Seven years after I first picked up a film SLR, I have to admit: the love isn't what it used to be. I don't have the energy or enthusiasm to take thousands of pictures or play around with technique anymore; most of the time I can't even be bothered to lug my camera around with me. Like anyone discovering a passion for photography in the age of DSLRs, I used to spend all my time on dpreview.com looking at all the things I wanted to own, every new camera and lens analyzed for the day I could eventually afford them.
Well, I eventually did buy all the gear I wanted, and that was awesome. But today, I seldom touch my gear outside of work, and don't exert any more effort to keep up to date with the latest tech.
That's where I was coming from when I stumbled across two amazing and successfully crowdfunded photography products that just might encourage a jaded shooter like me to rediscover the joy of creative experimentation and just taking tons of pictures. Both products make tedious-but-rewarding photographic tasks simple, easy, and most of all, fun, for beginners and experts alike.
The first and "sexier" of the two is the Pixelstick. As a photographer, you might have a wishlist of things you wish people would invent, but I never even dreamed something like this would exist. In their words, it's a device that allows you to "add photoreal images, abstract designs, and animation to your long exposure photos and timelapse." Check out the demo below:
If you've ever tried your hand at light-painting, you'll know the things they do in the video above are outrageous. I tried it once, using an old slider phone, and I never got any better at it. But now, from squiggly, poorly-drawn light lines to moving rainbows and 8-bit characters? I'm blown away by the sheer cleverness of how it works.
The second, less sexy, but arguably more useful product is Michron. All you need to know about this product is:
- It takes all the tedious number-crunching and settings-guessing out of timelapse and puts the controls in an app on your smartphone, where you can choose your settings based on your intent (rather than go back-and-forth calculating how many shots you need to take over x amount of time).
- I've already pre-ordered one.
I've shot a decent amount of timelapse photography and again, as someone who isn't obsessed with the technical side of photography anymore, I can't wait to use this both for work and personal videos.
I think it's natural for some experienced photographers who have spent countless hours perfecting their technique to have an instinctive negative reaction to these products, which aim to make conventionally difficult techniques easy for everyone. "It's too easy, now everyone can do it! I spent years learning how to do that!" Reminds me of when digital SLRs became popular, or when everyone started shooting "pro-looking" video with HDSLRs, and suddenly everyone was "threatening" to become photographers or filmmakers.
But I think once you get past that voice of insecurity, you'll realize that with all this technology, you'll be freed from the tedium of the technical process to focus on what really makes you a good photographer: your creativity.