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You are unique.

And there are seven billion others, just as unique as you. Each of us is different, with some new angle on the world. But what doe...
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You are unique.

And there are seven billion others, just as unique as you. Each of us is different, with some new angle on the world. But what does it mean if the lives we're busy shaping by hand, all end up looking the same? Easily replaced by a thousand identical others?

vemodalen

So we all spread out, looking for scraps of frontier, trying to capture something special, something personal. As if we're afraid of being captured ourselves, so quickly pegged for exactly what we are, so easily mistaken for someone ordinary, just like everyone else.

It should be a comfort that we're not so different, that our perspectives so neatly align, that these same images keep showing up again and again.

It's alright if we tell the same jokes we've all heard before, it's alright if we keep remaking the same movies, it's alright if we jeep saying the same phrases to each other, as if they had never been said before.

"The powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse"

And you and I and seven billion others will leave our mark on this world we've inherited.

But if, in the end, we find ourselves with nothing left to say, nothing new to add, idly tracing outlines left by others long ago, it will be as if we weren't here at all.

This too has been said many times before. "The powerful play goes on." And when you get your cue, you say your line.

Till we meed Dad...
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Behind The Lens

Location
This photo is one my favourites, it was taken in a place in Greece called South Pelion (Thessaly area on Continental Greece) where I was born and grew up by the seaside. I remember I had to walk around 45 minutes to reach this seaside through rocky (no roads) paths and then climb down a 15meter cliff in order to be able and have this view straight ahead of me.
Time
I remember it was back in 2015 end of January and soon was going to leave Greece for my work abroad, but since this place (scouted on google earth) was one of my places in my agenda for that year I had to make every moment count. So I remember getting into my car early that day and driving to this area (for about an hour). Having stopped in several places before that, the time had already been 13:00. So I arrived as close as possible to the area and remember leaving my car on the main road and started to walk through rough paths with mud and some water as it was just after rain. Around 14:00-14:30 I had already climbed down the cliff and set up my tripod for scouting different angles. Eventually I took around 10-14 shots that day from this rock formations and as the storm was upon me for once more I decided to start climbing back when a black stork (if i wasn’t mistaken) came and sat on the formation and call me crazy but I stopped and took out my camera again and started shooting him while resting probably from his long journey to the south (I am no expert on birds but definitely looked tired). This image was taken at 2015:01:20 14:43:36.
Lighting
It was a very cloudy day and the wind was at high speed thus I had already decided that day that whatever I shoot would be with long exposure and therefore i carried with me my 10stop filter in order to bring some dramatic imagery back home. I remember calculating the difference with and without filter and having to stop down to f22 with 64ISO it all came down to 41 good seconds of long exposure. Take into account that it was midday and the light was on top of me already throwing arrays in between the clouds (cloud travelers as I call fast clouds). I tried also some 3/4ths of a second and so on but definitely didn’t make the ambient light I had in my mind so thus I stopped down to f/22.
Equipment
This image was taken with a Nikon D810, a Nikon 16-35 f/4.0, a Benro travel angel tripod, a remote controller (universal 5$ with cable), and my Big Stopper 10Stop ND filter by LEE. All of them fitted well and safe in my old LowePro AW300 bag.
Inspiration
That photo was taken in 2015 Jan and the reason that took me and my camera out of my comfortless of my home, out there in the cold was that it was exactly 5 years since I was diagnosed with cancer and have won the battle against all odds. Therefore I had to make that day count somehow. As I always say “never give up” thus I challenged myself with a unique task for this special day. To get out, walk in this kind of weather conditions and capture an image that was for a long time in my agenda.
Editing
This photo was not processed before 2016:01:21 01:03:08+02:00. I used initially Adobe Lightroom to make the appropriate tweaks for exposure and lens correction and then was transferred as TIFF 240dpi ProPhoto Gamut to Silver Efex Pro Nik Collection where I had the change to transform this beautiful scenery to the black and white level I wanted. Lets be honest here, Lightroom is an amazing software but unfortunately its black and white capabilities are limited to a set of presets and the tweaks are very restricted when it comes to long exposure photography. In more detail with Silver Efex Pro I can put a point light exposure of -1EV or -1/3EV and select exactly the radius in between two clouds OR even better on the edge of one and that will create stunning arrays of light throughout the image and you can continue with the next and so on without affecting any of the Long Exposure (non dehazed) area that your 10stop filter created straight out of the camera. In my own humble opinion the brush of Lightroom or the horizon filter doesn’t cut it when you are trying to represent the exact conditions your naked eyes experienced on the field when you took this photo. As we all know our eyes is the best