So today is the first day of the next two weeks on the road, this week I’m shooting the Gore Tex Trans Rockies, or GTTR, a 100 mile foot race that spans six days and crosses the Rocky mountains in the process. Im part of a team , shooting with my good friends Chris Hunter and Wes Walker for Hunter Imagery. We’ll be on the road daily, operating out of an RV shooting and uploading images daily. After that I’m headed to Zakynthos Greece to shoot and participate in the invite-only GoFast event, basejumping onto a blue-water beach complete with shipwreck. This will be the longest and farthest I’ve been on the road so far in my career, and I’m both amazed and grateful for it reaching this far. Around the world via camera and parachute..
Chase Jarvis has always had his finger on the pulse of what’s on the cutting edge of photography and technology, and broadcasts a monthly internet-only live discussion known as ChaseJarvis:LIVE. If you haven’t seen it before, definitely tune in sometime, it’s a great production every time and the nuggets of information you can pick up are invaluable. Coincidentally the book I’m reading now “Trust Me, I’m Lying-Confessions of a Media Manipulator” I learned of last time I tuned in while author Ryan Holiday was guest.
Today’s show was no exception, with none other than Robert Scoble as guest for discussion entitled: The Future of Tech for Creatives. During the course of a most excellent discussion (that is being re-broadcast here) they spoke on the current trends in technology in the context of creativity and the modern artist and the trends that Robert is seeing and anticipates in both the near and distant future. He specifically mentioned some patterns he has noticed in current tech startups, namely developments in sensors, social, and databases, as well as the concepts of context and access. Sensors exist and are being developed to register all types of input imaginable. Think about an iPhone. It has a gps for location, multiple microphones for audio, a gyroscope, a compass, an accelerometer. The data from the sensors create context for the image. Where it was shot, which direction it was facing, time of day, etc. With the proliferation and maturation of social networking via the internet we can now have a whole new generation of imaging application.
Take for example, Vyclone. Vyclone is a brand new video app that was released last Thursday. Vyclone that takes the feed from multiple phones in proximity,running vyclone and filming at the same time, and uploads that data to the cloud, where it’s cut and edited automatically and delivered wherever you like. Wireless multi-cam video production. It uses data from all onboard sensors to decide what feed to cut to and when. Future iterations will take data from the compass (by comparing this to the compass heading of all iphones being used it can determine the most likely direction the subject is) Like at a concert, or a wedding. It then decides to switch between feeds based on the location of that iphone based on the gps data! FutureTech for free.
Back to context. As art and media creation have progressed through the years, with the maturation of technology, allowing more and more media to be created and accessed continually faster, it is no longer adequate to simply create a great piece. We now need to create great work, and provide the appropriate context. There is already tons of context attached to every digital image, still or moving, in the form of metadata. This metadata/context is in turn produced by the sensors in the device.
This brings us back to social. You can also create valuable context for your work through social networks. The larger your network, the more valuable it becomes, through the concept of “the adjacent possible.“ (buy the book) This seems obvious, but how do you grow your network? Keep in mind this is a two-way network, we’re not just looking for followers, we’re also looking forward for inspiration from those we follow. You grow your network by giving. What you give is up to you, but keep in mind the golden rule. Garbage in=Garbage out. We give art to the world. We give our preferences to our network through likes,+1′s, retweets and more. This allows those networks to customize our feeds even further, by either changing our data streams in the social software, or feedback from our clients/customer base about a style or product that develop the next iteration further.
They say that an individual is the average of the 5 people they associate with the most. This is the same idea, surround yourself with greatness, and it’s not a new one, The German literary great Goethe (1749-1832) said “We are shaped and fashioned by what we love” Picasso (1881-1973) said “Good artists borrow, great artists steal” The cultivated social stream becomes a priceless fountain of influence, a digital “inspiration machine” if you will.
Artists are collectors. Selective, not indescriminate. We collect ideas and concepts, remix them with all the other ideas and influences we’ve retained and output them as original work, based on data from our “sensors”, much like Vyclone.
However, this all relies entirely on good input into those sensors. That, my friends, is entirely up to you.
Works mentioned in the discussion, referenced in, or influencing this article:
- ChaseJarvis LIVE
- Playlist of previous noteworthy CJLive episodes
- Thomas Hawk G+ inspirational photographers list
- Robert Scoble’s Facebook likes
- “Where Good Ideas Come From” by Steven Johnson
- More on the concept of The Adjacent Possible
- “Trust Me, I’m Lying:Confessions of a Media Manipulator”
A few months ago we built a massive cyc wall at the studio, 1,200sq’ft, to be exact. I wanted to shoot something for my portfolio and immediately thought of my friend Jim This of This Performance. He and his father Dave have uniquely specialized in professional build-outs of the Factory Five MK4 Roadster. Their facility in Lake Asbury, FL is configured specifically for assembling and finishing the Cobra kits to your specs.
