Equation – With some of the competition coming in at close to $4,000, $1,299 on sale was appealing.
  • Color Science – The X-T3 colors are very appealing to me. Flog is Fujifilm’s log profile; it’s mildly flat but easy to expose for. The film simulations are also interesting and fun to work with for certain projects.
  • Specs – 4K DCI and UHD at up to 60p, data rates up to 400 Mbps, 10-bit 4:2:0 H.265 8-bit H.264 recording options and up to 120 fps in FHD. These place the Fujifilm X-T3 side by side or better than almost every other mirrorless hybrid available.
  • Construction/Tactile/Ergonomics – The X-T3 has a personality. It’s not a computer-with-a-lens feeling camera like some of its competition. It also has dedicated old-school rotating knobs and dials for selecting the most commonly changed parameters. The construction is robust with lots of metal used instead of plastic.
  • Good Lens Adaptability – We bought two Fujinon XF lenses, the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 OIS and the XF 16mm f/1.4 WR, but we also bought the Fringer Pro X mount to EF adapter so we can use any of our dozen Canon EF S and EF lenses with the X-T3. Not all operate perfectly in AF, but most do.
  • Detail – I was impressed with the amount of detail that the X-T3 records to 4K with its almost 6K sensor. This detail lends a very precise look to the images without being cold and sterile.
The Micro HDMI video output on the Fujifilm X-T3 is one of the weakest features of an otherwise great camera.

The Fujifilm X-T3: Dislikes

  • Terrible Battery Life – The too small NP-W126S 1,260 mAh batteries run out after only about 20 to 25 minutes of shooting video. That problem can be solved with the addition of the Fujifilm X-T3 battery grip, but that added a few hundred dollars to the bottom line.
  • 29:59 and 19:59 Recording Limits – Shooting documentary coverage, the recording time limits became a nuisance at times.
  • AF Challenges – When we bought the X-T3, with its initial 2.0 Firmware, the AF functions were usable. Not as good as our Canon C200, 80D, 300 MKII and not as good as the latest Sony A7 variants. But usable, better than the Panasonic GH5, if you kept an eye on it. We waited months for bug reports and user feedback to update the X-T3’s FW to 3.01, hearing no major negatives, but once we started shooting gimbal using the AF-C focus settings, we began to notice an AF pulsing. When you framed up an interview, for instance, the AF on the X-T3 would constantly micro-adjust itself, resulting in the subject seeming to mostly be in focus, but you’d notice a constant slight shifting in the background focus. 
  • XF Lens Issues When Shooting Video – We rented several different Fujinon XF lenses for various shoots and noticed that besides the AF pulsing described above, all of the Fujinon XF zooms also had focus delay where when you zoomed the lens, it would often take the camera an extra second or two to actually locate the subject and snap into focus. This focus delay, coupled with the exposure compensation that Fujifilm engineers into every zoom lens, makes using the X-T3 with XF zooms a not very pleasant experience with constant exposure shifts visible in your footage. Every time you shift the focal length of the zoom lens, the lens and body shift the exposure to compensate for there being less light at longer focal lengths, even if every setting on the camera is in manual mode.
  • Micro HDMI Video Output – I can’t say enough bad things about how terrible, fragile and unreliable the micro HDMI video output on the X-T3 is. Fujifilm used it to save space, but it has almost become a rite of passage for the X-T3 owner to have to ship their X-T3 back to Fujifilm repair to fix and/or replace the micro HDMI connection.
  • No Video Waveform – The X-T3 has a histogram, but no video waveform monitor. The histogram merely displays pixel brightness distribution from dark to light pixels. No marking, calibration or scale. Without a video waveform, it can be difficult to accurately judge exposure and lighting on skin tones.
The Fujifilm X-T4 adds the most requested feature from Fujifilm users—IBIS!

On To The X-T4  

Since I haven’t yet had a Fujifilm X-T4 made available to me for review, I can’t verify a few small details about the new X-T4, but looking at Fujifilm’s specifications, press photos, YouTube videos and the like, I can surmise what I believe the X-T4 to be. Cutting to the chase, in a nutshell, the X-T4 is basically an X-T3 with a slightly larger body, same exact sensor and video specs save for the fact that it can now shoot 240 fps in FHD versus 120 fps on the X-T3. Fujifilm added a new ETERNA Bleach Bypass film simulation, a flippy screen for Vloggers, a significantly larger battery and IBIS. There has been much consternation that the X-T4 also loses the 3.5mm headphone jack from the X-T3, which was replaced with a USB C dongle.

How Does The X-T4 Address Limitations For The Pro Video Shooter?

