Sunday, August 29, 2010

Horses of course...

Leica M9 Summicron 50mm f2.8 1/60 ISO160

A very good friend of ours has been trying to get us to join her as she trains her horse "Joey"; however we've never had the time or we weren't in town. We finally joined her last night at the El Presidio Stables in Tucson as they had a open night allowing riders and their horses a chance to train. The arena is outside and under lights however last night was almost out of Edgar Allen Poe as we also had rain, thunder and lots of lightning. As we had never been to this type of event we had no real idea of what to expect and we certainly didn't expect the lightning, however we are at the tail end of our monsoon season. The ground quickly turned to mud and the horse and riders seemed to have had a lot of fun.

Canon 1DsIII EF28-135 (135mm) f/8 1/80 ISO 800

Just a blur
Canon 1DsIII EF28-135 (44mm) f/5.6 1/10 ISO 800

Canon 1DsIII EF28-135 (117mm) f/5.6 1/30 ISO 1600

Canon 1DsIII EF28-135 (117mm) f/5.6 1/30 ISO 1600

Leica M9 Summarit 90mm f/4.8 1/45 ISO 1600

Leica M9 Summarit 90mm f/4.0 1/60 ISO 1600

We learned a lot even though we weren't able to stay as long as we would have liked due to the very nasty weather that soon overtook Tucson. Next time we'll have the 70-200 for both better reach and a much faster lens for the Canon and we'll keep plugging away with the Leica so long as it isn't pouring down rain; and who knows, maybe we'll have that 135mm lens!

Thanks for visiting as always.

Sandy and Don

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Phase One P30+ and P45+ Medium Format Digital Backs

My first real experience capturing landscape images with digital medium format was with a Phase One P30+ digital back. The Phase One P30+ has a crop factor of 1.3 and a CCD size of 44.2x33.1 (mm) and pixel size of 6.8x6.8 (micron) with a resolution of 31.6 megapixels. I truly loved using this back and feel that I might still have it today if I hadn't changed my camera gear.

Speaking of camera gear; I used the Mamiya 645AFD when I first got the P30+ then later changed to the Phase 745AFDIII after it was first released. I made the change to shooting a technical camera shortly after Phase released their camera body ending up selling all my non-technical camera gear within 6-months.

I said earlier that I'd most likely still be using the P30+ and the sole reason I made the upgrade to the P45+ was the sad fact the P30+ was not capable of be used with a technical camera (where movements are very normal). The Phase One P45+ offers a lens crop of 1.1, a CCD size of 49.1x36.8 (mm) and pixel size of 6.8x6.8 (micron) with a resolution of 39 megapixels.

I've shared many images here taken with both the P30+ and P45+ however never at the same time thus the purpose of this edition.

There's no way that this can or should be considered a test or comparison between these two digital backs however the following images are samples of what you can expect to achieve.

South Rim Grand Canyon - Phase One P30+, Mamiya 645 AFDII, Mamiya 28mm lens (December 29, 2007).

South Rim Grand Canyon - Phase One P45+, Cambo WRS1000 and Schneider 72mm lens (December 15, 2009).

One of the last images I took using the Phase One AFDIII, Mamiya 28mm lens along with the Phase One P45+ (January 28, 2009).

While the P30+ along with either a Mamiya or Phase One camera body is capable of capturing stunning landscape images I nevertheless have no regrets whatsoever with my decision in moving to the Cambo WRS1000 technical camera and the P45+ as I feel I've able to get even better image captures.

Thank-you as always for visiting and once again your thoughts and comments are always welcome.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Leica M9 and Elmarit-M 24mm f/2.8 (the mistake lens)

There's a story behind the title and here's the short version (or as short as I can get it).

