O Presidente da República escreve-nos novamente

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Na sequência da publicação do segundo volume de Floresta Negra, com o subtítulo “Inferno”, o Presidente da República voltou a endereçar-nos uma pequena missiva. “Inferno” foi integralmente produzido na zona de Pedrogão Grande, depois do grande incêndio que transformou indelevelmente toda a zona centro do pais e que causou mais de 60 vítimas mortais.

Senhor Presidente, bem-haja! Muito obrigado!

Viriato, um herói universal – honrar a nossa história

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Produzir um ensaio histórico é um exercício complexo. A ideia original, toda a produção, o necessário rigor histórico, longos dias no terreno para produzir as imagens… Edição e pós-produção – outro processo longo…

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A Lenda de Viriato, ideia original da Chappa, produzida pela Chappa e pela Espada Lusitana, financiada pelo Município de Viseu e patrocinada pela Olympus é um projecto único, cujo valor intrínseco ultrapassa, muito, a imagética e o conceito estético inerente à produção.

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Viriato, por mérito próprio, deveria ser um herói reconhecido em todo o planeta. Os seus feitos foram únicos, de uma magnitude extraordinária. Este ensaio pretende, com toda a pretensão, contribuir para esse reconhecimento. Mas Viriato, infelizmente, não é caso único.

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Os heróis lusos e portugueses, cujos feitos e conquistas representam passos gigantes na história da Humanidade, são, por nós portugueses, estupidamente ignorados. Idolatramos uns fantoches estrangeiros, muitos apenas heróis no papel – nunca daí saíram – idolatramos outros ainda mais porque a cultura anglo-saxónica é sábia na promoção de tretas e de gente pífia (compare-se Robin Hood a Viriato, qualquer astronauta do programa espacial americano aos navegadores portugueses).

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Felizmente parece a mentalidade estar a mudar, pelo menos em Viseu. Um Município com uma visão extraordinária da cultura e saber locais, ciente que Viriato é um dos ícones da cidade, com clara consciência da importância destes heróis míticos na construção de uma identidade forte, carismática, que invariavelmente atrai turistas, capital, desenvolvimento, saber, ajudando a alavancar a economia de toda uma região, de um país.

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Portugal está na moda. O clima, a gastronomia, a paisagem, a candura de um povo que sabe receber bem, a segurança (Portugal é, neste momento, o quarto país mais seguro do mundo), os bairros típicos, os monumentos, o preço convidativo a que nos vendemos a povos mais ricos, são brutalmente apelativos para todo o planeta.

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Contudo, um fluxo de turistas estável, prolongado no tempo, depende igualmente de outros factores e, de entre estes, uma forte identidade cultural é crítica para atrair recursos neste sector. A floresta de Sherwood no Reino Unido, tornada célebre pela lenda de Robin Hood, atrai cerca de 350000 visitantes/ano; tem um centro de visitas renovado em 2017 – originalmente construído em 1970 – renovação essa orçamentada em 5 milhões de libras… Claro, tudo se pode aí fazer, desde caminhar pela icónica floresta, comprar bugiganga com Hood como tema central, fazer uma refeição, visitar o “Major Oak”, participar no Festival Robin Hood… Enfim, uma lição de marketing… (link no final do texto)

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Imaginem o que podemos fazer em Portugal, apenas com a lenda de Viriato… Honrar a nossa história, venerar os nossos heróis e dar a conhecer os nossos feitos ao mundo é o caminho para tornar Portugal numa referência cultural, histórica e, até, social. Os resultados para a auto-estima da nação e para o incremento da economia por via do aumento das receitas directas e indirectas provenientes do turismo serão muito expressivos.

