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Expressive Printing: Monochrome Options

Achieve the tonal nuance and character of the finest silver prints when making digital prints in this August workshop lead by George Schaub.

The class concentrates on monochrome printmaking, which includes many styles and approaches, from expressionistic to naturalistic to highly graphic, and includes the use of numerous plug-ins for creating foundation images, using duotone and “toned” looks, creating low-sat and high and low key, as well as infrared and threshold interpretations. The tools are many and varied, but what is most important in this class is defining a look and emotional feel to your prints that makes the effort worthwhile, an effort that makes you look at them in silence and know that you have expressed something from within yourself.

The workshop is limited to only 15 students so make sure you sign up quickly to reserve your spot.

Shooting Icebergs from a Zodiac

This article was written by Moab Master, Joshua Holko

One of the most exciting and enjoyable aspects of a photographic trip to Antarctica is the opportunity to climb into a zodiac with like-minded photographers and spend countless hours cruising amongst the spectacular icebergs and glaciers that line the Antarctic Peninsula. For the photographer with a penchant for icy landscapes it just doesn’t get any better, and the opportunities are virtually limitless.

Cruising in a zodiac is one of the best ways to photograph icebergs since it puts the photographer at sea level, enabling wonderful perspective opportunities that are impossible to achieve aboard a large ship. Zodiac photography also provides you with the opportunity to get very close to even relatively large icebergs, thus enabling you to create dramatic photographs through the use of wide and ultra-wide angle lenses. If your zodiac driver is keen and fearless enough then in many cases you can even get close enough to touch some of the more stable icebergs (as I did on several occasions). If you are super keen then you may even be up for a polar plunge, as one member of my group recounted from a previous expedition.

During my last Antarctica trip I spent over twelve hours cruising in zodiacs with other photographers, which provided ample opportunity to not only photograph icebergs, glaciers and penguins, but also to place other zodiacs and people in the frame to provide a sense of scale and context to some of the photographs. I normally work very hard to exclude the hand of man in my landscape photography, but in several instances it provided the perfect counter point to complete and balance the frame.

Whilst the idea of wrestling with camera gear in a pitching zodiac on Antarctic seas with ten other photographers all jostling for position might sound like less than ideal shooting conditions, the reality is quite different. A zodiac provides a relatively stable shooting platform and can actually comfortably accommodate up to ten photographers (with equipment), a dedicated driver, and still provide ample room for everyone to shoot simultaneously. I never felt cramped or uncomfortable and was successfully able to share the space available with those around me. Usually those on the side closest to the subject kneel on the floor of the zodiac with their arms resting on the pontoon. This provides a very stable platform for handheld shooting. Photographers on the far side of the subject can then stand and shoot over the top of those kneeling in front of them. The zodiac driver would always do a few passes, thus enabling everyone to get the shot from several vantage points. Because a zodiac is a small boat and is constantly moving, it is important to keep shooting whenever the subject is in frame since the composition is constantly changing. There is very little time to properly compose a well-considered frame before the angle of view has changed. Instead, the challenge becomes one of selective editing later on.

Photography from zodiacs does require some additional and necessary equipment, including thermal clothes, waterproof jacket and pants, self inflating life jacket, and rain covers for camera equipment. One of the biggest challenges is protecting camera equipment from salt spray, sleet and snow. During several of my zodiac sessions we were buffeted by high winds whipping up spray as the zodiac moved through the sea. We also experienced heavy snow, driving rain and sleet. During several trips I had my camera equipment completely soaked and was very glad of the weather sealing of my 1-series Canon cameras, which operated flawlessly. Several Canon 5D MKII cameras were not so fortunate and succumbed (albeit temporarily) to the harsh, wet conditions. I recommend carrying at least one cloth suitable for drying the front element of your camera lens and a separate bag in which to keep it dry.

In terms of positioning I found it generally best to sit toward the back of the zodiac to avoid the worst of the salt spray that is inevitably thrown up at the front of the boat. However, there is no free lunch at the rear either, where the fumes of the outboard engine’s exhaust can become somewhat nauseating after a period of time and gave me a headache on more than one occasion.

The choice of lens when shooting from zodiacs is an important consideration in your planning since it is quite difficult to swap lenses without ending up with a camera full of salt spray, rain or snow. In fact, even swapping out small SD memory cards can be a challenge in a pitching zodiac whilst wearing cold weather gloves. On top of this, Antarctica is an incredibly dusty environment and it is a good idea to try and minimize lens changes, or at the very least find a sheltered place to do so. I chose to shoot with both my 1DS MK3 and 1DMKV cameras, as I wanted to utilize prime lenses for the majority of my shooting and dual camera bodies gave me an additional focal length option without having to change lenses. I primarily shot with the 24mm F1.4L MKII and 17mm F4L TSE and occasionally with the 70-200mm F2.8L IS. I am comfortable shooting with prime lenses at the wide end and found these two lenses excellent for the task. Most photographers chose to shoot with zoom lenses when on zodiac excursions since they provide for increased framing possibilities. A zoom lens such as a Canon’s 16-35mm or Nikons 14-24mm will provide for more flexible framing.


A few tips if you are planning your first photography foray on a zodiac in Antarctica.

