Photography, video, image making and creativity

Archive for March, 2011

Mount Everest: The Top of The World Reprised

I find it fascinating to wander through my life-time of images. It is through these photographs which essentially measure my life and fundamentally define who I am.

One of the most exciting and interesting stories I did for the NGS was for the 100 year anniversary issue – Exploring the Earth. The National Geographic and the Boston Museum of Science invested 10 years in defining and creating commitments to allow the overflight of the top of the world and given that one-half of Everest is in China this was a touchy and difficult negotiation. I was lucky enough to have been the one to do the image making. Two aircraft were utilized: a Swiss Pilatus Porter turbine engined small plane, and a Lear Jet from Sweden that was especially outfitted for oblique image making as well as map making. The project was many months in the process and a fantastic experience. It was exciting and dangerous.

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Canon 5D Mk ii, Canon 7D video and stills


(click on the image for enlargement)
A year ago I was in a discussion with the president of my son’s University (Quest Canada) about the nature of their website. In my kindly and generous way I said I would fix it pro bono. Whoa… too generous but a commitment had been made – a huge job and a year later but it is done. The connection here is that the entire project, the videos, the stills were all created on these two Canon cameras. There were almost 40 videos and over a thousand stills. The quality and ease of use of these tools was and continues to be astonishing.

I stayed away from all the add-on tools that one can buy… I had an assistant part of the time but the imagery was created often on the go without a lot of pre-planning. I used the cameras’ monitors to focus and the sound was brought into the cameras as well (there are noise issues but it has more to do with the air conditioning and other mechanical “gray sound” in the background and I didn’t have the time or inclination to do something about it given the time constraints). Tools do not make great images or film obviously and I am not suggesting that this is great work. What I AM suggesting is that the tools were easy to use as always, substantial in terms of ergonomics. I never had to worry.

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