It was the most epic of assignments… and the most challenging. Never have I had so much fun, been so exhausted and so stressed on a shoot in my life. It was a drastic departure from how I typically work.
The challenge came from Nikon to myself and my friend Corey Rich. We were sent to Argentina and forced to travel light – shedding our normal equipment and tools of making photos and video on location. Corey was an amazing travel partner. He always has smile on his face and is a true professional. We bounced ideas off each other and even though I was tasked to shoot stills and he video, we worked seamlessly together to create some amazing shots. I couldn’t have asked for a better teammate or travel buddy for this Nikon Campaign.
The BEST part about this challenge? The photos had to be perfect right out of the camera. No post production would be allowed. Not even a crop. If I missed the shot, it was gone. We had to deal with whatever the light and the weather gave us and find a way to make it work. Our schedule allowed for no missed opportunities. I had to work through exhaustion and even food poisoning. In Buenos Aires, it was humid and in the 90s as it was summer time in the southern hemisphere. When we arrived in Patagonia, it was cold and incredibly windy. It would rain and then snow. We had to work through all of that and find a way to make the picture.
To be a solid photographer, you have to be a great problem solver. Working with prototype cameras would be a challenging variable – let alone the fact that I did not get to put my hands on the D7200 until we were actually in Buenos Aires. Gone were my usual ways of traveling and working on location. Minimal grip, no big lights, no big glass. The tools we had to use would be the same tools that anyone could go to a camera store and get with the camera. For Corey, he had to work without all the typical camera movement equipment he normally has at his disposal which are in invaluable tool for a filmmaker. Gone was the jib, the Movi, the slider and all the camera movement equipment he typically has at his disposal on a video project.
I had to take the tools as they were handed to me and figure out a way to push my creativity to make something special. Corey and I had to essentially work as if we just unpacked the box from the camera and got to work.
Needless to say, I was immediately impressed with the camera. I have worked with multiple DX format bodies in the past and still own a D300s and a D7000 although I am used to shooting with the D4s, D810 and the D750. Much to my pleasant surprise, the D7200 immediately felt comfortable in my hands. In fact, I was impressed in how robust its features were. Several of the features I have come to expect in my professional bodies have found their way to this stellar DX-format camera. (24.2 megapixels, 6 fps, full 1080 HD video at 30, 25 and 24p. Built in wifi and expanded picture controls.) Time and time again I had to remind myself that I was shooting with a prototype DX camera. I pushed the camera to the limits and it held up and allowed me to do what I wanted, creatively. I found the minimalist approach exhilarating. I love a challenge and when I pushed this camera to the limits, it responded exactly the way I needed it to… every… single… time. For me, that is the perfect situation when it comes to making pictures!
Fortunately working with this camera was very intuitive. It is designed intelligently (Thanks Nikon!) and its performance far surpassed my expectations…and with Nikon, the bar is set pretty high, right?
Here is the link to the Nikon page for the Nikon D7200 if you want to check out the camera.
Over the course of 12 days in Argentina, 8 of which were our shoot days, we worked an average of 19 hours a day to maximize every single opportunity to make a picture. When we weren’t shooting, we were working on our plan and strategy for the next day and what we had to accomplish. With eyes wide open, we took in all the culture of Argentina and worked our best to put what we saw to life in the photos and videos that we were making. Argentina is a stunning country teaming with passion and pride and it was all a blast to photograph.
Tango. Soccer. Patagonia. There is no place like Argentina.. There was a picture to be made around every single corner if you were looking for it. The people were warm and welcoming. It was a trip and an assignment that I will never forget.
Now who wants to join me for an empanada and a glass of malbec?!?!