Saturday, December 27, 2008

Catching Up

Technical Warning:


While we've included pretty pictures Don has also included some technical aspects.

Don's been shooting with the new Cambo RS1000 which is a technical camera with all movements (rise/fall and shift left/right) on the back allowing the lens to remain in place. He's also been experimenting with the auto-blending focus ability of Photoshop CS4; simply put the taking of several images of the same subject all the while using a different focus point for each then combining them all into layers. The final image (if done correctly) is an image that will be in focus from your toes to the horizon.

The first image is an example of the above. This was taken during our recent trip to the South Rim. This is three images layered one on top of another all having been shot at a slightly different focus point.

This image was taken yesterday during the snow storm (more on that a little later) that hit the Tucson area on Friday December 26th. This image was taken with a Phase One 645 AFDIII and Mamiya 75-150 lens. There are two separate images, one focusing on the plant and snow while the second focused on the mountains. The first image is the result while the next two give you the images as they where taken.


It used to (as we've been told) snow here once every 4-5 years. We had a couple inches fall during January 2001 while our house was being built but nothing more that we can remember till January this year when we got hit with several inches. Thinking that was it for a couple more years we woke early Friday December 26th to find it snowing again. It snowed for a couple hours then stopped and now 24hrs later it's melted, for the most part. We sit at around 3,300 feet and while we regularly have snow here it normally stays above the 4,500 foot level; it's normal to hear a 40 degree different between downtown Tucson and Mt Lemmon.

Here's a couple pictures of what the snow looked like in the Catalina/Oracle area which is around 10 to 20 miles away from Tucson (as the crow flies)

We hope you noticed the image on the top of this page. That image was taken by Sandy on Christmas Eve with her Canon 1DsIII using a 70-200 lens. Sandy took this from our backyard from which we can see Mt Lemmon.
We hope everyone has had a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

Sandy & Don
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Monday, December 22, 2008

Home from the South Rim

We made it home from the South Rim safe and sound. Living in the southwest we tend at times to forget that the northern portion of our State gets hit with winter conditions. It was almost a cultural shock coming from close to 2 feet of snow back to the desert; while we can see Mt. Lemmon from our backyard and can see snow up there in the winter, it nevertheless is totally different actually sloshing thru it!

This is what our evening skies were looking like just prior to our trip:

These were taken the last day at the South Rim.

This is what the road conditions were like around Flagstaff

We hope everyone has a safe holiday season

Sandy & Don

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Winter at the South Rim



We arrived at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon on Sunday and were met with clear skies with a threat of snow later in the week. The original plan was to stay at the South Rim for three nights, leaving Wednesday (December 17th) and head to Furnace Creek, Death Valley. That was the plan until we got over 12” of snow Tuesday making the Canyon just beautiful. December is just a great time to visit the South Rim as there are very few tourists and the scenery is spectacular; totally different lighting conditions from the rest of the year. The new plan is to stay an additional day before we need to figure what to do next. Enjoy the images.





Merry Christmas from our family to yours

Sandy & Don
video
video

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A new Blog to visit!

A very close friend of ours has joined the blogging world. Please visit Ken at his site and see some beautiful images.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Introducing Rose Collins

We've had the pleasure of not only meeting Rose but we are doing some of her copy work as well. Rose paints Southwest images in canvas using acrylics in sizes starting from 24x36.

We're helping to copy her original work which will be printed on Epson PremierArt Glossy canvas and offered for sale.

Here's a couple samples of her sensational work.

Visit Rose at her website for more images and contact information.

We want to thank Rose for trusting her work to us and becoming our newest friend.

Sandy & Don

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Adobe Photoshop CS4 - First Thoughts

Just got around to loading the new CS4 onto my studio machine. This computer looks like a mini-refrigerator and my neighbors kid me (I think) that their lights dim when I turn it on. I've got a Dell Precision 690 running quad core 3.00GHz and for now 8 GB RAM, I also have dual NVIDA Quadro NVS 285 display cards that have two Dell 24' monitors as well as a Wacom 1200 attached; I won't even go into the storage space. I configured this computer about 2 years ago and was running it on Win XP Pro 64 before making the move to Vista Ultimate 64 late last year.

As a side not I had what turned out to be a minor problem but I went to our local computer geek store while as I was explaining the system their eyes rolled into the back of their heads - they did admit it was beyond their level until one person stepped out from the back. I figure they kept him chained in the back as he really didn't have very good interpersonal skills but he knew computers and that's all I wanted.

Running a system like mine is no piece of cake as I found out. Yes it's fast and yes it delivers what I ask of it so long as I feed it the proper software.

