2016 SA Best Photographic Blog

We Did It Again, Thank You

WOOHOO! So happy to share that our website is the 2016 SA Best Photographic Blog Runner Up! THANK YOU to each and every person who voted for us, as well as the organisers and judges of the SA Blog Awards. High Five also to Bernard and his team at Up Next Digital for our recent site revamp, and our OV&P team members who contributed to our blog during the course of last year.

SPECIAL THANKS also to all of our valued clients, some of whose projects feature in our articles, as well as our associates, suppliers, friends, family . . . and of course YOU, our blog readers, for collectively inspiring our articles here! These also provide the content for our e-newsletters that go out to our extended network, which is something for you to consider if you’re not already doing it.

This is an effective way for us to keep everyone in the loop about what’s happening at Outdoor Video & Photographic, while also providing insight and inspiration relating to photography and videography, including tips on how you can harness these mediums to promote your company or career. Please contact us if you have questions or suggestions for topics you’d like us to cover. Thank you!

In the meantime, sincere CONGRATS to the Orms Photographic Blog Orms Connect for winning our category in the SA Blog Awards, and to all the other winners and runners-up in their respective categories.  It’s an honour to be Runner Up again to Orms – “The Best Online Camera Store in South Africa”, which also incorporates a print room and framing, photo art, photo tours, photographers directory and a school of photography in Cape Town. We appreciate the way that they raise the bar for all of us in the contest.

Here’s to South African (and world-wide) blogging . . . may it continue to thrive in 2017!

 

 

Ubuntu Mass Ride at Yamaha SA

Ubuntu Mass Ride

The spirit of Ubuntu flourished last Sunday, when more than a thousand bikers came together at the iconic World of Yamaha concept store to participate in the impressive Ubuntu Mass Ride. Our OV&P team covered the event on behalf of Yamaha, using two aerial drones to capture multiple perspectives, as well as shooting ground video footage and impromptu interviews with participants.

It was inspiring to witness their passion for riding motorcycles and to hear them share why this is personally special to them, in addition to how it connects people across all cultures, ages, backgrounds, genders and walks of life. With so much revving in the background, a directional microphone was called for, in combination with one of our Panasonic DVX200 video cameras. Our DJI Osmo also came in handy for close-up shots between the bikes. Watch our video below for a taste of the high voltage energy of the day!

Yamaha Brand Ambassador, Alfred Matamela (a.k.a. King Donut), a legendary motorcycle rider and instructor from Soweto, organised the event, and a number of people there noted their gratitude to Yamaha SA for being gracious hosts and providing coffee and snacks for everyone – including riders from various clubs with a range of different motorbike brands, all equally welcome.

The pre-ride briefing and prayer focussed on gratitude for contributors to the event and of course safety for all the riders, also sharing details of the route to Westonaria and key traffic points to look out for. Then the throttles started twisting, turning up the volume as the eclectic procession of motorcycles headed out though the gates in the direction of the M1 highway.

Well done Yamaha and everyone else on this exceptional event. Bikers totally rock and so does the spirit of Ubuntu!

DJI Phantom 4 Pro, photographed by Naomi Estment

Drone Technology Marches On

It’s been challenging getting my DJI Inspire booked onto aeroplanes, due to its size and controversial looks, which caused airport security to give me a hard time – as if I were about to highjack the plane or something sinister like that. To address this issue, it was time to look for a smaller drone that could up the game technologically and produce even better imagery.

The Inspire has served us faithfully for the last three years, producing world class HD video at up to 120 frames per second for amazing slo-mo footage that has blown our clients away. However, in my opinion, the image quality of the photos could be improved, particularly in low light. Don’t get me wrong, the images are more than acceptable for the purposes required, but I’ve been hoping for DJI to provide a new, large sensor camera on a smaller frame that would improve the video quality even more and produce higher grade photographs. Guess what? A couple of weeks ago DJI launched the Phantom 4 Pro. My prayers were answered.

