Archive for Landscapes

The KPS T5 Geared Ballhead: In Search of the Elusive White Unicorn

Posted in General, Landscapes, Nature & Wildlife, Portraiture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2015 by kendoophotography
Carmel Sunset

Carmel Sunset. ©2015 Ken Doo. Cambo WRS, Phase One IQ180, Rodenstock HR40 t/s, RRS TVC-33 with KPS T5-DV geared ballhead.

Background.

Photographers and camera bags are a lot like women and shoes. The endless search for the perfect camera bag is as evasive as the perfect pair of heels.  Finding the right tripod head is not much better. And if you are looking for a geared tripod head with an eye towards using it outside of the studio, the choices are slim indeed.

In 2009, Jack Flesher, wrote a review for the Luminous-Landscape on the Arca Swiss Cube, a really remarkable geared tripod head, which arguably set the standard for quality and precision in a geared tripod head. But the Cube also came at an incredible cost: approximately $1,700 for the Cube in a corrugated box version to $1,900 for a Cube packaged in a luxurious “Coach” leather bag that no one has quite figured out what the hell to do with once they have removed its precious cargo. Pure insanity, I thought when I first read Jack’s review. No tripod head is worth nearly two thousand dollars! But then I tried the Cube, and then I understood. The silent enabler, responsible for probably the most Cube sales to date, was right. Simply stated, the Arca Swiss Cube provides precision geared movements making leveling a camera platform child’s play, all on an extremely stable and secure platform.  When photographing in the shivering cold, a geared head makes leveling the camera much easier than with a traditional ballhead. Similarly, making fine adjustments in studio is also easier with a geared tripod head.

The Cube was a worthwhile investment to me. But the Cube is far from perfect. High price aside, the Cube is heavy, weighing approximately 2.25 pounds. Its profile is relatively stout and markedly larger than its non-geared heavy duty ballhead cousins. While the Cube promises precise geared adjustments, it also sacrifices the speed of a traditional ballhead. As good as the Cube was (and still is) mounted on a Really Right Stuff TVC 3 series carbon fiber tripod, I found that the Cube was top-heavy on my lighter RRS TVC-24 tripod which I use for hiking and travel. I wanted the quality and capabilities of the Cube, but in a smaller and lighter package. And so the search began for a geared tripod head alternative.

Before discussing the merits and shortcomings of the KPS T5 geared ballhead, I think it is necessary for me to first disclose the parameters for what I consider to be an acceptable tripod head. The tripod head must be capable of providing a secure and stable platform for a moderately heavy camera system, primarily a Cambo WRS technical camera, Rodenstock lenses, Phase One medium format digital back, and sometimes also supporting tethering with a Surface Pro tablet. Other alternate camera platforms might be a Phase One DF medium format digital DSLR, or a “professional” 1D series Canon DSLR with a long lens. These are heavier platforms, and generally much more expensive systems than may be considered typical, and worrying about whether your tripod head can safely support such expensive gear should not be even the slightest concern. Mounting and leveling the camera platform should be an easy task, with adjustments made smoothly and quickly. In short, the photographer should be able to focus on the process of photography and not have the slightest worry about the tripod head that supports his expensive camera system. In a nutshell, I want AS Cube-like quality and stability in a smaller, lighter package. I wanted a geared tripod head that bestowed all the Cube’s benefits afforded to my Cambo technical camera, and preferably less expensive too.  Simple, right?

The Arca Swiss Cube is considered by many to be the pinnacle of quality for geared tripod heads. As such, the Cube naturally set the standard by which to compare other geared options, including the KPS T5 in this review.  Manfrotto’s 405, 410, and their new xpro geared heads?  Not in the running for this level of desired quality. The Manfrotto’s paltry maximum of 16 pounds of support (even less for their new xpro) falls far short compared to the Cube’s 100+lb rating.  Sunwayfoto’s GH-Pro is a smaller, lighter, and less expensive version of the Arca Swiss D4, but its 26 pound capacity rating is rather optimistic and I found it much more acceptable for a small, mirrorless camera-sized platform. Both the AS D4 and GH-Pro exhibit lift inherent in their design and are not as stable as the standard set forth by the Cube. I did not consider the Photoflex Clam nor Linhof’s 3D Micro as both are very similar to the Cube in size and weight, not to mention expensive as well.   Enter the KPS T5 geared ballhead.

