Tangled Queen Arianna: Ashley Judd Out, Julie Bowen In

Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi are reprising their roles as Rapunzel and Eugene, respectively. Tangled The Series to see comeback of original cast
Tangled The Series will get to see some of the old faces from the original 2010 movie come back. Judd was initially cast in the role of Rapunzel’s mother, in this animated series premiering in   March 2017. Ping Bauzon | Tripped MediaScreen cap from the Twitter page of Queen Paprika Alan Menken, the same person behind the original Tangled movie,   will take care of the musical scoring for the series. It   will be launched together with a Disney Channel original movie, which was based in the 2010 movie entitled Tangled.
Bowen, who plays Claire Dunphy in Modern Family,   is one of ABC’s top comedy stars. The producers made the decision “to take the character’s voice in a different direction.” Screen cap from the Twitter page of TVLine.com

Julie Bowen is replacing Ashley Judd for the voice of Queen Arianna in Tangled The Series.
Disney Channel released a trailer for Tangled Before Ever After a few days ago. Clancey Brown, Eden Espinosa, Jeff Ross, Richard Kind, Jeffrey Tambor, and Paul F. Tangled Before Ever After is set between the events after the feature film and the beginning of Tangled Ever After, the 2012 short film. Tompkin will lend their voices to the other   Tangled characters. The series will continue to tell the story of how Rapunzel acquaints herself with her parents, her kingdom, and the people of Corona. Though we have not heard Bowen in the teaser, we saw a glimpse of Queen Arianna. Before its debut in March, Disney Channel will release an original movie related to Tangled The Series. She then made a cameo as herself in the pilot episode for FX’s Better Things. Bowen no stranger to voice acting
Aside from being a two-time Emmy-winning actress for her role in Modern Family, Bowen also voiced a character in Family Guy’s 2014 episode crossover with The Simpsons. Her filmography includes Happy Gilmore, Kids in America, Crazy on the Outside, and Horrible Bosses. It would be interesting to note how Bowen’s vocals will bring emotions to Queen Arianna’s character, who has always longed to see her daughter, Rapunzel, again. Read More: Tangled Sequel Trailer: Rapunzel’s Pretty Hair Grows Back!

Radio Killer

On both sides there was always a suspicion that some of these devices served a double duty that would become apparent in times of war. The screenplay was written by East German author Harry Thürk, who, like Harold Robbins, specialized in writing books that were more popular with the general public than the critics. facility was primarily intended as a first defense, in case radio chatter suggest some sort of mobilization with East German and Soviet troops. Buy this film (Although the cover of the DVD suggests that this film is black-and-while, it is, in fact, in color). Aside from one failed TV series, Klein didn’t show up on television again, even though you could have found him on the small screen in the GDR nearly any night of the week. That someone is a man named Vogel, who works for the Bundesnachrichtendienst—West Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (usually abbreviated to BND). Within a couple years he was working in West German television and probably would have a long career in unified Germany as well if he hadn’t died in a car accident in 1995. Radio Killer (Radiokiller) takes this concept and runs with it, creating an interesting and unique films that tells its story in a typically East German, low-key style. (But Dad!). Most days were spent listening to discussions about what various SED officials were having for lunch. IMDB page for the film. Aside from a few films in late sixties, director Wolfgang Luderer worked almost exclusively in television, but was no stranger to the Krimi by the time he made this movie. Klein, an actor familiar to any fan of East German films. These were small devices, easily concealed. The story starts when a fighter jet and a passenger plane suddenly find their communications channels jammed, and just barely avoid hitting each other. For anyone raised on James Bond and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. this might seem awfully tame, but the film does a good job of keeping the tension high. The end goal, as far as the East German agents are concerned is to neutralize the threat of the Radio Killer without letting the West Germans know they’ve done so. Fans of spy movies may find this one a little puzzling. Teufelsberg was connected to other listening posts, most of which were hidden in forests in East Germany. The source of the problem is traced to a signal that blocked all radio communication—the “Radio Killer” of the title. After the Wende, offers to appear in films and TV dried up. It also gives the film a documentary feel, which is effective here. The faulty circuit is located at the bottom of a lake, and the only way to fix it is for Vogel to work on it underwater, lest he be spotted. Clearly the man had a soft spot for MfS agents. Agents from the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (better known as the Stasi), are unable to locate the signal’s exact location, but they figure that someone from the West will come along and fix the problem. The film is a co-production of DEFA and DFF, and first appeared on television in May of 1980. Perhaps this was to save money, but it also helped match the stock footage of jet planes, and facilitate underwater filming. Like the characters in Antonio Prohías’ Spy vs. The title suggests a film about a homicide—a serial killer that preys on his victims via a radio signals, à la Bela Lugosi’s Murder by Television, but, it’s nothing of the kind. In this case, it wasn’t intentional sabotage, but a faulty circuit that caused the problem. As with most made-for-TV films, the budget was low, and it shows in the production. Klein appeared in several classic East German films, including Stars, The Second Track, and Naked Among Wolves. Agent Achim Vogel is portrayed by Gojko Mitić, best known as East Germany’s number one Indian in their westerns. While this film is, by no means, a classic, it is an excellent example of the topsy-turvy perspective a viewer from the west encounters when watching East German spy movies. Spy cartoon strip, each side continually sought new ways to find out what the other side was up to. Like many other actors, he turned to radio productions and to the stage (what a golden time for German theater the nineties must have been). He also wrote the screenplays for the spy film, For Eyes Only and Rendezvous mit unbekannt (Rendezvous with the Unknown), an eleven-part TV series that presented actual stories from the early days of the Stasi. He began his career directing episodes of Fernsehpitaval—a popular television series that featured reenactments of famous crimes. The rest of the film is a cat-and-mouse game between the Stasi and the BND. In the East German states, he is best remembered as the harried father in the TV mini-series Aber Vati! This U.S. Occasionally, they were discovered due to either equipment malfunctions or blind luck. It is one of the few times we get to see Mitić as the bad guy (for more on Mitić, see Apaches and The Sons of the Great Bear). Schalker, the lead East German agent, is played by Erik S. The listening post on the Teufelsberg in Berlin is an example of this. The cinematography is by Helmut Bergmann, and appears to have been shot in 16mm. Vogel is shown developing a method to fix the delicate electronic underwater without getting them wet. It’s no secret that the East Germans and the West Germans spied on each other. He died in 2002. Talking to soldiers who worked there, the truth was far more prosaic. Although he hadn’t signed the protest letter against Wolf Biermann’s expatriation, and hadn’t suffered the punitive restrictions faced by the likes of Manfred Krug, Jutta Hoffmann, and Angelika Domröse, Luderer decided to leave the GDR in the early eighties. It probably helps that Radio Killer is a very short film, coming in under 70 minutes. All the intrigue occurs on a mental level, and no guns are drawn, or even appear in the film.

The Second Life of Friedrich Wilhelm Georg Platow

Kühn was not a particularly prolific filmmaker, and it would be five years after graduating from the film school in Moscow before he’d start working regularly for DEFA, working in theater at first, where he further honed his skills working with actors. Or was it simply to separate the scene from those that come before and after it? Everything is in color except for the scenes where Platow (and, in one case, his son) are either working or involved with co-workers. Earlier the same year, they had made a big splash with the soundtrack for The Legend of Paul and Paula. In 1976, Wenzel founded the Komponistenklasse Halle (Composers Class Hall), a training program for young musicians that is one of the few cultural programs from East Germany that is still in operation. Platow was his second. But the son, has the same “I’d prefer not to” attitude that has marked his father’s actions throughout his life, so Friedrich decides to take Georg’s place at the school. Buy this film. 1. To cast the film, Kühn turned to East Germany’s theater community, hiring noted theater director Fritz Marquardt to play Platow. Having found myself in a similar situation, I can relate to this movie on a personal level, as will anyone who has ever had the dubious distinction of trying to find a new job once they’ve past the 55-year mark. Perhaps this is to indicate the drab nature of the jobs, or to show the simpler, black-and-white nature of a daily routine. The popular actor Fred Delmare plays Platow’s father, Platow’s son is played by Lothar Warneke, a fine director in his own right, and Winfried Glatzeder of Paul and Paula fame makes a brief appearance as a clown. It is the year that saw the first appearance of all-American Dean Reed in an East German film (Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts), and the release Heiner Carow’s ground-breaking The Legend of Paul and Paula. When technology makes his job redundant, Platow and his son—Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Platow—are given an offer: The son will go back to school for further training, and the father will take over the son’s job. The Second Life of F.W.G. The only problem is that Friedrich is much to old to apply for the job, so he buys a leather jacket and pretends to be younger. It’s one of the cleverest movie themes around, sonically demonstrating the conflict between the old and the new. The East German rock band The Puhdys also appear in the film, playing at a restaurant. Here, they get to demonstrate their hard rock chops, playing much more aggressive music than the lilting themes from Paul and Paula. Playing the cynical but sympathetic Malvine is Gisela Hess in her only theatrical film appearance. Just for good measure, the year ended with one film getting banned for the usual stupid reasons (The Dove on the Roof). 1973 was an interesting year in DEFA’s history. It isn’t long, though, before the electric guitar is back, now more distorted than before, taking over the theme from the violins. But don’t let its relative obscurity fool you—it is worth searching out. 2. The soundtrack is by Hans Jürgen Wenzel, who worked as a conductor for various theatres and orchestras. It works either way. They felt that it wasn’t a fair representation of the working class. Marquardt was no stranger to film, having already appeared in smaller roles in The Falcon’s Trail, The Time of the Storks (Zeit der Störche), and The Man Who Replaced Grandma, but it was his role as a director at the Volksbühne, Berliner Ensemble, and various other theaters for which he is best known. Those scenes are in black-and-white. He started his adult life as a mining engineer, but changed careers during a stay in Berlin. In terms of genre films, it saw the release of a musical (No Cheating, Darling!), a fairytale film (Susanne and the Magic Ring), a western, (Apaches), a biopic (Copernicus), and a literary adaptation (Unterm Birnbaum). The film was released without a premiere, and was excluded from export. Platow uses film stock in an usual way. Aside from a couple television show appearances in East Germany, Hess has spent her career on stage at Theater Magdeburg. The fact is, many people were leaving East Germany around this time. Friedrich Wilhelm Georg Platow has had a good life working at a railroad crossing in a small German town. For this reason, the film remains relatively unknown, even in Germany. Kühn made up for lost time, plunging into his film studies with a fervor, studying at the film school in Babelsberg and under Sergei Gerasimov at the Moscow Institute of Cinematography (renamed the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in 1986). The Time of the Storks was his first. It wasn’t shown in unified Germany until 1996, and has had only limited screenings in North America since then. The film is directed by Siegfried Kühn, a talented director who also gave us   The Actress. It starts with an electric guitar, which is quickly replaced by an orchestral theme. Throughout the film, an old lady and her grandson show up to make comments, eventually acting as sort of a two-person Greek chorus. IMDB page for this film. Kühn hit his stride as a director around the time that wall came down, which brought his career to a screeching halt, from which he never recovered. On the train to the academy he meets Malvine, a heartbroken young women who immediately guesses his age and then gives him pointers on how to appear younger. This scene is also black-and-white. It goes through the entire life of the title character, from his birth to his later years, but it is mostly concerned with what happens to a man when his job has been made redundant, and he’s faced with finding a new occupation at a time when everyone thinks he’s past his expiry date. Is the filmmaker suggesting that her previous life was a job? It is a genuine East German classic. The film caused some grumbling among the SED officials who reviewed it. The Second Life of Friedrich Wilhelm Georg Platow (Das zweite Leben des Friedrich Wilhelm Georg Platow) is a tragicomedy of the type Germans have been so good at making since the early days at UFA—which is to say, bitterly comedic. He was a fan of expressionistic music, which the score for this movie hints at. There was actually one more film intended for release that year: The Dress—but it was banned for its references to a walled city run by an idiot king. In 1982, her sister was sentence to two years and eight months for trying to immigrate to West Germany without exit papers.2

The film has a solid cast all the way down the line. The only things really missing from that line-up are a spy movie and a science fiction film. Here in the West, this would normally be characterized as “fleeing” or “escaping,” but I’m intentionally avoiding such loaded terms. Thus, Platow’s childhood (which is where most directors would use black-and-white), his internment on the Eastern Front, and his time at the academy are all in color. That’s not to say the East German government was making it easy to emigrate, but it could be done, as Manfred Krug, Nina Hagen, Armin Mueller-Stahl, and other demonstrated. It’s not as historically important as 1966, when a dozen films were either pulled or shot down while in production; and it lacks the prodigious output of 1961, which saw the release of twenty-five films.1 But if you are looking for a year that is representative of most aspects of DEFA, 1973 is a good place to look. The one exception to this is the scene where Malvine’s backstory is revealed. He only composed music for seven films. It’s a mundane job, but Platow is a man of limited ambition, so maintaining a railroad crossing is fine with him. The Second Life of F.W.G. More recently, he turned in a brief appearance as the bed-ridden father of the main character in Andreas Dresen’s Whisky with Vodka (Whisky mit Wodka).

