Thursday, May 26, 2011

Drobo Contest

Drobo is currently having a contest to win one of their storage devices! I could certainly use one of these things to backup the ever growing amount of photos I've been taking. What's great about Drobos is that they use something called a Redundant Array of Independent Disks or RAID. What RAID does is it allows multiple disks to be merged together to form one logical disk. In other words, all of the space from the multiple disks will appear as one ginormous disk to the user. And, if one of the independent disks fails, you can replace the disk without any loss of data, on the fly! They are pretty cool! I could use one badly! Click on the picture below to learn more!

What is a Drobo? Click Here to Find Out

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Man In Phone Booth

Again, another shot from the England Showcase at Epcot. I wasn't going to post this shot until I saw a cool reflection in the glass of the phone booth. If you look halfway down on the left side of it you'll see a reflection of a man bending down and looking at something. It's like it was meant to be. So, I just had to post it.

I hope you like it and thanks for the visit!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Gondola

Here is another one of my shots from Epcot. It's a nice shot of a gondola inside the World Showcase Lagoon. Too bad it was the middle of the day. No golden hour shot here. Either way, it would be nice to take a ride on one of these with a nice glass of Italian beer! Not to mention the riding on the gondola with Eileen!! Fun stuff right there for sure!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Busted My Lumix DMC-TZ5

Not sure what happened, but my Lumix DMC-TZ5 camera is broken.  I tried to use my compact DMC-TZ5 at the Rangers/Yankees game a couple of weeks ago and when I turned it on, the LCD had cracks in it and the LCD said something like, "cannot figure out what the hell is wrong with me" (I'm paraphrasing because I don't remember what it said exactly) and then it would shut off.  It's kind of sad because that camera was pretty good for a compact. It even went on a lot of trips with Eileen and I.  It was also a nice stand-in for when I didn't want to lug the big ole DSLR.  It even had a nice 12x zoom lens plus I could auto bracket 3 exposures on it.  But now, it's headed to the trash heap.  Good by old fellow, we'll miss you!

 Image of DMC-TZ5 courtesy of www.dpreview.com


Now, I'm looking at a couple of new compacts and I think I have it narrowed down between the more up-to-date Lumix DMC-ZS10 and the new Sony DSC-HX9V.  From what I've read, they both have a longer 16x zoom lens than my old Lumix, but the image sharpness on the Sony is a little better.  They also are priced the same.  So, I just need to look at the specs a little more for each and go from there.  I see a few different sites are out of stock on the Sony one, so that might either mean it's a better camera or people just like to buy the latest and greatest thing out there.

If anyone out there knows of a good compact with an excellent zoom that can also auto-bracket exposures, let me know.  I'd really like to see if there's anything out there that's worth looking at that is similar in size to these.  I really value your opinions, so let me know and thanks for dropping by!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sad News

I just found out that my good friend and excellent fellow photographer, Van Sutherland, has decided to no longer post to his blog.  He has some great photos and I found his work very inspiring.  He's taught me a lot and influenced my work quite a bit.  I'm sad to see him go, but I understand his wanting to.  Keeping these blogs up to date is not easy and trying to find new content is difficult as well.  I've had similar thoughts recently, but I think I will try a bit longer and see what happens.

Good luck Van and I hope you keep shooting!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Dilemma

I have a dilemma... I have some cash burning a hole in my pocket and I would like to get a couple of things with it. One is a Nikon SB-700 Speedlight Shoe Mount Flash. I need a flash and that seems to be the latest and greatest for what I need. However, I'm trying to decide between two lenses for my DX camera and I'm just not sure which one I should get. They are the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G DX Lens and the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G Autofocus Lens.  I'm leaning towards the 35mm because of price, but I like the fact that you don't have to get quite as close to your subject with the 50mm.  With a the smaller sensor DX camera, these convert to about what a 50mm and 75mm respectively would look like on an FX (full frame) camera.  I also like the fact that the 50mm one has a max aperture of f1.4.  Again, the price is driving me away slightly.  It seems like it was a little cheaper before the disaster in Japan, but maybe I'm wrong on that front.

Anyway, if anyone has an opinion as to which might be better for my Nikon D300s SLR Digital Camera, I would love to hear what you have to say. Help!

