Canon 5d Mark IV Dynamic Range and High ISO test

Canon's latest iteration of the 5d line brought many photographers to the edge of their seats as rumors and hopes that 30 megapixel sensor would boast an increased dynamic range. Cleaner high ISO capabilities have also been eagerly hoped for.

This month, with usual clock work precision, Canon released the 5d Mark IV, four years after the release of the Mark III. With my primary interest being wedding photography and portraiture, industry leading dynamic range and high ISO aren't at the top of my priorities for a camera, as I am often adding off camera illumination to creatively expose a subject within the composition, and for the purposes of sculpting flattering shadows across faces and figures. Canon suits my creative pursuits well thanks to their excellent array of high quality lenses as well as the beautiful color palette rendition, especially as far as skin tones are concerned, that I get right out of camera.

However, when the wedding season has ended and I'm out on my own time, there's nothing like getting away to capture some of the breathtaking landscapes of the Southwest United States that I call home. In high contrast lighting of landscapes, a lower dynamic range often forces the photographer to either use graduated neutral density filters or bracket shots and use complicated HDR software and techniques. Newer sensors that boast an increase in dynamic range can ameliorate this onerous burden by simply allowing shadows to be lifted in post production.

For a quick test I shot a high contrast scene behind a building.

Canon 5d Mark 4 Dynamic Range Test

I underexposed the shot by -3.0 stops in camera, then lifted the exposure +5.0 stops in post. Sufficient to say: this is quite the torture test of shadow recovery.

5dIV +5ec and no NR.JPG

Using the same lens (Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS USM), I shot the same image with my Canon 5d Mark III. I underexposed by the same amount and then lifted the shadows back up in post. Here are some close ups of the bench and waste receptacle from the prior generation camera with no noise reduction editing applied.

5dIII Crop 1 no NR.JPG

So here's how the new 5d4 fared under the same lighting conditions. Again: no noise reduction.

What an outstanding improvement. Landscape shooters rejoice! This could mean the end of complicated graduated filters and other post processing headaches! While these test shots rarely represent normal photographic expectations, its nice to see some improvement for challenging light in extreme conditions.

While the best test of high ISO capability is done under low light conditions, the best I could muster shooting on this afternoon was in the shadow under the glove compartment of my truck. Soon I'll get out for some low light shots to get a realistic idea of high ISOs in the quality of light they'd most likely be needed: handheld, no tripod, say some time after sunset, etc.

The new 5d Mark IV tops out at 32,000 ISO, which is 1/3 stop more than the 5d Mark III.

Canon 5d Mark 4 Dynamic Range and high ISO Test

Into the digitally expanded range we next arrive at ISO 51,200...

Canon 5d Mark 4 Dynamic Range and high ISO Test

Finally, and just being silly at this point, here's ISO 102,400:

Canon 5d Mark 4 Dynamic Range and high ISO Test

Bravo, Canon!!

Keith and Sarah's 1950s Themed Wedding! - Tucson Arizona Wedding Photographer

Keith and Sara said "I do" at scenic Oracle State Park, which is managed by the good folks at Arizona State Parks department. This was easily one of my most anticipated weddings of the year, being themed in 1950s style ceremony and decor. Its not every day that a photographer is treated to such a unique and authentic experience. Here is a small sneak preview of yesterdays festivities. A big thank you to Jessica Korff for assisting.


Class tomorrow!

Thank you to all who have signed up to attend my inaugural class tomorrow. Seating and handouts will be limited to those who signed up. We're going to have a great time and learn a ton about cameras, photography, and of course, light. Class begins at 2pm so please be on time and have your camera in hand. We'll be in the D building, which is the first building as you enter the parking lot. 

Sale at Vista Print.. again!

If you're planning on making your own wedding invitations, decorations, etc, now is a great time to stock up and save. Vista Print is a whopping 50% off site wide, plus a little rewards cash.