What's the point of all this? Simple, as I said before I just completed the install of Photoshop CS4 64bit. I've had it up and running now for less than 30 minutes but I can tell you this sucker is sweet! It recognizes the RAM I have available which is well past the 4GB range. I've gone to the preferences and set what looks like will be good for me and opened a normal size file. This is a 60x30 inch panorama at 300 ppi which is 1.02GB in size. The file opened in way less time than it's ever done before - very fast indeed.

Finally a 64bit image processing software! What a great tool to accompany Capture One 4.5 Pro in 64 bit. Looks like people have listened to those of us who operate 64bit.

I'm very impressed and happy!

Thanks for letting me share the news.

don

Sunday, October 19, 2008

More Testing/Good News

Thought I'd share my recent experiences working with Capture One 4.5 Pro that after many many years was finally released earlier this week. Here's a techie warning - this entry will/might bore a lot of you...

Our main studio computer is a 64 bit machine running 8GB of RAM (we'll be upgrading the RAM shortly to 16). Why so much memory? Short answer is that our digital files have been huge with many of our panoramas running in excess of one (1) GB. I can see the file sizes growing once we start shooting with the new Cambo RS1000 and Phase One P45+ digital back which produces 39 megapixels with an average RAW size of 45MB (compare that to Sandy's Canon 1Ds III 21.1 megapixels with an average file size of 30MB). So, that's the reason for all the horsepower.

I started running the machine on Windows XP Pro 64bit and moved over to Vista Ultimate 64 bit about 10 months ago.

While I love shooting digital medium format, first with the P30+ and now soon with the P45+ I nevertheless was less than thrilled with the software (C1 3.x) as it did not support 64 bit computers. I have been using Adobe Photoshop for many years in fact am eagerly awaiting my copy of CS4 (which now is 64 bit compatible). The folks at Phase and Capture One also got it right. The new version (4.5) is 64 bit compatible; I know this as a fact as I just finished downloading it on our studio computer. C1 Pro has advanced so much that I now see using it as a daily part of my workflow prior to opening the image in Photoshop. I now have the proper tools that Phase/Capture One includes that works specifically on their digital backs. I can do lens correction for specific lens and specific digital back, LLC, CA, as well as color cast. I know all that as I just opened the program and worked on an image that was taken during my testing period of the Cambo RS. I'm very pleased indeed.

The following image won't win any awards - I'm not trying to anyway. This image represents the first image that was opened in C1 4.5, processed, then sent to CS3 for finial processing. All on a 64bit machine. This may not mean much to some, however anyone who has been working on a similar machine knows that this is a near historical event.

At the risk of repeating myself, I'm very pleased.


Thank you for allowing me to share this....

don

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Return to Burwash Landing, Yukon Territory

No, we aren't there and haven't actually gone back yet...

We had stopped at Burwash Landing Resort on our way to Alaska earlier this year staying at the RV park located right on Kluane Lake and about 10 miles away from Destruction Bay. We have very fond memories of our stay here; as a matter of fact we stopped for lunch and stayed for breakfast!

Don was busy in the camper while Sandy took a short walk out to the area around the nearby shoreline where she spotted an old abandoned rowboat. The first image that follows is the one that Sandy took with a Canon G-9 while the second is the one that Don worked up in Photoshop giving the image a watercolor look.

We look forward to revisiting Burwash Landing and the friendly people there on our way to Alaska in 2010.

Enjoy!


Sandy & Don

Your comments are always welcome!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

North Rim Grand Canyon

Sandy & I spent the past couple days at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon testing/evaluating a Cambo RS 1000 along with a P45+. The time spent was for me to see if I liked the system, could adapt to a new workflow, and more importantly capture images that would be of higher resolution and just all around better than what I've been using before (Phase 645, P30+ mainly with a Mamiya 28mm lens). Went to the North Rim in hopes of catching decent fall colors; spending the time in learning the technical aspects of shooting with a technical camera. We found that we were about a week to ten days early for the burst of colors and the sky was just plain crappy with no clouds in sight; here are samples from the past 3 days.


These samples just don't do justice to the images taken then again it's hard to really tell the quality of any image in a small JPEG.

My conclusion is that this system is very good to great; in fact I'm waiting to hear back from Chris at Capture Integration has to an order status.

Once again I want to thank Dave and Chris at Capture Integration for allowing me the opportunity to have the equipment for the test.