The KPS T5-DV packaged alongside KPS proprietary Slim Plates.

The KPS T5 Geared BallHead

KPS Research & Design is a small Korean company, owned by P.S. Kang. Kang’s background as an engineer and designer of custom industrial machinery carried over into establishing KPS. An artist and photographer at heart, Kang started developing and making photographic equipment, initially with viewfinders for DSLRs and later introducing the KPS Slim Plate system. A T5 geared ballhead prototype was introduced at Photokina in 2010 and became available to the public in 2012 and recently in the US. The T5 geared ballhead is unique in my mind as it is not a knock-off or carbon copy of pre-existing technologies. There really is nothing else currently on the market quite like it. This is not a cheap or inexpensive head. With the T5, KPS has clearly set its sights on the higher quality end of the photography market. If I had to describe a point of quality reference, I would place the fit and finish of the T5 on par with products from Arca Swiss and Really Right Stuff.  The U.S. distributor for the KPS T5 is Legio Aerium, located in Elkridge, Maryland. www.legioaerium.com  Legio Aerium is a veteran owned business.

 T5-DV with lever quick release on left; T5D with screw clamp on right. Both are Arca Swiss compatible. The T5DV also uses the KPS proprietary Slim Plate.

T5-DV with lever quick release on left; T5D with screw clamp on right. Both are Arca Swiss compatible. The T5DV also uses the KPS proprietary Slim Plate.

I received two geared ballheads from Legio Aerium to test: the T5D with screw clamp and the T5DV with quick lever release clamp. Both are Arca Swiss compatible, but the T5DV also uses KPS’ proprietary Slim Plates as well.  The T5DV includes a generic KPS Slim Plate. Legio Aerium also included several other KPS Slim Plates for a mirrorless camera and professional DSLR body. More on the KPS slim plates later.  The T5 head came well-packaged in cut foam placed inside of an elegant box. No “Coach” leather bag, but certainly better than a corrugated cardboard box. A small pamphlet is included that explains how to operate the T5.  This is much better than the poorly photocopied instructions that came with my Cube! I used the T5 geared ballheads for a period of approximately five weeks both in studio and on location. I will be taking the T5 geared ballheads with me to Capture Integration in Lake Tahoe, a workshop I lead with Don Libby of Tucson, Arizona.

I related to Legio Aerium my disdain for the needless use of permanent red Loctite, making it much more difficult for end-users to install the top clamp of their own choosing. Users must resort to a heat gun to release the adhesive and risk causing damage to the tripod head. I do believe that Arca Swiss has lost many potential sales of their venerable Cube and D4 heads when they recently opted for the use of red Loctite to prevent end-users from using anything but the stock AS top clamps. This rather shallow approach really misses the forest for the trees. Legio Aerium agreed. KPS is sending me a T5 geared ballhead at my request without a top-clamp, and machined to my specifications, so that I can freely swap between RRS lever clamps and a panoramic lever clamp. Responsive customer service? Make that an emphatic, “yes.”  Legio Aerium has informed me that KPS will offer the T5 geared ballhead in several clamp versions, including the same T5 that I requested without a top-clamp.  Smart move. Having a choice is a good thing. Pricing for the T5 ranges from approximately $730 (without clamp), $800 for the T5D AS screw clamp, and $830 for the T5DV quick lever release clamp.  The T5 geared ballhead is guaranteed free of defects in materials and workmanship for three years.

T5-DV, Arca Swiss Cube, and T5-D

T5-DV, Arca Swiss Cube, and T5-D

The Details

The T5 is a finely machined tripod head, approximately 5 inches tall, 2.5” in diameter, and weighs about 1.75 pounds. It has a 44mm ball with a rated capacity of 88lbs. The finish is a smooth matte black. It has a lockable panning base, with numerical settings marked every 30 degrees, and markings every 10 degrees between each numerical setting. There are three main knobs that control adjustments on the T5. The larger black knob controls the head much like any other typical ballhead. The friction lock may be adjusted as desired for the weight of the camera. Initial setting of the camera with the large knob is quick and easy. What makes the T5 unique is that the two smaller red knobs can make minute geared micro-tilt adjustments on two axes as much as 30 degrees total depending on the position where the ball has been locked down.  Leveling the camera is as quick and easy as with the Arca Swiss Cube.

