Saturday, December 26, 2009

Link to NPR Interview

Here is a link to the NPR interview I did last week about my new book. My segment is about halfway through the show, just behind a very interesting segment on California water issues:

http://www.capradio.org/programs/insight/default.aspx?showid=7263&programid=10



Friday, December 18, 2009

Radio interview on NPRs Insight

I just confirmed a Tuesday Dec. 22nd interview about my new book on NPR with Insight, broadcast on Capradio in Sacramento. Show will be on between 10 and 11 AM that day. It is on FM 90.5 here in Truckee. Now if only Oprah would call......

http://www.capradio.org/programs/insight/default.aspx



Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rainbow in the Snow

The drizzly weather today was spawning rainbows.  I was skiing at Tahoe Donner Nordic Center this morning and noticed a wonderful rainbow over the Euer Valley. Fortunately I had my Nikon D700 in the car and had time to retrieve it and ski up to an overlook to get this shot. Rainbows usually don't last too long, but this one must have been on display for about 20 minutes.

Rbow2sh
Rainbow in the Snow  



Rainbow in the Snow

The drizzly weather today was spawning rainbows.  I was skiing at Tahoe Donner Nordic Center this morning and noticed a wonderful rainbow over the Euer Valley. Fortunately I had my Nikon D700 in the car and had time to retrieve it and ski up to an overlook to get this shot. Rainbows usually don't last too long, but this one must have been on display for about 20 minutes.



Sunday, December 13, 2009

Win a Free Copy of "The Changing Range of Light"

I will hold a drawing to give away 2 signed copies of my new book on December 18. The books will be shipped at no charge anywhere in the USA. All you have to do to enter is become a "fan" of our new Carmel Gallery Facebook page.

Elizabeth & Olof Carmel / The Carmel Gallery





Friday, December 11, 2009

Book Party A Blast

Thanks to everyone who attended our book release party last weekend. It was a wonderful success thanks to all of you. We sold over $3000 worth of books in 2 hours with a good chunk of that going to the Truckee Donner Land Trust. Here is a fun article about the event from the Sierra Sun.

Ss




Thursday, December 3, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Few Autumn Images from Napa

I have posted a few new shots from Napa wine country on my web site. These were taken a few weeks ago in the Calistoga area. I hear that the colors are still good in that region. It's winter now in the Sierra, we even had some frozen fog on the trees this morning. Time to get out the xc skis!

Napa-Sunrisesh



Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My new book is now in stock at our Truckee Gallery - We received the shipment of my new books and will have them at our gallery tomorrow. All pre-orders will be shipped out over the next week. Any journalists who would like a review copy please contact me directly.



Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Changing Range of Light Now In Stock & Link to OP Review

I am pleased to announce that my new book "The Changing Range of Light" is now in stock at the distributor Mountain Press in Montana. What this means is that all bookstores can now order the books wholesale for immediate delivery, and that the book will start shipping very soon from Amazon and other online retailers. I am really happy with the quality of the book and the color rendition of the images. It is hard to reproduce in CMYK the same colors I can get from my Epson 11880, but I think the book images are a very close match. I used glossy paper with a spot varnish which I think also gives the images a nice look. The book is a large format 12x12 inch size and has 164 pages. I hope readers of the book will find the accompanying text on how climate change will impact the Sierra very informative. As Outdoor Photographer write in their review of the book "The warming climate is causing such widespread physical and biological
change that work by present-day nature photographers could one day be
viewed as a record of what once was and is no more."

Books will be in stock at the Carmel Gallery next week sometime, then we will be shipping out signed copies of all orders made at the gallery and via the online store for book purchases. Thanks to everyone who has pre-ordered signed copies, we appreciate the support. I would also like to invite all blog readers to our book release party at the gallery on December 5. 