Don

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Happy October

Its early evening of October 2nd and I felt a sudden need to put thoughts/feelings into words and on our blog. Tomorrow, Friday October 3rd will be my 5th year anniversary of my retirement from the federal government boy times flies by especially when you’re having fun. An awful lot of water has gone under the bridge in the past 5 years; if it weren’t for the sudden passing of a closest friend I’d say the past 5 years have been really really great; instead I’ll just say they’ve been really great. A lot has been accomplished during this period beginning with the startup of Iron Creek Photography which has turned into a full time career; I now couldn’t even begin to think of anything I’d rather be doing.

Sandy retired November 2004 just 13 months after I did and since that time we’ve been going to some beautiful places to practice our new found trade/love. We’ve visited (sometime many times) places like Moab UT, Monument Valley, Yellowstone, Big Sur just to mention a few places; and we can’t forget the almost 60 day trip to Alaska (which we plan to return to in 2010).

So what are we doing now? Well for one thing I’m waiting till tomorrow and FedEx to arrive; our great friends at Capture Integration have loaned me a technical camera to try my landscape images with. We’re talking about the new Cambo RS1000 along with a couple lenses and a Phase One P45+ digital back. I’ve always shot DSLR’s and going to a Cambo has me slightly worried and greatly excited at the same time. I equate shooting the Cambo much the same as “old time” meaning that you can’t really see where you’re aiming at (unless you have the extra accessories which I won’t), there’s no auto focusing, and all the controls are on the lens to include the shutter control, sound neat…

What better place to try this new (for me) landscape system out that the North Rim of the Grand Canyon; we head up there next week for several days. With any luck we’ll be able to see nice Fall colors but even if we don’t we’ll still have the canyon; so wish us luck.

Just a heads up for our upcoming travels; we’ll be returning to the South Rim and Furnace Creek in Death Valley in December, then I’m off by myself in January to Northern California to the Redwoods and some coastal photography as well. I should have my own Cambo for the January trip if I find that the Cambo camera system works well with my workflow or in other words I find that I can understand all the stuff I need to know to make it work for me …..

We’ve just about finished putting our Alaska images on the website; we’ve got some great wildlife images as well as some nice landscapes.

It’s been great sharing

don

If you like to leave a comment just click on the word “comments” below and follow the instructions.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sometimes you just have to step outside the box

Every once in a while you need to shake things up a bit; step outside the box so to speak. Anyone who knows me knows that I shoot landscape and very rarely anything else; and all my landscape is done using medium format digital. Yes, I will occasionally shoot wildlife but that's shot using an older digital 35mm. And even rarer still is the occasional person; so rare is the person or family shot that I call then human or family landscapes.

What am I leading up to? How about restoring (or attempting to) a 95 year old image that has seen better days. I was asked a couple days ago if I could "do anything" with a wedding photography of a friends grandparents that was taken around 1910. The image was torn, faded, missing pieces, dirt, dusty, and scratched. I said sure I'll give it a try....


Warning: Technical Information:

The image was too large for my Epson scanner to I decided to set it up in the studio and copy it using my Phase 645 medium format camera and digital P30+ back and a 75-150 lens. What you see was taken at 1/7 at f/4.5 at a focal length of 90mm. The image was processed using Adobe Photoshop CS3; the finished image was printed on Hahnemuhle Fineart Baryta paper on an Epson 9800.

Bottom line? I liked the finished result and Jim the grandson loved it.

Don

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Billy"

We haven't been posting as much as we had in the past simply because we've been a little busy (still) working the Alaska images as well as getting ready for a trip to the North Rim of Grand Canyon next month where we hope to catch great fall colors.

Billy is a buffalo that we found while in we in Yellowstone National Park in March 2006. We just revisited the images of that day and decided to do a little reworking on Billy (don't ask where the name comes from as neither of us could tell you). Billy has been added to our wildlife gallery where it's for sale. The image size is 11x14 and will be shipped matted.

Just a note regarding next month's trip to the North Rim. Don's camera dealer, Capture Integration of Atlanta GA has offered a totally different camera system for testing; while this kit is still a medium format the lens quality and Phase One digital back is promised to have much better resolution that what he'd currently using which is stunning so stay tuned for developments.

Hope you enjoy Billy and don't forget to visit our website and galleries.


Sandy & Don

Friday, August 29, 2008

Happy 18th Wedding Anniversary!

Sandy & I went to good friends of ours to celebrate Claire and Steve’s 18th wedding anniversary last night. Anyone familiar with the Southwestern United States will know we are in the mist of our monsoon season; bringing with it much needed rain and lightning.

We’d like to send a very special thank you to Paula & Deb for opening their home last night both for the celebration and allowing me to do my lightning photography.