Calla Lillies at Garrapata State Beach. Cambo WRS mounted on KPS T5DV geared ballhead and RRS TVC-24 tripod. Phase One IQ180 tethered to Surface Pro 2 with Wolf clamp, KPS T5DV geared ballhead and TVC-24 tripod.

Calla Lillies at Garrapata State Beach. Cambo WRS mounted on KPS T5DV geared ballhead and RRS TVC-24 tripod. Phase One IQ180 tethered to Surface Pro 2 with Wolf clamp, KPS T5DV geared ballhead and TVC-24 tripod.

I found that once the T5 head was adjusted for the weight of my camera, I typically would only need to secure my camera onto the ballhead and could go directly to making minor geared adjustments to level the camera with the two red knobs. Only if large adjustments are needed did I resort to using the larger main control knob. The knobs are much bigger than those found on the Arca Swiss Cube, and when making adjustments with gloved hands, this is a welcome feature. Depending on the position of the head, however, it can take as much as half a turn of the red knobs before the T5 gears are engaged to make minor adjustments, whereas the response of the knobs on the Cube when making adjustments are immediate. This has no impact on the ability to make fine adjustments or on the stability of the platform, rather I think this is more the nature of the geared mechanism moving to engage the ballhead. The knobs on the Cube to make adjustments extend from one side of the head to the other, making adjustments easy whether the user is left or right-handed. Consequently, both hands can also be used together on the same axis control knobs, making very fine adjustments on the Cube easier than on the T5. Adjustments to level the camera platform with both the Cube and T5 are smooth and fast. The KPS T5 provided a very stable platform for both my Phase DF and Cambo WRS technical cameras. Movements and controls are smooth and refined on the T5 as should be expected.  The video clip below demonstrates leveling with the KPS T5DV geared ballhead and with the AS Cube.

https://youtu.be/Y-ceazygCDk 

Other than the numerical markers on the panning base, there are no other markings or numbers on the T5. In contrast, the Cube has numerical markers to note the amount of adjustments made along both the x and y axis. Because of the fluidity and movement of the T5 ballhead, like any ballhead, it would be impossible to note with any sense of accuracy the amount of adjustment made along the x or y axis with the T5. I do not find this to be a significant feature in my work. The T5DV lever clamp has two bubble levels. The T5D screw clamp has a single bubble level.  The Cube has two bubble levels. I find that relying on the electronic dual axis levels, found on the Phase One IQ series medium format digital backs and other digital cameras, when making adjustments is easier than using the bubble levels found on the tripod head.

Of significant note is that although the KPS T5 weighs about ½ pound less than the Arca Swiss Cube, I felt that I had not sacrificed anything in terms of a stable platform for my cameras. The standard that I use for a tripod and head is that I should not have to worry about the stability of the platform nor the fear that my camera may crash to the ground at any given moment. I should not have to think about the tripod or the attached head. The photographer need only focus on the task at hand.  I feel equally secure using the Cube and the KPS T5 geared ballhead. The biggest concern that I had was that the T5DV, like the Cube, might be top heavy when used with the smaller and lighter RRS TVC-24 carbon fiber tripod legs. I feared that although it was ½ pound lighter, that it still might not be light enough yet.  My fears were not realized as I have found that the KPS T5 is well-balanced mounted on top of both the TVC 2 and TVC 3 series tripods.  I installed RRS TH-DVTL40 dovetails on the Cube and the T5 heads which allows me to quickly swap heads and tripod legs using RRS quick release lever clamps (aka the Graham Welland quick lever release tripod head system).

Slim plate and Arca Swiss compatible plate; 1Ds Mark III shown with Slim Plate attached and also with RRS L-bracket attached.

