Ghosts of the Arctic Behind the Scenes DJI Footage

My good friends Abraham and Dom over at Untitled Film Works have shared some of the extra drone footage we shot during the filming of Ghosts of the Arctic.  Cut together specifically for DJI, Abraham also talks about some of the challenges we faced during the making of the short film as well as techniques and ideas he used to obtain certain key shots.

Wild and Scenic Film Festival Creston 2019 Features Ghosts of the Arctic

Join the Creston Valley Branch of Wildsight for the 5th annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival, an evening of outdoor adventure, at the at Prince Charles Secondary School Auditorium on Sat. Feb. 2, 2019. Show starts at 7pm. Door prizes galore. A variety of films featuring stunning cinematography, exotic adventure, and sometimes frontline activism are to be shown—there is something in nature for everyone. The Wild and Scenic Film Festival visits over 150 locations on its North American tour, entertaining and inspiring viewers to make the world a better place. Here is the line-up of films:

1. Ghosts of the Arctic

Follow the grit and determination of polar photographer Joshua Holko as he traverses the frozen landscape of Svalbard, in the high Arctic, to encounter polar bears on foot. Taking place during one of the coldest periods in the last few years, the crew suffered frostbite and camera failures during the filming process. The aerials featured in the film do great justice to the stark beauty of the arctic landscape.

2. Return from Desolation

For Garrett Eaton, a remote and rugged section of the Green River called Desolation Canyon is more than a river; it is a place that brought him back from the brink to reclaim a life he almost lost. At his core, Garrett is a river guide, but his story doesn’t start here. Returning to the wild rivers and canyonlands of his youth, Garrett found true freedom. With each pull of the oars, Garrett reclaimed his faith, his sobriety and most importantly — his family.

3. Love of Place

When an invasive species plant threatens to take over a beautiful desert river, an obsessive park ranger sets out to kill it

4. Irreparable Harm

The Tlingit people have called the vibrant coastline of Southeast Alaska home for over 10,000 years, and continue to practice a way of life intimately tied to the ocean and the largest remaining temperate rainforest on earth. Now, contamination from industrial mining is threatening the safety of the wild food sources that make Alaska so unique. Irreparable Harm gives powerful voices to the Alaska Native communities and conservation groups standing up to protect the cultural and ecological values that make this magnificent marine ecosystem an irreplaceable treasure.

5. Wildlife and the Wall

Filmmaker Ben Masters (Unbranded) goes into the heart of the Big Bend, the last true wilderness in the state of Texas, to consider what effects building a border wall might have on wildlife dispersals, migratory corridors, and access to the Rio Grande, the only water source in a harsh desert environment.

6. Life Coach

When conditions became unfavorable for a first ascent of Alaska’s Ruth Gorge, Alex Honnold turns the camera on Renan Ozturk for a strangely beautiful discussion about life’s big questions.

7. Lost in Light

Lost in Light is a short film on how light pollution affects the view of the night skies. Shot mostly in California, this piece shows how the night sky view gets progressively better as you move away from the lights.

8. The Curve of Time

Due to climate change, ski seasons will be markedly shorter by 2050. Lower elevations will receive significantly less snowfall. Professional skiers Greg Hill and Chris Rubens peer into the future and have a conversation with their future selves, contemplating the sobering forecast and the impact their thirst for adventure has on the very environment that sustains and fulfills them. With an eye on the clock, they launch themselves into an experiment: can they each remain committed skiers while significantly reducing their carbon footprints?

9. Rupununi: Fight for El Dorado

In the late 15th century, Sir Walter Raleigh set out on an ill-fated quest for El Dorado, the lost city of gold. Today, biologists are uncovering what the indigenous people of Guyana have known all along – that Rupununi is a place of untold riches, not only in minerals and oil, but in unrivaled biodiversity. Thanks to well-orchestrated efforts from indigenous communities and conservation biologists like Dr. Lesley De Souza, the Rupununi has the potential to become Guyana’s largest protected area (3 million acres). See this incredible landscape through the eyes of Macushi elders as they fight to protect the forests, rivers and seasonally flooded wetlands from unchecked development and habitat destruction.

10. My Irnik

A young father teaches his son about the value of shared adventures, exploration and his ancestral Inuit heritage.

