It's been a long few weeks in the Journey & Play world. From lots of work projects, hurt shoulders, and wrists, to the beginning of new jobs and all the anxiety that can bring. So from us (Kim & Kevin) enjoy your weekend and look for the fun, the lighthearted, the joyful. Start with this short film from Guy Trefler for a lighthearted and irreverent look at the City of Lights.
I'm a firm believer in the ability of film to transport us somewhere new, whether that be to a new world or to a country we've never been before. One of the best ways to do that is through the Criterion Collection. Not only does the Criterion Collection highlight some of the most beautiful films ever made, it also brings directors and films from world cinema to your doorstep.
If you're looking to start a collection of films that you'll definitely not find on Netflix, like Godard's Breathless, Truffaut's The 400 Blows, or Ozu's Good Morning, then Criterion is the way to go. Complete with the most authentic cut of the film and brilliantly designed packaging, it's a piece of film history that you'll love to have displayed on your bookshelf.
Barnes & Noble is having a 50% off sale on all Criterion Collection products until August 6. I've already grabbed a few of my favorites and here's a few more to consider for your classic film collection.
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Truffaut's look at the world of filmmaking makes for a funny and very French classic. Winner of the 1973 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, Day For NIght chronicles the production of the fictitious film "Meet Pamela" about the drama that ensues when a young Frenchman introduces his parents to his new British wife.
Wings of Desire
Set against the backdrop of Berlin in the mid-1980's, Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire is a compelling look at what it means to be alive. Centering around two angels looking down (yes this is the original version of City of Angels with Nic Cage and Meg Ryan) the film uses black and white and color to convey emotion and life. It also features an excellent performance by Peter Falk as himself.
Akira Kurosawa's epic Seven Samurai transports you to the time of honor and duty as the way of the samurai comes into conflict with the changing modern world. The part story of courage and morality, Seven Samurai looks at what it means to follow an old tradition in an ever-changing world. Oft-cited as inspiration from modern directors, Kurosawa's classic is a great intro to Asian cinema of the 1950's.
Moving to the Italy, director Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 is considered to be his magnum opus. Part autobiography, and part fantasy, Fellini delivers a surreal look at what it means to create art. If you're a fan of surrealistic films and great 60's fashion, Fellini's 8 1/2 is a great choice.
Released 10 years after the end of World War II, Alain Resnais' Night and Fog is a sobering, heart-wrenching look at life in Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust. Filmed not too long after liberation, Night and Fog's almost monotone narration is in stark contrast to the brutality played out on screen. I first saw Night and Fog in college and its images have stuck with me ever since.
You can find more great titles from the Criterion Collection sale at Barnes & Noble here or in store, but hurry, the sale ends August 6.
If you’ve spent any amount of time with a photographer, you’ll have no doubt heard about their preferred brand of camera and why it’s the best thing to use.
For me that was Nikon. I started with a little Nikon D3200 that was a perfect beginner camera. It had all the main manual functions that I knew how to use at a pretty low price point.
After that, I picked up a Nikon D750 and was entirely in love with it. I paired it with a 24-120mm f/4 zoom lens, a 50mm 1.8 and an 85mm 1.8 D series lens. The 85mm was my absolute favorite, and I couldn’t get enough of its swirly bokeh and tack sharpness.
The D750 was the perfect mix of functionality, style, and effectiveness. I was able to capture 1080p video with the ability to switch quickly back to a brilliant portrait style camera.
In 2016 I packed up my D750 and a single 50mm lens for a trip to Paris and Amsterdam. The ensuing photos are some of my absolute favorites, but the experience of carrying around the D750 with a small lens and battery pack was less than ideal. More and more I found myself trying to pare down my kit for a lighter travel load, and the D750 wasn’t cutting it.
A full day of walking around the canals of Amsterdam left me with a pretty sore neck and back.
Another breaking point was the inability to shoot 4K video and Nikon not having a line of dedicated video camcorders. I didn’t want to invest more money in a system that wasn’t compatible with my future endeavors. Canon has the C-series line of pro camcorders, and Sony’s FS camcorders are quickly catching up while Nikon focuses mainly on DSLR’s.
Finding a Replacement
I narrowed my options down to the Canon 5D Mark IV and the Sony a7Rii, but after going into a store and handling both cameras, the small form factor of the mirrorless Sony easily won out over the bulkier Canon.
I based a lot of my decision on ease of use when traveling and the a7Rii beat the 5D Mark IV on size alone. I pack almost exclusively in a carry-on so space is premium and the smaller footprint of the Sony won out.
One of my favorite things about the Sony system is its ability to accept other company's lenses through adapters. You can put an adapter on a Nikon, but you lose a lot of the functionality. With something like the Metabones EF to E T Smart Adapter you can use all the autofocus functions of Sony cameras while using newer Canon lenses.
Drawbacks of the Sony a7Rii
My biggest qualm with the a7Rii is that its small size means that battery life is pretty awful, especially when shooting video. The batteries themselves are tiny and don’t hold a charge for very long. I’ve found a bit of a compromise by rigging up an external battery pack that extends my shooting by a ton, but it adds to the bulk. To be clear, it’s only a small problem, but can be annoying when traveling and not going back to your home base all day long.
The new Sony a7iii has a unique style battery that is said to almost double the battery life of the NP-FW50 battery that fits the a7Rii, which I’m eager to try out. You can read more about the new a7iii here.
I’ve had my Sony setup for about seven months now, and I can’t remember a single time when I’ve regretted the switch from Nikon. After spending some time traveling with the new setup, the smaller weight, superior video specs, and fabulous low-light capabilities have only confirmed that I made the right choice.
Now to get my hands on a Sony FS5 and see how my set of lenses looks on a full-fledged pro cinema camera.
It's still hot here in south Texas. I feel like I could write that sentence every week and it'd be true for a good 8-9 months out of the year. We're gearing up for a trip to see the fam and this is what we're reading/watching/laughing at to prepare. Enjoy!
This Histomap of Europe gives you a pretty detailed look at the borders and population of Europe starting from the year 400 B.C. Come for the history, stay for the ridiculously epic musical score.
National Geographic's 2018 Travel Photography Awards are out and this year's crop of winners is exceptional. Check them out here.
By far the most famous street artist of the modern era, Banksy has popped back up in Paris, this time with a pretty overt political message.
Ever wondered about the fonts on movie posters? Well, wonder no more with this video from Vox that looks at why we keep seeing the Trajan font on movie posters. (via Uncrate)
The landscape of Iceland is a surrealist dream, which is probably why so many films shoot there. In 10 Days, One Road, filmmakers Daniel Kemeys and Hana Noguchi take us along on their ten-day trip around Iceland's Ring Road. Using a Sony a7Rii (my preferred camera) and a DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone, we're transported to waterfalls, rushing water, epic snow drifts and white-dusted timber.
The more I watch videos like this, the more I want to venture to Iceland. Maybe it's the hot Houston summer that feels like oppression some days. The humidity seems to just sink into your bones this time of year.
How do you like to escape the heat of summer?