01-January-2014

<em><strong>Happy New Year Everyone.</strong><em>

Image of me in Colorado taken by Jason Odell with an IR converted Nikon 1 V1 camera
Image of me in Colorado taken by Jason Odell with an IR converted Nikon 1 V1 camera

 

Let’s see if I can get back to posting something new to my “Image of the Day Photoblog” each and everyday. Last year I traveled a bit (or should I say a lot), and as a result fell back to just having my Google+ posts reposted on the Photoblog. I began the year in January with a quick road trip to Florida to visit family and then some time at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. At the end of January, I flew to Bergen, Norway and then embarked on a voyage on the Hurtigruten M/V Nordkapp from Bergen to Kirkenes and then back to Bergen. On the return voyage I stopped in Tromsø for a week to meet up with some friends to experience and photograph the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). In April, I went back to Florida to join my parents for an extended Semester at Sea Spring Enrichment Voyage on the M/V Explorer. We flew from Tampa to Barcelona (via Gatwick in England). Over the next 52 days we visited 19 countries (Spain, Monaco, Italy, Spain, Gibraltar, Morocco, Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, England, Norway, Latvia, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany). I must have been getting board, so at the end of July into August decided to spend 10 days in Iceland to attend a Nikonians Photo Safari with Mike Hagen and Tim Vollmer. In September, I started my annual “Gone to See America” 27 day road trip. This year I started on a northern route (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan). I spent some time in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, then continued west (Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado). While in Colorado, I spent in and around Buena Vista for a Colorado Photo Safari with Jason Odell. We were supposed to have spent the time in Rocky Mountain National Park, but had to change the location due to the severe flooding along the Front Range in Colorado. I then continued west and south (Utah and Arizona) to join up for a week with the Nikonians ANPAT-13 (Annual Nikonians Photo Adventure Trip) in Arizona. Due to the Government shutdown, we were not able to visit many of the planned locations in the National Parks or National Forests. On the day I departed the Nikonians group, I was fortunate to travel through Grand Canyon National Park. The park was re-opened that day after the Governor of Arizona agreed to pay for basic operations until the Government shutdown was resolved. I then spent a couple of days in New Mexico, but unfortunately White Sands and Carlsbad Caverns National Parks were still closed. Guadalupe Mountain and Big Bend National Parks in Texas were also closed, so decided to hightail it back home (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey). Since returning home, I have been spending a lot of time going through my images, and upgrading the computer server and storage space for the images. In early December, I spent four days in Philadelphia attending workshops with Steve Simon (Nikon D4, D800, and the Passionate Photographer). In all I took nearly 300K images during the year, which is double the number I took in 2012. New photography equipment for 2013 included a Nikon Df camera body, a 58 mm f/1.4G lens, a 70-200 mm f/4 VR lens and two lenses for the Nikon 1 bodies – a 18.5 mm f/1.8 and 32 mm f/1.2 lens.

I really wanted to sign up for the Semester at Sea Spring 2014 round the world voyage but the stars were not aligned and I didn’t get my act together in time. The round the world Semester at Sea voyage will have to wait until 2016, since I have already committed to another trip to Patagonia with Thom Hogan in the spring of 2015. Other trips for 2014 include a Birding Photo Safari in Texas with Jason Odell and the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque with Winston Hall. I’ve not decided yet on either the Semester at Sea Spring 2014 Enrichment voyage (includes Iceland) and/or the Semester at Sea Summer 2014 voyage (Europe).

Thursday (05-December-2013) — New Jersey

Remote Camera Control Test: Troll  Family

I periodically use the Nikon Camera Control Pro program to remotely control cameras. This was the first time I used to the program to control a Nikon Df camera. Three images of the Troll Family changing the aperture and shutter speed.

