Friday, December 16, 2016

Visiting Moab Utah

Walking into Devil's Garden
Sony A7rII FE16-35 (35mm) f/9 1/250 ISO 50

We live in the Tucson Arizona area and commute to work with our latest commute being to the beautiful area of Moab Utah.  The images presented here were captured using a combination of Sandys Sony A7rII and Dons Phase One XF body and IQ1-100 digital back.
The Sony A7rII for those who might not know is a 42.4 megapixel full frame 35mm camera body that accepts various lenses all in a small package.  The Phase One system comprises of a separate body and digital back that also accepts removaleable lenses. The major drawback of the Phase One XF when compared to the Sony is the size and weight while the major advantages are the much larger sensor (35x24 versus 53.7x40.4) as well as the ability to remove the digital back from the XF and replace it with another; which is exactly what Don did just recently when he upgraded from an 80-megapixell CCD sensor IQ180 to the 100-megapixel CMOS sensor IQ1-100.  Sandy and Don are now both using cameras with Sony CMOS sensors,  The major advantage to the CMOS senor in medium format is higher ISO (50-12800) and a much better live view both functions the A7rII has had from the outset (ISO 100-25600).
Green River Overlook
Sony A7rII FE 24-70 (70mm)
Anyone who has followed us knows we believe in showing photography as art more than duplication.  Anyone can snap an image and leave it at that; what we do is try to convey emotion.  We are more interested in sharing the feelings of the location; to that end we “listen” to the image as after we open it for initial processing.  We use multiple tools at our disposal to include filters on the camera lens, processing software that includes Capture One Pro, Photoshop, Nik Software and Topaz Labs.  While our “darkroom” is now 100% digital we now have the tools that make it easier to do what used to be extremely difficult to perform in a wet-darkroom (and in some cases impossible).
An example of turning a simple photographic image into something slightly more.  Processing was done using a combination of Capture One Pro and Nik Software.
Sony A7rII FE16-35 (35mm) f/5 1/100 ISO 50

Sandy standing at the edge near Canyonlands National Park
Phase One XF Schneider LS40-80 (80mm) IQ1-100
Turning photographs into art.  The top image is the original as shot which at the time looked good however once looking at the image on a larger screen we agreed it looks bland but worthy of at least seeing if it could be saved.  The bottom image reflects after processing in Capture One Pro and Topaz Labs.
Phase One XF, Schneider LS 35mm IQ1-100
f/11 1/200 ISO 200

And a slightly larger view of why we like this one. 
There’s always the threat when capturing landscape images that the weather won’t cooperate.  Too much light, not enough light or you missed the light while setting up. Add to that too hot, too cold, blowing snow and just freezing weather can turn a normally beautiful spot into something else.  You need to think outside the box.  This is another example of that thinking.  The color image was “nice” but not “great” so we ended up making this into a stylized image of the Green River Overlook. The color image that’s directly below was taken with 90-seconds and looks great in color.  Both were captured using a Phase One XF, Schneider LS 35mm and an IQ1-100 f/8 1/320 ISO 200. Go figure…

There are times you might want to add drama to an image.  The following images are an examples.  The pothole was captured because we could see a slight reflection of the sky in the water as well as the heavy overcast sky with the sun trying to peek through.  The finished image is more of what we “felt” than what we “saw”.
Likewise the image of Park Avenue in Arches National Park is the finished image after cropping from the bottom and adding a little drama to the sky. Both images were processed in Capture One Pro before Topaz Labs.
Phase One XF Schneider LS 40-80 (40mm) f/8 1/2500 ISO 400 Handheld
Phase One XF Schneider LS 35mm f/8 1/5 ISO 50
You need to watch out for the unexpected.  We found this tight space near Sand Dune Arch.  While it didn’t look all that photogenic it did have a certain appeal to Don.  The space itself is very tight and showed the two rocks wedged in-between.  Phase One XF, Schneider LS 35mm, handheld f/3.5 1/160 ISO 400.  Processed entirely in Capture One Pro.

