New Workshop/Seminar – “Camera to Output”

Camera to Output – “Begin With the End In Mind”
October 19, 2013 Denver, Colorado

Join us for this comprehensive seminar, and sharpen your skills in image capture, color managed workflow, studio photography, and post-production techniques.

Getting it right in the camera

Begin with the end in mind

Color managed workflow

Introduction: Live Studio Setups and Lighting

Live Image Capture

Macro, Product & Live Model shooting workstations

Effective and efficient post production techniques

Creating Portfolio-Worthy Prints

Attendees receive special discount coupon packs and free sample materials.
Hosted by Digital2You. Sponsors include Datacolor, Epson, Pentax, Eizo, and Photo Imaging Consultants. Fee for attendance. Lunch provided.


Fine Art Scholarships – Bonny Lhotka / Digital Alchemy

Bonny Lhotka, creator of Digital Alchemy and some brilliant workshops on alternate printing processes, is offering a class on Vintage Tintype &
SuperSauce Transfers (link).

She’s also offering two scholarships ($625 each) for college students only, for the session on June 2 and 3rd. The attendee would have to pay the $75 materials fee.

Applications can be made to Bonny via email: They should include a brief background/statement, link to their website, and at least 6 jpeg images of work

Here’s the link for the workshop:

Landscape Photography: Planned and Unplanned

I have posted a new article via the Pro Photo Blog. Here’s the opening paragraph and link:

A short time ago, I spent some time in the mountains of Colorado, in and around the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The Dunes are about a 45-minute drive from Crestone, where I stayed. During this adventure, I was reminded of several issues important to successful landscape photography. First, some background information…. (more)

Medium Format Gaining on DSLRs – Part Two

I’ve received a number of emails and comments regarding changing attitudes among photographers regarding medium format digital vs. DSLRs. Seems to me, first of all, that it’s not about the equipment. My daddy used to say, “it’s not the car, it’s the nut behind the wheel”. That said, I find that I can often see the difference between medium format (MF) images I’ve created, and those taken with a DSLR. My own approach has changed quite a bit; I think it is fair to say that I use my MF cameras much more nowadays than the DSLRs.

Some of the things I notice are sharpness, resolution, acutance, dimensionality, subtleties in tone transitions, and detail in shadow/highlights. In some cases, a MF lens will also show a difference in bokeh (smoothness of out of focus areas). In all of these, excluding the last item, I feel it is a combination of factors that makes up one’s perception of “difference”. For example high acutance coupled with low resolution looks much different than a situation where both are high. (a typical look for the former is a so-called “over-sharpened” image with that crispy look with lots of edge halos).

At the end of the day, images I’ve made with my MF cameras usually look quite different than those from the DSLR world – this is particularly the case when I’ve made a large print. The image below communicates some of these in spite of the limitations of computer screens. In print, it has amazing depth and dimensionality, and impressive detail in the leaves and textures in the rocks.

Columbia River Gorge

Columbia River Gorge

Hasselblad H-series camera body, P25 back, 100mm lens, f/11, approx one second exposure. It is true that one can make a very “sellable” image using a high-end DSLR. But can one achieve that look, that feeling of a unique image or print that one can almost walk right into? Doesn’t this affect both creative approach and one’s competitive position in an environment that challenges us all? And what about client’s perceptions? Haven’t many of use had the experience of a client choosing a photographer who owns MF digital vs DSLR? Does this set one apart from the pack? Thinking back, it’s made a difference for me – I’ve made far more money with MF than I ever have with my DSLRs. I’m working right now on a tour of seven cities, teaching use of MF digital cameras, high resolution printers, fine art printmaking, and art reproduction. The interest from photographers in MF is intense – something of a wake up call, in fact. More to follow.

Here’s a recent review of the Mamiya AFD III with the Leaf Aptus digital back.

Medium Format Gaining on DSLRs

A quick thought which I’ll write more about later in the week: in the latest series of workshops, I am getting a lot of feedback from photographers that they are re-evaluating the usefulness of medium format cameras vs. 35mm format DSLRs.

