Exploring Iceland

with Artist's Viewfinder and Kuuvik Capture

Laszlo Pusztai's code and user interface design lies beneath all our apps. He's also an avid photographer, so we asked him how he uses these apps for his photography.

Check out his photographs and writings on his web site: http://www.laszlopusztai.net

Composed with Mark II Artist's Viewfinder; Shot with Canon EOS 5DS R and Zeiss Otus 1.4/28 controlled by Kuuvik Capture 2

DIRE Studio (DS): Why Iceland?
Laszlo Pusztai (LP): Closest to my heart are landscapes and birds, with occasional trips into the realms of architecture and product photography. Iceland is abundant with great landscapes, hosts flourishing birdlife, and our love towards the colder climate is why we decided to spend the entire summer here. It is also a good proving ground to see how our apps perform in demanding conditions.

Composed with Mark II Artist's Viewfinder; Shot with Canon EOS 5DS R and Zeiss Otus 1.4/55 controlled by Kuuvik Capture 2

DS: What equipment do you use?
LP: I'm currently using digital SLRs as they give me the most flexibility and also produce the image quality and size I'm after - namely Canon's EOS 5DS R and 1D X Mark II cameras with a mixture of Zeiss' Otus and Classic lenses and Canon super telephotos. I'm using an iPhone 6s Plus as a viewfinder with an olloclip Active Ultra Wide converter lens. I have a 15" Retina MacBook Pro in the studio with a 24" EIZO CG monitor, as well as a 11" MacBook Air dedicated solely for field work with Kuuvik Capture.

Composed with Mark II Artist's Viewfinder; Shot with Canon EOS 5DS R and Zeiss Otus 1.4/28 controlled by Kuuvik Capture 2

DS: How our apps are incorporated into your image making workflow?
LP: It's a huge topic, since if I need something, and find a place for it in the apps, I add it as a feature. So they really provide the backbone of my workflow - up until the RAW conversion. But let me try to summarize it. When it's possible to work slowly and deliberately I start out with the Mark II Artist's Viewfinder to check for compositions. If I see the image in Viewfinder is when I proceed with actually taking it. It really saves me a lot of effort, since most of the time I don't even take the camera out of the bag. I can also check several different compositions quickly. Once I find something I save the "view", so that I can set the camera up for the same composition. And this is the point where Kuuvik Capture takes over. There are some things you can't see on a small LCD, which begs for a large(ish) monitor. Especially with high resolution cameras. I finalize the composition in Kuuvik Capture, and to tell you a secret, the Arca-Swiss d4 head does wonders for single-handed fine tuning. Then I fine tune the focus with the help of peaking, and lastly the exposure by keeping an eye on the RAW histogram. I rarely need exposure sequencing, but at those times the app's simplicity saves the day. The last step I do in Kuuvik Capure happens when I'm back in the studio (or in the hotel) - culling and "keeper" selection.

Composed with Mark II Artist's Viewfinder; Shot with Canon EOS 5DS R and Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 controlled by Kuuvik Capture 2

DS: What is your most used/favorite feature in these apps?
Most used features are frame masks, auto-exposure lock and wide mode in the Mark II Artist's Viewfinder. The current favorite is the ability to go directly into a virtual camera from the phone's home screen with the 3D Touch shortcut. For Kuuvik Capture, the most used one is something that's not obvious: purging of unrated images in a session. I use it for culling everything - from field work to the thousands of images I produce daily when birding. The favorite is pinch-zooming in live view using the trackpad. Think zooming in-out quickly to check different areas for focus or depth of field. And the most enjoyable one is watching as a long-throw lens (eg. an Otus) reaches focus on the sharpened and focus peaked live view screen. But having tools that work exactly the way I want is the real deal.

Shot with Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM; Culled with Kuuvik Capture 2

DS: Iceland is one of your favorite locations. Are there any specific challenges that the apps help you to deal with there?
Weather in Iceland can turn inclement quickly. On lots of occasions I use the Mark II Artist's Viewfinder in the comfort of the car to decide whether is it worth the effort to set up the camera or better to look for another location. Or walk around with just the iPhone and minimize the camera's, lens' and notebook's exposure to rain or dust. Given the sheer number of photographic opportunities in Iceland, the ability to arrive home with only a few good images instead of a bunch of "failed tries" is priceless. Both in storage space and in subsequent processing time. Without Kuuvik Capture I shot 8-10x more frames in the past. We rented a flat in Reykjavík for the summer, and reaching some of the great locations can be time consuming. With these apps I can maximize the useful time spent on each location. This also makes the photography process more spouse-friendly, so we can visit each location together. At least each photo session to date remained within Ágnes' comfort zone. And a funny side effect is the puzzled expression on people's faces when I periodically pull out my iPhone despite the huge backpack, tripod and photo vest with a MacBook Air in the pocket I'm carrying.

Composed with Mark II Artist's Viewfinder; Shot with Canon EOS 5DS R and Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 controlled by Kuuvik Capture 2

DS: Working tethered with a notebook isn't a problem in rain?
Well, it could be. That's why I use a 5m USB cable - it happens from time to time that the camera is out in the cold or rain with the appropriate cover, and I'm sitting in the warm car waiting for the moment, or taking multiple exposures. One of the initial driving factors to develop Kuuvik Capture were some very cold nights spent with photographing aurora and deep sky objects.

All images on this page are Copyright © 2016 Laszlo Pusztai. All rights reserved.