CROL frontCover



Sunday, October 25, 2009

New England Autumn Colors Portfolio

I was able to visit New England in mid October for a week to shoot the autumn colors there. I had not photographed this area before so I was really excited about the opportunity to get more shots of the great reds and oranges of the deciduous trees. Thanks to the people who took the time to email me suggestions of where to go based on my previous blog post about  my planned trip. I flew into Boston and headed straight for the "Kanc" Highway in New Hampshire, which was a good call because that spot was where the colors were really happening. Most of the images I selected from the 2000 frames I took were from that region. I was very impressed with the colors and scenery in that area along the Swift River. I had to contend with wind, snow and freezing weather but I was able to get a series of shots I am pleased with. I decided to forego Vermont due to the bad weather in that area and instead headed out to Acadia National Park in Maine. I was really pleased with the great color in this area as well.The week of shooting in this new region was intense, most days were 14 hours straight of shooting and or driving or managing files - I wanted to make the most of my limited time there. Thanks to the great file management software available (Aperture & Lightroom)  I was able to efficiently sort through my work and select 18 images for my website - here is the link the the New Release Autumn Colors portfolio on my site.

A0008635sh2



Sunday, October 4, 2009

New Autumn 09 Images from the Eastern Sierra

I had a quick trip down to the Eastern Thursday thru Saturday to photograph the autumn colors at the higher elevations. It was very colorful at North Lake and Lake Sabrina. I have posted 5 new images to the Autumn Colors I portfolio on my web site that were taken from these 2 locations (the first 5 images in that portfolio are the new ones). It was a very clear & calm morning on Friday at sunrise, so I got a shot of the classic sunrise reflection at North Lake. The aspens around North lake were very colorful, with many turning wonderful shades of red. My favorite image was from Saturday morning - it was a very stormy sunrise with high winds. I was perched up on a ledge above Lake Sabrina to get the shot shown below - I had to earn this one, it was freezing, windy, and I was getting pelted with small hail. You can see the wind streaks on the lake. The sunrise was spectacular -  wonderful pink clouds with the autumn colors accenting the hillsides. I hope there are some leaves left along the lake after those high winds! I had to keep my tripod very low to the ground and weight it down with another camera to stop it vibrating in the high winds. I used a split neutral density filter to hold back the sky exposure on all the sunrise shots. The rest of the aspens at the lower elevations (conway summit, lundy canyon, etc) are still green so there will be plenty to photograph in the coming weeks. The road up to south lake out of Bishop was looking very colorful as well, many of the aspens along that stretch are turning.

Sabsunrisefinal3 

Nlake1final

Autnlakefinal2



Friday, September 25, 2009

Outdoor Photographer Oct. 2009 Cover and Book Article

Thanks to Outdoor Photographer Magazine for presenting one of my images as this month's cover shot (Image titled Brilliant Autumn, taken in Colorado). They also have done a great article in this issue titled 'Sierra Light" about my upcoming book "The Changing Range of Light."

This month's October edition is now available at newsstands and bookstores.

Photo(4)

Photo(3)



Time to Start Watching for Autumn Colors

October is one of my favorite months - there is so much to photograph! This year I am planning to get out to New England to photograph some of the autumn colors in that region in mid-October. Mid to late October is a great time for the autumn colors on the vineyards in Napa. I also want to photograph autumn colors in Zion, which happens more in November. The Eastern Sierra region can be done in a 3-4 day trip so that will be on my calendar as well. There are so many great resources on the internet for monitoring autumn color - here are a few links that I have found helpful:

Journal of My Travels for the Perfect Photo

Calphoto

New England Foliage Alert

National Park Webcams

Hopefully I will have plenty of new autumn shots to share over the next few weeks. Below is a shot taken a few years ago from a favorite location north of Truckee - the Little Truckee River in Jackson Meadows:

Autumn Fine Art Photography 23





Monday, September 21, 2009

"The Changing Range of Light" Book Release Event Set for December 5, 2009 / Media Kit Available for Download

