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Nikon Z 9 Will Officially Launch Tomorrow October 28th

Nikon Z 9 Will Officially Launch Tomorrow October 28th

Well, the moment all Nikon shooters have been waiting for has finally arrived. The new flagship Z 9 arrives tomorrow.

For professional photographers and longtime Nikonians, this has been an eagerly awaited release. Unlike Nikon’s existing mirrorless offerings, the Z 6II and Z 7II, along with their predecessors, the Z 9 is unequivocally expected to be the top of the line. We’ve already seen hints at its power in a trio of teaser commercials Nikon has released over the last month. The first teaser highlighted the articulation of the rear LCD screen. The second brought wildlife to the foray and the camera’s ability to shoot 8K video, beyond the historically arbitrary limit of a half-hour, without suffering from overheating. The third trailer showed off the camera’s new tracking autofocus system for sports and action photographers. And today, the company launched a fourth trailer that highlights the camera’s ability to shoot blackout-free. You can check out the fourth and final teaser at this link.

But, teasers aside, what kind of firepower will the Z 9 actually possess? Well, you can find out at the live launch event at 8:00 a.m. ET on Thursday, October 28th, at Nikon’s site or via their YouTube channel.

Will Nikon deliver on its promises? Will this be the camera that convinces any Nikon shooter on the fence about switching to mirrorless to take the leap?  Will this camera immediately catapult Nikon to the top of the heap in the professional mirrorless space? We don’t have long to wait to find out.

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Google Pixel 6 Series Accidentally Revealed Ahead of Official Launch

Google Pixel 6 Series Accidentally Revealed Ahead of Official Launch

Google Pixel 6 Series Accidentally Revealed Ahead of Official Launch 1

Google hasn’t had the best time thus far keeping the Pixel 6 under wraps since it was leaked with dead-on accuracy in May and more last month, but it isn’t getting any better: a product listing has fully revealed the smartphone a week before its official launch.

As screen-captured and shared by Evan Blass (known as evleaks on Twitter), CarPhoneWarehouse — a London-based phone retailer — appears to have accidentally published the entire Google Pixel 6 landing page that reveals all the details of the phone that has not officially been announced by Google and isn’t scheduled to be for another week.

The product pages for both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro were shared by Blass in two screenshots on Twitter, but the image compression makes the details difficult to read:

The two pages have since been taken down, but the Internet Archive remembers all, and both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro product pages are still available to view through it.

The two pages advertise the new Google Tensor chip that was revealed to be coming to the two devices in a webpage set up by Google earlier this year, so its inclusion here isn’t particularly noteworthy. That said, Google is promising that it will allow the phones to provide up to 80% better performance compared to the Pixel 5’s Snapdragon 765G chip.

The listing also shows that the Pixel 6 will be getting a 6.4-inch display with a nondescript variable refresh rate while the Pixel 6 Pro will get a slightly larger 6.7-inch screen with a 120Hz variable refresh rate that Gizmodo notes is similar to the one found on the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro sport IP68 water and dust resistance.

Google Pixel 6 Series Accidentally Revealed Ahead of Official Launch 2

Camera features have always been part of Google’s selling point for its Pixel devices, and the listing confirms a lot of what was speculated in previous rumors. The Pixel 6 will pack a 50-megapixel main camera with a backup ultra-wide that doesn’t show a specific resolution. The listing does show that Google is touting this new main camera to let in 150% more light than the one on the Pixel 5.

The listing for the Pixel 6 Pro is a lot more descriptive, however. It shows that in addition to a main 50-megapixel main wide camera and 12-megapixel ultra-wide, it will also add a 48-megapixel telephoto camera that features 4x optical zoom and up to 20x hybrid zoom thanks to Google’s Super Res Zoom feature. The front-facing camera promises a 94-degree field of view, but specific resolution was not noted.

Google Pixel 6 Series Accidentally Revealed Ahead of Official Launch 3

The Pixel 6 Pro page also shows a graphic that superimposes the Pixel 5 sensor on top of the much larger Pixel 6 sensor, which explains the previous note about 150% more light-gathering capability. While not confirmed, it is likely that the sensor on the 6 and 6 Pro is the same.

Google Pixel 6 Series Accidentally Revealed Ahead of Official Launch 4

While this looks like a set of legitimate product pages, it’s all still technically speculative until Google officially announces the phones, an event which is scheduled for next week. But if what is seen here comes to pass, both Apple and Samsung may have a real competitor on their hands.

