Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Above Jurassic Park

Well, I pulled the trigger on the Fujifilm X-T1.  The problem is that it is back-ordered from the vendor.  Bummer.  Plus, I sold of most of my DSLR gear so I won't have any new content to post for a while.  So, I'm going back to the archives to post whatever I can find.

Here is a shot I took during our helicopter tour of Kauai last September.  This was one of the first shots I took as we lifted off from the airport.  Those green areas to the right of the mountains on the left side of the image is the location where portions of the movie Jurassic Park were filmed; mainly the scene where Sam Neill's character and the two kids were running with a herd of dinosaurs and the three jumped behind a big log to get out of the way. The area is known as Kipu Ranch. If you ever go, do the ATV tour with Kipu Ranch Adventures!  It's a blast!

Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Lens - Nikkor 16-35mm f4 VR
Focal Length - 24mm
Aperture - f8
Exposure - 1/640
Exposure program - Aperture priority AE
ISO speed - 200
Exposure bias - 0 EV
Tripod - No
HDR - No
# of brackets - NA

Saturday, April 19, 2014

19 Years Ago Today...

...Was the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City.  168 people were killed in this terrorist attack.  We visited the memorial back in February and it is a very poignant and moving sight to see.  I don't think I could convey anything more than what is stated on the structure here in this image...

Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Lens -  Nikkor 16-35mm f4 VR
Focal Length -  18mm
Aperture -  f16
Exposure -  1/6
Exposure program -  Aperture priority AE
ISO speed -  200
Exposure bias -  0 EV
Tripod -  Yes
HDR -  Yes
# of brackets -  7

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Switching Gear & Water Crashing on Rocks Below

Switching Gear From Nikon To Fuji

Well, I have finally decided that I am no longer going to use Nikon gear for my photos anymore.  Don't get me wrong, Nikon makes some fantastic stuff.  I have really enjoyed the results I've gotten from everything I've used.  However, they seem to really be slow in the mirrorless camera arena.  I could say the same about Canon as well.  Sony, Fujifilm, Olympus and a few others have surpassed "The Big Two" (Canon and Nikon) with their mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras (ILC for short).  The results these guys get are just as good as DSLRs, plus they weigh less, cost less in some respects and take up less room in the camera bag.  And, the features that these cameras have will work for me more than some of the "Big Two's" offerings such as electronic viewfinders that can overlay a histogram over what you are previewing and you can see what the image will look like before you take it, etc.  There are so many other reasons that I will not get into, suffice it to say I'm ready to make the move!

Why Fuji?  Well there are several photographers I follow out there and all of them have been raving about the X-T1, Fujifilm's latest camera.  Their reviews peaked my interest. Here, read for yourself:

David Nightingale of Chromasia

Gordan Laing from Camera Labs 

Nick Devlin of Luminous Landscape

DPReview's Assessment 

After reading those reviews I did some research myself.  Most everything I could find on this unit was oh so positive!  From the size, to the quality of the camera and the images it produces, to the features and dials, to the weather sealing, weight, lens offerings, etc., it seems to be the best mirrorless ILC out there, for now anyway.  Some reviewers did have quarrels with a few of the buttons and some other things, but all cameras have a little something that won't satisfy everyone.  Take HDR enthusiasts of which I am one... This camera will only bracket 3 shots at 1 EV apart.  Well when I shoot for HDR I need at least 5 shots and preferably 7.  This is a bummer, but it's a trade off I am willing to take.  As a matter of fact, I don't seem to do as much HDR as I did before because technology in photo-processing software as well as digital camera sensors are getting to the point where bracketing isn't as necessary as it was.  The other big drawback is that my D700 is full frame whereas this Fujifilm X-T1 is a cropped APS-C sensor camera.  This is something I can live with because it has 4M more pixels than my full framer and the resulting quailty is just as good, if not better.

After taking it all in, that's where I have decided to go.  Hello Fujifilm!  Nice to meet you!

Photo: Water Crashing on Rocks Below

I'm hoping I might get a couple more wildflower shots before the season runs out, but until then, here's another photo from Shipwreck Beach on Kauai.  This is from the other side of the little peninsula that sort of juts out on the east side of the beach.  You can really get a nice view of the sunrise in the morning with the waves crashing on the rocks about 20-30 feet below.

Click on the image to see a better version.

