Wednesday, December 19, 2007

New Baja Portfolio

I have added a new portfolio to my website called "Wild Baja" - this is not intended to be the Cabo Spring Break kind of wild, but to emphasize the real wilderness of the various islands within the Sea of Cortes. The image below was a sunrise shot taken on one of these islands - it was the morning before the weather changed, so the "red sky at morning" warning we have all heard was actually accurate in this case. This image was developed using Adobe Camera Raw, and I have not added any kind of saturation or color - this is how the sky looked that amazing morning - it is one of the most spectacular sunrises I have ever witnessed - I really enjoyed the deep blue color that appeared with the magenta and orange colors. The shapes in the image are of the various sea stacks that ring the islands - they give some interest to the image even though they are just silhouettes.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Great Photo Book Lists

If you enjoy collecting photography books you should check out this great photo book list on Mary V. Swanson's Website - the top picks for photography books for 2007 are listed from various sources.

Friday, December 14, 2007


The 2008 Photo L.A. is scheduled for January 11-13 in Santa Monica. This is the premiere show for fine art photography on the west coast, and is well worth attending for both photographers and collectors. This year the show will be in a larger venue since they outgrew the smaller venue where it was previously held. The fabulous Crista Dix of Wall Space in Seattle will be showing my work at Photo L.A.. If any of my blog readers will also be showing work there please post a comment letting us know who you are and which gallery will be representing you. I hope to attend the event, depending on weather and time available. There are also various collecting seminars and presentations that provide valuable information.



Monday, December 10, 2007

Back from Baja

We returned from Baja late last week - the islands in the Sea of Cortez are amazing locations for photography. We were able to get ashore for some sunrise and sunset shots, and also had many chances to photograph the marine life from the boat - whales, dolphins, sea lions, boobies, pelicans, etc. I had never been to Baja before, and was very impressed with the scenic landscape, wonderful snorkeling, and (mostly) warm climate. We did have some high seas at times, but for the most part the trip was smooth sailing. We had the chance to go into the northern part of the Sea of Cortez, which is rarely visited and very wild. It is an amazing place that is very accessible with a short flight from LAX to Loreto. I am still in the process of reviewing my images - I hope to have a new Baja portfolio up on my website in a few weeks. Here is an underwater shot with the Olympus 790 SW - It is a pretty noisy image file from that little camera, I'm not sure if that camera is a keeper, I think the shots with the Canon Rebel in the Ewa Marine Bag are better.

Also, I would like to thank everyone who came to my presentations last week in LA and San Diego. I enjoyed meeting everyone who came to the event. My next event is in San Francisco on January 17. Please sign up ahead of time with Calumet if you are planning to attend. That is also the same week as the Macworld Expo in SF.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanks for all the great feedback - off to Baja with a new gizmo

Thanks to everyone who emailed me and commented on the blog post for the great feedback about my new website. I have not had time to return all the emails but will try to get to that as time permits. We are leaving today for our trip to the Sea of Cortes with  American Safari Cruises . I wanted to map our route on google earth, and record GPS locations for favorite photo spots and map them on google earth, so I got a Garmin Forerunner 205 GPS watch. There is the ability with this little gizmo to mark waypoints for future reference and map them onto google earth with a freeware program called GPSBabel. I can also map gps routes by using a free web program called Motion Based. The great thing about this approach is that I can use this all with my Mac and do not have to hassle with PC software. This watch will also tell me speed and distance covered on my various jogging / biking / xc skiing routes.

I will be going from Loreto Baja straight to my presentations at Calumet in LA and San Diego, so please stop by either of those events if you are in the area.

Monday, November 19, 2007

New Website now Online

My new website is now up ad running at I was pleased with the process at Livebooks and feel that this website is an improvement on my previous one, which was made with iweb and was incompatible with some browsers. I welcome any comments or feedback either via email or via the blog comments. The main improvements are: more detailed online pricing customized for each image, larger image displays, downloadable pdfs of the portfolios, online print ordering, and a more professional / well designed look. We will also be using livebooks for my husband Olof's website update - his current iweb based site is at

We went to the Seahawks game in Seattle yesterday - thanks to my brother in law we were able to get on the sidelines - here is a shot of me shooting side by side with the Sports Illustrated guys (I am using my iphone for pictures, no big cameras allowed on the sidelines without a press pass). I hope to snag a press pass for the next time I go to a game, then I can bring the H3d with the 300 mm zoom and the Canon 5D and the 400 mm zoom.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Livebooks Web Site Home Page

I have spent most of the last few days populating my new livebooks web site with jpgs that are the correct size for the livebooks window (920 x 562 pixels). These will be larger than the jpgs on my current site and provide a better online viewing experience. I have also set up the detailed pricing for each of my prints using the livebooks editing software that is provided with the website, which has gone smoothly since you can price entire portfolios with the same price groups. The new site features a "shopping cart" which can collect a print order and email it to me for follow up payment processing. They do allow Pay Pal to be used but I do not like Pay Pal - I get too much spam from companies claiming to be paypal and would rather do the credit card transactions through our gallery credit card machine. At this point livebooks does not support online credit card processing outside of paypal, but I have found that people purchasing fine art prints usually want to call and talk the the artist or their rep before making a purchase anyway. Here is a screen shot of the home page. The livebooks staff designed it to be very interactive, if you mouse over any of the images you get the title of the portfolio and a link that portfolio. The other pages are still under construction - I hope to have the site up before Thanksgiving. I first have to survive our 8 year old daughter's first sleepover party this friday - time to batten down the hatches!


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Autumn 2007 Portfolio

I finally got the chance to work on my images from this past Autumn. I have posted a few of them in the photo album to the right called Autumn 2007. These images were all taken in California's Sierra Nevada - mostly on the eastern side but the shot of the little Truckee River was taken in the northern Sierra. All these images are available as fine art prints from 16x20 size up to 44x60. I am delivering a new print to a client tomorrow that is 44x60 with a digital matt mounted on gator board and framed (no glass). I gave it about 10 coats of premier art print shield, so it is pretty bomber on the surface. I will try to take an installation photo and post it on the blog tomorrow.

In other news, the Livebooks designers have completed a mock up my new website, and I am very pleased with the new design they have created. I hope to be able to launch the site in the next week, it is a fairly labor intensive process for me to upload all new image portfolios since the jpegs on my existing site are much smaller and the new site will allow for larger ones. I now have to redo my entire image portfolio into 920x562 pixel jpegs to accommodate the larger display size - thank heavens for photoshop batch processing.

The image below was taken on a windy sunrise morning at Convict Lake in the eastern Sierra.