Here are the main points that I found lacking in the X-T3.

  • Terrible Battery Life – The X-T4 upgrades Li-ion battery NP-W235, at 2,350 mAh, nearly doubling the battery power of the X-T3 battery. It remains to be seen how much additional battery drain the IBIS function on the new X-T4 battery results in.
  • 29:59 and 19:59 Recording Limits – The X-T4 doesn’t change or eliminate these limits.
  • AF Challenges – The X-T3 recently received a 3.20 FW update that tamed the focus pulsing other than when using Flog in low light. It appears the X-T4 utilizes basically the same technology with similar results.
  • XF Lens Issues When Shooting Video – Unfortunately, these issues are tied to the XF lenses themselves, not just the X series bodies, so they remain.
  • Micro HDMI Video Output – Fujifilm retained the fragile micro HDMI video output.
  • No Video Waveform – Fujifilm didn’t add a video waveform monitor, retaining the same histogram display as the X-T3.
I predict the Fujifilm X-T4 will be just as big of a hit as the X-T3 was, if not bigger. It adds user-requested features to the already excellent X-T3 and a slightly higher price with a slightly larger body to house the IBIS.

My Take On The Fujifilm X-T4

The headline feature of the X-T4 is IBIS. The X-H1 had IBIS but was a physically larger body than the X-T3 and not the X-T4. Fujifilm implemented magnetic IBIS which, according to preliminary tests, works pretty well. That said, most but not all pros utilize a gimbal, motion control slider or a Steadicam-like device to fluidly move the camera. IBIS seems to be more of a hobbyist feature, but it can be useful in certain situations, taming the micro jitter that’s painfully apparent when shooting 4K especially. I’ve tried shooting handheld with our X-T3 without the accompanying cage, monitor microphone and external battery system that all together add up to making our X-T3 handheld rig weigh about 6 to 7 pounds depending on the lens. Trying to shoot handheld with the X-T3, even with a wide-angle lens, results in a lot of micro jitters that the IBIS in the X-T4 will tame.     

A feature that has been used to hook a lot of still shooters coming into the world of mirrorless hybrids is the full-frame sensor. I debate even including this point, but all of the Fujifilm X series bodies use an S35 sensor. If you shoot a lot of low light and need high gain without as much grain, FF sensors are superior in low light. That said, the Fujifilm X-T3 does well up to about ISO 2,500, which is plenty of gain for all but the darkest situations. Since the X-T4 uses the same sensor, it’s fair to say the ISO performance is probably roughly the same as the X-T3. Most but not all video/digital cinema pros are able to light the majority of their scenes, but if you shoot weddings, events or constantly shoot in other situations where you want or need to shoot at ISO 12,500 or higher, do yourself a favor and buy an FF camera.

Moving on from sensor size, the X-T4 appears to be more of a good thing and one the most interesting mirrorless hybrids out there. The value equation is still excellent with the X-T4 body retailing for $1,699 in the United States. IBIS was easily the most requested feature at all of the Fujifilm Summits and from feedback from Fuji user groups. The second most requested feature was a flippy screen versus the tilt screen on the X-T3. The additional battery horsepower is much welcomed, although until we get a hands-on review unit, it’s hard to say what the recording times will be.

Overall, if you’re buying your first mirrorless hybrid, the X-T4 appears to be an across-the-board winner, with a great value equation and features for $1,699. If you’re obsessed with shooting in the dark, look elsewhere for a full-frame camera. If you own the X-T3, the real question is, is it money well spent to sell off your X-T3 and upgrade to the X-T4?

For us, the answer is no. We have tamed the short battery record times of the X-T3 with the external battery grip that adds two more batteries to the internal X-T3 battery. We power the X-T3 from the DC output of our gimbal, so short battery times aren’t a factor anymore. Same with IBIS, we have the Zhiyun Crane 2 gimbal, so we don’t really need IBIS. We don’t need the flippy screen because (thankfully) we don’t Vlog. Objectively, the X-T4 is an iterative upgrade, but it’s an upgrade of an already very good camera that probably edges into great territory for pro video/digital cinema shooters.

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The Best Filmmaking Deals of the Week 3.05.20

Headlining our Deals of the Week, the very fast and very affordable Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN lens is on sale now for just $229.

This week in filmmaking deals: In the market for some high-quality glass? Well, you can save over $100 on the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN lens and $50 on the Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 lens. The Manfrotto MVK500C Fluid Head Tripod System is on sale now for $550, which is $200 off of retail. Also, take advantage of some excellent instant and mail-in rebates for the Sennheiser ew 112P G4 Wireless Lavalier System to save $200. Finally, Adorama is running a special on the Hollyland Cosmo 600 transmitter/receiver that will save you $550.

