Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Catching up and Macro Testing

Not a macro but close enough
Phase One DF 120mm f/8 1/250 ISO50

Sandy and I just completed a 2-week working vacation that took us to White Sands National Monument, into San Antonio where we visited the Alamo before working our way to Clearwater FL with a side trip to the Big Cypress National Preserve.  After leaving FL we spent a couple days in Atlanta and were fortunate enough to meet with Dave Gallagher of Capture Integration.  I have know Dave for many years and met him at various locations but never on his home court.  We had a lovely visit with him at his company headquarters and were finally able to put faces to all the names of people I've spoken with over the years.

 Close up of the sands at White Sands National Monument
Phase One DF Mamiya 120mm f/11 1/350 ISO50

We left Atlanta heading west and home passing through Lake Charles LA where we found Lake Martin.  While not as large as what we experienced in Big Cypress, the area around Lake Martin was enough for us to start planning a return visit for more in-depth shooting.  As we continued west we decided to stop by White Sands again and in the end we were very pleased.

Taken outdoors
Phase One DF Mamiya 120mm f/11 1/250 ISO50

I had been wanting a new lens for the Phase One DF body I got last year and had decided on the Mamiya 120mm-Macro lens.  Picking the lens up from Dave Gallagher in FL I tested it in the Big Cypress as well as in Atlanta and in Lake Martin and White Sands. 

Getting better at it
Phase One DF Mamiya 120mm f/11 1/60 ISO800

We've already shared a lot from this trip with blogs from White Sands NM, Galveston TX, Big Cypress FL as well as the arrival of the improved power solution for Mamiya/Phase One 645 camera bodies.  We'll be sharing more experiences testing the macro function of the 120mm lens as well as images from Lake Martin and back to White Sands.  The coming posts are not going to be in any set geographical location nor will they be in the order we visited; they'll be in the order we process the images.  So sit back and enjoy them.

Phase One DF Mamiya 120mm f/11 1/60 ISO800

As I shared already, I wanted to get back into macro photography and had decided the Mamiya 120mm Macro f/4 lens would be a nice addition.  The only problem was that there was now more than a couple of 120's to choose from; Mamiya or Phase One with Phase One now offering an additional choice between manual and auto focus.  Choices.  While my first thought was to get the auto focus I quickly realized auto focus in macro mode might not be the best option.  I remember a conversation I had with Ken Doo regarding his; while he doesn't use as much as he'd like, his very fast answer to the question of whether or not he'd sell his 120 was NO.

2-image stack
Phase One DF Mamiya 120mm f/11 1/60 ISO800

The last three images were shot in our hotel room in Atlanta using a plastic bottle to hold the "model", a bright flashlight to shine some light and a small travel tripod.  I was so anxious to try the macro capability in a controlled environment.  And it worked!

Phase One DF Mamiya 120mm f/4 1/60 ISO200

Knowing I haven't used the lens in the best of situations to do macro work what I've managed to get shows me the great potential of the lens.  I also used the lens as a more normal 120mm focal length for landscape and am just as pleased with the results.  This is the only duplicate focal length I have between my Phase One DF and Cambo WRS tech camera.

There's more to come including more of the camel so stay tuned. 

Once again, thank you for allowing us to share our experiences and please remember your thoughts, comments, suggestions or questions are always welcome.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

EJJI 10K Rechargeable Battery at Capture Integration

I'm going to steal Dave Gallagher's thunder a little here and talk a about the EJJI 10K battery. 

We're currently in Atlanta GA home to such greats as Coca-Cola, Georgia Aquarium, underground Atlanta, and of course Capture Integration (CI). The very first stop shortly after arriving in Atlanta yesterday afternoon was Capture Integration.

February 4th, Dave teased us all with images of a rechargeable battery pack for a Phase One body.  The battery pictured on CI's website is shown sitting alongside the normal AA battery holder.  I remember calling Dave and asking for more information and Dave telling me to "cool my heels" as they only had the one set and had just begun testing.  As with everything else CI does they wanted to be certain the battery  performed as advertized before offering them to their clients.

