Friday, July 13, 2012

"The Gathering" Jackson Elks Lodge 1713

"The Gathering"

We've been visiting the Jackson Hole WY area for several years and have the great pleasure of making a lot of friends.  We always stay at the Homewood Suites by Hilton in Jackson which is centrally located to everything and is within walking distance to great shops and restaurants.   However this isn't about the Homewood Suites. 

We met Kelly Champlain through Homewood Suites and quickly formed a friendship.  We found out Kelly is an excellent chef and helped host Friday dinners at the local Elks Lodge #1713 where he invited us even though we weren't members.  We stayed in Jackson for well over 8 weeks last year and ate at the Elks Lodge just about every Friday.  It's turn into a regular thing for us to dine at the Elks Lodge anytime we're in Jackson and Kelly is cooking.

Kelly's a friend and client having bought 2-pieces from us on our first visit.  A conversation between Kelly and us started us on a great adventure in trying to help the Elks in their charity drive.  Kelly asked us for an image of an Elk or a group of Elk which he would purchase then raffle.  We decided to do him one-better and donate the image as an artist proof and added 10 additional images (limited edition of 10) which we then sold to the Jackson Hole Elks at cost.

We asked Kelly to write down some of the things his lodge does throughout the year and this  what he gave us.

Chartable Projects include but not limited to:

Free Mother Day Brunch

Jackson Hole Food Bank

C-V Ranch Children's Christmas

Various scholarships

Veterans - this includes a free dinner to all veterans at Veterans Day


Drug Awareness Program

Kelly also added ENF - Elk National Foundation which is an aid for people with disabilities, cancer research, children hospitals, youth camps, families & children in need.

The raffle tickets for the artist proof is on sale through Jackson Hole Elks Lodge #1713 and Kelly should be contacted if you are interested in purchasing one of the ten images.  The raffle tickets are $5 each and is limited to 600 tickets.

The image, "The Gathering" was captured specifically for the Jackson WY Elks Lodge #1713 in the National Elk Refuge, Jackson WY February 2012.  The image is 40x20 printed on canvas using an Epson 9900 professional wide-format printer using Epson UltraChrome HDR ink.  The image is printed on Breathing Color Lyve 19 mil, 450 GSM, poly-cotton museum grade archival quality canvas and further protected with Glamour II coating.

We spoke with Kelly shortly before posting this and learned that the raffle drawing is scheduled in September 29, 2012.  Contact 307-733-1713 if you'd like to participate in a great event.

Sandy & Don

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Using the Phase One IQ160 on a Technical Camera


First - As many know I'm not a reviewer in any true sense of the word; I'm more of a sharer.  I like to share my experiments and testing; experiments to see how far I can stretch the rubber band before it snaps and testing to see how I can best use my equipment in actual use.  Actual use for me is standing on a cliff face of the Grand Canyon or in the desert of Death Valley or in the middle of the woods in Jackson Hole WY.  In other words using my gear to the best it'll perform without a safety net.   I've got a couple more weeks before heading back out and plan to spend them wisely testing not only the gear but refining my capture workflow.

"Water Trough"

18-months ago when I first saw the new IQ back I knew I wanted one.  I could see the possibilities of working with it on a technical camera.  I saw the improvements as being a perfect fit in not only addressing some long concerns I had but making the capture workflow easier and smoother.  All this after one afternoon of taking a few images and watching Guy Mancuso work it as well.  I remember using it on my Cambo WRS while Guy used it on his Phase One DF body and both us were very pleased.   I went home shortly after that determined that I would learn more about the IQ back and eventually have one. 

"Water Trough"

Stepping back a little here I'll explain a little history on my back.  There was a rash of upgrades to the IQ backs and I was able to get a great deal on a used P65+ from Dave Gallagher, Capture Integration.  As much as I liked the P65 the IQ was never far from my thoughts.  Guy upgraded to the IQ160 using it with his DF and shortly after buying a Cambo WRS traded the IQ160 for an IQ140.  To make a long story short - the IQ160 I currently own was Guy's.  Once again Dave Gallagher came through for me.

So was I correct in my assumptions the IQ would be a perfect fit on a technical camera, specifically my WRS?  The very short answer is yes.  The longer answer follows.

"Water Hole #2"

I've found the time it takes to wake the IQ160 is much faster.  By waking I mean from the moment I press the power button it's faster than my old P65+.  I've also found the act of formatting the same card I've used in the P65+ is faster.  I've also found the screen size is just as good as I thought it was 18-months ago; not to mention the vast improvement in the resolution.  I can't speak to capture rate as I've only really been using this on the WRS.  Once again, Dave Gallagher comes through with a test that can be found here.

"Water Hole #1"

So did the IQ160 make my capture workflow better?  Again yes.  I took the system out a couple days ago to shoot and get better acquainted.  It's one thing to shoot in your back yard and different when away; again it's all about that safety net.