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Município de Viseu, Viseu Cultura, Olympus, Espada Lusitana, John Gallo, Chappa

Todas as imagens © Município de Viseu

Site UK Floresta de Sherwood: https://www.visitsherwood.co.uk

 

Understanding Prejudice – How It Forms and How to Prevent It

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Prejudice can have a strong influence on how people behave and interact with others, particularly with those who are different from them. Prejudice is a baseless and usually negative attitude toward members of a group. Common features of prejudice include negative feelings, stereotyped beliefs, and a tendency to discriminate against members of the group. While specific definitions of prejudice given by social scientists often differ, most agree that it involves prejudgments that are usually negative about members of a group.

The main disadvantage of Micro Four Thirds is prejudice. Keeping an open mind I challenge you all to read carefully:

1 – Bresson, Capa, later Meyerowitz and other masters of this craft early adopted what was in those days a very small “sensor”: 35mm. By that time “full frame” was, at least 120 roll film. Meyerowitz began photographing in color in 1962 and was an early advocate of the use of color during a time when there was significant resistance to the idea of color photography as serious art…

2 – The enormous advances in digital photography allow MFT to mitigate alleged limitations of the format when compared to FF, much more than 35mm did when it was introduced, compared to 120 film.

3 – No other system provides better image stabilization (7.5 stops).

4 – No other system provides this level of portability. Even Olympus E-M1X weighs less 370 grams than Canon’s flagship 1 DX Mark II. Forget lenses size and weight…

5 – Only MFT delivers 18fps with continuous AF and 60fps with locked focus.

6 – No other system offers this level of performance at this price point, not even close.

7 – Olympus new E-M1X AF system focus down to -6EV.

8 – E-M1X specifications regarding weather, moisture and dust sealing are referential – there is no other camera on the market offering this level of protection against the elements. Have you ever tried to wash yours under the tap?

9 – AF “deep learning” is not available in any other camera on the market today (Sony a6400 path is similar, nonetheless).

10 – Integrated (electronic) ND filters with this level of accuracy, delivering fabulous results were unheard of until today.

11 – RAW Handheld High Resolution and RAW Tripod High Resolution modes are unique features, delivering stunningly detailed pictures.

12 – Panasonic GH5 is one of the best video tools the world has ever seen, unbeatable price/quality/features/results.

13 – The range of available lenses and accessories is huge – enough to satisfy the needs of the most demanding photographer.

14 – Noise levels are on par with many other systems until 12800/16000 ISO. Need more?

15 – Bokeh depends of many factors; moving your ass around the subject, changing lenses, walking further into/further away will deliver the results you need.

16 – Due to the size of the sensor, flange focal distance and thread diameter, MFT delivers pin sharp images across the entire frame. No other system offers this level of sharpness across the frame.

17 – Yes, you can print massive sized outdoors from an MFT file. Outdoors have been around for more than a century and photographs have been used for decades and decades on this medium.

What MFT will not do for you:

1 – It won’t turn you into a great photographer. If you’re photography sucks, it will continue to be bad like hell.

2 – It won’t make you look like the “great white” predator. If that is your scene buy those FF 600mm monsters, big and noisy FF cameras. It will be impossible not to spot you, even if you wish to go unnoticed.

3 – It won’t break the bank. If you wish to spend a fortune go FF instead.

4 – It won’t make you look like a “professional, seasoned and old fashioned photographer”; you will look like a clever person that saves money, weight and effortlessly walks for miles with a backpack full of hi tech gear… Using MFT gear you’ll look like contemporary photographer taking advantage of today’s technology.

5 – If there is something about you that needs to show off  big phallic objects you’ll be in trouble. Go FF.

6 – If you’re not an early adopter forget it. Innovators already bought the system many years ago. You’ll end buying it when everyone has it and uses it. Probably these clever users will be jumping on to the next big thing when you finally settle for MFT.

Final comment:

You need to be able to abstract yourself from your old beliefs and credos to really understand the benefits of MFT. Bresson’s photography was initially coined as anti graphic by the status quo… Get it? Prejudice cannot be part of the equation.

Photography is about photographers, about emotions, art, technique, sense and sensibility, about inspiration, about life, death, tragedy, joy, faith… Photography is about conveying emotions, passing on ideas and ideals. Photography is, essentially, an art form. Sorry, not everyone can be an artist, much less a great one.

