Wandering where Kit Carson explored

Talented photographers often find visual stories in the things we take for granted or pass without noticing. While driving in Northern Mexico, Peter Misfeldt noticed the numerous roadside memorials. He started to photograph them and this turned into a project called Descansos. Another example – and a work in progress – are the Navajo vending booths in Northern Arizona. After passing them numerous times, it dawned to him that there’s a story in it. Some day he will tell that story: Diné Binaalye’ Nadahniih (The Navajo Nation Vending Booths).

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From the Navajo Vendor Booth project – 2019. IQ3- 100 Achromatic, Cambo WRS 1250, Digaron-40.

Peter Misfeldt started his career as a self-taught painter in the Mid-90’s. The first successes came with gallery shows in Copenhagen – his home-town at the time – and New York city. At some point he got himself a beautiful vintage brown Polaroid SX-70 and fell in love with the device. The Polaroid was used for various projects and by the beginning of the new century Peter acquired his first DSLR to document his paintings and shows.

Gradually photography started to play a more important role in his work. And at some point his camera replaced the paint and brushes completely. When looking at Peter’s current impressive portfolio, it immediately becomes clear that he has a fascination for the American Southwest. Which goes back to his childhood.

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“As a child my big interest was the North American Indians (which now more correctly are known as Native Americans).  For most of my adult life that interest has been subdued, but during my first trip to the American Southwest in 2008 it all came back again. I really fell for the Southwest desert, somehow it’s magic to me. The smells, the desolation, the feeling of being very small in the grand scenes of things. And of course the history. It fascinates me that if you look you’re able to see the history in the landscape, both human and in regard to the evolution of the Earth. When you hike deep into the backcountry, you can stumble upon prehistoric dwellings, hunting blinds, stone circles, ancient paths, petroglyphs and the like. At the same time, parts of the desert in the Southwest are centres for technical evolution – giant solar farms, training for moon missions, private training for Mars missions, former nuclear tests sites, US Airforce bombing ranges, aerospace like Tesla, mysteries like Area 51 and so on. Like Robert Smithson said, ‘The American West has a prehistoric past and a science fiction future’.”

“It is not only the Southwest that catches my attention, I have also been working in parts of the Midwest, Nebraska, The Dakotas, Wyoming and Montana on a project about the battlefields of the Indian wars for some years now. It is still very much a work in progress. The historic aspect of the American West is of great interest to me. The first inhabitants came there about 10.000 years ago, so the history is old, but when you think of it it’s only a few hundred years ago where the West was more or less unknown to the Europeans. The first Europeans to cross the western portion of the United States was the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1804 – 1806. Later mountain men like Kit Carson blazed trails across the Southwest to the promised land in California. His extensive travels and experience tell a story not just of one man, but of many people and cultures throughout the area of what would become the Southwestern United States. The history of both the early and general exploration of the West interests me both from the Natives and the explores/settlers point of view.”

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Battlefields project: Battle of Bone Pile Creek, 13-15 August 1865 – 2014, IQ160, Cambo WRS 1250, Digaron-40.

Not having a background as a photographer, Peter honed his skills to the current high level he’s working on by challenging himself and getting off the beaten track. Being a painter obviously helps to develop one’s abilities to visualise things. Being in the wild on your own changes your mind set and makes you more aware of what’s surrounding you. Peter has been much inspired by the photographers of the mid 1800’s American Survey Expeditions, like Timothy O’ Sullivan and Alexander Gardner, as well as by Edward S. Curtis’ early 1900’s project ‘The North American Indian’. A contemporary photographer whose work he admires is Mark Ruwedel.

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From the Descansos project – 2019. IQ3- 100 Achromatic, Cambo WRS 1250, Digaron-40.

The switch to medium format somehow happened by coincidence. Around 2012 Peter had a Canon 400mm lens for sale. The buyer wanted to trade-in his Leaf Aptus and Peter accepted. It was soon complemented with a used Cambo WRS-1000 and a couple of Schneider Apo-Digitar lenses.

WRS-1250_WDS-557_sNowadays a Phase One IQ3-100 Achromatic back, Cambo WRS-1250 and several Rodenstock and Schneider lenses are in the bag. Most of the lenses are in the Cambo WRS Tilt and Swing configuration. Peter likes the fact that he can apply both shift and rise/fall simultaneously and dial in a bit of tilt and swing when necessary. When travelling, the kit is often narrowed down to a Digaron-40, Apo-Digitar-60XL and -120ASP. This makes for a compact and not too heavy kit.

