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Thread: Leibovitz, Canon and the Queen of England.

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    Super Duper
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    Leibovitz, Canon and the Queen of England.

    Watched a documentary on Annie Leibovitz's session with Her Royal Highness.

    Aside from pissing off the queen immediately, I was suprised to see Annie shooting with a Canon 1 series camera and a 24-70 zoom.

    So I went to the web to scope out the shots.

    All I can say is that Madam Tussauds would be proud.

    IMO, she should never have given up on the Mamiya RZ.

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    Re: Leibovitz, Canon and the Queen of England.

    I have only seen web reproductions, apart from small thumbnails in photo magazines, but the two shots I have seen were interesting, and quite different from previous work of the queen.

    About the pissing off of the queen, there was apparently a scandal surrounding that, since some editor combined footage of the queen leaving a room with sound bits from another part of the shoot, giving the impression that the queen was storming out in a rage. I don't know if that was the shot you saw. Apparently the responsible editor was immediately fired, and the reality was that the queen was a bit ticked off early on, but that later in the shoot things went very well. There is an interview with Annie Leibowitz somewhere about that.
    Carsten - Website

  3. #3
    asabet
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    Re: Leibovitz, Canon and the Queen of England.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    All I can say is that Madam Tussauds would be proud.

    IMO, she should never have given up on the Mamiya RZ.
    Maybe she uses the Canon for her over-80 subjects .

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Leibovitz, Canon and the Queen of England.

    Well there maybe more to it than just using Canon gear , she actually maybe getting paid to endorse canon products. This is a assumption but I know canon does do this for marketing reasons.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Leibovitz, Canon and the Queen of England.

    James Russell often mentions in discussions A.L. using Canons for her work. As Guy mentions, I have always wondered (nay, assumed) that she is "well" sponsored. Still if she likes shooting the gear, she should do so (obviously).

    Frankly, for much of her type of work it makes fine sense to me to use Canon or Nikon equipment. Guy mentions that he provides image files to clients who later wrangle them in to tasks that he was not commissioned for when he shot them. i.e. the client makes billboards from images Guy expected would be used for an ID card. (Sorry, but you get my idea ). The point being that Guy says he wants to cover his rear and give the client-bomb proof files so that they can go as large as needed, etc. Makes sense.

    But for A.L. she is going after certain moods, often soft portraiture, which don't require retina-searing sharpness and detail. I think we often forget that fantastic images can be made with nearly any equipment. Different gear produces different looks, but so do different photographers pursue different looks.

    Last week I was shooting a scene on tripod with my P25+ and the Mamiya 210mm. The light sucked, but I was having fun. Accepting defeat (for the light) I panned the camera around 180 degrees and snapped a shot of my wife sitting on a snow-covered rock with her dog by her side, enjoying the sunshine. I can assure you that she wished that I'd taken the shot with my Canon and cheap lens with a smudged filter. On the bright side, she can send my file to her dermatologist and avoid the appointment.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Leibovitz, Canon and the Queen of England.

    Exactly no excuses files. LOL

    Yes MF can get a little scary when shooting our lovely spouses which if we did not do a good job on airbrushing than they would certainly be our ex- spouses.

    Long live Photoshop and the airbrush tools.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Leibovitz, Canon and the Queen of England.

    Yes, Guy, I was politely instructed to soften the image, "heal" a few spots, etc. before e-mailing the image to her sister.

    It's always so rewarding to capture an image with ridiculously expensive gear, and then try to "dumb it down" to P&S level, so that peace remains at home.


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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Leibovitz, Canon and the Queen of England.

    I just get that look like I am supposed to know to airbrush them. She has me well trained. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Leibovitz, Canon and the Queen of England.

    I had seen the documentary film, plus read a few stories written about this shoot. The monarch had hired AL to do the work. They paid for the shoot. That being said, AL did have her choice of gear to use for how she wanted to capture things. At that time, the 1DsMKIII was also being introduced, and she appears to have had one in the kit, though the final shots were evidently captured with a 1DsMkII. (You can see the different sized LCDs in parts of the film for openers.) AL's team/entourage rented most of the other lighting gear and stuff locally, rather than haul so much around. She could have used anything she wanted, but has been using Canon stuff lately, mainly because of the freedom she had to do scouting shots and things like that. She used the 24-70mm f2.8L zoom lens because it gave her the last second creative composition power over a fixed lens and having to move everything around. She did shoot tethered, but worked from a fairly fixed spot that had been rather extensively prepped for light control. On some of the other shots, there was a lot of compositing done to get the various lighting looks needed to capture the vision she wanted.

    At the time of this shoot, the more modern MFDBs were just starting to come onto the scene also, and many had not yet gotten rave reviews for performance or file handling as we have available today. Also, there was a big issue about not wanting what had been the "traditional portraiture" type of shot, where MF film had been used almost exclusively by the Queen's photographer. A lot had to do with the ability to composite shots with various exposures, and the DSLR was already a decent and rapid tool for this sort of shooting.

