Posts Tagged ‘Gear’

My thoughts about the new Lytro Camera

Thursday, October 20th, 2011
Chinese border guard at Nepal -Tibet border © ExposedPlanet.com Images, all rights reserved
Russian Soldier on Red Square, Moscow © ExposedPlanet.com Images, all rights reserved

Russian Soldier on Red Square, Moscow. With Lytro you could focus on the blue baret instead. But what's the point?

Something exciting seemed to happen in photography land. What if you could decide on the focus of an image afterwards?

That sounded like crazy, but Lytro used some existing technical possibilities for a new way of looking at light. They posted some flash movies where you can click on an out of focus part of an image which automagically would refocus on that spot.

Or least it appeared so.

For several months the photographers around the world were made curious: what would the camera be, would it cost $20,000? What could I do with these images? Which lens system will it use?

This week the announcement was made: the Lytro camera is out and for sale for $399 (8gb storage) or $499 (16bg storage).

From their press release:

Unlike conventional cameras, the Lytro light field camera captures all the rays of light in a scene, providing new capabilities never before possible, such as the ability to focus a picture after it’s taken. The pocket-sized camera, which offers a powerful 8x optical zoom and f/2 lens in an iconic design, creates interactive ―living pictures‖ that can be endlessly refocused. The camera is available in two models and three colors, starting at $399

It is clear from the comments on the Lytro blog that many if not most potential users have been very disappointed.

I also got the pre-order email (with a non-working link/code), which would give me access to pre-order the camera, which would be shipped in spring 2012. But then I started to look at the specifications and specifically the lack thereof. Let me make a list of positive and negative points about the new Lytro Camera as I can see them now: (more…)

Holy man at Pashapatinath Temple, Kathmandu. By Harry Kikstra, on ExposedPlanet.com

The good people at SmartPress asked me for an interview and it is now up at their website. As it contains some of my thoughts about photography and ideas for starting photographers, I thought it would be a good idea to post it here as well.

Thanks to Sean for his friendly words in the introduction:

Recently we had the pleasure of interviewing the very talented and seasoned photographer, Harry Kikstra. Harry has a very good eye when it comes to taking pictures, and all of his photos make me want to get away and explore other continents and the beauty that is contained within them. I absolutely love images of other cultures, with their vibrant colors, textured skin tones, and most of all, to see how other cultures live. Harry’s photography is very close to something you would see right out of the National Geographic magazine, such beauty and depth captured along with strong human emotions! Check out the interview below which contains a TON of Harry’s work. Thank you again for your time Harry, and your valuable input for our readers! Keep up the great work!

*All images are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced in any form without permission from the photographer*

 

tibetan kids in love

tibetan kids in love

Who am I?

Harry Kikstra, a climber/expedition leader/ photographer/ filmmaker/ producer/ writer/ public speaker/ cyclist and many other things that have to do with sharing the beauty of the outdoors. I just turned 40, have climbed the 7 continental highpoints, cycled 25,000km across the Americas and have travelled a lot and will not stop soon, though originally I was based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

I share my photography irregularly on the photo-blog ExposedPlanet, http://ExposedPlanet.com which just has been relaunched, together with a blog (http://blog.exposedplanet.com).

I have started it not just to show my portfolio and sell my art, but also to share the wonders of the world, both nature and culture, to counter the fear-culture and xenophobia. See http://exposedplanet.com/about/ for more backgrounds and reasoning for the site.

I also run BikeTravellers (http://BikeTravellers.com), a free community for travelling cyclists. One of the blogs on the network is my own journal, http://WorldOnaBike.com, which contains thousands of photos from my recent bicycle trip through the Americas.

My main project/income however is 7summits.com (http://7summits.com):  my website about the highest peaks of the 7 continents. You can book trips, find info and much more. I also just co-started a new and huge initiative to replace costly and dangerous kerosene lamps by solar-powered LED lamps, see http://illuminationhq.com.

 

Tashi Dzom Angels in Tibet on Royal Enfield bikes

Tashi Dzom Angels in Tibet on Royal Enfield bikes

What kind of photography do you do? Do you enjoy it?

I am mostly a travel photographer, with a sharp focus on Nature and culture. As I am a climber, I have specialized in mountains and love to share the beauty of nature, but I also really enjoy capturing culture and portraits, especially of children around the world.

What’s your gear? (type of camera and most used lens)

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No Photo at the Nepal - Tibet border

(this was originally part of this post on ExposedPlanet.com photoblog)

Here is an older post, but with some helpful Online Shopping tips, that might help other photographers.

When looking for availability on the new and long anticipated Canon Eos 5D, Mark II (or mk ii, mk2, mark2 etc), which had a MSRP of $2700, I noticed some very good deals, even up to 35% lower than the suggested retail pricing at a shop called Shop Digital Direct. It even came up on some of the price comparisons sites!.

No Photo at the Nepal - Tibet border

No Photo at the Nepal - Tibet border

I know that some retailers make a lot of money and some smaller companies that do not send out huge brochures, import their own stuff and can be able to deliver electronics considerably cheaper. Still the first thing I did was to check this store, called Shop Digital Direct, on the great website Resellerratings.com.

The company that offered the great deal had gotten an average of 0.55 consumer rating, out of a maximum of 10! If you browse through the reports of past, scammed clients here, it appears that everybody who buys things here get scammed, usually using one of the following methods:

Usual Scam Methods of online photography shops

Bait and switch: they promise a cheap product, but you have to order online and then call to confirm. On the phone, they tell you that you will need to buy the battery, manual, battery charger, lenscap software separately, usually for up to 5 times the regular price (and the items should have been included in the price anyway). They will create stories about how the lens or battery is not top quality and you need to ‘upgrade’. if you do not want any of the items they force on you, your ‘in stock’ order suddenly is on backorder and can stay so for weeks… if you do get pressured in, you will suddenly pay $4000 for a $2700 camera with all that is already included.

Credit Card fraud: They will actually charge you even more than agreed, even after the ‘upselling’ as per above. Always check your credit card statements, as basiscally you give them unlimited charges on your card. Many clients of these stores also have rported that suddenly their CC was abused, so likely these criminals simply sell your credit card details to other hoodlums. (more…)

10 Travel photography tips from ExposedPlanet

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010
Street kids in Taschi Dzom, Tibet

(This was originally a part of this post on ExposedPlanet.com, see also the comments there)

I was asked to make a top 10 list of photo tips, focused on Travel Photographers.

So here are some basic and travel-specific pointers. Many have been uttered by fellow shooters and some might seem too obvious, so use them as deemed necessary! As every photographer is (fortunately) different, this might not be useful for you, but for others this might help :)

Makalu from 3rd step on Everest

Makalu from 3rd step on Everest

1) Know your gear: not just the functions of the body but also the lenses. Know which lens has the sharpest focal range for a specific aperture etc. but you should also be aware that your sensor is dirty, so you know not too shoot F22 :)

In the end knowing your gear will save you time as you do not have to fiddle with the settings and try different lenses as your subject will be long gone baking chapatis. You will get better pictures as you will know the gear you use will be suitable for the job.
Also: know your editing software, at least the basics. Some deleted shots (or shots not taken as you thought that the light was wrong) might have turned out perfect once optimized with levels or contrast.

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