Enhance Your Photography: Look Into the Smaller “Landscapes”

 

My personal work includes a lot of landscape shooting, and I usually try to take in a large swath of territory. I often like the grand vistas, the sweeping plains and looming mountains. In urban landscapes I might include wide-angle shots of buildings crowded together, along with bustling streets and milling people. But sometimes it’s the things at my feet that intrigue me too. Here’s a few images from a trip to Bodie, California, a 100+ year-old ghost town built around a gold and silver mine.

These were originally shot in digital color and converted to black and white.

These images are all from the machinery used to extract the gold and silver from the rock ore.

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Review, Adorama Flashpoint 180 – Portable Flash Unit

I have a new portable flash unit in-house for testing. It is the Flashpoint 180 – a highly portable, lightweight unit that produces up to 180 watt/seconds of output. It comes complete with portable battery pack and charger, a diffuser dome, a reflector, a shoot-through white umbrella, a brief instruction manual, and a carrying case.

180 1

According to the manufacturer’s specs, it is capable of up to 700 flashes at full power. Flash duration ranges from 1/400 to 1/1100 of a second, depending on power output selected. Specifications state that color temperature is 5500k +/- 200k, which is reasonable.

The battery pack consists of two Sony rechargeable units housed in a plastic case; these are removed and charged via external charger. The manufacturer provides two charging units. Good news is that 700 shots should get you through a full day’s shooting. If you are shooting consistently outdoors in bright light or direct sun, depending on your needs you may want to get two of these, one of the 180 model, and another of the 400 model, using one for key lighting and the other for fill or add-on.

Overall, this is a lightweight unit, favoring portability over bullet-proof construction. The controls are sturdy and well made, and should hold up over time. Most of the flash body is aluminum, and a diffuser dome does double duty protecting the flash tube and LED-based modeling light. This is definitely not water-proof, so I would take care outdoors in mist or rain.

180 2

Power output is controlled via a stepless rotating knob, providing about 5-stops range. A slave sensor is also provided, along with an on/off switch for a triggering audio signal.

An LED modeling light is provided, but it’s anemic at best. Not too surprising, as many people will leave it turned on throughout a shoot, and that will drain batteries quickly.

Adorama also provides a short padded handle which can be inserted into the mounting socket – it’s easy to carry the unit around in the field – you would just clip the battery pack to your belt or carry it in your off hand.

Like any other studio flash unit, time to recycle depends on power output selected. This ranges from 1-5 seconds; not surprising at all on a battery-powered unit supplied by a lower-voltage power pack.

I also like that the unit is Bowens-compatible. As I own some Bowens gear, that’s a big plus in my book. I can use their light modifiers on this flash unit, for example.

Overall, a good, lightweight unit, highly portable and suited for use in the studio or just about anywhere you want to go.

Link to the Adorama page: http://www.adorama.com/FPBPLB.html

New Webinar – Small Lighting For Big Spaces

New Webinar – sponsored by Datacolor and co-sponsored by Metz

Not too long ago, standard practice for lighting large spaces involved hauling a lot of heavy equipment into a venue, laying out electrical service lines, creating support stands and scaffolding, and so on. Of course there was also tearing it all down, packing it away, and hauling it off again. Things have changed. It’s now possible to carry all or most of the gear you’ll need to light a large space in a duffle bag and camera bag, frequently doing it all without touching an electrical outlet and getting an equivalent or superior result.

Join David Saffir and David Tobie as they explore newer methods for lighting interiors using lighting systems adapted from on-camera flash units, purpose-built remote units and triggers. We think you’ll be surprised by the possibilities and impressed by the results!

An interactive Q&A will take place throughout the webinar to answer any questions you may have.

Webinar attendees will have the chance to win a SpyderCHECKR or Metz 44 Flash as well as receive exclusive discounts!

October 17, 2 PM EDT, 11 AM PDT

Register HERE!

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.

Register:  http://www.digital2you.cc/cameratooutput.html

New Published Article, Managing Dynamic Range in Post-Production

Latest in a four part series: Managing Dynamic Range in Post-Production, published on the Datacolor blog:

Here’s the link: http://blog.datacolor.com/david-saffir-managing-dynamic-range-in-post-production/

© David Saffir 2013

© David Saffir 2013

Fuji X-E1 review by David Saffir, published in Photo Technique Magazine

Full text of the review I wrote published on Photo Technique web site: http://phototechmag.com/the-fuji-x-e1-print-sized-photo-powerhouse/

From the E-X1

From the E-X1

New Webinar Schedule Updated May 1

Datacolor® , a global leader in color management solutions, announced today its spring 2013 line-up of free color management webinars featuring co-sponsors. The popular webinar series continues with a variety of introductory and advanced webinars that discuss new techniques and offer insights and tips for photographers to enhance their skills. Datacolor is bringing dynamic topics to photographers with the help of notable photography related companies including Triggertrap, Phlearn.com, onOne Software and Lexar.

