Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Joys of a New Computer

Olympic Coastline, Washington

Olympic Coastline, Washington

July 17, 2013

I’ve finally replaced my aging iMac with a shiny new iMac. The 6-year old computer was grinding to a standstill on photo intensive tasks like HDR. It was taking me 10-20 minutes to create a single HDR image, which is not a very productive use of time.

Bill Gates is famously rumored to have said in 1981 that 640K of RAM ought be enough for anyone. I’m here to say that today, 4GB of RAM is not enough. The new computer has 16GB of RAM and it makes all the difference.

With the new computer I can create HDR images and do other edits quickly and efficiently. I’ve been wanting to go back through my files and re-edit some of my old images with the new techniques that are now available. The turtle speed of my old computer was holding me back. The image at left is one of the images I wanted to process. It was taken in 2008 with my Nikon D200.

One of the pieces of advice that I never followed “in the old days” was to edit ruthlessly and discard images that you know are not useful. The common wisdom said to select the best image from a bracketed series and discard the rest. Boy am I glad I never got around to doing that. Now I can go back through my archives and create HDR images from my travels.

The image above is from the Olympic coastline in Washington. I was never quite happy with the image I got from a single frame. The depth and contrast just didn’t seem to make the image pop. However, now I can add the additional data from the bracketed images and get a better result.

If you’re a photographic packrat like me, you might enjoy using modern software on your older images. Give it a try.

Equipment Used

Nikon D200

Nikon 12-24 f/4

Singh-Ray Galen Rowell – 3-stop Graduated ND filter

Gitzo 2540 Tripod

Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ballhead

A Throwable Camera

July 12, 2013

ballcamera_20130708_001

Image provided by Serveball: (http://www.serveball.com/press/ballcamera_20130708/images/ballcamera_20130708_001.jpg)

Here’s an interesting article about an inventor that has developed a throwable camera: http://www.gizmag.com/squito-throwable-camera/28223/

Aside from the cool concept, it’s also interesting from a business perspective. Inventors now have many channels to get their goods in front of an audience: social media, kickstarter, etc. This company has done a great job with public relations to get this product noticed.

A YouTube video about the product is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8BYSSKNS5Ks

The company website is here: http://www.serveball.com/

I don’t know if this gadget will make it commercially, but I want one!

Happy Independence Day

Fun with Sparklers

Fun with Sparklers

July 4, 2013

I wish all of my readers in the USA a Happy Independence Day. We shot off some fireworks tonight and also had some fun with sparklers as you can see.

These shots were taken with my OM-D with a shutter speed of about 4-6 seconds and f/8.

 

Fun with Sparklers

Fun with Sparklers

Equipment Used

Olympus OM-D EM-5

Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8

Gitzo 0540 Tripod

Really Right Stuff BH-30 Ballhead

The Right Place at the Right Time

Bighorn Seep, Mt Evans, Colorado

Bighorn Seep, Mt Evans, Colorado

July 2, 2013

Some places are known for particular wildlife scenes and behaviors. If you want to see polar bears, you go to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. If you want to see grizzly bears catching salmon, you go to Brooks Falls, Alaska. Likewise, if you want to see bighorn sheep and mountain goats, you go to Mt. Evans, Colorado.

The access to Mt. Evans is spectacularly easy. It’s one of two fourteeners in Colorado where you can drive right to the top (Pikes Peak is the other drivable fourteener). The road to the summit is the highest paved road in North America.  In late June and through July, the bighorn sheep and mountain goats are everywhere. Around the first of July, the mountain goats bring their new kids to the top of the mountain to graze.

Bighorn Sheep, Mt. Evans, Colorado

Bighorn Sheep, Mt. Evans, Colorado

I expected to see mountain goats on this trip, but I only saw one from the side of the road. Instead, I saw lots of bighorn sheep. The animals are habituated to human presence, so they don’t seem bothered unless you get too close. It’s amazing how close they stay to the road and parking areas. You don’t need a particularly long or heavy lens to get tight shots. This is a place I like to return to again and again. The opportunities for wildlife shots are incredible.

For all three of these shots, I used the Olympus OM-D EM-5 camera and the inexpensive Olympus 40-150 zoom. This little lightweight zoom lens is incredibly sharp. It is one of the best bargains for the micro four-thirds system.

 

Bighorn Sheep, Mt Evans, Colorado

Bighorn Sheep, Mt Evans, Colorado

I highly recommend a drive to Mt Evans if you are in Colorado. It’s about 2-3 hours from Denver to get to the summit. The road to the summit opens every year around the first of June and remains open until September (weather permitting). The National Park fee for the summit is $10, or free if you have an annual National Park access card.

 

 

Equipment Used

Olympus OM-D EM-5

Olympus 40-150 f/4-5.6 R Zoom Lens