Update – More Reasons to Sign Up for the Spring Tour

Mt. Etna, Sicily, Italy

Time is running out! You still have until May 1 to sign-up for the Art Wolfe Spring Tour photography workshops and receive the early sign-up discount price of $195, but after May 1st it will be $295.

And here’s some good news: Lowepro and X-Rite have generously donated door prizes to be given away at each city!

Lowepro is providing the Pro Runner 350 AW pack. This is Art’s personal pack of choice, it allows him to carry all of his necessary photo equipment in addition to his 15″ laptop. It’s below the maximum legal carry-on size so you never have to part with your valuable gear on the airplane, and the harness system is supportive and comfortable to allow you to wear this pack for hikes and travel while on location.

X-Rite has contributed the ColorChecker Passport, a great tool for managing and controlling color. This compact color chart is designed to be taken into the field and photographed. The included software integrates with Adobe’s Creative Suite and lets you quickly and consistently edit your color to get perfectly mastered images time after time. Another great tool.

With more reasons and a discounted price for the remainder of this month why wouldn’t you sign up?

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Can You See the Snipe – Here it is.

Just in case you couldn’t see the snipe from Monday’s Vanishing Act Post, (it isn’t easy) we have outlined it in the photo for today’s post.

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Spring Seminar Tour 2010

THE ART OF COMPOSITION

Drawing form 36 years of international travel, Art will delve into a vast range of subjects; from discovering the subject to elements of design and even new works such as time lapses. Imagery of nature, wildlife and the world’s varied landscapes will round out the curriculum to provide the most comprehensive and imaginitave class available. For more information visit our workshop website. Don’t delay, our first two events in Toronto, Canada – May 20 and New York, NY – May 22 are filling fast.

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Handheld Graduated Neutral Density Filter

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People are often surprised when they see me holding my graduated neutral density filter in my hand instead of putting it in a holder. The reason is simple: speed. When conditions are changing rapidly, or even when they aren’t, it’s a lot faster to hold the filter in front of the lens. If I change lenses, I don’t have to take the time to remove holder from one lens and place it on the other. I can reframe or switch from horizontal to vertical in an instant.

You need to watch out for reflections, though. The filter will reflect light if pulled away from the lens too far.

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The Phase One P 45+ Medium Format Back

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Phase One P 45+ Medium Format Back

My friend Kostas Mallios loaned me a Phase One P 45+ digital back for a week, a full-frame 39 megapixel capture system I tested with a Mamiya 645 body. The resolution and dynamic range are astonishing. It’s not just that the files look creamy smooth, but the dynamic range approaches that of the human eye, far exceeding other technologies. As my friend Scott Stulberg says, it’s yummy.

Operating a digital medium format system slows you down. I felt as if I was using my old 4 x 5 view camera again. It’s a much more deliberative process, and by slowing down, the compositions are better considered with fewerof the small flaws I would catch later. With the resolution so high, I can get away with a shorter focal length lenses by cropping quite a bit without losing much in terms of resolution and nothing at all in terms of dynamic range.

My SLRs are more flexible, lighter, quicker, and offer a much wider range of lenses. The best of them surpass medium format film in my opinion. For my work, they’re indispensable. However, if I were a fine art photographer looking for the last iota of definition, the nearest approximation of perfection, I would be sorely tempted.

I forgot to mention the last, greatest, and for me only significant disadvantage. For the price of a Phase One P 45+ camera system including a couple lenses, you could buy a luxury automobile. A fast one.

PS I am afraid to try a P 65. A man can only take so much temptation.

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Equipment

I am often asked about the equipment I use, specifically cameras. I like to travel as light as possible. In recent years I’ve shot with the highest resolution pro digital camera offered by Canon: a 1DS, 1DS Mk 2, and now 1DS Mk 3, a 21-megapixel brick of technology. The pro body is almost impervious to rain, snow, and dust, which is why I prefer it to the cheaper 5D Mk2, despite its HD video and low noise capabilities.

I limit myself to a few lenses most of the time, all Canon. More than half of my images are shot with either the 16-35f 2.8 Mk2 or the 70-200 f4, which is just as sharp as the much heavier and more expensive 2.8 version. If I need a more powerful telephoto, I reach for the 400 DO; if I know I’ll be shooting a lot of wildlife, the 500 f4 comes along. That’s it for 90% of my work.

I still need the usual complement of small, rugged La Cie drives and a Lenovo laptop optimized for photographers (review to follow). A few flashes and reflectors make their way into the kit as well.

Cameras are just tools, though. Cartier Bresson shot The Decisive Moment with a Leica rangefinder and a 50mm lens. It is the eye that matters, and the will to get off the couch and shoot.

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