Benched, and a very regretful garage sale

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In October last year I was in an accident that landed up pulling some ligaments and tearing a couple of discs in my lower back. The doctors say these things are supposed to heal by themselves over time, but a) it could be a long time and b) there’s always the possibility it won’t go back to how it was before. I was also told that prolonged heavy lifting of the photographic sort was most definitely out for the next year at least. I hoped to be stubborn enough to ride it out and go back to normal, but given three months later I’m still on Arcoxia twice a day, things are not looking good. I’m mobile enough to do most of what I usually do, but 20kg gear days are over for me.

It is with great sadness therefore that I have come to the conclusion it no longer makes sense for me to keep the Hasselblad H system since it’s physically impossible for me to shoot with it for more than an hour without serious pain. (Fortunately, I still have a full X system). It’s just too expensive an asset to keep idly depreciating.

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As is usual with these things, my loss is your gain, and what is probably going to be a once in a lifetime chance for the right buyer. The following items are available, and I would much prefer to sell them as a set (or at least the camera body and a few of the lenses first). Multiple items can be bundled and discounted, please (email me). The condition of everything is nearly new, or as new, and fully functional. I have boxes for everything but the H6D-100c (left that in Sweden as there was no space in luggage to bring it back when I collected the camera). I am the first owner. Bonus: all equipment has the benefit of being best-of-sample selected at HQ and lenses were adjusted to match perfectly to the camera with AF being spot on wide open.

Prices are in US Dollars and are reflective of item condition and general market conditions. Payment is via bank wire only above $5,000, or Paypal or bank wire below that. Shipping and insurance to be arranged once we figure out what’s going where; I have corporate rates on both. Please email me to buy, if you have questions or would like additional images of anything.

    1. Hasselblad H6D-100c body with a bunch of expensive extras: focusing screen with 16:9, 2.4:1 and square crop marks (installed); plain focusing screen; 6 original batteries total; additional charger; Markins L bracket; 64GB CFAST card; all cables etc (just no box). This is the same camera that was used in my Thaipusam and Koenigsegg BTS videos. Shutter count is approximately 6,500. Total current value of this is somewhere in the region of $35,000 new. I’m looking for $21,000.
    2. Hasselblad HCD 24/4.8 – $4,500 ($7,250 new) On hold pending funds 18/1
    3. Hasselblad HC 100/2.2 – $2,500 ($4,500 new; this is an exceptional copy.) On hold pending funds 18/1
    4. Hasselblad HCD 35-90/4-5.6 orange dot – $4,500 ($8,500 new)
    5. Hasselblad HC 150/3.2 N orange dot – sold
    6. Hasselblad HTS 1.5x – $3,000 ($5,700 new) On hold pending funds 18/1
    7. Hasselblad H Extension tubes 13, 26 – both for $350 ($350 each new)
    8. Hasselblad HC 1.7x TC – sold
    9. Hasselblad V-H (CF) adaptor and extra PC sync cable – $1,000 ($1,600 new)
    10. Bundle: items 1, 4, 7 and 9 for $25,500. That’s a great starter kit for two thirds of just the body alone…

Thanks! MT

**Don’t-know-if-you-don’t-try-super-super-long-shot: trade all for an E39 BMW M5, in Malaysia.

Photoessay: nocturnal impressions of Hong Kong

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You know a place has something on you if you want to go out and shoot to relax after spending the whole day…shooting on assignment. In this case a very different sort of work, and the kind of thing one can shoot in flow/ stream of consciousness; you react instinctively and don’t think too much about the scene. I look at the structure and the main highlights – note, not subjects, since the image is more of a vignette of a feeling than a specific description of a subject – balance the composition, and then shoot accordingly. There’s one kicker: I shot everything at ISO 64, handheld, relying on the stabiliser of the Z7 and the large amount of ambient light. I must have been inspired by Robin’s experiment some time back, but in this case I was deliberately seeking out motion, layers and wimmelbild to convey the impression of busyness and activity, but with the sort of surreal detachment that a monochrome presentation suggests. The emotional impact of color is not present, and one feels a bit colder and more objective or separated from the scene; an observer rather than a participant – which matches my feelings in places like this. I shot something like 500 frames that evening. This is my selection. MT

Images shot with a Nikon Z7 and 24-70, and post processed with The Monochrome Masterclass workflow. There are also one or two camera JPEGs in there, and I now have a very similar SOOC picture control pack available here.