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Rocket Launch Photography Challenges | Fstoppers

Rocket Launch Photography Challenges | Fstoppers

Two successful SpaceX missions last week, one on each coast, prompted me to review my rocket launch photo procedures, particularly since the Monday (Sept. 13) launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base was the first after a long hiatus. For those of us in southern California, it was a photo op we were eagerly awaiting since it was scheduled for after sunset.

Daytime launches hold little appeal for viewing from a distance. A little white dot against a blue sky doesn’t excite anyone, so for these, a position close to the launch site is needed. However, sunset launches have great potential to provide an impressive show in the sky visible without having to go anywhere beyond your backyard. Unfortunately for us in southern California, launches of any kind are much less frequent than in Florida, making climbing the learning curve of rocket photography a much longer process.

As in many other types of outdoor photography, getting a good shot involves several common elements: location, lighting, and weather. For rocket launches, astronomical circumstances (Sun and Moon position and Moon phase) also matter. This month’s Vandenberg launch was not quite favorably timed for photography, so while it was widely visible, photographically, it was a bit disappointing.

Vandenberg SpaceX Launch Shooting Challenges

When a rocket launches, there is a natural desire to get as close to the launch pad as possible. With special permission, it’s possible to place equipment as close as a quarter mile or so, but I won’t cover this because it takes a special setup as the equipment has to be unmanned (automatically triggered) and potentially has to sit in a position for 48 hours in case of launch scrubs. Heat, cold, dew, and external battery hookups become real additional challenges.

At Vandenberg SFB, the general public is allowed to get as close as three miles away as the crow flies. But in this case, the crow has to fly over intervening hills. From the publicly accessible viewing points, the launch pad itself is not visible. Even at an alternate public viewing area (some nine miles away), the base of the SpaceX rocket is not visible. In addition, the launch site is often prone to being covered by thick marine fog, though this does not prevent the actual launch. Also, at these distances, the rocket can go so high (you’d swear it was directly over you) that a normal video pan head can run out of vertical travel! But despite this, if the first stage booster is landing back at Vandeberg, it’s worthwhile to experience both the sights and roar of liftoff and the booster return with accompanying sonic booms.

On many SpaceX launches, the first stage lands on a special floating landing barge out at sea. While the actual booster landing is too far offshore to photograph, it’s possible to see the booster make its reentry burn before hitting the thickest part of the atmosphere. For this reason, an alternative to photographing a launch from close to Vandenberg SFB is to position yourself further downrange so the entire launch path is visible.

The initial (first stage boost) phase seems relatively straightforward to capture — a single very bright target to follow. But in practice, keeping a moving target centered when shooting photos is challenging at high magnification. A moment of inattention can cause you to lose the target and have to spend valuable time trying to recenter it. For this reason, a zoom lens is much more desirable than a fixed focal length telephoto lens or telescope.

 After the main engine cutoff, another problem can pop up — with no visible rocket flame, it’s easy to lose track of the rocket position if you’re at high magnification. After the second stage ignition (several seconds later), there are then two objects to follow, which are gradually separating.

As the second stage continues to accelerate, it produces a widening plume. Meanwhile, the first stage is inside the plume, actively setting itself up for a landing, but is more difficult to spot because it is only firing cold gas maneuvering thrusters. On top of this, shortly after the second stage ignites, the payload fairing halves may be visible, making two more possible targets (or distractions).

The best photogenic conditions are when the vehicle launches just after sunset. But this complicates exposure choice since the darkening sky, possible entry of the rocket into direct sunlight, and the extremely bright first stage plume make it a challenging exposure tradeoff decision. I generally keep my exposures fairly short (faster than 1/60 sec.), necessitating a high ISO in a darkening sky, with the final choice made just before the launch based on test shots of the sky background brightness.

SpaceX Launch Shooting Strategy

Because of the potential difficulties with tracking the launch with a telephoto setup, I use a wide angle (15mm) fisheye lens as a backup to ensure that I don’t come back empty-handed. This setup is positioned so that it can cover the entire visible flight trajectory without having to be adjusted. In most attempts, I’ve had the camera (a Nikon D600) snapping shots every few seconds using its internal intervalometer function. The internal intervalometer function in many Nikon cameras is a great convenience, making it unnecessary to bring along an external device.

For telephoto shots, I’ve been using a 70-210mm telephoto lens on a pan head, manually tracked. For this camera, a live view on an articulating screen seems best, keeping in mind that the vertical panning range during the launch will be extreme.