Friday, November 2, 2007

Web Site Evolution

My website was initially designed by a friend who did a great job, but it became problematic for me to update the site myself since I didn't know html and didn't want to spend the time to learn it. I decided to use Apple's iweb 08 and put together a nice website that I could update when I wanted, however I have been getting feedback from some people that the portfolio would not open on their browsers and in some cases the links bar would not appear, making it impossible to navigate around the site. I called apple tech support and searched online for any fixes, and the only response I got was that it was an inherent problem with the way the sites were generated by the software, and there would be unavoidable problems with some browsers. The final blow came when I upgraded to Leopard and my own site would not load properly in Apple's own Safari browser. I decided to pull the plug on iweb 08 because I need a website that everyone can access - even my licensing rep was having problems. I have been researching other options and have decided on the Livebooks approach. I liked their contemporary designs and the fact that I will be able to have an online shopping cart for my prints. I am hoping the new site will be up and running in the next few weeks so I can put the iweb issues behind me.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Report from Photo Plus NY

Thanks to everyone who came to my presentations in New York and Chicago. It was a pleasure to meet the attendees and hear about the interesting projects people are working on. I will be speaking at the Los Angeles Calumet – Wednesday, December 5th – 2-4pm, the San Diego Calumet – Thursday, December 6th – 2-4pm

and the San Francisco Calumet – Thursday, January 17th, 2008 – 2-4pm. It seems that the Southern California fires have been mostly contained at this point. The good news is that the devastating loss of property was not accompanied by a large loss of human life. The landscape will regenerate over time which can be a fascinating process to watch. We have a large burn area near us in Truckee (Northeastern California) that becomes more vegetated and colorful with each passing year and must provide some diverse vegetation for the local wildlife populations. I have also seen the burn areas in Yellowstone regenerate over time.

Attending Photo PLus New York gave me the chance to see what is new in the world of photography and to take some classes on web marketing, print finishing, and fine art marketing. Going from the small mountain town where I live to Manhattan is like going to another planet as far as the environment and the energy, but I find it very energizing and inspiring to be there. Of most interest to me was the event held at the Hasselblad setup at Splashlight Studios. They are introducing a very exciting new image processing software called Phocus, which looks to function very much like Adobe Lightroom. There will also be the ability to use a new Hasselblad GPS accessory with the H3D that will allow GPS data to be stored in image metadata and mapped using Google Earth.

I also had the chance to see the new Epson 11880 printer which is 60" wide. We could really use a larger printer like this and look forward to getting one in the near future. This printer also allows easy switching between black ink modes so it would be possible to print on the photographic luster papers in addition to the matte papers I currently use. Epson was displaying their new exhibition fiber paper which appeared to reproduce wonderfully rich colors on a surface very similar to silver halide papers.

I was also in the market for a waterproof point and shoot digicam that I could take snorkeling on our upcoming trip to Baja. Olympus seems to have a very good offering in their series of Stylus 720 & 770 SW cameras. I have purchased one of these and will give a report on its performance after I have used it. It has digital image stabilization and an underwater shooting mode to help with color adjustments. I think using the rear lcd screen to compose underwater shots will be easier than the previous method I tried of looking through a Canon Rebel viewfinder in an Ewa Marine waterproof bag.

Since we are producing larger and larger prints I took a class on print finishing to see if there were any new ideas on how to display these really large prints without having to matt & frame them with glass. It looks like the best solution is what I am currently doing with the mounting of large images on gator board, treating with Premier Art Print Shield, and framing without glass. There is also the well known method of stretching canvas. I did not see any better solutions at the expo or in the workshop, but am interested in any other ideas people may want to share in the comments.

I will be working on my autumn images over the next week and hope to post them soon on this blog. I have also updated to the new Apple Leopard operating system and find that Photoshop CS3 runs noticeably faster with the new OS. I also think the time machine back up system alone is really worth the price of the upgrade. The only downside so far is that my Imageprint RIP will not work with Leopard, so I have to use another computer with the older OS to do all my printing on the Epson 9800. Imageprint is working on an upgrade so it looks like it will be a temporary problem.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Off to New York, Photo Plus Expo, and Chicago

I am heading off to New York tomorrow for my event at the New York Calumet on wednesday the 17th from 2-4 PM. There is no charge to attend this 2 hour seminar, so please drop by if you are in the area. I will also be checking out the Photo Plus Expo at Jacob Javitz convention center, and will mention any interesting finds in a future blog post. I am in the market for a waterproof digital camera to take to Baja, so I will be comparing those at the expo. Hasselblad also has a few events planned this week in New York.

Mark Duhaime of Hasselblad USA writes: "Hasselblad will be at Splashlight studios during Photo Plus (across from the Javits on W35th St. On Oct 18th we are doing a new product launch starting at 4:30pm. On the 19th we are hosting an open studio from 10:00am-5:00pm. Please be sure to come by and see us are one or both of these events."

I also plan to check out the photography exhibits at MOMA, and go by Duggal Imaging to check out the latest in print display techniques.

I will also be at the Chicago Calumet from 2-4 PM on October 22, and invite all the Chicago blog readers to the event.

This morning I received an email that my website had an error that my site was unavailable because the "bandwith had been exceeded." (!) I found out that in the past week traffic to my website had doubled, thanks to a blog post at Lightroom Killer Tips So, thanks Matt for the "exposure" - guess its time for more bandwidth!

I spent the last week photographing autumn colors throughout the Sierra - I hope to have time during my travels to look at the images and start selecting the ones I will add to my portfolio of fine art prints. We had some great colors this year even though there has been some early snowy weather in the Sierra. With snow storms forecast for this week we are probably going to see the colors start to fade as winter approaches.

Friday, October 12, 2007

LA Calumet Speaking Engagement Changed

Due to the workshop in Baja, I had to reschedule my LA Calumet presentation to the following day. I will now be in the Los Angeles Calumet speaking on Wednesday, December 5th – 2-4pm. I hope this does not inconvenience anyone who had planned to come on the 4th.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Baja Workshop Announcement

Olof and I are excited to announce that we will be the photographic leaders for a 10 day Baja voyage with American Safari cruises on the Safari Quest Yacht from November 25 to Dec. 4, 2007. This is the company we traveled to Alaska's Inside Passage with earlier this year, and we think they provide the ultimate in wilderness waterway exploration. This trip has a few spaces left if you are interested, more information is at the American Safari Website. We will be providing on-board instruction in digital image processing and optimization, and will be doing lots of shore excursions for sunset and sunrise photography. There will also be opportunities for underwater photography while snorkeling, and wildlife photography. The staff and gourmet food on these trips are wonderful - we are thrilled to be a part of this exclusive adventure program in one of the world's great Biosphere Reserves.


Monday, October 1, 2007

Autumn Color in the Sierra

I have been keeping an eye on the leaves in the high country and they are about 1 week away from their peak color in most places. I plan on going out next week to do some autumn color photography in the eastern Sierra. There is a great web site that helps photographers keep up with the progression of autumn color, it is located at Here is a shot of a great little wooden building nearby that has been surrounded by an aspen grove (taken last year):


Friday, September 28, 2007

Framed Images with Digital Matts

Below is a quick image I took with my iphone of some prints that were framed incorporating the digital matts. There is no glass in front of these, I just sprayed them with Premier Art Print Shield to protect them from fading. They would not be protected from impact to the image, but if left alone they should last a lifetime indoors. I think that glare-free plexi could be used to further protect them, but this creates further framing complexity that may not be necessary if the images are hung in a safe location.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Experimenting with Digital Matts

