Friday, April 25, 2008

Traveling Heavy

I have given up on traveling light. I am used to being ridiculed for all my luggage and carry ons, so I don't really care anymore. The Europeans are particularly amused by all the stuff Olof and I lug around. The only restraints we worry about are the 2 checked bag limit of 50 lbs each, and the carry on size restrictions (but not the weight). I have read that some airlines are going to start charging for the 2nd check bag, which is not good news. One of our blog readers recently asked:

Elizabeth, I'm curious -- how do you carry that much expensive gear to a location which is only accessible by air? I don't imagine you can take it all as carry-on. I'd sure hate to get to my destination only to find an empty camera case sliding down the luggage chute. :^( -- Roger

Well, one thing that helps is traveling with our 8 year old daughter, since she comes with an allowance for 2 extra 50 lb checked bags and 2 extra carry ons, which we use up while only including a few pounds of her stuff. I have found that I usually can take all my photo gear when I use the following:

1. Large tripod and ball head packed in a checked suitcase.

2. Carry-on Camera backpack (Lowe Vertex or Tamrac Expedition 8, which is long but not too thick). In the camera backpack I put the H3D body and 2 lenses, and the D3 body and 1 lens. Long but not too thick makes it easier to fit in overhead bins. It will always fit under the seat in a pinch, but will encroach into the adjacent under seat space.

3. Rolling Pelican case Exec Series wheeled camera attache - carries remaining camera lenses, chargers, etc. This comes with a zip off laptop case, so if I get busted for having 3 carry ons I can always zip the laptop bag to the case as I get on the plane, then unzip it to fit in the overhead bin. It fits better in the bin when unzipped & removed from main case, and I usually put it under my seat so I can work on my laptop during a flight.

We also always try to board the plane as soon as possible so all the overhead bin space does not get taken. I would never put my lenses or cameras in checked luggage, even though they are all insured through NANPA. You do not want to get behind us in the security checkpoint line, it is quite a production. I am rarely hassled about the contents of the camera bags, although Mexican authorities have been known to give us extra scrutiny when we come through.

This system works well for domestic air travel. I do run into problems in international flights where they weigh your carry ons. I had to check some lenses once in a hard sided case so I could get on a flight to Italy, and they arrived safely but I was not happy about it. I am not sure what I will do next time I have to fly overseas, I will probably wear a camera vest and stuff alot in there while they are weighing my carry ons.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

New Maui Images / Apple Aperture

I have completed a series of 6 images from our recent trip to Maui and have posted those as the first six images in my Hawaii Portfolio.

I used both the H3D and the Nikon D3 on this trip - The Nikon allowed me to capture the very wide angle shots of the Banyan Trees along with some fast shutter speed wave action, so I was pleased I had it along. The Hasselblad worked great for the sunsets and the Rainbow Eucalyptus shots where I could use a tripod and capture alot of detail and color range. I also experimented with some high key imagery in the Eucalyptus forest, and liked the blown out background on one of my images (Rainbow Forest) that gives it a more minimalist / zen feel.

Thanks to the suggestion of my friend Tom Deyerle I decided to try out Apple's Aperture 2.1 - the main reason being that it can read Hasselblad H3D raw files (Lightroom and ACR cannot unless they are converted to DNG files). I really enjoy the Aperture workflow and the file processing tools. I think it does a great job processing H3D raw files, I was able to pull alot of color range out of the H3D files using aperture's tools. There is a bit of a learning curve with such a robust program, but it has a wonderful elegance to it that will appeal to any artist. It also supports plug ins, including one that I am using now to upload a batch of images to Photoshelter.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Back from the Islands / Earth Day Throughts

We had a great trip to Maui and enjoyed meeting up with Randy Braun, Photographer Extraordinaire, a local who showed us some wonderful locations along the Hana Highway. Randy has a great gallery in Makawao, a must see if you visit Maui. I hope to have some new pictures from the trip posted in the next few weeks. We did not do as much snorkeling this trip since the surf was high and made the water a little cloudy, but I did get some nice sunsets and some interesting shots of the "rainbow eucalyptus."

Since Earth Day is tomorrow I added a page to our Carmel Gallery website which outlines some of our "green business" practices. I think two issues of particular interest to photographers are the need to recycle used ink cartridges ( I have been told they contain trace amounts of cyanide and are often disposed of improperly in landfills), and the need to be aware of the woods used in picture frame moulding. I will be posting some information soon on a major new non-profit organization being formed to bring awareness to the problem of printer cartridge disposal and the need for better cartridge recycling programs. My previous posts have highlighted the issue of the use of endangered woods for picture frame moulding. Everyone who buys frames and bulk moulding should be aware of the type of wood used and pressure suppliers to provide non-endangered woods.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Off to Maui

We are off to Maui for a week, so I hope to have some new Hawaii images to share when I return. We hope to have a chance to visit with our friend Randy Braun while we are there.

A recent interview has been posted at the website Photography Sites, so you can check that out for some additional info on my work.


Monday, April 7, 2008

New Wildflower Images

I have completed a selection of 9 images from my recent photo shoot in the Sierra Foothills using the new Nikon D3 and the 14-24 zoom. It was mildly windy so I used the D3 at iso 400 to 600 and shot with a small aperture to maximize depth of field. Using the high iso I was able to get shutter speeds of over 1/200 second, enough to stop the blur of wind movement and still maintain depth of field. I love the wide angle 14mm - all of the close up shots were taken at the widest angle possible. I was able to get very close to the poppies and still get a large range of view to make dramatic images. I am very pleased with the image quality from this system. While it cannot even begin to compare with the detail of the H3D, I was able to get shots that would not have been possible with the H3D due to the wide angle and need for fast shutter speeds with small aperture.

Here is a link to the images on my web site:

I only spotted one rattlesnake, laying across the trail on my way back. I'm glad one did not surprise me while I was crawling around in the poppies! I almost stepped on one a few years back in a similar area, so I keep an eye and ear out for them when I am in areas like this in the Sierra foothills.