This most recent overseas assignment took me to Taiwan, Japan and China. Lecturing on the craft of cinematography on board the Silver Shadow, a luxury ship operated by the Italian cruise ship company Silversea, based out of Fort Lauderdale in Florida. The talks for guests centre on my work as a cinematographer, particularly in the field of documentary. From time to time I shoot short sequences at various locations and screen them at my lectures.
A clear day in China is rare. This short video shows a stunning sunrise unfolding during our slow sail up the Huangpu River to arrive near the centre of the city of Shanghai. Packing a Sony A7R Mk2, I chose a Sony PXW-X70 recording in 4K DCI to shoot this piece and edited it with FCPX.
Anne Barker is doing video journalist training with me in North Sydney. She is a reporter with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and a former ABC foreign correspondent covering events in the Middle East and Asia.
Anne spent from April 2009 to July 2012 in Jerusalem reporting on the Middle East region. She is an experienced reporter by any measure. As a part of this camera training, I have devised a number of practice assignments, shooting with a Sony PXW-X70 video camera. It's been a great week - her video photography is coming together nicely.
We have some additional sessions planned for early 2016
Journalist Tim Lester has recently finished a solid block of video camera training with me here in Sydney. Since 2014 Tim has been with the Seven Network's political team in Canberra covering federal politics from Parliament House.
Tim is the former political bureau chief & online political editor for Fairfax. He is also a former foreign correspondent for the ABC and has covered events while living in Sydney, Melbourne, Washington, Bangkok, Hobart and Launceston.
As one of Australia's most experienced journalists with a career spanning three decades, Tim has worked with some of Australia's best news camera operators - he also has a great eye.
Home again, this time from Punta Arenas in the south of Chile and I'm feeling that warm Sydney summer sunlight. I have completed a three week journey to South Georgia and the Antarctic peninsular on board the Aurora Expeditions ship, Polar Pioneer. South Georgia is a British overseas territory in the southern Atlantic Ocean. It is a remote and inhospitable collection of islands, consisting of South Georgia and a chain of smaller islands known as the South Sandwich Islands. It is 165 kilometres (103 mi) long and 1 to 35 km (1 to 22 miles) wide and is by far the largest island in the territory. It was my first visit there and was an incredible experience.
I joined the expedition as a cinematography lecturer and mentor along with renowned Australian photographer Peter Eastway. My 4K video was recorded with Sony cameras fitted with Sony, Zeiss and Canon lenses. Sony A7R Mk2, Sony A7R & Sony RX100 Mk4 cameras and Sony 70-200mm, Zeiss 16-35mm, Zeiss 55mm f1.8 & Canon 400mm lenses. Some of the images below have been extracted from the 4K video footage.
My One-on-One camera training continues into 2016
I will be in Sydney for the next few months and happy to take bookings for One-on-One training sessions in January, February and March. My next shooting and training assignments take me to Thailand and Vietnam in March 2016. Email for further information on One-on-One and Small-Group training.
Sailing in the waters around South Georgia Island and Antarctica, the unexpected will happen. It's the nature of an expedition cruise. My recent excursion to Cape Horn was a great example. As its sole resident, the Chilean naval officer and lighthouse keeper stationed on this wild windy place doesn't get too many casual visitors. This is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile and it's a treacherous, dangerous place.
Few ships call by for that reason. Aurora Expeditions ship the Polar Pioneer was in the right place at the right time - we were able to go ashore by zodiac in the relative calm of late afternoon to make that long climb to the top of the island. Conversing in my travel Spanish, I had a nice chat with the navy officer who allowed me to take his photo beside one of the few structures on this remotest of places.
These SBS cadet journalists have for the past days been attending my Sydney Video Journalism training course. While they may not have the wish to ever shoot feature films or documentaries, they do leave with the video and audio skills to enable them to shoot a news story when and if required. But who knows where video camera skills can take them? Nice to meet you (L to R) Rachael Hocking, Lydia Feng, Abbie O'Brien & Will Mumford.