I have recently created a few large prints that incorporate digital matts that are printed with the image. This allows me to create and frame large prints (bigger than 40x30") that are very difficult to matt and frame traditionally. George Lepp gave a presentation on this at Photoshop World Vegas, so I thought I would give it a try. I have set up an action for creating the matts in photoshop, but each image requires customizing based on the colors in the image and the size of the image. I am currently having all these mounted onto a rigid backing known as "gator board". I will then treat the image with Premier Art Print Shield and frame them, no glass or matt needed. I will have these on display at our gallery the weekend of October 6, during the opening for the Seasons of Martis show from 12-4 PM on the 6th. The images will range in size from 40x30" to 40x60". I have also been trying out the new Ultrasmooth canvas by Premier Imaging and find that this technique also works well on stretched canvasses with a floater frame. It gives it a more "finished" look than just a gallery wrapped canvas, although I imagine there are some purists who will not like the concept. I am looking forward to getting customer feedback about this new display option, which makes the display of large prints much more affordable. Here is a shot of the digital matt I designed for "Autumnn Passage":


Saturday, September 22, 2007

New "Collectors Edition" of Brilliant Waters Book now Available

Today I am announcing the availability of the new "Collector's Edition" series of my book "Brilliant Waters". The limited edition book set includes a custom slip cover, a copy of the book from the first printing, and a signed & numbered 8x10 print of "Sunrise on Eagle Falls". All other copies of the first printing are now sold out, with the exception of these last 50 limited editions. The price for this set is $150, plus $10 shipping. If you are interested in ordering one, please contact me via email or phone at 530-582-0557. More information is available on my web site.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Experiments with Smart Objects in PS CS 3

In the quest for the ultimate in fine art print quality, I have been testing the use of Camera Raw smart objects in Photoshop CS3. At a PS World 07 Seminar Jeff Schewe demonstrated how you can open a raw image file as a smart object, which allows you to click on that layer at any time and bring up the Camera Raw Dialog box again, so refinements can be applied to the image while it is a layer in a photoshop file. In the past I have always converted my files to DNG Raw files, "developed" them in Adobe camera raw, then opened them up as regular layers in Photoshop to do final adjustments or blending. I think the Camera Raw converter is superior to Photoshop in many image adjustment functions such as color correction, tonal correction, saturation, sharpening, noise removal, etc.

I took one of my raw images from a recent Big Sur trip and developed it twice in Camera Raw, opening each conversion as a smart object on its own layer. I then combined both layers into one document. I could then combine a camera raw conversion for the sky with one for the foreground, incorporating individual settings for exposure, noise reduction, color temp, sharpening, etc. Because each layer is a smart object, I can reopen the Camera Raw settings at any time to tweak numerous image adjustments such as color correction, tonal correction, saturation, sharpening, noise removal, etc. Since masks can be applied to smart objects I can mask each layer to reveal the part of the image that the settings are optimized for. The best part is that these are completely non-destructive edits, all can be completely reversed at any time. This style of working eliminates the need for alot of adjustment layers. Below is a screen shot of the 2 layers it took to create the adjusted Big Sur Image using only the unadjusted raw file. This is a great tool for landscape photographers who are always trying to maximize image quality from a broad range of image tones.

To open a Camera Raw conversion as a smart object, hold down the shift key and press "open object" in the ACR conversion window. To combine 2 smart objects into one file, just drag one image's layer to the other image while holding down the shift key to register the pixels.

This is the unedited RAW file, below that is the image I created from this one file with 2 layers.



Monday, September 10, 2007

Dates for My California Calumet Seminars

I will be giving a series of mini-seminars in California courtesy of Calumet and Hasselblad. The dates are as follows:

Los Angeles Calumet – Tuesday, December 4th – 2-4pm

San Diego Calumet – Thursday, December 6th – 2-4pm

San Francisco Calumet – Thursday, January 17th – 2-4pm

Locations for these events are at the Calumet Website. These will be the same sessions I am giving in New York and Chicago, more specifics are on my website.

Thanks to On One Software I will be able to raffle off a few free boxes of the OnOne Plug in Suite 3 at the New York and Chicago Events, and will also try to get some copies for the California events. These retail for $400.

Photoshop World Vegas & New Epson 64" Printer

I just returned from Photoshop world in Vegas and am very enthused about some new tools for optimizing print quality that I learned about. I will be doing some blog posts about these over the next few weeks as I experiment with these new techniques of using Camera Raw Smart Objects (courtesy of Jeff Schewe). Jeff has a great blog at Epson has also announced their new printers - I think the new Epson 11880 64" wide printer will be awesome and I look forward to checking one out at PhotoPlus NY in October.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Colors of Summer, Big Sur

I recently did a quick 3 day trip down to Big Sur to attend a workshop on book publishing put on by the Center for Photographic Art in Carmel. It was taught by Chris Pichler of Nazraeli Press, and David Gardiner, master printer of some of the finest photography books available. The workshop was well worth attending for me since they covered some technical issues about paper, binding, and color management that pertained to self-publishing fine art books.

I also had the opportunity to go to a few sunset spots along the Big Sur coast to do some photography. The fog retreated enough in the evenings to allow for some nice sunset lighting along the coast. Big Sur is a dramatic landscape within a fairly compact geographic area south of Carmel, and offers wonderful opportunities for landscape photography. I have posted the shots from the trip on my website - the new ones are the first 4 shots in the Pacific Coast portfolio. They were taken at Point Lobos State Park and Pfeiffer Beach State Park. The images are all combinations of exposures - one exposure for highlights is merged with an exposure for the midtones and shadows to give a higher dynamic range than can be accomplished with one exposure. This allows creation of images and prints that are closer to what the human eye can perceive in color range and shadow/ highlight detail. I think that digital high dynamic range imagery is revolutionizing landscape photography by making it possible to create prints with a broader range of exposure and color detail. This shot below would have resulted in the arch shot being completely in dark shadow, but with a combination of a shot exposed for the sky combined with one exposed for the rock (combined with layers in Photoshop) the result is closer to what I saw that evening. The difficult part is combining the layers so there is no fringing between the darker areas and the highlights.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Panoramas in PS CS3

I have been experimenting with the photomerge feature in the new Photoshop CS3 and find that it does a wonderful job merging multiple foreground and background images for a panorama. On my recent trip to the Emigrant Wilderness I took only an 80mm lens to save weight, so in order to get a wide angle shot I needed to stitch multiple images together. Somehow PS CS 3 does this seamlessly and corrects the color so the final image does not have a variety of different color temps and exposures. The image below was a combination of 7 different exposures that were merged together. These are huge 100 megabyte 39 megapixel files, and the program was able to handle all of them and merge them into this panorama, which I can print at a 90 inch x 35 inch size with no upsampling needed. The scale of this view is hard to describe, it is a large granitic basin that is as spectacular as any I have seen in Yosemite. I plan on trying to capture more panoramas in the future and have added a category on my website to feature more of these as I complete them.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Elizabeth Carmel Website Update

I just finished uploading my new website design to I used the new Apple iweb software to redo the site, since I do not know alot of html, and I am pleased with the result. I consider the site in "beta" form, if you notice any glitches or things that need improvement please drop me an email. I can now update the site more easily and add pages by myself instead of waiting for a web master to do everything for me. I added a new category called "High Sierra" in the online image portfolio, and a category called "Winter's Grace". The High Sierra category has some shots from my recent backpacking trip, which I am also posting in a gallery here on the photoblog. I have also added a page for Workshop Announcements.