Coded Message for the Boss

The film is based on Günter Karau’s spy novel Go oder Doppelspiel im Untergrund (Go, or Double-Cross in the Underground). Here he creates a twangy guitar-drive theme song that suggests a more action-oriented film than Coded Message for the Boss   delivers. It is not the best of the East German spy films—that honor goes to For Eyes Only—but it is an engaging film that never relies on fantastic, state-of-the-art gadgets to resolve plot points. As already mentioned, Dr. Brandin is played by Peter Zimmermann. The biggest difference is that, unlike the films from the West, the bad guys are shown to be complex, thinking people, whose reasons for championing capitalism are based on their belief in staying loyal to their countries in spite of any misgivings about the morality of government policies. Since the story takes place right before the Berlin Wall goes up, Go’s strategies of encircling and capturing opponent territories is a perfect metaphor for what was going on in Germany at the time, but director Helmut Dziuba chose to abandon the Go theme entirely, choosing instead to make the American contact agent Dr. Lutz Groth on the German women’s prison TV series, Block B – Unter Arrest. Sasse needs no introduction here, having provided excellent scores for East German films or every type (see Her Third for more information on Sasse). A graduate of the “Ernst Busch” Academy for the Dramatic Arts. Dziuba died in 2012. Dziuba was part of DEFA’s second generation of directors. 5, which is not quite the title as it appears on the current English-language DVD release of the film. During that time, he taught acting at the Academy of Film and Television in Babelsberg. 5) is the story of Wolf Brandin, and East German electrical engineering student recruited by the CIA to spy on the East German government. Coded Message for the Boss has an excellent score by Karl-Ernst Sasse. Baum is training Brandin to be a spy. Coded Message for the Boss was his second film and his first starring role. Unlike many soundtrack composers, who develop specific, recognizable styles, Sasse was a bit of chameleon, creating everything from minimal renaissance music (Godfather Death), to trippy psychedelia (In the Dust of the Stars). Brandin is chosen because of his frequent unauthorized visits to West Berlin. Zimmermann first appeared on screen in a secondary role in Heiner Carow’s Until Death Do Us Part. After he is approached by the CIA, he goes straight to the Stasi, who convince him to play along, putting his life in danger and threatening his marriage when he’s forced to lie to his wife. Once DEFA was dissolved, his career as a director ended. Second only to the Indianerfilme, East German spy films offer a view of the world so antipodal to Hollywood’s version that sometimes it feels like you’ve entered (or escaped from) Bizarro World. Russians and East Germans are the good guys trying to protect the world—free and otherwise—from the nuclear threat posed by West Germans and the Americans. It has more in common with The Spy Who Came in From the Cold than Diamonds are Forever. It’s a weaker premise, but it does help boost the idea of Dr. As with most of the second generation DEFA directors, age and anti-Ossi attitudes prevented Dziuba from finding work once the Wall came down. Baum as a sort of James Bond character; a suave ivy-leaguer who enjoys the finer things in life. 5” is a perfectly acceptable translation, but the German word, Ausfall, also means failure. His last film as a director was made for DEFA and released in 1992 (Jan and Jana). The dangers of this sort of thinking are not lost on the Germans, who know better than most what happens when patriotism is left unchecked. “Sorty No. He is thoughtful and clever, and is as worried about the escalating tensions between East and West as his East German counterpart. As a spy film, Coded Message for the Boss is low key and realistic, much like Radio Killer. Dziuba directed the film from a script that Karau and his wife Gisela helped write. This group includes Herrmann Zschoche, Siegfried Kühn, Egon Schlegel, Lothar Warneke, Erwin Stranka, and Roland Oehme. Baum a fan of art museums and aquariums. This allows them to feed disinformation to the Americans, leading to the West being caught with its pants down when East Germany builds the Wall around East Berlin on August 13th in 1961. His last film credit is Die Blindgänger (The Blind Flyers), made in 2004. Like most East German actors, there was some lag time between the fall of the Wall and his acceptance into television and movie production in the new Germany. Dziuba studied filmmaking in Russia, where he also worked for Radio Moscow, the Soviet counterpart to the U.S.’s Voice of America. In the book, as its title suggests, the game of Go figures prominently in the story. The second half of the title—Ausfall Nr. 5—is left out the title, which is probably just as well. Since this half of the title isn’t introduced until the end of the movie, I can’t help but think that failure was part of what was meant here. They think this means he prefers West Germany’s capitalism, and they plan to leverage his frequent trespasses but what the folks at the CIA don’t realize is that he’s only doing it to help his father obtain a medicinal ointment that’s not available in the GDR. Coded Message for the Boss (Chiffriert an Chef – Ausfall Nr. The story starts in 1959, when tensions between the East and the West are at their highest and the border between East and West Berlin is still porous and dangerous—for both sides. More recently, he’s been seen playing Dr. Buy this film. These directors were born in the mid-thirties, so they experienced the effects of WWII, but were still too young at the end of the war to serve in the Wehrmacht. IMDB page for the film. Brandin’s CIA contact is a fan of the game, and arranges meetings at the Go club in West Berlin. On IMDB, the title is translated as Code for the Boss: Sorty No. Baum is not the kind of one-dimensional bad guy you’d find in an American spy film. Guns are drawn and shots are fired, but only for target practice when Dr.

Spring Takes Time

He was first criticized for his television short, Fetzers Flucht (Fetzer’s Escape), but that one was eventually allowed to be broadcast in 1962. Mellies’ career in films started with a small role in Der neue Fimmel (The New Craze), after which he started appearing in various television productions. Unlike much of work, which has a penchant for the schmaltzy Schlagermusik so popular with older Germans, The music for Spring Takes Time sounds very much of its era, but it is also a strangely dissonant and heightens the effect that things are not quite right. Siebholz was a very successful composer in East Germany, penning several hits songs. The DVD also includes Stahnke’s short film Monolog for a Taxi Driver (1962). The production designer was Georg Kranz, a versatile designer whose work can be seen in Ursula, The Devil’s Three Golden Hairs, and Murder   Case Zernik. Spring Takes Time was his next film. Not so with his next short film, Monolog for a Taxi Driver (included on the Spring Takes Time DVD from the DEFA Library), which was banned outright for its pessimistic, every-man-for-himself look at life in the GDR. Although the term “Rabbit Films”—named after Kurt Maetzig’s The Rabbit is Me—was given to the films that were banned during the 11th Plenum, I suspect that Spring Takes Time is film that really set off the purge that followed. After the Wende, she did what many East German actors did, moving from film and television to legitimate theater. After the Wende, when most East German film technicians were effectively shut out of the film industry, Kranz found work as the series production designer for the popular TV series Für alle Fälle Stefanie. While the SED could rail against specific aspects of the other banned films, claiming they contained anti-socialist elements, Spring Takes Time was a virtual exposé of their hypocrisy. Most of the rest of the film is told in flashbacks, where we learn that Solter is just the fall guy for decisions made by his higher-ups, in particular Chief Operations Officer Erhard Faber, who is determined to meet the state’s quotas come hell or high water. His first feature film, From King Midas (Vom König Midas), was met with some criticism, but made it into the theaters. Much of this film’s cinematic value comes from its production design which is as angular and pristine as Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. That film remained unscreened until the Wall came down. As with nearly everyone else involved with Spring Takes Time, Abeßer’s career after this film was restricted almost exclusively to television. Along with The Rabbit is Me, it is one of the only films that actually made it into the theaters before the ax came down. It doesn’t help Solter’s case that he’s a reticent fellow who refuses to point the finger at anyone else, feeling that everyone in a position of power—including himself—shares some of the responsibility for what happened. Spring Takes Time was his first feature film, and is probably the reason the next six productions he worked on were for television. At its heart, the film is an indictment of the very economic system the folks at the 11th Plenum were so loathe to discuss. Doris Abeßer plays Solter’s waif-like daughter Inge, who obviously didn’t inherit any of her father’s stoicism. Solter is well played by Eberhard Mellies. Spring Takes Time was his next feature film and almost his last. By the time she made this film, Abeßer had already appeared in nearly a dozen movies and a few TV films. Spring Takes Time (Der Frühling braucht Zeit) was one of the twelve films banned in the wake of the notorious 11th Plenum. It also doesn’t help that he has very short fuse, and isn’t averse to knocking someone through a glass door if he doesn’t like what they’re saying. The film is directed by Günter Stahnke, an extremely talented director whose frequent run-ins with the authorities led to him being ostracized from DEFA. With her enormous, dark eyes, she appears at times like a Keane kid (one reviewer compared her appearance to mask-wearing Louise (Alida Valli) in Eyes Without a Face, but I think this is pushing it). Especially considering that it premiered a few weeks after the Plenum, and was effectively, albeit accidentally, an indictment of the very behavior that the folks at the Plenum had just demonstrated. After that, Stahnke was essentially banned from DEFA and relegated to television, where he spent the rest of his career directing comedies and kids’ films. At the start of the film, a gas company manager named Heinz Solter is arrested for negligence that resulted in the failure of a pipeline, and the serious injury to a worker. Abeßer died on January 26, 2016. Besides Solter’s story, much of the film revolves around his doe-eyed daughter Inge, who is dating one of Faber’s lackeys. Stahnke, Mellies, Abeßer, and cinematographer Hans-Jürgen Sasse were all relegated to television after this, with DEFA feature film opportunities for them few and far between, if at all. The movie is cast against type—perhaps as a way to show how topsy-turvy things had become in East Germany. I can’t help but wonder if some of the films that were banned in the Kahlschlag (a term meaning “clear-cutting,” often used in reference to the films banned during this period) were banned as a smokescreen to hide the fact that Spring Takes Time was the movie they really wanted to be rid of, but to ban it by itself would have called too much attention to the film. I could find no date for their marriage, but their son born in 1963, so they were already a couple by the time they made this film together. Aside from voiceovers in My Zero Hour (Meine Stunde Null) and Apaches, Mellies didn’t appear in a DEFA feature again until 1978. She started appearing in film and television regularly again 2001, finally retiring in 2012. His career as a director effectively ended with the dissolution of East Germany. Mellies’ strong features and stern countenance lend themselves to this type of role. Buy this film.1

1. She is played here as a raw nerve, sensitive to every things that happens around her. IMDB page for this film. One might think the Wende would give Stahnke another chance to spread his wings, but such was not the case. Rolf Hoppe, who was almost always cast as a villain, appears here as a sympathetic worker in danger of being scapegoated for the failures of the gas line project. Abeßer was married to director Stahnke. A look at the film histories of many of the people who worked on this film show that they were more severely punished than the people on most of the other banned films. Günther Simon, who was usually cast in heroic roles—having first made a splash as East Germany’s number one hero Ernst Thälmann in the Kurt Maetzig films—here plays the devious Faber. While Solter is a good guy, he is also short-tempered and reticent. He returned to feature films with the popular Time of the Storks, and worked mainly in feature films after that. Like his brother Otto, who is one of the most well-known voiceover actors in Germany, Eberhard does most of his work in front of a microphone these days. Günther Simon probably avoided similar treatment because he was, after all, the embodiment of Ernst Thälmann and the West German press would have had a field day if it could be proved that the man who played Thälmann was no longer being cast in films. After all, it’s a movie about how the state’s demanding quota system could lead unscrupulous management to put the lives of the workers in danger and then blame the same workers when things go south. While some of the 11th Plenum bans seemed downright silly (see Hands Up or   I’ll   Shoot!), the banning of Spring Takes Time is understandable. Juxtaposed with the film’s stark look is the jangly rock’n’roll score, played by a band called “The Sputniks.” The composer is listed as Gerhard Siebholz, who also did the scores for the musicals No Cheating, Darling!, and Wedding Night in the Rain. Her performance in Konrad Wolf’s film Professor Mamlock as Mamlock’s daughter Ruth was especially powerful. How could they not ban it?

Winter Adé

The most famous, or infamous, as the case may be, is Look at This City!, but there are many more. Most of these early films were for propaganda purposes, showing how the Soviet Union was helping rebuild Germany after the war. She was working in the documentary film section at DEFA and noticed a lack of women working at DEFA (see All My Girls). After the Wende, Ms. She continued to make many documentaries as well as two feature films—Herzsprung, and the award-winning Englechen (Little Angel). Winter Adé was well-enough received on both sides of the Wall to give Ms. He is also the cameraman that documentary filmmaker Volker Koepp most often chooses to shoot his films. Misselwitz had the rather unique experience—for an East German at that time—of being in America when the wall came down, a situation she recounts in an essay that is included on the DEFA Film Library’s release of Winter Adé, which is also available here. Misselwitz founded the first privately-owned East German film company. Winter Adé gets its title from a popular German children’s song. She also edited Jürgen Böttcher’s Die Mauer (The Wall), a film about the deconstruction of the Berlin Wall that relies almost entirely on its editing to give it its power. With the exceptions of the Helke Misselwitz’s feature films and a few others, she works exclusively in the documentary film realm. While some women were working in fields that were previously the exclusive domain of men, many others found themselves stuck in mundane jobs with no realistic hopes or dreams for the future. Along the way, the film crew interviews women and girls about their lives and aspirations. It means “goodbye winter,” and is a celebration of the coming of spring. Plenert didn’t experience the transition difficulties that faced many of the other technicians from DEFA. He also worked on three of the DEFA feature films that Lothar Warneke directed (although not on Bear Ye One Another’s Burdens). Some are eternal optimists, and some have just given up. Like the film’s director, cinematographer Thomas Plenert works primarily on documentaries. The film uses as its structure, a train trip that covers the length of East Germany from top to bottom. He continued working on documentaries and shot several episodes of popular German television shows, including many episodes of the post-Wende version Polizeiruf 110. The film premiered at the 1988 Leipzig International Documentary Film Festival and caused a sensation. Not all the interviews are with women, but all of them are about women or the perception of women in the GDR. Mr. On November 9, 1989, Ms. Not really surprising considering the inherently complex and contradictory nature of the East German state. He first worked with Helke Misselwitz on the documentary, Wer fürchtet sich vorm schwarzen Mann (Who’s Afraid of the Bogeyman), and continued to work with her on several more documentaries as well as her two feature films. The women come from all walks of life and all ages. It starts in Planitz, a town just west of Meissen where the filmmaker was born, then begins a train trip from Zwickau, near the Czech border, to Sassnitz, a resort town on the Baltic coast. IMDB page for the film. Director Helke Misselwitz choice of title was both remarkably prescient and terribly ironic. Eventually, the studio for documentary films would start making feature-length documentaries. Unfortunately, more secure, in this case, only meant a couple years as DEFA was dismantled shortly after the Wende. It must be said, however, that the few men interviewed in the films, also seem to have given up on their dreams. This situation that didn’t make sense to her given the GDR’s claims of sexual equality. It is powerful documentary that should be seen by anyone interested in the role of women in society, whether that means the GDR or the USA. It is a fairly bleak picture of life in the GDR and is filmed, appropriately enough, in black-and-white. Occasionally the camera crew stops to take in the local sights, most notably, a doll hospital in Delitzsch. An equality, they were quick to point out, that did not exist in the West. Buy this film. It was here that Kurt Maetzig started as a director, and where Richard Groschopp returned to the craft. She decided to make a documentary examining the role of women in East German society. Misselwitz a more secure position in DEFA’s documentary division. Helke Misselwitz was part of the so-called Nachwuchsgeneration—the baby boomers who were just starting to make films for DEFA before the wall came down. During the following year, Leipzig would be home to the Monday Peace Demonstrations, which helped bring down the wall. Since 1997 she has taught directing at the “Konrad Wolf” Academy for Film and Television in Potsdam-Babelsberg. We meet, among others, a perky ballroom dance instructor in Altenburg, two no-future punky runaways in Berlin, and, in Groß-Fredenwalde, Margarete Busse, an 83-year-old woman celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary who delivers the real stomach punch in the film. What she found was complex and, at times, contradictory. The first films made in what would become East Germany after the war (at that point, still the Soviet sector), were short documentary films. He got his start with Jürgen Böttcher—the director of Born in ‘45—filming several documentary shorts for him. In 1996, he won the German Film Award for best cinematography for his work on Volker Koepp’s documentary, Kalte Heimat (Cold Homeland). After DEFA was established, documentary films were handled by a specific branch of the production company—the DEFA-Studio für Dokumentarfilme. Less than a year after the release of the film, the Berlin Wall would come down and a year after that Germany would be reunited. Many directors maintain that “editing is everything.” If this is the case, then special credit must be given to Gudrun Steinbrück, who, like her husband, Thomas Plenert, has worked on most of Helke Misselwitz’s films.

