Tag Archives: PhaseOne

Bronze Awards In 2012 International Loupe Awards

I have entered the International Loupe Awards before. However, this year I decided to enter the “Medium Format” Category. I only entered three images. Two images (both of Milford Sound) were from my recent trip to New Zealand on a workshop with Jackie Ranken and Mike Langford. The third was an image posted in “A Sense Of The Forest“.

Both images of Milford Sound received a Bronze Award.


Magic Milford

Milford Mist Bronze Award International Loupe Awards

Milford Mist

What was particularly interesting was the range of scores for the Sepia toned image ranged from 93 to 70! (which ended up with average score of 80). One of the judges feedback comments was that the image showed an area “of visible retouching”. This must have been an artifact of the Nik processing (or just distant rain which was backlit from sun). I was very happy that at least the image obviously resonated with a couple of judges at least! It certainly is one of my favourite images.

It has been shot on my PhaseOne medium format and has a staggering amount of detail, which on the web you just cannot see. To give you a bit of an idea I have zoomed in and made a screen-snap as below.

The tiny specs by the waters edge are a couple. You can even see a bird perched on the log between them!

Magic Milford Zoom International Loupe Awards

Zoom Detail of Magic Milford Image



Its Official – I Am Now Certified!

I recently qualified to become a Phase One Certified Professional. This is a fairly intensive process. To pass the course and become a Phase One Certified Professional you must pass 10 on-line courses,with an 80% minimum pass mark, and pass the test at the end of the two-day course, also with an 80% minimum pass mark.

The course is both theory and practical covering various topics such as:
·     Advanced Capture One workflow.
·     On-set workflow.
·     Technology behind Phase One backs and cameras.
·     Trouble-shooting computers, backs and cameras; and advanced operation of backs, etc

The course was held at L&P Studios, Sydney

Phase One Certified Professional Logo

A Fleeting Kiss

I love how clouds are often so dynamic. I was working in the yard yesterday, hoping to cut the grass before what looked like an impending storm. However, every time I looked up I could see wonderful cloud formations. Quickly I grabbed my Phase fitted with an 80mm lens (this is equal to a 50mm on a DSLR) and shot this series of photos. The bright sun was a bit tricky to shoot, especially with clouds passing in front,  but I settled on 1/1000 sec at f6.3 (Iso35). Shooting in manual I then could just adjust the aperture to cut back the amount of light when the sun came out. I wanted to expose for those bright highlights, but careful not to let them blow out.

It is much easier to darken an image than it is to lighten it as far more detail and tones are stored in the brights than the darks, provided you do not over-expose. Once you over-expose there are no details left to recover.

I shot these series of images in under a minute! The clouds were swirling in fast. I really liked the gap between these clouds when all of a sudden they seemed to briefly kiss and were then gone.

The detail you see is really there, the medium format Phase just is able to capture it.

I have used the new version of Capture One to add some clarity, structure and contrast. Then I used Nik ColorEfex with a “bleach-bypass” filter to further emphasise those wonderful crazy textures.


Kissing Clouds 1


Kissing Clouds 2


Kissing Clouds 3


Kissing Clouds 4


Kissing Clouds 5


A Different Sort Of Rock Art

I was editing some images from the trip to Karijini National Park for inclusion to my next exhibition. I have a range of different sorts of images from 6m wide panoramas, the result of stitching up to a dozen 80MP photos, to rock texture detail and water abstracts. Lately some of the rock textures have caught my attention and over the last few days I  have concentrated on assembling  a collection. I am still undecided how to present them in the gallery, but one idea is to have either a group of small images hanging together, or actually make a single composite image.

So tonight, I was scrolling past this image and was thinking it was “nice”, but I felt it could become much more than “nice”. I am not sure why I did, but something in the back of my head suggested using this single image as a reflection.

I opened the image in PhotoShop. I then expanded the drawing canvas by doubling both the width and height – in this case 174cm x 131cm. I then duplicated the layer, used transform to “flip” the image, then drag it to a spare corner of the canvas.

Next I did a “copy visible” which I remember as the “eagle claw” keyboard shortcut, as you press four keys (all at the same time) Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E (Windows), or Press Shift+Command+Option+E (Mac). This simply creates a new layer which is simply a copy of the current visible layers. This third layer I then flipped vertically, again using the edit, transform command.