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Photo Backpacking in the High Sierra

I recently returned from a backpack trip with some friends in the Emigrant Wilderness Area of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We traveled cross-country to a remote lake in a large glaciated granite basin. Since we had to carry 5 days worth of food and all our backpacking gear, I had to travel with a very lightweight camera system. I took my 39 mp H3D in a small pack which I carried in front, which helped counterbalance the weight of my backpack. In the camera pack I only took the very lightweight 80 mm lens, 3 charged batteries, 2 16gb flash cards, and some cleaning stuff and multi-tool. I also took a gitzo carbon fiber tripod (the small light one) and an acratech ballhead. I only photographed at sunrise and sunset since I had limited storage and battery power, but I was able to make storage and batteries last throughout the trip. In hindsight I would have preferred a wider angle lens, and probably would have taken the 35mm instead even though it weighs more. I took a number of shots that I am planning to stitch together to give a wider angle view since the 80mm view is not very wide or dramatic. Having a 39 megapixel camera in the Sierra high country is quite a treat - I am still working on my images and will post some here when they are done. I was very pleased and feel that I was able to get a number of portfolio quality shots. The area I was in has not been extensively photographed since it is somewhat difficult to access. This time of the year is wonderful in the Sierra - it is very warm (but not hot) and the bugs are not too bad. I hope to get one more backpack trip in before the end of the month, probably to the Yosemite high country.

Photo Backpack Survey

Calumet is designing a new Photo Backpack and is interested in feedback from photographers on the design. If you are interested in taking the survey here is the link:

Calumet Backpack Survey

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Speaking Engagements at Calumet

It has been a busy summer so I have fallen behind on my weekly postings, but I will catch up after Labor Day. I have scheduled some speaking engagements at Calumet Locations in New York and Chicago. Hasselblad is sponsoring these events. I will also be presenting at some Calumet locations in California later in the year, and will post those dates when they are confirmed. The confirmed New York and Chicago dates are:

Wednesday October 17 from 2 to 4 PM at the Calumet in New York (this is scheduled to occur the day before the start of PDN PhotoPlus Expo in NYC), and Monday October 22 from 2-4 PM at the Calumet in Chicago. For locations you can go to the Calumet Web site.

The topic of my presentation is described in the following press release:

Fine Art Landscape Photographer Elizabeth Carmel, a 2006 Hasselblad Master Photographer, will give a presentation on how she successfully self – published her book "Brilliant Waters: Portraits of Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, and the High Sierra". Elizabeth will also discuss how she uses the Hasselblad H3D, a 39 megapixel Medium Format Camera System, to create her award winning landscape images, which are often taken in remote wilderness locations.

A book of your photography is a great way to increase the audience for your work and put your photography career into high gear. In this session, learn important tips for publishing your own photography book, getting a book distributor, getting press coverage, and making your book project profitable. This is your chance to learn from fine art photographer Elizabeth Carmel, whose photography book “Brilliant Waters” is currently in its third printing and has been successfully released to a nationwide audience via major bookstores and independent booksellers. In her first self-publishing project, Elizabeth Carmel got Robert Redford to write her book’s foreword, secured nationwide book distribution, and obtained major press coverage for her book in People Magazine, Outdoor Photographer, Sierra Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, and many other publications. Elizabeth will give a detailed power-point presentation on the process of designing her book, selecting an off shore printer, working with a print broker, obtaining a distributor, and getting nationwide press coverage. Elizabeth will sign copies of her book which can be purchased by seminar attendees. This event is sponsored by Hasselblad and Calumet. There is no charge to attend.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Artour 2007

Olof and I will both be at the gallery this friday 7/13 through sunday 7/15 for the Artour open studios tour. If any blog readers are in the neighborhood please stop by. We also have free Artour maps so you can visit the open studios of the other artists who are participating in this regional event. This event is sponsored by the non-profit North Tahoe Arts organization.

I have been getting many emails from people who have seen the article in Calumet Focus. I hope to do a series of talks sponsored by Calumet and Hasselblad later in the year. I will post info on this site as soon as a schedule is confirmed.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Camera Raw 4.1 versus Flexcolor

Hasselblad camera users are familiar with the image processing software "Flexcolor" that comes with the Hasselblad Digital backs. This is a very powerful software with many important features for pro photographers who shoot untethered or tethered to a computer. It also has a good feature that allows the native Hasselblad raw files to  be saved as DNG files. For my style of work, which involves processing batches of images from landscape photography shoots, I find that Adobe Camera Raw 4.1 (ACR) works best. I convert my raw image files to DNG files (I archive the original 3F file). Once the images are in DNG format I open them in the Adobe Bridge program to view and sort. The new Adobe Bridge has a very useful feature that allows you to magnify a portion of a series of images in order to quickly compare sharpness, etc. Opening an image or series of images from Bridge brings up the Camera Raw dialog. I will not go in to the many features of ACR 4.1 here, but there are plenty of online resources about this that are easy to find with a google search. The tools I find really important in the latest version of ACR are fill light, recovery, clarity, sharpening, noise reduction, grayscale conversions, and the ability to re-open a tiff or jpg in Camera raw. I use this re-opening feature to sharpen images in ACR for final printing, since I think the ACR sharpening is better than the PS CS3 sharpening. I prefer to sharpen images as the last step of image processing in preparation for printing. I do not find anything wrong with the Flexcolor software from Hasselblad - I have just found that for my particular needs, which are different from a studio photographer, ACR / PS3 offer the easiest way for me to achieve optimum image quality from my H3D files. The Flexcolor software is constantly being upgraded by Hasselblad and tailored to the hardware of the H3D and their other digital cameras. It is conceivable that in the future there will be major benefits to processing all raw files in Flexcolor, such as improved focus and distortion correction. Anyone with an H3D or other Hasselblad digital camera should continue to monitor updates of Flexcolor and do comparisons by developing the same raw file in both ACR and Flexcolor to see what produces the best results.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Brilliant Waters Book Ordering Information


Signed Copies of Brilliant Waters can be ordered online at Hawks Peak Publishing .

combines Elizabeth Carmel’s stunning
landscape photography with a selection of moving poetry by recognized
writers. Robert Redford contributes engaging insights and commentary in
the book’s foreword. This collection of remarkable photographs captures
both the intimate details and grand panoramas that exist exclusively in
the Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, and the High Sierra regions of California and

In his eloquent foreword to BRILLIANT WATERS
Robert Redford writes:  “So what would you do if you came upon a sight
seen before only to see it as if for the first time?  This was the
effect Elizabeth’s work had on me; capturing the power of what exists
while elevating the experience through the poetic use of photography. I
saw this country as if I had not seen it before—like I was being led
slowly, carefully, along a great and beautiful path.  To have this
sensation of stop time observation is not easy. This work simply
stopped me in my tracks.”

