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Technical Notes


Technical Notes


The images on this website were taken over a period of more than 50 years.  Early images were taken with 35mm cameras and a 4x5 field camera using black and white film.  Later, I used Nikon 35mm SLR cameras with color transparency film, mostly Kodachrome, and later Fuji Provia.  In 2003 I acquired a Fuji S2 digital camera and haven't used film since!  Now I use Nikon D750 and D300 DSLRs, and a Panasonic DMC-G1. When traveling light I use a Canon G-12 that fits in my pocket.

I find mobility important for what I do.  The heavier the backpack is the slower I go, the less distance I cover, and the less I see.  If a piece of gear doesn't fit in my backpack, it gets left behind and sees little use.  Thus small and light for a given capability is my criteria for equipment choices.  Ease of use is another.  Working with poorly designed camera gear takes concentration away from the main purpose of seeing and making pictures.  Controls should be intuitive and accessible, even with gloves on.

A full frame Nikon D750 with a range of lenses is on the heavy side, but its astonishing image quality and intuitive controls makes carrying it worthwhile.  My most used lens is a 24-120mm f4 Nikkor, and is complemented with a 16-35mm f4 Nikkor for wide angle work.  I carry a Nikkor 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 for a telephoto.  Lately, I've started doing
landscape astrophotography, and mostly use a Rokinon 14mm f2.8 for that purpose.  The D300 kit with a 16 to 85mm f3.5-5.6 and 12-24mm f4 Nikkors is a bit lighter.  A light, compact, but sturdy modified Siriui N-1204X tripod that fits in my pack provides support, along with a Photo Clam PC-33NS ball head.  I frequently create stitched panoramas, and carry a lightweight compact panning head attachment of my own design for that purpose.  I also use polarizing, infrared, and neutral density filters.

In 2001 I became interested in infrared imaging. I started using Kodak High Speed Infrared black and white film in a Nikon EL2 with a #29 red filter.  When I went digital, I used the Fuji S2 with a Hoya R72 filter.  Currently I do most of my IR using the Panasonic G1 and a 14-45mm zoom, which has been converted for infrared or color imaging, using an appropriate filter.
  With a 45mm macro lens it also makes a great macro camera because of its fully articulated LCD screen, allowing convenient low angle shooting.

Early on I did my own black and white printing.  When I started to do color, printing them myself was no longer an option.  I sent transparencies out, but was never satisfied with the results printed by traditional photofinishers.  In 1999 I discovered the Giclee print and endeavored to learn the technology and craft to make fine art prints myself.  For early images, transparency and negative film was scanned into digital files using Nikon and Minolta scanners.  Since 2003, images have been captured in a digital format.  Files are processed using Adobe Photoshop and printed using Epson inkjet printers.  For color, I currently use an Epson 7600 with pigment inks on heavy Hahnemuhle watercolor papers.  For black and white, I use an Epson 2200 printer with MIS Hextone pigment inks.

Thomas Wells 2017
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