 The KPS Slim Plate System

The T5 comes in four variants: T5, T5M, T5D, and the T5DV. All are the same and only differentiated by the type of attached clamp (or no clamp for the T5). I did not test the T5M. All of the variants are Arca Swiss compatible. The T5DV and T5M also use the KPS Slim Plate system. Rather than clamping the outside rails as the Arca Swiss standard, the Slim Plate system is secured by clamping two rails along the inside of the plate. This novel design allows the system to have a much lower profile and take on a nice body hugging design. The clamping system is secure and clamp force is easily adjustable. The Slim Plate system is well-engineered and works well, but I decided that it is not right for me. I have multiple cameras, most with L-brackets, all of which by deliberate choice use Arca Swiss compatible RRS brackets and plates. This consistency allows me to easily use each of my cameras on all of my tripods with ease. KPS does not offer a “slim plate” L-bracket and consequently Slim Plates are not an option for me. As you can see from the photos above, the Slim Plate design is much smaller in profile. For those wishing to maintain a smaller camera profile, the KPS Slim Plate should be considered. A single Slim Plate attached to the bottom of a camera is substantially less obtrusive. I would estimate that the Slim Plate system is about half the thickness of a typical Arca Swiss compatible plate. The difference is more noticeable on smaller cameras such as a Sony A7r. The photo above shows the fit and finish of the Slim Plate attached to my Canon 1Ds Mark III compared to the bulk added by an Arca Swiss compatible RRS L-bracket. When considering its low profile fit, weight, and less bulk that the KPS Slim Plate has on a large DSLR like the Canon 1DsMark III, it really is remarkable. A line of sleek, low-profile, form-fitting, Slim-Plate L-brackets would really give a lot of photographers pause to reconsider.

Layout of the T5DV clamp

Layout of the T5DV clamp

The only issue I found, albeit minor, was with the T5DV clamp. Setting the clamp to be Arca Swiss compatible is easily and quickly accomplished by moving a single stainless steel pin from one setting to the other. However, in so doing, the camera plate is then slightly off center above the ball stem. This is not the case when using the Slim Plate system. This may or may not be an issue for some photographers. Regardless, the clamp does work well and overall I liked the speed of working with the T5DV lever release clamp better than the T5D screw clamp. My preference overall, however, is being able to attach the clamp of my choice using the base model T5.

Moss Landing Power Plant. ©2015 Ken Doo. Cambo WRS, Phase IQ180, Rodenstock HR70 t/s two-image vertical stitch. KPS T5DV geared ballhead on RRS TVC24. Thirty-four second exposure.

Moss Landing Power Plant. ©2015 Ken Doo. Cambo WRS, Phase IQ180, Rodenstock HR70 t/s two-image vertical stitch. KPS T5DV geared ballhead on RRS TVC24. Thirty-four second exposure.

Conclusion

Over the past five weeks I have used the KPS T5 geared ballhead in a variety of situations including portrait sessions, products, and landscape photography. I rarely use the Cube during portrait sessions because making adjustments is too slow. The speed of a ballhead during a portrait session important, yet still being able to make small adjustments during the session with the T5 was a pleasant surprise.  The T5 combines the benefits of a ballhead with the precision of a geared head. For those who already have the Arca Swiss Cube, buying the KPS T5 geared ballhead may not make sense unless your work requires a lighter geared head alternative that is capable of providing a stable platform for a larger DSLR or medium format camera system.  For those that have not yet succumbed to the Cube, the KPS T5 geared ballhead is a great high quality alternative. It may not come with a “Coach” leather bag, but the T5 provides similar quality and features, and at half the price of admission. My search for a smaller and lighter, geared ballhead has ended.  –Ken Doo, April 2015

Ken Doo is a professional photographer with a boutique portrait studio located in Carmel, California. He is also is a fine art printer and recently launched his new fine art printing website, www.carmelfineartprinting.com  From Vision to Print— order your photos on canvas and fine art papers online!  (831) 626-1844.

UPDATE! I just received a new KPS T5 “improved” geared ballhead prototype on December 31, 2015.  Okay, it’s really not a substantial material improvement in my opinion, but it does show that KPS has some mad engineering skills and is very receptive to offering an exceptionally high quality, mature, and polished product.  The new T5 no longer features a minimum friction control on the main knob. Instead, KPS has engineered “Click-stop” settings from 1-2-3 on the main knob. The user simply adjusts the ballhead and then tightens the main adjustment knob until the first click-setting or “1” on the knob. This insures that the camera is held in place and the microadjustment functions will operate optimally as designed.  Pretty neat.  Users with heavier cameras such as the Phase One XF may find themselves using click settings 2 or 3.

_O7E1105

New KPS T5 geared head prototype with click-stop functions on the main adjustment knob.

The KPS T5 geared ballhead remains my head of choice on my RRS TVC-24 CF tripod.  I don’t see a need to upgrade my T5 for the new “click-stop” features, but it certainly will be a welcome addition for new users.  The KPS T5 geared ballhead may be purchased through the U.S. distributor for KPS at www.legioaerium.com .  I have been promised a few KPS T5 ballheads will be available at Capture Integration’s medium format digital workshop in February, the seventh annual CI in Carmel 2016.

