Leaf Aptus-II 10
"Having a dynamic range of 12 opens all sorts of aesthetic possibilities."Dennis Halkides
Dennis jumpstarted his photography career when he began shooting yearbook and school newspaper photos while attending high school in the Los Angeles area. For this work he shot film on a 4x5 Super Speed Graphic. To put some change in his pocket Dennis began working in a camera store through high school and most of college. “At that time they offered a 50% discount to camera store employees—I took advantage of that program and purchased my first medium format camera in 1961 between the time I graduated High school and started College a year later. During that time I did weddings, portraits, and small commercial work for the camera shop customers, but my main interest was landscapes, as it is now. I processed my own film and printed my own prints in a dark room a buddy and I built in half of the garage my father allocated after much cajoling and begging."
"I mainly shot black and white, although with my 4x5 I also shot transparencies of landscapes and still life. This was a time of learning—mainly by trial and error, as I had had no formal instruction—I just knew this was something I had to do. My last wedding was unfortunately a bad one. The shutter on my Hasselbald 80mm lens hung up the entire shoot after the first few shots, and I was just sick that night when I started processing film to find it all black squares. That was close to graduation and we closed our business. I really didn’t resume until the birth of my first son, and again became immersed in the art, and went through a few 4x5 view cameras and medium format cameras looking for the ‘perfect’ system.”
The move to digital wasn’t an easy one for Dennis, at one time claiming that he’d "never use digital”. However the challenges posed by landscape film photography, mostly lugging around large loads of sheet film along with camera equipment, eventually changed his mind. “I couldn’t check the film due to the CT scanners the airports had started using and I wouldn’t check my cameras so after many attempts to either buy film specially ordered at my destination and shipping back DHL or shipping film back and forth, I decided to try digital.”
Right off the bat Dennis knew that Leaf digital camera backs would be the perfect solution for his type of shooting. “After my DSLR, which I still have, I purchased a Leaf Valeo 22 back and a Hasselblad H1. It was great, but my vision called for extremely large prints, so as more MPs were available I was there. I went to the Aptus 22, then the 75s and then the ultimate, the Aptus-II 10—an incredibly sharp, high resolution, high dynamic range back. This back surpasses film—even 4x5 sheet film either scanned onto a computer and printed or printed in the darkroom---it’s fantastic.”
The Leaf Aptus-II 10 is especially suited to Dennis’ type of work as it provides him with the dynamic range and flexibility he needs to get the job done. “The wide format of the Aptus-II 10 and the high resolution and wide dynamic range can’t be overlooked. With film, a dynamic range of 5-7 was the highest you could get—having a DR of 12 opens all sorts of aesthetic possibilities.”
While big megapixels are critical to his work, Dennis also loves his Leaf Aptus-II 10’s 3.5” LCD touchscreen. “The high resolution of course, has to be #1. The wider format was almost as important, as I crop my images to a wide horizontal aspect ratio. By having the sensor close to that aspect ratio to start with, meant less cropping and in effect, much more “useable” megapixels, since there was less cropping. The BIG viewing screen on the back of the Leaf would be next on my list of top features.”
Dennis’ work sometimes takes place in the rough; issues like elusive and fast-disappearing light make the Leaf Aptus-II 10’s speed and usability critical to achieving Dennis’ high caliber work. Another problematic issue posed by landscape work is the dangers of working in the rough – Leaf Aptus-II 10’s robust design and reliable functionality have helped Dennis pass through many a rough patch in his work.
“The Leaf Aptus-II 10 is extremely easy to use, which is important in the field where light is illusive at best and working fast is critical in some instances. It has a very simple menu which you can use your finger to tap through, although Leaf provides a built in stylus. The reliability is very important also. I’ve had my Leaf backs all over the world and have never had a problem that wasn’t caused by my failure to read the owner’s manual—in those few instances, Leaf’s customer service was great and got me through the issues over the telephone."
Photographer Dennis Halkides has traveled extensively in California, the United States, and parts of Europe and Asia his entire adult life photographically interpreting beautiful places and interesting people.
He has received numerous awards for his images in several juried competitions, local, national, and international.
His images hang in corporate and private collections and have been used by advertising agencies, book publishers, and interior decorators and other design professionals.