I AM NIKON Blog

 

Photography is changing at a rapid pace. Geo-tagging images and Wi-Fi on the go- these are just some features that are common today but would have been unthinkable just a decade ago. This got us wondering: “What might the world of imaging look like in decades to come?”

To find some answers, we collaborated with the Future Laboratory to get opinions and insights from experts, academics, authors and scientists working in the field of photography.

Their answers helped identify five key trends which we’ve gathered in our ‘Future of Imaging Report’. In the coming weeks, we’ll share four blog posts covering these in detail, starting with the first concept: contextualised cameras! 

 

Future of Imaging Trend 1: Contextualised Cameras

Capturing your reality

How often do you come home from vacation only to be disappointed by your photos? The scenery you captured looks unfamiliar. A local fisherman you photographed looks different than you originally intended. Instead of vivid colours and warm sunlight you get bland scenery and a washed out sky. Nothing that you felt when taking the photo is conveyed in the image.

A new generation of sensor technologies could make this scenario a thing of the past. Your camera will be capable of analysing the environment and matching it to the emotion you’re trying to get across. They will adapt to the situation you photograph and enhance the colours, tones, exposure and contrast based on your intentions.

Emotion at the heart of the image

Picture yourself photographing a surfer catching the perfect wave. You’re excited, and your heart is beating faster just before pressing that shutter button. Cameras in twenty years time may be able to pick up on these emotions and convey them in your image. For instance, the picture of the surfer will have brighter colours, sharp focus and higher contrast levels. It will show the intensity and excitement you felt at that very moment.

cameras that feel emotion, cameras that read emotion, powerful photos, emotional photos, dynamic vacation photos, dynamic images, the future of imaging,

Future cameras could detect your emotions and convey them in their images.

A quiet scene, such as your family relaxing on a beach, will turn out differently. To reflect your calm mood, the camera will readjust to a softer focus and warmer white balance. Once you take the shot, images can be posted directly to social media using your camera. It will even suggest hashtags based on the ambience and the subjects it recognises.

This ‘contextual functionality’ will increase control over your camera. It will allow you to better convey your feelings and share moments just the way you’ve experienced them. Next time you get back from vacation, your images will make you feel as if you were right back on the beach, taking that perfect shot.

Interested in finding out more about the future of photography? Our next blog post looks at all sense imaging.  You can read the full report here.

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Winter can be harsh and unforgiving…but there is no doubt that it creates a stunning backdrop for photographers.

We asked Swedish freelance photographer Johan Stephan for his tips on shooting in the depth of winter. His recent photo shoot was all outdoors in Norrland (the north of Sweden) in -23 degree weather.

Nikon D800E, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VRII, winter, Johan Stephan, Sweden, winter photography, shooting photos in cold weather

 Nikon D800E with a AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II // Settings: 112mm, ISO 450, 1/200 Sec, f /6.3, © Johan Stephan

 

His first tip is the most important: “Dress warmly,” he says. “But make sure to wear comfy clothes. You have to be able to move properly. You might have to get down on your knees or even lay down for a shot. You don’t want your clothes to be too bulky and stiff then. Use gloves that will let you work without taking them off.”

Nikon D800E, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, Johan Stephan, www.johanstephan.com, winter photography, photography tips, Sweden, taking photos in cold weather

Nikon D800E with a AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II // Settings: 116mm, ISO 280, 1/200 Sec, f /6.3, © Johan Stephan

Another good tip against the cold that he picked up from his children’s school is to wrap your feet in plastic bags before putting your shoes on. That way if your shoes become wet, your feet will stay dry.

He stresses to keep your equipment to the bare minimum and make the best with the gear that you bring. “Are you really going to change lenses in this weather? Is your tripod easy to use with gloves? Me, I decided every morning before I left which lens to go with that day. I think that I get more creative when I travel light with just my D800E and the lens attached to it.”