As with shooting any tiny, moving target, it’s best to set the cameras to manual focus and exposure. Exposure times should generally be short and bracketed if possible. Panning movements should be as smooth as possible (practice!).

September’s Starlink Launch

In addition to shooting telephoto shots (70-210mm zoom), I had a slightly wider lens (24-70mm zoom) on an additional camera. Both were mounted on a single tripod, which was manually tracking the rocket. The longer zoom was used to get in close to the rocket in the initial boost phase, while the wider zoom was meant to capture shots of the wide exhaust plume. The wider shots can be impressive when the plume is sunlit, but unfortunately, that was not the case for this launch and the wide shots were wasted. Both of these cameras used internal intervalometers to fire shots every few seconds as I tracked the rocket.

The backup stationary setup this time was a video setup using the 15mm fisheye lens, positioned to capture the entire flight path with real-time video. Here, I used a first-generation Sony a7S, which is the high sensitivity variant of the a7 line. Despite this camera having been replaced by subsequent generations of Sony’s family, this original model is still very capable for low-light video if the result is post-processed (more later on that).

Back in 2017, I found a seaside cliff location in Palos Verdes where the rocket was visible soon after launch and virtually the entire atmospheric part of the trajectory was visible.

The recent launch was less of a favorable photo op in several respects. The first was that the launch occurred late in the evening after sunset, so it and the rocket plume never became illuminated by the Sun. The first quarter (half-illuminated) Moon was also in the sky to the West, placing a bright distraction in the frame.

To make matters worse, while driving to the seaside location at the edge of the Palos Verde peninsula, I could see I was going to end up in a dense layer of marine fog. This marine layer extended up the coast, covering even the launch site.

Fortunately for me, the Palos Verde peninsula includes a 444 meter (1,457 feet) hill, so I retreated uphill, hoping I could stay above the fog layer. This did largely work, though a thin layer of haze persisted, exacerbating the problem of the distractingly bright Moon with a corona of scattered light.

From my final location, the wide view video picks up just before the main engine cutoff and runs for six minutes until the second stage finally disappears from view, which is near the second stage cut-off point. Around 4:30 into the video, the first stage of reentry burn can be seen. A better view of a reentry burn is visible in a shot from the 2017 launch of an Iridium payload.

Post-Processing

Generally, the static shots can be conventionally processed in applications such as Lightroom. For the video clip, however, I found that Lightroom would not open the Sony MP4 file, but Photoshop was, fortunately, able to do so. Within Photoshop, I was able to do everything I needed for simple video editing: trimming the leading and trailing footage, adding labels and arrows, cropping to 16:9 format, and even noise filtering and adjusting curves. For simple video needs, Photoshop has come a long way! The downside? To render the video, Photoshop took over five hours on my Intel i9 PC!

Got suggestions for me to improve my rocket launch shoots? Add a comment below. it will be much appreciated!

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Vanguard Launch New VEO Adaptor Backpacks, Available November 2021 at £99.99

Vanguard Launch New VEO Adaptor Backpacks, Available November 2021 at £99.99

No need to run out of power when you’re out and about, as these modern and slim backpacks introduce a USB interface port that allows any photographer to charge and use their kit on the go. 

Ever been out and about when you notice the battery indicator blinking red and realising you don’t have a backup? Maybe the camera batteries have been running down faster than planned. Or the GPS on your navigation app is devouring the power in your smartphone battery.

With the VEO Adaptor Backpack Series you now have a backup that allows you to connect your device to the power bank(s) of your choice in the top compartment and connect it through an integrated USB-A interface port to your device to keep the power flowing while you go.

Vanguard Launch New VEO Adaptor Backpacks, Available November 2021 at £99.99 5

In addition, the VEO Adaptor Series delivers everything you’d expect in a high-quality camera bag, and introduces extra wide side access into the line-up, so you have easy access to your kit on “S” models for both left/right-handed photographers. To prevent anyone opening the side pocket without your knowledge, it’s protected on the go. Simply thread the zipper tag through the elasticated loop at the top of the side pocket and it prevents anyone from opening the side pocket without your knowledge. The side flaps also include built in memory card and cable storage to keep you organised on the go.
Alternatively there are traditional rear access models capable of holding pro DSLR cameras and multiple lenses, up to 600mm and up to a 16” laptop.
 
Each model will carry a tripod centrally for optimal balance, with a tripod foot pocket that folds away discreetly when not needed. In addition, a tripod (or bottle) can be carried using either elasticated side pocket.

