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07/28/12 Screen protection options for Phase One IQ Series Digital backs (IQ140,IQ160, & IQ180)

One of the most impressive features of the Phase One IQ Series of Digital backs, (IQ140, 160 and 180), would have to be their LCD screen.  This screen, which has been compared to the quality of the Apple retina displays, is a vast improvement over the LCD screens that were used on the older Phase One backs like the P45+.  With the IQ series, you have a screen that gives the photographer 100% positive feedback during the image capture processes.  The most critical piece of feedback being the ability to quickly zoom in to a 100% view of your image and check for focus.  The LCD size on the Phase One IQ series backs are 3.2 inches.  The screen on the IQ backs is a touch screen and thus allows you to move around the information being displayed without having to hit any physical buttons.

The ability to zoom into 100% to check the image for critical focus is one of the most important features for my work since I use a Tech Camera.  Anyone using a Tech Camera knows that obtaining critical focus is one of the most challenging aspects to their use.  Phase One’s sensor does not work well with “live view” so most people myself included will take the shot based on focus settings they think are close, then view the captured image on the screen and from there fine tune the focus if needed.  The touch screen design of the Phase One IQ back lets a photographer do this in seconds rather then minutes.  If the LCD screen is damaged, scratched, or has had some of the anti-reflective coating rubbed off, this process of zooming to 100% and checking the focus can become much more difficult.

[Read more…]

07/22/12 A quick look at the Nikon MB-D12, Nikon’s vertical grip–external battery holder for the D800 Series of cameras

Click on any of the thumbnails for a larger view of the image.

Since I purchased my Nikon D800, I have added the new Nikon MB-D12 battery grip.  I am planning to write a full review of the grip in use with the D800, but this is a quick view of the grip.  The pictures show the grip installed on a Nikon D800, the various battery holders that come with the grip and the grip and an L bracket.  Overall the grip is nice addition to the D800 and with it installed you gain quite a bit of extra run time by using either another Nikon battery or a series of 8 AA batteries.  It’s a nice feature to be able to use AA batteries as if you are in the field/remote parts of the United States, you can almost always find somewhere to purchase AA batteries.  Also if you used the energizer AA lithium AA batteries, you may be able to last for 3 to 4 days without having to change out the cells.

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My Contact Information

Photography by Paul Caldwell

Thank you for the interest in my photography. I have been working in the photographic arts since I was 15 and have been a professional photographer for the last 10 years. All of the work on this site is available for sale in for the form of Digital stock or prints. I produce my prints on either paper or canvas and can also work with you on selective framing options. If you have any questions on a image on the site, please feel free to call me or email me. I am also available for one on one classes with a 4 hour minimum. These classes can cover any part of the photographic process, from capture to printing.

I am based out of Little Rock AR, but can cover all of the state, or U.S.

Sincerely

Paul Caldwell
13723 Rivercrest Dr.
LIttle Rock AR 72212
501-240-1477 cell
email: paul@photosofarkansas.com

 

 
 

 

07/21/12 Richland Creek has Flatlined, a first in 18 years of hiking and boating the best creek in Arkansas

USGS graph of Richland Creek for July 16th 2012

USGS graph of Richland Creek for July 16th 2012

Arkansas has many famous spots for outdoor recreation which feature lakes, or streams.  For sure one of the best is Richland creek, in the northwest part of Arkansas.  With Richland Creek one can find a stream that is the 2nd largest tributary of the Buffalo river which has a huge watershed that cross through several Arkansas counties before emptying into the Buffalo river at Woolum.  In the winter and springtime Richland is famous for kayaking both the upper and lower portions of the creek.  During the late spring and summer Richland tends to offer a quiet and tranquil location to get away from busier parts of Arkansas.  During the autumn, Richland can offer one of the most dramatic displays of fall color in the state since there are several areas along the creek that have trees approaching 50 to 70 years of age.  I like to try and hike Richland at least 4 times during the year to catch the creek at it’s different stages each of which can offer amazing photograhic opportunities.

On my weekly checks of Richland Creek’s USGS Hydro-graph I have watched as my favorite creek has slowly dropped down the chart.  However today when I checked the creek, I was amazed to see a flat-line 0.00.  I have never in 18 years of monitoring Richland seen it this low.  The gauge is near the concrete bridge immediately below the campground and I have to assume that the large pool at the bridge is now dry or very close to being dry.  Richland’s being this low really puts into perspective just how low the state of Arkansas’s wild stream flow is currently.  I also check the Buffalo River and it is now showing 0.25 at the Boxley gauge which is also very low, even for this time of the year.

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07/20/12 Panther Cloth from Kinetronics is amazing–for photos, cameras, and much more!!

