Wednesday, June 28, 2017

What’s in Your Camera Bag?

5:51:00 AM

Camera Bag

First things first, you should have a camera bag that fits your needs and style of shooting. Not everyone is going to need a behemoth backpack that can be used as a multi-day pack. Some may need just a shoulder bag. For me personally, I prefer the traditional camera backpack. There are a lot of different camera bags, some are indeed better than others. Do your research prior to choosing your bag as the features of the bag can allow you to carry exactly what you need, plus extras.

One thing that I always kept in mind when looking for a camera bag, is the option to store a tripod directly on the back of the pack. This allows for an even distribution of weight which makes the pack much more comfortable.

Standing over a cracked mud playa in Death Valley with my Clik Elite camera bag. Note the little pouch at the bottom of the bag to store the tripod feet directly on the back and strap the top of the tripod itself. An important feature for my personal needs.

Camera Gear

Lenses

What is a camera bag without the camera gear inside? As a landscape photographer, I’ve found that there are really only three lenses that you will likely use (of course, creativity may find you with much more than three). These lenses range from a typical wide angle zoom (16-35mm or equivalent), a mid range zoom (24-70mm), and a medium telephoto zoom (70-200). Usually, this range is between 16mm and 200mm, but you can choose a much wider lens and a much longer zoom range. Depending on the camera bag you own, these items should easily fit into your pack. Some bags have specific areas to store the camera gear itself and allow other storage areas for non-camera related gear. Keep in mind, that one of these lenses is usually already attached to your camera, so it is more than likely you have space for another one, perhaps a macro lens.

Batteries and Memory Cards

Aside from our camera and lenses, it is always wise to keep a handful of extra batteries and memory cards on hand. Most camera bags have little compartments to fit these smaller items as well as to keep them organized. A memory card case can also come in handy so you don’t have those CF or SD cards just floating around.

Flash

While I don’t use a flash as a landscape photographer, some others may want to keep one in their bag especially if they shoot portrait or low light scenes where the extra light can come in handy.

Filters

You may also want to keep a number of filters in your bag. Anything from a circular polarizer to neutral density filters can come in handy to get that perfect shot. Some filters also require special filter holders, so make sure you keep the holder in the bag at all times so you can actually use the filters.

Other Photographic Equipment

A remote or intervalometer also comes in handy for those long nights and time lapse scenes. During the summer months, I keep a lightning trigger on hand in case I find myself photographing those incredible afternoon storms. Lens cleaning cloths – either lens wipes or micro fiber cloths – frequently come in handy and are small enough to fit into the tiniest compartments. A rocket blower and lens pen are also nice to have in addition to the lens wipes. We have to remember to keep our gear clean in the field!

In places like sandy slot canyons, lens cleaning tools are essential to keeping as much sand and dust out of your gear as possible

Non-Photographic Equipment

Often when out in the field, there are many non-photographic items that are needed to make the best of your time shooting.

First aid kit – This should be a no-brainer. But I’ve run into people who’ve had to borrow items out of my pack (another great reason to keep one). Small tweezers and Neosporin should be part of this kit. Also, make sure the contents inside have not expired.

Comb – I also like to carry a comb in my bag. This is mostly for wandering around cholla gardens in the desert, but you also never know when you need to look sharp.

Small pack-able jackets – These are great if you are out late and find yourself getting a bit chilly. Many mid-weight down jackets pack into themselves which saves some space.

Gloves – Depending on the season, a pair of gloves may be handy along with a beanie or balaclava (face mask).

Headlamp – Since I am mostly up before the sun and out after it has set, a headlamp is needed to make sure I can see where I am going in the dark.

Snacks and water – I always have these stuffed into my pack; sometimes more than I need in case of emergencies.

Sunscreen – With the amount of time spent in the sun, sunscreen is a must and is easily packed away into the smaller compartments.

Tools – Small Allen wrenches or hex keys for your tripod and base plates also come in handy and are small enough to pack no matter how much you jam in there.

Business cards – I also happen to carry a handful of business cards in my pack. Often times when I am in relatively busy locations and people see me with my gear, they ask if I am a professional. It always results in handing out a card and potentially making a new client.

