October 16th, 1150

Tonight at 1900 new content will go live.  We'll have our Featured Photo "The Quintessential Road Shot", our Featured Destination "Lisou Village, Mae Hong Son", the news for the week, a great tutorial on "Gamuts, Color Profiling, and the Internet" which is a follow up to "Monitor Basics", then Rick gives us his first impressions of his new Sony NEX-5 and asks some questions about it, and finally my own Musings "For the Love of Work."    I'd highly recommend the feature on "Gamuts, Color Profiling, and the Internet" and it's companion piece "Monitor Basics" as there's a lot of good information in those articles.  Enjoy, and as always feedback of any type is really appreciated.

 

October 13th, 2150

Have you found time to go out and make some captures lately?  I've been a bit busy myself and realized its been a few months since I've visited one of the many wildlife parks or zoos I enjoy so much.  Often I'd use the animals, especially the primates, as a substitute for keeping my portrait skills sharp.  They have all the same ingredients as humans, more accurate human children.  Varying backgrounds and lighting scenaries, they move fast, they're often not where we'd like them to be in the scene, they make expressions, and yet from these less than ideal circumstances we're often called upon to pull out a great photo or two.  This leaves us needing to compensate on occasion.  When I don't have the time to get out and make new images I'll often search for a less than ideal image in my archives and practice my post-processing skills. 


Canon 5d Mark II, 300mm F2.8L IS USM  @F4  1/320th  ISO 200

 

This time I chose this image.  Notice how the subject is small in the frame and a rope obsures it's body?  Also, it's raining and the light temperature shows it.  Not an ideal image at all.


Canon 5d Mark II, 300mm F2.8L IS USM  @F4  1/320th  ISO 200

 

In about 3-4 minutes of post-processing I've cropped for effect, corrected the color temperature (white balance), adjusted the exposure, sharpened it up a bit, increased (but not added) the catchlights in her eyes, and removed the rope running through her body.  I took a drab image many would throw away or delete and turned it into an image with interest.  The defocused background works well to isolate the subject and the hands and feet of primates are always eye catching.  Her dark face color presents the same issues as any darker complextion on a human, you need to define the shape and structure to bring out the features.  Here I dodged the face about 2/3's of a stop, just enough to take it from total darkess to a feature laden face showing interesting eyes, mouth, nose, and a strong jaw.  More, you can now cleary see her expression and this is what makes the image.

I'm sure you have images needing work in your archives.  Give it a try and if you have questions email them to me or post them in the forum.

 

October 13th, 2010  0020

Roughly 30-40 minutes outside Pai in the Mae Hong Son province I ran across this place and couldn't help but admire the view and the property.  A nice 1.5 acre site perched on a cliff overlooking a spectacular vista.  Sounds a bit commercial?  As I walked around looking at this scene I couldn't help wondering how nice a modern home, pool, deck, and nice landscaping would fit in this location.  And then I imagined the area crammed with such homes and I realized this is exactly how so many wonderful forests and other like areas have been spoiled in the west.  Someone with more money than the norm moves into the area, builds a wonderful home, and thousands follow.  Within a few decades the virgin vista which tempted you to build, is now pock marked with homes, decks, swimming pools, and the road is full of obnoxious drivers in fancy cars and the nice country stores which were such an attraction have turned into yuppie enclaves.  And meanwhile, the original residents who lived there for hundreds of years have been forced out by high taxes and regulations imposed by the rich new residents.  I could be describing any one of thousands of such locations in my own country and I'm sure some in yours.  We can't stop it, but I feel fortuante to have been there and enjoyed the area before it happens.

 

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L USM  @F8  1/259th  24mm  ISO 100

 

October 10th, 2010  1205

Ah hell.. I'm going to be broke by the end of the day.

I just downloaded
the Kindle for PC reader from Amazon (free).. Super simple.  Just enter your Amazon account email and password and you''re hooked up.  Now go to Amazon's book section.. hit "one click buy now" and in a few seconds your new book is on your PC ready to read.  I think I clicked too much!

 



Then I think.. "maybe I can install this on more than my laptop, maybe on my desktop too?"   So I do.  And after typing in my email address and password it syncs with Amazon and puts all the books I clicked on on that PC too..

Now I'm on a roll.. my
HTC Desire Android phone with the latest Android Froyo (frozen yogurt) 2.2 installed is blinking at me saying "me too, me too!"  So I go to the Android Marketplace (where you get Android aps) and there's a free Kindle reader for Android.. I download and install it, register with my email/pass.. and now all my books are on my phone.   And with its 800x480 screen and auto-scaling font zoom.. it's not bad reading.  I can zoom in when I'm bleary eyed and feeling less than great, and zoom out when I'm feeling right chipper.. Reading in bed or under the covers takes on an entirely new meaning.. no flashlight required!


So now I'm thinking.. "Maybe that $139 Kindle reader with its luscious E-ink, free 3g connectivity anywhere in the world, lightweight, and 30 day battery charge.."   The only real question.. is do I get the smaller standard size, or the bigger deluxe size?  They say you can read E-ink screens in the sun while laying on the beach just like a book..

My mom said I could go blind doing that!

 

 

October 9th, 2010  1900

What a week!  We've made a lot of improvements to the website and we're just getting started.  Some major changes are coming in the next week, maybe sooner if I can set the time aside.

New content goes live at 1900.   We have our Feature Photograph "Ta-Pai Bridge, The Making Of", we take a close look at Pai in "Pai, About And Around Town", examine display monitors in "Monitor Basics",  some interesting and fun photography news with "photography news for October 9th", Rickster asks "How to Import and Export Images in Lightroom 3", and I ponder creativity in "Each Week Surprises Me.."  Give the new content a look and let me know how you like it.

 

October 7th, 2010  0100

Today a client asked me where a good place to purchase a Canon 70-200mm F2.8L IS II USM was, and after answering his question I started thinking about all the fun he was going to have with this lens.  I've written many times before that the 70-200mm F2.8 is a photojournalists staple, for sure in his top 3 most used lenses.  There are hundreds of images on this site alone, which I captured with various 70-200mm F2.8's and I really can't imagine not having one available.  Then I thought of another friend who bought one of the new Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 AF-S VR II lenses and how I haven't heard a word from him since.  I figure he's having so much fun with his new lens he forgot how to email.. ;o) 

And finally I thought back to my first 'modern' autofocus stabilized 70-200mm F2.8 lens.  It was a Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 AF-S VR, I believe this was Nikon's first stabilized lens.  I wanted to share a significant image from that lens.  Looking back through my archives I have tack sharp water skiing competitions taken while bouncing around in a boat traveling in excess of 50 knots on a choppy lake, and others taken from a UH-1 of snow skiers in the Cascades.  Nope.  What I really wanted to show was the versatility of a 70-200mm ZOOM, and that would be the zoom.  So I looked some more and found these two shots.  But are uncropped, the first was taken at 70mm and you can tell it's a small island out in the center of Crater Lake Oregon.  But you really can't see the island or grasp it's scale.  Then I zoomed into 200mm and took the second shot.  You can clearly see the tall evergreens and you know they're several hundred feet tall, yet the island set against its reflection almost looks like a miniature model scene.  I assure it it's real.  The reflection of the craters side, and the small island itself, make this an interesting image.  But I think these two shots clearly show the versatility of the 70-200mm lens and why it's so valuable, and so much fun in the field.

 

Nikon D100, Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 AF-S VR  @F8  1/250th  70mm  ISO 200

 

Nikon D100, Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 AF-S VR  @F8  1/160th  200mm  ISO 200