Ebony RW45 fully
extended with Fujinon-C 450mm and extension tube (click for larger image)
Canon EOS 5D (click for larger image)—replaced with 5D Mark II
Canon PowerShot S95 (click for larger image)
This camera may look old, but it's actually a 2005 model
made of mahogany and titanium that is handmade in Japan. The RW45 is Ebony's
entry level 4x5 camera which is among the lightest field cameras weighing
in at just 3.6 pounds. Ebony makes the highest quality wooden field cameras
out today. The basic technology it utilizes in exposing film is over a
hundred years old, and is certainly much slower than any other type of
camera format, but the size of the film, which is just under 4x5",
is the main attraction. Starting out with a size of film that big allows
for much larger prints which holds much more detail, sharpness and tonality
than something along the lines of 35mm film, or even top-end digital SLRs
out today, since you don't have to stretch it out as much. To illustrate,
a 40x50" print from a 4x5" piece of film is roughly equivalent
to an 11x14" print from 35mm film! And, 11x14s from 35mm look pretty
darn good! It is for this reason that I try to capture most scenes using
this camera, though sometimes it just isn't the right tool, such as if
there is a stiff wind or you just arrive at a place and the light is doing
its thing. And, in case you're wondering how much it costs per one picture
(and I'm sure you are!), it's about $3.65 — that's $1.90 to buy
the film, and $1.75 for processing.
Super-Symmar 80 XL f/4.5 and 3b center filter
Super-Symmar 110 XL f/5.6
W 150mm 5.6
210mm 5.6 Apo-Sironar-N
M 300 f/9
L-508 light meter
Half-darkslide for 2x5"
This was the first slide film I started
with and used from September of 2000 through August of 2003. It returned
as my preference and main film used starting in August, 2007. I feel it
has the most natural color palette of any of the Fuji slide films which
lies in between either extreme of Velvia and Astia. My tastes in color
saturation have matured and mellowed, and I think I'm finally back at
the right place.
This was thought to be originally intended
to be the replacement for Velvia 50, but turned out to not be the case.
It has a slightly cooler color palette than Velvia 50, but finer grain,
and of course, an extra stop of speed. It was my primary film I used between
September 2005 through July of 2007. I have mostly discontinued its use
for the same reasons I list below for Velvia 50. However, I still employ
it for some overcast scenes where it still shines.
industry standard for landscape photography since it was introduced in
1990. Super saturated colors and fine grain. It has a narrow exposure
latitude which is less forgiving than other slide films in high contrast
scenes. The main aspects I don't like about it is the gaudy purple colors
it produces during certain warm situations along with an overly electric
blue skies in other situations. The latter which can be desaturated and
controlled easier in digital post-processing than the former. It was the
primary film I used between September 2003 and September 2005.
finest grain film on the market provides the most true to life colors,
though it has a distinct green cast. It has the highest dynamic range
of Fuji's slide film, but this means it is super dull and unimpressive
to look at on a light box, for most situations anyway. It is extremely
muted on the warm colors such as the reds and oranges of sunrise and sunset.
Starting in January, 2007, it was my intent to switch to this as my primary
film. My original plan was to process these in Photoshop and treat them
just like I would a raw digital file and bring it back to life. I mostly
shot Velvia 100 side-by-side through August, 2007, but felt Astia was
at too much the other extreme as Velvia, the latter which I still preferred.
Ultimately, I wanted something in between. Enter Provia.
Canon 5D Mark II (21.1 megapixels)
I wasn't initially planning to get the 5D replacement, and I went back and forth a few times, but in the end, the HD video option was too compelling. I was more than content with the image quality of the original, and the additional megapixels don't make this camera twice as good, but it does have some other welcome features like a much better LCD, an in-camera dust removal feature, and higher ISO availability that I've already put to use shooting the Milky Way.
5D (12.7 megapixels)
This 35mm-sensor camera provides the the image
quality I desire when using the 4x5 camera isn't the best tool for the
job as this is the next best thing. It allows for generous enlargements
with great detail and full image control that a raw digital file possesses. This now serves as my backup camera.
350D/Rebel XT (8 megapixels)
Canon Rebel XT was my first digital SLR camera and now serves as my capable
backup and wildlife camera. Though it used to be Canon's entry level SLR,
it is a very capable little machine that can make wonderful 20x30"
prints, and sometimes larger. It is extremely small and lightweight, which
is a landscape photographer's dream. The smaller 15x22mm sensor packs
almost twice the pixels in the same image area as the 5D, which is why
this is vastly superior for critters that would only fill its image area,
such as birds or distant wildlife.