“Speaking of gear, always bring extra batteries and keep them in your inner pocket as close to the warmth of your body as possible, the cold will drain them otherwise (just as with your phone).”

Nikon D800E, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, Johan Stephan, www.johanstephan.com, winter photography, Sweden, photography tips, shooting in cold weather

Nikon D800E with a AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II // Settings: 200mm, ISO 110, 1/200 Sec, f /2.8, © Johan Stephan

Concerning shooting, he says, “Many photographers advise to overexpose since the snow makes it hard for the camera to tell the right exposure when shooting in snowy conditions, however I did the exact opposite this time… I felt underexposing gave me the start files that I wanted. But next time I might do the other way. Just do what works for you.”

Finally, don’t forget to bring something warm to drink, some food to eat and tell some friends were you are heading.

When you arrive back at home, leave your camera in the bag until it reaches room temperature again. This way, you can avoid condensation buildup in and around the body and lenses.

Thank you Johan for the tips!

You can see more of Johan’s photography at www.johanstephan.com.

Nikon D800E, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, Johan Stephan, www.johanstephan.com, winter photography, Sweden, photography, shooting in cold weather

Nikon D800E with a AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II // Settings: 105mm, ISO 100, 1/250 Sec, f /2.8, © Johan Stephan

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Clark Little’s distinctive photography of waves breaking on the stunning beaches of Hawaii have established him as one of the foremost innovative photographers out there today.

Each of Clark’s intensive shooting sessions require more than just his intuitive eye for a striking image: whether it’s finding the best time of day, preparing for the demanding physical conditions or assembling the best kit, every iconic image is the result of a highly intricate process. Here is an excellent example of Clark’s ability to capture this perfect blend of time, location and a specific subject in one image.

Here, we get behind the scenes with Clark and discover the unique approaches he’s developed to make his images truly different.

Optimising settings and features

Clark’s ideal time for a shoot is in the early morning, when the Hawaiian light makes the surf and sand explode with colour.

Clark’s accessories are a key part of what makes him such a unique photographer, allowing him to experiment with a vast range of lights, colours and depth with every shot. Each session starts with a ritual that prioritises rigging up a flash (an SB910) with his Nikon D800, making sure the ports are made for 60mm fisheye lenses. Clark also licks the waterproof housing of each camera before he starts; an important preparation as saliva stops water droplets from the sea sticking to the lens.

The last thing he does before making those strides into the surf is to make sure all of his settings are correct and suitable for the conditions of the day. A key component of this is ensuring RAS is enabled to store images in black-and-white, gray-scale and colour to any pixel depth, rather than simply defaulting to JPEG. This allows Clark to experiment with a huge depth of colour, long before he sits down in his studio to edit the day’s work.

Although Clark has fine-tuned his approach with the benefit of years of experience, he makes a point of retaining the same go-to settings that he started with and sticking with them. When it comes to shooting dynamic wildlife like dolphins or whales, he starts experimenting a little more with the shutter speed and ISO levels to try to develop the scope further, and accessories, including a 10-inch waterproof dome surround and more, it’s all about staying ahead of himself and pushing the boundaries of his creativity.

When it comes to capturing the perfect wave, Clark gauges its speed as it builds up in order to capture as many frames as possible as it breaks; both he and the camera need to be primed and ready for the optimum moment that’s over in an instant. “You can see it and visualise it, but you are not sure if you got it on the camera, so, once you put the chip inside, download it, zoom in 100% and check it all, making sure there’s no water spots…. the feeling is insane [when it comes together],” he says. Take a look at this example of an image that was taken at the optimum moment in a physically gruelling setting, from Clark’s Instagram account.

Finding the perfect shot

Each shoot isn’t simply about having his equipment and settings aligned perfectly; it also comes down to an intuitive understanding of the gruelling, but beautiful environment he works in. “You’ve got to be in shape, you’ve got to be able to hold your breath, you need to know how to move your head out of the way in a split second without having your head taken off,” he says.