 

Advertisements

Carmel Fine Art Printing & Reproduction Grand Opening! 50% Off Prints Limited Time Offer!

Posted in Events, General, Landscapes, Nature & Wildlife, Portraiture, Weddings and Bridal with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2015 by kendoophotography
Bonsai Rock Panorama  available printed on Hahn Photographic Baryta and Canson Rag Photographique. ©2015 Ken Doo. Cambo WRS, IQ180, HR70 t/s.

Bonsai Rock Panorama available printed on Hahnemuhle Photographic Baryta and Canson Rag Photographique. ©2015 Ken Doo. Cambo WRS, IQ180, HR70 t/s.

It’s official!  I’ve launched my fine art printing website, Carmel Fine Art Printing & Reproduction, making it easier to clients to order fine art prints, giclee canvas, and place re-orders for prints. To mark the grand opening and introduction of the website, online print orders will be 50% off  for a limited time only, until April 10, 2015.  Carmel Fine Art Printing & Reproduction was started for artists, photographers, and the general public to allow easier access to printing their images on the best archival fine art materials.  The website features an easy digital file uploading page tool which also allows users to open a free account, share their portfolio images with friends or their clients, and place orders from any device.  The website also allows for sending evaluation files and larger digital files for large prints and special orders, such as B&W K7 Piezography prints.

Gallery-wrapped stretched canvas ready for delivery.  Carmel Fine Art Printing uses archival Lyve canvas and state of the art printers using pigmented inks. Notice the great corners!

Gallery-wrapped stretched canvas ready for delivery. Carmel Fine Art Printing uses archival Lyve canvas and state of the art printers using pigmented inks. Notice the great corners!

Once files are uploaded, users can select print sizes, crop their images, and choose from many different fine art medias including photographic baryta papers, fine art cotton matte papers, and gallery wrapped canvas. Users can select finishing options from just a rolled print, to stretched canvas, canvas floaters and frames—ready to hang.  The fine art paper and canvas selections are exceptional and a step above normal photo lab offerings. The studio’s state of the art printers can produce images up to 44″ in width by whatever length.

Gallery wrapped and stretch bamboo!  Stretched fine art papers is a Carmel Fine Art exclusive!

Gallery wrapped and stretched bamboo! Stretched fine art papers is available to clients and is a Carmel Fine Art Printing & Reproduction exclusive offering!

Gallery wrapped stretched fine art papers is an exclusive offering from Carmel Fine Art Printing. It is a labor intensive process requiring hand coating of the fine art paper in preparation for stretching over 1.75″ wood bars. Bamboo paper is particularly well-suited for stretching, with the final product being tight as a drum.

Exceptional B&W printing is offered by Carmel Fine Art Printing & Reproduction.

Exceptional B&W printing is offered by Carmel Fine Art Printing & Reproduction.

Carmel Fine Art Printing & Reproduction is also one of the few printing studios to offer B&W K7 Piezography printing. Beautiful B&W prints are normally available on the studio’s Epson 9900 printer, with B&W K7 Piezography prints available only by special order. B&W prints from the studio’s K7 printer are simply exceptional.  K7 Piezography MPS selenium prints are available on both matte and glossy papers.  If clients do not have a print ready digital file, Carmel Fine Art Printing & Reproduction also provides high resolution scans and copy work for artists. This process produces a high quality digital file in preparation for the printing process. The studio uses a Phase One IQ180 medium format digital back with 80 megapixels, which is ideal for both color and B&W reproduction. The image above was reproduced using the IQ180 to first generate a high resolution file for some minor restoration work on a family image taken with a young President John F. Kennedy. The image was then printed on K7 B&W Piezography printer. This image exemplifies memorable portraits that are deserving of archival fine art printing!  Printing Family portraits, Wedding portraits, Anniversaries, and other special memories is no different than an artist or photographer seeking to use museum quality materials to sell or simply to display their work. Carmel Fine Art Printing & Reproduction helps you From Vision to Print.