Each webinar includes step-by-step demonstrations using Datacolor’s line of Spyder color calibration devices, and in-depth discussions on how to effectively use the right tools to create images. The bi-monthly webinars, hosted by David Tobie, global product technology manager for Datacolor, and David Saffir, Datacolor expert, noted landscape and fine art photographer, and author of “Master Digital Color,” focus on managing color using tools in both capture and processing stages. Topics range in subject matter and focus on providing photographers with new methods of producing high quality results with their images.

“Photography continues to evolve and there are always new methods to master,” said David Tobie. “Datacolor has always been committed to helping photographers achieve the highest quality photos. By adding more partners to our webinar series, we continue our goal of providing photographers at any level with the methods, techniques, and recommendations on tools to produce incredible photos.”

Upcoming topics for the Datacolor color management webinar series to include:

May 8, 2013 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. EDT: Digital Workflow Process for the Capture Stage (Co-sponsor: Hunt’s Photo & Video)

May 30, 2013 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EDT: Remote Control Photography (Co-sponsor: Triggertrap)

June 12, 2013 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. EDT: Introduction to Color Management (Co-sponsor: Phlearn.com)

June 18, 2013 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EDT: Focus Control: Before, During, and After the Shot (Co-Sponsor: onOne Software)

June 27, 2013 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. EDT: Digital Asset Management (Co-sponsor: Lexar)

Those interested in attending can register in advance for the free webinars. Attendees will be given discount codes for Spyder products and/or products from co-sponsors. They will also automatically be entered to win a Datacolor Spyder product and products from co-sponsors coinciding with the webinar topic. Guests will have the ability to interact with the speakers in a Q&A format, and get first-hand input on applying color management effectively in their workflow.

Register now at spyder.datacolor.com/freewebinars.
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Down In The Weeds © David Saffir

TED Video: Elizabeth Gilbert on “Your Elusive Creative Genius”

This video of her presentation is well worth viewing.

via C. David Tobie’s Blog: FocusTwist: Focus-Controllable Images with the iPhone

FocusTwist: Focus-Controllable Images with the iPhone.

When you think of controlling the focus of images after the fact, you probably think of the Lytro camera; a clever little device (one is tempted to say prototype) that shows us one way of gaining different info from a shot, instead of spending all our pixels on increased resolution. But now there is an iPhone/iPad app (I’m tempted to think of this as a prototype as well) which allows you to perform a similar trick with your phone photos.

With Arqball’s FocusTwist app, its time, not resolution reduction, that is used to produce the multiple images. Hold your iPhone still, tap on the foreground element on screen to start the focus process, and in a couple of seconds the FocusTwist app will have captured multiple images with different focal planes; starting with the foreground element you selected. Take a look at this example, which I shot with FocusTwist to include in this article……

EG7 Monterey- 2013 Wrap-Up

I just returned from the EG7 conference (http://www.the-eg.com/homepage/welcome) in Monterey, California. The name sounds a little mysterious, but the meeting is not. It’s been around for quite a while.

A couple of quotes that might help describe the event: “a gathering of and for innovators in media, technology, entertainment and education. The conference explores our most creative enterprises, by engaging a gifted mix of people — from rising stars to
living national treasures, the people who attend EG are among the most industrious and iconoclastic talents of our time.”

And… “This year at EG, Everything is Learning — and Learning is Everything. Many of the leading inventors, explorers, educators, entertainers, artists and entrepreneurs are joining us to probe these frontiers.”

Some of the “presenters” included Erich Kuhne, architecture, Nicholas Negroponte, perhaps best known for “One Laptop Per Child”,  Bathsheba Grossman, Three Dimensional Thinking,  Frans Lanting, nature and wildlife photography, Brant Austin, incredible full-scale photos of whales, Alison Gopnik, baby thinking,  Umi Garret, a 12-year old world-class pianist, and many, many more.

A long-time working partner, collaborator, and mentor of mine, Jack Duganne (http://www.duganne.com), worked with me at the conference. We focused on making prints of portraits made during the conference – these portraits included attendees and speakers. We used the HP Designjet Z6200 and Z3200 large format printers, and we were very, very busy. Our thanks to HP and Eric DuPaul, and Jennifer Wills and Monica Wolff (of W+W Design – http://wplusw.com/) for making this part possible.

The presentations hit every note possible, in the arts, music, imaging, photography, philosophy – you name it. We all left with new ways of looking at the world, and the world of learning. Hats off to the EG7 team! Hope to see you next year!