My bride and I were proud to make our own invitations and programs, but it sure did take a lot of work. More work than we expected. We saved some money in the process over hiring a pro, so the question to make or buy is largely dependent on whether you have more time or money at your disposal. Some day I'll surprise my wife with a big anniversary party and we'll definitely leave the stationary and decor to the pros. Needing a referral for a great planner? Contact me today!


Erin & Brian... The Rest of the Story!

Thank you to all who made Erin and Brian's 10 year wedding anniversary party such a special occasion. I am excited to announce the release of their photo gallery to all guests for viewing and ordering. Please visit my ordering site here. Contact Erin and Brian for the password to access the gallery. Those of you who signed up on my list at the event will be emailed a link and the pass code to enter the gallery yourself. Orders placed within the next 30 days will enjoy 20% off! Please do not hesitate to contact me for any special orders.

Free DSLR Photography Class!

I'm excited to have a new way to give back to the community that has been so good to my family. I'll be leading a two hour practical workshop on how to operate your DSLR to get the kind of results you see here. Well, after some practice, maybe. I'll walk you through how I shoot weddings, landscapes, kids in motion, and everything in between. We'll go over some common difficulties beginner can get hung up on, and how to approach those challenges with confidence. Class has limited availability so please sign up ASAP. You must register to attend, and you may do so here.

Thanks for reading!

Erin and Brian Celebrate 10 Years! -- Tucson Arizona Wedding Anniversary Photography

A big thank you to Erin and Brian for inviting me to join them for their ten year anniversary celebration! They joyfully entered marital bliss exactly ten years ago at Reflections at the Buttes. What better way to mark a decade of love and happiness than return to where it all began. It was such a privilege to serve you. I hope to be back in another decade! Thank you Sara Jackson for assisting.

Here is a quick peek from last nights extravaganza.


06 Tucson Southern Arizona Wedding Anniversary Photography 05.JPG
11 Tucson Southern Arizona Wedding Anniversary Photography 11.JPG

The Enchantments

If you told me I have one week to live, and that I had to spend it hiking with loved ones and shooting lots of photos, it wouldn’t take me long to tell you where I’d want to spend it.

the enchantments tucson wedding photography


I’ve been fortunate to have the chance to hike, fish, hunt, camp, and backpack across many breathtaking vistas of the Rocky Mountain West. But one has stood head and shoulders above the rest: The Enchantment Lakes in the middle of Washington state. Affectionately known as The Enchantments, they are a series of craggy peaks and alpine lakes (“tarns” actually) nestled high in the Stuart Range of the Cascade Mountains.  Explorers to the area quickly took to mythological names for a landscape whose beauty, is quite frankly, out of this world.

The Enchantments Tucson wedding photographer

Yeah--the water really looks like that.

The Enchantments mountain goat Tucson wedding photography

Long before I took photography seriously, my bride and I enjoyed a great backpacking trip through The Enchantments with another couple we were privileged to call friends. While the technical image quality of these images is far below my standards and skill abilities today, a visceral warmth rekindles within me every time I look at them. Such an experience is what I want my wedding clients to feel years later when they look at the work I deliver to them.

For going on 35 years now, the U.S. Forest Service has instituted a permit system to limit the number of people in the specially managed zone at any one time. Dogs are not permitted and no campfires in the management zone are authorized.

The Enchantments Tucson wedding photographer

There are no highways or shortcuts to The Enchantments. One must brave 4,000+ elevation changes and glaciers to reach this hidden gem. Crampons or at least Yaktrax and a pair of trekking poles are a must have.

The Enchantments Tucson wedding photographer

Speaking of yaks. Well, mountain goats, actually.

The Enchantments Tucson wedding photographer
The Enchantments Tucson wedding photographer

Mountain goats frolic amongst the glaciers and meadows. Its quite an experience hiking through thick forest and then reaching small patches of open grassland on top of the world.

The Enchantments Tucson wedding photographer

A marmot defends his turf.