Nikon 14-24 f/2.8 ED
Canon 16-35 f/2.8L
Canon TS-E 24 f/3.5 II
Canon TS-E 45 f/2.8
24-105 f/4L IS
Canon 70-200 f/4L IS
100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS
Canon 500 f/4L IS
Canon 1.4 Extender II
2x Extender II
Ray 2-stop soft and 3-stop hard graduated neutral density
PowerShot S95 (10 megapixel)
My point-and-shoots have actually been my workhorses, believe it or not. They really get a workout as I take far
more pictures with them compared to my SLR and 4x5 combined. Point-and-shoots are perfect for those journal-type
shots that you can just fire away which help to tell a visual story in
my travels. The S95 replaces my S90 purely for the HD video recording aspect, though the 24 FPS rate is not nearly as smooth as in the 640x480 mode at 30 FPS. Anyway, the image quality on both are superb for a point-and-shoot. These cameras support raw (please don't spell it RAW, which is incorrect!) image recording for further flexibility in post-processing, though I only use that for minimal handheld snapshots with good printing potential. Prior to the S95 and S90, I had the piece-of-junk Panasonic Lumix FX48 (horrible JPEG compression), then the great Canon PowerShot S80, then the S45, which was my first digital camera. Yes, I'm sold on the S-series.
Tripod umbrella (Sand-n-Sun
beach chair, clamp-style umbrella found at Wal-Mart—$5.95)
F-Stop Tilopa BC
The above picture is with the large Internal Camera Unit. I also have the medium ICU. This selection of lenses isn't what I normally carry in it, but as shown includes the 5D2 with 100-400, 24-105, 24 TS-E II, 45 TS-E, 16-35, and the 70-200 f/4. Other pictures to be added later.
El Carmagne 630
I finally got around to buying a carbon fiber tripod back in April, 2006,
to replace my heavy, 5 lb 9 oz Bogen 3221 (black version of the very popular
3021). At $290, the Velbon is about as cheap (Feisol
being the cheapest) as there is in the carbon fiber genre. It weighs 3
lbs 6 oz. Price wasn't the top priority as I had considered going the
Gitzo route, but ultimately, I am not a fan of twist locks at all and
I couldn't pull the trigger on one, so the Velbons looked all the more
enticing. Plus, they were lighter than an equivalent Gitzo at the time
I was looking. It was a no-brainer, and I am happy to report that I really
love my El Carmagne 630 and can highly recommend it. I should've made
this move years ago.
just wanted a basic tripod that did exactly what my Bogen did, but in
carbon fiber to shed a couple of pounds. I don't need the shorter packing
height and extra bit of hassle of a four-leg-section tripod. The flip
locks are a treat and the included neoprene grip and pad on the upper
legs are nice as well. The 630 sits about 3" shorter than the 3221
at maximum height without the center column extended, which is noticeable,
as I'm pretty much always raising the center column a little bit, but that really isn't
a big deal most of the time. This is a very well built and solid tripod
for photography, though it wouldn't fare as well as my 3221 if I ever
had a run-in with a mountain lion where I might need to take a few swings!
only minor gripes are with the center column and
the rubber feet:
two-piece aluminum center column is split in a very odd place. It's basically
an 80/20-split. If you need to shoot low to the ground, you'll have
to unscrew the longer piece. It would've been nice if it were dissected
a bit more evenly so I could leave the bottom piece off, but with just
the top, it only extends a couple of inches, which isn't enough for my
for the rubber feet, they're a harder rubber/plastic material that
don't grip as nice as what I'm used to on surfaces such as slickrock, but this really hasn't been a real issue while shooting. I suspect you could remove the OEM ones easily enough and replace them with softer feet, but I've not done this.
such a big fan of this tripod that I also bought the 530 legs. I mainly bought it
to shave another half-pound, plus losing some additional girth for hiking
and backpacking. While certainly shorter, the weight savings is more than
worth it. Plus, it gives me a backup carbon fiber tripod so I don't have
to lug around my 3221 as insurance while on a trip. I definitely extend the center column a bit when shooting with this tripod, but it is just as well built as the 630 model, and I really couldn't be much happier with both. Both have been to many trips to the Great Sand Dunes, and these must do a really great job of self-cleaning, as it doesn't take too many uses before you can't hear and feel the sand when extending/compacting the legs. These are top-notch.
Ultimate version 1
CPU: Mac Pro (early 2008) 2.8 GHz (8-core)
35mm film scanner:
Perfection 4990 Pro
Stylus Photo 1400