Peter loves colour photography and  the work of William Eggleston, Stephen Shore and many others. However, for his own work he often finds colour a distraction. Hence the shift to an Achromatic digital back and the emphasis on black and white in his recent work. It conveys a certain feeling that needs to be in his photographs and that simply isn’t there when shot in colour.

The salt deposit in the Saline Valley is one of the purest in the world. Although first described in 1864 it was not exploited on a large scale until the early 1900s, due to the costs of transporting it to the market from this remote area.

In 1911 the Saline Valley Salt Company decided to build an aerial electric tramway that would rise 7600 feet / 2316 meters to the crest of the Inyo Range from the floor of Saline Valley, and then descend 5100 feet / 1554 meters to the narrow gauge railroad terminal at Tramway near Keeler, all within a distance of 13.5 miles / 21,5 km.Misfeldt_2

By 1914 the company shipped 9 to 15 carriages a week. It couldn’t turn to profit, so U.S. Steel, that built the tram, took over. Between 1924 and 1926 a road to Saline Valley via San Lucas Canyon was constructed. The use of trucks also proved unprofitable. In 1928 the Sierra Salt Company purchased the tram and refurbished it. Soon it was transporting salt at a rate of 60 to 100 tons per day. Financial difficulties urged the company to cease operations in 1933. Although Saline Valley salt is exceptionally pure, its monetary value was never high enough to offset the cost of transporting it to market.

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From the Salt project – 2019. IQ3- 100 Achromatic, Cambo WRS 1250, Apo-Digitar 120ASP.

To see more of Peter’s work: Peter Misfeldt

 

Posted in General, Landscape, Wide RS | Tagged , , , ,

Support you can count on

Cambo offers an extensive line of studio stands. It’s possible to build up a stand that suits every photographer’s needs. Almost every photographer. Sometimes we’ll need to build a studio stand on request!

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The UST-DSD at our factory

The one shown here, is a Cambo UST with two cross arms. Not just an additional cross arm. Each one has its own height adjustment. This required some custom-made parts, which enable the use of two pulley and cable assemblies and a second counter weight.

As all Cambo products are manufactured in our own factory, we’re pretty agile when it comes to fulfilling our clients’ needs. Cambo stands are not only used in many photo studios around the globe. We’ve supplied stands to the aerospace industry and for applications in i.e. meteorology. Wherever a stable yet moveable platform is needed, we can offer our support.

 

 

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Installed in the studio

 

Posted in General, Studio, Technical, Tripod | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

What’s cooking Jordan Bush?

2019.02.21_Foodographer_Sushi_JBP02A couple of years ago, Lancaster based photographer Jordan Bush published an article that caught our attention. It was about cable management. Now to many of us cable management may be a necessary evil. Not to Jordan. He starts his article with the intriguing sentence “Cable management is one task that for me is bizarrely fun and rewarding.” We need to know more about that!

Jordan:

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“Recently I added a Cambo Stand to my studio and wanted to organize all of the cables running around it. If you’ve never gotten to use a studio stand, they greatly accelerate workflow while adding incredible precision and ease. I wanted to add a ton of peripherals to the Cambo stand, from AC powering and USB 3 tethering a Nikon D800E, to powering a MacBook Pro, plus a controller for all of my monolights. I love having the flexibility that a studio stand offers. Yet with all of the peripherals attached to it, it quickly became apparent it needed to be better organized. Cable management would help to minimize reflections and distractions while keeping the movements of the stand free from obstruction.”

 

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If you’d like to know how Jordan avoids the proverbial clutter of cables in his studio, read his article on F-Stoppers

 

 

Jordan Bush graduated in marketing and sociology and worked as a software trainer and hardware technician at Apple. That’s probably where his fascination with routing cables as cleanly and tidy as possible originates from. Out of college, Jordan worked with designers and photographers in pre-press and after that, alongside his Job at Apple, part-time assisting a commercial photographer. There he got bitten by the bug and decided to start a business as a photographer.

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Jams & Jellies, from Mai 2019’s Foodographer

Jordan contributes the monthly Foodographer column – images and words – to Lancaster County Magazine. Here it comes all together, his passion for photography, writing and cooking. Together with his fiancé Jessica he signed up for a year of cooking classes. Halfway through the course, Jordan pitched the idea for a story to Sue, his editor. The first article ran as a feature and Sue asked for more. The magazine had just hired a new and talented creative director and was about to undertake a gradual rebrand. When the team met to discuss ideas the column “Foodographer” was born.