    Anyway, that is a bit more of the background that I gleaned from this. Personally, I did not think the shots were outstanding as others from AL have been, but she did capture a very different perspective and interpretation of the Queen as nobody else had really done, so it was effective. Would it have been "better" with a MF rig? Evidently AL did not think so, feeling it was more limiting to what she wanted to do. Folks with argue this till the cows come home, but she did it her way and it worked for how she envisioned things, and that is what matters.

    LJ

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    Re: Leibovitz, Canon and the Queen of England.

    Well for what she gets paid, I guess she can use whatever she dang well wants

    However, I agree with Marc 110% on the waxy look

    The sad fact is, it appears her clients don't care about what the final file looks like, more just who took it. I dunno, maybe I'd feel the same way if Ansel Adams had shot my wedding with an instamatic...
    Jack
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  11. #11
    nei1
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    Re: Leibovitz, Canon and the Queen of England.

    I think Amin has hit the nail on the head.Im sure the queen would sooner see 10 lines on her face than 100.

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    Re: Leibovitz, Canon and the Queen of England.

    This is actually a pretty "tough" crowd IMO, with regard to image evaluations. I'm not saying that as a complaint or criticism at all. It also happens to be really great crowd. I'm not a fan of A.L.'s work particularly, and in fact have been offended by some which I felt was exploitive.

    That said, there's a lot of micro inspection done of images by some photographers which is clearly not consistent with how much of "the public" views images. I agree about the "waxy" comments (I make waxy looking files too – especially with my 5D), and this can often be improved with better processing. It tends to show less in well made prints than it does in on-line viewing. (I tend to be lazy with my on-line files, and frankly should reprocess most of them.)

    All of this ramble was meant to say that many of the things that are appreciated by those of us in technical forums is lost on people who will ultimately hang an image on their wall. Of course the ideal scenario is for an image to have the artistic impact together with the technical features. If I had to forfeit one of the two (and I often do, whether I want to or not!) I'd prefer to forfeit the technical perfection and capture the image with the artistic message (referring mostly to shots other than static landscapes and the like). I think that many of us feel this way, and of course strive to achieve both as we learn and grow.

    Of my images, my all-time favorite is one that looks rather waxy on line, however prints well, but has elements which mean much more to me in terms of light and message with out the benefit of pixel perfection. It's sharp (Canon 135 f/2.0), but it doesn't IMO require the extra whoomph of MFDB. I see room for improvement in the file (I sort of wish I took it with an M8), but no one who put it on their wall ever mentioned the detractions that I see.

    Just sayin'.


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    Re: Leibovitz, Canon and the Queen of England.

    Here is a funny article with a picture of Annie using a Canon on a shoot from a digital techs perspective. Check out the tape holding the FW cable in.
    http://realworldworkflow.com/blog/?s=annie
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    direct/cell:610-496-5586 office:877-367-8537x224
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    Re: Leibovitz, Canon and the Queen of England.

    Here's a neat video that illustrates what goes into a big ticket production.

    http://blog.chasejarvis.com/blog/200...w-kung-fu.html

    MT

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    Re: Leibovitz, Canon and the Queen of England.

    Last week I went to the National Portrait Gallery in London to see the exhibition, Annie Leibovitz, A Photographer's Life, 1990 - 2005.

    You have to pay to see the main exhibition but in the ticket hall, for free, are a number of "the photographs" she took of the Queen during the session.

    They are printed around 40in x 30in. The exterior shot with the stormy clouds has been worked on but the others look as if they were taken with natural light.

    You could press you nose against the prints if you wished to view the quality but I thought they looked fine and its marginal if they would have been improved using different gear, for the feeling and mood they convey. The Queen herself is quite small in the frame and her surroundings, with their subduded colours, look subtle. I get the feeling that some think they might have been better if.........

    The main exhibition contains many of her well-known photographs and two large walls of small personal photos in date order. Exhibition runs to 1st February.

    If you go the NPG don't miss the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition just along the corridor from the AL. Its free and features 60 works from some of the most exciting contemporary portrait photographers working today. Great stuff. On till 15th February.

    NR

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    Re: Leibovitz, Canon and the Queen of England.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nigel Rea View Post
    Last week I went to the National Portrait Gallery in London to see the exhibition, Annie Leibovitz, A Photographer's Life, 1990 - 2005.

    You have to pay to see the main exhibition but in the ticket hall, for free, are a number of "the photographs" she took of the Queen during the session.

    They are printed around 40in x 30in. The exterior shot with the stormy clouds has been worked on but the others look as if they were taken with natural light.

    You could press you nose against the prints if you wished to view the quality but I thought they looked fine and its marginal if they would have been improved using different gear, for the feeling and mood they convey. The Queen herself is quite small in the frame and her surroundings, with their subduded colours, look subtle. I get the feeling that some think they might have been better if.........

