I wanted to post a little about the prints that we selected for the SMUD Exhibit: Through the Lens as part of the first inaugural annual photography month in Sacramento. I went back through my archives to find out when I took this shot and realized it’s been over 4 years ago. It was shortly after I visited Folsom Lake. California was approaching the height of a long drought. As a result the Folsom lake level was so low, it exposed an old gold mining camp/settlement that was otherwise buried under over a hundred feet of water. It was a profound experience walking among the old settlement from the gold rush days. It was also alarming as it underscored the dire situation Californians were facing. I posted about that excursion here: The California Drought – Folsom Lake.
As I walked the lake bed, it suddenly occurred to me that the river by Old Sacramento must have been at it’s lowest level in a very long time. The next thought that came to mind was that the low levels on the river would make for calmer waters and receded banks. This meant that I would be able to get a more dramatic shot at sunset. I was pretty much right on the money. The levels were so low no boats or water crafts didn’t dare disturb the water. It was as beautiful as it was spooky. I also captured a time lapse of the sunset in which you could see this thin ghost-like wispy clouds creeping up the river.
This image took 60 shots – 20 frames (two rows of 10 HDR) each consisting of 3 brackets. I shot it with the Canon 5D Mark III and the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II at 200mm. Composing, stitching and editing this shot took weeks as I would frequently exceed the limits of editing software and memory. Single layers were easily over 1.5GB in size had to be committed to separate files. Opening one layer quickly used up 8-10GB of system RAM, often resulting in data corruption. Producing this shot was a veritable test of patience, well worth the time and aggravation.
This shot like much of my photography is only available in a very limited edition of 10 signed and numbered copies. At the time of this post, only 4 copies remain in the edition. This is a large format print, while it is available in custom sizes, the smallest recommended size is 6.5 feet in length. It can be printed to the scale of a mural without any compromise in fine detail. You can make out wine glasses hanging over the bar inside the Delta King as well as every nut and bolt on the Tower Bridge. You can also make out art hanging on the walls in the office buildings. I am actively looking for opportunities to place at least one of the limited copies as a large format art installation.
Charis on the tracks – 5D Mark III + Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM
A few weeks ago I was wrapping up my evaluation of the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM super telephoto lens. Just like the Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM I had evaluated a few weeks earlier (see my post Fashion: Winnie Stackz Collection), the folks at Canon USA were kind enough to send me a copy for review. This is the second in a series of posts in which I will be discussing my observations and results of my evaluation. I had one last item to cross off my evaluation list and that was to run it through at least one photo shoot with a human subject aka model.
This lens is nothing short of spectacular. The EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM and the EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM are in a league of their own. They both represent the pinnacle of lens technology and the very best of the best money can buy. They are both uncompromising pieces of precision gear. The EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM was perfect for, if not more at home with the task of fashion/model/portrait photography. The resulting images required no editing whatsoever. The clarity, sharpness and contrast were on point. Perhaps this lens’ strong suit is how well it performs wide open at f/2.8, affording shutter speeds that will stop any kind of shake. The amazing IS was almost unnecessary in daylight. The depth of field is very well defined, none too shallow (perfect), but what sets both lenses apart was how graceful the fall-off is and sublime transition to creamy bokeh. I will be writing more on this soon and which lens won my shoot-out.
Canon 5D Mark III + EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM
Charis was gracious enough to volunteer. I have photographed Charis before and posted about it in 2015 Sacramento Fashion Week and in Retrospect Vintage Fashion exhibit at Demin Spot. She has a look I always found intriguing, is an all around great person to collaborate with. Beautiful inside and out. New for this shoot was our hair and makeup artist Nicole Matta. This was a last minute shoot and she was a breeze to work with given my time and scheduling constraints. What I like most about her work is her execution – clean, seamless, and picture ready – which means much less work in post processing. My good friend and fellow photographer Steve Phang also partnered with me for this shoot to assist me in making the most of this opportunity. I have often drawn creative inspiration from him over the years, over numerous photo excursions and assignments.
Below are some behind the scenes shots to give you some insight into what it entailed. In all it was a very productive afternoon. I hope you enjoy and please feel free to share any thoughts, questions or ideas you may have.