Despite the slim and modern profile, the VEO Adaptor Series is stuffed with additional storage space. The “S” models feature a daypack section (which can be removed to allow top access), and all models include multiple pockets for cables, SD cards, etc.

To carry the kit in comfort, there is a wide, well padded comfortable harness with an airflow system to stay cool. For longer trips, the harness includes a chest strap and waist strap to spread the load. When not needed, the waist strap can be tucked away to stop it flapping and getting in the way.
Constructed with high quality polyester fabric with PU coating, the VEO Adaptor Series delivers enhanced waterproofing, but for wetter days a rain cover is provided, keeping your kit safe and dry, whatever the conditions.

So if you’re looking for a stylish and capable camera backpack with the ability to keep your energy levels up, check out the VEO Adaptor Backpacks and #makeupyourownmind.

    
All:

• USB-A interface port
• Tripod holder
• Ergonomic harness system with waist strap that tucks away when not needed
• Can be set up for top access
• Top pocket
• Front pocket
• 2-side zip up pockets with internal pockets for accessories such as SD cards and cables
• 2-side elasticated pockets for water bottle (or another support)
• Enhanced waterproof material with rain cover provided
• Reflective stitching to stay safe at night
• Available in black (BK) or grey (GY)

“S” Models:
• Extra wide side access with zipper stop for security
• Ability to access from either side, so suitable for left/right-handed photographers
• Daypack section

“R” Models:
• Traditional rear access Recommended

Retail Pricing:
• VEO Adaptor S41 £99.99
• VEO Adaptor S46 £119.99
• VEO Adaptor R44 £99.99
• VEO Adaptor R44 £99.99

Availability:
The VEO Adaptor series will be launched globally and exclusively at the Photography Show, 18th-21st September, where it will be available for demonstrations, and photographers will be able to register interest while we await stock. Stock expected November 2021.

THIS ARTICLE WILL HELP YOU CHOOSE YOUR IDEAL CAMERA BAG

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Sony Apologies for Choosing Japan Invasion Date for Camera Launch

Sony Apologies for Choosing Japan Invasion Date for Camera Launch

Sony Apologies for Choosing Japan Invasion Date for Camera Launch 6

Sony has postponed a camera launch that was originally planned for Wednesday, July 7, after Chinese citizens expressed anger over the date, which is also the 84th anniversary of Japan’s invasion of China that sparked the Sino-Japanese War and World War Two in Asia.

Sony published a teaser for the event on the Sony Alpha Universe website, as well as its YouTube channel last week that showed a date of 10 AM eastern time. The placeholder for the event now simply reads, “the July 7th new camera announcement has been postponed. A new date will be announced soon.”

While TechRadar reports that Sony Europe says that the postponement is due to the lack of parts availability, the real reason appears to be a chosen launch date that offended Chinese netizens. As noted by the Global Times, Sony published a statement on China’s Weibo social network that apologizes for the choice of date and for the misunderstanding and public confusion.

Sony Apologies for Choosing Japan Invasion Date for Camera Launch 7

Translated, the message reads as follows:

Our company attaches great importance to the concerns of the majority of netizens!

Our company originally planned to release new products at the domestic professional exhibition on 7-10 of this month, and broadcast the new product introduction video online on the first day of the exhibition.

Due to our poor work arrangements, we have caused misunderstanding and confusion in the selection of the date.

We apologize for this and cancel the related event arrangements as soon as possible!

Thank you for your continued support!

July 7 was set to be the launch of multiple Sony products, including a new camera around the world and new smartphones in China, and the blowback from Chinese netizens appears to have spooked the company away from hosting any event that day — both events have been postponed indefinitely.

The date marks the beginning of what would later be known as the Second Sino-Japanese War, a conflict that lasted between 1937 and 1945. The war was sparked by the Marco Polo Bridge Incident on July 7, 1937, and involved a dispute between Japanese and Chinese troops that escalated into a full-scale invasion by Japanese forces and is often regarded as the beginning of the Second World War in Asia.

After the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, the Japanese would go on to secure victories in Beijing, Shanghai, and the Chinese capital of Nanjing, the latter of which resulted in what is often referred to as the Rape of Nanjing. After the end of the war, China listed its total number of military and non-military casualties as around 35 million.

When Sony announced the July 7 launch date, Chinese Weibo users swiftly condemned the choice. To make matters worse, the original announcement was made the day before the Communist Party of China was set to celebrate its 100th anniversary, as noted by Asia One.

