My valued wedding clients and buyers of my fine art landscape prints are in for a treat—a complementary 2019 calendar is on its way to you! The collection features images from my spring 2018 trip to Death Valley National Park, including some previously unreleased photos from the most remote corners of the largest national park in the lower 48 states. At this point I am not planning on selling the calendars to the general public, but if you’d like to order a fine art print from my landscape gallery I’d be happy include one with your purchase! Merry Christmas!!
Huge thanks to industry rock star Jared Polin, who has provided sample images from his hands on review of the new camera. You know someone is important when Canon invites them to a VIP shoot for first access. In fact, some of the lenses used are still in prototype phase so they're not even taking preorders yet. These photos are his intellectual property and not mine, so please contact him about any copyright concerns. I am using them here with his expressed permission.
I'll be skipping the profile photos of the camera body or reviewing the other ergonomics to instead focus (no pun intended) on the qualitative highlights of the image quality, as compared to my first hand experience with the 5DsR and 5D Mark III for several years of professional and personal use. Like many of you who Google your way into a review like this, I ask myself the question as I go through the images: Do I need this? Is it worth the upgrade? How much longer will DSLRs hang on before their users are left in the ash heap of yesteryear?
Additional disclaimer: I am not paid by Canon and they don't know me from a hole in the ground.
Because the photo editors have yet to update their programs for us to interpret these files in our choice ecosystem (Lightroom, Photoshop, Apple Photos, etc), Jared coverted the RAW files to DNGs, where I updated them in Lightroom 5.
Jared's image files give us a great impression of the camera. He didn't overwhelm us with images we don't need, and covered most of what we do. The first example addresses a question that many of us have right out the gate: has Canon finally caught up in base ISO dynamic range to the Sony sensors? Well, it doesn't appear so. Sony's flagship cameras now boast 15 stops of dynamic range, and Canon lags almost a stop and a half below that, even still with this new release, which mainly seems to borrow the sensor of the 5d Mark IV, which I visited here when it was new.
Color noise and a loss of detail are evident throughout the foregorund, even after applying noise reduction in Lightroom.
So is this a deal breaker? I tend to think so, if a camera is a horse race of statistics on a page to you. +1.5 stops DR in a Sony or Nikon camera would look a little bit better in this image, yet I'm not sure a pro would sell a shot like this anyway, without exploring some of the options below. But a camera ecosystem is so much more than dynamic range. Its about handling, auto focus capability, lens choices, and subtleties, such as Canon's legendary color science, which is particularly reknown for rendering skin tones perfectly with little need for advanced color manipulation. Those reasons and more are why I'll stick with Canon despite this ongoing use challenge.
In the case of this example we still have options. For one, we could shoot various exposures and blend them as an HDR image. This is difficult without a tripod and even more difficult if subjects wont hold still. Still another option would be to add light to illuminate the foreground, which would have lots of options here with bouncing a flash off that helpfully painted white ceiling. Finally, we can ask ourselves what the point of this image is. Say instead of the subject having his back to the camera we have a bride and groom and we want an environmental shot of their venue while they stand outside. As a viewer our eyes go to the brightest, most contrasty, most saturated part of the image, and I wouldn't want a foreground distracting the viewers attention away from the obvious subject.
Our next trip takes us to a beach shot of a model running on the beach. If I surmise Jared's purpose of this photo well its to test the continuous auto focus of a moving subject, particularly while they're off center where the AF array of a traditional DSLR doesn't cover if you prefer to track a subject with an active AF point over the eye.
Knowing Jared's style, this image wasn't cropped, so here we can see the benefits of an expanded AF array. Sony's trailblazing into the full frame mirroless market awed us DLSR shooters when their cameras hit the shelves boasting three, four, or even five hundred AF points, when we only had dozens. Canon's entry into the full frame mirrorless market boasts more than five thousand auto focus points. Wow!
We also have a preview of the new RF 28-70 f/2.0L. Yep, f/2.0!
Last and certainly not least, high ISO. This exif metadata shows this was shot at ISO 10,000. I pumped +1.0 stop in post and pushed the shadows to 100. After a quick trip to Nik Dfine2, the results are arguably quite impressive. Color noise and banding is apparent in the background given the exposure push and with some detailed time cleaning up the image in Photoshop I’m sure the results would be even more impressive. Results are arguably better than what my 5DsR would put out, even after trading some of its massive resolution for additional noise reduction. This is one reason I’ve become accustomed to adding light for such shots anyway. Isn’t that what we’re doing here anyway? Drawing. With. Light. (“photography”).
