Posts Tagged Equipment

Birds at the Zoo

There are interesting birds at Zoo Montana, too. The first one we encounter is a bald eagle (actually two of them). When I first came in, neither felt like posing. One hid behind a rock and the other was nowhere to be seen. As I was leaving the park, I decided to check one last time, just in case. That was a good decision. I found an eagle perched in a very good location. He seemed to be giving me the skunk eye in one of the images below, but I don’t blame him. If anyone tried to take a picture of me, I’d probably do the same.

Here’s the stern look from the eagle (click on the images to see them full size and with proper color):

 

Bald Eagle portrait 1

Bald Eagle portrait 1

 

I guess he decided it was OK for me to take photos, because he started to strike a few poses. This profile is one I particularly like:

 

Bald Eagle profile

Bald Eagle profile

 

Well, the bald eagle is a beautiful bird (even thought Ben Franklin didn’t like them too much), but there are others that aren’t native to the Americas that are awfully pretty, too. I caught this guy looking something like a teenage boy strutting his stuff:

 

Peacock

Peacock

 

I think I really like my new Sigma lens. All the zoo photos were taken with it and it seems to work just fine.

 

More to follow,

Bob

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Fun with Camera Raw

I”ve been taking a little time to watch some classes on Kelby Training lately, and I recently completed Scott Kelby’s 7-Point System for Camera Raw.

Scott (who is the most-published, best-selling digital photography author in the universe, apparently) takes the student through the seven steps he uses to bring a photo from what is captured in camera to a presentable image, and he does it all (almost) in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), the program that images open in when you want to bring them into Photoshop. ACR 6 has a lot of cool controls and one thing (among many) I learned is that we can make local corrections in ACR that had to be done in Photoshop early on. The enhancements seen in the following example were all done in ACR except for sharpening. That is so cool! (Note that if I had made the exposure right in the first place, I could have saved myself even the little time it took me in ACR–about ten minutes). (Note, too, that the photo labeled original is the jpeg file that came directly from the camera. I couldn’t exactly get the RAW file to open without the corrections. What that means is that the ‘original’ has some image correction, etc. embedded in it. Believe it or not, the original RAW file looked even flatter.) (I wonder if that’s enough parenthetical phrases for one paragraph?)

Here’s the original image:

Click to enlarge

Original Desert Garden

In my defense, it was getting late, the light was low and it had clouded up, so there’s not a lot that can be done in those circumstances. However, I could have made a better image. Here’s what came out of ACR: Click on the images to see them better.

Click to enlarge

Desert Garden

When I was shooting film, I railed against digital photography in general and Photoshop in particular. My thinking (or was it a knee-jerk reaction?) was that manipulating an image to such a degree was simply unethical and inappropriate. What I failed to realize is that when I worked in the wet darkroom to dodge, burn, color enhance, push-process, pull-process, etc. to get a decent image, I was doing some significant modifications. To be honest, I wasn’t doing much less than I’m doing with Photoshop in the dry darkroom. And it’s more comfortable and less toxic to sit at the computer.

Give Kelby Training a looksee. They some sample programming available and you just might like it.

Now I have to go try to figure out why my hard drive isn’t working, and why the repair software keeps failing.

More to follow,

Bob

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Sometimes size does matter

Here’s an image I’ve been looking at since I moved to Laramie ten years ago. It’s a group of hoodoos in Shirley Basin, Wyoming, about halfway between Laramie and Casper. Either I never had a camera or the light was awful. A scene like this requires perfect light to make it work.

Well, perfect light and the right lens. The only place you can photograph from is a small parking area just off the highway. Needless to say, when the object is a half mile away, even the longest zoom available on the G11 isn’t enough. I cropped the original, eliminating about a third of the surrounding nothing, but the cropping still isn’t right. The light is just getting there, but I was in a hurry to get home after an, er, interesting meeting that morning, so took the shots I could and hoped Photoshop® would help. It did some.

Here’s the image.

Hoodoos Shirley Basin

Hoodoos Shirley Basin

I’ll keep working on it and one day will take a longer lens and see if that helps. For now, I can say that I finally photographed it.

More to follow.

Bob

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G11 First Impressions

Well, it may not have been operator error after all. My old point and shoot camera, a Canon G9 died last week. It may have been on its way out at the Alamo, so I may not be culpable.

I picked up a Canon G11 yesterday and did a quick test under awful lighting conditions today. So far, I’m happy with what I see.

Oh, and yes, I’m a Canon guy. My SLR is a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and you know what the P&S is. I shoot Canon primarily because I switched to the brand after autofocus became pretty common. At that time Canon’s autofocus was much better than Nikon’s. I haven’t compared lately, but I’d guess they’re a lot closer to equals these days.

About the G11: focus is fast and accurate, exposure (even in difficult lighting like this) was good. I had to do very little in Photoshop to make these fotos viewable: a few tweaks here and there, and mostly caused by the direct sun and pitch-black shadows (a sensible photographer would have gone out three hours earlier and have been drinking coffee when I was out).

Here are the results:

The local newspaper, one of the worst in the state, in its “editorial” today, decreed our years-long drought over because the Laramie River is at ‘flood stage’ (up to its banks). They didn’t bother to do any research or think at all about the consequences of climate change, they simply decreed that it’s wet weather again. That’s something the newspaper I published would never do. But then, we didn’t believe in boosterism and fluff as this rag does. Here’s an example of the ‘flooding’ along a bicycle/foot path:

minor flooding, Laramie River, Wyoming

minor flooding, Laramie River, Wyoming

Spring brings flowers, as you’ve seen, and one of the blooms I like quite a bit is the wild iris that grows in the area (might be called Rocky Mountain Flags, but I don’t know for sure). Here is a single and a grouping.

Iris, Laramie River, Wyoming

Iris, Laramie River, Wyoming

And

irises, Laramie River, Wyoming

irises, Laramie River, Wyoming

So far I like my G11. You’ll se more images from it as time goes on.

More to follow.

Bob

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