Four-Years Ago (15-March-2014) — Iceland

Gone to See Iceland 2014 – Winter Photography Workshop. Day 7: Golden Circle.

Svartsengi geothermal power plant near the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Image taken with a Fuji X-T1 camera and 23 mm f/1.4 lens. Between Geothermal and Hydroelectric power more electricity is generated than needed by the 340K residents of Iceland. The excess power is used by a couple of aluminum smelting plants, and more recently by bitcoin miners. I heard a report on the news that 600 computers specially configured with multiple video processors for bitcoin mining were stolen from a warehouse data center in Iceland. Need to follow where the power is being used…

Svartsengi Geothermal Power Plant Near the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Image taken with a Fuji X-T1 camera and 23 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 200, 23 mm, f/5.6, 1/400 sec). (David J Mathre)
Svartsengi Geothermal Power Plant Near the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Image taken with a Fuji X-T1 camera and 23 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 200, 23 mm, f/5.6, 1/400 sec). (David J Mathre)
Trolls Lair. Moss Covered Lava Field Just Outside the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Composite of 3 images taken with a Fuji X-T1 camera and 23 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 200, 23 mm, f/11). Google HDR Efex Pro. (David J Mathre)
Trolls Lair. Moss Covered Lava Field Just Outside the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Composite of 3 images taken with a Fuji X-T1 camera and 23 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 200, 23 mm, f/11). Google HDR Efex Pro. (David J Mathre)

Eleven-Years Ago (09-November-2006) — New Jersey

Macro Views: Currency and Stamps

USPS 2006 X-Plane Express Mail Stamp (Canceled). I had never seen this stamp before. It was the postage on the express mail envelope that contained my renewed passport. Image taken with a Nikon D2xs and 105 mm f/2.8 mm macro lens (ISO 800, f/10, 1/60 sec, flash).

USPS 2006 X-Plane Express Mail Stamp (Canceled).Image taken with a Nikon D2xs and 105 mm f/2.8 mm macro lens (ISO 800, f/10, 1/60 sec, flash). (David J Mathre)
USPS 2006 X-Plane Express Mail Stamp (Canceled).Image taken with a Nikon D2xs and 105 mm f/2.8 mm macro lens (ISO 800, f/10, 1/60 sec, flash). (David J Mathre)

 

Seven-Years Ago (08-November-2010) — New Jersey

Macro Views of Currency and Stamps: America the Beautiful Quarters

Macro images of three of the 2010 “America the Beautiful ” quarter coins. Grand Canyon National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Yosemite National Park. All places you need to see in person.

 


Nine-Years Ago (08-March-2008) — Colorado

Photographic Techniques. Resolution and Focus Testing.

I must have been bored, so spent an afternoon doing some autofocus and resolution testing with some of my cameras and lenses. The goal was to see which combination would be able to focus and provide the highest resolution image of Alexander Hamilton. Ideally, sharp enough to make out the microprint security feature on his shoulder. All of the images were taken with a Nikon D300 camera. The lenses used include a 105 mm f/2.8 VR macro, 200 mm f/2 VR, 300 mm f/2.8 VR, 400 mm f/2.8, and 200-400 mm f/4 VR.

Alexander Hamilton. Autofocus test. Can you find the microprint? Image taken with a Nikon D300 camera and 200-400 mm f/4 VR lens (ISO 200, 400 mm, f/4, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Alexander Hamilton. Autofocus test. Can you find the microprint? Image taken with a Nikon D300 camera and 200-400 mm f/4 VR lens (ISO 200, 400 mm, f/4, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Alexander Hamilton. Autofocus test. Can you find the microprint? Image taken with a Nikon D300 camera and 200 mm f/2 VR lens (ISO 200, 200 mm, f/4, 1/40 sec). (David J Mathre)
Alexander Hamilton. Autofocus test. Can you find the microprint? Image taken with a Nikon D300 camera and 200 mm f/2 VR lens (ISO 200, 200 mm, f/4, 1/40 sec). (David J Mathre)
Alexander Hamilton. Autofocus test. Can you find the microprint? Image taken with a Nikon D300 camera and 300 mm f/2.8 VR lens (ISO 200, 300 mm, f/2.8, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Alexander Hamilton. Autofocus test. Can you find the microprint? Image taken with a Nikon D300 camera and 300 mm f/2.8 VR lens (ISO 200, 300 mm, f/2.8, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Alexander Hamilton. Autofocus test. Can you find the microprint? Image taken with a Nikon D300 camera and 400 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 200, 400 mm, f/2.8, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Alexander Hamilton. Autofocus test. Can you find the microprint? Image taken with a Nikon D300 camera and 400 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 200, 400 mm, f/2.8, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Alexander Hamilton. Autofocus test. Can you find the microprint? Image taken with a Nikon D300 camera and 105 mm f/2.8 VR macro lens (ISO 200, 105 mm, f/4, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Alexander Hamilton. Autofocus test. Can you find the microprint? Image taken with a Nikon D300 camera and 105 mm f/2.8 VR macro lens (ISO 200, 105 mm, f/4, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)