Manfrotto MVK500C Fluid Head Tripod System

[deal id=”117971″]

If you’re in need of a tripod, you should check out the Manfrotto MVK500C Fluid Head Tripod System. Made of carbon fiber and magnesium castings, this tripod is lightweight yet extremely durable. It also features a quick-release plate, 60mm half ball video tripod mount, and 11 lb. payload capability. Get it now for $550.

Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Lens

[deal id=”117976″]

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21 Questions with Michael Runkel: The ‘Most-Traveled’ Photographer Alive

Travel photographer Michael Runkel has visited every country on Earth and shows no signs of slowing down. The German native chats with photographer Trey Bohn about going to outer space, the coronavirus outbreak, what makes a good travel photo, and why long-term travel with kids doesn’t suck.

Where are you now?

Sitting on a beautiful beach in Ko Lanta, Thailand.

How long did it take to visit every country?

It took 29 years. I finished in Saudi Arabia in 2018. I have been traveling for a total of 31 years, but traveling to every country was never my goal. I am not a stamps-and-stats traveler. I am more interested in having original experiences in the places I visit, but according to Nomad Mania, there are a total of 1,281 regions on the planet. I have been to 1,079 of them, and many more planned over the next 18 months. By this time next year, it’s possible that I might be the most-traveled person alive.

The obvious question I’m sure you get a lot: what first inspired you to travel?

I started reading Karl May when I was in primary school at the age of 9 or 10. He is mostly known for his novels about Apache Chief Winnetou and the American West, but I was really drawn to his tales of Kara Ben Nemsi and his exploits during Hajj through the Middle East. Both my parents were teachers, and we often traveled together when school was out. My grandmother spent a lot of time in Africa and Asia. I think my travel gene came from her.

Local boys take a swim, Wallis and Fatuna, South Pacific. (Photo: Michael Runkel)

How hard was it to get on that first flight and where did you go?

My first trip abroad was actually overland by bus from Germany to Syria in 1988. I was just 18. Syria at that time was fantastic. No tourists. Lots to see, lots of culture. It was a very open-minded place, and an extremely welcoming country.

It’s been said that more people have traveled to outer space than have visited the United Nations’ 193 recognized countries (at the time of this writing, there are currently 200 verified persons that have visited every country on Earth; 500 have been to outer space). If Richard Branson called you tomorrow and said you have 15 minutes to pack your bag for a Virgin Galactic flight, what would your answer be?

Yes, of course! That would be a unique opportunity. I would love to see the world from outer space – so long as he is paying.

There has been a recent spike in travelers that have been to every country, mostly Americans. There are about 10 to 20 people that pop up every year that attempt to do it. Many of them seem to me to be more inspired by a personal goal, simple attention, or just out to prove they can do it. They are not really traveling meaningfully, in my opinion.

You now travel with your entire family. Can you talk about the challenges of that? The rewards?

Yes. We are doing 13 months around the world, and now on our Asian leg of the trip into five countries. Last year, I had to break off from them for six weeks by myself for photo work, visiting Russia, Afghanistan, and Niger. My wife is from San Diego, and they will visit her mother there towards the end of the trip while I continue on to India.

Traveling with children is a challenge. We have to care for two kids. Our daughter is 4, and our son is 8 months old, but it is worth every second. We get to spend every minute with them, and we get to show them the world. We have been to some extremely remote locations together.

In Vanuatu, they were the youngest white- faced children the people there had ever seen. In April, we are planning to go to the Pitcairn Islands, the remotest islands on the planet. Our tour operator tells us that they will be the youngest visitors the islands have ever had. After that, we are headed to the Amazon, then northern Vietnam.

The Traveling Runkels. Pictured: Wife Samantha, son Luca (8 months), Michael, and daughter Sia (4). (Photo: Michael Runkel)

Tips for those traveling with family?

Traveling with kids is risky, but not any riskier than back home. It’s important to choose the right times of the year to visit each destination.

Right now we are in Thailand during the dry season. In the tropics, you have to visit at a time when there are fewer mosquitoes. Pre-plan where you want to go, get vaccinations, take bug spray and lots of hand sanitizer. When we travel, our children are very popular, and people love to touch them, which is wonderful, but it can be overwhelming. It’s also just as important to not be overly cautious, or you will miss out on a lot of experiences.

Schooling is an issue. Children have to go to school in Germany, it is compulsory by the age of 6. You cannot homeschool them. Our oldest does not have to start primary school for two years, so we are taking this opportunity to travel with them now.

