Tuesday (10-July-2018) — New Jersey

Backyard Nighttime Sky Over New Jersey.

For the second night in a row the sky was clear so again I set up two cameras. This time using lessons learned from yesterday. One for firefly trails (Nikon D810a camera and 200 mm f/2 lens), and one for star trails looking north (Nikon D850 camera and 19 mm f/4 PC-E lens). This time the focus point for the firefly trails was moved back, and the orientation changed to portrait. I like this better than last night. For the star trails image I rotated the camera to north to get the circle around the north star. The star trail images really needs to be viewed on a large high-resolution monitor. I also made a time-lapse video (five hours compressed to 20 seconds) of the night sky. This is best viewed on a high-resolution monitor in a dark room. The Big Dipper pointing to the north star was one of the first things I learned about the night sky. One note post processing is with these high-resolution cameras it took me all day to do the processing, even with my fastest computer with a video processor (Microsoft Surface Book II Pro).

Firefly Trails. Composite of images taken with a Nikon D810a camera and 200 mm f/2 lens (ISO 1600, 200 mm, f/11, 120 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro and the composite generated using Photoshop CC (statistics, maximum). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Firefly Trails. Composite of images taken with a Nikon D810a camera and 200 mm f/2 lens (ISO 1600, 200 mm, f/11, 120 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro and the composite generated using Photoshop CC (statistics, maximum). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Startrail Looking North. Composite of images (22:20-03:19) taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 19 mm f/4 PC-E lens (ISO 200, 19 mm, f/4, 30 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro and the composite created using Photoshop CC (scripts, statistics, maximum). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Star Trarils Looking North. Composite of images (22:20-03:19) taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 19 mm f/4 PC-E lens (ISO 200, 19 mm, f/4, 30 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro and the composite created using Photoshop CC (scripts, statistics, maximum). (DAVID J MATHRE)


Individual images from the slide show can be viewed here.

Friday (06-July-2018) — New Jersey

Backyard Summertime in New Jersey.

Focus Stacked Macro images of a Bumble Bee on a Pink Zinnia Flower.  Fuji recently released a firmware update for the Fuji X-T2 and X-H1 mirrorless cameras that allow the camera to take a series of focus bracketed images. The camera starts with a user selected near focus point, then for each subsequent image changes the focus point an increment further away (toward infinity). The bracketing settings are number of frames (2-999), step (1-10), and interval (seconds). Each of images below are focus stacked composites of 25 images taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (ISO 200, 80 mm, f/2.8, 1/250 sec) with a step of 10, and interval of 0 seconds. I used the Helicon Focus program to process the focus bracketed images to create the focus stacked composite. The result is an image with a depth of field much greater than could be obtained with a single image even with narrow aperture.  Note the tiny mites on the back of the bee.

Bumble Bee on a Zinnia Bloom. Focus stacked composite of 25 images taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (ISO 200, 80 mm, f/2.8, 1/250 sec). Images processed with Helicon Focus. (DAVID J MATHRE)
Bumble Bee on a Zinnia Bloom. Focus stacked composite of 25 images taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (ISO 200, 80 mm, f/2.8, 1/250 sec). Images processed with Helicon Focus. (DAVID J MATHRE)
Bumble Bee on a Zinnia Bloom. Focus stacked composite of 25 images taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (ISO 200, 80 mm, f/2.8, 1/250 sec). Images processed with Helicon Focus. (DAVID J MATHRE)
Bumble Bee on a Zinnia Bloom. Focus stacked composite of 25 images taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (ISO 200, 80 mm, f/2.8, 1/250 sec). Images processed with Helicon Focus. (DAVID J MATHRE)
Bumble Bee with Mites on a Zinnia Bloom. Focus stacked composite of 25 images taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (ISO 200, 80 mm, f/2.8, 1/250 sec). Images processed with Helicon Focus. (DAVID J MATHRE)
Bumble Bee with Mites on a Zinnia Bloom. Focus stacked composite of 25 images taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (ISO 200, 80 mm, f/2.8, 1/250 sec). Images processed with Helicon Focus. (DAVID J MATHRE)

As noted above, I used a setting of 25 images, step size 10, and interval 0 seconds. I chose 25 images because that is about the number of images that can be taken (raw + jpg fine) in a burst before the buffer fills and the interval between images becomes longer. This allowed me to take the images hand-held (without using a tripod). I am not sure what the interval represents, and if it is different with each lens. The setting of 25 images and step size of 10 gives me a about half an inch of “in focus” range at a close focusing distance. Saving only jpg images would permit more images to be taken (deeper depth of field) and/or a smaller step size (greater resolution). I still have a lot to learn about using the focus stacking capability with this camera. Lots of trial and error. I am glade that digital memory is cheap, although processing lots of images takes time.

Eleven-Years Ago (04-July-2007) — Colorado

Summer in Colorado. Railroad to Pikes Peak.

Eleven-years ago on a lark I drove from Boulder to Colorado Springs and then to Manitou Springs to take the Cog Wheeled Railroad to the summit of Pikes Peak. Little did I know that you needed reservations for the cog rail trip to Pikes Peak, and that all trips were sold out for the day. I was very lucky that someone in line before me was unhappy that their party was not all sitting together and turned in their tickets. Once I got on board the train, I realized that I won the lottery since my ticket was for the front seat. This allowed me to set up a tripod and camera to capture images for a time-lapse video for the train ride. So as not to annoy the other passengers on the train I used a small Gitzo travel tripod, my smallest camera body, and a small lens. Going up the mountain I used a 18-200 mm lens at 18 mm. Going down the mountain my seat was now in the rear of the train looking back. For this I used a 10.5 mm fisheye lens. This was a case of being in the right place at the right time!!!

Steam Engine at Pikes Peak Cog Railroad. Image taken with a Nikon D200 and 10.5 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 100, 10.5 mm, f/5.6, 1/250 sec). Raw image processed with Capture One Pro, Focus Magic, Topaz Define, and Photoshop CS5. (David J Mathre)
Steam Engine at Pikes Peak Cog Railroad. Image taken with a Nikon D200 and 10.5 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 100, 10.5 mm, f/5.6, 1/250 sec). Raw image processed with Capture One Pro, Focus Magic, Topaz Define, and Photoshop CS5.

Eleven-Years Ago (24-June-2007) — Colorado

Summer in Colorado. Front Range 2007 Air Show.

P-51 Val-Halla and F-15 Eagle. Heritage Flight at the Front Range 2007 Air Show outside of Denver Colorado. Image taken with a Nikon D2xs and 80-400 mm VR lens (ISO 110, 400 mm, f/5.6, 1/500 sec). Both pilots appear to be looking my way since I was standing at the turn marker on the field.

P-51 Val-Halla and F-15 Heritage Flight at the Front Range 2007 Air Show outside of Denver Colorado. Image taken with a Nikon D2xs and 80-400 mm VR lens (ISO 110, 400 mm, f/5.6, 1/500 sec). (David J Mathre)
P-51 Val-Halla and F-15 Heritage Flight at the Front Range 2007 Air Show outside of Denver Colorado. Image taken with a Nikon D2xs and 80-400 mm VR lens (ISO 110, 400 mm, f/5.6, 1/500 sec). (David J Mathre)








Individual Images from the slide shows can be found here.

Saturday (05-May-2018) — New Jersey

Backyard Springtime Nature in New Jersey.

I added an electric fence to the top of the garden tower. It didn’t initially bother the raccoon. I also placed a copper cover over the compost tube connected to the electric fence. Movie recorded with an Arlo Pro security camera. That got the raccoon’s attention. Need to do the same for the other two garden towers.