Sandy & Don

Monday, August 18, 2008

August Update

Yes we know it's been awhile since the last update. We've been working on the wildlife and landscapes we took on our Alaska trip; with close to 6000 images the going has been very slow. In the mist of all this we decided that we needed to make our main website as user friendly as possible and to that end we've added descriptions on all the images we have on sale that now include name of image, available sizes and pricing.

The wildlife gallery is very close to being 100% complete with 15 images of bears, eagles, buffalo and a really goofy antelope. These images are available in various sizes and in most cases including matting.

We had originally thought we'd have a separate Alaska landscape gallery however that currently doesn't make sense so any landscape images from the trip are included in our "Landscape & Nature" gallery.

Come visit our website and if you feel like it leave a comment here afterwards.

Thanks for visiting

Sandy & Don

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Yet Another Gallery Update

We've added a new wildlife gallery to our main website. Click on the wildlife gallery to see 14 images ranging from bears to a goofy image of a young antelope. Sizes range from 8x10 to the largest of 10x30. All images will be printed on fine art paper and in most cases come matted. Prices are from $65.00 to $150.

We've also fixed the panorama gallery. We never liked the way the panoramas (some as large as 30x60) were displayed. You now have information concerning the name, size and printing options as well as prices.

The plan is to fix the remaining galleries to add the same information found in the panorama and wildlife galleries.

Please feel free to contact us regarding purchasing information. The prices do not include shipping and handling. We can also provide custom sizes on a limited quantity of images.

Thank you for visiting


Sandy & Don

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Gallery Update

We've been working everyday (well almost) sorting images and doing test printing of the images that we feel deserving to not only share buy worthy enough to sell. We will very shortly add two new galleries to our website named "Alaska - Landscape" and "Alaska - Wildlife". While the landscape speaks for itself the wildlife will hold images of eagles, bears, big horn sheep and of course moose; it might have others as we continue to go through the images.

No prices have been set as yet for the landscape however the wildlife will be offered in limited quantities of 25 each ranging from 8x10 to 11x14. This images will be printed on only the highest quality paper shipped matted but unframed. The price (excluding shipping) is $65.00 for 8x10 and $125 for 11x14.

You'll notice there is no shopping cart on our website - we did that for a reason. We felt that if we were going to purchase a print we'd like to at lease get to know the artist, either through email or telephone. So with that in mind you the customer have choices. Call us and talk with either Sandy or Don and let us know what you're interested in or email us. We take payment by Paypal (we'll send you an invoice via email) or by check or money order (they must clear first). All orders are shipped insured and in most cases using UPS or FedEx with tracking number.

We hope to have the images up on the individual galleries soon so check the website.

Sandy & Don

Monday, July 21, 2008

Recommendations

People ask us all the time which stores we shop at and which would we recommend. That list is very short.

If you're in the market for the finest medium format great and unsurpassed service the only place to go is Capture Integration. These folks are just world class. They can also offer a heck of a deal on Canon cameras as well; Sandy got her 1Ds III that she used in Alaska from Capture Integration.

The other place we do extensive purchasing from is B&H Photovideo in New York City. These folks have been around a long time and offer fair prices and great shipping. Scroll to the bottom of this page and click on the only advertising you'll ever see on this site.

These are just two of the recommendation we offer contact us if you have additional questions regarding photographic equipment.

Thanks for your continued interest


Sandy & Don

Friday, July 18, 2008

Return to Hallo Bay

We've enjoyed the experience so much that I just confirmed a return visit - this time for 3 days to Hallo Bay. Anyone who is thinking of visiting Alaska should include the Homer area and if you are in the area you really owe it to yourself to experience a true once in a lifetime experience by visiting Hallo Bay. Safe, secure and caring folks.

don

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Flight

We've been home for almost a full week now and still just scratching the surface of the images we took on the Alaska trip, however every once in a while we see a series of images that just have to be put together like the bears and today's eagles. The final printed version (if there is one) should be 8x24. Please not that this is just a working copy of the print but one that I wanted to share.

don

Comments are always welcome .....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Juliano de Carvalho

Thank you for your kind words and we're glad we were able to help you find the beauty of the Sequoias (are the fires effecting the area). Our best estimate is that you should expect at least a 6 hour drive from Three Rivers to Las Vegas. You'll "pass" Death Valley on the south however you'll have to add several hours to the drive if you wish to visit. CAUTION - Death Valley isn't a place I'd visit in the summer (at least for the first time). Think of how it got its name!

Sorry for the public reply however you didn't leave an email address for us.