BRILLIANT  WATERS is divided into three  sections: Water and Stone, Colors of the Sierra, and Winter’s Grace.
Each section contains a portfolio of large 8” x 10” color plates
personally selected and sequenced by Elizabeth Carmel.  Selected images
are paired with poems written by Richard Wilbur, John Updike, Octavio
Paz, Gainor Ventresco, and Frederick George Scott. This book will
appeal to all who love the scenic beauty of Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, and
the High Sierra, and to photography enthusiasts worldwide.

expresses her inspiration for the book in the following excerpt from
her preface: “Water, in its many manifestations, forms the unifying
theme of BRILLIANT WATERS. Whether a photo of a cool shroud
of mist on Lake Tahoe’s boulders, a carpet of camas lilies brought to
bloom by spring rains, or a high Sierra stream flowing in summer, the
varied images all explore the interplay of water and light.”

book is unique in its subject, scope, and artistry.  It is an enduring
testament to the accomplishments of previous generations who have
worked to preserve the Sierra Nevada. It is also a reminder of what is
at stake as we strive to protect the natural world for future

The book is distributed by Graphic Arts
Center Publishing and will be available from all major book retailers
such as Borders, Barnes and Noble, independent book stores, and online

A traveling  exhibit of fine art prints from BRILLIANT WATERS
is available for display at museums and galleries. Interested
exhibitors should contact Elizabeth Carmel for details on availability
and scheduling. Images from the BRILLIANT  WATERS exhibit will be on display at a show  opening  July 15, 2006 at the San  Diego Museum of Natural History.

BRILLIANT WATERS: 104 Pages, 12” x 12” Hardcover,  44 8x10” Color Plates.

            Publisher: Hawks Peak Publishing –

            Distributed by: Graphic Arts Publishing  Company, 800 452-3032 –

            ISBN-10:   0-9776877-0-8

Images from Alaska

It has taken me a few weeks to go through my image files and select my favorite shots from our trip through Southeast Alaska. The main goal of the trip for me was to get shots that I can include in a future book on Alaska, which will be in a format similar to my current book "Brilliant Waters". I also enjoyed looking through the indy bookstores in the various Alaskan towns we visited to find Alaskan poetry that I could use in my upcoming book. Some of the images I took may also be successful as fine art prints - I will print out a few and have them available for people to look at in our Truckee gallery. I have included 10 jpgs of some final images in the Southeast Alaska photo gallery in the right column. My Web Site is in the process of being updated with all the selected images, those should be on the site within the next week in the Alaska portfolio.

Last week NPR had a very important discussion about the climate changes occurring in Alaska. One show addressed How Alaskans are dealing with climate change  and another details the effect of climate change on the landscape. Both shows address the fact that Alaska is a rapidly transforming, and, in some cases, vanishing landscape. We may be among the last generations to witness the wonders of the vast Alaskan glaciers.


Friday, June 8, 2007

Challenges in Photographing Southeast Alaska

The inside passage region of Alaska is  a wonderful wilderness landscape that poses a number of challenges for photography. The first is access. Many of the most scenic areas require a long boat trip for access at sea level, or an expensive float plane trip that results in mainly aerial views. We decided to take a small boat cruise because it would allow us to visit remote areas that the big cruise ships cannot reach, and because relying on the Alaska ferry system would limit our stops to developed towns. Being on a small boat allowed access to small islands and inlets that would be difficult to reach otherwise. We were able to get in sea kayaks or skiffs to go ashore most days. We used the buddy system when hiking since this area has a large population of brown bears, which you do not want to surprise in the wilderness. I was able to get most of my landscape shots on these shore excursions. The rest of my photography was limited to shots from the boat, therefore it was a challenge to get a 3 dimensional composition since images always consisted of ocean followed by an assortment of mountains, sunsets, etc.  We took a floatplane trip into the Misty Fjords area from Ketchikan, and I was pleased with a few of the shots I was able to get from the floatplane. The challenge with airplane shots is to minimize window reflection by not shooting at an angle, and to use a fast shutter speed. There is not much time to grab a shot before it is gone, so you have to be quick. I was hand-holding the H3D in the airplane with a 50-110 zoom and that worked fine, although in hindsight I should have used an ISO of 200 instead of 100 to get faster shutter speeds. The new Camera Raw 4.1 has amazing noise removal capabilities that I think dramatically improve the results from shooting at a higher ISO - if I had known this before I left I would have used a higher ISO than 100 on my handheld shots. I am still working on my selected portfolio images from the trip and will post those next week, but here are a few  - the sunset was taken handheld from the boat, and the Misty Fjords shot was taken from the floatplane. The immense scale of the Misty Fjords landscape is hard to describe  - you can get somewhat of an idea by comparing the size of the very large trees to the cliffs and the shoreline in the image.




Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Alaska Report

We just returned from a wonderful trip along Alaska's inside passage. We spent 8 days on a yacht that cruised from Sitka to Juneau. We stopped in some wonderful remote bays and also stayed 1 night in Glacier Bay National Park. I highly recommend  the company we traveled with, American Safari Cruises, for anyone interested in seeing  this part of Alaska. I was focussed primarily on landscape shots since I was shooting with the H3D and it is not really the best tool for wildlife photography. It will take me a few weeks to go through my images and finalize the ones I will show on my website. I do have a couple of fun shots I am posting with this entry, one of a whale eating her  lunch, and one of a group of sea otters. I look forward to trying out the new Adobe Camera Raw 4.1 to process my image files. This new upgrade has some very powerful new features that are described in detail at Photoshop News . In the next week I will also be posting some additional reports about the Alaska trip.



Monday, May 21, 2007

Keeping Up

As  a self-employed photographer, I find it very important to stay up to date on a broad range of information related not only to photography, but also to health, the arts, parenting, productivity, business management, and current events. Digital photography is constantly changing and evolving, and if I do not keep up with the latest info and techniques in the field I can guarantee that my current or future competitors are. One of the best tools I have found for combing through the vast amount of online information is Google Reader. This is a web aggregator that allows you to subscribe to news feeds from web sites and blogs, and scan or read them from one main index page. It also allows sharing of web sites and articles via RSS feed. A screenshot of my Google Reader page is below. I have also posted a very eclectic assortment of shared items in this blog on the bottom right, which are updated daily. You can also add this blog to Google Reader (or any other reader of your choice) by clicking on the subscribe button on the upper right.

I will be offline for about 10 days, but check back on June 3 when I hope to do a post about our journey in Alaska. Thanks for the bon voyage wishes some of you have posted and emailed. I will be taking 2 - 16 GB CF cards and my Macbook Pro with an extra firewire hard drive for backup. My image files from the H3D are too big to burn to a DVD so I have to rely on firewire hard drives for backup. It will not be too difficult to manage data since the boat we are on has electricity.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Gear for Alaska

We are heading out next week for a 10 day trip around the inside passage of Alaska. We are going with a great company called Amercan Safari Cruises . I am working on a book of Alaskan Landscapes, and thought that a yacht cruise would provide the best access to landscapes along the Alaskan coast. We decided to go with a small boat cruise to provide better access to remote areas and to have the flexibility of more shore excursions. We are not really into the big cruise ship experience, so that was out of the question. We could have just rented a boat and done it ourselves, but neither Olof or I know much about motor boats so we decided that would be unsafe.  We are looking forward to doing some sea kayaking and zodiac trips from the yacht.

In preparation for the trip I got a new rain cover for my Hasselblad  H3D. Michael Reichman of Luminous Landscape recommends the Kata 702 Rain Cover . I ordered one and am pleased with how well it fits my H3D and lenses. The see through plastic will make it easier to use. I have lost cameras to light drizzle before and do not want to take any chances with a the H3D. We will also take 2 Dryzone backpacks by LowePro. I may also take the new Vertex pack by LowePro - I think this is a great pack and is not too bulky - it fits well in the overhead bins of even the small planes. We will be flying small planes into Ketchikan and Sitka, and doing some aerial photography around Misty Fjords. I will be offline and unable to blog from May 22 to June 4.