Working around this requires serious preparation, a process that Clark is constantly refreshing. The very nature of his subject is dynamic, but he’s always searching for the next change to make him different: looking for where the sun is going to drop, the changes in the water clarity, the backdrop of white sandy beaches – always looking for something new and fresh.

Interested in seeing more of Clark’s unique approaches to getting the perfect shot? Find out more about his work, kit and tips here.

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With little more than one cup of coffee at 5 am to fuel him, Clark Little dives into the Pacific Ocean day after day in search of the perfect wave- not to surf, but to capture on film.  For Clark, wave photography is more than just a profession; it’s his life.

His distinctive trademark photos of curling waves that wrap glassy limbs around the glowing sunrises and sunsets which shine over this corner of paradise twice a day have won him the admiration of fans all over the world, and the envy of anyone who dreams of living the good life on the north shore of Hawaii.

But it wasn’t always so.  Just eight years ago, when Clark was working at the Wahiawa Botanical Gardens, his wife brought home a picture of a shore break to hang on the wall of their home. Clark, then a seasoned surfer, knew that he could take the same caliber of photo, if not an even better one. He bought a Nikon D200 and waterproof casing, and hit the waves to capture his unique view of the world from inside the barrel of a wave.

And so a photography star was born.

sunrise, dawn, beach, shore, Hawaii, Clark Little, floodlight

‘Floodlight’ by Clark Little was taken at dawn right after the sun rises above the horizon. Photo © Clark Little.

Now, eight years later, Clark has carved a name for himself as one of the world’s most distinctive photographers.

“It’s all about loving the water, loving the waves, and having a passion for photography,” he says. Check out his work here

Searching for something different in Clark’s world means waiting for mother nature to produce a sunset that is just the right shade of red, orange and yellow matched with the pull of the crystal clear water reaching up to the sky before it coils and rolls, crashing back down onto the white sandy beaches that decorate the island.

But it’s not as easy as floating on the surface and watching the sky transform.  Shooting in the midst of a 15ft wave is not for the faint-hearted.  Powerful rips and strong currents make Clark’s photography a dangerous exploit, with some waves chewing him up and spitting him out in 10 seconds, and others holding him underwater for up to 15 seconds.

'There's a thrill and little bit of fear. I'm knee deep, looking into this cave of water, trying to position my hand as steady and level as I can and then I'm hitting the trigger as the wave is getting close -sometimes 20, sometimes ten, sometimes five feet away, and I'm shooting from two to ten to 12 frames.' - Clark Little  Photo © Clark Little.

‘There’s a thrill and little bit of fear. I’m knee deep, looking into this cave of water, trying to position my hand as steady and level as I can and then I’m hitting the trigger as the wave is getting close -sometimes 20, sometimes ten, sometimes five feet away, and I’m shooting from two to ten to 12 frames.’ – Clark Little
Photo © Clark Little.

The rewards, however, are worth the effort.  “If you’re afraid, you’re not going to get that heavy shot,” he explains.  Fins, a long sleeve rash guard, and unfaltering bravery in the face of huge waves are mandatory ingredients for anyone chasing the prefect photo from within the spin cycle of nature’s washing machine.

Chasing the prefect wave also requires patience and persistence.  To capitalize on the ’10 minute golden hour’ that offers up the best conditions for shooting a sunrise or sunset, it is imperative that Clark has his kit in order and selects the optimum camera/lens combination for the shot he envisions. Listen to Clark as he talks to us about his work here

It goes without saying that waterproof housing is a must, but for other shots he packs the following:

Shot: A Big Shore Break

The Nikon D4 offers the speed Clark needs to keep up with the water cascading around him, and the 10-11 frames per second (versus, for instance, the Nikon D4s) allows him to capture as much action as possible before sneaking out of the back of the wave after it breaks.

