A few weeks ago we released "Photographing the World 3," the newest installment of Elia Locardi's PTW series. As with with many of our tutorials, we have also produced a behind-the-scenes series that shows exactly how we filmed and produced this landscape tutorial. You can watch all of the PTW 3 behind the scenes here, but in this week's episode Elia covers the importance of scouting, Lee discovers a way to make his sandwiches even tastier, and I test out one of Tamron's newest lenses for time-lapse.
If you are not yet aware of Elia Locardi, he is not only an amazing travel and landscape photographer, but he is also one of the best educators in the photography world. His techniques both on location as well as his postproduction in the studio allow him to make some of the most beautiful landscape photographs I've ever seen. Years ago we teamed up with Elia to produce "Photographing the World" 1 and 2, but in 2017 we paired up once again to continue the journey through Italy, Dubai, and New York City. For the first part of this full-length photography tutorial, we started off on the Amalfi Coast of Italy where Elia brushed up on some of the basic techniques he uses for capturing these amazing coastal towns.
One of the most important yet overlooked aspects of landscape photography is finding the best place to place your camera. Picking out the proper composition is crucial in Elia's work so throughout this tutorial Elia takes time to show you how different elevations and positions can drastically affect the mood of a photograph. The small town of Positano offers a lot of unique vanish points because it is built into a mountain side, but unfortunately not every single viewing point will give you the best composition. Below are a few of the different compositions Elia found while scouting and the resulting before-and-after image shows the final image we produced in this tutorial.
While filming these tutorials that require a lot of travel, it's super important for us to travel as light as possible. Usually that means that Lee and I can only have one or two bags maximum of camera gear and production tools. One of our favorite lenses of all time is the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens (you can watch my Nikon versus Tamron review of four of these lenses here), but unfortunately this particular lens is quite large and heavy to travel with country to country.
For this tutorial, we wound up trading our Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 lens for one of the new Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 DX lenses because we also brought along a Nikon D500 DSLR camera with us. Earlier this year the only 4K video solution Nikon offered in a semi-profesisonal body was the D500 (I should note it also has a horrible crop factor when shooting 4K video) so we decided to test Nikon's best video DSLR as we traveled. I have to admit that like many professional photographers, I too can sometimes snub my nose at a lens that has a variable aperture and does not have the "professional" f/2.8 aperture. However, I found that for video work the Tamron 18-270mm lens was perhaps my favorite lens ever because it offers so much versatility. I could easily shoot time-lapses and 4K video at 18mm and then quickly change to 270mm to capture detail shots and telephoto shots all with one single lens. The only time this lens really struggled was at 270mm in low light because the aperture is f/6.3 but honestly that issue rarely came up.
Another common problem we have when filming our tutorials is dealing with clean and reliable audio. Over the years we have tested many different wireless lav systems and they all work pretty well. The system we first started with and have found to be our favorite is the Sennheiser 3G lav system. As great as this system has been for us over the years, we have found that the Sennheiser microphones that come with this set aren't necessarily the best sounding mics you can buy. A few years ago we upgraded the mics to the Rode Micon series lav mics because they sounded a little clearer but they also have the best deadcat windscreens have ever used (although they do look a bit obnoxious, am I right Joey Wright?). As you can see in the behind-the-scenes video, the problem with these microphones is that they are often breaking at the contact points. Despite Rode's claims that these mics are reinforced by Kevlar, we have found that many of the connectors still crack enough to cause static in your signal or break entirely. Luckily we have found that the Sennheiser MKE 2 mics are some of the cleanest mics we have used and they also accept the same windscreens that we liked from Rode. We also haven't had any problems with the connections breaking or cracking.
In this episode we also face a common theme that will be found throughout Italy, and that is our general distaste for "authentic" Italian cuisine. I know this is a very controversial topic as you will see in the YouTube comments, but I will stick to all of our claims 100 percent. Lee and I are both pretty well-versed world travelers (30-plus countries so far) and together we both have about 200 meals in Italy. To be very clear, neither one of us really enjoys McDonald's but we do appreciate that we know the quality and expectations from a value meal there (and sometimes overseas McDonald's actually tastes much better than American McDonald's). I also think it is pretty fair to say that since we were traveling the Amalfi Coast during the off season, perhaps the most highly praised restaurants were closed for the season or they had the second string chefs on board. That being said, we did eat at the highest rated restaurants that were open and in many cases these small towns only had 2 to 4 restaurants that had 4 out of 5 stars or higher.
In the end, I believe that maybe the Italian palate is not as diverse as ours and they appreciate more bland simple foods than we do. No matter what anyone says, I do not believe that a sandwich made with only hard bread, thin bacon, and cheese could ever be objectively considered better than one with lettuce, tomato, vinegarette, mustard, mayo, bacon, fresh meat or meats, a variety of cheeses, and offered on a variety of breads. It's like saying you prefer the look of an 8-bit video game over a 64-bit game. Fear not though, we will experience some amazing Italian meals in episodes to come that are so good that I actually find myself craving them now that I'm back home.
You can learn more about this entire tutorial in the video below or head over to the "Photographing the World 3" sales page here. If you want to follow along with the behind-the-scenes series, make sure you subscribe to our YouTube Channel and follow the "Photographing the World 3" BTS playlist here.