Visit www.carmelfineartprinting.com and let me know your thoughts!  50% off prints introduction offer is for new clients and good until April 10, 2015. Use coupon code carmel50. Offer does not apply to featured artists galleries.  Professional/business accounts are welcome.  Please contact me at (831) 626-1844 for any questions.  Ken Doo

Capture Integration in Carmel 2013

Posted in Events, General, Landscapes, Nature & Wildlife with tags , , , , on February 21, 2013 by kendoophotography
Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Point and Fort Mason. ©2013 Ken Doo Photography. Cambo WRS, IQ180, Rodenstock HR40

Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Point and Fort Mason. ©2013 Ken Doo Photography. Cambo WRS, IQ180, Rodenstock HR40

Last weekend marked the fourth Capture Integration in Carmel workshop, which started on Friday in San Francisco and back to the central coast in Carmel.  This year’s event (formerly known as Pigs in a Blanket) sold out in less than two weeks of being announced.  CI in Carmel is a light-hearted workshop put on by Ken Doo Photography of Carmel, California, Don Libby of Iron Creek Photography in Tucson, Arizona, and Dave Gallagher’s Capture Integration in Atlanta, Georgia.  CI in Carmel is a medium format digital workshop and provides a great opportunity to try the latest camera products and lenses.  This year Capture Integration included new technical camera offerings from Cambo, the Phase One DF+, Schneider and Rodenstock lenses, and  the latest medium format digital backs from both Leaf and Phase One.  Oh, and the Canon 1DX—just because.

Pigeon Point Sunset. ©2013 Ken Doo Photography.  Three image panorama. Phase 645DF, IQ180, Schneider 240LS

Pigeon Point Sunset. ©2013 Ken Doo Photography. Three image panorama. Phase 645DF, IQ180, Schneider 240LS

Friday evening’s sunset shoot was at Pigeon Point Lighthouse, just south of Half Moon Bay.  Despite nearly cloudless skies, sunset brought on nice hues of a warm sunset.

John Milich sets up for a shot with his technical camera.

John Milich sets up for a shot with his technical camera.

Dr. Paul Indman photographs the Pigeon Pioint Lighthouse

Dr. Paul Indman photographs the Pigeon Point Lighthouse

This year’s workshop included visits to Point Lobos and Garrapata State Park on Saturday.  A figure model studio session was also included, followed by a visit to a crowded Pfeiffer State Beach.

Weston Beach, Point Lobos.  ©2013 Ken Doo. Cambo WRS, IQ180, HR40 t/s; 3 stop reverse neutral grad.

Weston Beach, Point Lobos. ©2013 Ken Doo. Cambo WRS, IQ180, HR40 t/s; 3 stop reverse neutral grad.

Garrapata. ©2013 Ken Doo.  Cambo WRS, IQ180, HR40

Garrapata. ©2013 Ken Doo. Cambo WRS, IQ180, HR40

Pfeiffer. ©2013 Ken Doo. Cambo WRS, IQ180, HR40.
Pfeiffer. ©2013 Ken Doo. Cambo WRS, IQ180, HR40.

CI in Carmel would not be complete without breakfast at the Wagon Wheel, the origin of the first Pigs in a Blanket!

Pigs.

Pigs.

Dave Gallagher teaches a 1/2 day C1 Pro 7 class.

Dave Gallagher teaches a 1/2 day C1 Pro 7 class.

Babyback ribs for 18 for lunch—love my Traeger!  Oh yeah.  Who could forget—there’s nothing better than spending Valentine’s Day Weekend with Dave Gallagher!  A big thank you to Dave Gallagher, who helps to make CI in Carmel come together.  I’ve been a client of Capture Integration for many years now, and for good reason.  I depend on Capture Integration for all my medium format digital equipment and Canon DSLRs as well.

Dave Gallagher of Capture Integration in Atlanta, GA

Dave Gallagher of Capture Integration in Atlanta, GA

This year’s event also included an introduction to printing with a specially converted B&W piezography printer.  The printer is an Epson 9890 converted to a K7 (seven blacks) MPS Selenium glossy and matte printer. This printer is capable of exceptional quality B&W prints.  Participants prepared and printed B&W images from the weekend or images from prior work.  Although the workshop ended officially Sunday evening, several of us extended the weekend with a tour of the new Really Right Stuff facility in San Luis Obispo.  This was a treat.

Prints from the specially converted K7 MPS Piezography printer

Prints from the specially converted K7 MPS Piezography printer

Graham Welland.

Graham Welland.

Phil Lindsay

Phil Lindsay

Big Sur.  ©2013 Ken Doo. Cambo WRD, IQ180, HR40
Big Sur. ©2013 Ken Doo. Cambo WRD, IQ180, HR40

The tour of the Really Right Stuff (RRS) facility was like touring the Hershey Chocolate Factory as kids.  Except they weren’t giving out free samples…

Don and Ken

Don and Ken

Karla works with Don
Karla works with Don
And yes---RRS has a machine shop!

