The On Field Media Project is an organization I started a couple of years ago that provides training in photography, videography and social media for small non profits so that they are better prepared to tell the ongoing story of the good work they are doing in the field. In the modern day, building a continual digital relationship between the organization and their supporters is essential. OFMP bridges that gap to give these organization the storytelling tools they need to continually share with backers, donors and allies. We also strive to see these organizations become self sufficient and non-reliant on pro photographers. Not to take any work away from the pro (there will always be work for the pro), but to empower these organization to begin to tell their own story in a powerful and timely way when they can. Continue reading
Every so often I like to post something just to inspire my readers. Especially if it is from a friend. When I saw this video produced by MediaStorm on Ami Vitale’s Facebook feed I new I needed to share it with you. I love the very first line in the video.
I don’t think one image can change the world. But I definitely think you make little cracks in the foundation.
I hope you will be as inspired as I was watching it!
This is a multimedia essay by Nate Watkins and myself. We have been working on this for months. We first approached this essay thinking we wanted to help preserve two dying trades among the Mamas in Penang, butchering and fish mongering. Through the process of making this we found out that, while we may have felt sad that these trades are dying out, this current generation is content to be the last. Their children are the first generation to become professionals among them. As a result of the time shooting these images and footage we have made lasting friendships with many of these men.
Check out more of Nate’s work HERE:
I usually don’t post on a Sunday. But, today I couldn’t sleep so I checked my FaceBook and found this posted to a group hosted my a former student of mine, Ruti Alon. I was moved by this. For several reasons. One was that it was so well shot. The videography is stunning. This has to have been shot with a 5D MKII, though I am just guessing. I am also impressed with it’s simplicity. No extra music bed, no narration, just ambient sound. Some might call it slow moving, but I think it fits the subject. I feel it is contemplative. The simple production reminds me of how “CBS Sunday Morning” with Charles Karault would end with a “Moment of Nature.” Here it is for you to watch and calm your spirit this Sunday morning.
Nektaria, this one is for you.
I’ve been preparing for a set of interviews over the last few weeks. The interviews are with prominent photojournalist. In preparing questions for them I keep coming across the same thought, “Where is photojournalism headed?” I know that this is a broad question and one that isn’t easy to answer. But there are certainly trends that we can follow. At least one trend is being led, or rather pushed upon us by the camera manufacturers. Video. We’ve talked about it here before. Is video really a trend that the photojournalist/photographer has to buy into? I’m not sure. But it certainly does seem to be where lot of journalists are going.
There used to be a term I heard growing up; Renaissance Man. It referred to someone who was knowledgeable in many areas. Are we needing a new term for a new type of journalists now? Renaissance Journalists? The journalist who can take a photograph, shoot video, write the story, edit the story, edit the video, edit and produce photographs and combine them all into a multimedia project on the net? I can see how this will save editors time and money. But, will it produce the best stories? Can we really be effective and in fact, excel at each one of those tasks? I think there are some people that might be able to, but they are a handful. Some of the most talented people I know can write and shoot photos. People like David duChemin, Joe McNally and a few others. But even David and Joe don’t shoot and edit video.
Are editors willing to invest in a project and that project produce long-term change or are we headed into fast food journalism? The down and dirty, the cheap and quick. I truly believe that journalism is where it is today because of financial decisions of the past. Newspapers and magazines were all about the bottom line and less about the story. If there is any Renaissance Journalists today it has to be Brian Storm. Brian is leading the way for a new breed of journalists. To be more accurate, it might be better stated, he is not creating a new breed, but reviving the old breed. MediaSorm, is company started several years ago is all about product and story and less about profit. Not that they don’t make a profit. In fact-he showing that solid product produces profit.
If Brian Storms model shows me anything, it’s that quality sells, but it takes time.
One of the participants on this latest Lumen Dei workshop had an inexpensive Nikon DSLR. This guy took amazing images with this low-end camera. He took his time, he developed his shot in the camera and then he took it. Yesterday, I got a tweet from some one who asked me what was the “best all-around easy-to-use DSLR under $2000 4 India travels?” My answer was it really doesn’t matter. Find a camera that you enjoy and can easily use. Then learn how to use it to take great images. It’s the photographer not the camera that takes the picture. And if the photographer is in a hurry or trying to circumvent understanding the process of creating a great image, then it doesn’t matter if they have an expensive camera. In the end, their images will just be mediocre at best.
So where are we headed? Full circle I hope. From the profit driven magazine back to the story driven media. Will it be video and still images? I am not sure. I hope it will be still and video photographers working together to bring the best and most moving story. Time will tell where the road is leading us.
For the past year or two I have been creating photo essays using only still images and some audio. Yet, I keep listening to photographers, well-respected in the business, telling me I need to get into video. This is intimidating for me. I used to work in video, years back. But, long since gave it up. Though my Canon 5D Mark II does shoot amazing video, even the thought of shooting it is way out of my comfort zone. On this trip to Sumatra I promised myself I would shoot some video. I did manage to get a few frames here and there, but I realized very quickly that video and stills photography are not an easy mix. It’s very hard to shoot video and stills at the same time. You almost need to set the time aside and shoot nothing but video. If you’re a still photographer like myself, you know how almost impossible that is to do. I literally think in still images. I attempted to retrain myself to think in motion. Yes, composition is very similar. But other things are different and it was a real struggle. That doesn’t even begin to talk about the huge learning curve with Adobe Premiere or After Effects. Now, I’m not saying, I’m going to give up shooting video. But, it’s going to be a slow road.
The other shooter on this trip, Nate Watkins is a natural with video. It seems to flow for him. Nate made the video above using some of my still images, some great video he shot with his Canon 7D and some audio we captured. For you techie people, Nate edited this quick and dirty in iMovie. He used a kit lens on the Canon 7D. The audio was captured using his Sony PCM-M10 the little brother to my PCM-D50. Nate got this on my recommendation and I think he would say, he was not disappointed. This proved to be an outstanding small recorder half size and price of the PCM-D50. To give the sound that extra little boost we used an Electro Voice RE-50b hand held microphone. What this mic did was to narrow down the audio field and thus minimizing the background noise, yet still maintaining a full, rich sound. I think you will agree the combination of audio, video and stills works well together.
Ok, had enough videos this week? Well, here is one more. Actually, two more. It is a single video that I edited into two parts to fit it on youtube. I think it is self explanatory. But the idea is to answer some basic work flow questions I have been getting by email. So I hope to keep making some of these basic videos that focus on the latest in Lightroom and Photoshop CS3 and CS4 (when I get my mits on it). Enjoy.
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