Love’s Confusion

Nope. As one of the signatories of the letter protesting the the expatriation of Wolf Biermann, Domröse was denied future film roles, and eventually moved to West Germany. Just the sort of fellow you want operating on you. Much of the action in Love’s Confusion revolves around Sonja, played by Annekathrin Bürger. But when everyone removes their masks to reveal their faces, does Dieter apologize for the mistake and look for Sonja? If this is the intent of director Slatan Dudow, it’s the most subtle piece of direction this side of Paper Moon.1 Of course, it was 1959, and cads who find love was the order of the day. Even in this act, he is inept, accidentally dropping his pen case on the floor because he’s not looking where he’s putting things. Right out of the gate he’s set up as a man who doesn’t pay very close attention to details and capable of feigning interest when there’s none there. Domröse would go on to appear in several more films throughout the sixties—most notably, The Story of a Murder—but it was the 1973 film The Legend of Paul and Paula that really brought her to public’s attention. Included in the cast are several well-known actors in blink-and-you’ll-miss-them roles who would later go on to become stars in East Germany. One can hardly blame him: Siegi is gorgeous. The story centers around Dieter, a medical student at Humboldt University, and his girlfriend, Sonja, an art student at the Berlin-Weißensee Art Academy. Among them, Erik S. Like Pietsch, costume designer Gerhard Kaddatz had worked on My Wife Wants to Sing. When you come right down to it, romantic comedies present a world as improbable as Zardoz or The Lobster. Some objected to the film’s carefree morality, and its brief moments of nudity—a first for an East German film—while the notorious journalist and TV personality Karl-Eduard von Schnitzler felt that it didn’t do enough to address the issue of class struggle (for more on von Schnitzler, see Look at This City!). For most of her career at DEFA, she was married to Rolf Römer, an actor who also directed Hey You! IMDB page for the film. Herein lies one of the fundamental problems with this story. Sonja, on the other hand, comes across as likable, as do Siegi and her friend, Edy. Peter Bogdanovich, the director of Paper Moon, has said in interviews that he considers the ending of that film a tragedy. Domröse was working as a typist when she responded to a newspaper advertisement looking for “young, cheerful, pretty girls, aged 16 to 20 years, around 1.60m tall (5’ 2”) for a leading role.” 800 young women applied for the job and it is a testament to Domröse’s beauty and charisma that she won the part. The film probably only got made because it’s director, Slatan Dudow, was something of an idol in East Germany, having directed the 1932 film Kuhle Wampe, a film banned by the Nazis for its socialist message (see Destinies of Women). When we first see Dieter, he is attending a lecture, pretending to pay attention, while secretly slipping his notepad and textbooks into his book bag so that he can get out of the classroom as quickly as possible when the bell rings. Art director Oskar Pietsch and costume designer Gerhard Kaddatz had a lot of fun with this movie, particularly in the carnival scenes. Let’s face it: the guy’s a jerk. 1. The popular message of the time was that even men who are cads can me tamed with the “right” woman. He probably would have gone onto to create many more great sets for DEFA, but he resided in West Berlin, and the Wall effectively cut him off from that source of income. Not too many women could compete with Annekathrin Bürger in the looks department, but Domröse does (although Bürger gets a lot more screen time). Klein, Barbara Dittus, Rolf Römer, Marianne Wünscher, and Arno Wyzniewski. And Hostess, two under-appreciated films that starred Bürger. He invites Siegi over to the bar and chats her up. We’re not really rooting for him to end up with anybody. Bürger is no stranger to this blog, having starred in several East German classics, starting when she was nineteen with A Berlin Romance, and including Star-Crossed Lovers, The Second Track, and Farewell. While working on his next film, Christine, Dudow was killed in a car accident. He was the logical choice for this job, having created the sets for My Wife Wants to Sing. Unlike Pietsch, Kaddatz lived in East Berlin, and was able to continue his career throughout the sixties and encompasses everything from spy films (For Eyes Only and Frozen Flashes) to fantasy films (Mother Holly and The Flying Dutchman). It is a strange way to begin a romantic comedy. Love’s Confusion would be the last film that Dudow would live to complete. Also in the cast is Dietlind Stahl, sister of Armin Mueller-Stahl. It was exceptionally good casting. Are we suppose to feel any sympathy for Dieter? He art directed a few West German features, but primarily worked in television for Sender Freies Berlin (SFB). Buy this film. Playing Siegi, Sonja’s rival for Dieter’s affections is eighteen-year-old Angelica Domröse in her first film role. (Part of a four film set of films starring Angelica Domröse)
The film is also available on Veoh. In spite of the misgivings of some SED party members, the film was a hit with the public, and because of it did not wear its socialism on its sleeve, it was easier to sell to West Germany than most other East German films at the time. Sonja spots Dieter kissing Siegi, and things go downhill from there. Kaddatz had a good eye for fifties fashion, and his costume designs for these movies are worthy of Helen Rose and Edith Head, even if the fabrics are not. The two plan to meet up at a masquerade party, but Dieter repeatedly rejects the advances of Sonja, thinking she’s a stranger, and ends up with Siegi, thinking she’s Sonja. It is a popular fantasy in films, right up there with destiny playing a hand in couples meeting. If this sounds like the kind of story that the SED authorities might have problems with, you’d be right. In Hollywood, Frank Sinatra and Rock Hudson were making careers out of these types of characters with films such as The Tender Trap, Pal Joey, Pillow Talk and Lover Come Back. But it is his work in the fifties that really stands out. When the various couples eventually align with the people they are “supposed” to marry, we’re left with sadness for the woman who ends up with Dieter. Love’s Confusion (Verwirrung der Liebe) is a 1959 romantic comedy that is similar to the ones being made in Hollywood around the same time. Audiences, on the other hand, saw it as a happy reunion.

Obituary: Manfred Krug Has Died

The Soviets were less worried about this, they saw German industry as a great source of badly needed materials and supplies, and they did everything they could to get the factories up and running. He was an exceptionally talented man who had successful careers on both sides of the Berlin Wall, both as an actor and a singer. He often collaborated with jazz musician and film composer Günther Fischer, with Fischer writing the music and Krug writing the lyrics under the pseudonym, “Clemens Kerber.” After the Wende, Krug wrote a scathing piece for Der Spiegel, attacking Fischer for working as an informer for the Stasi—a charge that Fischer has repeatedly denied. The film was a hit and led to appearance on television and several LPs of his jazz singing. Some reports say that Krug was very much like the characters he played, cocky, obstinate, occasionally mean, but always charismatic. It is safe to say that, with the notable exception of Erwin Geschonneck, no actor in East Germany was better known or more admired. 1. On the Sunny Side was a relatively small film with only a few singing numbers, but it was followed by Midnight Revue, in which Krug was able to pull out all the stops and show the East German public what he could do. In 1996, he published Abgehauen, his account of how the East German government essentially drove him out of the country.1 The book was popular and was soon after adapted into a movie, directed by the former East German director Frank Beyer (who had also signed the Biermann protest letter). I, for one, will miss him. For most of the DEFA actors, directors and writers who signed this protest, the move proved to be the end of their film careers in East Germany, but Krug didn’t stick around to find out. For any regular reader of this blog or fan of fan of East German films, Krug needs no introduction. It was here that he got that distinctive scar on his forehead after being splashed with hot metal. Feil wanted actors who could actually handle a big rig, and Manfred Krug, with his blue-collar background, was custom made for the part. Like the character in the film, Krug was worked in a steel mill when he was younger. Krug started in films in 1957, usually playing the heavy. After the War, factories in the West were very slow to get up to speed. He starred in several TV-movies at the start of his career, playing everything from the reprehensible Locky McCormick in the East German made-for-TV version of Johnny Belinda, to Mephisto in a TV adaptation of Faust. He later made splash as the lawyer Robert Liebling in the TV show Liebling Kreuzberg, and as chief detective Paul Stoever in the ever-popular crime drama Tatort. In it Krug plays an unruly blue-collar worker who discovers a talent for singing and theater. Mr. He first started getting some real attention with his role as Oleg in Five Cartridges, but it was the film On the Sunny Side that first showed off Krug’s talent as both a singer and an actor. Also like the character, he was kicked out of drama school for being a troublemaker. For this reason, Krug’s father had already been working at the steel mill in Hennigsdorf during the War and returned to it afterward. Krug was a West German by birth and was able to use this fact to leave the GDR as soon as it became apparent that the SED was not going to respond to the protest with anything other than repression and surveillance. The young Krug joined his father after his parents divorced. It is with great sadness I must announce that Manfred Krug has died. If I were to translate the title of Krug’s book into English, I’d probably go with “Get Outta Here!”, although I’m sure that won’t be what it will be called if it ever sees print in English (and it should). At its root it means to flee, but it also indicates being driven off for some reason. While many other East German actors who immigrated to the West suffered a fallow period without work after the move. In 1966, he turned in a performance as Hannes Balla in The Trace of Stones that would have been a career-defining role for most actors, but the film was quickly pulled from theaters as a result of the 11th Plenum. In many respects, the film follows Krug’s own path to acting. The series was a huge hit and made Krug as familiar in the West as he was in the East. Born in Duisburg in 1937, the son of an engineer at a steel factory. Like many German words, it contains several nuanced meanings that don’t translate into one handy word in English. While the Plenum was a career ender for many people at DEFA, the banning of The Trace of Stones had little effect on Krug’s career. It’s hard to give a truly accurate meaning of the word abgehauen in English. It has milder connotation of escape, but mainly means someone left because they felt they had to. He continued to appear in films and released several albums on the GDR’s Amiga label. Then in 1976, he joined the protest against the expatriation of leftist singer, Wolf Biermann. The Allies, not without reason, were afraid that the Germans would ramp up their war machine again like they did after World War I. Krug hit the ground running. Producer Georg Feil was casting for a new TV series about long-distance truckers called Auf Achse (On the Road). He started his career as a smelter worker, and it was here that he got the distinctive scar on his forehead after being splashed with hot metal.