And yes—RRS has a machine shop!

Really Right Stuff is a specialized photographic equipment maker. They specialize in making all the special parts that make fine photography possible, including but not limited to quick release plates, L-brackets, and carbon fiber tripods. The quality of their products is unsurpassed and it is no wonder that RRS products are a first choice among discerning photographers. Products are carefully designed, engineered, and CNC machined from solid blocks of metal.  And yes, we got to see where it all happens!

Don and Joe Jr.

Don and Joe Jr.

Don was very considerate in his shopping, independently making sure that sales figures were high enough to ensure Joe Jr. could plan his vacation to Hawaii or Europe this summer.

CI in Carmel tours the RRS facility in San Luis Obispo
CI in Carmel tours the RRS facility in San Luis Obispo

I look forward to the next CI in Carmel!  For more information on Wine, Dine, and Schwein, medium format digital photography, or B&W piezography and fine art printing, contact me at my boutique photography studio in Carmel.  (831) 626-1844.  ken

Welcoming in 2013

Posted in General, Landscapes, Nature & Wildlife, Portraiture with tags , , , , , , , on December 31, 2012 by kendoophotography
Tunnel View Icicles. ©2012 Ken Doo Photography.  Infra Red capture.

Tunnel View Icicles. ©2012 Ken Doo Photography. Infra Red capture.

Whether it is the looming fiscal cliff or the light at the end of the tunnel, I don’t think anything has changed at all in Washington, D.C., and I don’t think it ever really will.  But with 2013, at least in my own little world, I am excited at being able to be at the cutting edge of technology with photography and fine art printing.  I’m getting something done.  : )  The addition of a specially converted K7 B&W Piezography fine art printer in the studio is something I am particularly excited about—this printer being able to produce stunning B&W prints on both glossy and matte fine art papers.  As good as the studio’s Epson 9900 is at B&W, the 9890 K7 B&W Piezography printer is just that much better.

Half Dome. ©2012 Ken Doo Photography. Cambo WRS, Phase One IQ180, Rodenstock HR40

I’m not really fond of Yosemite National Park.  Heresy, I know.  But it’s more because of the throngs of visitors that are associated with this beautiful gem in the national park system.  Visiting in the winter is a much better time to visit because the cold weather, snow (chains required), and holiday season seems to keep the crowds more manageable.  I recently visited Yosemite National Park seeking to capture a few iconic images as well others, with B&W imagery in mind.  It was cold.  The surrounding trees and hills were blanketed with a carpet of snow.  Temperatures ranged from a chilly 17 degrees F and remained below freezing for most all the time during my visit.  Icicles formed underneath my 4Runner and on the mudflaps. Getting around was no problem with four-wheel drive.  And seat warmers.  Gotta love seat warmers.

Valley View. ©2012 Ken Doo Photography. Cambo WRS, Phase One IQ180, Rodenstock HR40.

I really enjoyed working with the Cambo WRS technical camera and Phase One IQ180 digital back.  It really is a return to enjoying photography and the process of creating images.  Although I brought along my Phase DF body, it remained unused in the truck.  My infra-red converted camera did make a few appearances, and with B&W in mind, I wish I could justify getting an achromatic medium format digital back for landscapes.  One thing that really surprised me was that despite the cold temperatures, battery life was exceptional with the IQ180.  I photographed all day at Yosemite and used only one battery.  I hope to re-vamp both my Carmel boutique portrait photography studio website and my landscape website entirely in January, with renewed offerings for B&W portraits on the new K7 printer.  Contact the studio for more information on fine art printing or B&W portraiture.  ken  (831) 626-1844

Capture One Pro 7 Makes for a Very Beary Christmas

Posted in General, Landscapes, Nature & Wildlife with tags , , , , , on December 20, 2012 by kendoophotography
Grizzly Cub on archival canvas---printed approximately life-sized! ©2007 Ken Doo Photography

Grizzly Cub on archival canvas—printed approximately life-sized! ©2007 Ken Doo Photography