Exif data:

Camera -Nikon D700
Lens -Nikkor 16-35mm f4.0 VR
Focal Length -16mm
Aperture -f8
Exposure -1/50
Exposure program -Aperture priority AE
ISO speed -640
Exposure bias -0 EV
Tripod -yes
HDR -yes
# of brackets -5, spaced 1 EV apart

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

KISS in Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame!

"You wanted the best and you got the best.. The hottest band in the world, KISS!!!"  I remember those words introducing the band in the first ever rock concert I went to with my friend Santos at the Pontiac Silverdome some 35 years ago back in 1979.  I was 14 years old at the time!  And, about 5 years ago, my wife and I as well as our friend Valerie unleashed our inner 14 year olds one more time to see KISS here in Austin!  They were still great and put on a spectacular show!  Tomorrow, KISS gets inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Well-deserved, especially for their shows, if not for their music.  I must admit, they aren't the most musically gifted rock and roll band, but they know how to put on a show and I think their biggest strength is the way they market themselves!  Gene Simmons is the head of their business and the master marketeer.  I mean KISS coffins and a KISS mini-golf course and Chapel in Vegas?  And now they have an arena football team in California called the "L.A. KISS".  Unbelievable!

So, to commemorate their induction, I thought I'd post a few shots of the show we went to back in 2009.  I used my little Lumix point and shoot for these and the quality isn't the best, but I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out anyway.  They turned out a lot better than the shots I took with my little Kodak Instamatic film camera that I sneaked into the old 1979 show for sure!  Of course it would've been much better to be in the first row with a full-frame DSLR and really fast glass, but since we sat pretty far in the back, I'm pretty happy with what this little camera did.

One other thing I'd like to add is that times sure have changed.  I remember cameras used to be banned at all concerts.  Bands had exclusive photographers and press people that shot their concerts so they really did not like people using their own equipment to get pictures.  These days with the proliferation of good quality compact digital cameras and phones, bands are now thinking, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."  They don't seem to mind at all and the venues for the most part are OK with it.  As long as you don't have a camera system that is so big it interferes with others' enjoyment of the show.  That's awesome!  So, on to the pics!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Horse and Colt #2

This is a shot of the other pair of horse-moms and colts that I shot last Sunday morning..  This little guy was kinda curious as you can see so I'm glad mom is a little out of focus so the colt can get a little more attention.  I think they need it at that age! :-)

Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Lens - Nikkor 28 - 300mm f3.5 - 5.6
Focal Length - 135mm
Aperture - f5.6
Exposure - 1/125
Exposure program - Aperture priority AE
ISO speed - 200
Exposure bias - 0 EV
Tripod - No
HDR - No
# of brackets - NA

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Baseball Season!

I know I'm late to the party, but baseball season has started!  Yay!  That means summer is on its way!  Well, down here in Texas, summer's not the best season, but after this winter, I'll take it!  I know it hasn't been so bad for us down here as it has been for almost everyone else in the country, but it still was unusually cold!  So bring on the heat!

To celebrate baseball starting, I thought I'd post a shot I took from a Rangers game we went to last year.  This one is a little significant to me because I like the Rangers, but I'm a die-hard Detroit Tigers fan.  I grew up watching them and they are the team I follow.  So, this shot shows a poster of Ian Kinsler in the rafters of The Ballpark at Arlington where the Rangers play.  Well, Ian Kinsler got traded to the Tigers in the off-season for Prince Fielder.  Plus, down in the bottom right side of the shot, there's a poster of Kenny Rogers who played for the Rangers but finished his career in Detroit.  I guess you could say that the Rangers are the Tigers farm club!  Haha of course!

Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Lens - Nikkor 28 - 300mm f3.5 - 5.6
Aperture - f4.8
Exposure - 1/80
Exposure program - Aperture priority AE
ISO speed - 1600
Exposure bias - 0 EV
Tripod - No
HDR - No
# of brackets - NA

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Lounging At Shipwreck Beach

Shipwreck Beach on Kauai is a stunning place.  It's home to the Grand Hyatt Resort and was within walking distance from the rental home we stayed at in Poipu.  Eileen and I walked over there one morning to watch the sun come up and take a few pictures.  I saw this little cabana lounge thing and thought it made a nice perspective of the place.  Wouldn't mind being there right now!

This is a 7-bracket HDR processed via Photmatix with the "Natural" setting and post-processed in Adobe Photoshop CC with the Nik Software Plugin suite.

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