Conclusion: After a few weeks to mull the situation over, I can see why Canon went with a non-professional body to enter into the market place. And by that I mean a single card slot camera with a slower frame rate. It seems as though they have a few bugs to work insofar as continuous auto focus for tracking subjects as well as getting their native glass to market. Jumping straight in with a gambit to convert some or all of the pro industry would have too great a leap even for the dominant industry leader. While my current lens and body line up more than meets my needs for now, I can see mirror less in my future for everything from weddings to family sessions. DSLRs will more than likely hang a while longer on for wildlife and possibly even sports given the battery life shortcomings of mirrorless (EVF always on and draining power as well as running current through the sensor). Regardless of which system dominates and for how long, one thing is for certain: tech advancements have given us a beautiful array of options to make memorable images to be remembered through the ages.
Whether you printed your first ‘really good image’ at home or just invested in a collectible fine art print from your favorite artist, here’s one little attention to detail you should keep in mind. Air out your print before you frame it behind glass. Give it 24-48 hours so that all the ink can cure in to the paper and that everthing that needs to evaporate out of the ink can do so. I pay attention to, dare I say: obsess, over these details for my valued clients!
And with those words, Ansel taught us that photography will always be about the final product--the print. Print on metal, canvas, fine art paper, what have you, just make those prints happen.
If you've ever pondered the nature of my chosen business name and consider my personality, you may have sensed that I'm obsessed with print longevity and the permanence of my work. What will you remember on the other side of eternity?
So its no surprise that I'd choose fine art paper Hahnemühle to start a printed portfolio of my fine art photographs. Hahnemühle boasts the oldest paper mill in Germany and soon, in our lifetimes, will be celebrating their 500th year in operation. After half a millennium, they certainly seem to have a few things down to a science as much as an art.
I wont lie to you: fine art papers aren't cheap. Think museum grade. This is where you turn when ordinary drug store photo paper just wont cut it. What makes a fine art paper so different? Why I'm glad you asked. First of all their quality control must be at the top of their game. Quality fine art paper starts with pH neutral water for an acid free base that wont yellow with time. Next, you'll notice the substantial weight of these papers. I could try to describe it, but you really should just come over and hold these in your hand yourself. Further, the finish of these papers are as varied as one photographers style to the next. There are smooth papers, darkroom style so-called F-type fiber papers, and mould made papers that are heavily textured for a watercolor, painterly feel. Finally, the microporous coating of fine art papers usually hold a lot more ink than your typical "glossy or matte?" option at the drug store or big box retailer. More ink on a quality paper means a long lasting print. How long? Check out the industry standard bearer for print longevity: Wilhelm Imaging Research. Expect my work to last at least 120 years framed behind UV glass and 200+ years in cool, dark storage.
Get in touch with me today to schedule a review of my portfolio!
Congratulations to Zuri and George! I was privileged to join Evan Robold as his second shooter for their wedding. He truly is one of Tucson's finest and should be on every short list for evaluating wedding photographers in Southern Arizona. It was a privilege to be a part of your day, Zuri & George. I wish you a lifetime of marital happiness.
One of the many things that makes Arizona and Tucson beautiful is the landscape. OnIy in Arizona can you see the beautiful saguaro cactus. And if you love the look of saguaro cactus for a backdrop to your wedding, there's few better places to get married than Saguaro Buttes, on the east end of Tucson, not too far from beautiful Saguaro National Park (east district). I was privileged to shoot for Kristin Gray of Ivory Orchid Photography at Jennifer and Jason's wedding and as you may already know about me, there's few better ways to spend a day at 'the office' than an action packed day of chaos photographing a fast paced, romantic wedding. At least that's how it is for us photographers, while you enjoy your day :-) What a joy to be a part of two lovebirds' lives coming together. Best wishes to you, Jason and Jennifer in your new journey together.
Boo!!! 😡 A sucky, money-grubbing, stealth price increase by the U.S. Copyright Office looms on the horizon. Batch uploads for copyright registration for previously published images will now be limited to a paltry 750 images per submission, effective February 20th, 2018. Previously, the uploads were unlimited in quantity for the $55 registration fee. Because federal copyright law protects work previously published as far back as the prior three months from date of submission, a photographer could effectively protect their intellectual property with four $55 uploads at a total business expense of $220 a year. Photographers that have been procrastinating on protecting a large backlog of work, may want to pay for an upload now, before the new limit takes effect.
For the sparse number full time professional photographers left in this world, all this means is a price increase for consumers. Either the photographer must spend the time to cull down images for a submission, which is a CODB that must be passed onto the consumer indirectly, or an uploaded batch of 7,500 images will now cost the photographer $550, instead of $55.