CROL frontCover

We have scheduled a book release party for my new book The Changing Range of Light on December 5, 2009 from 4:00 to 6:30 PM at our gallery (The Carmel Gallery at 9940 Donner Pass Road in Truckee, CA.). This event will be held jointly with the Truckee Donner Land Trust. A portion of all book sales at the event will be donated to the Truckee Donner Land Trust to support their important work. The event is open to the public and will feature wine tasting and hors d'oeuvres. My co-authors Drs. Bob Coats and Geoffrey Schladow are planning on attending  - they wrote the climate change sections of the book and the introduction. The historic Truckee Hotel is offering a special rate to all guests attending from out of town. Please call Tim the hotel manager directly to book the special offer.

For more information on the book please refer to the press release & downloadable media kit that is posted on the book's web site:

http://www.hawkspeakpublishing.com/hawkspeak/Download_Media_Kit.html 

















Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Images from New Mexico

I have completed a portfolio of 8 black and white photographs from New Mexico that are now on my website in a new portfolio titled "New Mexico B&W". I decided these worked best in black & white based on the stong graphic elements with the adobe churches and with the ancient stone dwellings at Bandelier National Park. These images were taken with the Nikon D700 & 14-24 mm Nikon zoom, all handheld. In a departure from my usual MO, I took all of them in blazing daylight (another reason to show them as monochrome images, where the patterns of shadow and light are more dramatic). I added a few touches using Nik Color Efex Pro and Nik Silver Efex. I love the tonal contrast feature in Nik Color Efex, but I usually dial back the effect to less than 50% to avoid making images look overcooked. I hope to visit more cliff dwellings this Autumn on a trip through the southwest, I like how they translate to monochrome. I think it gives them a somewhat timeless & mysterious feel.

Band5

Band2



Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunset Color Prediction

I have a project for a client that requires me to photograph a spectacular sunset at a specific location - I have been watching the clouds all summer trying to determine when a good time to photograph will be. I have found the best sunsets often occur in the autumn and winter months, but I wanted to share this useful link from photo.net about predicting sunsets. Any other people with insights on this topic are welcome to comment to this post. I have found the iphone software focalware is great for predicting the time and location of a sunset, now if someone would write an app that predicts how colorful it would be based on cloud cover, etc that would be great.

Autumn Fine Art Photography 17






Friday, August 28, 2009

My New Book is Available for Pre-Order

My new book "The Changing Range of Light, Portraits of the Sierra Nevada" is at the printer in final production. It should be ready to ship by early November 2009 if not sooner. This book will be a hardcover 12"x12" 136pp. "coffee table" style book with 61 8x10" color plates of Sierra Nevada landscapes. The book also features inspiring poetry and important information about how climate change is affecting the Sierra Nevada. I have an online site where people can pre-order signed copies of the book and they will be shipped when available in November. Unsigned copies are available to order from all major bookstores and from Amazon.com (for Amazon use this link:The Changing Range of Light: Portraits of the Sierra Nevada).

CROL frontCover



Saturday, August 15, 2009

OP Cover

I was pleased that OP selected of my shots of Antelope Canyon in black
& white for this months cover. It was a shot I took a few years ago
but recently converted to b&w in apple aperture. They are doing an
article on my upcoming book in next month's issue. Thanks OP!

Op cov 09 08 lo-res



Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Remote Location Digital Photography

As promised, I wanted to share a few of the tools and techniques I used on a recent backcountry photo expedition to the high Sierra. We used mule packers to take our gear to a base camp located about 8 miles from the trailhead. Our base camp was located at about 11,400 feet in elevation in the backcountry of Kings Canyon National Park. The challenge with a multi-day photo shoot in this type of location is the need for reliable image backup and battery recharging. The solution we employed was a combination of foldable solar panels, a large battery / inverter and battery operated storage devices that back up to a portable hard drive. This system worked very well for the needs of 2 photographers (my husband and me both relied on the system).
The foldable solar panels are made by Brunton:

Brunton 26 Watt Foldable Solar Array 

These work really well, they will recharge a items directly but we ended up using the panels to recharge a Duracell DPP-600HD Powerpack 600 Jump Starter & Emergency Power Source with Radio.


