Sunday (05-January-2014) — New Jersey

Technology: LED Lights and TV Interference.

Several months ago I started replacing some of the incandescent and compact fluorescent lights (CFL) lights in my house with LED lights. The LED lights are still relatively expensive, but the price is starting to come down. In addition there are now some more choices in the color (soft white, cool white, daylight, warm white) of the LED lights. The LED lights do use less power and are supposed to have a longer lifetime. Note that when the CFL lights came out, they also claimed to have a longer lifetime than  incandescent lights – however I have had several CFL lights fail. I also like that the LED lights come to full power instantly vs. the warm-up delay with the CFL lights.  I purchased several different brands for testing and have been relatively satisfied. So all is good — sort of….

LED Light Bulb -- TV Interference. There is no identification markings on this light bulb. Image taken with a Nikon 1 V2 camera and 32 mm f/1.2 lens (ISO 160, 32 mm, f/8, 1/60 sec) pop-up flash -1.0EV. (David J Mathre)
LED Light Bulb — TV Interference. There is no identification markings on this light bulb. Image taken with a Nikon 1 V2 camera and 32 mm f/1.2 lens (ISO 160, 32 mm, f/8, 1/60 sec) pop-up flash -1.0EV. (David J Mathre)

I live about half way between the New York City and Philadelphia TV transmitters, so with a high-gain TV antenna in my attic I am able to receive over the air high-definition digital TV signals from both markets. Some times when the seasons and temperatures change I have to tweak the alignment of the antenna and re-tighten the antenna cable connections. I was really looking forward to the season premiere of Downton Abby, but the signal from WHYY in Philadelphia was getting scrambled. Trying to realign the antenna didn’t help. I did notice that the interference was only happening on stations that broadcast in the lower (what used to be VHF) frequencies. I about gave up, and figured that I would have to wait until the NJ PBS stations rebroadcast Downton Abby two weeks later. I turned the lights in my office off, and was going to go bed and read a book. Normally, I turn the TV off first (before the room lights) but didn’t this time. As soon as I turned the lights off the reception for WHYY was crystal clear. Turn the lights back on, and the interference reappears. What is going on????

I did a search on Google, and found several references to LED lights causing radio and TV interference. Apparently, some of the cheaper LED lights do not have sufficient shielding for the electronics converting the AC voltage to DC needed to power the LEDs. Bottom line, make sure that the LED lights you purchase are rated for low radio frequency interference. Some do have FCC markings, this one didn’t have any identifying information. I wonder if it is even UL tested/approved???? None of the other LED lights that I have been testing cause radio or TV interference.

Wednesday (28-August-2013) — New Jersey

Weather, Technology, and Power Out.

It was raining this morning. Before I could run the recovery/restore from the HomeServer the power went off. The UPS systems all started beeping, and my Garmin which includes a National Weather Service radio woke up and announced a sever thunderstorm warning. Before the computers shut down I sent a note to PSE&G that the power was down. It wasn’t just my house that lost power since I heard the neighbors generator go on. The e-mail response back from PSE&G was that the power would be restored by 10 PM on 22-August (six days ago????). I shut down all of the computers, and decided to spend the night at a local Marriott Residence Inn. I had credit for one free night at a Marriott facility that coincidently would have expired today. It gave me a chance to do some laundry at the Residence Inn while I wait for my new washer dryer to be installed.

Electricity to my house has been off for more than 24 days during the last 3 years — due to hurricanes, Nor’easters, and snow storms. For all the years that I lived in Florida, I don’t remember the power being off for more than a day. I’ve thought about solar cells and a storage battery system, a generator (natural gas), or just moving somewhere else.

Saturday (24-August-2013) — New Jersey

Adobe Creative Cloud Licensing Crap.

Background, I have been using Adobe Photoshop since its first Windows version – I got it as a free replacement to the photo editing software (don’t remember the name, it was 20 years ago – may have been from Aldus?) that either came from a scanner or an original Logitech 64K camera. Earlier this year before going on a 52 day Semester at Sea Spring Enrichment Voyage, I purchased a Microsoft Surface Pro computer. The operating system for the  #Surface   is Window 8, fully functioning running all Windows programs. Although the Surface is a “touch-pad” computer, I got it with the detachable keyboard. It is much lighter than my other travel (Lenovo ThinkPad W510) computer. The screen resolution is the same, and the Surface has a faster processer. For photo-editing during the trip I installed Capture One Pro 7 (Phase One), Lightroom, and Photoshop (Adobe). Although I had a license for Adobe CS6, I decided to try out the recently released Adobe  #creativecloud   (I also use Premier Pro, InDesign, and Illustrator) on a 1 year trial basis. When it was announced that Adobe would be switching its licensing to Creative Cloud only subscriptions there was a lot of churn on the internet. Folks were afraid that the programs would only be on the internet (not true – programs still installed on the computer), processed images would only be on the cloud (not true). Images/works processed by the CC programs would not be available if the subscription ended (not true if saved in an open format). Could only be used on one computer (not true – can be installed on 2 computers, Windows or Mac, but only used on one at a time). One requirement was that the computer you had the Adobe CC program installed had to periodically connect to an Adobe server to validate the subscription. During the Semester at Sea Voyage, I did need to log onto my account once to validate the subscription.