“This is Sony’s gift to the party? How bold! Do they still want to operate in China?” one Weibo user wrote, reported by Asia One.

No new announcement date has been publicly set yet and PetaPixel has not received any indication from Sony regarding how long the delay is expected to last.

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Shimoda Launch Explore V2 Camera Bag For Travel & Landscape Photographers On Kickstarter

Shimoda Launch Explore V2 Camera Bag For Travel & Landscape Photographers On Kickstarter

A camera bag series from Shimoda billed as ‘the ultimate camera bag for today’s travel and landscape photographers’ has launched over on Kickstarter.

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Bags, Cases and Straps

Shimoda Explore v2

 

Popular camera bag brand Shimoda has launched its latest bag series, Explore Series v2, on Kickstarter after founder Ian Millar saw a need for a camera bag that could carry camera gear further than “just from one airport to another”. In fact, he wants you to take this bag series from the airport and up a mountain. 

The Explore Series v2 features all the conveniences of a travel pack, but is also built for serious alpine adventures and can still hold its own in the city. It combines the all-day comfort and core functions of the original Explore series with the robust durability of the Action X series, along with key features requested from the Shimoda community. 

The Explore v2 is available in 25L, 30L and 35L pack sizes. Plus, the E25 and E30 are designed to work with Shimoda’s two new Core Unit sizes (sold separately). Shimoda packs have a modular camera insert system that allows users to customise their camera bags and a total of eight modular Core Units are now available.

Explore Series v2 Features:

  • New Aired-Out Harness
  • All three sizes meet carry-on requirements
  • Wireless Lav Mic Attachment Points are located on each shoulder strap
  • Padded Filter Pockets designed to fit 100mm filters
  • Included Rain Cover
  • Luggage-Handle for attaching to a roller bag
  • Hidden Passport Pocket
  • Lock-Friendly YKK Zippers
  • Document Pocket
  • Base Handle

For more information on the new Explore Series v2 Shimoda range visit Kickstarter where pledges start at $10 but if you want a bag, you’ll have to pledge at least $215. 

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Is Mylio Any Different Now Than It Was At Its Tepid 2014 Launch?

Is Mylio Any Different Now Than It Was At Its Tepid 2014 Launch?

Is Mylio Any Different Now Than It Was At Its Tepid 2014 Launch? 8

Photo organizing software Mylio (which stands for “My Life Organized”) has re-emerged after nearly seven years thanks to a recent wave of updates and partnerships with influencers like iJustine. After a tepid launch back in 2014, is the service worth revisiting?

The photo management software industry has become very competitive in recent years. Companies are trying to provide many interesting, unique, and even questionable features into their applications to compete with industry powerhouses like Adobe Lightroom (Classic) and the Creative Cloud suite of apps. During the initial launch of Mylio, the company said it aimed to “solve a lot of problems that other companies seemed to be floundering around” with its offering. The platform was meant to give complete access to images regardless of the platform used to take or edit them and immediately makes those files accessible on desktop and mobile. It also featured a built-in RAW photo editor with additional presets for quick looks.

Is Mylio Any Different Now Than It Was At Its Tepid 2014 Launch? 9

At launch, Mylio may have differentiated itself with its ideas, but the actual product offering was convoluted, confusing, and felt like it was trying to do too much and succeeding at none of its aspirations. But now, many years later, has that changed?

While the cost of the service is still the same ($100 per year), it has advanced beyond the original limitations set in 2014. Back then, it could only hold up to 500,000 images and could only organize those photos from a maximum of 10 devices. In the application’s current iteration, that same $100 gives the ability to have “unlimited photos and unlimited devices.” Considering the current price of services like Google Photos, Amazon’s photo storage, and Flickr that cost about the same per year (based on storage quantity), all of the sudden, it seems like Mylio is making a little more sense now than it used to.

But one key factor to consider is that Mylio is not a cloud storage service. Its marketing gives you the impression that it is one, but Mylio only organizes photos that are stored on other platforms and does not offer any backup as part of its subscription price. Subscribers are simply paying for the organization and the photo editing capability.

It is clear that the company has put a lot of money into the promotion partnership with iJustine, and maybe the timing is just right since its pricing is finally lined up with the competitors on the market. Mylio has even stated at the top of its own blog site that “it is time to ditch Google Photos” for its service, which makes it seem like a direct competitor when it doesn’t offer the main benefit of Google Photos: cloud storage.

