Client Spotlight Andrew McHowell
I left my home in Hawaii September 15th for my first trip to Iceland. Like most landscape photographers, my trip was planned from start to finish. Thanks to the abundance of information on the internet, my trip was organized day by day, but I soon ditched that plan. With more than 600 miles to cover, I knew my days were going to be filled with long drives around the country. What I didn’t expect was the overabundance of subjects to photograph while driving from location to location. Bubbling springs, black sand beaches, thundering waterfalls and stunning mountains at every mile. The saying ‘The journey matters more than t”he destination’ is nowhere truer than in Iceland.
Phase One IQ260
A week before my trip I purchased the Phase One IQ260 from Ryan at Capture Integration. I’ve had my eye on this system for a while. From day one Ryan was extremely helpful and patient with every question I threw at him. It was refreshing to talk to a sales representative that I could talk to like a friend. After Ryan explained to me the value (hence the name) of the value added package, I was sold. To my knowledge, no other medium format system offers a package comparable to Phase One.
After the purchase Ryan also assisted me with my rental of the 55mm LS,150mm LS lens and the 2x extender from Digital Fusion. Both companies provided ample information regarding the lenses and the process to acquire insurance for the rental which was extremely helpful. I used the 55mm on my shot of Fjadrargljufur Canyon, at F11 this lens is exceptional. The amount of detail in the canyon rock was stunning! Even though fast autofocus isn’t necessary for landscape photography I appreciated how reliable and quick the autofocus was for both lenses. As I was driving to Dyrhólaey overlook I saw a few iconic Icelandic horses. I decided this would be a good time to test out the 150mm handheld. I was shooting at iso 200 at F4 into the sun. From the detail in the mane to the dynamic range of the scene, the results were gorgeous.
Ive seen so many images of skogafoss, one of the largest and most impressive waterfalls in Iceland. Most photographers shoot with a wide angle to capture the size and power of the falls, but the surrounding area is really beautiful. I shot my first image of Skogafoss with the 150mm and 2x extender. I wanted to give viewers the chance to see the source and destination of the falls, which was equally interesting as the falls itself. So I decided to shoot the image from ring road of all places. I placed the stream that was being fed by skogafoss in the foreground and kept the sky out of the picture to keep the scale a mystery. The extender doesn’t support autofocus but it was fairly easy to find focus with the IQ260’s intuitive back. The images with the extender are a fair amount softer but after applying a small amount of sharpening in Capture One I was pretty happy with the results.
Overall I’m extremely satisfied that I switched over to the Phase One system. This trip was a true test to the durability of the system in such harsh environments. From pouring rain to 55mph winds, the camera performed flawlessly. Having a system that doesn’t get in the way of the act of taking the photograph is a photographer’s dream.
Andrew is a self-taught landscape photographer. Having learned basic photography from books and heaps of trial and error, Andrew’s skills with a camera has evolved by studying the old techniques of Ansel Adams and Eliot Porter. Along with his meticulous study of past masters, it was Andrew’s decision to return to the magic and texture of photographing with film that has separated his work from other landscape photographers.
Andrew developed his passion for landscape photography through his diverse travels around the World. With a keen appreciation for the beauty of different landscapes, Andrew strives to artfully document each locale in an inspiring way that will resonate with locals and visitors alike.
Andrew uses only the finest German optics, insuring the highest possible image quality. Working with Velvia film due to its high saturation, contrast and sharpness, Andrew shoots medium and large format. The 6×17 panorama format is his favorite.