The great thing about this powerpack is that it is also an inverter so you can just plug devices into a regular AC socket. The solar panels can recharge the battery while it is recharging camera batteries and backup devices. 5 hours of sun will completely charge the Duracell battery pack. For backup devices I used the

Sanho HyperDrive ColorSpace UDMA Photo Backup Storage/Viewer w/3.2inch LCD

This device has a huge 500 gb capacity and also allows connection of an external portable hard drive for an extra backup. It worked perfectly and did not gobble up battery power. Olof used the Epson P-7000 160GB Multimedia Storage Drive, Photo Viewer and Audio-Video Player w/ 4-Inch LCD.

This item worked well but it was a battery hog and did not allow as much flexibility in managing files as the Colorspace product. The external backup drive attachment process was also a bit finicky on this device. That in combination with the much higher price of this device would lead me to recommend the Colorspace product as the better backup device. 

Using the portable hard drives as backup for the multimedia devices requires AC power, so the Duracell battery pack was essential for that operation. This type of backup system would be too heavy to take on a plane since
the battery weighs about 30 lbs,  but the solar panels worked so well
and are so lightweight they would be a great power option for any sunny
location, and could work well with a smaller inverter or battery pack.

I also used my iphone 3GS as a GPS using the great program called GPS Kit. This program provides cacheable maps and works well without a internet connection once the maps are cached. I think a GPS makes hiking alone much safer, it is impossible to get lost! The iphone would recharge in an hour or so using the Duracell battery pack.

The most important tool for any landscape photographer to take on a trip like this is physical fitness. I try to stay fit by biking, running, or skiing most days. I had a great opportunity to get a shot of the Palisade Glacier for my upcoming book, but it required me to climb up to the 13, 890 foot summit of Mt. Aggasiz by myself on the day we were scheduled to hike out. I ended up climbing up to the summit to get the shot, lugging my Hasselblad H3D and 35mm lens up there in a backpack over Class 2+ terrain. I also carried my iphone GPS, food & water,  a survival /  first aid kit, and a walkie talkie to communicate with base camp. I made the summit after about 3 hours from base camp and then spent another 5 hours hiking out to the trailhead, a total of 7000 feeet of elevation gain and loss in a day. It was well worth it, the shot below is a stitched panorama of 5 files from the H3D.

GlacierpanoTCsh

Palisade Glacier from the summit of Mt. Aggasiz



Monday, August 3, 2009

HIgh Country Photo Expedition

I just returned from a week in the high country in Kings Canyon National Park. Our base camp was at about 11,300 feet in elevation in the Dusy Basin. My goal was to get some final images for my upcoming book, which I accomplished with no problems. I have alot of info to share here about computer -free image backup and solar powered battery chargers, etc. I will be doing a future detailed post on all this info. I have posted 5 new images from the trip in the High Sierra Portfolio on my website - here is one of my favorites - a rainbow at sunset over the Palisade Range:

Sunset Rainbows, Palisade Range



Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tahoe Wildflowers!

It has been a great week for photography here in Tahoe - I'm excited about this new image I was able to get a few nights ago. The wildflowers have been very happy with all the rain. The wind cooperated long enough to let me capture this with my H3d (it was a 1.5 second exposure with split ND filter to hold back the sky). Most of the shots were blurry with the flowers blowing, but a brief lull allowed this shot. I also took some backup shots with my Nikon D700 but always prefer the H3D files if they come out clean & not wind blown.

I am off to photograph the Bristlecones in the White Mountains next week. This Saturday  we are displaying at the Calistoga Art in the Park, stop by & say hi if you are in the area.

Tlupinesh



Monday, June 15, 2009

What is Overcooked?