Driving School

He continues to work in television, and was a regular on Bernhard Stephan’s The Last Witness. He had began directing TV shows in 1972, and moved on to films from there. Meanwhile, Horst’s wife Gisela has received the news that she is next in line to purchase a new Wartburg. The film is based on a radio play by Bernd Schirmer. They are not the same person. Soon, Horst starts to suspect that something’s going on between Gisela and the driving instructor. This was the first generation that grew up with little or no personal experience of World War II. Throughout the film we hear the music of Così fan tutte—Mozart’s comic opera on infidelity. She appears to have been a singer, first and foremost. We do get a few shots of Dresden street life, including the Semperoper and downtown areas of the Innere Altstadt. The country they grew up in was the GDR. Gisela had put in her name on the waiting list to buy the car when their daughter—now a teenager—was born. Schirmer continues to write novels, plays, teleplays, and theater pieces. Kánya starred in several films throughout the seventies. Gisela is played by the beautiful Hungarian actress Kata Kánya. Both cars were pretty awful. The Wartburg had three cylinders to the Trabbi’s two, making it—potentially—the more powerful of the two, but it was also heavier, having a metal body instead of the cotton and resin Duroplast of the Trabants. Schirmer did several radio plays along with some legitimate theater in East Germany. Like that other film about vehicles and romance, Beloved White Mouse, Driving School was filmed in and around Dresden. Although it is never stated, Horst appears to work at the German Hygiene Museum (Deutsches Hygiene-Museum) off of Blüherstraße. Stephan is a part of a group of East German filmmakers commonly referred to as the “Nachwuchsgeneration”—Baby Boomers essentially. After that, he returned to Germany where he worked as a dramaturge for DFF, the state-owned East German television station. You could get a car from one of the other Eastern Bloc nations, such as a Lada from Russia or Skoda from Czechoslovakia, but this could take even longer, and was viewed with some derision.1 Making a film that mines the long wait times involved in getting Wartburgs for comedy would have been vetoed by the film review board in earlier times, but things were beginning to loosen up again at DEFA. In East Germany, you basically had two choices when it came to purchasing a car: The Wartburg and the Trabant. So goes the joke, poking fun at the rather astounding wait times for purchasing automobiles in the GDR. Coming as it did from a radio play, much of the humor is in the dialog, but director Bernhard Stephan has done a good job of “opening up” the radio play with purely visual humor. Horst is reluctant, but eventually agrees. He primarily worked in television, so the unification of Germany had less impact on his career than those who had been used to starring roles in feature films. After the fall of communism, Kánya became a became a well-known television personality, and romance counselor. A: Because you had to wait twelve years for the getaway car. Driving School (Fahrschule) is the story of Horst Steinköhler, a die-hard pedestrian who would rather walk where he needs to go than drive a car. There is even a comedy on this subject—Einfach Blumen aufs Dach (Just Put Flowers on the Roof), which examines of the misadventures a man encounters after he purchases an old Russian limousine. The film does not appear to be available on DVD at this time, but you can watch it here. For the most part, they learned their craft at the film school in Potsdam-Babelsberg, and started working for DEFA in intern capacities with the promise of someday getting to make their own films for the production company. Hitler was, as far they were concerned, an aberration of the past. Horst’s friend Lothar is getting a divorce. As near as I can tell, this was her only film appearance, but because her last name is often spelled “Roeder” to accommodate systems that can’t handle umlauts, her statistics are included on IMDB under those for the American actress Peggy Roeder. There was just one catch: DEFA’s director ranks were already filled with talented directors and new positions rarely opened up. It was difficult to find anything out about Peggy Röder, who played the daughter Carola. Born in 1943, Stephan was a little older than most of the other new generation of East German filmmakers, which probably put him in a better position to get started at DEFA than those born a few years later. 1. While some of the younger filmmakers found it hard to get traction in reunited Germany, owing to the anti-Ossi prejudice of the West Germans, Stephan did better than most. The Trabant was the cheaper of the two, and were made in greater quantities. Today in Hungary, she is better known in this capacity than as an actor. Lothar wants Horst to buy his car from him to help him through the divorce, telling Horst he will buy it back later when he gets back on solid footing. The film received positive reviews and garnered Jörg Gudzuhn a best leading actor award at the Eberswalde Film Festival. Horst Steinköhler is played by Jörg Gudzuhn, a slightly nerdy-looking character actor who usually played supporting roles. Then, as if things weren’t bad enough, they both end up with the same driving instructor. Q: Why were there no bank robberies in East Germany? Both were two-strokes, meaning you had to mix the oil and gas, and the pollution was awful. He hit the ground running with the 1991 ZDF TV-movie Tandem, and went on to direct many television shows, most notably, Der letzte Zeuge (The Last Witness), which starred Ulrich Mühe (The Lives of Others). IMDB page for the film. Horst and Gisela plan to surprise each other with their purchases. From 1969 to 1972, he taught German studies at the University of Algiers.

Ete and Ali

She is a talented comedic actress, with a distinctive voice that has led to several jobs dubbing the voices for Hollywood films, most notably the voice of Julia Roberts in nearly every German dub of her films since 1990. Ete and Ali (Ete und Ali) is essentially a road movie, with one important difference: no one actually goes anywhere. Ete and Ali are played by Jörg Schüttauf and Thomas Putensen respectively. Most West Germans came to the table with such egregious preconceptions about what constituted East German films that any discussion on the value of these films was rendered impossible.1
Like Ete and Ali, Kahane served time in the Nationale Volksarmee (National People’s Army), then studied directing at the Academy for Film and Television (Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen der DDR). Having just finished their military service, neither is sure what to do next. East Germans could visits other Eastern Bloc countries, but even here your travel papers had to be in order before proceeding. Ali is a big lummox—the classic bull in a china shop, whose ideas are usually badly planned and ill-advised. In an interview in the Märkischen Allgemeinen Zeitung newspaper, filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff went so far as to recommend throwing away all the films that came out of DEFA, calling them mediocre. The lucky ones managed to make the transition to television, but the West Germans, who now controlled the media, had little interest in the talents of these Ossis, seeing any education they received as little more than communist propaganda. Things are complicated and life goes on. Bernhard—”Ete” to his friends—is a little guy. Both actors continued to stay busy after the Wende. Born in 1963, Hoffmann appeared in several movies and televisions shows in the GDR before the Wall came down. Ete, who is married, isn’t sure he wants to go home either. His wife is seeing someone else and wants a divorce. He followed this with Meine schöne Nachbarin (My Beautiful Neighbor), which stars Ete’s portrayer, Jörg Schüttauf. IMDB page for the film. By 1985, DEFA was facing the same problem that faced the East German and Soviet governments: The people in charge were getting old…really old. Normally this type of story would unfold as the two characters travel across the country, but aside from some train travel at the beginning, and a truck at the end, all the action in Ete and Ali takes place in one town. 1. Putensen has done fewer films. So much for the road trip. DEFA and the College of Film and Television in Babelsberg (Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen der DDR) had done a good job of training young, wannabe filmmakers in their craft, but now that they were old enough to take on the job of directing, they found very few opportunities to ply their trade. Schüttauf went on to appear in several popular television shows, including Der Fahnder (The Detective) and Tatort (Crime Scene). The film that immediately comes to mind is Dino Risi’s wonderful Il Sorpasso, in which milquetoast Roberto (Jean-Louis Trintignant) learns to enjoy life thanks to carefree Bruno (Vittorio Gassman), but at a heavy price. Pretty soon an interesting and complicated triangle develops between Ete, Ali, and Marita. In 2008, he directed the feature film Die rote Zora (Red Zora), based on Kurt Held’s popular children’s book Die rote Zora und ihre Bande (Red Zora and her Gang). Unlike most comedies from Hollywood, the story doesn’t resolve itself into a nice pat answer at the end. Playing the sensual and difficult Marita is Daniela Hoffmann. Buy this film. His statement was followed by an open letter from the actors, directors, writers and other film technicians, several of whom had also signed the protest letter to East German government denouncing the expatriation of Wolf Biermann. Although Ete and Ali is primarily played for laughs, the laughs are sometimes bittersweet. In a a stubborn denial of facts worthy of Erich Honecker, Schlöndorff continues to defend his blockheaded position. Ali doesn’t want to go home, so he decides to tag along with Ete. At 73, Erich Honecker was one of the younger leaders in the Eastern Bloc, and Poland’s Wojciech Jaruzelski, at 62, was practically a child. A privileged few got to visit Cuba, although the politicos in the GDR would never use the word “privileged.” At the beginning of the film, it looks like two men might actually go to Prague, but one of them remembers that they don’t have the proper papers, so they remain in Ete’s home town for the rest of the film. He is the more sensitive of the two, but lacks self confidence. The film follows the misadventures of the two men named in the title. Ete and Ali is directed by Peter Kahane, and it is his first feature film. More recently he performed a humorous musical revue titled “Schlimme Lieder aus der DDR” (“Bad songs from the GDR”), a combination of well-known East German songs and jazzy send-ups. For several years after the Wende, Kahane worked in television, turning in several popular children’s films for the small screen. Many had studied film at the school in Potsdam-Babelsberg, but only a handful of this group got the opportunity to demonstrate their skills. Thanks to the Cold War, East Germany offered fewer opportunities for travel than those of us in the West. He showed up playing Holger in Andreas Dresen’s delightful Whisky mit Wodka (Whiskey with Vodka). The few that did had barely started their careers when the Wende came along and wiped out all their hard work. Ali decides to help his old Army buddy win back Marita’s affections, but Ali’s ideas for doing so are pretty bad. Kahane was a member of the Nachwuchsgeneration (baby boomers, basically)—the last generation of East German filmmakers. An accomplished pianist and singer, he has spent more time since the Wende singing than acting.

When You’re Older, Dear Adam

IMDB page for this film. Günther barely avoided censorship again in 1968 with Farewell, and received criticism once more in 1972 for the on-screen kiss between two women in Her Third. As a nod to the story’s theme of absolute truth, the film begins with a voiceover narration identifying the main actors and the parts they are playing. In one scene, a group of soldiers taking their oath to defend the GDR suddenly finding themselves hovering in the air. Neef scored dozens of films for DEFA before stepping away from the movie business to concentrate exclusively on classical music compositions and performance. When the researchers got to Günther’s film, they found that portions of the soundtrack had been destroyed, leaving only the footage. The screenplay was courting controversy even before it was filmed. In 2012, she was scheduled to appear in a play as part of the TEMFest (Teatro en Miami Festival), but local Cuban ex-pats got the performance cancelled after a rumor circulated that Granados said something bad about Juanita Baró, a popular Miami Cuban dancer and wife of exiled Cuban writer Manuel Ballagas. It has a way of returning to haunt its foes. His was the German voice for Yoda in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. The bigger the lie, the higher they fly. Egon Günther’s 1965 comedy When You’re Older, Dear Adam (Wenn du groß bist, lieber Adam) is a weird movie, made weirder still by the times in which it was made and the technique used to rebuild the film. In 1978, Günther showed he lost none of his feistiness or unfettered creativity over time when his TV-movie Ursula was banned in Switzerland for its surreal approach to the story of the Protestant Reformation movement and the Battle of Kappel. Adam’s father—whose name is “Sepp Tember”—is played by Gerry Wolff. Cinematographer Helmut Grewald’s color work here is spectacular, and Günther uses Totalvision (East Germany’s answer to Panavision and Cinemascope) to great effect. Granados went to on to star in several widely acclaimed and award-winning films in Cuba, including Retrato de Teresa (Portrait of Teresa), Cecilia, and Un hombre de éxito (A Successful Man). The Wende had little impact on his career. The print used for the DVD is scratch and dirt free, with absolutely no fading. Adam is played by Stephan Jahnke. Until his death in 2005, Granados often worked with her husband, Pastor Vega. He continued to appear in films and on television, and has done a fair amount of dubbing as well. As previously discussed here, the 11th Plenum led to the wholesale banning of several films in 1965-66. Working from the screenplay, and feeling that the film was too important to simply abandon, they decided to compliment the missing dialog with crudely made intertitles that explain the missing dialog, making an already surreal movie even more bizarre. That’s not a typo. Liars suddenly find themselves floating in the air. The boy runs around Dresden accompanied by jangly surf guitar, shining the light on people at random and causing havoc everywhere he goes. The one new face in the film, besides Stephan Jahnke, is the Cuban actor Daisy Granados. Sadly, the fall of the Wall signaled the end of the careers for all three of these people. Banning When You’re Older, Dear Adam was one of the worst missteps the government in East Germany made, and they made some doozies. It is disorienting and only makes sense if you are alerted to the reasons for it before you view the film. As is often the case with young actors, it would be his only role. Starting on the stage in Havana, Granados had been in only one other film (La decisión) when she took the part in When You’re Older, Dear Adam. While watching the film, the viewer is sometimes presented with what looks to all the world like a typed index card explaining what happens next, followed by a scene of complete silence. Attempts to suppress satire   go all the way back to Aristophanes and his battles with Cleon, and can be seen as recently as 20th Century Fox’s pathetic attempt to bury Mike Judge’s scathing (and depressingly spot-on) attack on American culture,   Idiocracy. It’s no ordinary flashlight. Hirschmeier worked on a couple TV movies after the Wende, but that was it. More recently, she appeared alongside Es­linda Núñez, Mirta Ibarra, and the Lizt Alfonso dance company in a performance of the dance musical Amigas as part of the celebrations for the 38th International Latin American Film Festival in Havana. Plus, it’s generally not a good idea to try and suppress satire anyway. Director Egon Günther was already no stranger to censorship when this film was made. Not surprisingly, this scene was never filmed, but even the scenes that were filmed upset the officials enough to call a halt to the film’s production. Credit here must also be given to Alfred Hirschmeier’s spectacular production design, particularly the Tember apartment, and to costume designer Rita Bieler’s sharp looking outfits. Wilhelm Neef’s score is a lot of fun. If you have to say it, you’ve already lost the war. It has the ability to identify when people aren’t telling the truth. In truth, that film began production a year before the Wall was built. Banning a movie with a plot about identifying liars is as good as saying “yes, we’re liars.” It is on a par with Richard Nixon’s “I’m not a crook” statement. His first film, The Dress (Das Kleid), which he co-directed with Konrad Petzold, was banned because officials thought that its story of a walled city and a populace that is told to ignore their common sense was an attack on the building of the Wall and the government’s attempts to justify it. Buy this film. The boy paid the swan’s fare on the streetcar (also not a typo), and the swan repays the boy by tossing an old flashlight into the boy’s boat a little later on. The rest of the cast primarily consists of veteran DEFA actors, including Manfred Krug, Mathilde Danegger, Christel Bodenstein, Fred Delmare, and Marita Böhme. The film tells the story of a boy who is given a magic flashlight by a swan. Today he is best known for his work on Indianerfilme such as Sons of the Great Bear, Chingachgook, the Great Snake, and Osceola, but he has contributed scores to a wide variety of films in a wide variety of styles, as this film well demonstrates. When You’re Older, Dear Adam had the dubious distinction of being in post-production after the Plenum occurred. Wolff usually showed up in character parts and so was more recognized by his face than his name. Officials didn’t like the idea of a film that says that government officials sometimes lie, and started interfering with the production, eventually banning the film altogether. It is a prime candidate for a Blu-Ray release (if they can just do something about those terrible intertitles). In 1990, when the process of reunification had begun, several of the films banned during the 11th Plenum were taken out of storage, restored, and screened. It’s an fun and mostly innocuous romantic comedy, but the folks in the SED didn’t think so. There is one good thing about the ban: It has allowed us to see a wide-screen, ORWOcolor film from 1965 in pristine condition.