Oddly enough, while we had these cars on the road for the shoot occasionally some wise-guy would be drawn to the awesome beauty of these machines and come check them out. The first dialog, almost every time: “Is that a kit?” Yes ”Oh. Nevermind”.. At first I ignored it, but it happend with such frequency that I could ignore it no longer. The last straw was when one of our neighboring tenants at the studio came by, driving a 2010 “Shelby” Mustang 5.0, the standard “Is that a kit?” ensued. He scoffed when we confirmed. I asked him, “Did you build that?” pointing at his dealership-bought “race car” Of course he responded “No”. I smiled and thanked him for stopping by, I think he got the point. Dave and Jim build these monsters with their bare hands, and when they’re done you have a brand-new Cobra you can drive daily, Phil Spector-style. I’ve ridden in and driven them both, it’s a driving experience like none other, power and torque beyond your wildest dreams, packaged in some of the most stylish and recognizable curves of all time.
Got a last-minute text from my friend Tyler Mangus , transcribed here: ”530 by the Whataburger on Blanding, where the old Michael’s used to be. Dude’s gonna ollie the handicap ramp, gonna be really insane or really brutal..”
He wasn’t lying. Ty shot on a Canon t2i, I was on a beater Nikon d300, lit with two White Lightning 1800′s on Vagabonds, triggered with PocketWizard Plus II’s, and the second video angle was shot on my iphone4s (!?!) supported by the incredibly handy Gerber Steady.
Video: Behind the Scenes
I don’t remember when I heard the news of Discovery’s transfer mission, but I do remember deciding that instant that I would do my best to photograph her departure. She’s always been my favorite orbiter, and we’ve worked together before. Despite my best efforts to formulate a plan, there wasn’t much public information available to do so. All I could find until two days ago was an anticipated arrival time in Washington D.C. of 10 am. I estimated it would take about 2.5 to 3 hours to make the flight, giving us a departure time of around 7am, coinciding with sunrise, which sounded reasonable. NASA understands the power of a good image, so I speculate they scheduled departure around first light. Some sleuthing on twitter confirmed this timeframe, as well as turned up this unofficial graphic of a potential flight path, which turned out be the only information we had to go on. A quick phone call was made to my associate Wes Walker and our tentative plan was confirmed. We would leave in the early morning, our destination Cocoa Beach, the only location that would be overflown twice. I would be shooting stills on a d300/80-200 combo, Wes capturing motion on a 5dMk2, and Eric Windjack as an extra hand.
I left Jacksonville at 0345 that morning, picked Wes up in St Augustine at 0430, and Eric in Deland at 0545. An hour and 10 minutes later we were crossing the intracoastal on 528, final destination in sight. I pulled up SpaceflightNow.com on my iPhone to monitor the mission progress, and they were already taxiing. We were down to the wire, driving as quickly as we safely could. Eric was watching the live stream, reporting that the combo was now on the roll, accelerating down the runway, departing KSC for the final time.
As we reached a1a, the mammoth 747/orbiter combo were barely discernible on the live feed. Just as Eric said “They’ve gotta be close” I looked over my left shoulder out the drivers side window to experience one of the most unforgettable scenes of my life, An American Space Shuttle, and everything it represents, escorted by a T-38, cruising at 500ft directly to my right. For just one instant I was traveling in tandem with a space shuttle, and it was incredible.
As they continued south for a flyby of Patrick Air Force Base, we parked at the absolute first opportunity, grabbed our rigs that Wes prepped on the approach and hit the ground running, literally. I only had the 80-200 with me, and compositing has been part of my workflow for a few years now, so before their return I shot the entire scene as roughly twenty frames, starting at the top left of my intended final frame, moving down one “subframe” at a time, three tall, three wide, with a few extras all over for redundancy. Just a few moments later I shot the final element of my composition, the 747/orbiter combo, flying north over the Atlantic ocean, perfectly framed in front of the rising sun.
Countless hours of research and labor, unfathomable amounts of engineering, the hopes and dreams of a nation’s people, the catalyst for so many children’s dreams. This is the orbiter that flew both “return to flight” missions after the Challenger and Columbia tragedies, the courier for the Hubble Space Telescope, one of science’s greatest tools, and our first eye into the origins of our existence. Discovery was departing, and she was doing it in style.
The time for retirement of the shuttles may have come, but the legacy they leave behind is tremendous. In consideration of that fact, I’ve decided to publish these images as Creative Commons, to be shared freely with all mankind, in hope that they may inspire others to chase their dreams. Aim High.
Discovery's Final Flight by Bryan Rapoza is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.bryanrapoza.com.
I sort of fell off the planet as far as the news page is concerned for a little bit, worked some major projects, learned a thing or two and created quite a bit of media in the process. It’s my intention to roll that out over the next couple of weeks and into the foreseeable future… Stay tuned.
Found this scene this morning. Nikon D300 105mm macro