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Matinee: Bob Krist's 'Spirit Of Place' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

14 March 2015

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the seventy-sixth in our series of Saturday matinees today: Spirit Of Place: The Art of The Traveling Photographer.

Talk about escapes. In this 2000 film, freelance photographer Bob Krist travels to Italy to show you how to capture the spirit of a place. Part of the Nikon School's Masters of Travel series, it runs about nine minutes over an hour. But you won't mind at all.

You'll be captivated by the Italian landscape, we promise, but it doesn't hurt that Krist is a former professional actor. He loves photography but the camera loves him, too.

We've followed him for many years now. He always has something interesting to say.

One of the best things about the video is how Krist explains what he's doing as you watch him at work and then, a few camera clicks later, you see exactly what he did. The results are often simply astonishing, as if you weren't looking at the same thing he was.

His images are particularly impressive considering you're looking at the same view through the videographer's lens. You get a glimpse of the effect of zoom lens compression, for example, but Krist's version is much more dramatic.

Krist covers a lot ground in this travel photography video. Topics include landscapes, people, architecture, arts and culture, festivals and events, sports and recreation, food and lodging, story telling details and aerial photography. Each segment ends with a short slide show of his images.

There's also some travel advice, including what to pack in your camera bag.

We won't detail the video for you but we will point out one segment that demonstrates what especially won us over. In the section on working with people, Krist visits an open air market on an overcast day, telling you how he approaches it in general.

When he hits the fish stall, though, the lighting becomes a problem. The crates of fresh fish are brightly lit but the fishmongers stand back in the darkened stall. To get the fishmongers into the picture, he explains, he takes out a small, off-camera flash for fill.

But as he shoots with the flash, he notices he's scaring away customers. So he waves them into the shot and jokes it's all just Hollywood, suggesting one fishmonger is Tom Cruise and the other, more skeptical older one is Sean Connery. Which makes even "Sean" smile.

Everyone laughs, relaxes and Krist gets his shots of people buying the fish.

You learn quite a bit in just that little segment. Some good technical information, a sense of how you fit into the scene as a photographer and even some public relations.

If you want more of Krist after the video, here are a couple of related books:

A lot has changed in the 15 years since this video was released. Airport security for one. Shooting with film and filters for another. But those are just a minute or two of the hour-long presentation.

But a lot hasn't changed, too. As Krist says, the challenge of taking an interesting photo of a familiar landmark can keep you up at night. But it can also get you up in the morning to pack that roller bag and get to the airport.

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