31-December-2011

What a Year — It Was Amazing!

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.

 

Self Portrait in Death Valley. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 100, 16 mm, f/16, 1/100 sec). (David J Mathre)
Self Portrait in Death Valley. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 100, 16 mm, f/16, 1/100 sec). (David J Mathre)

 

 

06-April-2011

Early Morning Double Rainbow in Patagonia. Comparison of HDR (High Dynamic Range) Processing Programs.

Digital camera sensors are not able to deal with the full dynamic range that the human eye can process. The same is true with computer monitors and printers. There are several commercial programs that will combine over and under exposed digital images to provide a composite digital image that tries to express the wider dynamic range of the eye. I continue to evaluate the commercial HDR programs. The following images are of a early morning double rainbow taken at Lago Grey in Torres del Paine National Park in Chile during my Photography Workshop in Patagonia with Thom Hogan (10-January-2011). The inital image is the original single exposure. This is followed by four HDR images processed with 1) Photoshop CS5 HDR Pro, 2) Photomatix Pro, 3) Nik HDR Pro, and 4) HDR Express Pro. Please reply with comments on which HDR image you like or don’t like.

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Early Morning Rainbow, Lago Grey, Torres del Paine, Chile. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 28-120 mm f/4 lens (ISO 200, 31 mm, f/5.6, 1/25 sec). (David J Mathre)
Early Morning Rainbow, Lago Grey, Torres del Paine, Chile. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 28-120 mm f/4 lens (ISO 200, 31 mm, f/5.6, 1/25 sec).

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Early Morning Rainbow, Lago Grey, Torres del Paine, Chile. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 28-120 mm f/4 lens (ISO 200, 31 mm, f/5.6). HDR composite of 4 images using Photoshop CS5 HDR Pro (David J Mathre)
Early Morning Rainbow, Lago Grey, Torres del Paine, Chile. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 28-120 mm f/4 lens (ISO 200, 31 mm, f/5.6). HDR composite of 4 images using Photoshop CS5 HDR Pro

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Early Morning Rainbow, Lago Grey, Torres del Paine, Chile. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 28-120 mm f/4 lens (ISO 200, 31 mm, f/5.6). HDR composite of 4 images using Photomatix Pro (David J Mathre)
Early Morning Rainbow, Lago Grey, Torres del Paine, Chile. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 28-120 mm f/4 lens (ISO 200, 31 mm, f/5.6). HDR composite of 4 images using Photomatix Pro

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Early Morning Rainbow, Lago Grey, Torres del Paine, Chile. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 28-120 mm f/4 lens (ISO 200, 31 mm, f/5.6). HDR composite of 4 images using NIK HDR Pro (David J Mathre)
Early Morning Rainbow, Lago Grey, Torres del Paine, Chile. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 28-120 mm f/4 lens (ISO 200, 31 mm, f/5.6). HDR composite of 4 images using NIK HDR Pro

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Early Morning Rainbow, Lago Grey, Torres del Paine, Chile. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 28-120 mm f/4 lens (ISO 200, 31 mm, f/5.6). HDR composite of 4 images using HDR Express (David J Mathre)
Early Morning Rainbow, Lago Grey, Torres del Paine, Chile. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 28-120 mm f/4 lens (ISO 200, 31 mm, f/5.6). HDR composite of 4 images using HDR Express

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03-April-2011

Processing Images from the Patagonia Trip.

I’ve been going back and processing images from the Patagonia trip. I’ve added a number of new images to the 11-January-2011 blog.

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Guide. Hike and Equitreckking from Hotel Las Torres to Mrador Las Torres in Torres del Paine National Park. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 50 mm f/1.4G lens (ISO 100, 50 mm, f/2, 1/200 sec.). (David J Mathre)
Guide. Hike and Equitreckking from Hotel Las Torres to Mrador Las Torres in Torres del Paine National Park. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 50 mm f/1.4G lens (ISO 100, 50 mm, f/2, 1/200 sec.).