During the summer of 2007, I went to Alaska to photograph grizzly bears on the Katmai Peninsula.  It was a fantastic trip with many memorable wildlife and landscape images.  I used an old Canon 5D classis with a paltry 12 megapixels to photograph the grizzly cub in the above photo.  That’s a five-foot long print on canvas.  What’s surprising is how the state of raw processor technology can improve to the point of allowing the photographer to produce better quality images from the same raw image files taken years earlier.  I have an older 40×60 print of this grizzly cub standing tall on display.  I recently sold the image with the client requesting that it be printed on canvas.  Recently Phase One released its latest version 7 of Capture One Pro, the raw processing software that I use for my Phase One IQ180 and Canon DSLR.  When I reprocessed the grizzly bear cub image from 2007 in C1Pro7, it was like having a new camera!  The resulting printed image was obviously much better than the original 12 megapixel image—and right in time for the holidays!  There was much more detail in the face of the cub compared to earlier prints. The improvement is not as noticeable when using a high resolution medium format digital back, however I have been printing more frequently for other photographer’s and artists, and being able to extract more information or detail from their files in preparation for print is always a welcome addition.  For more information on fine art printing, contact me at my boutique portrait photography studio in Carmel.  Ken  (831) 626-1844

Monterey County Artists’ Studio Tour September 25-26, 2010; Tribute to Trees of Canyon de Chelly *Special Sale*

Posted in Events, General, Landscapes, Nature & Wildlife with tags , , , , , on September 19, 2010 by kendoophotography

Sleepy Hollow. Works from a Tribute to Trees of Canyon de Chelly will be on sale during the tour at my boutique studio in Carmel.

The Monterey County Artists’ Studio Tour is just around the corner, starting with its Gala Reception kick-off this Friday evening, September 24, 2010, 7-9 PM at the Pacific Grove Art Center.  (Watch for the funky adhesive sidewalk signs leading to the PG Art Center!).  I’m excited because this is the first time that I’ve opened my studio to the public with the Monterey County Artists’ Studio Tour.  Area artists participating open their studios to the public on Saturday and Sunday, September 25-26, from 11:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.   I will be offering a special sale in my Carmel photography studio on works from a Trubute to Trees of Canyon de Chelly, including both premounted/matted prints and framed works.  On display will be several pieces never before displayed.  Local Carmel artist Chris Love will also be in my studio helping out.  I have been providing the giclee canvas printing for Chris Love, and several of her works will also be on display. 

Eight foot canvas banner for the Monterey County Artists' Tour

I have been busy preparing for this weekend, not to mention also photographing the CA State Bar Pro Bono Awards and Diversity Awards with Chief Justice Ronald George, printing lots of stunning giclee canvas gallery wraps for area artists, and signage and banners for the studio tour.  Make sure to also visit the Carmel studios of Emy Ledbetter,  Sandy Robinson, and Jody Royee.  Come by my boutique studio in Carmel to visit and enjoy a glass of wine, coffee, cheesecake and cookies!  There will be two entrances to my studio that will be open:  3248 Camino Del Monte, Carmel is the main address; Around the block is additional parking in back (drive inside the gate), and a handicapped entrance at 3249 Serra Avenue, Carmel.  Call (831) 626-1844 for more information.  kmd

Monterey County Artists’ Studio Tour Opening Night Reception September 10, 2010

Posted in Events, General, Landscapes, Nature & Wildlife with tags , , , , , , , on September 6, 2010 by kendoophotography

 

Cabins on Lake O'Hara, a 24x30 panorama on metal is on display at the Pacific Grove Art Center; Reception September 10, 2010 from 7-9 P.M.

You’re invited!  The Monterey County Artists’ Studio Tour Opening Reception is this Friday, September 10, 2010, from 7:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. at the Pacific Grove Art Center.  Come meet participating artists in the Studio Tour, view a sampling of artworks on display, and enjoy the food and drink!  A second Gala reception will be held on September 24, 2010 at the Pacific Grove Art Center to help kick-off the Studio Art Tour which is held the same weekend on September 25 and 26.  More food, drink, and a raffle for prizes!  The Studio Tour will mark the first time that I have opened my studio and landscape work to the public for the first time.  In between photography work, I have been busy preparing for the tour.  Artist Chris Love will be assisting me during the tour and will have some of her works on display in my studio as well.  More to follow…..  kmd

Maps of participating artists’ studio locations are available and will also be distributed in the Monterey County Coast Weekly.  For more information, contact me at my boutique portrait studio in Carmel at (831) 626-1844.  ken

%d bloggers like this: