An IF award for ARCA-SWISS

ARCA-SWISS has won yet another award for its product design and functionality – the highly prestigious and internationally renowned IF design product award for its celebrated d4.

This 60-year old organization recognizes the most outstanding, high-quality, innovative and creative products. This year, a jury of internationally renowned experts picked the d4 from a selection of 3249 products from 51 countries for its performance in specific fields such as innovation, functionality, ergonomics, longevity, ecological compatibility and function clarity.

The d4 4-axes tripod head is specifically designed for precision photography both in the

studio and on location. You can find the Arca Swiss d4 here

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Sky on Skye… by Tim Way

We have an article for you written by a local Photographer and customer of ours. His work was recently published in the Landscape Photographer of the Year.

Sky on Skye . . . by Tim Way

Through your generosity of time, recommendations and a little tuition with Jeremy Walker, I wanted to share a little journey I had from last year, not just with my photography, but also a 1,670 mile round trip in my Smart Car to Skye and back, ‘back’ being Poole in Dorset.

My photography journey continued this year with one of those images being Commended in this years Landscape Photographer of the Year competition. This image has now been published in Volume 7 of Landscape Photographer of the Year and is available in all good book shops ; ) lol.

My journey started November of last year. I remember packing everything into the Smart, popping up to the fuel station to fill up, grabbing a large Costa and thinking, I hope it doesn‘t snow.

I’d pre-booked one Bed and Breakfast in Killin, Scotland. It gave me focus for the journey ahead. After several fuel stops and a 15 minute power nap, I arrived at my destination, in the dark. I awoke the next morning revitalised and in time for breakfast and a chat with my host and new K9 friend ‘Blue’ (well, at least while there was breakfast on my plate : ) The day was intermittent drizzle and moderate to poor visibility so I set off in waterproofs to a wonderful Forestry over-looking Loch Tay.

I set my camera up on a tripod with my 50mm Zeiss Planner on the edge of the water. I remember the blustery wind & drizzle and the fight to keep my Lee Hard Grad free from droplets of rain. My gear for this morning comprised of an XL chamois cloth for rain protection over the camera and lens barrel & the occasional use of a waterproof rucksack cover for the “not a hope in hell’ moments the weather threw at my equipment. I danced the merry dance, ducking and diving until the occasional break in weather presented itself. The following image was part of a portrait 5 shot stitch, but I ended up in ‘post’ with a preferred square format crop.

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I continued on my journey to Tay Forest Park for my next shoot. This was shot under a wonderful canopy with dappled light bouncing over the moss and grass in a very controlled environment. Shot again using my 50mm Zeiss this time as a 7 shot portrait and merged in post for a panoramic format.

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I carried onwards through Rannoch Moor, Glen Coe, Forte William and finally reaching the Winter Ferry at Malliag for the trip across to Armadale on Skye. I emphasise ‘Winter’ Ferry because there is only one way on and the same way off, so this means reversing onto the Ferry so you’re pointing the right way to drive off at the other end. I thought it was a wind up, me being the first there, so I held back in case it was Scottish humour : )

I arrived on Skye, yet again in the dark and headed left off the ferry on a whim to find my next B&B up the hill on the right in Ardvasar. You may forgiven for thinking I haven’t planned my route, you are correct. Rule of thumb: “My route for the following day was planned the evening before over a cup of tea and a biscuit before bed”. Nothing like living on the edge in the winter months traveling around Skye in a Smart Car. Didn’t really think that one through especially after refuelling at a garage that only sold Landrovers. That said, after speaking to a local, the warm Gulf Air Stream flows through and over Skye meaning even if there was snow, it vanishes pretty quickly with steep hills (road) being cleared with ploughs if needed. Most folk on Skye have everyday 2 wheel drive cars. Phew !

I digress.
So, breakfast in Ardvasar and chat with my hosts before leaving for my next destination, ”the view out towards Ornsay Lighthouse” just off of the A851. This was my Commended shot taken on my trusty Nikon D700 using my Zeiss 21mm Distagon.

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A little word about my technique: I use the Arca Swiss P01 head recommended by Robert White Photo, an Arca L Bracket, along with a couple of short Arca extension rails. The extension rails enable me to pull the camera back off of axis in both Landscape and Portrait formats to obtain the correct Nodal Point and Centre over my tripod. This enables perfect stitching for my Panoramic Landscapes, thank you Jeremy : )

Common to most of my images (I’d say 99%) is use of the Lee Filter System. I started off with the Hard Grads as recommended for Landscape Photography especially as I live near the coast. I try to use them in Live View mode as it’s very easy to equalise what you see on screen. Once I have done this, it’s simply down to Exposure Time as my Aperture and ISO are fixed. I shoot at 200 ISO exclusively although I’m always experimenting with new techniques. Live view isn’t always available due to glare on the camera surface, so a fine balance between viewfinder, live view and histogram whilst adjusting filters is my working progress. I also make use of the Lee 0.9 Pro Glass ND for time adjustment, Lee 105 Circular Polariser for reflections and colour boost, the new 1.2 ND Hard Grad (as used in the Castle Stalker shot) and recently purchased Soft ND Grad Set. The Soft Grads have surprised me; I now use a mix between the two for more accurate control or just the Soft Grads to control light from the side. I have an old scuffed 0.3 ND I use in front of my filters when water is an issue and simply remove when the time is right. Lee filters raise my game and take me to a whole new level; I simply couldn’t be without them.

I am currently writing a Statement of Intent for my ‘A’ panel for the Royal Photographic Society, I’d like to share it with you although it’s not quite finished. Forgive me my poetic license, this is from the heart and how I feel about my Landscape Photography. It was written whilst recalling Sky on Skye.

I, . . . am a Landscape Photographer. I am at piece in my landscape. Our hearts beat as one as light begins it’s marry dance across land, ocean and sky. I am beckoned by it’s symphony and I share with you the wonders I witness while you sleep the early morning. My focus is intense as my surroundings unfold in front of me. I am one, . . . one with my camera, . . . and one with my senses. I, . . . am a Landscape Photographer. ©Tim Way 2013.

Here are 3 more images from my trip, 2 last year and one from this years trip. You may recognise Eilean Donan Castle and Castle Stalker.

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Images are for sale and I am arranging a trip to Skye next year for a group of 3 if interested. Good luck with your photography.

Tim Way – LRPS
www.timwayphotography.co.uk
info@timwayphotography

Thanks to Tim for this article and some fantastic pictures. If anyone would like some advice on Lee Filters, Arca Swiss or Zeiss then please either vistit our website or give us a call.

Still On The Bubble … by Kym Cox

You may remember this time last year when we posted an article about one of our local customers, Kym Cox. Kym’s work is unique and has some fascinating technical aspects as well as an aesthetic beauty. The project has continued to impress us and we are pleased to bring you another article about her on going bubble projects. All of Kim’s work is now shot on Zeiss lenses, which can be found on our website here.

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I wrote an article for this blog a year ago extolling the virtues of my new Nikon 800E and Zeiss Makro Planar 100mm f.2. I concluded both were ‘beyond stunning’ forphotographing my soap bubbles. To date and considerable photographing later they have superseded that opinion into the stratosphere and this is no exaggeration.

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This is one of the images posted last year. Nothing special you might be thinking. However, zoom to each of the three intersections of the bubble – known as the ‘Plateau Borders’ and the fluid mechanics of the bubble becomes apparent. Over the past several years of photographing soap bubbles I have never seen this with such clarity – Plateau Borders always appeared as a relatively plain, blue triangle. As a result, I began to research books, online picture libraries, online university archives and published academic papers to find similar images but came up with nothing. So I sent some photographs to Dr.Cyril Isenberg at Kent University and author of The Science of Soap Films and Soap Bubbles. His reply was encouraging because he too had not seen minutiae of this nature in a photograph either.

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At the time I was a full time BA (Hons) Photography student at the Arts University Bournemouth. The several frames of photographic serendipity had catapulted me away from bubble photographs for Art to bubble photographs for Science. Not exactly what I had enrolled for, but my Tutors were encouraging non the less.

Soap bubbles are studied extensively in a wide range of subjects and surprising by their significance and continual reliability. Because of this, I deferred the last few months of my final year to concentrate on additional scientific research and to fine tune my photographic techniques to produce images that would benefit the scientific community and their research. The image below is one of many I’ve taken since then.

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The original raw image

You have to admit, the Nikon and Zeiss are capable of astounding results. In the main image below you’ll see a small hole positioned in the centre of the lower soap film arch. It looks like two tiny bubbles are about to be dragged in. Indeed, this is where they are ‘filtered’ to. The larger bubble also looks like its heading in the same direction but that flows another direction. It is apparent that bubbles of a specific size flow through the hole, even smaller ones flow away from the hole. You’d think bubbles of a certain size and smaller ones would be sucked in but that is not the case. The hole seems to be there for specific sized bubbles only. Obviously, I can’t say this with absolute certainty because I don’t have the equipment to take exact measurements, but I do have an idea as to how it could be done if I did have them.

There is much more to say in relation to the Plateau Borders and the photographs but I think I should stop now, I don’t want to bore anyone!

I could write an updated review of the Nikon & Zeiss but the images alone are praise enough. A bubble is in constant motion and the liquid within flows at surprisingly high velocities. With this in mind it is apparent the lens and recording capability of the camera are something to behold, together they are truly exquisite and wonderful to use.

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I have tweaked the saturation and clarity in LightRoom, and I do mean tweaked … fractionally.

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I returned to Uni to finish my degree in September and i’m commingling bubbles for ArtScience now. The three images below are the first ‘dehydrated’ bubbles I’ve taken as part of my course. They’re solid and won’t burst if I prick them. They appear the same as the day I produced them six weeks ago. I’m wondering what will happen over time.

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Every bubble photograph I take inevitably leads to another field of photographic

experimentation and exploration and this is why I keep on photographing them. Critters to photograph and an endless challenge, but as a subject they have endless possibilities. For the most part, the results are worth it.

