I have been on the road a lot in the last few weeks shooting some assignments and teaching a few workshops. Just returned from the Palouse region in Washington, teaching a workshop there with ANPW. I have to admit I was a little skeptical about the area…”We are going to shoot crop fields?”…boy was I in for a surprise. This area is stunning, I shot more ‘fine art’ images there in 4 days than I do all year. Really stunning graphic elements and beautiful clouds. The only place I have seen a similar landscape is in the high Arctic.
Steptoe Butte is probably the most famous vantage point. Higher up gives you great perspective on the rolling countryside. The lens of choice for this trip was the Nikon 80-400mm. A lot of the landscapes shoot well as a ‘compression landscape’ zoomed out to 400mm. This lens continues to perform beautifully; tack sharp images like the one above zoomed way out.
Another exciting software update recently occured; Pocket Wizard updated their Hypersync utility software for improved performance. I have been shooting both my D4 and D800 at 1/4000 with excellent results. And more often than not, I am using Hypersync to allow me to shoot at wide open apertures on my 85mm 1.4 lens for soft silky backgrounds like the image above. Can’t get enough of this look with my portraits…
One new feature in the PW utility is the choice of ‘highest energy’ or ‘reduced clipping’. This was an excellent feature to add since photographers who shoot on flat backgrounds wanted to reduce clipping (dark band in your shot produced when the shutter curtain is blocking light during a fast exposure). Clipping has never been an issue for me since I shoot outside, often it isn’t visible or is easy to crop out (especially when you shoot with the D800 and have huge files to start with). I use the ‘highest energy’ setting to get even better performance. I have had a few emails recently asking if Hypersync is built into the Elinchrom Quadra; the answer is no, you have to use the Pocket Wizard transmitters ( I use the FlexTT5 and MiniTT1).