Troll Family Photo Session. Nikon Capture Control Remote Test. Image taken with a Nikon Df camera and 58 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 100, 58 mm, f/1.4, 1/4 sec). (David J Mathre)
Troll Family Photo Session. Nikon Capture Control Remote Test. Image taken with a Nikon Df camera and 58 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 100, 58 mm, f/1.4, 1/4 sec). (David J Mathre)
Troll Family Photo Session. Nikon Capture Control Remote Test. Image taken with a Nikon Df camera and 58 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 100, 58 mm, f/4, 2 sec). (David J Mathre)
Troll Family Photo Session. Nikon Capture Control Remote Test. Image taken with a Nikon Df camera and 58 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 100, 58 mm, f/4, 2 sec). (David J Mathre)
Troll Family Photo Session. Nikon Capture Control Remote Test. Image taken with a Nikon Df camera and 58 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 100, 58 mm, f/16, 30 sec). (David J Mathre)
Troll Family Photo Session. Nikon Capture Control Remote Test. Image taken with a Nikon Df camera and 58 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 100, 58 mm, f/16, 30 sec). (David J Mathre)

 

One-Year Ago (23-November-2011) — New Jersey

Black Friday: Nikon 1 V1 Mirrorless Camera Anniversary

One year ago (23-November-2011),  I got my Nikon 1 V1 camera. My image database indicates that I have taken over 50K pictures with this camera, and this doesn’t count video. Granted, about half of the images were when I used the camera for taking time-lapsed images while driving on a road trip to Florida last year and New Mexico this year. It is a great travel camera being significantly lighter than the DSLR cameras I use. It does have its idiosyncrasies. I don’t like the location of some of the controls/dial, the propensity for the rear mode selection dial to move/change — I have lost images because the camera  was not in the right mode (mood???). I did get the adapter to use Nikon F-mount lenses, the GPS adapter, the flash adapter, and the remote adapter. I really would like a wider lens for the camera. The field of view for the 10 mm lens on this camera is equivalent to 27 mm on a FX (35 mm sensor) DSLR. A 6 or 7 mm lens would be nice (16-19 mm equivalent). For wider landscape images, I end up taking multiple images and stitching them together in post processing.

Five-Years Ago (23-November-2007) — Hawaii

Hawaii Photography Workshop with Thom Hogan: Day 6

Five years ago I completed a photography workshop on the Big Island of Hawaii with Thom Hogan.  While on the way to the airport to catch our return flights, we stopped at Lighthaus Camera. Coincidentally, it was “Black Friday” and everything was on sale. We noticed that the store just received their initial shipment of the newly released Nikon D300 camera.  Three or four of the workshop participants purchased the cameras on the spot. I have to admit that mine was an impulse purchase. Over the next four years, I took nearly 55K images with the camera (2007: 3164 images; 2008: 20371 images; 2009: 29355 images; 2010: 919 images; 2011: 628 images). This was my last Nikon DX sensor camera. Since then all of my Nikon DSLR cameras had full frame FX sensors.

The last shooting location for the workshop on that day was at Hawaii Tropical Gardens. I reprocessed an image Onomea Water Falls using Nik Silver Efex Pro.

Onomea Water Falls, Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens. Image taken with a Nikon D2xs and 105 mm f/2.8 macro (ISO 100, f/11, 1/1.6 sec). Image processed with Capture One Pro 6, PhotoShop CS5, and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. (David J. Mathre)
Onomea Water Falls, Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens. Image taken with a Nikon D2xs and 105 mm f/2.8 macro (ISO 100, f/11, 1/1.6 sec). Image processed with Capture One Pro 6, PhotoShop CS5, and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. (David J. Mathre)

Thursday (24-November-2011) — Pennsylvania

Autumn in Pennsylvania: New Mirrorless Camera (Nikon 1 V1)

I got up early this morning to see how the new Nikon 1 V1 mirrorless digital camera performs. I spent the night reading the manual to get an idea of how to use the camera. As with anything new, you have to use it to really understand its capabilities. I drove to the Lambertville – New Hope bridge for some early dawn images. The Delaware river was up a little over 4 feet in the last day due to all of the rain we got on Tuesday and Wednesday. Still below flood stage but up more than usual. The following image is an old building in New Hope along the Delaware river, taken from across the river in the Lambertville Station parking lot. The Raw image was converted to jpg using Adobe Lightroom 3.6 RC with no additional processing. Note that I had to upgrade from Lightroom 3.5 to the 3.6 Release Candidate in order to be able to see and process the image with Lightroom. More images to follow, and I need to check out if my other Raw image processing programs are able to handle images from this new camera.