The Enchantments Tucson wedding photographer
The Enchantments Tucson wedding photographer

The main trail of The Enchantments meanders throughout the tarns and lakes in the upper basin.

The Enchantments Tucson wedding photographer

A look up at Aasagard Pass, one of the two entry/exit points to The Enchantment Lakes Wilderness.

The Enchantments Tucson wedding photographer

Looking down from Aasagard: The elusive Glacier Peak can be observed off in the distance, one of Washington states five technically active volcanoes that cannot be seen from a major roadway.

There you have it--a look down from the top of the world, and memories to look back on for a lifetime. I hope to someday go back and take a more proper camera and tripod. Then, I’ll bring home images that are quite frankly, enchanting.

Memorial Day

Thank you, veterans. My freedom of speech and artistic expression is protected by you. May God bless you, your teammates, and the families of your fallen bothers and sisters in arms this holiday.

To show my appreciation, I offer special wedding collections to active duty members of the armed services; not just this weekend, but every day of the year. Please contact me if I can help you plan your special day in any way.

USS Constitution Charlestown Navy Yard Boston Harbor

The USS Constititon, the oldest actively commissioned warship in the world, is docked at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston. Photographed by me in summer of 2015. Learn more about the USS Constitution here (

Allison and Joseph Say I Do! -- Tucson Arizona Wedding Photography

I just love the architecture, stained glass, and ambiance in a church of classical construction. So when my good friend Jen Schrantz asked me to shoot a wedding with her at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Tucson, how could I say no? Jen graciously helped me cut my teeth in the wedding biz and her amazing photography is matched only by her kindness.  The festivities continued with a reception at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort just a few minutes away. Thank you, Allison and Joseph, for making our work easy and being such a pleasure to photograph. Here are a few shots I added to the days collection.


05 Bride and father walking down aisle Tucson Arizona Weddings.JPG

Unboxing Your Heirloom Wedding Album (Tucson Arizona Wedding Photography)

Whether you're planning your wedding or are recently married, you're probably excited for the day you open your professional quality wedding album. If it was designed by a pro, hand assembled, and made in the USA, you're in for a real treat. Here's a little sneak preview of opening the book that will document the most important day of your lives.


Albums are shipped in sturdy boxes with lots of industrial strength bubble wrap inside.

 Tucson Wedding Photographer album unboxing

You'll find a nice box within a box. Or if you ordered a form fitting slip case, that will be next. A slipcase is a great option to protect the integrity of the album's spine if you wish to store it vertically on your bookcase. Otherwise, this box will work great to store it flat on a shelf.

 Tucson Wedding Photography album unboxing

Wouldn't you know it, inside the 2nd box you find more foam padding and classy tissue wrap.

 Tucson wedding photographer album unboxing

Upon feeling your professionally designed handmade album, you'll smile and breathe a sigh of confidence as to why you chose only the best to document your special day until the end of time. This is the book your kids and grand kids will most remember you by.

For this studio sample I designed a two-toned, glove leather cover. I've never felt more luxurious, smooth leather in my life.

 leather wedding album cover Tucson Arizona high quality handmade

The days of old drop-in albums are long gone. A page from a magazine style lay-flat album is a giant printed photo securely mounted on a quality substrate. Pages are thick enough that can turn them by touching the edges only. Even if you do touch the pages themselves, they are coated to resist wear.

The little things add up when choosing only the highest quality wedding album. Folded pano seams show little visible presence across the middle of each spread.

 Tucson wedding photographer album seamless spread folded pano


I am pleased to include a credit towards the cost of your albums with every wedding collection I offer. Please contact me if you're planning a wedding in Southern Arizona to experience my studio sample albums yourself. Thank you for choosing only the best to document a day that will echo throughout eternity. 

Bridal Stationary Sale

I have no financial interest in saying so, but if you're making your own invitations or stationary, I thought I'd pass this along. Joann Fabric and Craft Stores is running a sale on supplies to make your own weddings or special event invitations, programs, etc. Discounts running a whopping 40-50% off! Check it out.