I have been a photographic printer now for over 30 years, the first 15 with the traditional photographic paper/chemical process and the last 15 with inkjets and photoshop. One of the biggest problems that you will run into is the handling of a fine photo. If you are working to mount it either dry or wet mount, the cloth you use to help with the process has to be free of any type of material that will scratch a print. This is especially true with a glossy or semi-gloss print as it seem that just the slightest rub will sometimes scratch a perfect print and send it to the trash can. Over the years I have used the static free brushes from Kinetronics for cleaning my print before and after I mount them. I also use these same brushes to clean my printers as a lot of trash seems to build up in and around the platen area of my inkjets. This trash will eventually fall onto the print surface. When this happens, most times the printer will print over the trash and when you wipe the print the trash comes off and then the ink. Another one hits the trash! But even worse, after you get a good print, is finding a cloth that will not scratch the surface of the print when you are mounting it. Enter the Panther cloth from Kinetronics.

Kinetronics Panther cloth in package
Kinetronics Panther cloth in package

The panther cloth is made from  a black, very soft, anti-static material.  I believe it’s about 10″ x 10″ when fully unfolded.  A single cloth from the company is $6.95 and you can purchase a box of (10) for $41.00 which is a very good savings on the single price.  As good as these clothes are I would recommend purchasing the box.  I was able to work with a 25″ x 45″ glossy print for a dry mount and the process was smooth and generated no scratches.  You can actually use these clothes to press down on the print as you lay the print down (I don’t use a dry mount press)  When I dry mount I  use a spray adhesive and then lay the print down, applying pressure as I do this.  During the process you need one hand holding the print and other to apply slight pressure over the print to help keep bubbles from forming.  I tested the Panther cloth in my dry mounting and found no scratches at all. [Read more…]

07/12/12 Rain comes to Arkansas and provides some much needed drought relief

Pine needles after the rain

Pine needles after the rain

All of the photos in this entry were taken with a Sony Nex-7, and a Sony 18-200mm E mount lens.  I used Adobe Lightroom 4.1 for all the raw conversions.  This first image was taken in color and converted to B&W by using the conversion process in Lightroom 4.1

I was out in my backyard and kept hearing the ominous sounds of thunder, but every time I looked around the sky, I couldn’t see any thunderheads.  Soon the wind picked up and it was clear that a good rain might be headed my way.  While walking around the side of the house, I was able to see a break in the trees and saw that all along the Arkansas River, that a large storm was forming and would soon be headed over to my house.  The wait was not long and soon we were blessed with about a 30 minute heavy rain that was really needed.  As soon as the rain stopped I decided to try and get some pictures since it had been so long that I had been able to work around water in Arkansas.

Robin after the storm
Robin after the storm

I wanted to try out my Sony Nex-7 with the Sony 18-200mm F3.2 to F6.3 lens.  I had not really used this lens in low light/high iso photography and was curious how well both the camera and lens would perform.  Since the Sony Nex-7 has a cropped sensor with a 1.5x factor, the 200mm lens would be the 35mm equivalent of a 300mm lens. I did not use a tripod and mainly used the cameras LCD for all the focus/framing of the various subjects I photographed.  The robins were a push at 1600 iso and a F stop of 6.3.  I quickly realized that the Sony 18-200 lens was not a low light lens.  I ran into immediate focus problems which I had not experienced before. Even though the lens was showing good focus confirmation, it was not really able to lock on to many of the finer subjects I was trying to work with.  The shot of the robin came out very well.  He was moving around quite a bit and this shot is a crop of about 1/25th of the full sized image.  In this case the 18-200 was able to lock in very well, but even with 300mm, it was really not enough to work this robin which was about 25 yards away from me.  Still after working up this crop in Lightroom 4.1, I was very happy with the results.  The robin had been through the worst of the rain as can be seen by looking at his head.

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07/08/12 Canon 200-400 F4 coming, but at a price!

It seems from reading the posts from “people in the know” that the long talked about Canon 200-400mm F4 lens will soon be a reality. There have been many posts by the the beta testers and other privileged people who have been able to get the lens for testing. Recently Northlight.com  images showed some pictures of the 200-400 F4 in action at Wimbledon. Overall the 200-400 looks like most of Canon’s high end glass, with a off white body and built in L bracket for mounting to a tripod or other holder.

