November 20th, 1040

We had some unexpected site outage late last night but I was able to get the site back up in a short time.  We'll have some corrective maintenance down time this Tuesday for a few hours.  I'll post the times soon.

This weeks content will go live in the indexes at 1900 this evening.  We have our Feature Photograph "Elements of a Composition", guest writer Tom Tweedel provides our Feature Destination "Hangzhou China", we have a great review of the "Western Digital 1tb Essential" USB2/3 powered hard drive, Photography News for the Week of November 20th, Peter asks about "Minimum Focusing Distance (MFD)", and Steve's Musings "Understanding." Enjoy and please provdie feedback either by email or in the comments section.

American's continue to be outraged over naked body scans and rough genitalia groping patdowns.  A 32 year flight attendent cancer survivor was made ot remove her prosthetic breasts for TSA agents, another lady with two prosthetic knees was groped under her skirt between her underwear and skin, as it appears the TSA are profiling the disabled and sick and not the real threat.   Interesting photographs are coming out of the controversy. "Don't Touch My Junk" is sure to be the most popular catch-phrase of 2010 and the below photo illlustrates this perfectly.  Do you think the photo is really showing what it appears to show?




November 18th, 1015

I'm still smoothing over the rough edges, but if you go to any of the blog index pages under the Articles section you'll see we now have nice attractive thumbnails next to the entry description.  I've also enabled thumbnail view in the "Authors list" located in the side panel on each article section page.  So far only my ugly mug is showing, but I put out a request to the other contributing Authors to update their avatar in their profile.. and then theirs will show too.. :)   By the end of today I hope to get our Bangkok Images logo back in place on the header bar and finalize the layout for the index pages now that they contain the thumbnails.  I'm after "visual impact" as much as possible so give me your feedback and I'll try to do the best possible look.

The Drudge Report is the WORLDS #1 Website and has been for a long time.  Over NINE BILLION hits so far this year.  Incredible.  Earlier this week the below picture was posted for over 36 hours as their leading image.   With the ongoing controversy over privacy rights, naked scanners, and the actual touching and manipulation of genitals by TSA agents, this image I think stands apart in that it tells not only a story, but almost an entire history, of the terrorists victory over our way of life.  Whether or not if you agree with the message this image projects, it is still projecting the message as a good photograph tends to do.  A really excellent photograph captured by what looks like a camera phone.  It's really not the equipment.  Tell us how the image makes you feel in the comment section off any article in our What's New archives.



November 16th, 2040

Expect another big change to this site within the next few days.  Think visual!   Soon.. ;o)

Another example of a bird shot at an effective 900mm!  A 300mm F2.8, a 2xtc, and a 1.5x crop factor provides the same field of view as a 900mm F5.6 lens!  And as we discussed, the much lower AF performance and optical quality to go along with using a 2xtc.  Still, the image isn't that bad..


Nikon D2H, Nikkor 300mm F2.8 AF-S, Nikkor 2x TC, @F5.6  1/200th  600mm (effective 900mm)  ISO 200


November 15th, 0120

I think I've slept more in the last week than I've slept in the last entire month put together!  I didn't realize I was as beat down and sick as I was.  Every day is better and I'm grateful.  Soon, I hope to find the motivation to head out with my camera for new material.

Someone asked me about teleconvertors.  "Do they degrade the quality, and do they reduce the light?" Yes and yes.  A 1.4tc costs you 1 stop in light, an F2.8 lens becomes an F4 lens.  A 2xtc costs you two stops.  An F2.8 lens becomes a F5.6 lens.  And even in the best circumstances there will be a degradation of optical performance.  So the question becomes "how much do you lose?"

The answer is vague, but with certainly the answer is linear.  The better a lens is optically, the less the teleconverter will AMPLIFY it's imperfections.  The worse it is optically, well..  And can you afford the stops?  And not just for exposure, at F2.8 all your cross type AF sensors will be turned on.  At F4 you'll lose most of them, by F5.6 even more (consult your owners manual for exact numbers, they vary by body).  So, if a teleconverter will hurt you or not depends, can you stand to lose the light for exposure, can your optics stand a bit of degradation, and can your AF performance stand the hit from decreased cross type AF sensor activation.

This is the reason people spend $12,000 USD's for a 600mm F4 lens vs. $6000 for a 300mm F2.8 lens and a $600 2x TC to achieve the same focal length.  Skill can also help you compensate for what you lose, but only so much.  Experience helps you decide which. 

The image below was shot with a 4mp Nikon D2h, a Nikkor 300mm F2.8 AF-S lens, and a Nikkor 2x teleconverter.  Is the image acceptable to you?  It would probably be acceptable to all but the perfectionist birder.  And no doubt, I lost considerable AF performance which skill and technique helped me compensate for, but not overcome.  Ever heard anyone tell you photography is about balancing variables?  Please say yes..


Nikon D2H, Nikkor 300mm F2.8 AF-S, Nikkor 2x TC, @F5.6  1/160th  600mm (effective 900mm)  ISO 200


November 13th, 2000

Aung San Suu Kyi, the democracy leader of Burma was released this afternoon from house arrest after her most recent 7.5 year sentence was complete.  This lady is to the principles of democracy, what Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was to peace.   She is the hero of many.



November 13th, 1100

I'm sorry, there will be no new content today.  I've been sick most of the week, really busy the rest, and I didn't have time to write a proper column.  I'll make up for it next week. ;o)

This is another 24mm full frame ultra-wide angle image where your environment wraps around you providing interest throughout the frame.  Not just a nice horizon or sky, but interest throughout the frame.  The camera was actually sitting on the stones.  You can't get too close with ultra-wides.


Canon 1ds Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG  @F16  1/100th  24mm  ISO 100