  Danielle's husband Dakota and his guys wore handmade boutonnieres   made from the comics on their wedding day. Outstanding! 

Danielle's husband Dakota and his guys wore handmade boutonnieres made from the comics on their wedding day. Outstanding! 

Food for thought: my wife and I made our own invitations those many moons ago when we got hitched. We priced out stationary services and determined that we would have spent about $500 for invitations, programs and thank yous. We wound up rolling our own, so to speak, and spent $200 on supplies. What should not be discounted is the amount of time and ink expensed to undertake such a project. Back in the day, it made sense for us as broke college students. A young couple of working professionals might be better served outsourcing the effort. However, this is definitely an area where costs can be dramatically cut. Far more memories will follow your photos than your stationary from the day, just sayin'!

Nothing Bundt Cakes

I stopped in and enjoyed a Red Velvet bundtlet at Nothing Bundt Cakes on Oracle just north of Ina. There's nothing quite like having your cake and then eating it, too! These cakes are flavorful, moist, and all around delcious. If you're looking for a unique but still delicious cake for your wedding, NBC should definitely be on your short list. They offer a diverse assortment of cake options for your special day that will be as delicious as they are artistic. 

bundt wedding cakes tucson arizona AZ

Consider a bundt cake for a non traditional wedding cake that is as creative as it is unique.

bundt wedding cakes tucson arizona AZ

Its all about redundancy..

If your anything like me, when you first hear what a wedding costs to be professionally photographed, you were taken aback. “Do I get to keep the camera, too?” One might ask. While many can easily envision that delivering a wedding album, disk of images, and prints takes many, many hours of editing and retouching, as well as other administrative business duties, what is easy to leave out of the equation is the need to have backups of, well, everything.

Herein lies today’s sad newsstory: A photographer out on the East Coast had left a wedding and made a quick stop after leaving the venue. In just a few minutes, she came back to her car, and was greeted by shattered glass, and empty seat where her gear once sat. While insurance can replace the gear that was stolen, what it cannot get back are the images on the memory cards that were taken along with them. I hope there was a second shooter and he or she has a good amount of images for the couple. 

   There are many features that distinguish a $500 entry-level camera and a pro’s costing $2,000-6,000.  Shooting every image instantly to two cards ensures a good nights sleep.

There are many features that distinguish a $500 entry-level camera and a pro’s costing $2,000-6,000.  Shooting every image instantly to two cards ensures a good nights sleep.

There are no second chances when it comes to a wedding. There’s a common saying: “two is one, one is none.”  If its important, it needs a backup. So far I have been fortunate to keep Murphy at bay by having two of everything that is important for the weddings I’ve shot. That goes for cameras, lenses, lights, all the way down to memory cards. When I make an image, it is instantly written to two cards. One stays in the camera, and periodically throughout the day I swap out the other into a water resistant backup carrier on my belt. I don’t tend to stop on the way home from a wedding but if I did, all the images would have been securely attached to my belt in addition to existing in the camera bag.


   Understand and be comfortable with your photographers contingency and backup strategies.

Understand and be comfortable with your photographers contingency and backup strategies.

On this discussion, a wedding day doesn’t stop when I get home from the venue. Before I call it a night, I upload all images, then duplicate to second drive, and within 12 hours have a copy at a secure off site location.  Further, I like to edit and publish at least a few great images from the day to email to you by the time you wake up in the morning.

Owning quality gear does not make an artist. With a talented vision, great results can come from the most rudimentary of tools. Nevertheless, take caution in a streamlined approach to your event photography. Having a friend or a relative who occasionally shoots a great photo is a temptation in the new digital age, as seemingly professional looking cameras become more and more affordable. But, do they have a second camera/lens/flash, in case the first goes for a swim in a fountain? Yes, I’ve seen it happen.  Do they have extra OEM batteries for a long day of shooting? A professional will spare no expense in making sure their gear has plenty of redundancy for both your peace of mind and theirs.