The final combined image was really starting to interest me – suddenly I noticed that the image needed rotating – WOW! I could not believe this could come from a simple image.

Next, to start to bring out more of the features l as used curves to create a darker version on another layer and gently revealed parts of the darker layer with a mask and soft brush. I then flattened those layers and have been fine-tuning with a “dodge and burn” layer. There are lots of different ways to do this, but a simple way is to create a new layer and fill with 50% grey. After setting the blending mode to “soft light” use a soft brush set at 5-10% opacity. Areas you brush with a black brush will darken and areas you brush with a white brush will lighten. This technique allows you to gradually build up the effect, as multiple brush strokes are accumulative.

I am still learning to be subtle, but multiple light brush strokes are preferable over a single heavy one.  For this sort of editing a graphics tablet is invaluable.

The final image is still a work in progress, but I got excited over what I had created and had to share straight-away…


Karijini Rock Art Starting Image

Karijini Caged Monster Rock Art

iPhone vs Phase aka David vs Goliath In The Camera World

I would say that up until recently cameras would be simply summed up by megapixels (MP). Often image quality and usability was swept aside by the MP count. I think that the megapixel war seems to have dissipated somewhat. Yes, the latest bunch of DSLR’s have bumped up the MP count, but some seem to be concentrating improvements on low-noise high ISO and better focusing as well.

Winter Blues (iPhone)

Blue Ice (PhaseOne)

I am lucky to have two extreme examples of cameras. I have a PhaseOne digital medium format system. This camera has a 80MP back!! Arguably the best camera currently available. Owners of other brands would no doubt beg to differ. I also own an iPhone4s with its 8MP camera and use a bunch of cool apps including Snapseed (my favourite), AutoStitch, ProHDR, ProCamera, and ScratchCam.

Press, Cockatoo Island (iPhone)

Karijini Volcano (PhaseOne)

Apart from the obvious MP count these two cameras could not be more different. For starters the vast difference in sensor size has an interesting side-effect. The iPhone has a huge depth of field, so objects both near and far are all in focus. On the other hand the medium format with its large sensor has the opposite, a shallow depth of field.

Branch (iPhone)

Landmannalauger 1 (PhaseOne)

For landscape work it is generally accepted that you want everything in focus, so this presents interesting challenges in itself. For portrait work this can be advantageous. Further, to optimise image quality normally  you shoot at f8 or f11 (higher f-stops increase depth of field, but also diminish image quality through diffraction of the small opening). Using these apertures also contributes to a shallower depth of field. You have two creative choices:

1. Go with the shallow depth of field and use it to to separate your subject from the background. For example treat a tree or a rock as if it were a portrait.

2. Focus stack. This involves taking multiple images, but focusing at different points in the scene, from close to far. All these images are then combined into a single image. (this will probably be a subject of a future blog)

Reach (iPhone)

Lake Wakatipu (PhaseOne)

The other difference is shooting technique. Most people would be familiar with taking images on an iPhone (or similar smart phone). Pretty much just whip it out and click away. The Phase on the other hand is a very regimented approach (especially for landscape work). Setup camera on a very substantial tripod, plug in cable release, turn camera on to mirror lock-up, turn digital back on, compose, focus, trigger mirror lock-up, wait 4-5sec for any possible vibrations to subside, take image, double-click on digital back to zoom in at 100% to check focus.

Line of Loos (iPhone)

Philosophers Falls (PhaseOne)

This beast is not a point and shoot camera! Its awesome amount of MP is a two-edged sword. The amount of detail it can capture from a scene is simply staggering. However it will also highlight any deficiencies in shooting technique.

Autumn Leaf (iPhone)

Karijini Drive III (PhaseOne)

“Pixel-peeping” on the internet is not really a true test of image quality. The Phase can be fiddly to shoot with, but when technical aspects come together, the printed image quality really has to been seen to be believed. I have been pleasantly surprised with printing from the iPhone, however it pales into insignificance when compared to a 1.5m wide print. (Mind you this is not even at the limit of the size print you can create.)

Blowhole Point, Tasmania (iPhone)

Tarkine Canopy (PhaseOne)

In the end each camera is best at what it does best. Ultimately it depends on your purpose for your final image. The advantage of the iPhone is that I nearly always have it on me. However, both are fantastic to create images with. I hope you enjoy the images in this blog.

Cradle Mountain Padana (iPhone)

Straight Trough I (PhaseOne)