Enjoy your visit

Sandy & Don

ALL: If you post a comment asking a question we'll attempt to answer it however if you don't leave an email it'll have to be answered in a public forum for all to see......

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Playing Bears

Just started going through the 6,000 images that we took while on the trip. While reviewing the images taken at Katmai National Park I found these four that were taken and decided to attempt a little different type of panorama. This will print at 10x30 inches.



Don

If you'd like to leave a comment click on the word "Comments"

Notes, thoughts & general musing:

Once we have a couple of real keepers, those will be placed in a separate gallery on our website so stay tuned.

We still might offer a DVD slideshow however it's still too soon to say for certain.


Best Regards,

Sandy & Don

Friday, July 11, 2008

Home

It’s Friday July 11th and we are home after 57 days on the road and 10,231 miles. We took well over 120 GB of images so it will be awhile before we get them all cataloged. In short the trip was a huge success that has given us many memories; among them, the bears at Katmai National Park, eagles in Anchor Point, moose galore, and being able to visit the Artic Circle. We are also left with a couple funny memories such as the woman sunbathing topless on the roof of her house and the young lady wearing a leather bikini, hiking boots and a back pack – both of which we saw while driving the Alaskan Highway in the Yukon. We’re left with impressions; the kind warm hearted people of Alaska, and Canada and the polite drivers in both places as well.

Not to mention the utter breath-taking scenic beauty of the area. We think that we have a huge task in front of us in depicting the beauty of what we saw and felt in our images. It will take some time to pick the very best of the images taken to offer in our gallery so have patience as we only want to offer the very best.

A suggestion we can give for anyone thinking of taking such a trip is do it. Take your time and experience what you see. Just because the speed limit says you can go fast doesn’t mean you need to, the joy of driving the Alaskan Highway ranks right up on the very top of the great things we’ve experienced in our life; actually driving for hours at a time without seeing another vehicle or person while experiencing breath taking scenery and wildlife is something hard to explain.

The blog doesn’t end here, we’ll be sharing a few more images and videos from this trip and we have a few other trips in the works such as visiting the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in the fall, the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and Death Valley in the winter to name two so stay tuned for updates.

Bye for now

Sandy & Don

If you’d like to leave a comment click on the word “Comments

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Alaska – Day 56 – Page Arizona & Other Stuff

As reported earlier we stayed the night in Page AZ at the Courtyard Marriot. We woke this morning with a mission (actually two); photographHorseshoe Bend of the Colorado River in Page, and drive to Distant Drums RV to spend the night. We accomplished both!

Don has been going to Page to photograph slot canyons and Horseshoe Bend for a number of years. Slot canyons have turned out okay but the goose neck for what ever the reason still give problems; one of the reasons is lens. Don has photographed Horseshoe Bend many times with 35mm cameras and with lens from a fish eye one up. Don and a good friend Ken Doo went to Page early in 2007 to photograph the area; this time in medium format. They went to Horseshoe Bend and both decided that Mamiya’s new wide-angle 28mm lens (17mm equivalent 35mm focal length) would be perfect; however neither had one. Don got the 28mm November 2007 just before he went to shoot the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in December. To make a long story short since he has the lens (and Ken still doesn’t) he had to see if what they predicted was true.

Mamiya 645/P30+ w/28mm lens

Canon G-9

Next stop (tomorrow) is home ….

Sandy & Don

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Alaska – Day 55 – Utah “Bryce Canyon”

Just as we were leaving the campground in Montana we found the name – “Stoddard”. Here’s what it looked like at sunset …

Woke the following morning (Day 54 Monday July 7th) continuing south into Utah. We made it south of Salt Lake City and into the southern portion when we decided to stop for the night in the Fish Lake National Forest, Castle Rock State Park – but first we had to stop for a typical sunset in this area…..



The next morning, (Day 55 Tuesday July 8th) while heading south we decided to revisit Bryce Canyon National Park, a park we hadn’t been to in close to 4 years. After spending several hours at Bryce we continued south finally crossing back into Arizona and spent the night in Page. Big surprise here – we actually spent the night in a hotel! We decided that after spending 55 days on the road we deserved a break so we checked into the Courtyard Marriot (a hotel Don has stayed at before on a photo shoot in the area).

Sandy found this neat old farm house as we were heading towards Bryce ...


We’re still close to 1,000 miles from home and have driven 9,950 miles since leaving 55 days ago. The plan is to be home within the next couple days however there are still plenty of spots to pull over and visit.

Here's Sandy taking the photo of the old house....


Sandy & Don



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Caty, La ringrazio per voi gentili parole (hope that was correct)