DMR in Alaska

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by doug herr, Jul 6, 2006.

  1. I recently returned from a couple of weeks in Alaska, primarily Denali National Park with a few minutes at Potter Marsh in south Anchorage. This was my first trip made with the DMR I paid particular attention to its charging and backup needs. My wife and I were using a rented RV so 12-volt power was available. I also brought a Hyperdrive HD-80 ( for SD-card backup, which can either use standard AA batteries or can be powered by the included rechargable AA batteries (charger cord also included).
    For the DMR I brought a pair of 2GB SD cards and a pair of DMR batteries. The second DMR battery is highly recommended because the battery doesn't have a particularly large capacity. Typically the battery would last all day but occasionally I had to use the second battery.
    I also used an SL and SL2 for film (Astia 100F, E100G, Provia 400F) plus a backup body. The only real equipment failure on the entire trip was with the Astia, which tore apart while I was rewinding the SL.
    A few of the pix (most DMR, I still have some film to scan):
    Gray Jay Denali National Park, Alaska
    Leica R8/DMR, 280mm f/4 APO-Telyt-R
    Lesser Yellowlegs Potter Marsh, Anchorage Alaska
    Leica R8/DMR, 280mm f/4 APO-Telyt-R with extension tube
    Great Horned Owl Denali National Park, Alaska
    Leicaflex SL2, 280mm f/4 APO-Telyt-R, Provia 400F
    Dall's Sheep, ram Denali National Park, Alaska
    Leica R8/DMR, 560mm f/6.8 Telyt-R
    Grizzly Bear Denali National Park, Alaska
    Leica R8/DMR, 560mm f/6.8 Telyt-R
  2. Nice ones Doug. I would pick the 560 on DMR for the grizley too. These are not friendly creatures.
  3. Doug, nice shots. First photo I've ever seen of a Gray Jay. Can you give us your pros and cons for each Leica system when out in the wilds?
  4. Christopher, the key to using the DMR easily was car-camping (vs. backpacking or tent-camping) because of the 12-volt power supply. Without that power supply I'd have ditched the electronic stuff - cords, chargers, HD-80, batteries, etc. - and use the mechanical Leicaflexes exclusively.
    Although I was in Alaska during the longest day of the year, much of the time there was extensive cloud cover so high ISO was the norm where the DMR is much better than fast films (ISO 400 or faster). At ISO 400 I'll use either camera, with a slight preference for the SL or SL2 because of its exceptional viewfinder. At ISO 100 I'll use the SL, no question.
  5. Doug, thank you for being so generous with your shots. They are fantastic. The last time I
    visited Danali, the weather was poor and I didn't bring anything home except a lot of
    mosquito bites. You showed your usual professionalism by bringing home some great
    shots despite the odds against you.
  6. exquisite photographs as always, Doug.. I just finished my first "safari" with my DMR to the wilds of Western Massachusetts and the big game were the performers at Tanglewood... I found the experience fantastic and found the DMR to work beautifully at all ISOs. I also brought my M7 with Velvia 400 and felt that the DMR 400 was superior. I field tested my Epson P4000 and it worked flawlessly. You can see your JPEGS on it but not RAW as the company has yet to write the software for Leica DNG.
  7. Very nice work Douglas, well done. I heard good stories about the DMR. However looking at these shots on a monitor doesn't really give any credit to the quality of the DMR. I had the opportunity to see some real prints of this particular camera and they looked very impressive. When looking at viewing distance at real photographs the results are equal to film- quality. Closer up, the DMR shows less grain ofcourse.
  8. Doug: Now a displaced Alaskan, all those images made me homesick, but particularly the Gray Jay. Here in my yard in San Antonio I have a couple of pairs of Blue Jays, but they aren't friendly like the Camp Robbers. At the island camp at Gulkana Falls the Grays would perch on the brim of my hat as I cast a fly or cooked supper. And sometimes try to steal a pork chop out of the frying pan. <p> The pictures at Potter's Marsh evoke fond memories of many hours spent there. I admire (as well as envy) the wonderful pics of Alaska's wild creatures that I was never so successful at capturing. Thanks again for your wonderful photos. Dan
  9. Doug, I am curious. Since you bought the DMR, have you ever used the camera for film captures?

    Nice samples!
  10. Vivek, the R8 for me is a digital-only camera. When I want to use film I'll use the SL or SL2 because of its better viewfinder. If the R8's viewfinder were as good as the SL, I'd sell the Leicaflexes & get another R8.
    Dan, Alaska is fantastic, no question, and you were fortunate to have lived there. I'm starting to think about early retirement & moving north. One of the Gray Jays I was trying to photograph flew up to me and landed on my lens!
  11. So Doug, as a bird specialist, how do you find 10 Mpixels handles the feather barbs and
    other repetitive textures vis a vis moires and the like (especially with the DMR, where you
    have a choice of turning the aliasing filter on or off)?

    The Gray Jay shot seems to show some 'muzziness' in the neck feathers, but I'm assuming
    that's mostly from resizing to web resolution.

    Can you expand a bit on whether you use RAW (which doesn't use the filter anyway), or in
    jpeg whether you use the filter or not? Or use it in some situations but not others?
  12. Andy you can only use the anti-alaising off when shooting jpegs and not available when shooting raw. i have found moire in some circumstances shooting the DMR and actually without the AA filter i have been pleasantly surprised that i did not have more moire in my images but if you have C1 it comes with a plug in for moire to be used in Photoshop called Demorize, that really does a outsatnding job of correcting it and pretty painless. now i will let Doug answer the bird moire but I would expect on some birds he may get some , just depends on the pattern. i have shot tweed suits and not got any but some shirts or ties I have. So it just depends .

