Digital photography has given photojournalists an enormous amount of control. Unlike the "old days" where a photographer would hand five rolls of film to somebody for processing and somebody else would edit the photos, the shooter knows exactly what pictures exist and can transmit them just as quickly.
"Having editing power is an incredible tool for a journalist," says Gilbert. "At the same time, photographers realize now they have to be good technicians, good editors, and be really organized, so as not to lose critical photos."
Going digital also means becoming fit enough to juggle laptops, phones, backup devices, power cords, chargers, media storage, and other essentials, in addition to three cameras . . .
Back in his early D.C. days, Gilbert realized that wire service shooters were always positioned dead center to capture the moment and make sure every client received a usable picture. So wherever they would go, he would go as far away from them as possible.Going for the unusual and spontaneous, Gilbert captured this eerie image of Fiji kids standing on a tree trunk looking down at him and his partners as they set up camp. He used his D1X, 17mm lens, and Nikon SB-28 Speedlight.
"A newspaper will always look for something a little different, so l would go way off to the side, use a really long lens from far, far back and a wide lens from a different perspective and try to make a photograph that would have a totally different angle."
That mindset still permeates Gilbert's photos. A case in point: the cover photo Gilbert shot late one afternoon (with his D1X, 17mm lens for 1/750 second, at f/3.5 with AP), leaning out the door of his helicopter. It shows one Eco-Challenge team paddling in New Zealand near Braided Rivers, where glacial runoff has created hundreds of rivulets and incredible patterns. Different angle, indeed.
The time frame between Gilbert's departure from The Times and entry into the more corporate realm of Blue Pixel was essentially defined by his stint as a photographer for the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and Learning Channel. He traveled the globe covering expeditions and proprietary TV programming, such as episodes where the TV host was shown in the Atlantic Ocean while crews raised Gus Grissom's space capsule or accompanying a team that excavated mummies from the Andes in Peru.
"When you need to generate publicity to gain advertising for a big TV show, you need a pro to provide those images. Only a journalist knows what's important and what's not."
And who would know better than the digital photojournalist himself.
For more Gilbert and Blue Pixel images,
KEVIN GILBERT's GEAR BOX
2 Nikon D1Xs, 1D100
(different body for each lens
to avoid changing lenses and
getting dust on the CCDs)
14, 17, 35, 80-200, 80-400, 500mm f/4
Nikkor lenses, 1x, 2x extenders
SB-28 Nikon Speedlights
Digital Camera Battery.com
Apple G4 PowerBook
Lexar Media 512MB cards
CDs to backup all images
iView Media Pro
LaCie FireWire drives