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By popular demand: Nikon Z7 and D850 JPEG picture controls and ACR profiles

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I’m giving in to the large number of people asking me for Z7 and D850 Adobe Camera Raw profiles that are compatible with Workflow III. Now available is a supplementary pack that includes these profiles, as well as a bonus: what are arguably the best SOOC JPEG profiles available at the moment for the Z7 and D850. I’ve been looking at ways to make my own workflow more efficient for the majority of cases where I don’t need perfect files, so I can spend more time shooting (or doing other things) rather than being stuck behind a computer. Inspired by the results from the PEN F, I spent some time using Nikon’s byzantine picture control management software to make a set of curves that plays nice under the majority of situations. The monochrome picture controls were calibrated specifically for velvety rich shadows and smooth highlight rolloff; I think of it as ‘Acros Plus’ with a light orange filter; for some odd reason getting monochrome right was much more difficult than color – I put it down to the sensitivity of Nikon’s curve implementation.

Included in this pack are:

  1. Nikon Z7 ACR flat color profile, for use with Workflow III and PS
  2. Nikon Z7 ACR flat monochrome profile, for use with Workflow III and PS
  3. Nikon D850 ACR flat color profile, for use with Workflow III and PS
  4. Nikon Z7 monochrome picture control (SOOC JPEG)
  5. Nikon Z7 high contrast color picture control (SOOC JPEG)
  6. Nikon Z7 low contrast color picture control (SOOC JPEG)
  7. Nikon D850 monochrome picture control (SOOC JPEG)
  8. Nikon D850 high contrast color picture control (SOOC JPEG)
  9. Nikon D850 low contrast color picture control (SOOC JPEG)

The profile/picture control pack is available to purchase here for $60.

All sample images in this post were shot with the Z7 and one of the three picture controls; PS was only used for batch resizing. More samples and notes after the jump. Expect an email from me after purchasing, within half a day at worst in case I’m not at the computer.

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Long term thoughts on the Nikon Z7 and system

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I’ve now had a few months, a few assignments and what I’d consider a decent amount of time with the Z7: long enough to be familiar with its various peccadilloes and figure out exactly where it fits in my arsenal. Think of it as an extended field test, and perhaps more important than the initial review that people seem to expect me to produce within hours of a camera’s announcement. Truth is, you don’t really know a camera until you’ve had a chance to use it as you normally would, for the kinds of subjects you normally shoot, for an extended period of time – it’s just not physically possible to cover that many scenarios in a short test. Trouble is, not many of us have the time to do that (and especially not sites that have dozens of cameras to cover every month). It also requires consistency in the way one works to provide a baseline of expectations. As usual, I preface my thoughts with the caveat that not everything will apply to everybody, and validity of course increases the more similar your photographic style is to mine. I may not cover some things that matter to you, and I may obsess over other things that are trivial. With that, and assuming we have a mature audience, let’s move on.

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Photoessay: Tropical

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Think of today’s post as a mid-winter pick-me-up for those of you living in the northern hemisphere, a celebration of summer for those in the southern, and a reminder of why we live in the tropics for those of us on the equator. I know I’m remembering the time I shot these fondly, and wishing very much I could go back there sooner rather than later… MT

Images shot with a Nikon Z7 and 24-70, and post processed with Photoshop Workflow III. There are also a couple of camera JPEGs thrown in there to keep you guessing…

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Robin’s event photography tips

A large portion of my work as a commercial photographer is event coverage. I have covered events ranging from a private birthday party to a large corporate event with almost a thousand attendees. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to event photography but I have learned so much from my experience and I would like to share some of these tips today. A lot of these discussions revolve more around your attitude and approach as a photographer than the actual technical execution. I shall focus on how to minimize mistakes and be as prepared as you possibly can for any unexpected developments.