After a little time using the updated app on my Mac desktop and iPhone, it is clear the company has also spent some time addressing the original editing capability, issues brought up by professional users. Mylio now has localized brushes and an expanded set of editing sliders and tools including basic noise reduction. At a glance, the suite of tools is much improved from the initial launch, and it feels very similar to Adobe Lightroom for Mobile.

However, the editing options still feel more for the hobbyist and enthusiast than a professional photographer. That, at least, hasn’t changed. Yes, the service supports (some) RAW files, but it does not seem to be able to read medium format files or even load images from supported cameras if they were used with a less common lens. In the sample set below, I have images from a Nikon Z6, Sony A6300, Hasselblad 907X, and Nikon Z6 II. Surprisingly, the newer Z6 II files opened fine, yet the older Z6 file would not load when used with an “unsupported lens” like the Petzval 80.5mm. The Z6 RAWs loaded fine when paired with “Normal” lenses.

Is Mylio Any Different Now Than It Was At Its Tepid 2014 Launch? 10

Most of the features in the product are the same as when it first launched, just improved and cleaned up for a better and easier user experience. As a photographer that has terabytes of images from over a decade worth of shooting stored across multiple hard drives, NAS arrays, and cloud backups, having the ability to link all of these services together in one formal hub and access them from any device is quite useful and appealing, even with the more hobbyist level of editing tools available. Even with the frustration from some unsupported RAWs and a “basic” set of editing tools.

Is Mylio Any Different Now Than It Was At Its Tepid 2014 Launch? 11

Is Mylio Any Different Now Than It Was At Its Tepid 2014 Launch? 12

Images can be stored and sorted by the folders they are in locally on personal drives, assigned to dates in a calendar, tagged with facial recognition, geotagged on a map, or added to custom “albums” for easy access and searching. What was also impressive to me personally, was just how fast the system updates your previews/thumbnails across devices when making changes to the files. As long as the devices were connected to the internet, the updates from editing images via mobile or on the desktop were practically instantaneously synced across all devices with the Mylio app installed.

Is It Any Different?

Yes, but also, no. Mylio offers something interesting to photographers and enthusiasts alike in a sort of one-stop shop for storage, portfolio, and editing all in one place. The organizational and sorting tools are incredibly intuitive and easy to use, and syncing of the images with the generated thumbnails and previews across multiple devices is also quite impressive. But, even with all of that, the RAW support is somewhat limited, and while the editing tools have been improved, they are still pretty rudimentary. I do not believe it will be attractive enough in its current state for working professional photographers. It’s been seven years since it launched, and the amount of effort that has gone into improving the features to this point are minimal. My expectations for improvements going forward are therefore low.

The thing that still doesn’t quite make sense to me though, is that while the company advertises “unlimited” photos, and it feels like that is sort of a misdirect. The files synced to Mylio are not actually stored on a cloud, but rather just linked to its service and still saved on your own personal hard drives or cloud services like Facebook, Flickr, Google, or Amazon Drive.

Mylio is, therefore, not a storage solution and is just an organization and editing tool. Compared to Google Photos for example, while it is no longer free, at least it offers both storage and organization for its fee and most photographers are probably not interested in editing with a storage or organization tool anyway — that’s what Adobe or Capture One are for.

In Mylio, changes you make to images while away will be synced to the local files once the hard drive or computer is reconnected and synced, and if you delete something from Mylio, it will be deleted from your connected device as well. I actually almost made this mistake while trying to remove files I didn’t want to be included in my testing.

Is Mylio Any Different Now Than It Was At Its Tepid 2014 Launch? 13

Is it Worth a Second Chance?

Probably not. While the service has been improved and I see some benefits in its organizational features, I am reluctant to recommend the premium version, at least not until there is some sort of cloud backup element included in the cost. From my perspective, it is not the kind of service that adds enough value to a working photographer’s workflow to be worth the price.

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What It’s Like to Photograph a Global Launch Campaign for Tamron

What It’s Like to Photograph a Global Launch Campaign for Tamron

What It’s Like to Photograph a Global Launch Campaign for Tamron 14

Most people don’t actually know what it means when I say I’m a “travel photographer,” it is usually met with a confused look and followed up by some variation of the question, “do you mean you travel for free?” or “who even pays you to travel?”

So to sum it up, my clients are various stakeholders in the tourism industry. These could be hotels, adventure experiences, tourism boards, and beyond. When travel suddenly ground to a screeching halt last year, tourism also slowed down and there were times during lockdown where it completely stopped. Since being a photographer is my career and my main source of income, I was extremely worried — and for good reason: it’s been a tough year, to put it mildly.

