Wednesday, April 28, 2010

On the road again Part II

I wrote yesterday that I was visiting Chiricahua National Monument and had gone on a short 3 hour walk. Today I tackled the longest hike since getting the M9. I started out at the Visitor Center taking the Lower Rhyolite Canyon Trail for 1.5 miles where it branched out to Sarah Deming Trail through Sarah Deming Canyon for another 1.5 miles. The elevation was all up hill with an elevation change of 580' on the first part that allowed me to make the trip in less than an hour then things got interesting. The Sarah Deming Trail is another 1.5 miles however the elevation change is 860'. The Sarah Deming Trail is all uphill and very rocky; it took me just a little over 90 minutes to negotiate this section. I stopped and had lunch at the trailhead for Heart of Rocks before going on. The Heart of Rock Trail is 1.1 mile roundtrip (it's actually a loop). I did the loop then began the hike back to the jeep. All told I hiked somewhere between 7 1/2 and 8 miles making it back to the jeep in 6 hours 13 minutes.

I feel I need to add a word or two of caution about the trails. They are very steep and sometimes almost nonexistent and you really need to keep a sharp eye out for the cairns. Make certain you have footwear suitable for dirt, and rocks ( I added this as I saw a person begin the trail in only sandals). Make certain you have plenty of water ( I had two quarts with me).

On to the business of the camera gear. I packed my Leica M9, 35, 50 and 90mm lenses along with a spare battery and a monopod. I ended up using the monopod more for hiking than for the camera so it was a good idea. I've said this before and will keep saying it - the light weight system of the M9 and lenses has allowed me to push into areas that I haven't been able to with my Cambo/P45. While I haven't weighed the bag I feel the M9 and lenses plus battery weight just about the same as the Cambo/P45+ and a lens. I need a heavy tripod to accurately capture with the medium format and I'd like to carry additional lenses such as I do with the Leica. Simply put, there's no way I would have even thought about taking this hike today if all I had was the medium format. Kudos to the Leica gear.

Now for the images...

"Pinnacle Balanced Rock"
Cron 35mm f/11 1/250 ISO 160
"Camels Head"
Cron 35mm f/9.5 1/350 ISO 160
"Old Maid"
Cron 35mm f/9.5 1/250 ISO 160
"Thor's Hammer"
Cron 50mm f/9.5 1/500 ISO 160
"Punch and Judy"
Cron 50mm f/5.7 1/750 ISO 160
"Duck on a Rock"
Cron 50mm f/2.8 1/2000 ISO 160
"Kissing Rocks"
Cron 50mm f/3.4 1/1500 ISO 160
"Big Balanced Rock"
Cron 50mm f/3.4 1/3000 ISO 160

Two samples of the trails

Going up to Heart of Rocks Loop
Cron 35mm f/13 1/125 ISO 160
Somewhere within the Heart of Rocks Loop
Cron 35mm f/11 1/80 ISO 160

Views of the Chiricahua National Monument

3 shot panorama
Cron 50mm f/6.7 1/1000 ISO 160
View just past Thor's Hammer
Cron 50mm f/6.7 1/500 ISO 160

Last but not least - I figured if we can name rocks why not a piece of wood? Does anyone else besides me see a horses head?

Cron 50mm f/3.4 1/750 ISO 160

Heading home in the morning where I'll be staying till mid May when Sandy & I revisit two of our favorite local places, Monument Valley and Moab.

Thanks for visiting and as always, your comments are welcome and appreciated.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On the road (again) with the Leica M9

Cron 35mm f/6.7 1/1500 ISO 160

Chiricahua National Monument is located approximately 2 1/2 hours East of Tucson; I know this as I drove here today. This is a more of a "do" than a "see" place in that while you can see some of the area fro the comforts of a vehicle, you really must get out and walk to see the beauty.

Driving to the end of the scenic road leads you to Massai Point and several trailheads. These trails all lead down into the either Echo Canyon, Toten Canyon, or Hunt Canyon; I decided to walk into Toten Canyon taking a combination of the Ed Riggs Trail as well as Mushroom Rock Trail that leads to Inspiration Point Trail.

I've never been here before however I've seen some good images coming out of the area and decided this was ready made for the M9. So armed with my M9, the trio of lenses, spare battery, sat phone, water and a monopod off I went on what turned out to be 3 1/2 hours. The walk into the canyons was typical in that it was all down hill till I decided to call it quits and turned around. I start out tomorrow with the Heart of Rocks loop in mind. Getting back to the jeep was a welcome event as I was soon running short of water (my mistake); it's now several hours since climbing out of the canyons and while my legs and knees ache (slightly) my shoulders feel fine which is what I expected from carrying such a light load.