Using HDR techniques you can really go overboard with the effect and make images that end up being slightly alarming to the average viewer. Most people are looking for landscape images that are somewhat nourishing and soothing. Here are examples of two images, the one with the dock uses HDR techniques with a lighter touch, the one of the Lake has HDR dialed up to the max. I am not sure if anyone would purchase the overcooked one as wall art, it is slightly alarming and a little overwhelming (it is fun to make from a personal standpoint though!).


Summer Afternoon 
Tahoehdr


Friday, June 12, 2009

Some HDR Techniques in Apple's Aperture

Here is a question I received about HDR which I will respond to for this week's post:

From Wayne: Here
is one(or several) for the blog. Some questions that have to do with
capturing your HDR images. I'm new to HDR methods as I have been
recently introduced but have not yet practiced them (as may be obvious
with the questions). My questions have to do with your "routine" HDR
methodology. Do you usually capture a landscape HDR series at your most
often used aperature of f22? How many exposures do you capture in your
typical bracket series, and what is your typical f-stop range:
fractional stops, 1 full stop to X (?) stops for each sequential
exposure? It all depends on the particular image and the lighting
conditions as changing variables I'm sure. How about sharing the data
for this particular image as an example (without revealing your trade
secrets of course)?



Oh and also, are you using any sort of add-in for processing or
merging the images or just using a Photoshop, Bridge, or Lightroom
"Merge to HDR". You may have addressed this before? I don't visit the
blog as often as I'd like!

Flygeyser56desat

Response: Hi Wayne, thanks for your question. The image Wayne is referring to is my new shot of Fly Geyser. I shot this in the very early morning light at sunrise and bracketed 5 shots at 1 stop difference (2 below, one at normal, and 2 above). I am finding that HDR works so well that a split ND filter is not as critical as it once was. (See my comments about split ND filters at this post). You can do HDR compositions with a smaller range of bracketed images, but 5 seems to work well. My favorite tool for doing HDR compositions is the Photomatix Plug in for Apple's Aperture. I can select the raw images I want to combine in Aperture, then tell Photomatix to align and combine them into one image with amazing tonal range. I can then "develop" that image in Aperture and export it to Photoshop for final sharpening & upsampling if needed. It is not a difficult process, but can be time consuming as my computer & photmatix process the large 39 megapixel files from the Hasselblad H3D. I personally like Photomatix plug in better than merge to HDR in photoshop, I just find it easier to use and easier to get better results from. I have to resist the temptation to "overcook" the image, I think they look better with a more subtle HDR treatment than the over the top treatments you can get if you really go for it. I have also found that the "tonal contrast" filter in Nik Color EFEX gives a little HDR like boost to most images, but again it is easy to overcook the image and it is good to fade back the filter. Nik filters can be used in Apple's Aperture and also in PS CS4 (an I think Lightroom although I do not use that). I am doing HDR on most images now, as long as there is not moving foliage it seems to work well. Problems arise in windy conditions and long exposures with moving clouds, etc. 

I have found that you can get better color and tonal range from an HDR image than from a single exposure no matter how good that initial capture is, as long as the conditions allow merging of images. Of course a tripod is critical to get images to properly align.



Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sierra Thunderstorms

We have been having some wild thunderstorms here in the Sierra, I had a chance to go out to Donner Lake last night after the last storm cleared and get this sunset shot. The storms should continue for a few more days, hope to get out and get more shots of Donner Lake and Lake Tahoe (still waiting for a shot of a rainbow over Emerald Bay)!

Clearing Storm, Donner Lake



Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New Series: Response to Inquires - Today's Topic Hasselblad H3D vs Nikon D3X

I receive many questions from people who visit my website / blog who are looking for advice on photography gear etc. This most recent question fits in with a topic I have been dealing with this past week, so I thought I would post my response for blog readers. I will be selecting a question to respond to from the many I receive each week - I do ask forgiveness since there is no way I can respond to every question that I receive, but I hope this blog will help somewhat.