Two-Years Ago (15-March-2014) — Iceland

Gone to See Iceland 2014 – Winter Photography Workshop. Day 7: Golden Circle.

What Does This Sign Mean To You? Comments Appreciated. I see that 2 screws are missing, so someone wanted to take it home with them.. Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park in Iceland. Image taken with a Fuji X-T1 camera and Fuji 23 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 200, 23 mm, f/5, 1/160 sec).

What Does This Sign Mean To You?. Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park. Image taken with a Fuji X-T1 camera and Fuji 23 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 200, 23 mm, f/5, 1/160 sec). (David J Mathre)
What Does This Sign Mean To You?. Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park. Image taken with a Fuji X-T1 camera and Fuji 23 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 200, 23 mm, f/5, 1/160 sec). (David J Mathre)

I am not providing the name or recommendation for the workshop leaders for this trip. One of the reasons I signed up  was the opportunity to photograph Northern Lights from Iceland. In 2013 I got some great images of the Aurora Borealis in Tromsö, Norway and hoped to do the same in Iceland. I arrived in Reykjavik, Iceland two days before the workshop and arranged a private tour with TripsByLocals.com to go Aurora Hunting. It didn’t look promising when we left the hotel (snowing an hour earlier). For the first 2 hours the sky remained mostly overcast. We then found a spot where the sky started to clear, and started to see the Aurora. It was cold and windy, but I found a place behind the van where I could set up a camera on a tripod. I was able to get 80 images which I used to create a time-lapsed video. The moon was almost full, and lit up the snow covered lava field in the foreground. It turned out that this was my only opportunity to get some good images of the Aurora on this trip. My father commented that it was not as good as the images I got in Tromsö last year. The weather for the Iceland workshop did not cooperate – lots of rain and snow with significant cloud cover. On the first day of the workshop we were supposed to fly from Reykjavik to Höfn but the weather in Höfn didn’t cooperate (even though it was sunny in Reykjavik). After spending some extra time waiting in the Reykjavik airport, it was decided that we would fly to Egilsstadir and take a several hour bus ride to Höfn. On the positive side, I got to see some of the Fjords on the east coast of Iceland, and on the negative side I lost a camera battery on the bus ride between Egilsstadir and Höfn when we had to change from a big 55 passenger bus to a smaller van. Once we got to the airport in Höfn we transferred to the van that would be our transportation for the rest of the workshop. Our first stop was the black sand beach on the coast next to the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. Every day when the tide goes out, ice that calved from the glacier in the lagoon goes out to sea, then when the tide comes in, the ice lands on the black sand beach. The makes for some great photo opportunities. However, as we arrived the rain started. We could only stay out for about 15 minutes before getting soaked in the cold and windy rain. We then went to Hotel Smyrlabjörg. I stayed at the same hotel last summer. The Icelandic food served at dinner was outstanding. When I went to sleep it was still raining. During the night the wind increased to the point it sounded like a train was passing outside my window. At about 01:30 AM I woke up and could see some stars in the sky outside my window. I went outside to get a look. It was still very windy. Windy to the point that I could barely stand up. I took a couple of pictures, and could see that the Northern Lights were starting – but there was no way I would be able to stay out in the gale force winds. So I went back to bed. The next morning at breakfast our workshop leader was gushing about how great the Aurora was between 03:30 AM and 05:30 AM. Unfortunately, he didn’t bother to wake the majority of the workshop participants even though he stayed out taking images for his portfolio. There were lots of apologies and excuses that he didn’t know what rooms we were in, but we were all staying in adjacent rooms. This turned out to be the one and only night that the Aurora were visible during the workshop. I was lucky to get the one night before the workshop to see and photograph the Aurora. Most of the others that spent thousands of dollars to see and photograph the Northern Lights as part of the workshop were very disappointed.