Truthfully this was a very ugly spot however Don saw something here that he knew was worthy of at least trying.  Phase One XF, Schneider LS35, IQ1-100, f/3.5 1/250 ISO 400.  The image was processed initially in Capture One Pro as all our images are before sending to Photoshop.  Once in Photoshop he began working on the individual hue/saturation levels of the reds, yellows, greens, cyans, blues, and magentas experimenting raising and lowing the saturations until he arrived at the image below.
There are two parts to this story. There are times you just don’t have a wide enough lens to capture the scene.  Don’s widest lens he had at the time, a Schneider LS 35 wasn’t wide enough. Likewise Sandy’s 16-35 at 16mm wasn’t either.  This is a two shot handheld pano using the Sony A7rII, FE16-35 at 16mm. f/8 1/320 ISO 50.  Don tried the same thing with his 35mm and failed to get a usable file. 
The second part is the color.  The image was captured at almost high noon with the worse possible light.  The Colorado River was flat however is was extremely muddy and looked like, well crap. We processed the files and while we disliked the color we liked the overall image; thus we converted it to black and white saving an otherwise ugly image.
Another example of turning an otherwise somewhat dull image into something else. Turret Arch was a very quick snap Sandy took using her Sony A7rII and FE90mm lens. We were in the middle of a light snow storm that made shooting conditions difficult. The area we were in offered a great observation spot and rather than risk not finding it again Sandy decided to experiment and take the shot.  The file looked “okay” however we both felt it need “something” else so we decided to try it in Topaz Labs getting the result you see below.
There are also times when we’re shooting we “see” the scene in black and white.  We compose the shot knowing that once we open and begin processing the file we’d do it as a black and white image.  Sometimes we fail however most of the times we win. Huge...
The image below was captured by Sandy using her Sony A7rII FE24-70 lens at 40mm f/8 1/200 ISO 50.  Processed entirely in Capture One Pro.
Don likes to focus-stack images in order to achieve what he calls focus from his toes to the sky.  The following are two examples of focus stacking using a 100-megapixel IQ1-100 medium format camera.  Both were captured using a Phase One XF camera body and a Schneider LS 35mm lens.  A steady tripod is a must in doing focus stacking; in doing both of these Don used a new Platypod Max in lieu of a tripod in order to get low enough.
8-files f/8 1/160 ISO 50
7-files f/11 1/125 ISO 50
Platypod Max at work.  Don has the waist level viewfinder attached to the XF to assist him in low level shooting conditions as well as using a remote shutter release for a hands off approach other than to change focus.
Broken Arch, Arches National Park.  Both images are full frame with no cropping done. 
Sony A7rII FE16-35 (16mm) f/7,1 1/100 ISO 50
Phase One XF Schneider LS 35mm f/5.6 1/200 ISO 50
This was the first visit to Moab since Don upgraded to the 100-megapixel IQ1-100 digital back and once again he’s very impressed.  The following images were captured on the fly in the Garden of Eden area of Arches National Park.  While he would have preferred a longer lens like the Schneider LS 240 (which was sitting at home in Tucson) he was able to try the resolution factor of the 75-150 at 150mm.
f/5.6 1/200 ISO 50
The above image was taken at 150mm handheld through the window of the truck in a slight snow storm.  Processed in Capture One Pro then sent to Photoshop in order to run the shake reduction filter which helped a little.

The following is a 100% crop.
Not bad...
The following is a side by side comparison of another image taken seconds after the one above. The image on the left is the full fame while the one on the right is a crop.  Having the extra resolution available is a great tool to have.
Our final image is the result of 4-images stitched together to make a panorama of Arches National Park with the LaSalle Mountain in the background. The files were processed in Capture One Pro prior to stitching them together in Photoshop.  This is not the final image as Don feels it still needs a little more work.
f/6.3 1/640 ISO 100 (handheld)
Once again we want to thank our dear friend Dave Gallagher of Capture Integration for the love and support he and his company provides us throughout the year.  A big shout out also goes to Ziv Argov, VP Marketing Phase One.
This is our last blog entry for 2016 as the year is quickly coming to a close.  Next year, 2017 has a lot of surprises in store with new travel that we are anxious to share so please stay tuned.   Until then however, we’d like to wish everyone a very safe holiday season and a happy new year.
Sandy & Don