    The main exhibition contains many of her well-known photographs and two large walls of small personal photos in date order. Exhibition runs to 1st February.

    If you go the NPG don't miss the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition just along the corridor from the AL. Its free and features 60 works from some of the most exciting contemporary portrait photographers working today. Great stuff. On till 15th February.

    NR
    "If" is right ...

    there is no question concerning her talent. None.

    I've seen her work up close and personal also.

    I do not like the plastic feel of images from small format digital cameras ... and specifically those from Canon which, IMO, suffer from an overly aggressive AA filter. I know this first hand having used Canon for many years.

    The Queens portrait work has that look. Waxy. Some may like that. I do not.

    Apparently, some critics feel that way also ... although they don't get into the technical aspects.

    Just opinion.

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    Re: Leibovitz, Canon and the Queen of England.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I do not like the plastic feel of images from small format digital cameras ... and specifically those from Canon which, IMO, suffer from an overly aggressive AA filter. I know this first hand having used Canon for many years.
    I appreciate your views on this, Marc, and in my post above I was not suggesting that they were inappropriate. Not in the slightest. I was just saying that many folks don't analyze images that way and that I am happy for those who don't analyze images that way. Discussions like this help to push me to strive to make better images. As in: "If the image can be captured on a wax-factory camera then think of how nice it would be if the waxiness was absent."

    As for the waxy Canon files: if the photographer is committed to leaving it behind there are some things that can be done to lessen it's appearance, as I'm sure you know (and probably used). Adding "noise" to an image in various ways to give a bit of "film grain" look is one thing that helps reduce the effects of that strong AA filter. I'm not referring to that heavy, stylized grain stuff, just minute grain. Sure, not as good as when the image was captured without AA or on film, but it can help for printing. Still, the more of these elements, i.e. AA filter, post processing pixel wrangling, etc., that one incorporates the more "digital" the image becomes.

    Again, not disagreeing, just glad I don't have to work that hard all the time. It wouldn't be enjoyable for me if I did. I leave that for my day job.
    Last edited by Dale Allyn; 14th November 2008 at 08:42. Reason: typo... as usual.

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    Re: Leibovitz, Canon and the Queen of England.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I do not like the plastic feel of images from small format digital cameras ... and specifically those from Canon which, IMO, suffer from an overly aggressive AA filter. I know this first hand having used Canon for many years.
    The Queens portrait work has that look. Waxy. Some may like that.
    I am surprised to read that from several users here. Never read it on forums before, where people generally have a very high opinion of the Canons and the 5d in particular.

    I used to have a Canon 5d, and on the rare occasions I used it for studio portrait work, I was frustrated afterwards, because the model's skin looked like wax, except in very close views. I doubt that it is the AA filter, because the files of the 5d are very sharp compared with Nikons and such, and yet textures of skin are rendered poorly. My theory is that the cmos sensors are not as good as CCD sensors - they just allow for better on chip noise filtering and are cheaper to make.

    My other DSLRs (Fuji S3/ S5 and Kodak SLR-n) have other limitations, but they render portrait shots superior to the 5d. The Kodak is sharper due to no AA filter, and the Fujis have wonderful colours and very malleable files. In full lenths shots the Fuji's sharpness (eye lashes etc) is however not really there.

    I may try out the Sony a900 soon, but so far the Kodak and the Fujis are my first choice.

    regards
    bernie

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Leibovitz, Canon and the Queen of England.

    Bernie chalk it up to a ton of experience on this forum and many of us have been doing digital since day one.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  20. #20
    Zeiss
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    Re: Leibovitz, NIKON and the Queen of England.

    another one who switched

    using a D3 now

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    Re: Leibovitz, NIKON and the Queen of England.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeiss View Post
    another one who switched

    using a D3 now
    And did you also see her using a Leaf in part of the clip?

    She seems perfectly willing to try and use whatever is out there to get whatever she may want. That is good.

    LJ

  22. #22
    e20
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    Re: Leibovitz, Canon and the Queen of England.

    This may be a crazy question, but is there a way or a company that removes AA filters and has anyone done it??

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    Re: Leibovitz, Canon and the Queen of England.

    Quote Originally Posted by e20 View Post
    This may be a crazy question, but is there a way or a company that removes AA filters and has anyone done it??
    Check this link:

    http://www.maxmax.com/IRCameraConversions.htm

    Folks have done it, and many were quite happy with results. You are looking to do the HR (high resolution/"hot rod") conversion.

    LJ

  24. #24
    jmvdigital
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    Re: Leibovitz, Canon and the Queen of England.

    Yes, as LJ said, it can be done. In fact, you can also remove an AA filter and have a company like Life Pixel slap an IR pass filter on, turning it into an AA-free, IR machine.

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