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Photoessay: Forest in the city

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Recently reopened, Taman Tugu is a surprisingly large park in the centre of Kuala Lumpur. It’s unique for being a rehabilitated secondary rainforest: for decades it had been used as a fly tipping site; literally hundreds of tons of rubbish and debris were removed from the hilly area by hand, and native species brought in to accelerate the repopulation of the forest and close up the canopy. Despite being effectively a manmade park, it has the feel of being completely natural other than a couple of prepared trails and benches; this is completely different from any of the other parks or reserves in Kuala Lumpur, and made to feel even more surreal due to the location – you’re barely two or three kilometres from the city centre, but once inside the park you hear nothing but birds and insects. It’s an amazingly tranquil feeling and I think something quite unusual for an urban area. The only other analog ambience-wise that comes to mind is the Nezumuseum garden in Tokyo; but that’s obviously a completely manmade garden, though the style is less formal than your traditional Japanese construction. Both however have the same sort of underlying feeling of structured chaos – an organic natural-ness overlaid on top of something more organised. To have something this close to home is very special indeed, and I highly recommend a visit if you’re in Kuala Lumpur (but bring mosquito repellent). In this series I’ve tried to capture vignettes of that feeling, though this turned out to be more difficult than imagined…

This set was shot with a Nikon Z7, 24-70 S and processed with Photoshop Workflow III and the Monochrome Masterclass.

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New year’s resolutions, 2019 edition

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Perhaps a more accurate title for today’s post isn’t so much ‘resolutions’ as ‘expectations’. I like to think that after a while in the same industry*, one acquires the maturity to know what you want to do, what you can do, and what you realistically might be able to expect. Here’s my plan for 2019, both photographic and otherwise. Some stuff I’ll have already said to various individuals or gotten lost in various comments, but as yet things have not been unified. So, to hopefully stem the tide of ‘are you going to x’ emails, here goes…

*Shooting since 2001, for clients part time since 2005, and full time since 2012 – that’s a good 18, 14 or 7 years, depending on how you want to measure it. Even 7 years in the digital era is an age given how fast things change.

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Photoessay: Window seat II

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One day, I promise I’ll do a post of images shot through dirty windows, but it’s just not as interesting most of the time – and it’s difficult to not make it come across more like a hipster filter. I don’t know if I’m the only person to spend most of the flight anxiously gazing out of the window in case I miss something interesting (and annoying the passengers around me who are trying to sleep by having the only open shade in the cabin) – but at least the scrolling scenery makes the flight go a bit faster. As we’ve discussed in the past, picking the right side of the aircraft is crucial – you don’t want to be shooting into the sun simply because all of the crap that’s going to reflect off the micro scratches in the windows, robbing contrast and leaving all sorts of strange artefacts. I’m also increasingly finding myself torn between a larger format for better color (not dynamic range in this case; the windows lower contrast to the point it doesn’t really matter much) or a smaller format for higher shutter speeds (f2.8 on M4/3 is sufficient to keep everything in focus at infinity, and lenses are usually very sharp cross-frame by this point too) as the light falls. I’ve had good and bad results from both options in pretty much equal measure. The one thing I haven’t been able to do consistently yet – because of the aircraft motion – is get a decent image in very low twilight or at night; there’s both simply no way to get enough shutter speed or block out light from the cabin. As with all things, more practice is required…MT

Shot over far too many flights with a wide variety of hardware, and post processed with Photoshop Workflow III – you can’t do SOOC JPEG for these because there just isn’t enough contrast thanks to all that glass and perspex.

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Keeping photowalks fresh

I have led hundreds of photowalks within Kuala Lumpur and a few outside of the city and I have yet to tire of them. There have been official outings and workshops for local photography clubs or consumer events for camera manufacturers as well as private and solo outings over the years. I believe that a photowalk is essential for any photographer. If you are a professional photographer, commercial shoots may bring food to the table but personal photowalks are an opportunity fore creative experimentation and growth. For this article, I shall define photowalks as not strictly street photography per se, but a wider involvement of multiple disciplines in photography that may include city architecture, urban decay, street portraits, and any other genres with subject contents widely available at photowalk locations.

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