When Foodographer came along, the Cambo stand proved to be an absolute necessity. Working with edible food in the context of cooking, propping, styling, lighting, and photographing, consistency is critical. The freedom to place a camera wherever needed greatly contributes to the styling and lighting quality of the final image. For studio visuals, Jordan tethers to a MacBook Pro, using Capture One 12. The MacBook Pro is mounted onto the Cambo stand, so even when shooting off-hand, the computer and tools move with the set. Capture One’s Capture Pilot mobile app pairs brilliantly with tethered capture and a studio stand (here is an article Jordan wrote about it).

“My goal is to make people hungry, while using food as the excuse to a larger conversation, to elevate food culture, encourage folks to try something new and build community. Understanding specific foods, what makes it unique especially with cultural dishes (like pho), is critical to representing the story it tells. In making food look mouthwatering, my approach is similar to that in cooking: stay out of its way. The better the quality of ingredients, the better the taste. That happens to be true visually. Timing is a key consideration by setting up the most stable food elements first, as some dishes might be spent after one take that lasts an instant. Finding props and colors that supplement without distracting is another; I am always on the hunt for antique cooking tools.”LCM_Foodographer_Coffee_JBP032

 

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Jordan uses Nikon cameras and Nikkor PC lenses. The Cambo PCH geared head and Actus view camera are high on his wishlist. “The Nikkor 85 mm tilt shift is great, but I see the benefits of having flexibility.

Some mouthwatering articles by Jordan: Foodographer

 

Posted in ACTUS, General, Studio | Tagged , , , , ,

If Rembrandt were a videographer

2019 is Year of Rembrandt, in commemoration of the Dutch master’s death, now 350 years ago. There will be numerous events and exhbitions throughout The Netherlands. You may i.e. visit The Rembrandt House, the painter’s residency and workshop, restored to its 17th Century glory. It’s located in Amsterdam’s beautiful historic city centre. Apart from its art collection, this museum gives an insight in life in the 17th century. Yes,  a tourist tip! But let’s not dwell on the topic.

Dutch photo- and videographer Gerhard Witteveen made this short video for Royal Talens. It shows the brand’s limited edition Year of Rembrandt artists’ box.

Gerhard uses the Cambo Actus-GFX, not only for his photography, but also to add something extra to his videos. Episode Six of our series of tutorials gives an idea what results you can achieve by using a view camera for your video work.Actus-GFX-02_s

 

Posted in CS Video Rigs, General, Video Booms, Video Pedestal | Tagged , , , , ,

Ori Livney: Taking jewellery photography to greater heights

The first time Ori Livney approached us, he needed parts for his recently acquired (pre-owned) Cambo view camera. Since that day we’ve been in touch every now and then. One thing soon became clear: Ori never runs out of ideas! Luckily, often well-founded ideas.

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©Ori Livney for Gil Neuhaus

After getting his degree in Industrial  Engineering, Ori worked as a balloon artist for twenty years. He frequently appeared in Israel’s national TV shows and did projects around the globe. Working on the set of a commercial he met Yoram Aschhaim, a successful Israeli photographer. He showed Ori how much better his balloon sculptures could look, when photographed by a pro. It took him about a year of playing around with his camera and strobes to get the desired results. The images helped a lot to grow his business. And then it was time for a new challenge. Freshly-wed Ori asked the jeweller who designed the wedding rings to do a joined project. Lighting balloons isn’t easy, so it couldn’t be too hard to shoot jewellery. Well, how wrong he could be… Photographing jewellery turned out to be very challenging. And that’s what he loves about it.

Having no traditional photographic background, Ori felt the need to improve his skills. A lot of techniques can be learned from online tutorials. Photigy and Creative Live were of great help. About the latter: “The classes there are amazing, from photography to retouching and business, every class there is a gem. I highly recommend it!” Starting out in jewellery photography turned out to be “a cool puzzle”. Major challenges were mastering the light, the depth-of-field, positioning the jewelry and post-production. Flaws that aren’t visible to the naked eye, will be in a good photograph and retouching is a must.