Prices are converging – for example, Mamiya is offering a 28MP digital back along with their state-of-the-art AFD III camera with an 80mm lens and Capture software for around 10-11k. The image quality pretty much kicks 35mm to the curb – and that competitive edge, along with the new pricing is getting a lot of attention.

Not too long ago I wrote a review of this camera, which you can see here.

Tour 09: Fine Art Printing and Fine Art Reproduction Update

We’ve been having a great time. We held our Tech Expo (day 1)  and Workshop Session (day 2) at the Denver Studio Complex and Denver Pro Photo. This was the first of seven events planned, ranging through Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona.

The Tech Expo featured wide format printers from Canon, Epson, and HP, color management tools from X-Rite, displays from Eizo, cameras from Mamiya/Leaf, papers and print finishing products from Premier, lighting from Westcott, Eizo, and more!


The Tech Expo was very well attended, and we had reps from a number of companies present.

Dennis Halley (digital2you) was the primary host. During the course of the day, we fielded questions regarding inkjet printing, color management, print finishing, art reproduction, media selection, medium format cameras, and displays from Eizo.


We also had quite a bit of original artwork on hand, and print reproductions of many of these examples.

On day 2, we held our workshop on Fine Art Printmaking and Fine Art Reproduction. The session was very well attended; we had approximately 20 students in attendance.

We not only covered the “how to” aspects of fine art printmaking, we also got into the details of the business model for fine art printmaking, using your wide-format printer to make prints for other photographers, art reproduction, color management, print finishing, and more.


We had a complete fine art printmaking setup, and of course a studio setup for fine art repro:

I encourage you to attend one of the next sessions. We will be in Glenwood Springs, Santa Fe, Flagstaff, Phoenix, Tucson, and Albuquerque.

To register for the workshop session, please go to the Digital2You web site here or CALL FOR DETAILS 303-934-2777

Pro Studio Lighting Review: Westcott Spiderlite TD-5

I have had the Westcott Spiderlite TD-5 lighting system in the studio for testing for the past couple of weeks. I’ve used them for art reproduction, still life/product photography, portraits, macro photography, and more.


We will have these lights with us during the upcoming Fine Art Printing and Art Reproduction seminar series and Tech Expo, starting later this week in Colorado, moving on from there to New Mexico and Arizona.


NEWS BULLETIN, JUST IN TODAY AT 1 PM PACIFIC TIME: X-Rite, one of the sponsors of the seminar series will provide an iOne Display 2 as a door prize/raffle gift at EACH seminar event. Seminar attendees are eligible to win this gift. One device will be given away at each event (approx retail value just under $200). 


I have used three cameras with these lights: my Hasselblad H-series with Phase One back, the Mamiya AFD III with Leaf digital back, and the Nikon D3. All did well.




The lights were provided in a kit, consisting of a transport bag, light stands, light heads, soft boxes, and a few accessories.


They provide great “window” lighting using the provided daylight corrected florescent bulbs, which are, according to the manufacturer, set to 5500K. I measured them myself with an iOne spectro, and both came in at 5400K. This is an absolutely insignificant difference, in my view.


The lights can also be adapted to other lighting – for example, strobe heads or tungsten halogen bulbs are easily installed.


The light heads are easy to adjust; the soft boxes rotate easily from landscape to portrait orientation, and multiple switches on the back of the light head permit use of varying light levels. The soft box mounting ring is built into the light head – very convenient.




My most color-critical application is art reproduction. Color in artwork is usually so complex that “getting it right in the camera” is extremely important. The even illumination of the lighting system, combined with correct color temperature makes this element of production much easier – and of course minimizes post-production woes.


We also recently held a “Hot Car and Motorcycle” photo shoot at the SCV Center for Photography. The TD-5 lights did a great job of rendering the color in our “guest” Porsche Carrera S convertible. (see earlier post). Also recently used them for some macro work – see below – same level of performance.


flower red combo 1 copy final


Dennis Halley ( and I will have these lights with us on the Focus 09 seminar tour (fine art printing and art reproduction, plus tech expo)  starting later this week. We will be working in Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. Join us for these seminars – you just might find a new way to improve business!



all images © David Saffir 2009