And test it they did.  They initially used a Phase One 645DF before switching to a Mamiya 645AFD.  They blew the shutter of the AFD after 10,000 frames and the battery was still working.  Not satisfied with the results they then tried to drain the battery by using a DF body set to never sleep and custom function set to Lithium Ion batteries.  They report the battery survived nearly 2-days.

So I called again and was told they ordered a batch of batteries and were waiting for them to clear customs.  And I kept calling (sorry Dave) and was told the same thing.  Waiting for customs clearance.  As reported earlier we met Dave in the Everglades this past weekend and again I asked about the batteries.  Dave told me Tuesday.  Of course he failed to mention which Tuesday.

It just so happens we arrived in Atlanta on a Tuesday.  UPS delivered the batteries. I say I was helping to open the boxes.  Dave might disagree with that but that's my story. 

You have options when ordering the battery.  You can order 1-battery and 1-charger or 2-batteries with a charger.  The 2-battries and charger come in a large outer box that contains 3-seperate boxes; 2-batteries and 1-charger.  The packaging is nice and protective. As nice as the packaging is I was more interested in what they contained.

I've had the batteries less than 24-hours and am very pleased.  The battery is a tight fit and looks great.  More importantly right out of the box the battery shows a full charge.  I used it for several frames later in the day and have had no problems.  The spare battery was placed in the charger and within 60-mintues showed a full charge.

I don't have any images yet to share however I'm very pleased.  This now allows me to carry a spare battery much the same as Sandy does with her 1DsIII and change much easier than before.  The box says the battery saved 9,000 AA batteries.  Is it worth the money?  Yes.

I'd suggest you contact CI for much more information on these batteries and how to order them.

Thanks Dave and CI Staff for allowing me to help open the boxes (like you had a choice).


Monday, March 19, 2012

Big Cypress National Preserve (Part II)

70mm f/11 1/400 ISO160

63mm f/6.3 1/250 ISO125

300mm f/8 1/250 ISO400

300mm f/8 1/250 ISO400

300mm f/8 1/250 ISO320

Camo Gator
300mm f/8 1/250 ISO320
300mm f/8 1/400 ISO400

Yesterday we shared what Don was able to do with his medium format 60 megapixel camera.  Today I'll share what I did with my 22 megapixel Canon 1DsIII using either the EF24-70 or 300mm lens.

300mm f/8 1/400 ISO400

300mm f/8 1/320 ISO400

300mm f/8 1/320 ISO400

300mm f/8 1/320 ISO400

300mm f/8 1/250 ISO200

300mm f/8 1/250 ISO200

300mm f/8 1/250 ISO200

With some Irish luck I got to spend St. Patty's Day with a very talented group of photographers in Big Cypress National Preserve; and got to meet and chat with Clyde Butcher at his Big Cypress Gallery.  Clyde and I spoke for about 15 minutes and shared stories/visits about Death Valley and Lone Pine.  He was also kind enough to sign 2012 and 2013 Clyde Butcher calendars containing amazing black and white photographs.  Clyde's positive outlook is that life will exist after December 21, 2012--I love his outlook!  He signed and dated my 2013 calendar March 12, 2012--let some historian figure that out in a 100 years!  Thank you Clyde--you and your work are awesome and I'll cherish the time we spent together.

The other swamp buggy
70mm f/11 1/200 ISO400

43mm f/11 1/200 ISO400

One of the "softer" roads
24mm f/11 1/200 ISO100
My Guide (and Hero) Victor
46mm f/11 1/200 ISO100

70mm f/11 1/200 ISO50

After the visit at Clyde's gallery it was off to Big Cypress National Preserve where I finally got to meet Dave Gallagher whom I have heard about from Don.  What a treat meeting Dave and a very nice group of photographers.  It was a enjoyable day and I got to see landscape totally different from the Southwest. 