camera we have on us and unfortunately no camera on the world can represent accurately what your eyes saw that moment. Processors differ, filters differ, and so on, therefore I believe till this day that Silver Efex is a great add on for all Adobe users or stand alone, unless you are editing fine art where the game is on another level. In the end I transferred the image back to LR and exported it to PS to remove some rain drops that went on the lens using the clone stamp. I rarely use PS as I am not well acquainted with its tools other than the basics clone, crop, brush etc. I remember I slept on it for 2-3 days and reopened it in day light and printed it in 80x140cm to see all the detail and see if it really is what I wanted. It had some more work to be done on the area of the rocks where I had pushed a bit the details (contrast) and took it back to Silver Efex and lowered it by 0.45 and that made it look so nice. I remember that the very same night I pulled it up on my 27” and zoomed to 200% in order to see any minor details that escaped my eyes during the day light and it was absolute beauty. Next day I took it to the print office and ordered it on ILFORD Black & White Silver Gelatin Photo Paper.
In my camera bag
Back then I used to have a D7100 and moved to a D810 and a 16-35mm f/4.0. That’s all I could have in my bad. After a year and having published my first short documentary time-lapse film Greek Skies ( see more info on my webpage www.panosphotographia.com) I had the opportunity to be sponsored and have a lot of help on acquiring some very nice toys that accompany me ever since ( http://www.panosphotographia.com/gear/ ) , but each time I have to make the right choice between weight and purpose for what I am going to shoot. If it is commercial then I take the most relevant equipment with me for the purpose, for a sailing boat of course I am packing my GoPros my Drone and two cameras with 2-3 lenses. If it is for landscape I always pack my D850 with a wide lens (16-35mm f/4 or 24-70mm f/2.8) and a 70-200mm f/2.8 for reaching out to landscape that I cannot climb or get on foot close to it. Don’t underestimate a zoom lens for landscape, sometimes can be your best friend and come back with a card full of great images that you wouldn’t be able to have with a wide angle lens. I always carry with me a remote control, a pair of photography gloves (for winter) to be able to touch my screen and mobile, a cleaning lens and sensor kit, 4-6 extra batteries and at least 2 sets of cards. Shooting RAW takes a lot of space in the cards and I always shoot in “back up mode” in my Nikon cameras. One is a copy of the other and when are full I always separate them to two pelican cases for cards. One I keep on me and the other in my backpack and are both water resistant. I also carry a headlamp and a led lamp with plenty of batteries and two battery packs 10.000mAH for charging phone, tablet or batteries of my cameras. When I go for trekking I always pack a lightweight Benro tripod able to hold 3-5 kgrs of camera and at least one piece of equipment for my time lapses from Syrp, Genie Mini for sure and maybe if I dont carry more than two lenses I carry also my 80cm track rail again by Syrp.
Feedback
What I hadn’t anticipated and didn’t have an contingency plan was the unthinkable… to lose your car keys in the sea while bending over to set up your tripod in the sea (one leg) and the other two on rocks. The key to your car that was your only mean of transportation 80kms away from home and at least 25kms away from civilization and without a cell signal. So I might have had a pair of clean dry clothes just in case in the car, food, water and also extra batteries for light and even compass and artificial light with me BUT that was all in the “locked” car. So my advice is very simple. Get your second car keys with you or lock them in the car if you don’t feel safe carrying them all with you. It will cost you a broken window but at least you will have transportation back home and you won’t have to walk for endless kilometers or exhaust yourself. Before you go out there try to think the unthinkable, the most simple and “given” thing you think you don’t have to worry about. Even if that is a toothpick made by wood. You never know how things turn around and the unpredictable weather can make everything so rough that you might regret it for the rest of your life. For me it all worked out as I was lucky enough and my keys got stuck just 1meter below surface on the hill side of the rock, although could have gone straight down to the bottom of the sea (more than 5meters depth) and it would have turned my day to a nightmare as I would have to either spend the night in a car without heat and a broken window or hiking for hours and risking my personal security to find someone to help me or till I get signal to reach help. Ever since I ALWAYS carry with me 2 different phones with 2 different carriers in order to make sure I get signal from one or the other and also second car keys and I always inform my family of my whereabouts and when I am supposed to get home. I also found that sharing location via GoogleMaps or iPhone with the closest person to you can save your life as they will know where you are through GPS and of course if you don’t have signal they can trace your last know location. Lately I invested on a Trackimo smart device that works globally with a global SIM card (pay monthly 5$) and when out of reach has satellite connection and they can trace you everywhere and you can send also SOS messages. Maybe this sounds too much but once you feel that a simple mistake can cost your health and sometimes eventually your life as you can freeze from cold then the 5$ per month is a funny cost to pay for your life. We throw this amount of money everyday for a cup of coffee or a beverage in the end of the day.

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