Adelie penguin at Brown Bluff, Antarctica. Canon EOS-1D X with EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X.
Hopefully some readers have seen the Tales By Light episode on the National Geographic Channel last Sunday night. And hopefully they enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed making it. Well, really all I did was wander down to Antarctica on Aurora's Polar Pioneer with Abraham Joffe, his wife Jen and second camera Blake Castle. They did all the hard work and then Abraham's team from Untitled Filmworks handled all the amazing post-production.
What I find fascinating is what other people select as their 'favourites'. This photo at Brown Bluff, for instance, was very popular with everyone during production and promotion. I produced around 50 finished images, most of which appeared in the program, but out of these 50 which I love, there are some that are more popular than others. Why?
With the Adelie penguin above, I could be criticised for having the subject bang in the middle of the frame, yet the chaotic background of icebergs and the pose of the penguin seem to hold it together. In fact, it's the positioning and pose of the penguin that makes the shot, with the penguin appearing to eye-ball the viewer.
This is pretty much a full-frame shot. I was using Canon's 200-400mm with its 1.4X built-in extender, which effectively gave me a 200-560mm zoom. This was taken at the maximum focal length and really, it's the perfect lens for wildlife as long as you don't mind the weight. I've also been playing with Canon's new 100-400mm zoom and, while not in the same league or price bracket, it is very impressive.
In the Tales By Light episode, produced in partnership with Canon Australia, Abraham and I were effectively shooting side-by-side as a number of penguins approached us from out to sea, jumping from iceberg to iceberg as they neared the shore. The advantage Abraham has with moving footage is you can see the icebergs rocking from side to side as the penguins jump along. The advantage I have shooting stills is I can focus attention on the penguin by tonally adjusting the image (darkening the surrounding areas). I know why photography is captivating, and I can also understand the same appeal for cinematography.
Adelie penguins at Paulet Island. Canon EOS-1D X with EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X.
It is difficult to say one photograph is a favourite. Unlike ice creams which come in a limited number of flavours, photographs are myriad in number and one's taste changes from time to time. However, this is currently my all-time favourite photograph taken from Antarctica earlier this year.
I was on a Zodiac with Aurora Expedition's Howard Whelan and Canon Master Cinematographer Abraham Joffe, just touching the stony shore. We were shooting for the Tales By Light episode. Not too far away, this Adelie penguin was contemplating a swim, but keeping an eye on us. However, he (she) was the only penguin at all interested in what we were up to.
The elements in the photo that I like most are the low camera angle, which means we're at the same level as the penguin and below the tops of the growler ice bergs in the background. I also love the blurred background. The blur turns a straight photograph into a work of art, purely because of the bokeh - the out-of-focus areas. They almost look like they have been hand-painted.
In terms of technique, the telephoto lens does all the work, but you need to focus on something relatively close with areas behind and in front of your subject to be blurred. If you focus on a subject near infinity, then there's nothing behind the focus point to be out-of-focus and the result just looks like an ordinary shot.
If you haven't caught Tales By Light yet, produced by Canon and National Geographic Channel, please tune in this Sunday evening. My mum says this will be the best episode of the six because her son is in it. We've currently seen four amazing episodes featuring Art Wolfe, Darren Jew and Krystle Wright. Following my episode on Antarctica, the following week Richard I'Anson will feature in an amazing piece on India and the Himalayas. Feedback (so far - I hope mine matches it) has been sensational!
So, please tune in on Sunday at 8.30 on the National Geographic Channel.
And if you'd like to visit many of the same Antarctic/South Georgia destinations this November/December, join me with Aurora Expeditions as part of a special photography group. For more information, visit www.auroraexpeditions.com.au or click here.
There's also a neat little online brochure which explains lots more - click here.
Aurora Expeditions invites you to an exclusive screening of Peter Eastway's visual journey through Antarctica with Aurora Expeditions, filmed as part of National Geographic's brand new series, Tales by Light.
Join Peter and Abraham Joffe to experience the magic of Antarctica and South Georgia on the big screen and hear their 'behind-the-scenes' stories of how the episode was filmed and the lengths they took to capture the perfect photograph.
They will also be on hand to provide their expert tips for photographing in the Polar Regions and to discuss their upcoming photography expedition to Antarctica and South Georgia. The screening is a must for anyone inspired by the natural wonders of our planet, including those who dream of visiting Antarctica and South Georgia.
Date: Wednesday, 1 July 2015
Time: 6.30 pm to 8 pm (doors open 6 pm)
Venue: QT Screening Room, 49 Market Street, Sydney
Tickets available to purchase at: http://e.mybookingmanager.com/E6160413314326
Beverages and snacks will be available to purchase.
Tales of Light was produced by National Geographic and Canon Australia and supported by Aurora Expeditions.
Miggo's Agua is a combination camera strap and weather-protected camera case.
Quite a few readers are keen seaside photographers, while others are not afraid to venture into the great outdoors. But what happens to your camera gear if it rains or there’s lots of sea spray?
Miggo has introduced a range of Agua camera bags that is designed to keep your camera gear safe. The Agua series is not waterproof, meaning you can’t put them under water. However, they will happily sit out in the rain for hours on end, keeping your camera dry inside.
The Agua is designed to hold a single camera and comes in three sizes. The sample we saw is sturdily built and well manufactured, although it won’t take a large lens on the front of your camera.
In essence it’s a camera strap which can hold your camera, or the strap can hold the Agua bag and you place your camera into the bag for protection. The straps have quick release buckles, so changing from one mode to the next is quick and easy. And, of course, you can still have your camera bag with you if needed for extra gear.
For more information, visit www.mymiggo.com
The tiny Lumix G7 will let you grab stills from 4K video footage. The trick is to ensure you have
a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the action, which may mean you don't have the optimum
speed for video quality. .
Panasonic’s G7 is pushing the 4K video market along and if as a stills photographer you’ve been wondering what’s in it for you, the answer may lie in capturing the action.
A 4K video has a native resolution of 3840x2160 pixels on the G7, which is around an 8-megapixel image. While this isn’t huge, a lot of the images we use don’t need to be large posters and the 4K size is more than enough. Especially when you look at how the G7 will revolutionise the way you capture moments and action.
Think of it this way: turn the camera on and let it capture 4K video. When something interesting happens, stop the video and scroll through what you have captured. When you find a frame that you like, save it as a JPG!
The Lumix G7 has three 4K stills modes. 4K Burst keeps shooting 8-megapixel images for as long as you keep your finger on the shutter release. The 4K Burst S/S (Start/Stop) mode lets you shoot video normally, but extract any number of stills afterwards. And the 4K Pre-Burst mode has the camera recording a second before and after you press the shutter button, so if you didn’t nail the action perfectly, you have another 60 frames to choose from.
The G7 is showing us yet again how technology is going to help us take amazing photographs that have been very difficult in the past. Think of sports photography or even trying to capture lightning! The G7 body only is $899 or you can purchase it with one or two kit lenses at different price points up to $1499. For more information visit http://www.panasonic.com/au/consumer/imaging/lumix-g-cameras.html