Later in the afternoon, I had a great Thanksgiving dinner with neighbors across the street. Images from the Thanksgiving celebration to follow. Right now the camera is outside to see how it performs capturing Night Sky images.

New Hope from Lambertville across the Delaware River. Image taken with a Nikon 1 V1 and 10-100 mm Lens (ISO 110, 100 mm, f/5.6, 1/60 sec) (David J Mathre)
New Hope from Lambertville across the Delaware River. Image taken with a Nikon 1 V1 and 10-100 mm Lens (ISO 110, 100 mm, f/5.6, 1/60 sec) (David J Mathre)

Wednesday (23-November-2011) — New Jersey

New Mirrorless Camera: Nikon 1 V1

It is 4 years ago today that I got my Nikon D300 while returning from a photography workshop with Thom Hogan in Hawaii (23-November-2007). Coincidentally, I received the new Nikon 1 V1 today from B&H. I was surprised that it was heavier than my Leica X1, but a lot lighter and smaller than a Nikon D700 or D3. Lots to learn. I like the Leica X1 because it has dials on the top for both aperture and shutter speed (designed for a photographer). These are missing on the Nikon V1 (have to use buttons/dials on the back). I got all four available Nikon 1 lenses 10 mm (27 mm equiv), 10-30 mm (27-81 mm equiv), 30-110 mm (81-297 mm equiv), and 10-100 mm (27-270 mm equiv). The 10-100 mm (VR) lens is larger and heavier than the camera for this evaluation. The Nikon V1 does have an electronic view finder (100%). Missing is the adapter for Nikon F-mount lenses (which I really want so I can have a mirrorless camera on my Questar telescopes). Reading the manual there seems to be some interesting video options. Lots to learn over the next 4 days.

31-May-2011

I am resisting NAS (Nikon Acquisition Syndrome) Today.

While reading the commentary on Thom Hogon’s site today, I saw that B&H (and other vendors) had received new Nikon 500 mm and 600 mm f/4 VRII Super Telephoto lenses and still have some available for sale. These have been in short supply for a long time, and may be in even shorter supply for a even longer time since the earthquake in Japan. I held out and did not place an order (and thus didn’t help the economy by spending nearly $20K). This was hard, since I missed many great photo opportunities while on the Enrichment Voyage/Nikonians Ultimate Travel Workshop (UTW-II) earlier this month. Several of the folks attending UTW-II had 500 mm and 600 mm lenses and were able to get some great images that those of us with lighter kits (70-300 or 80-400) missed.

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New images from the Ultimate Travel Workshop (UTW-II) this spring have been posted: 03-May-2011. More to come as I continue to work through the images.
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Friday (23-November-2007) — Hawaii

Hawaii Photography Workshop with Thom Hogan: Day 5. Nikon D300 Camera.

The workshop team stopped at Lighthaus Camera in Kona before being dropped off at the Kona airport. This was “Black Friday” — the infamous shopping day after Thanksgiving. We noticed a pile of just delivered Nikon D300 cameras behind the counter, but assumed that they were all preordered by local camera enthusiasts. After some discussions, we found out that they were available for purchase and with a 5% discount as part of their “Black Friday” sales event. At least three of us walked out with a new D300 camera body that day. I wasn’t planning of getting a D300, and had to pay cash since they didn’t accept AMEX. In his D300 review, Thom did comment that he was the last of us to get a D300. I took a few pictures with the new camera while waiting for my plane back to the mainland at the Kona airport, and had many hours to read the manual.