In the digital era, and with Uncle Bob's to be found behind every pop up flash, professionals and semi-pros have a difficult enough time educating prospective clients why quality work costs good money. I didn’t invest $12,000+ on gear to include redundant backups to photograph my family’s Saturday picnic at the park. I don’t skip that picnic with my family to photograph a clients wedding as a charity service. Neither do I count it a hobby to spend even more hours in the digital darkroom perfecting a clients precious family memories at the expense of my own. I do contribute money to charity services and donate my time to good causes, but you wanting to enjoy the fruit of many years my study and practice is not necessarily a good cause just because you happen to want it. Now we have yet another structural challenge in our industry amidst and ever expanding spectrum of talents and price levels—mostly downward.
Visit the US Copyright Office website if you'd like to leave a comment to the unelected bureaucrats. If the USCO gets overwhelmed with comments filled of 'tears of rage' this may possibly be reevaluated, but I suspect it will require Congressional inquiry before it really comes under the spotlight.
By the way: you don't have to submit RAW files for a registration upload, 800x600px JPGs are just fine. There, I just saved you several hours of time monitoring your uploads. You're welcome!
The Old Pueblo never ceases to amaze me. We have gila monsters, scorpions, so you'd expect. Did you know we have a ski lift looking down on our town? How about a little wetland, too? I took a couple of my youngins out and we caught up with some teals, coots, and mallards, oh my! The Sweetwater Wetlands are located on Tucson's west side, just off the interstate. Check out their official page here, which is managed by Tucson Water, City of Tucson. Thanks for viewing!
Vivian and her husband joined me downtown for some fun Christmas light shooting and to show off some of her mad modeling skills. What a relief from the usual Tucson heat get to show off some cold weather fashion for a change! Contact Vivian for your fashion or model needs today--she's very punctual and professional.
Its often said that [quality of] light is more important than location during a photoshoot. Few things in life are worse than a beautiful location with bad light. A skilled photographer that can find or create the good light will make great art in even an undesirable location. I once shot a wedding in an oversized garage with great light and it came out so awesome that I made a sample album from the day. What beats good light + bad location? How about beautiful light AND beautiful location?!?! I'm always amazed at the landscape treasures that Tucson holds. Who knew the desert held such greenery year round? Here we're shooting at a wetland where treated city water recharges the local aquifer. So maybe it is a bad location if you find that gross. But still myriad beautiful colors and composition to be found in such a setting for the optimistic spirit.
Living in the desert has its advantages: You're almost never cold, you see plenty of beautiful rock formations, gorgeously photogenic sunsets, and a plethora of hardy desert wildlife. One annual mainstay that we often find ourselves unable to enjoy are the seasonal fall colors found on leafy, deciduous trees. Enter the nearby 'Sky Islands' as they're affectionately referred to.
I took a drive up Mount Lemmon to enjoy fall colors in the usual beauties: Bear Wallow, Marshal Gulch, and a few other hidden gems. They're not too hard to find, but you'll need a USFS pass to access some locations. They're $5 daily, but I paid $20 for yearly access, as it also grants one to Madera and Sabino Canyon as well. I'll say the colors tend to peak around the third week of October, and in a few short weeks, all the leaves will, well.. fall. Get up there soon before they're all gone!
If there's one thing I love as a small business owner, its a repeat customer. Not only does this mean they trusted me with their photographic needs previously, but I served them well enough for them to return. So I was flattered and happy that Erin called on me to set up a headshot for her.
With today's digitized world, your headshot may be the first and possibly the only impression that a potential client or job recruiter may see of you. In Tucson's highly competitive job market, there's nothing quite like the professional image that your head shot will impress upon your current and future colleagues.
My portrait sessions are about an hour and a half long. This includes time for a few wardrobe changes, backdrop and lighting adjustments to complement your hair, outfit, eye color, etc, as well as just some time getting comfortable in front of the camera so that we can capture natural, unforced expression. I typically deliver about a dozen images for which my valuable clients receive high resolution, unwatermarked images with a limited copyright release to use their images professionally as well as print for themselves. Contact me to schedule a shoot today!
Best. Wedding. Ever.
Happy anniversary to to one of my most treasured couples. May your love grow stronger with each passing year. By the way: good call timing your anniversary for a holiday weekend! :-)
The one and only Bon a' Vie wedding album!