Fast Forward. Yesterday, every time I tried to open Photoshop, a window opened telling me that my trial period had ended. Well, I have monthly credit card statements that Adobe charged me for my Creative Cloud subscription. Once I logged on to my Adobe account, sometimes I would get a message that I had 0 days left in my trial, other times asking for a serial number. Every now and then I would acknowledge that I had a Creative Cloud subscription and let me use Photoshop. ARRG!!

Elk Passing Gas. Yellowstone National Park. Image taken with a Nikon D2Xs and 200-400 f/4 VR lens (ISO 100, 200 mm, f/4, 1/125 sec). (David J Mathre)
Elk Passing Gas. Yellowstone National Park. Image taken with a Nikon D2Xs and 200-400 f/4 VR lens (ISO 100, 200 mm, f/4, 1/125 sec). (David J Mathre)

Sunday (20-January-2013) — New Jersey

Technology: Geo-Tagging Image Metadata.

I really like the ability to have GPS data imbedded within the metadata of my images. It helps me remember exactly where I took the image, and especially now with Google Maps and Bing Map be able to zoom in from a satellite image. For a few years I had been using various Solmeta GPS devices that plugged into the 10-pin adapter on Nikon camera bodies. Unfortunately, during a winter photography workshop in Yosemite the device managed to short out the electronics in my brand new Nikon D3x. Ouch. The camera had to be sent back to Nikon to be repaired, and because the failure was caused by a non-Nikon device the repair was not covered under warranty. Since then I have been wary of attaching a GPS device directly to the camera.

The solution since then was to add GPS location data to the image metadata after downloading the images to my computer. I have a Garmin Rino 530Cx device that I used to record GPS tracking information. Many smart phones can do the same thing. You just need to be able to download the GPS tracking information, and extract the time-based location data. You do need to make sure that the clock in the camera is relatively accurate (including time-zone and daylight savings adjustment). You can then compare the time that an image was taken with the GPS location and add the location to the metadata. Doing this one image at a time, however takes too long.

The current versions of Nikon View NX2 and Lightroom 4 have a feature where the GPS metadata can be added to many images. I prefer using View NX2 because the information can be added to the RAW image files (as well as JPG and TIFF image files). With Lightroom 4, the GPS data is added to a sidecar file for proprietary RAW images — although the data is added directly to JPG, TIFF, PSD, and DNG image files.

The process to add GPS location data to image metadata within View NX2 is as follows. (1) Select the files to update (limited to 500 images at a time). (2) From the Edit tab, select Log Matching — OK the GeoTag message.


(3) Add the *.GPX file that contains the GPS log data for the time period that the images were taken. [Other supported GPS log files include *.nmea, *.nma, and *.log. There is also an option to correct for differences between camera time and GPS time if you didn’t synchronize the time between the camera and GPS before hand.] (4) The program will then compare the image time with the GPS log file and place an x next to the images that will be updated. If there was GPS data in the image files, the new data will be shown in Red. (5) Select Save — Yes to overwrite the GPS data.


After updating the GPS location metadata in the image files, I need to update the database catalogs in Lightroom: (1) Library – Select the image files to be updated (2) Metadata – Read metadata from file [Note that this will overwrite any metadata added since the image file had been added to the Lightroom Catalog.]

Within Media One Pro, updating the image database is a little bit different: (1) Within the Organize Panel Window (clt-5) Select the images to update (2) From the Action Tab select Rebuild Item (ctl-B). One could write a script to do this.

One gotcha that I ran into is that even though the current version of View NX2 (2.7.1 64 bit) was updated to handle Nikon 1 V2 Raw files, if the metadata for these files is updated with GPS data as described above, the updated file is no longer recognized by View NX2. For now that is not a problem for me since I am using the Nikon GPS attachment with the Nikon 1 V2 camera.

One other note, you do need to be connected to the internet to use these features since there is a strong connection to Google Maps.


Day 8 and Counting

My Drobo disk-array is rebuilding after adding a new drive. Don’t know how long it will take. New images to follow. The down side to large storage solutions such as Drobo is the time required for backup and restore. Not sure how many days this will take!!!!  Got a message that one of the drives needed to be replaced with a larger drive. I removed the indicated drive and inserted a new 3 TB drive. Hope this doesn’t meen that the rebuild process is starting over. On the positive side, I can to read data from the Drobo array — so I continue to update my backup drives. I’m almost wondering if I should have just reset the Drobo, and restored from my backup.

Last night Auroras spilled south of Canada into the contigous United States. Check out There have been some great pictures, especially of some rare Red Auroras. Unfortunately, it was overcast and raining here last night. By morning the sky was clear. I’ll set up a camera tonight, but with a lower probability. As this sunspot cycle goes to maximum, I do hope to see and photograph the Northern Lights. The last time I saw Red Auroras was while in graduate school in Pasadena California the winter of 1980-81.

You can also check out an image of an old (1928 Mercury Dime) I took one years ago today: 25-October-2010