Friday (28-September-2018) — New Jersey

Backyard Nighttime Autumn Sky Over New Jersey.

Evaluation of a Nikon KeyMission 360 camera including Night Sky video mode. Unlike the Garmin VIRB camera, the KeyMission camera does not have any external controls. It does have separate buttons for taking pictures or video recording. The camera and video settings are only available via the SnapBridge 360/170 app on Android or iOS devices. Communication between the app and camera is via BlueTooth or WiFi. The initial connection is via BlueTooth where the Camera Settings can be modified. Apparently, the BlueTooth in the camera is active, even when the camera is turned off.  The app indicates that the KeyMission 360 camera is already paired. When Camera Settings is selected, it takes several minutes to connect. During this time, the camera is turned on. Camera settings include: Date & Time, Sound Settings; Auto Off (change to 5 minutes or you will go crazy when learning how to use this camera); LED brightness; Charge by Computer (set to auto); Image Comment; Copyright information; Location Data; Firmware Version; Network Menu; Shooting Options; Format Card; and Reset All.

The Shooting Options Menu includes: Movies; Still Images; and Shooting Options. Movie Mode Includes settings for : Standard movie; Superlapse movie (2x, 4x, 6x, 10x, 15x); Loop recording (5 min, 10 min, 30 min, 60 min); Time-lapse movie (AE lock only; 2 sec, 5 sec, 10 sec, and 30 sec); Night Sky (30 sec optimized for stars). Still images includes settings for: Image size (7744 x 3872 or 3872 x 1936); Self timer (2 sec or 10 sec). The images are JPG (no option for RAW images). That is too bad, I assumed Nikon would provide an option for saving RAW images. ARRG!!! Also, there is no option for interval shooting of still images. Double ARRG!!!

Finally, there is a Shooting options menu (that I assume applies to both movies and still images). It includes settings for: Underwater mode (yes/no); Active D-Lighting (yes/no); White balance (auto, daylight, incandescent, fluorescent, and cloudy); Color options (standard, vivid, and monochrome); Exposure compensation (+2.0 to -2.0 in 1/3 stop increments); and Restore default settings. So I set the Active-D lighting on, White balance auto, and selected Vivid in the color options.

If you want to do remote photography from the app, it needs to switch to WiFi mode. This takes a long, long time. It removes whatever WiFi source you are connected to and sets up a direct connection to the camera. This is why setting the auto off to 5 minutes is important. I often didn’t make a connection, and/or it took several times before the device and camera would connect. The manual makes some comment about problems when there are a lot of other WiFi devices nearby. Again ARGG!!! I wouldn’t trust the remote photography (Live View) for a mission critical shoot. But it is nice to have when composing a still image.

After it got dark outside, I set the KeyMission camera up on my back patio set up in Night Sky video mode. The camera takes take 300 30 second exposures (~2.5 hours) and then in the camera combines the front and back images into a 10 second 360 degree panorama time-lapse video (1080p, 30p).  Video viewing apps that are 360 aware allow the viewer to pan and tilt the image to see all directions around the camera. For this video, I was only interested in seeing the sky. The video viewing and editing program from Nikon (KeyMission 360/170 Utility) didn’t allow me to do this. I did find that the Insta360 Studio program did allow me to edit the video from the KeyMission camera.

KeyMission 360 Night Sky Time-lapse Video.

For comparison, I also set up a Nikon D810a camera with a 8-15 mm fisheye lens (ISO 200, 10 mm, f/8, 120 sec) to take a series of night sky images. These were processed with Capture One Pro, and then used to create a time-lapse video and a composite star trails image.  There appear to be a multitude of internal reflections in the 8-15 mm fisheye lens once the moon becomes visible.

Nikon D810a Night Sky Time-lapse Video.

Night Sky Star Trails Image. Composite of 211 images taken with a Nikon D810a camera and 8-15 mm telephoto lens (200 ISO, 10 mm, f/8, 120 sec). (David J Mathre)
Night Sky Star Trails Image. Composite of 211 images taken with a Nikon D810a camera and 8-15 mm telephoto lens (200 ISO, 10 mm, f/8, 120 sec). (David J Mathre)

Wednesday (01-January-2014) — New Jersey

Happy New Year 2014: May the Light Be With You.

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  MS 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 MV 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 bored, so at the end of July into August decided to spend 10 days in Iceland to attend a 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

Gone to See Hawaii. Big Island Photography Workshop with Thom Hogan. Day 6: Kona.

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)