My epiphany in Reno

Like many other people we went on a short trip during the holidays. We went to Reno Nevada, a place that is famous for its casinos and it is also located very close to the Sierra Mountains, the skiing capital of California.

We are less into gambling and more into skiing. But it is very convenient to use the hotel facilities that the casinos provide and enjoy the relative cheap prices and the luxury. We went to Peppermill Casino, which was recently renovated and everything is just brand new and shiny.

The new interior design of hotel and casino is built around huge LCD screens which are located everywhere. Hundred and hundreds of them, some joined into huge screens 4 or 8 LCDs may cover large areas sometimes a whole wall.

But the most interesting part for me was what they decided to show on these humongous and high quality screens. Believe it or not they were showing landscapes, nature and man made, interesting places from the world around, beautiful beaches, in short STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY. All executed perfectly and at very high resolution.

I was in awe. But this is not all. Actually these were not photos. They were videos.

Each scene started completely static, a beautiful landscape, a small corner of a forest for instance. Nothing happens. Then after about 5-6 seconds you realize that the place is alive, the wind is moving some of the leaves, just slightly. Then a bird or a bug flies by. If there is water, like a lake, one can notice small wavelets. As the time passes more things happen. Each scene is about 1-2 minutes long then you move from Maui orchids to Patagonia penguins, or to Rome's Coliseum.

The camera is not moving or zooming. Steady as a rock. These are indeed landscapes. It is just they have an added dimension, time.

One never sees such things on TV not even on Nova or the Smithsonian channel. Time is too precious and they need to get on with their story. The viewers are expecting some action.

I believe this is the future of nature photography. It is no secret that the impact of a photo, printed out and framed is less than the same photo shown on a large high resolution LCD. Been in San Francisco at a photo expo not so long ago, and they had very few prints. They had slide shows shown on large TV screens or projected. It is not only less work to set it up and manage the content. The visual impact, contrast, dynamic range of a print does not come even close to the one of a good LCD.

Now let's take the story one step further. If we agree that the future of showing or displaying an image is moving toward the electronic form, what keeps us from not making it dynamic? The memory requirement? Not a problem any more although I am sure the images I saw at the Casino had a serious hardware behind them.

It is more natural to show even a completely static nature photo in this dynamic fashion. Just imagine the wide vistas of the Colorado Grand Canyon. Whoever was there on the South Rim, it is not something one can easily forget. Just keep the camera rolling and suddenly an eagle crosses the frame. Brings it to a completely different level.

I know DT is trying to get into videos. I thought I am not interested because I imagined that they look for funny things You-tube style. I am not good a these and they do not interest me at all. I also thought that one needs complicated carriages to make a quality video, as professional film makers use when filming a movie. If one limits oneself to the type of videos I described above, none of this seems necessary. Same old tripod, maybe enhanced to enable smooth panning, (which is not necessary if limiting to landscapes).

Actually checking out the videos already accepted I was dead wrong. It is not YouTube stuff they are looking for.

What is holding me back? Nothing I believe. I just need to learn how to Photoshop a moving image. I don't know anything about this yet.

Your article must be written in English

February 01, 2017


I can relate to what you describe here. For a casino or a public place, your suggestion is a very good one.
I don't think I will take this direction in my photography, but for people who wish to extend their offering in Stock photography, maybe video capture is a great option.

January 06, 2014


The future looks good! Thank you far sharing!

January 03, 2014


Awesome post, I totally agree with you that these are like futuristic photos, thanks for dropping some knowledge!

January 01, 2014


Life's hard enough without any further complications although it's interesting to hear your experience. However on DT concept images seem to be my best sellers and fetch best prices and don't really need to move.
Maybe I am wrong ? David

January 01, 2014


Thanks for sharing your ideas with us!

January 01, 2014


Interesting...never thought of this possibility. Maybe I will start using the Video capabilities of my camera for the first time.
Thanks for sharing this story.

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Photo credits: Gavril Margittai.