I took delivery of a trio of lenses the same time as the M9; a Summicron 35mm f/2, and 50mm f/2 as well as a Summarit 90mm f/2.5 and for awhile I was very happy with this spread of focal length. I think it was the Moab trip a couple months ago where I started wanting a longer reach thus ordered a 135mm (which to today is still on intergalactic backorder). Since that trip I've also gone into the White Mountains of eastern Arizona where I started feeling the need of something slightly wider than the 35mm. I ordered a Summicron 28mm f/2 to get the added width only to have delivered a Elmarit 24mm f/2.8 instead. And what do you know - I like the extra width! So after a couple telephone calls and emails I decided to keep my "mistake lens". In hindsight I feel I should have ordered the 24mm all along so this has worked out for the best.

One of the very first things I like to do with a new lens is set it on a tripod and shoot it against my other lens and this is exactly what I did here. The following images are the result of a test/comparison I did at a place overlooking Biosphere 2, located just north of Tucson at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains. (More information on Biosphere 2 is here.)

The intent of this exercise was for me to become familiar with the differences in the lens focal length.

This second set of images were shot the same day and tested my ability to properly focus at something other than infinity. The first image shows the full image while the second is a 100% crop.

I've had the lens now for about a week and yesterday (Saturday August 14th) decided to see what it could do in a more "real life" environment and took it to Florence AZ.

There's a lot of agriculture around Florence with different crops being grown; we're in the southwest where water is king.

(Just a side note here - all the images from in and around Florence AZ were all captured handheld.)

I've always preferred using a longer focal length for my landscape work often times stitching several images together to get a better "feel" and more detail. I can see using the 24mm with the M9 not so much in capturing vast landscape images but more width which is sometimes needed in such places as cliff dwellings.

I'm very pleased with the lens and look forward to using it at Jackson Hole WY in October.

Thanks for letting me share and your comments as always are welcome.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Capturing Landscape with the Leica M9 and Cambo WRS

Leica M9 Summicron 35mm

This posting is not meant to be a comparison between cameras and there isn't any "this one is better than that one"; simply put this is a review of a couple days of shooting in the Apache National Forest in eastern Arizona and a short trip into western New Mexico. So sit back and enjoy the ride.

Leica M9 Summicron 35mm

Sandy & I had taken off last month on a day trip traveling from the Tucson area to Alpine AZ where the elevation exceeds 8,000 feet and there was much cooler temperatures. In researching the area we found that the area gets a lot of snow each year; the average in Hannagan Meadow (approximately 24 miles south of Alpine) is 35 feet.

Leica M9 Summicron 35mm

A couple of events happened to make me want to return to the area; I got a great deal on a Cambo Viewfinder that I want to try out and we purchased and installed a great roof rack and basket on our 2009 Jeep. The rack and basket is from MBRP and during our conversations with them they requested a couple images of the finished install; so a trip was born. The rack was delivered Monday and Sandy & I spent a couple hours Tuesday morning installing it before the basket showed up in the afternoon; I considered the trip being "on" after the complete installation was done so I made a couple phone calls. I called the Tal-Wi-Wi Lodge in Alpine and found I could get a room there for 2 nights starting Wednesday so the trip was set. The plan was to leave Wednesday morning driving the 5 hours to Alpine and doing some landscape images along the way then drive into New Mexico taking a large loop before coming back to the lodge. The weather was outstanding, heavy clouds, thunder and rain. I've always said, the worse the weather the better the images.

Cambo WRS1000, Phase One P45+ and Schneider 35mm lens

I haven't been shooting the Cambo WRS/Phase One P45+ much lately as I've been using the Leica M9 however on this trip I was determined to put the Cambo/P45+ combo to work.

Cambo WRS1000, Phase One P45+ and Schneider 35mm lens

I shot 105 images with the M9 totaling 3.3GB and 131 images with the P45+ totaling 4.40GB. The images shown here were all processed using a combination of CS5, Viveza 2, and of course Capture One Pro.

Cambo WRS1000, Phase One P45+ and Schneider 35mm lens

The images from Arizona were taken for the most part along the 191 which runs North and South while the images in New Mexico were captured along the 12 and 60. There's some beautifully landscape opportunities in Western New Mexico.

Cambo WRS1000, Phase One P45+ and Schneider 35mm lens

Leica M9 Summicron 35mm

Thank you once again for visiting and please remember we welcome your comments.