Okavango Delta, Botswana. November 2013
Phase One DF+, IQ280 80mp digital back, Schneider 240mm lens
As many of you know I have been working with digital medium format for a couple of years, and even though medium format digital equipment isn’t the most appropriate for much of my wildlife work it definitely has its place in my bag on those trips. Why? If you could see this image printed in person you would have that answer. The detail and crispness stand out in a way that no other capture device can do so.
I recently upgraded from a 60 megapixel digital back to an 80 megapixel back and I am very glad that I did so. The new dimensions are 10,300 x 7,760 pixels. Whoa. Yup. That’s a big file to deal with, but the results are astounding. My longest lens is a 240mm, which equates to around 155mm on a full frame 35mm camera. Since I photograph many subjects and not just wildlife, the new Phase One IQ280 on a Phase One DF+ camera will be in my bag on all of my trips going forward. For my wildlife trips I augment either Nikon or Canon gear, however for landscape trips I am 100% medium format.
I am heading back out to the bush tomorrow, and I hope to come home with another image or two from this new camera system.
I have numerous past travelers who would like for me to put together another Galapagos Islands trip in 2014, and if you would like to be notified of such a trip please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have guided a number of these trips in the past, and it is such a beautiful place to photograph. The Galapagos Islands should be on your bucket list of places to visit with a camera.
When I run my Galapagos Islands trips, I always charter my own private ship. I typically charter a 20-person vessel, which means we end up having two naturalists for 20 people. The Galapagos Islands National Park mandates a 16 to 1 ratio, but I think for the best photography we need to have smaller groups. My trips are casual, fun, filled with tons of photography and we are all out there to learn something and to have a good time. We get on shore at first light and we put the dining schedule as something secondary to our photography. I don’t mind if you bring tripods or monopods, either, as we are on shore before all of the other boats and there isn’t any competition for space. My trips are for 7 nights on board the ship, plus a night in Ecuador, which is the perfect amount of time to get great shots.
If you have a measurable interest, please let me know. I am looking into my favorite ships right now and would love to hear from you. My preference is to have at least 50% of the boat filled up prior to my cutting a huge check to secture the boat.
Today I am writing a post about good friend, photographer, safari leader and all around amazing photographer Grant Atkinson. Gosh, I don’t know where to begin about Grant, but I guess it should start when Grant and I started working together back in 2009. Grant has been in the safari business for quite a while, and Grant and I began co-leading safaris in Botswana in 2009. Grant has an extraordinary grasp on technology, especially with Canon camera equipment, and has taught me so much about wildlife behavior as a result of his own experiences in the bush.
Grant used to work for Wilderness Safaris as a specialist guide, and near the end of his employment with Wilderness Safaris he operated out of Savuti Bush Camp as a permanent guide. Grant is now an independent guide and can be found all around the African continent, usually behind a big, white lens. You can see more of Grant and his amazing photographs on his own web site at www.grantatkinson.com.
Grant and I have many safaris together in 2014, and he is also leading a few safaris on his own:
- Big Cats of the Masai Mara - January 18-26, 2014 (This is the BEST time of the year if you are interested in photographing cheetah chases)
- Small Group Luxury Botswana Photo Safari - April 23 - May 2, 2014
- Luxury Great Migration Photo Safari - September 4-12, 2014
- Botswana, The Premier Photo Safari - November 3-22, 2014
Please come join us out in the African bush next year for some exciting photographic opportunities, some good laughs and a trip of a lifetime. In the meantime, here are just a few of Grant’s images:
For those like me who have been hobbling with an aging Apple Cinema Display and haven’t found ‘the right’ display to replace it, today is your lucky day. NEC has announced what will be a VERY popular display for photographers. Why? Check out these specs:
- 10-bit wide color gamut
- 2560x1440 resolution
- 109ppi (better than 72dpi but not Retina quality)
- Ability to load ICC profiles to emulate custom color spaces and match prints
- 14-bit LUT
- DisplayPor, HDMI and DVI hookup options
- USB port
If you get this display you absolutely have to get it with the SpectraviewII calibration kit, otherwise you aren’t getting the best out of this unit. The built-in Spectraview profiling solution is better than what you have today. If you don’t use Spectraview, you will lose the full capabilities of the hardware system, which is controlled by the NEC software.
PA272 in Black at B&H
PA272 in White at B&H
For those of you who have been waiting to read reports on the inredible Canon 200-400mm f/4 L IS USM lens but didn’t get on a list early enough, today’s your lucky day. B&H now has this difficult-to-obtain lens in stock. My experience with the lens is limited, but the few moments I have used it out on safari were happy moments. Yes, it is an inredible wildlife lens, much moreso than the Nikon equivalent.
Popular Photography recently did a quick phone interview with me, and we had a nice hour of chatting, laughing and talking about photography. Here is a link:
It’s been a crazy 2013 so far, and I haven’t done a good job of posting timely and useful content on this blog. In an attempt to even it all out, how about a Photo of the Day entry with 3 images? But seriously, when life and business get busy the first thing that typically falls off is posting to this blog.
Last month I lead a safari into the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda, and had some amazing experiences wtih the resident mountain gorillas. This year’s hikes were quite difficult, however the resulting photographic opportunities were over-the-top amazing. I couldn’t be happier, and I have included just a few of the images down below. For some reason I ended up preferring to use black and white over processing the images in color, likely because I have a better ability to create a sense of mood without having to stay in the ‘color box’, otherwise known as reality. I can get much more aggressive with dodging and burning without breaking too many rules that color photographs somehow are judged by.
I will be leading a trip back to the Virunga Mountains for mountain gorillas in 2014, and the trip will also include trekking for wild chimpanzees as well. It will be a 1-2 primate combination, limited to only 7 people.
Nikon D800E, 70-200mm f/2.8, 1/400 @ f/2.8, ISO 1600
Nikon D800E, 70-200mm f/2.8, 1/250 @ f/2.8, ISO 1600
Nikon D800E, 70-200mm f/2.8, 1/400 @ f/2.8, ISO 2500