Connection with Tamron

You can imagine my surprise when in early January 2021, still very much in the middle of the pandemic, Tamron’s South African branch reached out in an email asking if I would be interested in being a brand ambassador for them going forward. Of course, I said yes.

There is some background here as I have been creating content for Tamron SA on occasion for the past two years. At their request, I’ve also spoken at multiple events on behalf of the brand about my experience using their lenses. From my personal experience, creating a relationship with brands you’d like to work with is the best way to get on their radar.

What It’s Like to Photograph a Global Launch Campaign for Tamron 15

About a week after accepting Tamron SA’s offer, I got an email from someone at their headquarters in Japan who said they like my style and asked if I’d be interested in shooting a launch project for their new Ultra-Wide angle lens. I’d be one of only a handful of people in the world to have access to the lens, so it was an honor to be selected for an opportunity like this.

What It’s Like to Photograph a Global Launch Campaign for Tamron 16

Project Brief

Once I’d agreed to do the project, I signed a non-disclosure agreement, Tamron sent some documents about the lens, and then sent a brief with the amount and types of images they needed me to create.

The brief was split into three main parts:

  • Photos (photos taken with the lens)
  • Lifestyle (photos of the lens)
  • Video (Cinematic showcase of the lens in use including the resulting photos)

What It’s Like to Photograph a Global Launch Campaign for Tamron 17

The brief they sent included some of my photos, which were pulled from my social media channels and website.

What It’s Like to Photograph a Global Launch Campaign for Tamron 18

Planning Process

My process when shooting a big project always starts with planning and pre-production. At the time, South Africa was just coming out of its second COVID wave which added an extra dimension of complexity. My initial plan was to travel to a location I had never visited before but all the uncertainty quickly led to me deciding to opt for three familiar locations instead of a new one in order to ensure I could get all the necessary content.

Being one of the first Black brand ambassadors for Tamron, I decided it was important to show myself in the video, so I enlisted the help of my friend and fellow content creator Dean Cothill. We sat down, chose the locations with consideration for COVID restrictions, and put together a story, mood board, and shot list for the project.

Once Tamron approved the mood board, I spent two weeks traveling to the three locations I had chosen: Cape Town, the Garden Route, and Blyde River Canyon (the third largest canyon in the world).

Photography Process

Coming up with a good plan makes the process of actually creating the content a lot easier. As an added bonus, when a brand approaches you because they like your style, it means for the most part you just need to create something you love and would be proud of.

What It’s Like to Photograph a Global Launch Campaign for Tamron 19

Once I was back home I got to work on editing. There were various rules from Tamron when it came to shooting and editing the images, as we were showcasing the capabilities of the lens and had to keep the following in mind:

  • Minimal cropping in post
  • Mild edits
  • Shooting at various apertures
  • An even ratio of landscape versus portrait orientation

What It’s Like to Photograph a Global Launch Campaign for Tamron 20

Approval Process

I sent Tamron around 150 images from which they made their selections. After some back and forth, they were very happy with all the selected images. The video followed a similar process.

The team at Tamron was super organized, knew what they wanted, and were easy to work with. The only hurdle was working with the time zone difference (which is manageable). They were a dream client that was efficient, knowledgeable, and allowed me to just shoot images I am proud of.

What It’s Like to Photograph a Global Launch Campaign for Tamron 21

What It’s Like to Photograph a Global Launch Campaign for Tamron 22

Final Thoughts

After a year of being mostly indoors, it was amazing to travel around South Africa again, especially with the support of Tamron and a really great lens. It is truly one of the most beautiful countries in the world and I’m grateful to live here!

For more information and technical specifications of the Tamron 11-20mm f/2.8 Di III-A RXD, read PetaPixel’s coverage here.


About the author: Shawn Ogulu is a branded content creator, freelance Travel and Adventure photographer, and filmmaker based in South Africa. He is also a director and producer whose body of work includes projects for tourism boards and brands from around the world.

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Gorgeous Starlapse Shot From Upcoming Launch Site of Ariane 6 Rocket

Gorgeous Starlapse Shot From Upcoming Launch Site of Ariane 6 Rocket

Watching any Milky Way timelapse is almost always an awe-inspiring experience, but add in the stellar location of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Ariane 6 rocket launch site and you’ve got a recipe for something truly special.