Friday, May 11, 2007

Favorite Books for Photographers

I have a number of books that I have found helpful in my development as a photographer. Here is a quick list. Please add your own lists in the comments section if you have some favorites.

Beauty in Photography - Robert Adams - This book is an interview format with some wonderful insights about the art of photography.

The Artist' Way - Julia Cameron  - This is an inspiring book for anyone working to develop their unique artistic style. I have enjoyed all her books on this topic.

Galen Rowell's Inner Game of Outdoor Photography - Galen Rowell was a true leader in the art of color landscape  photography. This book summarizes his theories and philosophy in a very readable way.

Ansel Adams Autobiography - This fascinating book gives wonderful insights into the father of fine art landscape photography.

The Photobook - A History  - This is the first of 2 volumes that cover a history of photography books, which are collectable as an art form in their own right. Reading this book is a good way to get a broad overview of many different photographic styles.

Adobe Photoshop Master Class - John Paul Caponigro - While the techniques need to be updated to reflect more recent versions of Photoshop, JPs philosophy of digital photography in this narrative is groundbreaking and relevant to fine art photographers.

Real World Camera Raw for Photoshop CS3 - Paired with the Real World CS 3 Book, this combo is simply the best of all the millions of Photoshop books out there. It is only available for pre-order but I have all the ones back to PS version 6.0.

Anything by Annie Dillard - She is the best nature writer of our time. She puts into words what I try to photograph.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Sierra Spring

The wildflowers in the lower elevations of the Sierra are peaking now, but the higher elevations are a long way from blooming. I was in Yosemite last week to get some shots of the Dogwood blossoms - they were everywhere in the Valley. I also went to a place in the Sierra Foothills outside of Sacramento, CA, and found a wonderful field of Lupine (thanks to the suggestion of a friend). I stayed into the evening to get the best light on the Lupine, and thankfully the winds were light and I was able to get some long exposures. You really have to shoot wildflowers in the evenings or on a cloudy day. I have found that even when it is cloudy the best light is still in the evenings or early morning. The shots I have been working on are in the SIerra Spring portfolio to the right. The image of the "Oak Cathedral" looks like it was taken in Autumn, but it was just taken last week in an area where the  evening backlighting gave the oak leaves a golden glow.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Sierra Magazine Article

This month's Sierra Magazine features a cover story on my photography. I sent them a copy of my book when it came out and they followed up with me to do a story on it, so I am very pleased with how it came out. My husband Olof and I are long time supporters of the Sierra Club. As people who make our living from photographing beautiful natural places, it is incumbent on us to support organizations like the Sierra Club. I'm sure many readers of my photoblog share the same philosophy. We are also supporters of our local Truckee Donner Land Trust and a number of other environmental organizations. We are lucky in the Western USA to have large wilderness areas  and National Parks - this is a major accomplishment of the USA and a wonderful gift to our generation. There are many places in Western Europe that have no concept of Wilderness, which is both a physical and psychological place. Anyone who has traveled in the backcountry of Alaska knows the amazing power of true wilderness - there is nothing like being part of the food chain to clear your mind! Here is a link to the Sierra Club Magazine: There is also a link to the article on that web page.


Monday, April 30, 2007

Maui Seascapes

I have been working on my images from a recent trip to Maui and have posted a few here in the gallery to the right on this blog page. I found that all my best images were taken at sunset during the magic hour. Many of these images feature a setting sun and various foregrounds along the shoreline. It is always a challenge to avoid the cliche shots, so I opted for a minimalist approach to composition and long exposure times to give the ocean a more calm appearance. I used a split ND filter on all the images to hold back the sky and get a good exposure on the foreground. I do not like white skies or overly dark foregrounds, I like to create images that have a large range of detail from shadows to highlights, which is closer to what the human eye sees. I see no advantage to continuing the tradition of the narrow exposure latitude established by the use of slide film and darkroom printing. Digital capture and printing makes it easier to create prints with a broad dynamic range, and the Shadow / Highlight tool in Photoshop is also an important tool for this purpose. The new Camera Raw processor in PS CS3 has the shadow/highlight tool in it, although there it is called Recovery (for highlights) and Fill Light (for shadows). These Maui images were all taken with the 39 MP H3D and need no upsizing to create a 30" wide print. I will have the large prints on display at our Gallery in Truckee. A more complete portfolio of Maui Images is now posted on my website at .

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Developing a Portfolio

One of the questions I often receive is how to develop a portfolio. A portfolio should be a book or web presentation of your best prints that are a cohesive body of work with a unifying theme. The portfolio categories I have selected are on my website and cover such themes as Mountains and Wildflowers, Yosemite, Alaska, Ghost Town, Venice, etc.  A portfolio theme obviously does not need to be place-based, it can be a series of emotions, philosophies, etc. Developing your work into themed portfolios requires you to think of your images as more than individuals, but as a contributor to a larger body of work. I use large portfolio books to display my prints in addition to posting them on my web site - The Itoya Art Profolio Presentation Book in the 14x17" size. I also have a smaller 8x10 one that is more portable. I get them from

There are very good portfolio review events for people that have a developed body of work and want to show it to a larger audience: Review Santa FE and Photo Lucida. I made contacts at Photo Lucida that were important to my Brilliant Waters book project. In general I think these events are  geared to more avant garde work than my style of landscape photography, but it is a good education in the fine art / museum market. You will also get the chance to meet fellow photographers and look at their portfolios.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Maui Photo Report

I returned from Maui and am adjusting to the transition from beachwear to a down jacket, since we had over a foot of snow last night in Truckee. Maui was amazing, as I am sure anyone who has traveled there will tell you. My favorite part of the trip was swimming with the sea turtles. We went snorkeling in the Molokini crater, and on the way back the boat stopped at a place they call "Turtle Town", which is off the shore in front of the Maui Prince hotel where we stayed for a few nights. The turtles congregate there to have their shells cleaned by these little black cleaner fish (sorry, I don't know their official name). The turtles don't seem to mind all the humans swimming aroung looking at them - they went about their business seemingly unconcerned about our presence. I used my Ewa Marine plastic bag housing on a Canon Digital Rebel SLR. This setup worked great for me, there was no sign of moisture on the camera after multiple snorkeling photo sessions. I also used a flash in the hotshoe mount but in hindsight may not have needed to do this since there was alot of light near the water surface where I was. Flash contributes to "backscatter" which is the illumination of particles in the water. I was able to swim back out to turtle town on morning when no one else was there and get the shots which are in the Album to the right titled "Maui Sea Turtles". They are so much fun to photograph since they move slowly and will come right up to you. It was an amazing experience swimming around with such wonderful creatures. My favorite shots are #4 and #5 in the album, since they show how graceful the turtles are when swimming underwater - the little yellow fish is an added bonus that I did not see until I looked at the image in Photoshop. I will post some of my landscape shots later in the week. I was able to photograph some great sunsets and found some interesing foreground areas along the shoreline.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Photo Backpacks

I am a photo backpack aficionado. I currently have about 10 different backpacks, which my husband Olof enjoys pointing out whenever a new one arrives from the UPS man. I just recevied from LowePro 2 very cool backpacks, which they are giving me in exchange for getting some shots of the packs in various locations. The first is the Lowe Pro Dryzone Rover.
It has a completely waterproof lower compartment that is very spacious and can hold my Hasselblad H3D with a zoom lens. It also has a hydration system so there is no need to carry an extra water bottle when using this pack. The upper compartment is not waterproof but is good for carrying clothing, lunch, etc. I plan to use this on an upcoming trip to Alaska where we will be doing some sea kayaking.

