Interview: Gerald Blondy

Gerald Blondy is a nice man. Look at him, standing on an iceberg.  I love this photo.

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Gerald is a Frenchman living in the deep hinterlands of Moravia. In this remote yet civilized place he builds panoramic photography equipment as Bushman Panoramic. These tripods and panoramic tripod heads are compact, light, well-built devices that are a pleasure to use. I love my Eben tripod, and I want to get a sandbug panohead next – it looks tiny and nice.

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When did you first become obsessed with photography?

My first obsession with photography came in 1998 when I borrowed a film camera from a friend and took it to blues festival. I was lucky to be able to enjoy so much good music when I was living in Virginia and Washington D.C. At that moment I realized how much I enjoyed capturing these moments. I was obsessed with music, acoustics and sound recording. I didn’t get to photography until I was working In Democratic Republic of Congo.

Living in the bush with absolutely nothing around during my free time the only thing I had was time and a Minolta A2 (8Mpix) in my hands and nothing else. Ever since I have my camera around.

When I came to Czech Republic in 2008. There I got into panoramic photography and started making plans and making my first panoramic heads. Some months later I decided to develop a series of products and later create Bushman Panoramic. So now 7 years of full time panoramic photography testing and creating.

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How did you discover 360 photography? When was it and what happened next?

I think my first attempt to stitch some 120° panorama was on top of a hill in Congo.

http://virtualvisit.bushman-panoramic.com/kilembe/

I started simple stitch with some hand held panorama, and then started to tried to do complete 360 by reading the process on the Internet. It was catastrophic and so disappointing actually. I actually got into 360 by focusing on the panoramic head. So all my energy was actually testing and developing my first head that was called “Panoramax” then later on “Kalahari”. As the head evolved the shooting went faster and the stitch as a result became easier too.

 

Do you travel much to do your photography?

Yes as much as I can, mostly for testing and taking product photos. I get nervous when I don’t travel. I

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What kind of photography do you like the best?

My preference is by far the 360 in little planet projection. I love doing them and thinking “little planet“.

 

What is your opinion on today’s state of VR? Will VR hit the Mainstream in the next 12 months?

For sure very exciting and interesting to see so many project evolving and working on so many aspects. It is really going in all direction; it is still very new for the grand public. It has open a complete new world of possibilities and options.

 

Who are some of the interesting companies or people who are getting into VR / 360 Photography these days?

Many names come up but of course since many year a team like Airpano are doing really stunning work.

 

What is your opinion about 360 Video?

I find it very exciting. Since 3 years to see the fast evolution of 360 video. Going from 360 photos to 360 videos. This is offering a complete new perspective for VR and so much more possibilities.

 

As a pioneer in building the equipment that panoramic photographers use, what kind of trends have you noticed in the last years / decade that might not be obvious to other people?

As a manufacture the trend is quite evident it is smaller technologies with higher quality output. Doing more with less. This is how 24months ago we pushed the development of SANDBUG panoramic head dedicated for mirrorless cameras.

Photographers will always want to control and decide how they take a photo to make a 360 otherwise “A/S/M” modes would not be on cameras.

 

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How do you think our panoramic medium will evolve over the next years or decades?

Panoramic photography has been produced since decades. Panorama format is very pleasant and comfortable to look at.

Now it is getting simpler, easier, and quicker to produce a 360° panorama.

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