Thanks for dropping by!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Morocco Shopping

Epcot's Morocco area is quite photogenic, if you have the right gear that is.  This is the part of the park where I took my Fez House shot.  The photo below is one of the outdoor/indoor shops and I liked how the light came through the slats in the wood above.  However, since I had to take everything handheld that day, this shot is a little noisy.  I like it nonetheless.  I hope you do to and thanks for dropping by!

Friday, May 6, 2011

HDR in Portraits and Group Shots

Recently, Mike Connell, aka, TX Shooter, blogged about how you can use HDR as a background and blend in a portrait at the same place to create a stunning image.  He really explains it quite well and I certainly recommend you check it out if you are interested.  His post inspired me to blog about a similar thing I did while in Whistler this past January.

My wife Eileen and I traveled to Whistler with some friends, and we all wanted a decent group shot.  In the village, there are the Olympic rings from the 2010 Winter Olympics.  That makes a great shot, yes?  However, I wanted the picture to look kind of nice and not just flat from my on-camera flash.  So, I decided to take several brackets of the rings with no one in the picture and then one shot with everyone in the picture using the flash.  In post-processing, I created the HDR shot without anyone in it and then I masked in all of us from the single group shot.  I think it turned out quite nicely considering I don't have any kind of off-camera flash or anything like that.  You can see the result below:


Give it a try sometime. I think you might like the results! Thanks again, Mike, for the post! And, thanks Doug, Tricia, Valerie and Theresa! We had a great time and let's do it again!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Spaceship Earth

Two things I want to mention in this blog...

Do Not Rent From Payless Car Rental in Orlando, FL 

First is, if you ever go to Orlando, FL., do not rent a car from Payless at the airport! They are a bunch of scam artists there. We rented a car and when we picked it up, they said we could not use our own insurance to cover their car, we could only use their's. They would not do "transfers." We got pretty upset about that and insisted we use our own, but the man at the counter said, "No." We didn't want to spend anymore time there so we relented and got our car. Subsequently, we called Payless customer support and they said it was not right. However, they said we had to call the manager of the office where we rented the car from.  We contacted her and she would only give us a couple days off our rental since we called them a couple days after the fact, but would not refund the rest until she saw the video tape.  She also asked if we called previously.  No, we did not, but that sent up a red flag with us because it sounds like other people have called with this same complaint.  After she looked at the video, she said we never said we didn't want their insurance.  We told her we would never rent from them again and the we would let everyone know what happened.  It's a shame, too because we've rented from Payless in Detroit as well and they were great there.  Long story shot, we will never rent from them again, anywhere! Also, if you do a google search with the words "Payless car rental orlando scam" there are quite a few hits with it and the Toronto office.  May want to steer clear of that one as well.

Spaceship Earth

The next thing is about this shot...  When you can't use a tripod because of stupidity like I did, leaving the quick-release plate at home, you are relegated to taking everything handheld, and probably in the middle of the day.  That's what I had to do with this shot.  This is what's called "Spaceship Earth" at Epcot in Orlando.  I took this with my 18-200, wide open in the middle of the day.  I shot it from across the lake that's located in the middle of the park (World Showcase Lagoon).  I must say, I'm relatively happy with the way it turned out.  It just would be nice if it could've been at sunset and I had a tripod, though.  Oh well, live and learn.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fotomoto Featured Artist for April 30th

I'm pretty excited and I'm gonna brag a little, but I just realized that I was the featured artist on Fotomoto's website for April 30th!  Pretty cool!  I really like Fotomoto's way of allowing artists to sell through their site and how it interfaces with my site.  There's no up front cost and you make a nice profit.  They handle all of the printing and shipping, you just provide the file and you set the pricing.  Very cool.  Thanks Fotomoto!  Check them out if you would like to sell prints with very little hassle!

An English Morning, Sort Of

Well, this isn't really in England. This is another one from Epcot. Epcot had some sort of Flower show going during the time I was there so I thought it appropriate to include some flowers in a few shots. I liked how this one turned out. Funny thing though, the park is sort of divided in two parts... The park opens at 9:00am, but only half of it. The portion of the park where the mockup of an English village is located is on one side of the park, but where many of the other "countries" are located is in another portion, which doesn't open until 11:00am. Weird. So any decent morning shots could only be taken in "England" and "Mexico". I don't get it, but it doesn't really matter. I just thought it strange...

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the photo and thanks for visiting.

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