-18.11.2015- It’s interesting to realize how your own ideals of photo editing change with time. Recently I went through my storm chasing archives and noticed the look of the photos was quite different compared to what I prefer today. Basically I felt the old pics were too contrasty. Is this change a result of personal growth or unconscious mimicking of trendy photo editing styles, that I don’t know. In any case, currently I prefer flatter style. Here are a few photos I shot when chasing the Tapani Storm. I revamped them closer to my current liking.
Boxing day 2011 – The Tapani Storm Deep low pressure developed in Atlantic Ocean and raged through Norway and Sweden. In Norway the storm was named Dagmar and it was said to be one of the strongest of all time. Winds gusted there almost 45 m/s.
26.12.2011 the low pressure reached the coast of Finland and still produced exceptionally strong winds. In Kaskinen wind was measured 28,5 m/s and strongest gusts at
35,8 m/s. Winds like this occur once or twice in decade in Finland, said meteorologist Juha Tuomala according to Helsingin Sanomat newspaper.
So, how different were the photos before and now? Not that much really, but one can see a difference. There’s a chance you’ll like the first edits better. In the end it’s a matter of taste. Here’s an example.
8.7.2012 I was drivinghome after a busted storm chase, I stopped by the dock and saw this bench which just didn’t fit in the scene. I thought it would make a nice image. All I needed was someone sitting on the bench. Since no-one was around I sat there myself.
Just when I sat down, I realized it had been raining the whole day. Very refreshing… and then I repeated it seven times to get it right.
Kuusamo <> Little Bear’s Ring (Part I) is all about Myllykoski rapids at River Kitkajoki.
A few words about choosing the editing style. At the moment there are basically two kinds of editing styles, slow and fast, which appeal to me. That didn’t make much sense, right?
Let’s dive a bit deeper. When I say slow, I mean something like Italian neorealism https://vimeo.com/68514760 or the long takes Tarkovsky used for example in Stalkerhttps://youtu.be/hUHBgqx8YP8?t=1h2m37s. You might think tranquil cuts and long takes would be perfect for lyrical landscapes in northern hemisphere. But… Yes, there is a but.
Actually there are a couple of buts and the biggest butt (pun intended) was my shooting style. Most of the footage was shot handheld or with camera on the tripod. I wanted to travel light and that’s why I had as little gear as possible with me. If you want to deploy slow takes when editing landscape related film, in my opinion, you need steady majestically flowing footage. Something filmed with flying camera, slider, or some sort of a gimbal (like the latest of my favourite gadgets I can’t afford: Osmo with X5R camerahttp://www.dji.com/product/osmo).
When you ponder the concept of slow style further, you soon realize that the long ”Stalker-like” takes would be utterly boring when filming landscapes only. You would really need a dialogue to make it work or a scene where there’s a lot happening.
Luckily I’m a friend of the fast style also. Requiem For A Dream was released in 2000 and it had a profound impact on me. The visual style was something new to me https://vimeo.com/35706561. There were fast paced cut’s like this: https://youtu.be/0rz9VEDeZcw?t=37m20s and a selfie video done pre-selfie era (I know that’s no proper word): https://youtu.be/0rz9VEDeZcw?t=1h15m22s. It was all most mesmerizing. The style of Requiem For A Dream has since been integral part of my visual arsenal.
Last time I saw this fast style used in an amazing way, was when I stumbled on Visual Japan Diaries made by Birdo The Birdhttps://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLdOu0Q4dITBJ-ziuLSg-zITN4UMfhlj0i.
Do you see the influence of Requiem For A Dream? Of course you do! Also, pay attention to sound design. Now, watch one of the Japan Diaries without sound. Huge difference. Never underestimate the importance of solid sound design.
These were few of the things I considered before editing. Of course I didn’t implement all the fast style elements the way I described before, but certainly you can see some influences. If you compare my work to Visual Japan Diaries, you might say my style is incredibly slow. And when we’re talking of sound design you have to understand one thing. The Myllykoski rapids is flowing in the immediate proximity of all the shots. That’s why all you hear is basically loud white noise.
One more thing. Please forgive me for using terms fast style and slow style. I’m sure there is a proper name for them, which I’m not aware of.
8.4.2015 – The weather forecast said it would be a stormy day. I thought I would have a perfect opportunity to shoot some photos down by the seaside. So I went to Kallo, which is a little rocky island by the Pori coastline (location on map). You can drive there through a narrow neck of land.
After I got to the location I thought it would be better to shoot video after all. I ditched the tripod because I wanted to be able to move fast and smoothly when needed. So I attached variable ND filter, pistol grip camera handle for better ergonomics, RØDE VideoMic and wivi VF-3 DSLR view finder thus transforming my 5D mark III to a run and gun video camera.
Of course there will be some shakiness when shooting handheld. Great help is the EF 24-105mm f/4L lens with image stabilizer and the warp stabilizer effect in Adobe PremierePro.
First I went to the wooded part of the tiny island. The wind was not so apparent there, but you could here the roaring sea nearby. I grabbed few shots in the forest, which I thought would work well in the beginning of the video. Then I headed to the shore. Soon the lightly salty baltic sea water started to dribble on the ND-filter. I was afraid it would cause a permanent damage, but luckily it didn’t. In the edited video a few shots are kind of fuzzy because of this.
The last take is a timelapse sequence shot with TB3 and motorized slider. The wind speed was around 20 m/s and I knew it would cause some trouble. I chose to go with the idea I had despite the challenges. I wanted to use shutter speed of 1/6th of a second to get some controlled motion blur. Because the camera and the TB3 combination had such a big wind resistance, I knew there was no way to avoid unwanted shakiness and uncontrolledmotion blur. Fortunately the issues could be fixed in post to some extent.
I’m no boater, but a boat should not be stored in the water during the winter, right? This was the case when I found myself in a small boat harbor by the river Kokemäenjoki. The river was frozen and the scene was quite picturesque. I thought this was a perfect place to test my new motorized timelapse slider and planned to revisit the next day. In the evening I checked the weather report. They actually predicted the next day would be one of the coldest of that december so far.
My intention was to shoot night to day timelapse with Holy Grail technique ( https://vimeo.com/57265142 ), so I needed to be in the location very early. I had a good plan, but implementation was not up to par. Basically I was late and adjusting the timelapse gear took longer than I expected, although there was a good reason for that; Temperature was near -20 °C . Even little things tend to be hard to do when your fingers are turning blue.
Although it was freezing, the motorized slider and all the other equipment worked quite nicely. Even the battery for the TB3 and the slider’s stepper motor lasted just fine. I did have some difficulties with the knobs of tripod and slider etc. but that was to be expected because the cold.
The camera operator didn’t perform so well. I made a rookie mistake, which is described in the video. Also, I’m not pleased with how I used the TB3 three-axis motion control device. There’s so much more it can do.
EOS 5D Mark III (+Magic Lantern)
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM
eMotimo TB3 + Rhino Pro 4FT
Anker 2nd Gen Astro Pro2 20000mAh battery
EOS 5D Mark III
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM
VisionTech -picture style
Timelapse edited with LRTimelapse and Adobe Lightroom
Video edited with Adobe Premiere and Adobe After Effects