11. Chasing Wild: Journey into the Sacred Headwaters

Three friends set off on a 400km bikepacking and packraft expedition – pedaling through vast boreal forest, paddling frigid whitewater, battling monster trout, outrunning a grizzly – through the heart of the sacred headwaters in northwestern British Columbia, birthplace of three critical salmon rivers, and home to the Tahltan people. In the wake of the devastating Mount Polley Mine disaster, the team’s goal is to understand what is at stake as a wave of new mines are developed across this remote corner of the province.

BenQ ScreenBar e-Reading Lamp

Over the last week since I returned from Antarctica I have been testing a clever new product from BenQ called the ScreenBar e-Reading Lamp. In a nutshell the idea of ScreenBar is to reduce eye strain by softly lighting the screen and surrounding area without introducing any glare. Although the design concept is extremely simple, the problem ScreenBar tries to solve is actually quite complex and has been tackled in various forms and with varying degrees of success by different manufacturers over the years.  This is the first time however, that I have seen a solution that offers not only a soft dimmable glare free light, but that also offers colour temperature control, auto dimming and is powered solely by USB.

Wether its working late hours, watching online videos, extensive word processing or any other kind of non-critical colour work a task light can help reduce and even prevent eye strain. When we sit in front of our computer we look directly into the monitor and our eyes are subsequently affected by the reflected glare. This where the ScreenBar changes the game. The video below show just how simple and easy it is to set up and install ScreenBar.

Personally, I spend a lot of time in front of my computer dealing with email, websites and general running of a business (not to mention time I spend processing and printing photographs) and as a result I often suffer from eye strain after extended sessions in front of my display. To be clear, I don’t use the ScreenBar light when I am editing, processing and printing my photographs, but I have been using it extensively for all my other computer work and I really like the way it eases eye fatigue. I also love the simplicity of the design, the ability to dim the light, set a colour temperature and power the entire device from just a single USB port. Currently I have the Screen Bar installed on my BenQ 4K monitor and a second unit on my iMac.  For general day-today computing needs I have found I prefer to have the light on all of the time and am only turning it off for colour critical work and printing work. In short, I have found significant reduction in eye fatigue with the ScreenBars and I am therefore keeping both lights (although I am going to have to order a third as my son has already stolen the one from my iMac for his own computer).

Screen Bar Key Features

Auto Dimming. Optimal Brightness Instantly: Thanks to the built-in ambient light sensor, ScreenBar adjusts the brightness level automatically and instantly. It can be manually dimmable with the touch sensor control as well.

Space Saving. No Lamp Base, More Desk Space: A specially designed clip makes the attachment onto monitors easy and stable. No need for screws or tape that damage monitors. The clip fits any monitor with thickness from 0.4” to 1.2” (1 to 3 cm).

Screen Bar is available to purchase from Amazon the following countries: (these are not affiliate links)

US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B076VNFZJG

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07GGVNXSW

DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B0785D93KD

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B076VNFZJG

JP: https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B07D7PDF8L

Collecting Prints and Your Photographic Legacy

If it isn’t printed; it isn’t real” I am not sure who first coined this phrase but I find it extremely apt and very true. In a world where millions and millions of digital files are consumed and discarded at light speed across all manner of social media platforms there is something very comforting about the ‘permanence’ and life of the printed image.

Unlike digital files, prints are not just consumed. They are admired, treasured, valued, respected and adored. The true beauty of the print is in its longevity of life. And I am not talking about print permanence, but in how much joy and pleasure it brings to the viewer during its life on the wall. How many of you can remember that great photograph you saw on social media last week? I’ll bet no one. Our brains are programmed to instantly consume it and start looking for the next meal.

The truth is, the digital file we so voraciously consume online is nothing but a poor facsimile of the fine art print. It is swallowed whole like a giant fish consumes a sardine and we move on looking for the next meal; often before we have even taken the time to appreciate what we just ate. By contrast, the print is enjoyed slowly over its lifetime on the wall. It is savoured as new flavours are discovered with each viewing. The print maybe a financial investment for some, but in my case (at least in my own collection) its purchased purely for its beauty and not for financial gain.