The other pack is a new one from Lowe Pro called the Vertex 200 AW.This pack is not waterproof but is water resistant and would be fine to wear in the rain. It is just the right size for me to carry the H3D with 3 large lenses. It is lighter in weight than my previous pack which was the burly Photo Trekker. It has a lighter waist band and shoulder straps and seems to have stiffer foam and exterior than the Photo Trekker. The accessory compartments are designed to hold digital cards and batteries. It will fit into an overhead bin on an airplane. I will be using this as my main bag for my upcoming trip to Maui.Vertex200_left_n_4
It also has a cool tripod holding system. I also found a great case for various accessories & chargers, extra lenses, and the laptop computer - the Pelican D'Exec Wheeled Camera Attache. This is small enough to also fit in the overhead, and has a zip on laptop case for the front so that you can add that and still have only 2 carry ons with the Lowe Vertex backpack and this wheeled case. Since it is wheeled the Vertex can be placed on top of this case for easy rolling through airports, etc.  This case seems very durable and it is deep enough to carry lots of gear without being to tall. I used to use a PorterCase hard sided case but felt that it did not have enough padding inside for rolling on pavement  with sensitive equipment and was too heavy when empty. The Lowe Photo Trekker is a great pack but I find it too bulky for airport travel - it is more suited to long day hikes with alot of heavy gear since it has such an ample waist belt.Pcs181



Friday, April 6, 2007

How I Print My Images

I am often asked what printer and paper I use to print images. I am currently using the Epson 9800 with Ultrachrome inks. Since I print exclusively on matte surfaces I use the matte black ink instead of the photo black ink. I print both on fine art paper and canvas. My current preference is the Epson Ultrasmooth Paper in the 500 gsm weight. This heavy paper provides great detail and does not require dry mounting prior to framing like the lighter weight papers would require. I use the 36x44" sheets that come in a box of 10. I have also used the 460 gsm Epson Somerset Velvet. This paper has more texture on the surface so finer details are not as visible, so I prefer the Epson Ultrasmooth Paper over this paper for prints with fine detail. I am currently also using the Epson Piezo Pro Matte Canvas for canvas prints. Printing on canvas is the best way to produce very large prints that can be stretched around a wooden stretcher bar, no glass or framing is needed if a gallery wrap is used and the canvas is stapled to the back of the stretcher bar. I regularly produce 40x60" prints this way. This canvas has a nice matte surface. I previously used the Epson Premier Art canvas, but I did not like its glossy  surface and was glad to switch to the Piezo Pro brand. I am looking forward to the day when Epson introduces a wider 60" printer. This will allow me to go larger than 40" in the smallest dimension of a print, which would be a good service to offer clients who may need really large prints. Canon has a 60" wide printer - the Prograf IPF 9000. I have heard good reports about the print quality of this printer but I also understand that it cannot handle really thick paper like the Epson 9800 can, so that is a concern for my work. They are also about $15,000, which makes them very pricey. Before making any decisions I will wait until later in the year when Epson may be introducing a larger printer.

I also use the Colorbyte ImagePrint RIP to send prints to the Epson 9800. I love the ease of use and the very high quality this RIP produces. You can download a demo version at their Website if you are in the market for a RIP.  I never use the Epson driver for the 9800, I find it difficult to use compared to the Imageprint RIP.

One last tip for anyone printing on canvas. I found a great product called "Tighten Up" from Dick Blick that can be sprayed on the back of a sagging canvas. Sagging can happen over time in the corners of a large stretched canvas and this spray seems to alleviate the problem.

Here is an image that I have made into a 72" wide canvas. It was taken in Yosemite and is titled "Morning Frost".

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Underwater Photography

We will be going to Hawaii next week and I wanted to try out some underwater photography while snorkeling in Maui. I purchased an Ewa Marine  plastic camera housing for our Canon 5D. This will also accommodate a flash unit. It claims that it can be used up to 60 feet deep. I have not done any underwater photography before so this will be an experiment. I do have the camera insured in case of damage, so the risk is not as great for the 5D as it would be if it was not insured. The Ewa Marine unit seems pretty well made based on my initial inspection, and is big enough to handle the 5D and a small zoom lens. I will post images here from the trip, hopefully I can capture a few sea turtles and colorful fish.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

California Wildflowers

Spring in Northern California usually brings wonderful wildflower displays. I will be traveling for the next few days around Northern California doing a photo shoot for the Trust for Public Land in some oak woodland areas which should have some good wildlfowers. For those of you planning California wildflower photo shoots, you should check out Carol Leigh's Wildflower Hotsheet located at Cal Photo . People write in from all over the state to report wildflower sightings. My favorite displays are later in the summer in the high Sierra - the flowers in the high country bloom in July. One of the best areas is the Lake Winnemucca Trail from Carson Pass. It is accessible and has a great variety  of wildflowers. The shot below is from this area.


Friday, March 30, 2007

Split ND Filters vs Photoshop Correction

I have been asked why I use split ND filters instead of just combing highlight and shadow exposures in Photoshop. The response is that I use both techniques, however I have found that it can be very difficult to get a natural looking transition when a darker sky is combined with a light foreground in Photoshop. Split ND filters are used to hold back the exposure of the sky while allowing more light to reach the foreground. I use the Lee filter system, which fits on my medium format lenses. There are many brands made of split ND filters. Most common are the 1,2 and 3 stop split ND’s (sometimes designated as
        0.3, 0.6, and 0.9 respectively). I find that I use the 3 stop (.9) ND the most - when I need a split ND at sunset or sunrise I really need to darken the sky in order to get good light on the foreground. If I use a split ND filter I have to do much less post processing in photoshop. It can be difficult to combine a foreground exposure with a sky exposure in Photoshop and not end up with the tell tale pixel fringe between the 2 areas. Below is an example of an image that I used a split ND filter on. You can see that the trees are slightly darker in the areas that were behind the shaded part of the filter, but it is not too difficult to lighten this in Photoshop. It would have been much more difficult to insert a darker sky from a different exposure - the tree that extends into the sky would have been difficult to lighten up or to mask without fringing. If you have questions about the basics of split ND use a quick google search on the topic will find many helpful articles. I highly recommend  them for landscape photography, even with digital cameras. Be sure to experiment with them to become familiar with how to get the best results for your images. You don't want to have a great image ruined by improper use of a split ND filter.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Handholding an H3D & Tripods