I have my first lesson on the 800E video function next week, if the clips turn out to be as precise as the images I’ll be very pleased indeed. It will be fascinating to see what happens within a super-sized Plateau Border on a TV screen. For this I’ll definitely need an additional piece of kit.

As with my previous article, I do like to end on a lighter note and I hope you do too.

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Rude Bubble No 2

If you would like to contact me please email kym.cox@ntlworld.com. All comments good or bad will always be sincerely appreciated.

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Whilst not directly related to photography we thought it might be nice to post something completely different for a change. This graphic novel is being produced by Daniel’s brother Josef and is currently up as a project on Kickstarter.

Jeremy Walker – Rio 2013 with LEE Filters

After a pair of very successful workshops in Brazil Jeremy very kindly agreed to write us a short blog post…

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Following on from the success of last years Rio workshops in association with LEE Filters I once again travelled to Brazil’s exotic  playground in July for two more filters based workshops. Last year we battled against the weather, it was being very English and it  rained a lot. This year all we had to do was avoid the million man demonstrations, the burning tyres, the road blocks, the over zealous police with their tear gas and of course those intent on mugging me for my camera gear.

These workshops have been organised by a Brazilian colleague and good friend, Príamo who is one of Brazil’s top landscape photographers and are aimed at the residents of Rio. They are based in an old house on a hill in the heart of Rio’s arts district, a vibrant neighbourhood with great cafes and bars, cobbled streets, trams and of course the ever present extreme poverty.  Now here’s a funny thing. I have been to Rio twice and have been to far more viewpoints overlooking the city than most of the workshop delegates. The reason is quite sad. There is a prevailing fear about safety and well-being. Not only are you likely to lose your camera kit in some areas but there is always a possibility you may lose your life as well, not exactly the best of shooting conditions especially at five in the morning when you are waiting for a sunrise. Looking over your shoulder becomes second nature.

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Sugar Loaf Mountain and Botafogo Bay at dawn. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Príamo had organised a few ‘heavies’ to come along too and we had no trouble at all. The groups watched spectacular sunrises from the beaches, from vantage points overlooking the city and we travelled into the mountains, hiked through the jungle for spectacular views and paddled in streams in the rain forest to get interesting angles whilst of course avoiding anything that either slithered or had eight legs.

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In between the workshops I had time to shoot some of my own material and walk along Copacabana and Ipanema beaches to look at the scenery (research, honest). Príamo and some friends joined me for a few sunrise and sunset sessions and we sampled the local produce in various bars around town (Rio is not big on tea rooms).

Copacabana Beach at sunrise with joggers, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The workshops were very well received with fourteen delegates on the first and ten on the second. LEE Filters donated the new ‘Inspiring Professionals II’ book and Robert White Photographic organised the purchase and shipping of the filters. I supplied signed prints (printed by Paul Williams) of Durdle Door which went down well although they have their own version just up the coast from Rio (not sure what their version is called but I don’t think there is a Portuguese word for Durdle).

Rio de Janeiro at sunset, Brazil.

Plans are afoot for next year and RIO III. All we have to do next year is avoid the World Cup, The Rio Marathon and Príamo’s wedding anniversary.

The LEE Filters SW150 Filter System

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If you own a Nikon 14-24mm lens and you want to use filters then the SW150 system is for you. This well engineered system allows the use of ND and ND Graduated filters on this great optic – just what our landscape photographers want!

The system has its own SW filters which measure 150mm wide. This means the holder is a bit of a beast but does successfully work at 14mm without vignetting.

So how does it fit?

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There are two main components of the holder; the filter holder itself and the locking collar assembly. The holder is held in place with a large thumb screw. This gives a very strong hold as well as easy adjustment in the instances where you want to apply the filter effect at an angle.

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The locking collar assembly consists of three parts that simply screw together. They can easily be separated by hand.

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The main spacer and locking ring go on the lens from the lens mount end first.

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Then the front locking ring attaches over the lenses front. This screws together tightly and is very secure. You will notice that you will no longer be able to use your supplied Nikon 14-24mm lens hood. So you will either need to remove this locking assembly when not in use or you can use the soft lens cover supplied by Lee which is included in the SW150 starter kit.

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The filter holder then slots over this locking assembly and is tightened with the filter holders locking thumb screw. Pictured above is the ND Grad 0.6 Hard filter which is also included in the SW150 Starter kit.

Can I use the SW150 on my other lenses?

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The SW150 system has been specifically designed for the Nikon 14-24mm lens and at this time there are no direct adaptors that will allow its use on other lenses. However Lee have come up with a solution. They now make an accessory called a SW150 System Adaptor. This simple device will allow the SW150 holder to fit LEE’s 100mm system adaptor rings which are available in sizes 49mm up to 105mm. For many customers this is a very good solution.

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So what filters are available?

Lee currently offer ND and ND graduated filters from 0.3 (1 stop) to 0.9 (3 stop). At this time there are no options for Pro Glass filters, The Big Stopper or Polarisers. Lee also list on their website filters such as Black and White and warm up but these are to special order and subject to some long delays.

Visit our website for more information