Question/Comments: 1.  How do you achieve the DOF in your landscapes?
 I'm having a difficult time getting DOF like that - used to with my
4x5 but not with my H3DII-39.

2.  Were you pleased with the Nikon D3X enough to consider it adequate
for your primary camera?  I'm thinking of moving from H3DII-39 to the
D3X

1. As far as DOF, I do stop down to about f22 on most of my shots. I have found that stopping down lower does introduce some distortion that can negate the increased DOF.  I have used some DOF bracketing if I am doing a very near to far composition, this can be tricky though since it requires bracketing not just the foreground and distance but also the middle  ground area, so that you do not end up with a fuzzy mid ground. I would love if one of the camera makers would develop software that would do this in camera, a custom DOF bracketing function that composites the pictures automatically would be great. I have not had much luck with the photoshop DOF merge feature, maybe they can perfect that. I tend to rely on layering the images in Photoshop and using masking to reveal the most in focus areas. Hasselblad has a new tilt-shift adapter that I am looking forward to trying out at some point, that could be a solution as well.


2. The D3X is  a great travel camera and was easy to carry around Italy in a smaller pack that fit easily in airplanes and busses & the metro. Now that I have had a chance to analyze my images from the trip, I do find the picture quality very different from that of my Hasselblad H3D 39. The resolution difference is very noticeable to me, both on screen and in prints. The D3x produces lovely images but there is a slight painterly quality to them when enlarged, not as crisp and photographic as the H3D. I also noticed that there is less of a definition between colors - it is hard to describe but the H3D seems to produce images with more color variation and depth to them. The main area I notice a difference is when I really enlarge the image with Genuine Fractals 6.0, my preferred enlarging software - the H3D files always hold together even up to 8 foot wide prints. The D3X files can look a little stressed at that type of enlargement. If all I needed to do was make 16x20 prints the D3x would be adequate, however I find it necessary for my work to have a certain quality to it I need the larger file sizes of the H3D. I would not convert over to the D3x as my only camera, but it is very good for magazine images, smaller print work and low light handheld shooting, or inclement weather shooting, which the H3D is not really designed for. 

I am looking in to upgrading my H3D 39 megapixel system to the 50 megapixel system, which will require me to sell both the D3x body and the H3D 39 body and a few lenses - if anyone is interested in either of these send me an email at liz@thecarmelgallery.com and I can give you more details. The H3D 39 will come with a one day Lake Tahoe field training session on the system by me. 



Monday, May 25, 2009

Nevada's Black Rock Desert

I did a quick photo trip to the nearby Black Rock Desert of Nevada, home of the August Burning Man Festival. This is a very wild and beautiful area, similar to Death Valley but without the crowds and hassle of a National Park. I had permission to photograph the unusual Fly Geyser, located on a private ranch in the area. The image below is an HDR series I took at sunrise, HDR worked very well for this image so I could hold the color of the sky and still get the weird colors of the geyser. It is always spewing out hot water that collects in the little limestone reservoirs along the sides, a very otherworldy place. The other images I took are in a new portfolio on my website: Nevada & Black Rock Desert. I plan on returning there for more photography opportunities and to photograph the scenic Pyramid Lake.

Flygeyser



Monday, May 18, 2009

New Portfolios of Images from Italy

I have put together 2 new portfolios of my images from Italy. This is just the first group, I will be adding more throughout the months as time permits. All these images were taken with the Nikon d3x. The first portfolio is titled "Tuscany I", and I have put all the images from my previous trip to Tuscany in a portfolio titled "Tuscany II". On this most recent trip I had a chance to spend more time in the scenic Val d'Orcia, where the hill towns of Montepulciano and Pienza are located. The light is constantly changing on the beautiful landscapes in this area; scenes never appear to look the same twice. As with any location photography, the best landscape shots were in the golden hours around sunrise and sunset. I experimented with doing some HDR images using Photomatix in Aperture. I have found that sandwiching images together with Photomatix does not work that well for shots with moving foliage, since it leaves a little halo around the leaves. It works wonderfully if the subject matter is not moving, but alas that rarely happens in landscape photography.

