Sunday, March 30, 2008

Nikon D3

I have had an opportunity this week to try both the Nikon D300 and the D3, and I have decided that the D3 will work best for me since it has a full frame sensor to allow very wide angle work, and I think the AF system is a little quicker and more foolproof for action / wildlife shots. I also really like to double CF card slots for in camera back ups, and the weather proof seals. I have "lost" a number of good shots over the years due to wind blur and lack of ability to hand hold the H3D in low light, so I think this will help be broaden my creative opportunities. It will not be a replacement for the H3D but will be a tool for uses the H3D is not suited for - low light handheld, action / wildlife, windy conditions, super wide angle, super telephoto. I do think a full frame sensor has an edge over the smaller sensors in regards image quality and noise, especially when I need to make a 100" long blow up (which I have had to do a few times this last month) . I will be photographing wildflowers in the Sierra foothills this coming week and will post some shots with the D3 after that trip. I am then off to Hawaii, where I will try it out underwater in an Ewa Marine Bag (yes I'm Crazy, but I insure all my gear in case of the worst.....). The underwater housings for the D3 run $6K, so that is out of my range unless I get a sweet photo assignment from a dive magazine...highly unlikely given all the great underwater photogs out there. The live view feature should be a good tool for underwater shots of turtles and colorful fish.

I think the D300 is a great second body to have in addition to a D3 - it is a good backup and nice to have a different lens on when doing a photo shoot. I found some good info on the D3 on Moose Peterson's site. Alot of his info also applies to the D300.

As far as lenses, I am going with the awesome new 14-24 (one of the main reasons for getting the full frame D3), and the 24-70 f2.8. I also got a lower priced 70-300 VR lens, which would need to be upgraded prior to any serious wildlife photography to the 200-400 VR.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Nikon D300

I am going to be checking out the Nikon D300 this week. I need a digital slr that I can use for handheld / low light shots for an upcoming project. This camera seems to have great high iso performance and some nice features such as live view with autofocus on the lcd screen (good for underwater I would think). I have always had an affinity for Nikons - I used to have one of the early Nikon D1x cameras, but sold that to pay for the higher res Canon 1ds that I used until I got the Hasselblad system. I also think the Nikon D3 is very interesting, and it has a full frame sensor so it would be possible to get some nice wide angle shots with the new nikon 14-24 mm zoom. The problem with the D3 cameras is that they are hard to get and about $3.5k more than the D300. Once Nikon introduces a higher resolution sensor in a D3 style camera, and retains the extreme high iso quality, it could give a big boost to the possibilities of handheld landscape photography. I think that Nikon is finally back in the Dslr game after getting dusted by Canon over the last few years. I will report my impressions of the D300 later this week.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Picture Frames and Endangered Rainforests

I have been researching picture frame mouldings and stretcher bars that do not result in environmental damage. The plot thickens the more I learn about the framing / moulding industry. There is an excellent resource I found that discussed woods to avoid:

One company I have found is very in tune with this issue: Framerica moulding seems to be one of the most eco-friendly moulding companies. Here is an excerpt from the Decor Article on Green Framing Products:

Framerica’s products have earned Environmentally Preferred Product (EPP) certification from the Composite Panel Association of wood manufacturers, and BonanzaWood saves deforestation from solid wood and the oil consumption attributed to plastics. Framerica has used BonanzaWood as the primary core for its mouldings for more than 10 years. BonanzaWood contributes to absolutely zero deforestation, in many instances utilizing wood waste from post-consumer products that would otherwise be destined for landfills.

I must also point out that Omega moulding has been very helpful with my inquiries about moulding wood, and referred me to this website: UNEP.

I am still doing research on some of their mouldings I have been using to see if they are FSC certified.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pro Digital Imaging Article

There is an online version of my article in Pro Digital Imaging Magazine now available. It can be accessed at the following link: Profile: Elizabeth Carmel

Monday, March 17, 2008

Green Business Practices

I am putting together a list of ways our gallery is a "green business" along with areas where we can be more eco-friendly. I will soon be adding a new page to our Carmel Gallery website that describes our green business philosophy. As part of my research, I found an interesting document from Epson that details their environmental conservation program - it is contained on pages 24-44 of this pdf document.

Since we use Epson papers, inks, and printers it is important for us to understand their commitment to green business practices. From reading the details in this pdf document it appears they are putting a fair amount of effort into environmental sustainability. The company which we purchase our inks from in Berkeley also has a very good ink recycling program - information on their program is available at this link: Bytes2Print recycling

Since we use 100% cotton papers for our prints, I found this statement on the Crane website very interesting - they list 7 reasons why cotton is better than wood based paper. We use the textured fine art paper by Crane and the Epson Ultrasmooth cotton paper.

As far as paper and canvas coatings, alot of credit should be given to the Premier Art company for their formulation of Eco Print Shield, and environmentally friendly coating that "protects all water resistant ink jet prints from moisture, light, humidity, atmospheric contaminants, abrasion and even fingerprints."

I am also doing some research on eco-friendly framing materials. I think that a lot of frame moulding comes from wood that is not sustainably harvested, and the frame companies need to do a better job of disclosing the source of their wood. This article in Decor Magazine helps bring to light some of the things frame suppliers can do. I will be posting my findings here. Feel free to comment on any eco-friendly product recommendations readers have for printing and framing.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wildflower Season is Starting

There is still alot of snow on the ground here in Truckee, but the lower elevations are starting to bloom. There are 2 good sites for getting wildflower information. One is a new one hosted by my friend in Big Sur Tom Deyerle. The link to his blog is:

The other is the Photocal website which can be found here:

I will be working on images in the high Sierra this summer, the bloom in the high country does not happen until July. I am planning photo shoots in Kings Canyon, Sequoia, and Yosemite. I will also be working on photographing some of the Sierra glaciers, which are rapidly disappearing due to global warming. THese will be part of my upcoming book "The Changing Range of Light, Portraits of the Sierra Nevada." If you are interested in knowing when the book is available, please sign up for my email newsletter. Here is a link:

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Monday, March 3, 2008

Amazing Yosemite

I went to Yosemite this past week to attend the Yosemite Renaissance opening at the Yosemite Museum, and ended up getting some photos I am very pleased with. Here is the link to the images on my website. Late February is a great time to get shots of the last rays of light on Horsetail Falls. I had the perfect combination of clear weather and good flow in the falls to get a great shot of this iconic image, which was taken on Feb. 28 - the following night the falls did not put on quote the same show since the sun went behind the clouds, so I felt lucky to get this image. I was pleased to have a chance to meet William Neil and Michael Frye, who both had wonderful images in the Yosemite Renaissance show - all 3 of us were next to the Merced River getting shots of horsetail falls right before the opening party started on Feb 29th.


I also ended up with an amazing shot of a colored rainbow on upper yosemite falls - I was actually photographing another subject when I turned around and noticed a rainbow forming around the top of the falls. The color slowly moved down the falls as the sun rose, and near the base of the upper falls I captured this shot. It was a singularly amazing moment for me, it seemed as if the water from the falls was raining down color in vast multichrome sheets. This was taken with the Hasselblad HC 300 mm lens and 1.7 teleconverter.