I was glad to have packed an extra jacket, wireless remote, headlamp, and tools to make this a comfortable shoot. (Death Valley National Park)

Ok…It is your turn. Feel free to share what you carry in your own camera bag in the comments below.

About Author Peter Coskun

I am a professional photographer based out of the Sonoran desert of Arizona. I've been fortunate to explore and wander the southwest for the majority of my life. Having grown up in the suburbs of Philadelphia as a child, I wasn't quite familiar with the outdoors or nature for that matter. Aside from flipping through Nat Geo magazines during class, I wasn't sure if any of this stuff actually existed. After moving across the country to the desert I soon found myself exploring the desert landscape. I became fascinated by the flora and fauna as well as seeing the rugged mountains for the first time. Soon enough, I picked up a camera and began to document my explorations. I began to look at the scenery in a different way, studying how the light and weather worked with the landscape. It became more and more enjoyable for me, and one day someone asked to purchase a print. As they say, the rest is history right? I've been fortunate to have my work printed in such publications as Arizona Highways Magazine and Digital Photo Mag UK as well as many online publications.

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This is What I Learnt on the Days I Spent With a Committed Photographer

5:04:00 AM

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Getting to know and share ideas with Gervasio Sánchez may have been one of the most important and nurturing experiences that I have had in terms of photography. He is a Spanish Photojournalist with a fierce passion for documenting the truth. He visited our country to present the 3rd publication of his project “Vidas Minadas – 10 Años” (Mined Lives – 10 Years) where includes photographs of a fellow Salvadoran that was injured from a landmine in our civil war. He spent three days in our country and gave 3 lectures during that week for a sum of almost 10 hours of informative photography discussion.

As well as portraying the most vulnerable protagonists of the horrors of wars, he has followed them for many years, photographing and providing updates on the lives of those who remained alive. It was not difficult for me to see the true commitment that Gervasio has which is a real commitment with people who have experienced great misfortunes. He treats them with love and respect. This nature cannot only be felt in the way he speaks, but also by looking at his photographs.

During his continuous visits to the places that have been struck by human violence, he looks for answers which are rarely satisfied. I remember him speaking about one tragic event he witnessed in which a girl who was only 81-days old died after an attack to the civilians in Sarajevo. Every time he has the opportunity of visiting this place he brings her flowers because nobody else brings flowers to her grave. This showed me the great level of commitment that a photographer can actually have for things that go beyond documenting and informing. This is the dignity that countries need and Gervasio fiercely defends it to restore all the wounds that wars leave behind.

In Sarajevo he took pictures of the early injured Adis, a young man who suffered a lot thanks to an antipersonnel mine. Thanks to the efforts made by Gervasio and the media that works with him, Adis has been able to get access to several surgeries that have had a positive impact in his life. This kind of involvement is a constant recurrence in Gervasio’s life as he really cares about people and experiences like this make him a unique person indeed.

He is interested in telling stories through his photos as closely as possible. With experiences and examples like these, I have a better understanding of Capa's famous phrase “If your pictures are not good enough, you are not close enough”. This referred to not only the physical proximity of the photographer to the subject at the moment but also the emotional proximity. Through this, he highlighted the importance of gaining the trust of the subjects of our photographs.

With his lectures (and after-talks over beers), I learned many important things that have boosted my inner self and my vision of the world. With him, I learned that wars don’t end even when Wikipedia says they do. I also learned many other great things that cope clearly with truth and that I want to share with you.

Gervasio Sánchez and Me

Wars don’t end when the Wikipedia says they end

Wars end when the wounds of the war are completely healed. When all the missing people are finally recovered, dead or alive. The agony and the grief transition to a different state and closer to what we human beings could know as serenity or peace.

Everything has been documented

And since this is very much true, research is the key for approaching any subject. Every subject could have been done already, but with prior research you’ll be able to document everything with a different and unique perspective.

Photography can change the destiny of victims of war

With the testimony of Adis, I can conclude that photography can help people who experience misfortune get access to certain things that may be not material but will definitely improve their quality of life.

Victims can be portrayed with heart and soul

Many of the photographs in the book “Vidas Minadas – 10 Años” show people who have made their lives great even after tragedies with land mines.