McNally Goes into the Red with Delta Bluesmen

“I wanted to showcase detail and texture of the 80-plus year old’s hands through a shallow depth of field.” Working at a 1.4 f/stop on the AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G, McNally put critical focus at his chosen point, and allowed surrounding objects to softly melt away. When composing, always pay close attention to the details, color palette and environment. Three Nikon SB-910 AF Speedlights, again paired with the lightshaper, were placed camera-left. Note the extent to which light curls round each finger—carving and shaping while separating elements from the background. Telling Stories
Musicians tell stories through songs and instruments. When your light source is big and placed to the side its pattern of fall can lend drama to an image. “There is more depth in this perspective. Photo © Joe McNally
The Full Picture
This next image, acquired using a smaller aperture, shows more environment. This shot required precise placement of Speedlights. ISO 400, on manual. “This shot required precise placement of Speedlights. Using an Avenger C-stand at camera-left, three Nikon SB-910 AF Speedlights were mounted onto a tri-flash cold shoe. Note the extent to which light curls round each finger–carving and shaping while separating elements from the background. The brightness of the light on one side of Welch comes as a result of framing a wide scene in a confined space; I was not able to place my main source of light close to my subject. When your light source is big and placed to the side its pattern of fall-off can lend drama to an image.” He continues, “Since I added light and was working at f/1.4, I had to “speed up” the shutter in order to take down the increase in ambient light level reaching the sensor.”
Detect the hint of warmth at the musician’s wrist? When he turned on the red spotlights, I liked how they mixed in. Nikon Ambassador Joe McNally’s admiration for blues musician legends can be seen in his recent series “Delta Bluesmen.” It is within this body of profiles that the photographer reveals each performer’s personality and charisma as framed within a signature environment. AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G, at 1/13 second, f/6.3, ISO 250, on manual. Additionally, full length window curtains to camera-left were pushed back and contribute a bit more ambient light. Photographers share stories through images, and their instruments include camera, lens and light. 24-70mm f2.8 lens, 1/4 second, f/11. The 35mm f/1.4 lens set at f/6.3 yields a wider field of view. Context for storytelling can be greatly enhanced by choice of lens and lighting.”
Fresh from a session at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City with blues great Leo “Bud” Welch, McNally runs through how choice of lens influenced his lighting set-up, and how using predominantly Nikon Speedlights kept things ‘in the red.’ Images were produced using the Nikon D7200, which boasts an ISO range of up to 51,200 for color work. That said, his photo narratives give homage to everything—from small details such as wardrobe, color and palette, to broad elements such as charisma, personality and environment. I asked the stage manager to run through all the lighting settings so I could see what I had to work with. Since I pulled back, I wanted to retain sharpness so the viewer feels the atmosphere.”

Here, McNally keeps the red hint on the back walls strong by using three SB-910 AF units and a 3’ x 6’ Lastolite Skylite panel. Shares McNally, “I strive to provide a sense of context within each portrait otherwise the viewer is robbed of a full experience. In using contrasting colors and lighting to add richness to the environment, McNally was able to construct a scene that ties the character of the subject to its surroundings in a compelling way. A hint of red on Welch’s head and neck comes from a single SB-910 AF unit fitted with a red gel and placed roughly 25-feet away—this was the only addition of coloration over McNally’s lighting set-up. A very closely placed light source not only tightened where light fell, but brought luster and softness. Photo © Joe McNally
Lighting Precision for Wide Aperture Photographs
Having framed the full subject, next came a close-up image. Photo © Joe McNally
Choice of Lens and Aperture Affect Your Light Scheme
To create Welch’s story McNally heeded one of his mantras, “entire to detail,” which is a framework whereby he looks over an entire scene, then drills down on details. Lights, directed at the subject, fired simultaneously through a large Lastolite umbrella. McNally used a Lastolite TriGrip reflector to bounce in a golden tone. It’s important that photographers observe the quality of ambient lighting–then assess if that light will be useful or not.”
When setting exposure, he metered for ambient light to preserve the stage reds. “First I got control of my environment. In photograph one, the AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR set to f/11 frames a broad, but intimate, look that expertly showcases everything from red alligator shoes, to the brilliant sheen of a blue suit, to compliment the red stage lighting. “I chose to play up wild wardrobe colors and make the most out of a really, really dark space,” notes McNally. Says McNally, “Choice of lens and light bring charisma and perspective to your story.”
For more NIKKOR lens and Speedlight tips and tricks, also see McNally’s recent post
http://blog.joemcnally.com/2016/03/08/parsing-scene-lenses/
Recommended Gear:
D7200
AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR
AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G
AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G
SB-910
SB-5000 Commenting about working from within a confined space, he explains, “The brightness of the light on one side of Welch comes as a result of framing a wide scene in a confined space; I was not able to place my main light source close to my subject.” The photographer goes on to remind us that when light is far away, ramping up its size is one way to preserve diffusion and quality. AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G at 1/13 second, f/5.6, ISO 400, on manual.

How a Nikon D750 Helps Create and Sustain an Internet Sensation for The Dogist

I have a tough time leaving home with just one lens.”
Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks
After photographing more than 10,000 hounds, and publishing 4,000 of those images to a blog, he’s familiar with pet behavior. You’re scrolling through the social photo stream and chance upon an image of Axel, a four-month old German Shepherd. If yes, then you are not alone; more than 110K have already reacted to this pup’s pic. Want to go for a Walk? “Perfect for street portraiture, it’s also helped me when working in pet shelters where low light and tight spaces prevail.”
What’s his go-to street lens? I recently acquired the latest 24-70mm f/2.8 VR (AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR) lens and love its versatility, low light capabilities and presence. When a pet is particularly friendly, he grabs a 24mm or wider. The Autofocus is fast and precise; it locks onto a subject point and then holds very well.” Friedman generally works using Continuous Single point back-button Autofocus. Social Media Creates Business Success
Started in October 2013, The Dogist is an Internet-fueled photo documentary series profiling the personalities of canines. I shoot rain or shine in all temperatures.”
He creates images three or four days a week, but weekends are the best time to catch an owner with his or her dog. Nikon D750 at 1/500 second and f/2.8, ISO 200. Friedman captured this image of Sherlock with owner in New York City using the Nikon D750 with the NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G. I call them ‘lens kisses.’”
Hug, Bernese Mountain Dog (1 year old). When it’s time to frame, Friedman pulls out the squeaky toy. Dogs don’t mind how they appear in photos. “I like to have fun and mix things up. Companies such as Google, Uber and Merck have engaged his eye to shoot advertising imagery. He dons kneepads under his pants, grabs the camera plus a lens or two, squeaky toys and lens wipes. Nikon D750 set to f/4, 1/3200 second, ISO 200. Axel, German Shepherd (4 months old). Lens: AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR at 24mm. That glass gives an ultra-wide-angle. Lens Envy
Early on this Brooklyn native favored primes such as the AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED, the AF-S NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G and the AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G. If I make a slight mistake with exposure I can generally adjust in post. “It delivers an image that’s not too wide, and works well for proximity to the dog plus people nearby.” If pets are timid, he reaches for a 50mm or greater. The shorter the focal length, the more lens wipes I go through. “I think when most people use the term “social media” they focus too much on the platform when they really should focus on the content: the social media. Friedman tries to greet 10 to 20 owners and asks if he may photograph the pet—even when roaming through China. Mary, Golden Retriever (2 years old). Self-funded for the first eighteen months, he doggedly persevered, knowing that if he remained consistent and stuck to it success would ensue. If your dog just got photographed and was featured in front of two million people that’s definitely something you are going to share!”
Sherlock, Goldendoodle (1 year old). It’s usually the first squeak that yields the best expression, so I must be ready with a responsive camera.”

He shoots Aperture Priority, underexposes a bit and relies on Continuous AF, using back button Autofocus. Dogs grow keen to my tactics pretty quickly. The AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G. Nikon D750 at 1/250 second at f/2.8, ISO 100 with AF Fisheye-NIKKOR 16mm f/2.8D. Lens: AF-S NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G. However, I try to get all elements correct in-camera.”
For The Dogist, there is no typical shoot day. “I almost always get slobbered on when using the 24mm. These days, Friedman favors the AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED. The 14-24mm was actually my first lens and remains my go-to for fun angles, plus dogs that won’t sit still. “For me, the 58mm acts like a more versatile 85mm, and the 85mm is just a bokeh cream machine at the dog park when I shoot action.” He says the NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G is a great workhorse lens. Photographer Elias Weiss Friedman counts two million plus Internet followers. He’s coaxed Dalmatians, Ori-Peis, Boxers, Schipperkes and numerous other breeds to pose. “I’m not only a dog photographer because I love dogs—EVERYONE loves dogs. And because he’s out there no matter the weather, “Having a robust weather sealed system is extremely important. “The Nikon D750 has such amazing dynamic range in its RAW (NEF) file. “The element of surprise is important. The focal point is almost always set to the dog’s eye. He has photographed in 40 countries—Belgium, France, Croatia, China, Italy to name a few. In a little more than three years The Dogist founder has gone from unemployed to global traveler. Coming from a young man who once made his siblings laugh by speaking on behalf of the family’s pets, Friedman has taken a passion to a profession. Lens used was the AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR at 70mm. When traveling, the photographer hits the pavement each day 8am to 6pm. It’s light and fits well in my hand. Are you immediately inspired to hit the “Share” icon or peg it with a “Love” emoji? He worked at f/2, 1/2500 second, ISO 100 and white balance of 5350°K. Nikon D750 at 1/2500 second and f/2, ISO 100. He has shared more than 4,000 different pet portraits, and is in the midst of creating a second book. His mission is to create the next big thing—what he deems “The Sartorialist for dogs.” (The Sartorialist is a pioneering New Yok City photography blog that features a constant stream of snapshots showcasing the many ways men and women dress and style themselves.)
Friedman took a popular subject (dogs) and paired it with the rising importance of photo-only social sites and their abilities to influence. What do people want to share with family and friends?” asks Friedman, recognizing that the act of sharing would help market his business. With a grin, he reveals that plenty of smiles are observed when he says, “Ni de xiao gao, jiao shenme?” In Mandarin Chinese that means: “Your dog, what’s its name?”
Gear Used

D750
AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED
AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR
AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G
AF-S NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G
AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G “The Nikon D750 is ideal for this type of work.

The Richness of Peru: Fashion Photography with Joe McNally

For me, these pictures are a wonderful and colorful reminder of how much I want to go back to this amazing place. At camera right is a 51” shoot through umbrella with three Nikon SB-910 Speedlights firing through to give the light just a little bit more direction. Frame up, get ready and look for a moment of sheer exuberance or laughter. Colors of the Coast and Country
I found color, beauty and life everywhere I went, ranging from the streets and beaches of bustling Lima, to the stark stretches of the desert of Paracas National Reserve, to the lush coastline of this astonishing country. I loved the wall and the improbable nature of the worn, blue shutters. Colorful sources of inspiration were everywhere—such as when we chanced upon this beautiful mural. The exuberance of culture and life, plus the sheer color in this region, make perfect subject matter for NIKKOR optics and the Nikon D810 camera. The sea green nature of the gown looked wonderful in this environment. What I looked for here was a lovely contrast between the elegant model and the roughness of the abandoned boat. The model’s posing was smooth and serene. Vibrancy of the Moment
I found myself in the warm embrace of a people and a culture that is not only rich in history, but vibrantly in the moment. The Nikon D810, with 36.3 megapixels and an FX format sensor, yields files of extraordinary detail and outstanding color response. I can’t imagine any area of the earth better suited for a series of wonderfully high resolution fashion photographs than South America. Captured with Nikon D810 paired with the AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR lens, set to f/11 and 1/200 of a second. It was lit with three Nikon SB-910 Speedlight units placed on a Lastolite triflash and shooting through a soft 51” umbrella. The light is very simple. The Nikon D810 and AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR lens was set to f/10 and 1/200 of a second. The light comes from an off-camera flash that is firing camera-left and hand held by my assistant who was hidden behind some pillars. Lighting was a 5’ Profoto Octa softbox to camera-right, plus an off-camera flash unit. Color palette is important to observe when choosing wardrobe. Having never visited this area I immediately experienced that extra dimension of excitement one feels when seeing something totally new—especially when looking through a camera and lens. Be ready! The blue gown was the color of the sea, and the feel of her pose and the clothes are very serene and appropriate for this setting. Created with the Nikon D810 paired with the AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR lens, at f/10 and 1/200 second. You have the scene, the subject, the wardrobe, the light; they all have to work together. The Nikon D810 with AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II lens was set to f/13 and 1/250 of a second. Gear Used

D810
AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR
AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm F2.8G ED
AF-S NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED
AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED
AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G
AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G
AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR
AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR
SB-910 Don’t get fancy with the light or try to overly stage things. This frame was produced with my Nikon D810 and the AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens set to f/9 and 1/200 of a second. A picture is a bit of a puzzle. Compositionally, I used the classic rule of thirds here with the model to the left and the cliffs and the sea dominating the rest of the frame. A wonderfully spontaneous moment—you never know what a group of pelicans will do, but when you place fish around a model there’s a good bet they’ll gather. A New Angle on Fashion Photography
In early spring I traveled with my studio team to Peru. I was never more impressed, all over again, by the responsiveness and durability of my Nikon gear. This light source doesn’t really “light” the scene; it merely sparks the model and perks up the color of the gown. Overhead is a 12’ silk, or diffuser, to soften the sunlight. This setting was a found situation. It’s up to you at the camera to get all the pieces to flow together. You don’t want something too bright or out of range for the scene. This is a fluid sort of situation to be sure. The model was able to use that space to frame herself and become a dynamic curvy object in the midst of all the straight lines and angles. Enduring Nikon
We shot in the harshest of sunlight, in wind whipped deserts and on the rocks of the shoreline amidst cascading waves. This is a lovely setting looking out to sea.