I often don't find myself in a 'thematic' mood, per se, when it comes to publishing a collection of images from a shoot. But when Phoenix model Happy Kat came down to Tucson for a shoot I just couldn't help but note how the window light in this upscale loft would look great for a black and white collection, perhaps with a bit of contrast and grain added in post production for some extra texture to the depth. Thanks Kat for all your ideas and energy as it turned out to be a fantastic shoot!
As the Southern Arizona summer heat rages on, it becomes more challenging to stay creative in the summer months. Headshots are one way to spend the time, but so is using soft, indoor window light for full length portraits of people. While sunrise and sunset tend to saturate colors for a 'warmer' glow and are therefore the preferred times for shooting most beautiful desert landscape images, I prefer shooting during the midday hours for window light given the overall volume of light as well as the decreased likelihood that sun will be shining directly through the window onto my subject(s). Window light is one of my favorite light sources as it is soft, directional, diffuse, and of course, free! There's no batteries to charge, gear to haul, or obnoxious stands [for me] to trip over during the shoot.
Enter Tucson model Annabelle. For my first boudoir shoot, she made my job much easier. I am grateful for her hard work and preparation for the shoot!
I must also thank event planner Kathryn L'Heureux, a rising star in the Arizona wedding planner industry, for assisting with this shoot. As a male photographer I will only participate in a shoot like this with another female present or a household member of the model present.
I was thrilled to welcome Amanda and her childhood bestie Millie for some headshots and a chance to experiment with some new lighting setups I've recently invested in. I've never really had the chance to photograph such beautiful red hair in a studio setting and I've always been intrigued by the idea of trying to make red hair obvious in black and white processing. Do you get a sense of her beautiful red hair even in the black and white photo?
A studio quality headshot is a must have for working professionals, aspiring models, and just about anybody. True: you can always snap a quick and easy self portrait, dare I call it a "selfie," with your camera's phone, and resolution of camera phones are quickly catching up to professional cameras. Nevertheless, there's more to a photo than just megapixels. There's just no comparison to the flattering perspective a telephoto lens brings as well as the DSLRs ability to trigger off camera lighting, and control depth of field for those nice, blurry out-of-focus backgrounds. Please contact me if you'd like a headshot today!
Tucson model Diana Acosta brought her sons downtown and we met up for a fashion shoot. It was fun to show off some of her handmade wares and shoot in front of some of the iconic architecture of downtown. Moreover, I'm always challenging myself to find ordinary locations and make extraordinary images, often by the creative use of lighting. The reflection shots towards the end of this post, for instance, were shot from the outside of a simple blacked out office window. Other challenges during the day include overpowering the harsh daylight by using powerful strobes. A commonly misunderstood principle of exposure is that the brighter the ambient lighting conditions are, the more (not less) flash power is needed to properly expose our subject. So thanks to her sons for helping us out by carrying the lighting equipment!
Cara Marie contacted me through our network of photographers and models here in Tucson. She is an up and coming model while I have been watching desert cactus flowering left and right and been hard up for a reason to photograph some people in front of one! So next time you drive by a patch of desert in town, lookout for this one photographer tripping over thorny things to make a great image. Despite the challenges of wind and relentless spring pollen, we made a sunset shoot happen. Thank you Cara for being on time (early, in fact) and ready to make some great images!
At a time of the year when many newly engaged couples plan their wedding and dream of a new life together, another celebration of new life happens in the wilderness as big game animals birth their young. While I anxiously await the coming weddings of my brides and grooms, I am always up for some cross training of my photographic skills, plus a little exercise. By carting a beastly 600mm telephoto lens up into the bedrooms of these majestic animals, I’m able to capture the beautiful spring moments of ewes and their young lambs. While I didn’t get to witness any lamb births today, my respect for the agility of these animals revived as I scrambled into their habitat, not to mention the fact that the newborn lambs are up and negotiating these craggy ridge lines within hours of their birth. Just to come within camera range of these beautiful creatures, the wildlife photographer must climb staggering heights with dangerous drops all around. These are the areas where sheep feel safe from predators and are able to elude the mountain lions that hunt them relentlessly.
My thanks to Arizona Department of Game and Fish for their stewardship, as well as countless volunteer hours from the Arizona Desert Bighorn Society and the myriad other science-based conservation and hunting organizations that preserve our precious wildlife resources for generations to come.
Many congratulations to April and Chris, who will be wed next March here in Tucson at the beautiful Westin La Paloma resort. Some clients just make a photographers job so easy, as do these school yard sweet hearts. We took a walk through the forested peaks of Mount Lemmon and watched another beautiful sunset here in southern Arizona from Windy Point. Thank you for the privilege of capturing your engagement story. Shout out to Lauren Chon for assisting with lighting!