March 2014 - Robbed in Rio

Category: Newsletters 21 March 2014

Sugar Loaf Mountain, the City and the Bay at dusk, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Canon 5D mkIII, 24-70mm lens @ 59mm, 13 secs @ f8, a stitched panorama.

No problem, no problem, no problem; he kept saying it over and over. I was distracted and wished he'd just let me get on with shooting the opening footage of the planned "4 Days in Rio de Janeiro" video blog. The sun was about to come up on the Copacabana and I was attempting a piece to camera using the new Canon Legria Mini video camera. As I panned around to include the scene I realised dimly he was now approaching from shoreside, still chanting "no problem" like a mantra. I was now puzzled, I knew there was no problem. Then I saw the huge knife he'd unwrapped from a dirty cloth; oh yes, there was a problem.

Realisation dawned as to what was unfolding as I became aware of another man running along the water's edge towards me. At first I thought he was a jogger coming to my aid, but no, he was the accomplice. There were a few people about, but they were a hundred metres or so away and oblivious to the robbery in progress. My assailants had clearly been observing and stalking me, and chosen their moment well.

The scene of the crime; the Copacabana as the sun sets.
Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm lens @ 70mm, 1/250 sec @ f11.

The good news is they didn't get my Wincanton Gym Membership card, or for that matter any credit card, driver's licence, passport, Calais Vin Club Card or hard cash. Despite hands plunging into my pockets at knifepoint they soon discovered I was carrying nothing of value, that is apart from a Canon 1Dx DSLR with 24-70mm & 70-200mm f2.8 L II lenses worth collectively over £10,000. Incredibly all of that was of no interest to them; clearly they were from the Dark Side. What they did nab was the Legria Mini, a nifty little Canon S120 compact I was testing, my pouch of ND grad filters and my watch, which was ripped off my wrist. What they'll do with that haul is intriguing. I guess they've already set up and are running workshops. Nice place Rio.

A coati checking out my tripod at Iguazu Falls, Argentina.
Tripods are the subject of the Low Down,
with accompanying Hot Legs video,
in this Month's edition of the Chasing the Light Online Magazine.

So, apologies for the lack of a Video Blog on my adventures in Brazil in the latest edition of our Chasing the Light Online Magazine, f11 Members can blame that on the Rio welcome. You can however read the whole story behind my tumultuous time there in this month's Behind the Lens feature "Robbed in Rio". There's also an illuminating analysis; Seeing the Light: Lighting for Travel Portraiture, plus the Low Down on tripods, with accompanying Hot Legs video, Part One of the usual two Fundamentals of Post-Production Video Tutorials examines the process of making a panorama of the sweeping view over Rio de Janeiro at night from multiple images using image stitching. In Part Two, I consider how to prepare an image for printing by making a print template to include graphics such as logos, signatures and captions. This month's How it's Done sees macro-wizard Ross Hoddinott gets up close and personal with a marbled white moth, while in the first of what will now be a monthly Taylor Made column f11 regular David Taylor ponders whether our choice of camera actually matters. We have a superb Guest Feature by wildlife photographer Chris Weston this month. Ever wondered what it would be like to be trampled by a herd of wildebeest? Chris has, and he has the images to suit; incredible stuff. And of course there are your images in the f11 Member's Gallery with my hopefully objective comments.

Iguazu Falls, Argentina.
Canon 5D mkIII, 17mm TS-E lens, 0.5 sec @ f16, 0.9 ND filter.

I did struggle. They say you shouldn't, but I did, instinctively though not very effectively. Maybe stating loudly in English with an imperious manner that I was a Subject of Her Britannic Majesty would have had more of an effect. Now all that seems an age ago. I moved on with some relief to the epic, sublime, jaw dropping Iguazu Falls in Argentina. I've photographed many a waterfall from Victoria to Niagara but I have to say Iguazu takes the biscuit. You can read the whole story on that shoot next month, guess where? Yep, in the Chasing the Light Online Magazine published monthly exclusively for our f11 Members. From Iguazu I went on to Salvador, back in Brazil and looking over my shoulder, before returning home, to Wendy's relief.

A portrait of a woman nr Vang Vieng, Laos.
Canon 1Ds mkIII, 85mm lens, 1/400 sec @ f1.2.
An image from this month's Lighting for Travel Portraiture feature in the Chasing the Light Online Magazine.

The intervening month has been a blur of trade shows, talks and workshops, which was all well and good but now it's time to get back behind the lens; we're packing for Iceland. Our first Workshop there spans the middle of the trip and I've time before and after for my own photography. After that spring should well and truly be upon us and an April visit to Paris beckons. In amongst these adventures we've talks coming up at Newton Abbott, Hungerford, Preston and Nottingham. Just in passing I would also mention we currently have stock in of our Chasing the Light filter kits, as made by Lee Filters, and still at the old price!

The bad news regarding my escapade on the Copacabana was it tinged my whole time in Brazil, I spent the rest of my time there watching my back, and that's no way for a photographer to work. I know of course I was lucky, I came out of it all unscathed, physically at least. Such incidents go with the territory, and my chosen path in life. That path will lead to some tantalising destinations over the next year, all in the name of Chasing the Light. We hope you'll come with us, f11 Members will fly club class all the way. I've stopped looking over my shoulder now, and I never liked that watch anyway. Really, there's no problem.



Keep exposing.


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