Just in time, because we are doing a long-term time lapse video of a massive development project by Fortress Income Fund on the old Clairwood Race Course, near Durban. Fortress is one of our esteemed, long term clients who is leading the way in the warehousing and logistics industry, and since this is a 3-year construction project, we’ll be doing quite a few trips in the foreseeable future. Their compelling visual portfolio will include traditional ground based progress photos and videos, as well as regular aerial coverage.

It was a pleasure to check in at the airport yesterday with my Phantom 4 Pro, which performed perfectly during the morning to capture this early stage of development. Here’s one of the aerial photos that I took, to show you the image quality:

Aerial View of Fortress Construction Site

The Phantom range of DJI drones have been the most successful in the short history of stabilised flying film and photo platforms, but they have always been the bridesmaid to the amazing Inspire range of professional DJI drones. That has just changed, as if the engineers at DJI sensed my dilemma and worked overtime to deliver a new Phantom that fully qualifies as a professional filming drone, good enough to be used in Hollywood feature films. 4k video at 50 FPS and a bit rate of 100 Mb/sec! Yes please. It is half the size of the Inspire, ideal for hand luggage in its discreet carry case that holds 4 batteries and all the bits required for shoots.

The tech specs and smart functionality are mind blowing, enabling even more precise flying and route planning than before. The inspire doesn’t come close – sorry Inspire 🙂 My favourite features on this little powerhouse include a camera sensor (ALMOST 5 X BIGGER than previous ones), manual aperture, shutter, ISO and exposure control, manual and auto focus, plus a host of setting options. The bit rate of 100 Mb/sec ensures that all the data is accurately captured and the new route planning functionality such as Tripod Mode, Draw, Tap Fly and obstacle avoidance will certainly assist me in complicated route planning and camera control.

Thank you for the new P4 Pro, DJI. And thank you Action Gear team for your support. May technology keep marching on . . . I love it!

Karoo-Thrush-Chicks-e1484742234406

Patience is Rewarded

I recently noticed that there was a Karoo Thrush painstakingly building a nest in the fork of a tree in our garden. My interest grew, watching as this hard-working bird carried in twigs, wet grass and even tissue paper to help line the bowl-shaped nest, followed by a thin layer of mud to smooth things off. What was interesting was that the female did all the work while the male just watched on.

A couple of days later I noticed that two light blue eggs with brown speckles had been laid in the nest. The male and female shared incubating duties until I pulled my cameras out as I noticed two tiny, pink chicks had hatched, their hearts beating wildly. I captured some of this special footage as they shuffled around trying to find a comfortable place to rest and grow, as the female brought in copious amounts of earthworms and insects to nourish them. I was astonished by the rate at which the chicks grew and started sprouting feather splines which quickly turned into proper feathers. Their wings seemed to take shape at an incredible rate of knots.

Each week for three weeks I filmed the chicks, until they were so big that there was no room left for them in the nest. Then something surprising happened. As I was filming them fighting for real estate in their cramped environment, one of them stood up and launched itself up and out of the nest and landed in the foliage below. Our Golden Retriever, Storm, darted into the undergrowth and gently picked up the half grown chick in his mouth and brought it to me. It was amazing to see his natural instincts kick in, handing me the little chick as gently as he had plucked it from the undergrowth.

I tried putting the chick back into the nest a couple of times, to no avail, before both chicks decided they had had enough and jumped out of the nest onto the nearest part of the tree fork, clinging on with their well developed, clawed feet. That’s when I learned something fascinating. This is the typical way that Karoo Thrush chicks behave. Even though they have wing feathers and short tail feathers, they remain perched on the available branches in a tree for a month or so, while the mother continues to feed them until they are big enough to fly and start feeding themselves. It was the first time I had observed this behaviour in any bird.