"Water Hole #1"

I found setup was fast and easy.  Set the tripod up and placed the camera on my Arca Swiss Cube.  I decided to use my Kapture Group 2-shot cable release as it was hot out and I didn't want the back to get overheated and reduce the image files by adding undue noise due to heat (I would have done this no matter the back used).  Using my Leica D5 I measured the distance as I normally would however this time I tried to keep it well under 20 feet.  I also used my Schneider 35mm lens which goes from 20 feet to infinity in less than 3/16 of an inch. 

"The Old Man"

The capture workflow turned out to level the camera, focus the lens, set the f/stop (either f/11 or f/8) then set the shutter speed and cock the shutter.  After this was done I turned the back on if it was off.  Shoot a LCC then the file and as soon as the image appeared I'd see the focus mask telling me where it was in focus.  Since focus mask is only an approximation based on contrast of the subject I would then double tap the screen to go 100% and using my finger move the image around checking various areas.  It's much faster to do it than explain how to do it.

"Loading Pen"
This was my first time out without the safety net and found that all my assumptions were correct.  I still need to try the live view function and that will happen later.  Right now I can say, based on my (limited) experience with the IQ160 it is a match made in heaven, okay Denmark.

Stay turned as there's more to come.
Please remember your comments and suggestions are always welcome.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Upgrading to a Phase One IQ160

P65+ (left) IQ160 (right)

As near as I can remember, Phase One began shipping their new line of digital medium format backs May, 2011.  The IQ series is offered as the 180 (80 megapixels), 160 (60 megapixels, and the 140 (40 megapixels).  The 180 and 160 sensor size is 53.7x40.4 with a lens factor of 1.0 while the 140 has a slightly smaller sensor at 43.9x32.9mm and a lens factor of 1.3.  In other words no lens crop on the 2-larger while a slight to moderate (depending on your point of view) crop with the 140.

IQ Splash Screen
The IQ backs all sport a 3.2" touch screen with 1.15 megapixels 290 ppi(dpi) with 16 million colors and 170 degrees of viewing angle.  Simply put - the screen is huge. 

Main menu screen with custom background

The P65+ has the same lens factor and sensor size.  The Plus backs all share the same 2.2" QVGA TFT display with 230,000 pixels.  Compare the 2-screens and the IQ seems like the neighborhood sports bar screen hanging on the wall.

left side of the IQ
I had a chance to actually try an IQ180 last year in Phoenix and knew then that I wanted an IQ back. Some of the features I saw and instantly liked was the high resolution display with touch control.  The simple ability to check focus by double tapping the screen to bring the image to 100% and with finger control up to 400%.  Then there's focus mask which is similar to what can be found in Capture One software.  There's image alignment tools which show both roll and pitch.  And live view.  All this and more made me feel this would feel right at home on a technical camera.

right side of the IQ.  Notice the clean lines?

Fast forward 18-months.  During this time I upgraded my P45+ to a P65+ that had been traded in to on an IQ.  As good as the P45+ is I found the P65+ that much better; yet I still yearned for the IQ again feeling it a better fit for my photography.  In a chance telephone conversation with my good friend Dave Gallagher, Capture Integration, I made a passing remark about whether or not he has seen any good used IQ backs yet.  Actually he said he has.  While I'd like to get the IQ180 there seems to be some problems with it working/playing well with a technical camera; primarily in using wide-angle lenses.  I'm more than pleased with my current lenses and just don't feel like upgrading the back only to have to upgrade one of my lenses. Dave told me he had both a used IQ160 and 180.  The choice was easy.  I wanted the IQ160.

P65+ notice the ridges?

I've had some questions my decision with the IQ160 as it has the same resolution as the P65+.  Again the decision was easy based on the factors described above and with my feelings that the IQ back is a perfect partner to a technical camera.

right side of the P65+ with the outside battery

I've had the IQ160 for only a couple days and during that time I've had it mainly on the Cambo WRS and quickly found my assessment of its abilities were spot on.  I'm able to capture an image much the same as before however the fun begins when reviewing the image.  Tap the screen and I see the image.  Besides the image I see yet another small image which shows me the focus mask.  I can double tap the smaller screen to make it full size for better viewing or I can double tap the main screen and see it at 100% then using the slide on the left increase the image to 400%.  I can move the image around by placing my finger on the screen and moving it much like you would on a tablet computer.  All in all the process is much easier and faster than before while offering more and better tools to instantly review the file.

left side of the P65+ Notice the downward angle?

I found what I consider the ultimate landscape camera for me several years ago when I got the Cambo WRS.  That camera just got a heck of a lot better with the introduction of the Phase IQ back.  Don't worry, this back will also shine on the Phase One DF body.

another view of the 2-backs

Was it worth it?  The short answer is yes.

Once again I want to thank Capture Integration of Atlanta GA who I feel are not only partners but good friends.