Reading is everything and gear is irrelevant

He loves to read. Thanks to this, he is more informed about things that are happening around the world. And his position towards gear is simple, he doesn’t give cameras and lenses any more importance beyond being a tool of work.

Two important works that we can see from Gervasio are Vidas Minadas (Mined Lives) and Desaparecidos (Disappeared). These two long-term projects are centered on two edges of the atrocities of war with the eyes and soul that only his approach can reproduce.

Vidas Minadas is a tribute to all the victims of the landmines and to the people who have fiercely been fighting to achieve landmine  prohibition. This work shows in a subtle way, without any ostentation or exaggeration, the most powerful anti-war images of our time. He has been documenting the life of 12 landmine victims for more than 10 years, and he plans to continue this registry until his last days.

For Gervasio the subject of those who have disappeared is perhaps the most important to document. He understands that the unknown destiny of these loved ones are a frequent source of distress for those who continue to wait for them. This refers to his ideology around historical dates and statistics. Wars don’t end when a date is made official in history, wars end when people find their missing ones, alive or dead.

If you are able to understand Spanish, you can see this documentary that was made in Spain. And even if you cannot understand Spanish, why not watch it to get a better grasp on Gervasio’s work?


Gervasio, thanks a lot man for sharing your vision and for being a truly committed photographer with an admirable way of telling the stories of our world.

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28. Juni 2017

4:04:00 AM

Das Bild des Tages von: Ben Gun


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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

But a mermaid has no tears

10:01:00 PM

Ein Beitrag von: Nadja Ellinger

Schon lange wollte ich mal ein Großprojekt starten, mich wirklich ausgiebig mit einem Thema beschäftigen und es in Ruhe ausarbeiten, ohne das Gefühl zu haben, etwas „vergessen“ zu haben. Die Idee dazu kam von einer befreundeten Künstlerin, Aloisia Köhler, die mir ein Gedicht über eine Meerjungfrau vorlas, das sie verfasst hatte.

Schnell erwuchs daraus der Wunsch, ein ganzes Konzept zu erstellen und fotografisch umzusetzen. Wir spannen eine Zeitlang herum, sandten uns gegenseitig Moodboards und Ideen zu. Bei der Umsetzung konnte Aloisia dann leider aus persönlichen Gründen nicht mehr dabei sein, aber ihre Ideen und Gedanken waren beim Projekt immer präsent.

Da ich aber Konzepte am liebsten als Team ausarbeite, holte ich mir recht schnell Mika mit an Bord. Ich hatte sie vor Jahren, als ich mit der Fotografie anfing, als eine sehr kreative Hair- und Make-Up-Artistin kennengelernt. Da wir inzwischen schon einige Shootings zusammen durchgeführt hatten, wusste ich, dass wir absolut auf einer Wellenlänge sein würden und so war es dann auch.

Eine Frau mit Schuppen

Was mich am Thema der kleinen Meerjungfrau so gereizt hat, war zum einen das Märchenhafte. Schon als Kind liebte ich Märchen aller Herren Länder und die etwas düsteren mochte ich besonders. Die kleine Meerjungfrau nach Hans Christian Andersen fand ich insofern besonders spannend, als dass sie ein klares Ziel vor Augen hat: Unendlichkeit, Unsterblichkeit. Dafür nimmt sie alles auf sich, lässt alles los, was sie kennt. Diese Sehnsucht nach etwas Unbekanntem, die Suche nach Bedeutung und dem Sinn fand ich sehr faszinierend und nachvollziehbar.

Zum anderen finde ich die „Unterwasserwelt“ spannend, da sie unscharf ist, keine klaren Konturen kennt, das Licht ist eine ganz eigene Gestalt dort unten. Dies wollte ich durch lange Belichtungszeiten, Schattenspiele und natürlich tatsächlichen (Unter-)Wasseraufnahmen visualisieren. Die Kompositionen sollten recht simpel mit einem nahen Naturbezug sein, den Malereien der Romantik ähnlich.

Zudem wollte ich nicht die äußere Handlung des Märchens fotografieren, sondern mehr die innere. Dazu war mir wichtig, viel sowohl mit Gesten als auch mit Symbolik zu arbeiten.