Around the World in 105 Days: Mick Weall, a Nikon D3 and a Sea Princess

The touch of fill cuts through the harsh shadows. “This is a view you only get while sailing.”
If the afternoon light is harsh, he heads for the covered markets to get flat, diffuse candid portraits. One tip offered, “When taking photos of each other in bright sunshine, pop the flash for some fill-in. “We do minor retouching on passengers’ photos: drop-in a frame template with a scenic design from the port visited. Weall must complete all morning work duties before he can hit dry land. After this stop, we depart for Zeebrugge, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, St Petersburg, Tallin, Riga and Warnemunde. Great Travel Photos No Matter the Conditions
The ship is docked between 7 am and 5 pm, so the position of the sun is generally not ideal when in port. I don’t like being too up close and personal, so this allows me to keep my distance.” His workhorse is the AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED—ideal for landscape, city scenes and general work. Knowing that midday sun casts harsh shadows (especially over the water and on a boat), he frames sail in and sail away shots—producing those amazing sunset and sunrise photos. Nothing wrong with going out with a plan in mind. We print into 8 x 10s for display that evening or the next morning. How am I going to say it with an image? When there’s overcast light that is more diffuse, black and white looks come to mind, especially around urban areas. The 857-foot long, 77,499 tonnage vessel has just docked in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and he’s breezing through satellite phone minutes as he describes his life—in particular a current 105-day journey around the world. The black and white was added as an afterthought to give the shot some real dramatic impact.”
Nikon D3, AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, f/8, ISO 200, 1/800 second. Also in the queue are photos documenting onboard activities, views from the deck, port gangways or tour destinations. That in mind, the company is currently running the Places to Sea photo contest. “If the light is harsh I may try HDR (high dynamic range) to bring out more shadow detail, plus reduce highlight clipping. A Good Travel Photo Tells a Story
Relishing his time pursuing travel photography, Weall offers, “Asia is one of my favorite places, especially for street portraits. However, “One am is an improvement versus the days of film where a 6 am or later finish was not uncommon following a formal portrait night.” Aside from core administration duties, Weall oversees the vast flow of resulting images produced when his team of 12 hits the decks to mix with passengers. Photo by Mick Weall. Enter the Princess Cruises “Places to Sea Photo℠ Contest”
As can be inferred, creating memorable moments is a huge part of what makes a Sea Princess cruise so special. “When shooting in Asia I take the first 10 or 15 minutes to blend in with my surroundings. “It’s all about what you want to say.” His tales are created using a Nikon D3, and the paired lens depends on what should be expressed at that moment. Nikon D3, AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D IF-ED, f/4, ISO 800, 1/160 second. Then there’s Petra and Machu Picchu, plus where my heart is, Alaska.”
A travel pro with a jam-packed agenda, whether for work or adding to his own portfolio, Weall knows to optimize for every photo session; yet he remains open to happy accidents that can happen along the way. Research where you’re going, know what time of day you will be there. Don’t just go out and think, ‘I hope I come across a good shot,’ as you may never be in that place again. Photo by Mick Weall. Notes Weall, “We want to see what travelers are capturing on their vacations, so we’re inviting them to upload and share.”
See details by visiting: https://princesscruises.prizelogic.com
Mick’s Places to Sea Photo Tips
“Have clear objective when you go to shoot. AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, f/2.8, ISO 800, 48 sec. I wish I’d had an extra hour to get it spot-on from a beach in Broome, Western Australia. This is how my Aboriginal cave art photo came into being.”
Milky Way shot – Nikon D3. Travel Photography Should Answer These Questions

What am I trying to say? “Unfortunately we tend to miss the golden hour for land shots,” he frowns, so over the years workarounds have been cultivated. I love this lens for its crisp image and great shallow depth of field manipulation. Manual SB-900 ½ power. For example, the shot of me as a cave painting was a very fortunate accident. “Briefness of time causes me to be very focused. Will you create in a normal, HDR (high dynamic range), color or black and white look, etc?”
“It’s nice to be personal in your photography as it is an extension of you, but if you’re entering a themed contest, think carefully about the context. Mick Weall is sitting aboard a ship. Are the viewers going to get it? A traveling photographer on the move should also adopt that sense of urgency and capture as much as possible. The shot on the back deck leaving Bora Bora (below) was exactly what I had in mind. “My VPs (Sophie and Waide) hit the ports with passengers to chronicle time ashore. “The high quality of DSLR motion capture means we can all afford to have a go at filming. Currently aboard the Sea Princess (Princess Cruises), he is in charge of all ship photographers and videographers. Creating video becomes a great additional string in our bow, plus a wonderful expansion/addition to our craft.”
Another duty of the crew is to produce and deliver onboard seminars. That is why we all do this in the first place, isn’t it?” It’s a technique that’s very much needed when your subject is heavily back-lit, say standing in front of a bright glacier in Alaska.”
Alternatively, try adding edit trickery. ‘Send a photo of an animal’ is easy to understand, but something more ambiguous like ‘Tell a story’ or ‘Lived in skin’ can take some thought.”
“When you have to really think about what you’re doing you tend to get a lot better at it and this can really improve your shooting skills…but don’t forget to enjoy what you’re doing. While rushing to get the correct exposure, plus light the rocks, I accidentally stood in between the camera and the rock then popped off the flash. “When we say your photos will be on display at 9 am, by hook or by crook, we mean it!”
On formal nights the team will ingest, identify and archive roughly 2,000 photo files. I had two hours after sunset. My home, the U.K., delivers lots of surprises. Once people have gotten used to my presence I start popping portraits using the AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II. Weall’s role onboard also requires that he produce many of the scenic prints offered for sale in the ship gallery—images often created during brief sojourns in port. This varies by size of ship and itinerary, and can go as high as 16,000 images in a single night on the huge Regal class ships in the Caribbean. Photo by Mick Weall. “Delivered by my Master photographer Inna and run, in partnership with Nikon, the sessions range from basic to advanced education and inspiration sessions. Iceland boasts stunning scenery. Interviews of the locals and tour guides are also obtained. Portraits are straight 8 x 10s with a slight vignette to add that finishing touch.”
Video capture is growing in importance. The crew has a very finite length of time in the majority of ports visited, so all make the most out of each destination. “The job involves everything from training staff to scheduling the day’s shoots, and from ordering retail and lab items [to] handling appraisals, budgets, etc.” On this particular journey there are 1,850 passengers and he works aside 909 crew members. My objective was to shoot the Milky Way and it was something I hadn’t tried before. A plan is always a good idea.”
Ship Shape Photography
Overseeing all photography and videography means a significant workload—one that can easily keep him up until 1 am. “Surprising moments may yield great images. A good travel photo tells a story. For simple flower and fauna work, the AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED wins. Photo by Mick Weall. Clips are strung together into a “teaser trailer” that is streamed onto staterooms TVs in the evening,” he shares. When framing wide angle city mode it’s the AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED. They are always popular.”
Nikon D3, AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, f/9, ISO 250, 1/640 second. ”We departed Sydney, Australia, on May 15 and have so far visited ports in Dubai, Aqaba, Salerno, Rome and Lisbon. We eventually terminate in Dover before we hit the third of four legs.”
For 17 years Weall has had one of those rare, and enviable professions traveling the world and capturing imagery.

From Amateur to Professional Photographer: Carol Freeman’s Tips to Go Pro

“I was also fortunate. I offered to design a new calendar for them using my photos in exchange for several hundred calendars that I could use as a promotion. At the least, barter or get something in return
Find a niche and do what you love
Align with like-minded business vendors/partners

Through her unwavering dedication and efforts, Freeman keeps on top of the referral list when it comes to both nature and endangered species photography. It’s now my most popular product.”
Examples of Carol Freeman’s photo bookmarks. “With nature photography there’s a lot of competition for a very small market. I began to think about how I could utilize that wasted space,” she says. Early morning dew captures the reflection of Ox-eye Daisies on Somme Prairie Grove. She listened to clients, all the while improving upon her own talent and artistry. You have to watch the weather and get up really early to capture these kinds of shots. “The paper is already running though the press. I was spending fewer hours being creative and more hours managing. I wanted to be sure I was ready and financially prepared,” she asserts. My photo products are sold on my site, plus are featured in local retail shops but I could use more accounts.”
She occasionally donates products to fundraisers. We have been creating the calendar together for the past 17 years. For 13 years Carol Freeman ran a successful graphic design business just outside of Chicago. Know How to Go Pro
Freeman’s decision to go pro was not only calculated, it was logical. Click here to see how he now earns a living traveling the world and playing with pups. “In our heyday the business had eight employees and brought in sales of more than $600,000 a year. “Organizations require strong visuals to attract donors, customers and volunteers – my experience as a graphic designer helps me to capture striking images that work for these customers.” she references. 1) Size up potential streams of revenue: teach, pitch and land magazine work, sell stock photographs, make and sell photo products. I do daily posts on my social media page, I have a gallery event coming up next year and am working on a book and a music video. “I have built a loyal following but obviously that did not happen overnight. When the time came, she directly transferred business skills, expertise and contacts to her new full time photography career. I started the company and loved what I was doing, but after a while more of my time was going to tasks that did not inspire me. Adding a product into that space requires very little additional ink – bookmarks became the obvious.” So here again, Freeman taps design plus printing experience and makes it pay off. A first chance came serendipitously. About 10 percent of my time is spent in the field; 90 percent is in the office where I am reviewing images, editing and keeping up with marketing and submissions.”
Covers for “In Beauty, I Walk” calendar, her most popular item. Barter, trade, land additional work, get publicity, find some way to be compensated for your talent and efforts.”
“There are perks to being a full time nature photographer. At some point everyone needs graphic design; one in one-thousand needs a nature photographer. I volunteer on restoration days, meet the conservationists in the area, plus learn about the issues and needs for photography. “I had a printer who made his own marketing calendar. Doing so not only added to the bottom line, but inspired her to strengthen her environmental photography pursuits. Want to read about another photographer who made the leap to becoming a full time professional? The Dogist channeled his love of pet photography and paired it with rising power/interest in social media. Amazing wildlife can be found in urban settings if you take the time to look. “In most print jobs there’s often waste (unused or margin space) on each sheet of paper. “It is constant work keeping my name and work in front of prospective clients; for every 10 inquiries I am lucky to get one assignment.”
Be Logical: Draw from Experience
Even before selling her business it was only natural that she, a designer, seek commercial outlets for her imagery. The inside months are printed on one side only so the calendar images can be framed at the end of the year giving the calendar an extended life. “Those assignments further developed my knowledge and appreciation of the outdoors, plus honed my photography skills.” The work also gave her confidence to leap from part time to full time pro. The next year, instead of giving them away, I sold a few. Steps to Take Before You Leap

Pay off debt
Create a savings cushion
Draw a minimal salary and live a simple life
Understand cash flow and how to project income stream
Start locally
Do not work for free. This let people know I was now doing photography. I set my own hours and, since I’m usually up at sunrise, I’m often done with photography before most reach their office. She has been profiled in The Costco Connection and American Lifestyle. I had very little time off.”
To return creativity into her day, plus benefit the environment, Freeman doubled her efforts in seeking out nature-aligned clients. While running her business she took note of what imagery worked and what did not. She also provides images to Audubon, Chicago Wilderness, The Plants of Concern and The Nature Conservancy. 2) Create a solid exit strategy from her graphic design business. “I spend a lot of time in the field. One is that I have the best office in the world. Succeeding as a Full Time Nature Photographer
After 20 years as a nature photographer Freeman is well known. Knowledge about the environment and species not only motivates me but it also gives my photos extra value (besides the aesthetic appeal) because it allows me to create photos that appeal to a larger audience and lets me reach more clients.”
Her images have appeared in publications such as National Geographic, Better Homes & Gardens, Nikon World and Birds & Blooms. I take the time to get to know each species, and I inquire why my images will help tell the story. “We as photographers should not give away our images. Success hit when she landed the Chicago Botanic Garden, The Nature Conservancy of Illinois and Chicago Wilderness magazine. Her tip for photographers looking to create products: “Be flexible with your products’ dimensions and work with your printer to maximize a printing investment.”
Examples of Carol Freeman’s photo Nature Trading Cards. “Locally, that is,” she smiles. Making a Smooth Transition to Life as a Professional Photographer
It took nearly four years of planning to transition from Graphic Designer to Professional Photographer. “A few words about donating though,” she says firmly. I got my big break early on by landing two large assignments.”
A rare sighting of nature photographer Carol Freeman in action photographing a young Red-tailed Hawk at Lake Glenview. Freeman cites two tasks that she undertook before taking a full time leap. Aside from being a retail product, Freeman’s photo bookmarks also double as a marketing tool; she uses them as business cards and gives packs away to nature organizations.

