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)

 

 

02-April-2011

Comparison of Panorama Programs.

There are several commercial programs that will combine digital images to provide panorama views. During a recent Nikonians Academy Workshop in Death Valley, I took several images from Dante’s View that I have now processed with Autopano Giga and PTGui. Photoshop CS5 was not able to successfully process the images into a panorama view. Notice the snow from the previous storm under the cactus in the foreground. The four images were acquired with a Nikon D3x camera and 24 mm f/3.5 PC-E lens (ISO 100, 24 mm, f/16, 1/100 sec).

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Panorama from Death Valley National Park. Composite of 4 images taken with a Nikon D3x and 24 mm PC-E lens (ISO 100, 24 mm, f/16, 1/100 sec). Panorama created using  PTGui. (David J Mathre)
Panorama from Dantes View in Death Valley National Park. Composite of 4 images taken with a Nikon D3x and 24 mm PC-E lens (ISO 100, 24 mm, f/16, 1/100 sec). Panorama created using PTGui 7816 x 6812 pixels

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Panorama from Dante's View, Death Valley National Park. Composite of 4 images taken with a Nikon D3x and 24 mm PC-E lens (ISO 100, 24 mm, f/16, 1/100 sec). Panorama created using  AutoPano Giga Pro. (David J Mathre)
Panorama from Dantes View, Death Valley National Park. Composite of 4 images taken with a Nikon D3x and 24 mm PC-E lens (ISO 100, 24 mm, f/16, 1/100 sec). Panorama created using AutoPano Giga Pro 9294 x 7337 pixels

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Panorama from Dantes View, Death Valley National Park. Composite of 4 images taken with a Nikon D3x and 24 mm PC-E lens (ISO 100, 24 mm, f/16, 1/100 sec). Panorama created using  AutoPano Giga Pro including the Neutralhazer plugin. (David J Mathre)
Panorama from Dantes View, Death Valley National Park. Composite of 4 images taken with a Nikon D3x and 24 mm PC-E lens (ISO 100, 24 mm, f/16, 1/100 sec). Panorama created using AutoPano Giga Pro including the Neutralhazer plugin 9276 x 7327 pixels

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For more images from the Nikonians Academy Death Valley 2011 Workshop see: 24-March-2011  25-March-2011

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24-March-2011

Nikonians Academy Death Valley 2011 Workshop: Day 1.

Before the workshop started, Michael reconnoitered and GPS tagged a path to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. We would be going out to the sand dunes Thursday morning and Sunday morning well before sunrise in the dark. The following four images are of Michael going out to the sand dunes taken with a Leica X1 camera. The temperatures were cool by Death Valley standards, notice Michael is wearing a green vest.

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Michael Mariant Marking a GPS Trail to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park. Image taken with a Leica X1 camera (ISO 100, 24 mm, f/6.3, 1/800 sec). Image processed with Capture One Pro, Focus Magic, and converted to jpg for web with Photoshop CS5. (David J Mathre)
Michael Mariant Marking a GPS Trail to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park. Image taken with a Leica X1 camera (ISO 100, 24 mm, f/6.3, 1/800 sec). Image processed with Capture One Pro, Focus Magic, and converted to jpg for web with Photoshop CS5.

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Michael Mariant Marking a GPS Trail to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park. Image taken with a Leica X1 camera (ISO 100, 24 mm, f/5.6, 1/500 sec). Image processed with Capture One Pro, Focus Magic, and converted to jpg for web with Photoshop CS5. (David J Mathre)
Michael Mariant Marking a GPS Trail to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park. Image taken with a Leica X1 camera (ISO 100, 24 mm, f/5.6, 1/500 sec). Image processed with Capture One Pro, Focus Magic, and converted to jpg for web with Photoshop CS5.

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Michael Mariant Marking a GPS Trail to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park. Image taken with a Leica X1 camera (ISO 100, 24 mm, f/6.3, 1/1000 sec). Image processed with Capture One Pro, Focus Magic, and converted to jpg for web with Photoshop CS5. (David J Mathre)
Michael Mariant Marking a GPS Trail to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park. Image taken with a Leica X1 camera (ISO 100, 24 mm, f/6.3, 1/1000 sec). Image processed with Capture One Pro, Focus Magic, and converted to jpg for web with Photoshop CS5.

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Michael Mariant Marking a GPS Trail to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park. Image taken with a Leica X1 camera (ISO 100, 24 mm, f/6.3, 1/800 sec). Image processed with Capture One Pro, Focus Magic, and converted to jpg for web with Photoshop CS5. (David J Mathre)
Michael Mariant Marking a GPS Trail to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park. Image taken with a Leica X1 camera (ISO 100, 24 mm, f/6.3, 1/800 sec). Image processed with Capture One Pro, Focus Magic, and converted to jpg for web with Photoshop CS5.

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