Eine Meerjungfrau auf FelsenEin Mädchen mit Angelhaken durch dder Lippe

Umsetzung

Um die richtigen Orte zu finden, bin ich an den Wochenenden die bayerischen Seen abgefahren und wurde fündig. Nachdem ich feststellen musste, dass der Königssee einfach zu überlaufen ist, habe ich, mehr spontan, noch einen weiteren See erkundet, der einfach ideal war: Am Hintersee waren viele Felsen und es war recht wenig los, obwohl er fast schon kitschig im „Märchenwald“ liegt.

Meine Musen hatte ich auch recht bald zusammen. Neben dem andersweltlichen, zerbrechlichen Look war mir vor allem wichtig, dass alle sich mit der Story identifizieren können. Mika hat dann die Flosse auf Latex extra angefertigt, da ich keine kitschig-bunte Meerjungfrauenflosse wollte, sondern etwas sehr Reales, Hautfarbenes. Allgemein sollte der Look die Ambivalenz zwischen Zerbrechlichkeit und Stärke verdeutlichen.

Eine Frau mit Krone liegt auf einem Schoß

Manche Bilder waren vorgeplant, andere entstanden aus der Situation heraus. Ich war bis dato ein rechter Analogneuling, da ich aber unbedingt diese ganz bestimmte Unschärfe haben wollte, habe ich mir aus der Universität eine Nikon ausgeliehen und für die Unterwasseraufnahmen günstig eine Nikonos (analoge Unterwasserkamera) auf Ebay ersteigert. Um die Grenzen weiter zwischen Realität und Märchenwelt zu verschwimmen lassen und auch, um den Betrachter*innen Interpretationsspielraum zu lassen, wurde offenblendig und mit längerer Belichtung fotografiert.

Zwischen den Shootings habe ich mich immer wieder mit meinem betreuenden Professor getroffen, der mir viel Input geben konnte und bei dem ich auch gezwungen war, meine Gedanken zu ordnen und zu erklären. Die entwickelten Filme habe ich dann in der Universität selbst gescannt. Auf alle Fotos wurde ein einheitlicher Farblook gelegt und stellenweise habe ich gröbere Bildfehler entfernt, ansonsten sind die Bilder relativ unbearbeitet, um eben die analoge Optik nicht zu zerstören.

Das Buch

Von Anfang an stand für mich fest, dass ich ein Buch machen wollte, kein klassisches Fotobuch, sondern mehr ein Märchenbuch mit Bildern statt Texten. Deshalb war auch für das Layout wichtig, dass nicht nur der Klang der Bilder auf den Doppelseiten zueinander stimmte, sondern dass auch die Reihenfolge, in der das Märchen erzählt wird, stimmt. Dazu habe ich mir die Fotos in klein ausgedruckt und so oft auf meinem Wohnzimmerboden herumgeschoben, bis ich mit dem Ergebnis glücklich war.

Für das Cover wollte ich einen Lasercut machen, sodass, wenn man das Buch im Sonnenlicht aufschlägt, der Lichteinfall durch die herausgelaserten Buchstaben an Licht, das sich im Wasser bricht, erinnert. Außerdem wollte ich schon immer den Laser Cutter unserer Universität ausprobieren. Mit einem Papierbohrer habe ich dann die Löcher ins Buch gebohrt und mit einem dicken Garn das Ganze im Stil einer Japanbindung genäht. Dann musste ich noch einmal die Seiten nachschneiden und das Buch war fertig.

Fazit

Für mich war das Projekt sehr lehrreich: Zum einen, weil ich noch nie ein größeres Projekt analog fotografiert habe und allein technisch schon sehr viel lernen musste. Zum anderen war es eine ganz andere Herangehensweise, sich ein ganzes Jahr lang auf ein einziges Thema einzulassen. Es fängt an, sehr viel vielschichtiger zu werden, aber manchmal hat es mich auch einfach nur genervt, sodass ich eigentlich etwas anderes machen wollte.

Ich bin froh, dass ich dran geblieben bin, ein Jahr lang mit einem tollen Team ein großes Projekt auf die Beine stellen konnte und jetzt alle ein Buch davon haben.


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Time Trap Photography is dedicated to freezing those special moments in life that can be revisited and admired for generations to come. - Shannon Bourque

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