    Doug great shots as usual and i see the great use of the 280 F4 no question one of my sweethearts in my lineup. Doug i just have to look at the viewfinder of a SL, i hear you talk of this often and i love the R9 viewfinder but the SL must be outstanding. BTW i get about 250 to 300 shots if I am just going along but if I just have it on all the time i get maybe about 6 hours. Extra batteries are needed
  13. Good question Andy. Yes I've seen some moire in fine feather detail. It's shown up in several of the photos I've posted here, including the Gray Jay above. I haven't tried removing it yet but if Guy's experience is any guide (it always has been) fixing it should be no big deal.
    I have the most problems with moire when photographing birds with the 280 f/4 at fast shutter speeds so it seems that very high lens resolution is a contributing factor.
  14. I think that maybe very true Doug , I have most of my moire issues with the 100 apo and the 180 F2 which both are really outstnading with sharpness. I noticed this on one shot were my critical focus hit a guys tie and bam, I had moire there but the next frame he moved slightly and it was still very sharp but not critical and it was not there. So i agree it is these very sharp lenses at a critical focusing point were this occurs. Let's see if i can find it and show you what i mean
  15. Okay real quick test don't want to deviate to much from Doug's thread but this is intersting watch this. standard corportae portrait here with the Leica 180 f2 at shooting aperture at F8 . Watch the tie. Full shot
  16. Okay same image with critical focus the tie shows moire
  17. Very next frame with not critical focus and the moire is gone. But he is still very sharp this is very very slight movement here
  18. Now I went back to the image with the Moire in the ties and used the DeMorize filter in the drawn out white area . Look insude and the filter was applied and outside it was not . Magic stuff
  19. I did this very quickly and there are several options with the filter to work the image but it can be done pretty easy and i am sure there are many other techniques to do this also and maybe even some raw converters
  20. Thanks Guy very informative.
  21. You bet Doug keep up those great shots , love your stuff.
  22. Doug: Great shots. I live in Kenai and frequently drive past Potter's Marsh. These postings do not appear to have the color saturation that most of your other shots have. Is this due to the DMR vs. film or was it that gray while you were here. The green's are generally much richer up here and some of the detail is lacking, or possibly washed out some.

    Again, thanks for sharing your work with us.

    Mark J.
  23. Mark J, I think the greens are washed out due to backlighting for example the Gray Jay was in the shade of the tree while the background was in full light (cloudy bright IIRC) and the Lesser Yellowlegs was fully backlit with sun behind clouds almost directly behind the bird, so the marsh in the background was getting much more light than the side of the bird that was facing me (this was ISO 1600, FWIW).
  24. Douglas, it's now several years since I was last north of the Arctic Circle, and those shots make me sick with envy. They are also exquisite shots, by the way, but that's what I've learned to expect from you. Great respect.

    Those Dall sheep are normally pretty timid, aren't they? When I was in the area, those I saw (through a telescope) were on hideous mountain slopes. So I'm fascinated to know what the circumstances were here?

    You should come over to Europe and try our Siberian Jays. Similar behaviour (and ecology) to Whiskey Jacks, but spectacular plumage.
  25. Jonathan, the sheep were on top of Primrose Ridge, where they get regular human vistors
    so they weren't too jumpy... but getting up to the sheep was a bit of a hike, about 1.5 hrs
    up a talus slope from the Savage River bridge. 30 years ago it was a 1-hour hike... either
    the mountain has gotten taller or I've gotten older
  26. I expect it's the mountain, Douglas! It's a geologically youthful region. :)

    The sheep I recall were up on the St Elias Mts in the background of this photo. Making allowances for the clear arctic air they looked more like a week's hike away. So I went fishing for grayling instead. By the way, this is a Nikon photo, sorry.
  27. Some really exquisite animal photos made with Leica equipment here
  28. Douglas, excellent captures as usual.

    I don't know if it is due to image compression for the internet, but your shots still seem a
    tad over-processed compared to your film shots.

    I don't visit this forum much anymore, but do watch for posts like yours ... so I don't know
    if you've answered this before, but do you shoot RAW files? And do you use the Imacon
    Flexcolor software for processing?

    I know Guy doesn't ... but I do because, although daunting to learn, it is a super tuned
    program that specifically supports the DNG files from the DMR. Recently Imacon upgraded
    Flexcolor to version 4.6 which has Imacon Digital Back users all atwitter because it
    significantly improves ISO 400 (and ISO 800 on the DMR) performance. Worth looking at I

    If you wish, contact me and perhaps you can send an original DNG RAW file to me via an
    FTP site and I'll run it through Flexcolor for you and return a high res file via FTP.
  29. Marc you just reminded me of the new Flexcolor 4.6 thanks . I forgot to download it and try it again. Thanks

    For me in C1 i use a touch of sharpening for the DMR . Soft look 56 and threshold 3. Not a lot at all but it does give it just a little extra pop.

    Marc if I remeber Flex even at the 0 setting it still is sharpening . Someone said take it to like -120 for no sharpening. Do you find that to be somewhat correct.
  30. Marc, thanks for the heads-up about Flexcolor 4.6 - yes I'm shooing RAW format and
    using Flexcolor. Other have remarked about a difference between my pre-DMR and post-
    DMR photos... it's hard to say for sure what makes the difference because RAW file
    processing required an upgraded computer system, so it may be the computer setup that
    influences the difference as much as the capture tools do.

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