We wrapped up the training quite late yesterday in Sydney’s uncomfortable afternoon heat. This morning I’m flying to Santiago Chile, to start my next training stint - an 18 day photographic expedition to South Georgia and Antarctica.
I have been invited to join renowned Australian photographer Peter Eastway for an exclusive photography expedition cruise sailing through the stunning landscapes of Antarctic and South Georgia. With just a few places still open, I’d like to extend an invitation to join me on board our 18-day Scotia Sea Springtime voyage.
To tempt you, Aurora Expeditions is offering my facebook followers and LinkedIn contacts a generous, last minute 25% discount.
To visit Antartica is an unforgettable experience and November may well be the best time to go. Develop your skills through a program of photography and video story telling lectures and workshops on board the 54-passenger vessel Polar Pioneer. With so much to see; birds, waves, clouds, shorelines, icebergs and sometimes pack ice, I’ll be there to guide you.
Learn new camera skills, polar photography tips, video story-telling and editing techniques on this trip-of-a-lifetime. Download a brochure with all itinerary, dates and pricing. I was interviewed about the expedition by Aurora.
There is a common push to require television journalists to shoot there own video stories. It's the changing face of journalism in Australia and around the world. My task is to train them to do this in the best way they can. Siobhan was in Sydney last week to brush up on her video photography skills. Expect to see Siobhan's images on ABC News in the near future.
October 2016: Wrapping the assignment in Bhutan and India this week, my eyes turning soon to my next assignments in Antarctica and South Georgia. In between, I will be working in Sydney with my One-on-One training bookings.
Here are some of my favourite photo moments from India and Bhutan.
Back home from Goondiwindi Queensland. I've finished six solid days of training in video camera, camera movement and lighting for Wayne Pratt Photography. Wayne is a is a leading freelance photographer based in Goondiwindi, Queensland. He has made a major investment into cinematography by purchasing the best Black Magic camera equipment available.
Thanks for the invitation to visit your beautiful and peaceful part of the world. I'll now be preparing for my next shooting assignment starting later in the week - India and Bhutan.
Marg and Steve Hogan have completed four days of bespoke training here in North Sydney. They started Red Moon Creative in 2004 and from their base in Bathurst they've built a reputation as one of the leading graphic design/communication studios in regional NSW. They love doing what we're doing and it shows. Their enthusiasm and appetite for learning all went to make my work with them a pleasure. They are also aways up for a laugh as you can see.
Network Seven cadet journalists, soon to be video journalists, have just completed a solid first day of video camera training in North Sydney.
July 2016: I am spending much of July working in the United States. This time I'm filming with one of my favorite directors, Bill Bennett. This will be a feature documentary for cinema release and it tries to understand what intuition is, where it comes from, how to tap into it so it can use it in everyday life. It is an amazing story and you can follow Bill's detailed blog for a round-up day by day.
Our list of shooting locations is spectacular. Dallas, Springfield Missouri, Los Angeles, Big Sur, Mount Shasta and a number of other west coast locations. We are covering this sector of the shoot by road, driving from LA to the far north of California and into Oregon. This particular three week shoot wraps in Chicago after a brief side trip by road to Toronto via Niagra Falls.
I will be conducting my training with One-on-One clients in August. Equipment used for this assignment:
• Sony PXW-FS7 4K • Zeiss Loxia 35mm & 50mm f2
• Sony T* FE 16-35mm f4 zoom • Sony T* FE 24-70mm f4 zoom
• Sony 70-200mm f4 zoom • SONY 28-135mm f4 zoom
Freelance writer and editor Neil McMahon and myself have had an absorbing three days. Here at PDV Digital Cinema, I’ve taking Neil through an intensive video journalists camera and lighting course. We are now editing the footage shot over the last few days.
Neil McMahon is a widely respected freelance journalist and author who has covered politics, war and more trivial pursuits in Australia and abroad since 1985. He is a regular writer for the Melbourne Age and the Sydney Morning Herald.