MistshTCB

I have also put together a portfolio of images that are more retouched and stylized (Stylized Italy). For this collection I used a series of filters in Nik Color Efex Pro. I also experimented with the Lucis pro filter but then discovered that the Tonal Contrast in Nik Color Efex does almost the same thing without bleaching out the color. These images were taken throughout Italy, and include some from Rome and Amalfi. I will be adding more shots to this portfolio when I get around to processing my images from Pompeii, which truly is the singular most impressive historic ruin I have ever visited. This is a must see for everyone, and photographers will be especially delighted with the wonderful compositions that are everywhere among the ruins.

Cypress-laneshtcgl  



Thursday, May 7, 2009

Quick Summary of Italy Photo Shoot

We are back from Italy and now I am beginning the long process of using Apple Aperture to sort through my images and process the raw files. Italy is a wonderful overload of photographic inspiration - everywhere are interesting, unique subjects and landscapes that could occupy a photographer for a lifetime. It will take me a while to complete my new portfolio of images from the trip, but I have posted here one of the first images, taken on a rainy night in the Tuscan Village of San Gimignano. The Nikon D3x worked like a champ in the rain, I just used a plastic bag from the hotel to try and keep the rain off the body and lens, but that did not work to well and the camera got pretty wet and never acted up. Next time I will bring my KATA camera rain cover. I was also really pleased with how the Lowe Pro flipside 400 pack worked, it is much easier to unzip the back of the pack (opposite most packs) to access gear, and I could wear the pack and access it at the same time. The waterproof cover kept everything dry. As far as the Epson 6000 card reader / image viewer - I really liked how quickly & easily I could back up my cards with that, but I ended up filling the 80gb drive on it in about a week! It is easy to lose track of how much data space you can gobble up bracketing shots with a D3x. I will be exchanging that for a larger capacity model. The acratech ballhead and Gitzo traveller worked really well as a lightweight set up - I would not use them as a primary tripod system for car-based shooting, but it worked well as a lightweight backpacking / travel system. I will be doing some additional future posts about Italy and discussing some of the great locations we went to.

Streetsof-sangim



Friday, April 10, 2009

Nikon D3X Adventures

We are off to Italy for a few weeks and I wanted to travel a bit lighter and do more handheld photography, so I have purchased a Nikon D3x 24 mp camera. I sold my D3 and a few odds and ends on Craigs list to help fund the purchase. I do think the $8k price in the US is very high, so I purchased mine from Robert White in the UK and saved about $1400 by the time it was to my door (why is it so much cheaper in the UK???). It has a UK 2 year warranty, and there appears to be the option of extending it to 3 years. I would have to send it back to the UK for repairs, which is not that big of a deal via fedex. These things are so bomber that I do not anticipate problems. It did come with a UK power plug so I will have to get an adapter to use that in US sockets. I will be taking the 14-24 zoom, the 24-70 zoom, and the 80-400 zoom. I started a series of statue abstracts last time I was in Italy and want to continue this series, so the 80-400 VR should be great for that. I really loved using the D3, the ergonomics and ability to do ultra wide angle shots and low light shots made it a great complement to the Hasselblad H3D. I am not taking the H3D on this trip due to the hassles (no pun intended) of air travel with such big lenses, and the need to do more handheld shooting in Rome. I plan to stitch multiple frames with the D3x to see how they match up to a 40 meg H3D file, so I can create very large prints from the D3x if needed.

I am also trying out the new acratech GP ballhead, the tiny but mighty Gitzo traveller tripod, and the Epson P 6000 photo storage viewer which I will use to backup files from my Macbook Pro 15". The camera and lenses will be carried in the Lowe Pro flipside 400, which is a great pack for urban areas because the zip is in the back where the pack hits your back, making it impossible to unzip & steal stuff while it is on your back. It seems that everything will fit in there, it is a very compact little pack.