As Digital Trends reports, the agency is currently preparing for the arrival of Europe’s next-generation launch vehicle. The above starscape-filled timelapse was filmed around the launch base in French Guiana and lets you “imagine yourself stepping out of the launcher assembly building or standing on the launch pad in front of the 90-meter high mobile gantry, to look at the stars.”

The video opens with a breathtaking view of the Milky Way before shifting gears and showing off several of the night scenes around the ESA’s launch site in South America where Europe’s next-generation heavy-lift rocket will soon lift off from. Comprised of two versions, the Ariane 6 is a modular three-stage launcher (Solid-Cryogenic-Crogenic) and is configured with an A62 with two strap-on boosters and an A64 with four boosters. The entire Ariane 6 sits at just over 60 meters tall (196.85 feet), which is just about the same height as SpaceX’s Falcon 9.

The European Space Agency says the new rocket will weigh nearly 900 tons when launched with a full payload that is “roughly equivalent to one-and-a-half Airbus A380 passenger airplanes.” The video below shows what this launch mission should look like once the rocket finally gets started.

According to the ESA, the launch of the Ariane 6 is comprised of three stages: the two or four strap-on boosters, a core stage, and the upper stage. The core stage propels the Ariane 6 for the first 10 minutes of flight where either the two or four boosters will provide additional thrust at liftoff. The upper stage will be powered by the re-ignitable Vinci engine allowing the Ariane 6 to reach a range of orbits on a single mission to deliver more payloads, with the upper stage burning up two or more times to reach the required orbit. Once the payload has been separated, the rocket will burn a final time to deorbit the upper stage to mitigate space debris.

Gorgeous Starlapse Shot From Upcoming Launch Site of Ariane 6 Rocket 23
Exploded view

Sitting at the top of the rocket is the 20 meters (65.6 feet) tall and 5.4 meters (17.7 feet) diameter Ariane 6 fairing which will contain the various payloads and protect them from any thermal, acoustic, or aerodynamic stress during the ascent to space. This section has only recently arrived at the launch facility and will undergo a series of tests before its maiden voyage into outer space. While the rocket was initially scheduled to launch back in 2020, multiple delays — including some caused by the global coronavirus pandemic — have caused the mission to be pushed back until the spring of this upcoming year (2022).

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Gorgeous Time-lapse Shows Starry Night at Rocket Launch Site

Gorgeous Time-lapse Shows Starry Night at Rocket Launch Site


Gorgeous Time-lapse Shows Starry Night at Rocket Launch Site 25

It’s hard to go wrong with a time-lapse of a star-filled sky, but throw in the imposing accouterments of a rocket launch site and you end up with something really rather special.

A beautiful time-lapse (top) released recently by the European Space Agency (ESA) captures a stunning starry sky over its Spaceport in French Guiana, South America.

The video kicks off with a glorious view of the Milky Way before showing other dazzling scenes that include various parts of ESA’s launch facility.

“Imagine yourself stepping out of the launcher assembly building or standing on the launch pad in front of the 90-meter-high mobile gantry to look at the stars,” ESA says in a message accompanying the video.

The site will see the launch of Europe’s next-generation rocket, the heavy-lift Ariane 6.

The Ariane 6 will comprise two versions, the A62 featuring two strap-on boosters, and the A64 with four. At just over 60 meters, the Ariane 6 is about the same height as SpaceX’s workhorse Falcon 9 rocket, which just this weekend set a new flight record.

Which of these two versions is used will depend on the nature of the mission. The A62 Ariane 6 rocket, for example, can launch payloads of between 8,800 and 15,400 pounds (4,000 to 7,000 kg) while the A64 can cope with payloads of between 24,250 and 35,300 pounds (11,000 to 16,000 kg).

ESA’s next-generation rocket will weigh almost 900 tons when launched with a full payload, a weight described by Europe’s space agency as “roughly equivalent to one-and-a-half Airbus A380 passenger airplanes.”

The video below shows what a typical Ariane 6 mission could look like.

The Ariane 6 fairing that sits atop the rocket is 20 meters (65.6 feet) tall with a 5.4-meter (17.7 foot) diameter. The component recently arrived at the launch site and will undergo a series of tests prior to its first journey into space.

The new rocket had been scheduled to embark on its first-ever launch in 2020, but various delays — including some caused by the coronavirus pandemic — have pushed the mission to the spring of next year.

In the meantime, if ESA’s video has inspired you to try shooting your own star-filled time-lapse, this video tells you all you need to know.

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