I have had a few questions posed about handholding the Hasselblad H3D. The mirror slap of this camera is very noticeable when the shutter is released without first using the mirror lock up feature. It is very difficult to hand hold the camera when using mirror lock up, so I do not engage that feature when taking hand held shots, because you lose sight and framing of your subject. I usually bump up the ISO to about 200 to get a faster shutter speed. I try to get as fast a shutter speed as possible while keeping the aperture at f8 or higher to get the best depth of field. I try to use at least 1/100 of a second shutter speed with anything up to a 100 mm lens. Higher than that I go for at least 1/focal length of the lens (i.e. 1/200 for a 200 mm lens). I have been pleased with the results of my last attempt at handholding. I took the clearing storm image in the H3D image portfolio hand-held, and found that the sharpness was acceptable for this image when printed as a large 30" print. I think that it would have been better to use a monopod at least, so in the future I will try to carry a monopod in situations where a tripod is too bulky - usually skiing or mountain biking to a location.  I think  a tripod  is always preferable if conditions permit, I use a gitzo Carbon Fiber 1348 with a Really Right Stuff BH-55 LR Ballhead - It has a lever clamp that makes it easy to use with the Really Right Stuff L Bracket , which is designed for the H1 but I  find that it works fine on my H3D. The great thing about this L plate is that it allows the camera to be mounted to the tripod in both vertical and horizontal positions. I had this ballhead fail in the field last autumn - the quick release lever system came apart but I was able to fix it with a paper clip temporarily until I could send it in for repairs. The RRS company repaired it with no hassles, but I was not happy about potentially losing the use of my tripod on a remote photo shoot. I do not carry an extra ballhead but will in the future on automobile supported trips where weight is not an issue. I do like the ease of use and fairly light weight of this ballhead. The repaired lever seems to be sturdier than the one it originally came with. Tomorrow I will post some thoughts on the use of Split ND filters vs. combining exposures in Photoshop.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tahoe Powder Day! and PS CS3 Release

We had a beautiful powder morning here in Truckee, CA. We had about 1 foot of new snow last night, a few days before we had 65+ degree temps! My husband Olof got this shot of me getting some turns in the freshies with his Canon 5D. We can have powder days into May around here, you just have to be patient some years.

In other news... Adobe announced Photoshop CS 3 today - relevant info is at this link: CS3 for Photographers .

I have been using the CS3 Beta version for a while and think the Camera Raw interface is greatly improved, with very good features for adding fill light, recovering highlights, and adding very natural looking color vibrance. I also like the B&W conversion options in the Raw dialog, they are incredible and will revolutionize B&W digital. The refine edge tool and the Auto blend layers tools will also be very useful for photographers. I will be getting the upgrade as soon as it ships.


Monday, March 26, 2007

TriTone and Color Combo Technique

The New Photoshop CS3 which will be formally announced tomorrow has some really good new B&W adjustments. Once you convert an image to grayscale (instead of RGB) you can access tritones and quadtones via the Image:Mode menu. Then, using the Load option on the Duotone Options dialog, you can navigate to the Presets folder, open the Duotones Folder and find some nice presets for both tritones and quadtones. They are very well hidden. I found that I liked working with the tritones to get a nice light sepia look to the grayscale image. Once I had done the tritone conversion, I then converted the image back to RGB, placed the original color image over the tritone as a layer, and reduced the opacity to allow a little color to show through. This gave the image a nice tint of color, almost a hand-tinted look. I like this effect with the images I took from Venice. It was nice to have these images be less "literal" - I think it gives them a more timeless feel. You can see all the images I have used this technique on in the Venice Images Photo Album on the right. They are also in the Venice portfolio at


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Hasselblad H3D

I have recently upgraded my camera system to a Hasselbald H3D, which has a 39 megapixel digital back. I previously had a Hasselblad H1 with a 22 megapixel digital back. The main difference with new H3D is that I can now shoot to a CF card that inserts in the back, and no longer have to connect the back to an external imagebank via a cord. This makes the camera system lighter and easier to hand hold. In addition, the high resolution of the 39 megapixels allows me to create 30x22" sized prints with no upsampling of the original image file. Paired with the high quality Hasselblad lenses, I think this system represents the current state of the art in single capture digital photography. I have posted a few recent images taken with the H3D in the photo gallery. I have enlarged the Winter Sunset shot to make a 40x60" canvas print with no loss of image detail or clarity. I have reached the maximum size my Epson 9800 can print, and am looking forward to their introduction of a 60" wide printer in the future. I currently think that I have no real need to ever increase beyond 39 megapixels for fine art printing purposes. In the future I think digital capture can improve in the areas of light sensitivity of the sensor. It would be great to dial in an 800 ISO setting and get the same image quality that I currently get from 50 ISO. This would allow me to use higher shutter speeds and still keep the aperture setting optimized for maximum depth of field. This would allow freedom from constant use of a tripod. I have dialed up to ISO 200 and handheld shots with the new H3D - the Clearing Winter Storm image was handheld in soft morning light since I had to ski to this location and did not want to lug my tripod. The clarity of the large print is great, so I am pleased with the results even though I had to do a little noise removal from the higher ISO setting. I am considering just taking a light monopod in the future if I do not want to lug a tripod when I am on foot or on my mountain bike. There are new ones out that have 3 little tripod feet that pop out of the bottom to give more stability. If anyone has found one they like please let me know.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Google Earth as a Photography Tool

I know I am late to the party on this one, but Google Earth is really cool. I have an upcoming photo shoot for the Trust for Public Land ( in Northern California, and needed to get instructions for specific locations on the property where photographs were needed. The client was able to email me a snapshot from Google Earth and pinpoint locations on the property where I should go. Google Earth is available as a download from Once you install the software you have access to aerial photos from the entire planet. You can then save specific snapshots of an area and email them. Here is a Google Earth file that shows  the location of our  gallery in Truckee. If you pan to the west you can see the wild country of the high Sierra, and to the  south you can see Lake Tahoe.

Download carmel_gallery.kmz

Friday, March 23, 2007

Brilliant Waters Presentations

This past week I gave 2 presentations about about the process of self-publishing my book "Brilliant Waters". The first was at the event called "Shooting the West" in Winnemucca Nevada
This was a very well attended event, thanks to all the hard work done by the event coordinator Linda Dunferrena and her associates.

This event draws ranchers and photographers from all over the area, and is well worth attending if you love photographing the American West. I also enjoyed meeting all the people who attended my presentation at the Professional Photographers of America Sacramento Chapter meeting. The PPA has an excellent program of print competitions which start at the local levels. I was invited to be a guest judge and had the opportunity to review some wonderful work from Sacramento photographers.

I have a powerpoint presentation on the process of self-publishing my book, and I am happy to make arrangements to speak at meetings if they fit into my schedule. Please contact me directly if you have a group that would be interested in hosting my presentation. I usually combine presentations with sales and signing of my book.


Article in Outdoor Photographer

This month's April issue of Outdoor Photographer features an article about my work titled "Mountain Digital". It can be viewed online at


This is my first post in the blogosphere. I get inquiries from many people around the world who are interested in my photography techniques, equipment, and general philosophy on the art of photography. This blog is a way for me to stay in touch with the community of people interested in my work and life, and to share information with everyone. I plan to share my insights about equipment, techniques, locations, software, events, books, and life in general. I welcome questions via email - I will post responses via this blog since it is difficult for me to respond to a lot of email inquiries individually. I hope to be  able to post daily updates to  this site, and look forward to receiving your  comments. Please check back here daily to  see what's new.

A complete portfolio of my work is online at My husband Olof is a photographer also, his work can be viewed at We have a new gallery of our work in Truckee, California. The gallery is located in Historic Downtown Truckee at 10035 Church Street. More information on location and hours are available at