I have been collecting prints for many years now and my collection includes some quite big names in the game as well as many lesser known photographers whose work I admire and respect. Some of my collection I purchased, some I inherited and some I swapped with other photographers. I have also given prints to other photographers whose work I admire who are not printing but I believe should be.  Not everything in my collection is framed and hung on the wall (I simply don’t have the space), but a great many are and in this way I can enjoy them on a daily basis.

Prints in my collection range from as small as 6” x 4” inches to as large as several meters. The size of the print is not important; what is important to me is that its printed and that what I am looking at is the photographers final vision for their photograph.

I have written before on many occasions how I never feel like I have truly finished with an image until I have made a print. The print being the final art object and the final embodiment of my vision for the image.  The truth is it goes much deeper than that for me though. The print is not only the final art object, it is the physical manifestation of my vision. When I purchase or swap a print from or with someone I am obtaining their final vision and the ultimate embodiment of their work.  It is the ultimate output and the final expression. The digital file is just one stage of the production process and really isn’t the final output. In fact, its nothing more than a stepping stone to the final print.

I believe the print is also the photographers legacy. Speaking for myself, when I am gone from this mortal coil (when I end up in the ink maintenance cart) its the prints I have made that will live on and not my tens of thousands of digital files that reside on ageing digital media that are more than likely going to end up either formatted and re-used, or simply otherwise discarded. If you want your work to survive (bearing in mind nothing lasts forever) then I urge you to take the step into printing. Not only will you create a legacy, but you will discover a whole new joy to the photographic process.

Skylum Software Announce Luminar 3 with Library Module

In some exciting news for all those who despise Adobe’s cuthroat subscription model (myself included) – Adobe is finally about to face some real competition in the digital asset management (DAM) space as Skylum software bring to market Luminar V.3 complete with a DAM Library tool. The new library panel turns the already acclaimed photo editor into a one-stop imaging solution, allowing amateur and pro photographers to intuitively import, organize, edit and publish images with unprecedented ease and efficiency. The real key to the success of this new library module will be the potential capability offered to existing Lightroom users to easily and quickly migrate away from Adobe.

PRESS RELEASE – BELLEVUE, WA – December 6, 2018 — Today, Skylum Software announced the availability of the next version of Luminar, their award-winning photo editor. Luminar 3 will start shipping to customers on December 18 and adds the ability to organize and edit multiple images simultaneously with the new Library panel. This addition transforms the photo editing software into a comprehensive, all-in-one imaging package.

Luminar 3 is a sophisticated image editor and library, which uses artificial intelligence to allow anybody, working with digital images to make better photos with intuitive and time-saving workflows. Luminar 3 makes processing, managing and editing photographs quicker and easier than with conventional software packages.

“This has been a long-anticipated update as our users were keen on a fast library function that works with their existing folders. We never replicate what’s already on the market, but look for new approaches to make our app as fast and easy to use as possible. And this is only the first of many far-reaching updates, so stay tuned.” says Alex Tsepko, CEO of Skylum.

The new Library panel is the result of years’ of research, analysis and interviews with a wide range of photographers. Skylum optimized the Library panel for speed and efficiency, responding to long-standing complaints by photographers that existing library options were cumbersome, cluttered, or impractical.

The Luminar library is a highly customizable image catalog that makes browsing, rating, and organizing a joy. Users can easily see a beautiful image wall that works with existing folders on their hard drive, connected devices, and synced cloud storage. There’s no need to re-import images, simply selecting a folder adds it to Luminar where pictures can be viewed, color labelled, rated and edited. Photographs are also automatically organized by capture date— all features that make it quick and efficient to find and sort images. Changes are made in real time in the original folder, keeping files and the hard drive organized as effortlessly as possible.

Luminar 3 also allows photographers to sync their editing adjustments. Any change made to a single image can easily be applied to a selection of files, which is useful for photos taken in similar settings or when a uniform style is desired. Syncing works extremely well thanks to Skylum’s unique Accent AI and AI Sky Enhancer filters which use artificial intelligence to analyze and fix image problems. With these features, a number of images can be adjusted simultaneously, saving the photographer time and effort.

The new Luminar 3 will be available as a free update for all the users of Luminar 2018 and will include multiple free updates as they build out a fuller set of photo management tools and more time saving artificial intelligence features. More information about the future update is available at https://skylum.com/luminar/roadmap.