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©Ori Livney for Ari Bar Jewelry

Like most starting photographers, Ori made his first attempts with a DSLR. The lack of depth-of-field when shooting tiny objects was one of the challenges faced. Ori bought his first view camera – a used Cambo Legend – to get more control over the plane of focus. If the plane of focus is narrow, at least it should be there where you need it. The Legend is a nice view camera, but it was designed for 4×5. Ori soon decided to upgrade to a Cambo Ultima-35 with Mamiya RB lenses. From this range fine lenses can be found at very moderate prices. A couple of the superior Schneider Apo-Digitar macro lenses followed. Even with a view camera that provides the best control over the plane of focus, focus stacking is needed. Very often, the depth-of-field isn’t more than a few millimetres. To make stacking easier, Ori bought a Cognisys Stack Shot kit and attached the complete Ultima to it.

The Stack Shot turned out to be a great piece of gear, but there was still room for improvement. To get the best results, it’s crucial to leave the camera in position and move the rear standard instead. Coming from industrial engineering after all, Ori started to design a solution. The Ultima was taken from the focussing rail and the Stack Shot motor – linked by a belt – used to drive the rear standard in small increments. It resulted in a nice stack of focussed shots. The belt had a tendency to slip though. At that time Ori’s dog Kiano had an operation. The poor animal needed a bandage and when looking at it, Ori realized that it would make a perfect drive belt. And it worked! So here we had one of the Ori Livney ideas. It resulted in our mounting bracket for the Cognisys Stack Shot. By then we had replaced the dog’s bandage by a direct drive. Nowadays Ori uses the Stack Shot unit on his Cambo Ultima-35 (upgraded to an Actus-XL) with a Nikon D850 attached. The Schneider Apo-Digitar 120 Macro is his lens of choice.

 

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HyperFocal: 0

 

After having honed his skills, Ori started to spread the word and reached out to jewellers. From a home studio he moved his business to Tel Aviv’s jewellery district. Now working in a professional environment and very often shooting at odd angles, a good studio stand was needed.

Ori mentions his Cambo UBS as one of the best investments he’s ever made. “This stand allows me to move my 14kg camera setup like it’s floating in air. Precision placement and ease of use have made my whole workflow easier and much better. I really can’t imagine what I would do without it. Sure it wasn’t cheap. But hey, we only have one back and that’s both priceless and without replacement parts!”

 

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©Ori Livney for Oliva Fine Jewelry

 

 

To see more of Ori Livney’s work check out his Instagram account!

https://www.instagram.com/orilivney_jewelry_photographer

 

 

Posted in General, Studio, Technical | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Get a grip on the GH5

The rig shown in the picture below is known as the Cambo CS-GH4. The first one was made at a camera man’s request. The quality of the – at that time new – Panasonic GH4 enabled him to leave the bigger gear at home for most of his asignments. To do justice to the Panasonic’s small form factor, a compact rig was needed.

It won’t come as a surprise, that the current GH5 and GH5s fit equally well!

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A unique feature of this rig is the ability to change the position of the padded shoulder support. This enables you to sit the shoulder support on and ‘inline’ with your shoulder, orCamboGH4rig03 in a ‘brace’ position pushed against the front of the chest, or positioned over and around your back.

The reach of the grip can be adjusted and swivelled into the right position. The camera can be positioned for looking directly through the viewfinder or to give enough room to add the Cambo 3x loupe.

The rig is completed with a 0.8kg CS-180 counter weight.

Cambo rigs have grooved rods. There’s a small index ball in the GH4/5 rig’s rod connector. By aligning this with one of the grooves, the camera plate will always be in the right position! No fiddly realigning to get the horizon straight.

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To connect the camera, there’s a choice between standard 1/4 or an Arca style Quick release.

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Posted in General, hdslr, Panasonic GH4, Panasonic GH5 | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

best studio investment you’ll ever make

Since the very beginning – in 1946 – Cambo have been building studio stands. And many of those early stands are still being used. Often our stands are passed on from one generation to the next! Like the one shown in the photo below. It’s a Cambo AST from the 1950s. Apart from some  signs of wear and tear on the surface it’s still in good shape.

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So it’s safe to say, that a Cambo stand will last a lifetime. And nowadays we can offer a wide range of studio stands, to suit every photographer’s needs. Heights range from 2.10m (7ft) to 3.60m (12ft). Our compact Mono and MBX stands speed up the workflow in many retail studios. The heavy duty UST and UBS support two medium or large format cameras with ease. Modern studio stands like UBS and MBX feature cross arms on ball-bearings which rotate independently of vertical adjustments. Amenities photographers in the fifties could only dream of.

Posted in Automotive, General, portrait, portraiture, Reprographic, Studio | Tagged , , , , ,