Tomorrow will bring Heart of Rocks Loop where "Punch and Judy" and "Duck on a Rock" are found. Looking at the map I'll start off at 5400' (1646m) and climb up to around 6860' (2091m) which is different from today where I descended from 6870' (2094m) down to around 6400' (1951m) before turning around so it looks like the hard part will be going out while the easy part will be heading back to the jeep. Looks like a 8 mile round trip day tomorrow.

Cron 50mm f/11 1/750 ISO 160
Summarit 90 f/9.5 1/180 ISO 160

This entire area is much like visiting a cliff dwelling in that you can't help but feel the presence of those who were here first.

Taken on the way out overlooking ranch land
Cron 35mm f/6.7 1/1000 ISO 160

All images were opened and processed using Adobe CS4.

More tomorrow


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A study of clouds

This post will be somewhat different in that while there's no images we have included movie clips.

We've been practicing taking time-lapse images and transferring them into a video now for a couple weeks now and I feel I'm getting the hang of things. Don started out using the Canon 1DsII IR converted camera and this morning I used Sandy's 1DsIII.

The setup is rather simple in that you need to set the camera on a sturdy tripod set the camera to manual (manual focus, f/stop and shutter speed) and use some method of triggering the shutter. Don uses a Canon TC80N3 Remote Timer Release that enables me to set the shutter to fire every 10 seconds for a maximum of 99 images before setting it again; he's been shooting at 10 second intervals till this morning; he attempted to shoot every 5 seconds however the remote reset back to 10 so he'll need to look into this a little further.

We've included two time-lapse videos of clouds from out back yard. The first was shoot using the Canon 1DsII IR (665nm filter)and is a combination of two separate sessions which were shot last night then processed into a black & white format. The second clip is the end result of one-hours' work this morning with the 1DsIII where the camera was focused at three different areas.

The processing is straight forward of the time-lapse; capture the images, open them in Capture One Pro to process then save to a Jpeg format opening Quick Time Pro to make into a finished movie. We've either left the processing there or in some cases where we've wanted to add a title or combine clips I've used Adobe Premiere Elements 7.0.

The third clip is from what we call our Jeep Cam. We have a small video camera that shooting through our windshield as we travel the back roads and this clip shows the areas we traveled in the past couple of days in search of the wildflowers we've shared.

We hope you enjoyed our first attempts at time-lapse as well as the Jeep Cam.

We might share more time-lapse and write more about the process if there's any interest - so let us know.

Sandy & Don

There's a great tutorial on time-lapse photography here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Desert Spring Part II with a Canon 1DsIII & Leica M9

Earlier we wrote about the Spring wildflowers taken with the Leica M9, this edition will include images taken with Sandy's Canon 1DsIII as well as more from the M9.

I had thought I'd given up shooting landscape with a 35mm when I made the move to medium format. I feel the "go to" camera setup is still the Cambo WRS1000 and Phase One P45+ however I have seen from thoroughly testing and using the Leica M9 that it is a great camera and one that I look forward to using both as a stand alone as well as a companion camera to the P45+. We're returning to Monument Valley and Moab next month and I plan on using both camera while there. Each camera (at least to me) has it's own niche; the Leica M9 is lightweight capable of producing stunning images however at a lower print size than I normally like. The Cambo WRS1000/P45+ is heavier than the M9 thus I won't be able to take it for the long hikes that I've been able to with the M9. The plus side to the P45+ is the ability to produce stunning image printable to a huge size. Both camera are capable of producing stunning images so it will be the distance I need to hike which will be the deciding factor on which gets used on a particular location. I can see hiking into the Grand Canyon with the M9 and the trio of lens while I can't say the same for the Cambo WRS/P45+.

There are a lot of images to share from the 2-days of shooting wildflowers in our area and we'll separate them into the 2-cameras used.


Leica M9:

We'll be posting a few "behind the scenes" images of what we've encountered while shooting the most recent wildflower images; we'll also have a video or two from our "Jeep-Cam" so stay tuned.

Once again we'd like to thank you all for visiting. Please remember that we welcome all comments.

Sandy & Don

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Desert Spring with the Leica M9

Sandy and I went out this morning to check on the spring wildflowers and came away with a few good images. The colors are just beginning to really pop and should be in full bloom shortly. This will be a two-part post with this one showcasing the images from the M9 while the second while primarily the Canon 1DsIII will also include some M9.

I ended up using all three lens for this shoot and am still very pleased with all of them. I will confess that I had been thinking of getting a 28mm however I don't feel I'd use it enough to justify the cost so I'm very pleased to stick with my current trio of lens. I'm equally pleased with the lack of post processing needed to achieve great colors; the most I need to do is clean up the constant dust spots off the sensor; a major cleaning will be done soon. I've also been experimenting with using a B&W Redhancer 2x enhancing filter of the lens and feel that I like the enhanced color it gives me. Writing this last sentence has given me an idea of posting a test showing an image taken without the filter as well as one taken with the filter; who knows, I just might do that.

Enjoy the samples here and stay tuned for more.

Thanks for visiting