Is mainland China part of your Asia itinerary? Do you have concerns about the coronavirus outbreak there?

We had an extensive trip through China planned. It was our next stop. We just learned that the government has shut down all access to the tourist sites throughout the country. Many other travelers I know have also had to cancel their visits. Right now we are going to head back to Myanmar for an extended period. We are not sure when we might be able to plan another trip there.

Do your children have dad’s travel gene?

I’m not sure about our littlest one yet, but I think my daughter does. She has already been to 40 countries! She definitely likes traveling. We do unusual things, and she has seen things a lot of people could only dream of seeing. She is great on long flights, long bus rides. Our recent flight from L.A. to Taipei was 14 hours, zero complaints. She loves photography as well.

I have probably met more Germans on my travels than any other nationality. Is there something about the German culture that makes them want to explore the world more than others?

I guess that is because we have a good social system. Most Germans have 30 days of holiday every year; we have paid parental leave for up to three years and are eligible to receive up to $2,000 per month. Our universal health care is another important factor that contributes to making extensive travel possible.

In addition, Germany has a very culturally diverse population, and so your friends and neighbors are from all over the world. That provides opportunities to visit people you know in their native country. The Swedes and the Dutch also travel a lot, but just in smaller numbers.

Now that you have visited every country, tell us about your thinking in choosing another destination?

For me, I would rather go to places that are interesting, especially to photograph UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I have been to 700 of them and I have 400 left to visit. I’m actually going to do a [photography] book about it later this year. These are important places. I’m curious about cultures, peoples, and landscapes.

By now I pretty much know the world, so I can tell you what it has to offer. I do love remote places due to fewer crowds, but it is usually the beauty of a destination that compels me to visit.

Night falls on the Ennedi Plateau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, northeastern Chad. (Photo: Michael Runkel)

Most harrowing travel experience?

Too many to count. Crawling over unexploded ordnance in a field in Cambodia, or being stared down by an armed militia in Mogadishu immediately come to mind. But the most life-changing experience was a nighttime earthquake on Christmas Day in Bam, Iran, in 2003.

I was quick to get out, and saved a friend’s life. The two of us managed to save another 10 people from the rubble. Everyone else on our street was killed, tens of thousands of people [in total]. The official death toll from the government was egregiously undercounted.

A country that exceeded your expectations?

One for sure is Myanmar. We were just there, and my third visit. Extremely friendly people. Everyone is so nice, and it is so culturally interesting. Southern Myanmar is completely untouched by tourists. The Mergui Archipelago is a paradise, and only opened to tourists four years ago.

A country that didn’t meet your expectations?

Cameroon is rough traveling – especially in the interior – and the police, the army, the militias, are so corrupt. A real low point. I don’t plan to be back anytime soon.

A country that turned your expectations on its head?

Honestly, I really haven’t experienced any. I usually research a country thoroughly before visiting, and so I generally know what to expect when I arrive.

How do you make a living while traveling?

Mainly photography. I try to take as many photos as possible. You have to be a little more prepared and sleep a little bit less. I have a secondary income teaching photography when I am home. I also sell prints on my website.

A Sufi cleric reads from the Qur’an in Herat, Afghanistan. (Photo: Michael Runkel)

Your process for documenting your travels through photography?

I have a big professional database of 2.5 million photographs. I also have agents that distribute my photos worldwide; and I am represented by Robert Harding, who manages some of the world’s leading travel photographers. As far as I know, I am the only dedicated travel photographer who has been to every country on Earth, so I have a unique set of photographs to offer. Much of my documentation is also client work through direct requests.

What makes a good travel photograph and what camera do you use?

That is very subjective. Dealing with photo agents and magazines, everyone’s tastes and needs are different. It’s hard to say what makes a good travel photograph, but I would personally say that every good travel photograph is a good one when you like it.

One thing for sure that makes an impact is great light. It’s also why I like to travel in good weather. For good or bad, the travel photo market is saturated with amazing photos, making it very difficult to create photos that stand out. Today, camera technology is so much better than years ago, and people can take stunning photos with their smartphones.

I have a Nikon D850, a D4, and a D800. I also take drone photos, and I use a DJIMavic 2 Pro drone. I’m using a Mavic Mini here in Asia, due to many countries’ size restrictions.

A Buddhist monk in Mahar Sadan Cave, southern Myanmar. (Photo: Michael Runkel)

What is one conventional myth that people who want to travel extensively need to know?

In my opinion, the world is a far better place than the media might make it seem. There are friendly people everywhere. Even in the most dangerous places, I have met wonderful and friendly people. There are bad people, too, of course, but a very small number, comparatively. The world is safe if you take precautions and use common sense everywhere you go. I was just in Afghanistan in October, and I always felt safe and never threatened.

