Three years ago today I was on a Photo Safari with Thom Hogan in Patagonia. We stayed several days at Hosteria El Pilar near El Chaltén in Argentina. With the constant wind and extreme weather, the trees in Patagonia take on some unique shapes.
I got up really early before dawn to see the night sky in the southern hemisphere. I’ve wanted to see the Southern Milky Way and the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. This was the first time that I saw the Orion constellation up side down. I don’t recognize many of the other stars and southern constellations. Images from my Patagonia photography workshop with Thom Hogan while staying at Hosteria El Pilar in El Chalten in Argentina.
As the year comes to and end, and I try to reflect on everything I have done and everywhere I have been — all I can say is WOW!. The year started out with a great photography trip to Patagonia with Thom Hogan. We will ignore the extra few days we were held hostage in southern Chile. This was followed by the Nikonians Ultimate Travel Workshop II on the Semester at Sea M/V Explorer lead by Michael Mariant. This started in San Diego, and then stopped in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama (including a transit through the Panama Canal), Costa Rica, Honduras, Belize, Mexico, and ended in Fort Lauderdale. My parents were along for this trip. I then attended a Nikonians workshop in Death Valley, also lead by Michael Mariant.
There have been a number of challenges at work. We shut down our San Francisco operations which included part of my group, and thus no more regular trips to California. We ended the year achieving (and exceeding) all of our objectives. I also attended a work sponsored executive retirement seminar. It is hard to believe that I have been working long enough to even consider retirement, but then again maybe I could spend more time working on photography.
This year I expanded beyond my Nikon cameras and lenses — adding a Leica X1 and Leica V-Lux 30 P&S cameara. NAS did add a couple of lenses to the kit (500 mm f/4 VRII and 600 mm f/4 VRII telephoto). Also at the end of the year I added a Nikon 1 V1 (mirrorless) camera body with the 10 mm f/2.8 lens, the 10-30 mm lens, 30-110 mm lens, and the 10-100 mm lens. I am looking forward to the FT1 lens adapter so I can use this camera body with a telescope.
Looking through my image database, it looks like I took something over 120K images this year — a new record for me. It also meant that I needed to update my digital asset management strategy. Lightroom is good, but can’t handle this many images. I’m currently testing Media Pro (Phase One). Capture One Pro (also Phase One) is now my primary image processing workflow, although I still am using Adobe Photoshop CS 5 and many Nik, OnOne, and Topaz plugins. I also needed to update my image storage and backup strategy after some hard drive failures. I’ve moved to a couple of Drobo disk arrays (16 TB) on and off-site.
Plans for next year? Thought about, but I didn’t sign up for the Semester at Sea Enrichment Voyage to the Carribean and Brazil (including a trip up the Amazon river). Thinking about a Hurtigruten cruise in Norway to see the Northern Lights, Nikonians Ultimate Travel Workshop III (San Diego, Central America, Peru – including Galapagos Islands), and also a trip to Cuba. If none of this works out, maybe it it time for a road trip out west. The White Ram (Roadtrek RV) is anxious for a road trip!
After dumping Facebook last year when my account was hacked, I joined Google+ this year. Google+ is a better platform for photographers. I really like the Daily Image Themes, and have been contributing a number of images.
There are several image processing programs available to combine images to afford wider panorama images. The images of Laguna Torre were taken on a hike from El Chalten in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares while on a Photography Workshop in Patagonia with Thom Hogan on 01-January-2011. Three examples shown below have four portrait orientation images combined using Photoshop CS5, AutoPano Giga 2.5, and PTGui. All three composite images were cropped to the largest rectangle: Photoshop (11865 x 5814), AutoPano (12572 x 6266), and PTGui (12091 x 5979). Photoshop did the best job in minimizing the stiching artifacts in the water. AutoPano Giga did the best job in including the most image area — our hiking guide in the far lower right corner of the image is not cut off