The Nikon D500 and a Dancer: Street Scenes, Studio and the Stage with Joe McNally

I am recreating a live performance look, so I’ve added a hard light (SB-910 Speedlight) to camera right. Gear Used

D500
AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED
AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED
AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G
AF-S NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II
SB-5000 Speedlight
SD-9 High Performance Battery Pack
WR-A10 Wireless Remote Adapter
WR-R10 Wireless Remote Controller Insight noted—McNally and team shuttled off to the Ridgefield Playhouse in Connecticut. “The fear is gone. Capture specs include ISO 400, f/8 aperture at 1/250. Studio and Stage Excellence
“A dynamic subject requires a dynamic photography system,” closes McNally. Nikon D500 with AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II, ISO 200, f/8 and 1/15, Auto WB. He discovered that, despite her classical ballet training, his dancer favored the moves of Bob Fosse. A straight-on portrait was also desired, so the photographer styled this by placing the camera on a tripod, then dialing to ISO 200, f/5.6 at 1/250 shutter speed. “For the subway images I dialed ISO to 1000,” he shares. His team placed three blue-gelled SB-5000 Speedlights in the balcony, then four additional SB-5000s set at ground level. That camera paired with the 16-80mm was ideal; so versatile, so sharp. “I used a ‘traditional’ clam shell style of lighting, over and under, and skipped a light off the floor. It used to be that when photographing in dark venues the resulting photo would lack vibrancy and showed noise.”
While it was McNally’s technical objective to demonstrate that a basic camera set-up can handily work through a variety of environments, it was his primary goal to produce a collection of images that captured the essence of this young dancer. McNally’s vision was to create a dynamic set of location photos of a beautiful and accessible subject. Nikon D500 with AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR, ISO 400, f/8 aperture and 1/250 of a second. Photo © Joe McNally. Its light cast was softly bounced up by a silver Lastolite TriFlip reflector placed on the floor. I was moving constantly, so I had to travel light and be ready to frame in an instant.” While he predominantly used the kit lens AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR, the AF-S NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II, AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED and AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G were also on hand for specific situations. The D500 is regarded for its simplicity. New York City is one of the great performance capitals of the world, so when Natalie Wilmshurst came to Gotham this summer, Nikon Ambassador Joe McNally started filling out his own dance card. Technology enhancements permit us to work in upper ISO ranges and obtain clean files. “Natalie represents any young dancer who is trying to make it in the big city,” says McNally. “New York City subway shots were captured relying on purely available light and the 16-80mm,” he says. The AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR was employed. The Nikon D500 was set to ISO 100 at f/8 and the shutter speed was 1/30 of a second. The gear allowed me to move fast.”
Interested in reading more Joe McNally articles? To present her more contemplative and still side, McNally positioned the dancer within a corner window of a west-facing building in Manhattan and set the camera to AF-S (Single Point), positioning the cursor over her face. “The camera constantly tracks a moving subject (you have to be aware of your Lock-On custom settings as well), but the Group-area AF mode further assists me in defining an area to follow; it allows me to assign priority to an active cluster of focus points. “The Nikon D500 is a great camera that’s perfectly suited for a project such as this. A softbox was angled camera-right for the ‘over’ light.”
Nikon D500 with AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G, ISO 200, f/5.6 at 1/250. Photo © Joe McNally. I wanted to mimic the look of natural light, while keeping overall softness.” He positioned a 6 x 6 Skylite Rapid Diffuser Panel to camera left, placing three Nikon SB-5000 Speedlights through it. For authenticity McNally started with house lights turned on. While the image appears to be natural and spontaneous, it in fact took a bit of lighting and staging. Minimal gear, maximum results.”
Into Darkness with High ISO
Photographers say that newer DSLR cameras permit them to shoot in more and more locations—particularly dark locales. Shot on the Nikon D500 at ISO 100, f/8 and a shutter duration 1/30 of a second was paired with an AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR and SB-5000 Speedlight. This lens is a compact, really sharp lens. That other ‘performer’ he’s talking about is the flagship Nikon D500, a DX-format camera that is en pointe when it comes to versatility. “One of which is that the DX sensor, since it’s smaller, allows for broader focus point coverage area. “I drifted a little light onto her, using flash to subtly open up the look. Photo © Joe McNally. I love that I have access to f/2.8 at the wide angle settings.”
Additional environmental portraiture was created. “The camera is light and responsive—perfect to use when fashioning this about-town profile series. Nikon D500 with AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR and SB-5000 Speedlight, ISO 400, f/5.6 aperture and 1/80 of a second. “It permitted me to shoot in a wide range of situations—from hard sunlight, to high ISO inside the subway; from flash on the street at night to flash in a studio setting. Need a Light? Precision Partners in Perfect Focus
“I met Natalie while working in Edinburgh, Scotland, and thought it would be a hit to pair together top performers,” adds McNally. Photo © Joe McNally. Photo © Joe McNally. “Building a photo shoot around her offered a perfect way to showcase how two of Nikon’s latest products—the D500 and SB-5000 AF Speedlights—are both accessible and easy to use.”
Nikon D500 with AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR and SB-5000 Speedlight, ISO 200, f/7.1 aperture and 1/250 of a second. “I used the 16-80mm. To keep her face from falling into shadow, another SB-5000 was placed on the floor. I could keep her face, neck and shoulder area in sharp focus, even if her feet or torso were in constant motion.” McNally relied on Group-area AF mode for a variety of the shots with Natalie in motion in the studio, and also dancing on stage in the theatre. “There are benefits to working with a smaller sensor,” he asserts. Had he merely stepped into position to shoot, his subject would have been lost in the shadows, rendering only a silhouette, with brightness from the outside sun overpowering her. Click here to find more articles by Joe. “She (Natalie) is center stage. When I was looking through the viewfinder to check what I was framing (with Dynamic AF set to ON), I could observe red focus point cursors tracking through a majority of the frame—easily following my subject’s movement. Photo © Joe McNally. Time for the big moment on stage, so a Viennese coffee chair was brought in—plus a selection of lighting gear. This is great for candid shots, and ideal when photographing erratic subjects such as athletes or pets.”
“The Nikon autofocus system continues to evolve, and I also found it helpful to employ one of the breakthrough autofocus modes, Group-area AF,” McNally explains. This radiates at her, imitating a look you get when lights are on in the wings.” McNally tapped Nikon’s wireless flash system that now operates via radio.

Dusk to Dawn: Adam Woodworth Takes the Nikon D5 into Darkness

That single exposure method requires less time in the field, and in many cases, minimal time in post to add some noise reduction.” Woodworth states that with the high ISO performance of the D5, and its greater light collection, it did not take an incredible amount of effort to clean up the image. One shot for the sky at f/2.8, ISO 12,800, 10 seconds. “Sometimes it’s more about the journey than the photo,” theorizes landscape astrophotographer Adam Woodworth. In-camera long exposure noise reduction was always enabled except for test shots. “While I normally do star stacking, I didn’t do it for this assignment because I wanted to see how the D5 performed with a single sky shot,” he explains. Gear Used

D5
AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR Adam Woodworth using his Nikon D5 for Astrophotography work. If, however, you have a more varied shooting style and are curious about how the Nikon D5 will perform for night shooting, rest assured it delivers a well-rounded performance. As it happens, the clouds moved far enough east by sunset to put a gap between them and the western horizon where the sun was setting, bringing an amazing light show that placed pinks on the clouds and a very warm intense light on the foreground.”
Nikon D5, AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR lens at 24mm. He found this angle (above) not far from where he was planning to shoot the next morning. Two shots for the foreground at different focus distances and then stacked for depth of field, each shot at ISO 1600, f/2.8, 4 minutes. This image was created with the D5 at ISO 100, exposing for 0.8 seconds and f/11 using the new AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR lens. “I had at least an hour before the moon would hit the horizon. In other cases it might need exposure stacking, exposing for the bright sky, and then another shot for the dark foreground. “I wanted to capture pinpoint star images from short exposure times, then observe how much noise was produced by this newer camera with its larger pixels.” For “Twilight Milky Way at Rose Blanche Lighthouse” (above) he fashioned one shot for the sky at ISO 12,800 for 10 seconds at f/2.8, and one shot for the foreground at ISO 1600 for 180 seconds, f/4 using the AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED. Originally built from granite in 1871, the current building was extensively renovated in 1999. One shot for the foreground at ISO 1600, 180 seconds, f/4. As usual, I prepared the RAW files in Lightroom, stacked & blended them all in Photoshop, and continued with creative edits in Photoshop. Sunset at Green Gardens
The afternoon of the shoot, Woodworth double-checked the time of moonset using the PhotoPills app, noting the hour when the moon would be setting next to the cliffs at Green Gardens. His journey would take him along a hiking trail that was mostly in the woods. Undertake your own adventurous trek and begin creating astrophotography art. Once more photographing the night skies, Woodworth packed the Nikon D5, a camera boasting native ISO 100 to 102,400 (expandable to Hi-5 / ISO 3,280,000 equivalent), plus three lenses, a tripod, sleeping bag, food and clothing. The D5 has 20.8 megapixels resolution. Star shots are often taken in the 20 to 30 second range to get enough light to reduce noise, but at the cost of having small star trails. This image has a lot of retouching for creative effect to bring out the detail in the cliffs and make the scene have a dreamy feel to it, as I felt when I was standing there.”
Nikon D5 and AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR at 32mm. To get pinpoint stars with low noise, Woodworth normally captures 10 shots of the sky at 10 seconds (or whatever shutter speed produces pinpoint stars for the focal length), and one or more shots of the foreground at a lower ISO (often ISO 1600) at much longer shutter speeds and at different focus distances to obtain shots that will be in focus from the foreground to the stars. When compared to the Nikon D810A, which has 36.3 megapixels resolution, the Nikon D810A generates a file that has more flexibility, and should be a first choice if you are interested in only doing astrophotography. “Depending on the time of year, you have anywhere from maybe one to three hours of Milky Way darkness, but the angle of the Milky Way for your particular shot might be good for only a few minutes.” Working with a camera that’s capable of producing a cleaner file in a shorter exposure duration during night conditions can ease overall workflow. From that favored shoot location he was interested in learning what the D5 could capture in the dark. To read more about astrophotography, click here to see Woodworth’s other article. Single exposure, ISO 400, f/5.6, for 2 seconds. “You will still get much better results with star stacking, and I will personally continue to use star stacking, but others may be happy with a single exposure for the sky. With a camera such as the Nikon D5, photographers can create dreamy images—whether star stacking multiple files or capturing that single evenly-exposed view of the world. He then stacks the sky shots using Starry Landscape Stacker for the Mac, and stacks that result with the foreground exposures in Photoshop. After hiking for a couple of hours, Woodworth arrived at the seaside cliffs of Green Gardens in time to verify the angle that he wanted for shooting a moonset, plus have time to scout for other potential shots. The Nikon D5: a Heavenly Time Saver
“When working with image components—either the single shot for sky or the stacked star shot—all can be easily blended in post with the separate foreground shot for maximum impact,” he says. Taking advantage of the moment, Woodworth ran around the edges of the cliffs looking for compositions that best captured the light and grassy terrain. “I learned that Rose Blanche was originally a French settlement called Roche Blanc, or ‘white rocks.’ The name is a corruption of the phrase and likely influenced by the presence of quartz veins in some of the rocks visible from the ocean,” he shares. A few notes about capturing a low-light image in a single exposure: “Using one exposure is more based on the technical situation of the shot.” He elaborates, “In this situation the foreground and background were far enough apart such that a single file had everything in focus. Single exposure, ISO 100, f/11 for 0.8 seconds. And for scenarios where the night subject matter is fleeting, such as the Milky Way, a camera that makes the most of time is a boon. I knew that its warm glow as it hit the water wouldn’t last the entire time, and that the moon’s elevation next to the cliffs would look pleasing for even less time, so I worked quickly to get a couple different compositions at different focal lengths.” Woodworth shot at varying shutter speeds between 0.5 seconds and four seconds to see what the water motion looked like. “Star stacking isn’t a replacement for a single exposure for the scene—just for the sky exposure.”

He discovered another time saver that may be useful for some: a balanced night photograph generally requires several image files (foreground, background, sky, etc.). “You reach a spot then don’t get the image you want, but the experience is amazing. Nikon D5, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED at 14mm. One shot for the sky at ISO 12,800, 10 seconds, f/2.8. Other times it happens that both journey and photo leave you excited.” On a return visit to Newfoundland, this time carrying the Nikon D5, Woodworth walked away with both. Art and Adventure at Night
While the Nikon D5 wasn’t designed especially for astrophotography (the Nikon D810A camera is specifically designed for astrophotography), this camera’s high ISO performance allows it to perform very well in extremely low-light scenarios. The hike goes through similar barren terrain below those mountains, but very soon goes into the woods after passing a small lake,” he shares. “I started across the street from the Tablelands, a desert like place that is actually the earth’s mantle brought up to the surface and formed into flat top mountains. Woodworth feels there may be instances where the Nikon D5 camera’s ability to produce a clean exposure in a 10-second pass may reduce the overall shooting time, especially when using single exposures for the sky (add time for Long Exposure Noise Reduction processing). “Image files from the D5, when shooting at higher ISOs, yielded almost non-existent magenta color noise in corners and shadowy areas of dark exposures.” As a note though, because Woodworth wasn’t using star stacking, more aggressive noise reduction was needed in post to clean up the sky exposure. Fortunately they: “Moved in and out pretty fast. Woodworth’s moonset image (below) was created by a single exposure at ISO 400 and f/5.6 for two seconds with the AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR attached and adjusted to 32mm. Edited in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. On this trek the photographer made an edict to vary exposure and ISO. “While I often use star stacking, occasionally those 100 seconds for 10 exposures times 10 seconds each feels like forever as you’re chasing the tide height from being too high or too low before you have to move, so the ability to have very usable 10 second exposures in the dark is handy.”
Nikon D5, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED lens at 19mm. The Blue Hour
After sunset, Woodworth took a few more shots during blue hour while exploring the beach below the cliffs, eventually settling in for the night within his sleeping bag. Here, the moonlight offered enough ambient light to get detail in the foreground without blowing out the sky in one shot.”
Two Exposures Give Pinpoint Stars
Working from another venue, Woodworth captured Rose Blanche Lighthouse on the coast of Newfoundland. As the sun lowered to the horizon he grew a little concerned that incoming clouds may linger overnight and possibly block the moonset. Knowing that the moon would drop aside the bluffs between 4 and 5am, he set an alarm for 3am to give himself plenty of time—just in case the moon looked like it would be setting into the clouds, or closer to the cliffs than anticipated. “I ultimately settled on two seconds to have a dreamy sort of water look, but not so smooth that the wave action was lost.