Canon 200-400mm F4 Zoom Lens
The new Canon 200-400mm F4 Zoom Lens

This lens fills a huge need for Canon shooters in that Canon’s only other zoom offering that would come close to this is the tried and true 100-400 F5.6 go F6.3  However that lens is an older style, one that seems to gather dirt and dust quickly, and will not allow AF to work with many Canon bodies if even a 1.4x Teleconverter is used.  I have used the 100-400 for several years and it can produce a very good image, however you can expect the image quality of the new Canon 200-400 to be top notch.  Here are a few of the features:

  1. All new design with Canon IS (which has several different settings depending on the scene and requirements)
  2. A built in Teleconverter which allows you to shift to 1.4x.  This is 1st as far as I am aware and should be welcomed by most Canon shooters.
  3. Overall lighter weight due to materials being used, something that has been the case with all the newer high end Tele-zooms from Canon

[Read more…]

07/07/12 Relief comes to Arkansas from both heat and drought

The high temperatures in Arkansas for the 6th of July set many state records.  LIttlle Rock hit 107 degrees and Russellville was at 108.  However yesterday, during the afternoon and into the night, Arkansas received the first rain in almost 30 days.  The rainfall was sporadic and thus not uniform but still offered greatly needed relief to parched areas of Arkansas.  The other added benefit was the addition of cloud cover over most of the state.  This also added relief since the sun’s direct effect was blocked.

I have noticed now that many of the parts of Arkansas are showing the effects of the drought.  If you hike along any ridge line in the central part of the state or in the northwest, you can see oak trees that have turned brown along with other deciduous trees.  These trees most likely will hold their leaves until fall and then drop them.  If they drop off now, more than likely the tree will not recover in the spring of 2013.  I am also starting to see some pine trees that are also developing brown needles.  Pines in Arkansas seem to react different than deciduous trees in that they will turn from green to brown in a few days and then die.  The short leaf pine which is native to Arkansas seems to be able to hold a bit better than the imported slash and loblolly pines.  The later two varieties are for pulp and paper only.

I have monitored a few very large short leaf pines around Pulaski county and have noticed that they are all developing some brown needles, but have not turned all brown yet.  Hopefully this continued cloud cover and lower temperatures will help keep things in Arkansas from getting out of control.  The weather forecast for the next week is for lower temperatures and chances of rain for the next few days.  The high temperatures are forecasted to be below 100 degrees for at least 5 days.

What does this mean to outdoor activities for Arkansas:

  1. Keep your campfires out for now as any type of spark or cinder could cause a major wildfire.
  2. If you are going to hike, get an early start and try to stay out of the sun.  Make sure you carry plenty of water.  Odds are you will not find any potable water on your hike.
  3. [Read more…]

07/03/12 Heat continues and burn bans abound throughout Arkansas

Yesterday, I saw the first clouds I had seen in the local sky for almost a week. In the morning, there were enough clouds to briefly darken the sky so that the local temperature was considerably cooler. The shot below was taken on a much different type of day in July about 4 years ago. When this shot was taken, Pulaski County was getting rainfall almost every other day.

Westward view from close to the summit of Pinnacle Mountain

Westward view from close to the summit of Pinnacle Mountain

Even in the shot, you can see some damage from fire however.  The amount of clouds in the sky do help a lot since they will block some the the direct light especially in the middle summer months.  For the past two days, Little Rock, has been blessed with clouds which has helped to keep our maximum temperature down below 100 degrees.

The long term forecast is showing some possible relief by the end of next week when we might be getting some more localize rainfall.

[Read more…]

07/01/12 The weather in Arkansas remains bleak–Heat and more Heat

The heat wave continues in Arkansas

The heat wave continues in Arkansas

Well as much as I would like to say “it’s all OK here in the State of Arkansas”, I really can’t.  This has to be the worst heat wave since the mid 1980’s when the state went almost 60 days with no measurable rainfall.  As you can see from the forecast page above, for the next ten days Arkansas temperatures will stay well over 95 degrees and on many days they will climb over 100 degrees.

If this continues for much longer, then you can safely assume a few things:

  1. Within 20 more days you will start to see large numbers of trees going into stress.  When this occurs the leaves will turn brown and stay on the tree until late fall.  However it also means that any hope of a good photographic fall will be ruined.
  2. Most if not all of the major trunk streams in the State are going to dry up totally, this includes the upper Buffalo River near Boxley, Piney Creek near Russellville, the Cossatot River in the Southwest corner of Arknasas, and the Mulberry River near Fort  Smith.  The smaller streams like Richland Creek have already dried up and unless the state gets some significant rainfall in July and August, I don’t think they will have anything in the fall either.
  3. The fire hazard in the state is at highest level.  On my last trip to the Buffalo River in early June, I was already seeing sights along the roads that let me know we were in for a long hot one.  The roadside wildflowers were gone and the grasses that grow along the road side were all brown.  Now almost a month later, all of these areas are going to be at a high risk if someone throws out a cigarette.
  4. Deer, Elk, and other large wildlife will stay in the deep glens and valleys of the state and not venture out in to the flats due to the excessive heat.  So wildlife photography will be much harder than stopping along the road side and taking out your camera.
  5. [Read more…]