I will post updates and images when possible. We are going to Tuscany, the Dolomites, and Rome. Arrivederci!



Sunday, March 8, 2009

PMA 09 Report

I was recently able to spend a few days at the PMA trade show in vegas, and came across a few things if interest to fellow landscape photographers:

1. A new company called Clik Elite has introduced a new line of technical camera packs for active photographers.These packs use the same high tech components as the most modern mountaineering packs, making them lightweight and comfortable without the bulk of most camera packs. Their Pro Elite model has a huge capacity (2500 cu.in.) in a low profile pack that would be easy to fit in an overhead airplane bin. REI picked up their line of packs, I hope this startup company from Utah has great success by offering these more modern packs for active photographers.

2. A company called Trek Tech offers a carbon fiber monopod with small tripod legs on the bottom. This seems like a less obtrusive way to stabilize a camera when traveling, particularly in areas where a tripod is not allowed. I am thinking of trying one of these out on an upcoming trip to Italy. While it would not offer the same stability as a tripod, it would be better than handholding and could offer stability with a cable release in a non-windy environment. They fold up into small size to fit easily in luggage.The Trekpod XL carbon fiber would be the way to go, with a much lighter weight than the other models. They also double as a walking stick.

3. Acratech has a new GP Ballhead that weighs less than 1 pound, that can also be used as a gimbal head and as a leveling base for shooting panoramic shots. This seemed like a very sturdy ballhead and a great choice for situations where weight is an issue. We have an earlier model Acratech that we use when we are trying to go very light, I am thinking of upgrading to this model which seems sturdier and has the new features.

4. There was a profusion of digicams - I did not really spend much time evaluating those, with the advent of the smaller dslrs, such as the Sony Alpha 900 that provides 24mp resolution, I cannot see much need to add a digicam to my collection. The Sony Alpha 900 is a very exciting development, and is worth checking out for its compact size and high image quality. As a Nikon D3 user I am also looking forward to trying out the new 24mp D3x - it has the same build as the D3 but the higher resolution is a real plus for landscape photographers. There are situations where a D3 (or D3x) is more functional than using a 40 mp Hasselblad, such as very windy days, extreme weather conditions, and situations where a super wide angle is needed.

5. DIY  Photo Books are exploding onto the market - there was a great display of samples of all the photo books that you can order online. A very impressive sample book was put out by  Embassy Digital. I am thinking that they would be a good company to use to create a prototype of my upcoming book The Changing Range of Light.

6. I stopped by the Photomatix Booth and downloaded their HDR software yesterday. I have done a few new HDR images that I will be posting soon and discussing on this blog. The key with HDR is to not "overcook" images, even though it is tempting....

I will write some PMA updates on new fine art papers and other finds in upcoming posts.




Sunday, March 1, 2009

Off to PMA

If we do not get 5 feet of snow on monday night I will catch a flight to Vegas to spend a few days at PMA to see what new photo gear is out there. I will post any interesting finds here on my blog, with an emphasis on what tools are out there that are of interest to outdoor / landscape photographers and fine art printers. This show is a great place to check out the latest papers for fine art printing, and also to see if there are any advancements in the display of large format prints. We are considering laminating some of our very large mounted prints that are displayed without glass, but are waiting for the right material before offering this as an option. Lexjet seems to be ready to introduce a new archival laminate that may work, will check them out at PMA.



Saturday, February 14, 2009

Apple Aperture Article

Just a quick post to send a link to an article I have been working on with Apple for their Aperture in Action series. Hope it is useful to those of you considering using this great program that has become indispensable to me:

http://www.apple.com/aperture/action/carmel/

Ecaperture



Monday, January 19, 2009

Gallery to Share

Here is a gallery widget of winter images that you can copy & paste. I did this via Photoshelter. It is best viewed in full screen mode by clicking on the icon at the bottom of the gallery.



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