The Lens is the Brush. The Sensor is the Canvas. Portrait Photography With Vincent Versace & the New AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED Lens

“I have space for only 10 lenses in my bag. “At f/1.4, this lens is blindingly sharp at its point of focus. No strobes. In another image, observe Frank the mechanic as he converses with an associate who is out of frame. “I got schooled by a child,” Versace quips. Admittedly there’s a learning curve to understanding how to work within its shallowness for depth of field and critical point of focus range, but when you nail the shot it is truly breathtaking! A portrait shot where both eyes are in focus on the same plane, this image displays the lens’ measure of edge-to-edge integrity. A self-proclaimed zoom lens guy, Versace totes a stash of NIKKOR lenses that span various telephoto ranges. Fourth, he says it’s all about the bokeh. I keep all of these things in mind when creating a portrait.”
More often than not, Versace places point of focus on an eye or the eyes. ISO 100, 1/800th, f/1.4. Shot on Nikon D5 with AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED. “The best image doesn’t happen merely through interaction with camera or subject or photographer. I do not lose detail at the edge of a frame—unless I intentionally design it out through my choice of aperture setting.”
A Cinematic Lens for Photography
“I have shown that the 105mm can completely disguise a background. I made the switch after working with it for just a week.”

A Prime Cause
Fond of the phrase, “I don’t take a photograph, the photograph takes me,” Versace himself is smitten with this new NIKKOR, engineered for precise handling of bokeh; bokeh being how the lens renders fall-off between what is in focus and what drifts into non-focus. ISO 100, 1/25th, f/1.4. Neutral bokeh is something that’s frequently achieved, but to go the step beyond to a beautiful bokeh—that is rare and precious. It then goes from light to dark, high contrast to low contrast, then sharpest region in an image to blur. No diffusers. For the image of Luis, wisdom and contemplation simmer within the frame. No added artificial light. There is utter sharpness with beautiful   bokeh.” “As a cinematic full frame (no cropping), photographer I appreciate that this lens has no vignetting, no edge distortion. Since the lens permits me to work from a distance, I can produce intimate images without invading a subject’s personal space, making it ideal for street photography, plus both studio and environmental portraiture.” Third, Versace is bowled over by its sharpness. It is the most beautiful lens ever. Keeping an Eye on Baby Jonas
Among his first photography test subjects, Versace opted for baby Jonas. “I was taught that between 85mm to 105mm is approximately what the naked eye sees when looking straight ahead. “By manipulating depth of field I control what the viewer takes in. Photo © Vincent Versace. Versace stands 3.3 feet away and is shooting handheld, nearest eye selected as focus point. Generally speaking, the eye gravitates first to what it recognizes. I observe—waiting for that instant when a subject is his or her most natural.”
Shot on Nikon D5 with AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED. Each brush has a specific quality and works to a specific purpose.”
Landscape of the Face
Talking theory, Versace comments about two camps of photography: those who feel all should be in focus (for example landscape photographers who often set aperture to infinity), and those who stridently select a region of focus (cinematographers and photographers who manipulate aperture settings to throw attention on an exact region). “I trained to produce photographic images in the cinematic look required of Hollywood, whereby the creator selects the best tools to direct the viewer’s eye to the most important element. But sometimes it makes sense to merely soften and alter a background.” This was the case here. Darker tones and strong shadows are hallmark. A good portrait becomes a tell-all reveal. “A photographer has the power to choose what is in focus and what is not in focus—just as a painter determines how pigment is placed by his choice of brush. Jonas is finely isolated from his backdrop.” The art of the portrait comes while waiting for the right moment. For the latter, power to direct the viewer’s eye starts with basic decisions. “The 105mm is remarkable. “If I have the right brush, I can better tell the story.”

Versace has been producing portraits from day one of his career. In my opinion, prior to the 105mm there was no real way to measure it or to design for it; it was present or it was not.”
Shot on the Nikon D5 with AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED. “The lens has such precision and shallowness in depth of field at f/1.4 and its minimum focusing distance, that the infant’s slightest movement shifted what was in focus and was not in focus. “My objective is to capture the entire life of Luis in a single moment. The sole contribution of light drifts in from a window 30 feet overhead and 50 feet away, punctuating each pupil. “I was captured by my subject,” smiles Versace. I consider each lens to be an essential brush that does a very particular job, so it takes a lot to get me to replace one for another—particularly if it’s a prime.” Turns out the AF-S NIKKOR 105mm is pretty prime. With this lens I can utterly control the things in focus and the things not in focus. Just a camera and a lens shot “wide open” in cinematic style for Nikon Ambassador Vincent Versace, who tested the new AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED in several portrait settings. ISO 100, 1/400th, f/1.4. For portrait photographers it dazzles the sweet spot—generally the f/1.4 to f/5.6 range. ISO 100 lens, 1/250th, f/2.8. The 105mm brings utter brilliance at point of focus, combined with the most amazing and gentle shift into bokeh.”
Shot on the Nikon D5 with AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED lens. Earliest clients included successful members of Hollywood, whose calling cards were the headshots that he created. This piece of glass renders the prettiest bokeh you will see.”
There are a few reasons why the 105mm is his new favorite. “What results is a tack sharp region to the eyes, with the softest of focus fall-off. ISO 100, 1/40th, f/1.4. “For me, the prettiest aspect of an image is not so much in the areas of focus, but in where the lens ramps from in-focus to blur,” remarks Versace. A more carefree look, Versace shares lighter colors for a younger subject. In another portrait, that of Aisha, an entirely different mood is present. That kept a desired region in focus while I concentrated on learning more about minimum focusing distance (1.0 m. Photo © Vincent Versace. Photo © Vincent Versace. Yet while a landscape photographer may set aperture to infinity to hide nothing, I select the 105mm to only show what most matters. Prior to digital, he easily consumed 6,000 rolls of film per year. You view a landscape photograph and all is present to observe. I liken my lens to a brush, and a sensor to the canvas. It happens in the space created between the photographer and the subject.”
Shot on the Nikon D5 with AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED lens. I control area of attack, the point of focus and I control retreat, or blur. Peering through a 105mm lens shows little to no distortion or alteration, and is akin to what our eyes perceive. “The NIKKOR 105mm is the most perfect tool to direct the viewer’s eye. Babies move at the speed of life, which is faster than this photographer can shoot, so I switched from single servo to Group Area-area AF mode. With the Nikon D5 set to Auto ISO and lens remaining at f/1.4, he freezes the dialogue. Photo © Vincent Versace. Photo © Vincent Versace. “The ineffable quality of a lens is bokeh. He then determines how and what else to present. / 3.3 ft. from focal plane).”
For this assignment, working wide open and strictly at the minimum focus distance, Versace’s images present mere inches of sharpness with subtle fall-off. “Focus, as governed by aperture, is a powerful tool. In fact, so prime that it has ousted a brush that’s been inside his case since 1989. Why so many? First is distance. No reflectors. The only illumination comes from a garage shop door open one-third up from the ground, light reflecting into the subject’s face. You’ll be surprised to learn that the image of the retired Navy chief was taken on land; the ship is in dry dock and its bridge surrounded by scaffolding. Continuing, he adds, “A portrait tells the landscape of that person’s life.” Photographed from within a 30,000 square foot San Francisco warehouse, Luis sits just paces from a cluttered background of crates, containers, shelves and forklifts, yet all objects are rendered imperceptible. A key tool being a lens,” he asserts.

Into the Wild with David Wright and the Nikon D500

At just over 81 ounces and 10.5 inches extended, it makes trekking on foot, and working from within confined spaces, that much easier. “The reach on this lens is impressive, yet it is relatively compact and light. It is also home to a diverse selection of other species, thereby making it a photographer’s paradise. No bottlenecks.”
The D500 is ideal for wildlife, sports and other high-speed subject matter. “This streamlines the process—notably so when backing up far larger 4K UHD files. Versatile gear is a must, that’s why the Nikon D500 and the 200-500mm are in my bag.”
Female lion from Lion Sands resident pride, produced handheld using Nikon D500 at ISO 640, 1/1250 of a second and f/5.6. Lens used was AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR at 270mm. It is lightweight, portable and very durable,” effuses Wright. The technique of showing focal length variety is as important to a videographer as it is to a photographer.”
Wright, who now acquires most of his footage in 4K even if delivery to clients is at regular high definition (1920×1080 Full HD), knows interest is high for the latest format. The quality of video is superb, and I appreciate Nikon’s decision to incorporate a larger viewfinder. Lens used was AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR at 420mm. For more information about Lion Sands: www.lionsands.com
For more information about David’s work: www.expeditioncamera.com
Follow David on Instagram: @david_wright_photo
Gear Used

D500
AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR Missing a shot to my satisfaction is a good excuse to go back to the reserve.” Nikon D500 at ISO 25,600, f/5.6, 1/400 of a second. As for improving capture of stills, he says, “Wow. Wright had seconds to catch a zebra. Lens used was AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR at 200mm. Photo © David Wright
Focused and Fast
Another great feature of the Nikon D500 is its joystick, which gives users a quick way to move the focus point. “I prefer to photograph night scenes with the aid of backlight, so it was enormously helpful that one of the vehicles was using on a spotlight to illuminate the road. Photo © David Wright
Wright next came upon a series of elephants during late afternoon and into twilight. Even better is a camera that can capture wildlife in the dark. While the beasts gorged on their meal, I captured long after it was hard to even see details with the naked eye.”
A lioness guards her meal, as produced using the Nikon D500 handheld at ISO 25600, f/5.6, 1/60 of a second. Lens used was AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR at 500mm. “It’s challenging to gracefully and quickly acquire footage when swapping out cameras and lenses,” he announces. Produced handheld, the lens used was AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR at 270mm. The reserve, located on the edge of Kruger National Park, is famous for its “Big Five” (lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalo and leopards). “A faster file capture/write speed and an even quicker autofocus system, combined with the longer reach of an APS sensor. Photo © David Wright
Future-proofing with 4K Video
Versatility in the field prevailed again with the camera’s ability to immediately go from stills to 4K UHD video. Martial Eagle Nikon D500, AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR shot at 500mm handheld, ISO 560, f/5.6, 1/1250sec. He cranked the ISO to 25,600 and soon came across just what was desired—the pride with a kill. He recently completed a 20-part series called “Big Picture Earth” for Curiosity Stream. “After the sun had set (when animals are most active), the D500 allowed me to continue firing frame after frame while my associate reluctantly set down his DSLR,” smiles Wright, pointing out that his peer said it was just too dark to even focus. “As someone who splits his time between shooting stills and video, I am always looking for a camera that can do it all. “I chanced upon this eagle and extended zoom to 420mm.” He relied on the camera’s continuous focus tracking mode, and basically endless buffer, to take over while waiting for take-off. For a recent assignment at Lions Sands Game Reserve in South Africa, Wright carried the Nikon D500, an AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR for video work, plus the new AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR. Photo © David Wright
And for shots high overhead, motion was suspended in flight. I chase after very mobile subjects and often capture in conditions where there’s low light. “I was able to quickly and completely build a story using the D500, plus the amazing range on the 200-500mm. You can see how well the autofocus performs, helping me freeze action at a moment’s notice.” In another instance, Wright located a Martial eagle devouring its dinner. Shooting from the vehicle, he quickly moved focus point via joystick to catch the moment. Going the Distance
Wright describes his job, “A wildlife photographer is busiest at sunrise and sunset since these are the times when animals are most active. This lens definitely eases things when shooting without a tripod too.”
Captured using Nikon D500 at ISO 800, f/9.0, 1/320 of a second. “The combination of D500 and 200-500mm gives a superb automated focus and metering system that’s ideal for fast moving subjects, especially birds.”
Produced with Nikon D500 set to ISO 800, f/6.3 and 1/2500 of a second. Copying to hard drives takes a fraction of the time,” he shares. “These animals are often nervous when coming down for a drink, as predators often wait for an ambush. Hyena is illuminated by a spotlight. In the past year, Wright’s clients have included the BBC, National Geographic, PBS and the online service Curiosity Stream. Photo © David Wright
Designed with wildlife and sports shooters in mind, the 200-500mm proved it’s worth right off the bat when Wright captured a lioness at sunset. Produced handheld, the lens used was AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR at 450mm. I usually shoot handheld from within a vehicle which is constantly on the move. Wright’s vehicle would come across a pride on the move or sleeping after a big meal, but catching animals while they feasted on a buffalo was only possible in the cover of darkness. The vibration reduction (VR) function, plus resolving abilities of the optics, exceeded my expectations.”
Into the Darkness of Night
Sharp images of wildlife come from a camera that delivers super-fast autofocus, quick write speed and a large buffer. Photo © David Wright
“Other predators arrived, like this hyena eager to clean up after the lions. Photo © David Wright
Framed from the road using Nikon D500 at ISO 640, f/5.6, 1/4000 of a second. “Lens sharpness is superb—even in images captured while bouncing along the road. A most challenging nocturnal subject was the lion. With that write speed I found myself shooting non-stop at high-speed. “Broadcasters recognize the advantage of future-proofing to 4K.”

4K Workflow
More good news for 4K producers is that the D500 writes to the XQD card. It’s a tall order; you either have a great still camera that is OK at video, or a capable video camera that takes average stills,” remarks global cinematographer David Wright. Although the image captures the quality of a nocturnal hunter, I want more.