52mm f/5.6 1/125 ISO200

32mm f/5.6 1/125 ISO200

60mm f/5.6 1/125 ISO200

60mm f/5.6 1/125 ISO200

After an in-brief from the outfitters, Lyn and Victor, off I went in a swamp buggy with fellow photographers, a guide and mechanic, and our outfitters (all men).  Two hours later we arrived at our first stop.  Before stepping out of the swamp buggy (in water proof boots) Victor reminded us to keep our eyes open to Cottonmouth Snakes but to have a "good time taking pictures", and I immediately heard a whimper from Dave who I thought was napping in the back seat.  

70mm f/5.6 1/100 ISO125 

35mm f/7.1 1/100 ISO125

52mm f/6.3 1/100 ISO125

54mm f/6.3 1/100 ISO125

Big Cypress National Preserve offers unique beauty and  is well worth visiting.  My thanks to Dave for the wonderful opportunity to explore Big Cypress.  Also my thanks to Victor for getting me out safely.

Chris Snipes doing 'gator portrait (careful Chris)
63mm f/2.8 1/100 ISO800

My ride - Mud Fish

Enjoy the images!

Your comments, thoughts and suggestions are always welcome.


(All images were processed using Capture One Pro)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Big Cypress National Preserve

80mm f/8 1/180 ISO50

150mm f/11 1/180 ISO50

150mm f/5.6 1/700 ISO50

As luck would have it, Sandy and I were in Clearwater Florida the same time our good friend Dave Gallagher was hosting a technical workshop at Capture Integration's Miami office.  Shortly after finding out we were close (what's 300 miles between friends) Dave invited us to join him Saturday to meet Clyde Butcher and later join him on a swamp buggy ride in the Big Cypress National Preserve.  Who could pass that up? 

150mm f/5.6 1/125 ISO100

150mm f/4 1/125 ISO100

150mm f/5.6 1/125 ISO100
Getting on the road at 5 a.m. Saturday we drove to Clyde Butcher's Gallery in the Big Cypress National Preserve.  Dave, you maybe my brother from another mother however the highlight of the day was meeting Clyde.  Sandy actually got to sit with him for several minutes and they had a very nice conversation. 

300mm f/8 1/180 ISO200

300mm f/8 1/250 ISO200

120mm f/11 1/250 ISO200
I went to Clyde's front yard and went to work capturing the shear beauty.  As we were traveling light on this trip I used a very lightweight tripod along with the Phase One DF body and P65+ back.  The lenses used during the shooting at Clyde's were a combination of the 80, 150 and 300mm lenses I used late last year in Jackson Hole.  What a total difference in subject matter!

120mm f/11 1/250 ISO200

120mm f/11 1/250 ISO200

120mm f/11 1/250 ISO200
Later on we boarded 2-swamp buggies for a 6-hour tour of part of the Preserve. 

120mm f/8 1/350 ISO200

120mm f/8 1/350 ISO200

120mm f/8 1/250 ISO50

Dave was nice enough to allow me to test the manual focus 120mm macro lens which I've had my eye on for sometime.  While I failed to bring along the tripod for the buggy ride I did get the chance to use the lens and surprise - like it.  A lot.  Actually it's still in my camera bag.  We'll be in Atlanta in a couple days and I'll be either forced to give it up or pay for it.  I have a feeling it'll be in Arizona at the end of the trip.

120mm f/8 1/180 ISO200

Chris Snipes working in the muck
80mm f/8 1/180 ISO200

80mm f/5.6 1/350 ISO200

We shot so much that we've decided to split this into 2-parts.  Part one will show examples of the P65+ with part two from the Canon 1DsIII.  All the images included here were processed using Capture One Pro.

I think Dave was checking his e-mail....
80mm f/8 1/180 ISO200

80mm f/8 1/350 ISO200

80mm f/8 1/350 ISO200
We drove back to Clearwater late last night arriving shortly after midnight; just finished loading the images on the computer and processing the first batch and writing this part.  The plan is to take it very easy today resting up for the drive Tuesday to Atlanta.

Color version of above

80mm f/8 1/250 ISO200

Color version of above

As always, thank you for visiting and allowing us to share our adventures.  A very special thank-you to Dave Gallagher of Capture Integration.


Part-Two coming shortly, so stay tuned.