The 10.5mm fisheye lens is his preferred lens for capturing breath-taking shore side images as it offers him the widest angle possible to snap a huge barrel, including the lip crashing, the sand sucking up the floor beneath him, and the backdrop of the mountains.

clark little, shorebreak, waves,  photography, nature

‘I have seen people break their arms, legs and even necks from the force of these shorebreak waves.’ – Clark Little. Photo © Clark Little.

Shot: Tumbling Ocean Swell 

To capture ocean swell and the exotic wildlife that Hawaii has to offer, the Nikon D800 is compact enough in size and light enough in weight to allow Clark to get super close to the turtles, dolphins, and sharks (yes, sharks!) that he shares his home with.

Back in the editing suite in his garage, the 38.3 megapixels that the Nikon D800 offers means that he can still crop his work and end up with very high image quality.

wave, photography, blue, clark little, Hawaii

‘A lot of people who’ve never surfed or even gone into the ocean love these photographs. I’m happy to be able to share my love and passion for the beauty I see.’ – Clark Little. Photo © Clark Little.

 

Shot: Nightshots

To shoot at night, Clark uses the Nikon SB-910 speedlight to illuminate the barrel of a wave from the inside, sending shockwaves of light through the glistening clear water like the luminous current in a jellyfish.  “It’s spooky,” he says, which is often the feeling reflected in the photos.

Above all else in Clark’s work, there is a real sense of dedication and passion in his portfolio.  Not content with simply being a professional photographer, Clark injects his life, his home, his enthusiasm, and his overriding sense of gratitude and respect for nature into every one of his images.  The combination of that perfect swelling wave coupled with a rich backdrop of buttery yellows and lively reds under an endless sky overlooking paradise makes Clark’s images almost seep out of the screen.

“If I woke up and this was my dream, I’d be like, wow that was cool, I wish it was real…but it is!” he remarks.  Chasing his dream and making his work and his passion part of his life are what has made Clark’s photography something truly different, and truly special.

Looking for more from Clark? Get the full scope of Clark’s work, kit and pick up tips while you’re at it here

 

 

 

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Every two years, Cologne goes photo crazy.

Photokina, one of the world’s largest events in photography takes place every two years at the Koelnmesse in Cologne. It’s an international event that brings together photographers and filmmakers in one glorious celebration of everything imaging based. Eight days of discovery, education, fun and great memories.

For Nikon, this year was fantastic, and we thoroughly enjoyed seeing so many people join us at the Nikon stand. Whether you were a professional trying out the latest D810, or a photography fan having fun with the Interactive Light Box, or a professional coming to get your cameras cleaned by our onsite team, or just interested in The Future of Imaging… Nikon had it all.

The five presenters for Nikon at Photokina 2014

The five Nikon professional photographers sharing their tips and best practices to fans at the Nikon stand at Photokina 2014

On stage, we had five of the world’s most inspirational professional photographers sharing their passion for photography with special talks and presentations. Athlete and action-addict Ray Demski, former snowboarder-turned-professional photographer Marcel Lämmerhirt, and adventure photographer Lucas Gilman, gave insights and tips on getting great action shots. Corey Rich made jaws drop as he spoke of his emotional and visually stunning journey behind The Making of Dedicated, while fine art and fashion photographer Miss Aniela added a touch of glamour to the occasion as she revealed the creative process, and hard work, involved in capturing some of her most striking portraits.

An example of the action shots Ray Demski is known for. At Photokina Ray gave Nikon fans the low-down on how he achieves his world acclaimed images.

An example of Ray Demski’s action shots. At Photokina, Ray gave Nikon fans the low-down on how to achieve these.

All the speakers spent time with fans after the presentations, answering questions and offering advice to photographers wishing to further develop their skills. And then it got serious. Corey and Lucas challenged each other to a Western-style shoot out during one of the breaks, putting their speed, agility and (to a lesser extent) photography skills to the test – who do you think won?