When I switched from FF to MFT do you know what my clients said? Nothing. They didn’t spot the difference.

 

Photograph: Octopus, one of Chef André’s delicacies. What a cook he is!

 

 

Olympus OM-D E-M1X

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This is it!!! This is the day – Olympus is lauching the E-M1X, a fabulous M43 camera – probably the faster, more advanced camera ever…

“The E-M1X is a step up from the E-M1 Mark II”. This is a high grade camera aimed at demanding professionals. Perfectly meeting the needs of true professionals, the E-M1X delivers the absolute confidence every photographer comes to expect – with better control, ergonomics and stability throughout the shoot. The advanced system of innovative technology and features has been engineered to take the game a level higher.

I’ll let you know everything about my experience with the E-M1X – yes, I’m using one to create out-of-this-world images… And I can tell you it is an extraordinary piece of kit…

https://www.olympus.co.uk/site/en/c/cameras/om_d_system_cameras/om_d/e_m1x/index.html

 

No Surrender – Celebrating New Year!

_1011367-copiarFrom 2018 to 2019 – people having fun at Município de Viseu, Portugal.

_1011262-copiarIt was cold, but the party went on and on and on… Very special (micro) essay focused on one of the most iconic nights of the year.

_1011815.jpgThis will be part of my “No Surrender” series about Viseu – ongoing now for three years… Paying a tribute to the 40000 souls that celebrated New Year at Campo de Viriato.

Olympus superb IBIS becomes part of the creative process @ Feira de São Mateus in Viseu

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Great IBIS can be part of the creative process – this was I decided to do @ Feira de São Mateus in Viseu, Portugal this summer. Taking pictures at extremely slow shutter speeds (1/5 sec, 17mm, f16 photo above) handheld is by no means an easy task.

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When you push Olympus IBIS to the limits, its when you get astonished by it. The photograph above was made with a shutter speed of… 5 seconds – yes 5 seconds, handheld, 25mm f1.2 M. Zuiko PRO Lens @ f16, ISO 200.

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With the same lens, set @f4, this an exposure of 1/8 seconds. Notice how tack sharp everything not moving is.

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Half a second, f9, ISO 64, 7-14mm f2.8 M.Zuiko PRO Lens – handheld… The fact that you do not have to use a tripod gives you an enormous flexibility on the field – easier to choose the angle, much easier to compose the image as you wish, you blend seamlessly with the crowd and you carry much less weight – avoiding the nuisance of having to carry a cumbersome tripod has no disadvantage whatsoever.

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All images Olympus OM-D E-M1 MarkII, firmware version 2.2. M.Zuiko PRO Lenses, ISO 64 and 200.

John Gallo is Olympus Senior Advisor and Professional Trainer

ACR and Adobe Photoshop CC to taste

© Feira de São Mateus/Viseu Marca/Chappa

 

 

Olympus HI-RES mode @ Feira de São Mateus in Viseu, Portugal

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One of the best features Olympus E-M1 Mark II has is its HI-RES Mode. The camera can produce up to 80MB RAW images with stunning detail, extremely high dynamic range and superb color rendition.

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This clever feature provides professional and amateur photographers with the ability to produce stills that rival the best medium format cameras available today – in a perfect slim, light, fast, durable and fashionable body.

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These images were produced at Feira de São Mateus in Viseu, Portugal – this is the oldest fair in the whole of the Iberian Peninsula, a real pearl shining now for 626 years (yes, in 2019 the fair celebrates edition 627)

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These are hi-res jpegs (far, far, from the detail, resolution and depth the originals have, but still I challenge you all to have a good look at every single one of these photographs… This is absolutely stunning stuff.

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All images © Feira de São Mateus/Viseu Marca/Chappa

Photographer: John Gallo, Summer 2018

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, M.Zuiko Digital PRO Lenses, ISO 64 to 200, Manfrotto Tripod, several seconds exposures.

Adobe Photoshop to taste