It’s not true that a problem area is representative of an entire country. Again, a good example of this is Myanmar, but it could apply almost anywhere. We have all read about the terrible violence regarding the Rohingya people. However, that is isolated in the outer northwest of the Rakhine State, and Myanmar is a big place. If you are in the central, or southern part of the country, it couldn’t be safer. Focus specifically on where there are problems and simply avoid those areas.

As far as petty theft and crime, there are some areas of South and Central America to consider, mainly in the big cities and at night. Just use common sense as you would anywhere. I can’t stress that enough. I have never been robbed once on my travels (knocks on wood).

I’m sure it’s impossible to choose a favorite country, as each destination is unique. So, I’ll just ask you, Which country would you always return to if you had to pick?

For sure, Yemen. It is so unique. The architecture, the people, the landscapes. It’s a trip back in time. In Sana’a or the mountainous region, it is like you’re in the 16th century. I absolutely love it there. Socotra Island, with its bizarre endemic plants and strange landscapes, is like the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean.

We were there right before the war began. When the conflict is over, I’ll be back immediately.

Liberty Gate, Sana’a, Yemen. (Photo: Michael Runkel)

What’s next?

Back to Myanmar. After that, when my wife and kids head to San Diego, I will go on to India and Bangladesh, then up to far eastern Russia to travel the Road of Bones.

Thank you to Michael for speaking with me about his travels! To see more of his work from around the globe, visit his website, and follow him and his family on their travels through Instagram and Facebook.

About the author: Trey Bohn is a freelance travel and culture photographer based in New York City. A former White House spokesperson and current recovering politico, he now travels the world in search of interesting stories and experiences to document. For more, visit www.PhotoBohn.com or follow @Photo_Bohn on Instagram. This article originally appeared on PhotoBohn.com.

Western Digital out of NAB2020 “due to concerns regarding the coronavirus”

This was a quiet announcement from Western Digital in regards to NAB 202o on their website:

The health and safety of our employees is a top priority for Western Digital. Due to concerns regarding the coronavirus, we have taken the precautionary measure to withdraw from participating in NAB 2020.

This latest NAB withdrawal comes after AJA and Nikon both withdrawing this week. Western Digital had listed a booth on their NAB website so this probably took some thought. I honestly can’t remember the size of their booth in the past but since G-Technology is part of Western Digital it stands to reason this is significant for many as we love G-Tech’s products! Many booths will still have a lot of G-Tech stuff but it looks like the official presence won’t be around. There’s rumor of a couple of big vendors flirting with canceling their NAB plans but since we don’t have anything firm I’ll just leave it at that.


Photographer Captures Beautiful Photos of the World’s Only Known Pink Manta Ray

Underwater photographer Kristian Laine recently lucked into some stunning photos that are as rare as they are beautiful. While diving off the coast of Australia, Laine captured several photos of the world’s only known pink manta ray—literally a one-of-a-kind photo opportunity.

This elusive creature—he’s only been seen seven times since he was first spotted in 2015 by a dive instructor—shows up in the waters around Lady Elliot Island in the Great Barrier Reef for a couple of months every year. That’s the only place he’s been spotted, and it’s where Laine was freediving when he lucked into a sighting that has produced the best pictures of the pink manta yet.

“I had no idea there were pink mantas in the world, so I was confused and thought my strobes were broken or doing something weird,” Laine recently told National Geographic. “I feel humbled and extremely lucky.”

You can see a few of photos the photos that Kristian captured below:

Researchers with the group Project Manta have nicknamed the pink manta Inspector Clouseau—a playful homage to The Pink Panther—and thanks to Laines photography, manta Clouseau recently went viral, prompting features from National Geographic, Smithsonian, and even Forbes. But Project Manta has actually been studying Clouseau for years, and they’ve made some headway on figuring out why his underbelly is this unique shade of pink.

According to NatGeo, the researchers managed to grab a skin biopsy in 2016, which helped them rule out any issues with a skin disease or dietary abnormality. Their main theory as of right now is that Inspector Clouseau has a genetic mutation in how he expresses the melanin in his skin.

Whatever the case, Laine realizes that he’s incredibly lucky to have seen and photographed such a unique creature.

To see more of Laine’s beautiful underwater photography, head over to his website or give him a follow on Instagram, where the images above initially went viral last month. And if you want to learn more about the world’s only known pink manta, check out the news report below from 7NEWS Australia:

(via Australian Geographic)

Image credits: All photos by Kristian Laine, licensed for web use.

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