At the heart of the Nikon booth was the Interactive Light Box, where visitors could have their photo taken from above, with the image being projected onto a choice of backdrops. Whether they decided to ‘sit on a skyscraper’ or ‘climb the mast of a sailboat’ the image was projected across a ceiling canopy of LCD screens and could be downloaded from the Nikon Life website.

And, if you spotted a Facebook friend walking a tightrope across a waterfall, look again! We set up a vast optical illusion outside the Koelnmesse South Entrance to capture people striking a fun pose as they pretended to cross the waterfall. Naturally, all-round action hero Ray Demski took it to the extreme with a one-handed balancing act, while Marcel perched on the rocks to shoot his acrobatic display.

Action photographer Ray Demski shows us his daring handstand.

Action photographer Ray Demski shows us his daring handstand.

These were just a few of the many highlights from Cologne. We can’t wait until next time. Thank you to all of the Nikon fans who came and helped make it a truly great experience. If you missed out on this year’s spectacle, you can watch a selection of videos from the event on our Youtube channel or find us on Facebook.

See you in Cologne in 2016!

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Kim Pimmel’s Compressed 02 timelapse photography project reveals the beauty of bubbles and nature.

In his day job Kim Pimmel is a senior UX designer for Microsoft, outside of this he is also a photographer. A photographer who likes to experiment with colour, textures and light.

In one of his projects called Compressed, Kim investigates the photographic effects of liquids and bubbles. He challenges viewers to see something deeper in the ebb and flow of an intricate network of bubbles. His work explores and creates hypnotizing images, making bubbles a natural phenomena that feel far from real.

Kim Pimmel’s work embodies endless experimentation, fueled by a fascination for the organic flow of patterns, textures and nature’s prophecies. A subject matter reserved for the ever curious, Kim’s Compressed series is a concoction of the “mundane” with the strange.

Perhaps some will connect Kim’s work with sci-fi overtones, a modern reflection of the fabled 2001, A Space Odyssey sequence. “Compressed 02”  harnesses the power of the unusual and unseen, and is equally unnerving in a manner that is hard to look away from. The music Kim composed lends its hands to this, exuding an atmosphere that is alien. Kim believes that building the soundtrack while editing allowed image and audio to come together in the strongest possible way.


Compressed 02 from Kim Pimmel on Vimeo

Not only does the series revolve around experimentation, the process of filming was a series of trial and errors. Kim was first forced to play around with the quality of bubbles before even introducing the chosen black liquid. “The black liquid in the film is ferrofluid, and this is essentially tiny metal particles suspended in fluid, so it is naturally attracted to magnets. The black sphere in the film is a small magnet, which pulls the ferrofluid towards itself. But not all the motion of the ferrofluid was done through magnetism – most of it was actually done using the natural capillary action of the bubbles.”

Shooting all the scenes using a macro lens was a must, however Kim didn’t have one to start with. He resorted to taping a medium lens backwards in front of a Nikon nifty fifty, a home-brew lens that “got the job done” but lacked aperture control. Finally, he decided to buy an AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D lens, which proved most effective. Yet even with the new lens, the difficulties of focusing on the moving object and the unpredictable nature of fluids movements was challenging. In total he captured 375,000 shots with his Nikon D90.

His DIY ingenuity didn’t end there: “With Compressed 02 I was still using stop motion techniques – shooting still frames and combining them on the computer. The advantage to this was that I got close to 4K resolution footage using only my D90. I also made my own intervalometer, which meant that I could capture scenes as close to real time as possible.”

These powerful and mesmerizing images that Kim creates do not only describe beauty in unpredictable interactions, but also in how the viewer reacts to such abstract imagery. Where one person finds comfort another may feel fear and urgency – and that is the power of nature, Kim says.

You can follow Kim Pimmel on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kpimmel
His photographic work is on Flickr: http://bit.ly/1tlWeQO
And his videos are available on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/kimpimmel

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