-       Be sure to visit the bathroom before you climb on board. It’s amazing how the call of nature can hit you when you are in the middle of the Antarctic Ocean on a boat full of photographers keen on anything but heading back to the ship so you can relieve your problem.

-       Don’t forget to put on your life jacket before you queue up to board. It’s amazing how difficult it can be to put on a life jacket over bulky thermals and wet weather gear whilst in a narrow ship corridor and juggling cameras.

-       Carry a couple of dry lens clothes in an easily accessed waterproof bag for drying the front element of your lens. Use rain covers to protect your cameras.

-       Carry spare camera batteries and spare memory cards in an easily accessed waterproof pocket. There is nothing more frustrating than being on a zodiac with a flat battery or full memory card.

-       Wear sunscreen. Even in overcast conditions the reflected UV light off the icebergs will cook you in a very short space of time. The ozone layer is very thin over Antarctica.

-       Wear plenty of warm clothes. Sitting on a zodiac, it is very easy to become chilled to the bone if the weather is poor or the wind is up. It is easy to remove a layer if you get too hot.

-       Be considerate of those around you before you stand up or lean in front of someone else. Space is limited on a zodiac and everyone wants to take great photographs.

-       Zodiac drivers are often keen photographers themselves and will do their best to put the zodiac in the best possible position for shooting. If you need to get closer or further away you can ask, and I have found they are usually very accommodating.

-       Never carry loose pieces of paper or plastic. Antarctica is a pristine environment and it would be very easy to lose these items to the wind.

-       Above all else, have fun. Shooting from zodiacs is an incredible experience and it’s important to put the camera down occasionally, have the driver switch the engine off and just appreciate the silence, rugged and raw beauty of Antarctica.

Andy Biggs and Joshua will be announcing a new expedition to Antarctica in late 2013 in the coming months. If you would like to register your interest to be one of the first to be notified when the trip is announced you can email either Andy or Joshua at info@andybiggs.com or jholko@bigpond.com

 

Michael Zide on B&W Landscapes

One of our favorite B&W photographers will be leading a week-long workshop this summer at the Maine Media Workshops.  Michael Zide will be teaching a class titled, As You See It: Finding Your Creative Voice from July 1-7, 2012.  

Those signed up for the workshop are in for a special treat as Michael will be joined by print master, Jim Roselli of Xact Studios.  This tag-team duo will present the hands-on essentials of B&W landscape photography and fine art image output.  Click here for more details about Michael's class.

Note: last year's workshop sold out and had a waiting list so be sure to register early.

 

NEW Epson 7900/9900 Profiles

We constantly update our profiles to provide you the absolute best quality for most of the pro printers out there.  The most recent profile we just recreated was the Epson 7900/9900.

If you have this printer, head over to our ICC profile page and download this new profile.  We promise you won't be disappointed.

If you haven't used any of our profiles, we suggest you give them a test-drive.  We develop every profile in-house ourselves to ensure you obtain the best possible print.  Of course, nothing beats a custom profile for your specific workflow, but ours come pretty darn close.


"The Perfect Print" with Andy Biggs, July 6/7 in NYC

Tuesday, July 6, 2010  |  3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
 
Learn the latest digital printing techniques from Master Printer and African Wildlife photographer, Andy Biggs. Andy will cover ICC Profiles, color management, how to choose inkjet papers, types of printers and how to build the ideal digital print studio.
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Wednesday, July 7, 2010  |  11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Come and share two hours with renowned African wildlife photographer and workshop instructor Andy Biggs. Andy will share a typical year in his life as a wildlife photographer by discussing the myriad safari locations he travels to in Africa. From the wide open savannah of the Serengeti in Tanzania to the seasonal waters of the Okavango Delta in Botswana, Andy will tell you how he travels from jet planes to bush planes and helicopters to Land Rovers.
Receive practical advice about how to photograph wildlife and discover how Andy travels internationally to hard-to-reach locations. Andy will share his award winning photographs, along with the stories behind each image, and what equipment he used to create beautiful images.

 

Quick Lesson From David Adamson

One of the "godfathers" of digital printing, and longtime Somerset user David Adamson offers an expert diagnosis of some common flaws found in a digital photo.  Check out the article.  

David Adamson is a Tamarind certified Master Printer. He started Adamson Editions in 1979 as a lithography studio. In 1993 David bought his first Iris 3047 printer and became one of the first digital ateliers in the country. 

How to feed cut sheets of canvas through your printer

Here is a quick rundown of some ideas if you are wanting to print on cut sheets of canvas, such as our Moab Ansazi Canvas:

1) With the adjustable paper guide in place, slightly back off the guide about 1/4 of an inch away from the canvas. This allows the printer to wiggle the media into place.

2) Be sure to use the recommended paper path for canvas on your printer. Most printers do not allow you to use bulk, or cassette paper paths. Most printers require you to use a manual one-at-a-time feeding process.

3) Be sure to use the correct media type in your printer driver, in addition to icc profile. The media type instructs the printer to accept the proper thickness for the media, as well as it instructs the printer on how much ink to place on the media.

Accurate, Excellent, and Consistent Inkjet Printing with Will Crocket from ShootSmarter.com

Master photographer and photographic guru Will Crockett of ShootSmarter.com has created this fantastic video explaining how he achieves color consistency from screen to print and the tools he uses to keep his commercial photography studio humming.