Here’s the short video that I created so you can see some of this action for yourself:

All ended well as we now have four resident Karoo Thrushes in our garden. Another interesting thing is the similarity of species such as the Karoo, Olive and Kurrichane Thrush. It was an enlightening experience right here at home as opposed to the many dramatic sightings we have enjoyed in the South African bushveld, as well as the Central Kalahari desert, Okavango Delta and the Masai Mara in Kenya. Enjoy the video and please share a comment below to let us know if you’ve seen something fascinating in your garden!

African Sunset with Glasses of Wine

Cheers to 2017

Happy New Year to you and yours! May 2017 be filled with happiness, health and abundant prosperity. In numerology terms, this is year 1 in a brand new cycle, so full of extra promise for a fresh start, renewed focus and recharged energy. Can you feel it?

For us, Outdoor Video & Photographic turns 16 this month and we’re so grateful for our journey so far with all of our clients, associates, suppliers, family and friends. Thank you each and every one! Looking ahead, we anticipate another exciting year, including a range of inspiring photography and videography, creative studio and location shoots, and Dave’s favourite – advancements in technology. He already has his eye on some cutting edge equipment, so keep a lookout for news on that in future blog posts.

As you can see from our Home page, the main focus areas for our business are Corporate, Commercial and Events, Aerial, Architecture and Construction, as well as Game Lodges, Safaris and Wildlife. We also shoot plenty of products and modelling portfolios in our Johannesburg-based studio. So if you need professional photo or video shoots in these genres, please contact us. We’d love to help.

Of course balance is important, so we’ll be adding pleasure and rest into the mix, likely including downtime in the African bushveld – such as we were enjoying in the photo above with special friends. Follow this link for Dave’s article about our trip, which explores the question Wildlife Video – for Fun? It includes a short video that features fabulous wildlife interaction and fun stuff. This is where OV&P was born, with Dave and I sharing a deep passion for wildlife and being in the bush. I include a story about it in my first weekly video of 2017, which takes you behind-the-scenes in my recent intensive Confidence on Camera workshop:

For more videos in this series and ongoing tips to improve your confidence on camera, subscribe to my YouTube channel and sign up at my website www.naomiestment.com. In the meantime, stay tuned for what’s happening here at OV&P, as well as insight and inspiration to help you maximise your marketing via expert photography and videography. If you have any comments or questions, please leave a reply below. We look forward to connecting . . . and wish you all the very best for a brilliant year!

Moet & Chandon Bottle in the Bushveld

Celebrating in Style

As we approach the end of 2016, we wish you everything of the best for a fabulous festive season and an inspired start to 2017. In this spirit, here’s a thought for the day:

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein

At OV&P, we’re celebrating creativity, including sharing our New Look Website with you . . . just in time to enter it into the Best Photographic Blog category of the 2016 SA Blog Awards! Please CLICK HERE TO VOTE for us if you like what you see, or click on the Bright Red Vote Button to the right of this post.

Special thanks to all of you who have helped us win in the past, and also to Up Next Digital for the website redesign that you see here now. Bernard and his team are brilliant at what they do and great to work with as well. We highly recommend their services and love what they’ve done for our website. What do you think? Please leave a comment below to let us know 🙂

Speaking of service, it has been our privilege and pleasure to serve every one of our valued clients this year. Heartfelt THANK YOU to each of you, as well as our team, our associates and suppliers, all of whom contribute so much to our business at OV&P.

As always, our shoots have been exciting and varied, taking us far afield and high into the sky to cover exceptional projects for the likes of Fortress Income Fund, the Barrow Group, Renergen and Group Five, among others. We’ve also frequented the heart of South Africa’s financial hub to capture special events at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and FirstRand, for example.

In addition to shooting a range of photos and videos in our studio, along with hosting transformational confidence on camera workshops, we’ve grateful to have delivered creative solutions for numerous corporate, commercial and entrepreneurial clients. Cheers to creativity and fun! May 2017 bring loads more inspiration, peace and prosperity for us all.