31-December-2011

What a Year — It Was Amazing!

As the year comes to and end, and I try to reflect on everything I have done and everywhere I have been — all I can say is WOW!. The year started out with a great photography trip to Patagonia with Thom Hogan. We will ignore the extra few days we were held hostage in southern Chile. This was followed by the Nikonians Ultimate Travel Workshop II on the Semester at Sea M/V Explorer lead by Michael Mariant. This started in San Diego, and then stopped in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama (including a transit through the Panama Canal), Costa Rica, Honduras, Belize, Mexico, and ended in Fort Lauderdale. My parents were along for this trip. I then attended a Nikonians workshop in Death Valley, also lead by Michael Mariant.

There have been a number of challenges at work. We shut down our San Francisco operations which included part of my group, and thus no more regular trips to California. We ended the year achieving (and exceeding) all of our objectives. I also attended a work sponsored executive retirement seminar. It is hard to believe that I have been working long enough to even consider retirement, but then again maybe I could spend more time working on photography.

This year I expanded beyond my Nikon cameras and lenses — adding a Leica X1 and Leica V-Lux 30 P&S cameara. NAS did add a couple of lenses to the kit (500 mm f/4 VRII and 600 mm f/4 VRII telephoto). Also at the end of the year I added a Nikon 1 V1 (mirrorless) camera body with the 10 mm f/2.8 lens, the 10-30 mm lens, 30-110 mm lens, and the 10-100 mm lens. I am looking forward to the FT1 lens adapter so I can use this camera body with a telescope.

Looking through my image database, it looks like I took something over 120K images this year — a new record for me. It also meant that I needed to update my digital asset management strategy. Lightroom is good, but can’t handle this many images. I’m currently testing Media Pro (Phase One). Capture One Pro (also Phase One) is now my primary image processing workflow, although I still am using Adobe Photoshop CS 5 and many Nik, OnOne, and Topaz plugins. I also needed to update my image storage and backup strategy after some hard drive failures. I’ve moved to a couple of Drobo disk arrays (16 TB) on and off-site.

Plans for next year? Thought about, but I didn’t sign up for the Semester at Sea Enrichment Voyage to the Carribean and Brazil (including a trip up the Amazon river). Thinking about a Hurtigruten cruise in Norway to see the Northern Lights, Nikonians Ultimate Travel Workshop III (San Diego, Central America, Peru – including Galapagos Islands), and also a trip to Cuba. If none of this works out, maybe it it time for a road trip out west. The White Ram (Roadtrek RV) is anxious for a road trip!

After dumping Facebook last year when my account was hacked, I joined Google+ this year. Google+ is a better platform for photographers. I really like the Daily Image Themes, and have been contributing a number of images.

 

Self Portrait in Death Valley. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 100, 16 mm, f/16, 1/100 sec). (David J Mathre)
Self Portrait in Death Valley. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 100, 16 mm, f/16, 1/100 sec). (David J Mathre)

 

 

15-July-2011

Girl with Yellow Pants Running.

I just got word that “Girl with Yellow Pants Running” won First Place at the The Photographic Art Society of Florida exhibition last night. The theme of the show was “Black & White and One Color”. I took this image while on the Nikonians Academy Ultimate Travel Workshop (UTW-II) earlier this spring while returning by bus from a field trip to the Pacaya Volcano in Guatemala (02-May-2011) in the town of San Francisco de Sales. The image was processed with Capture One Pro 6 using the inverse color selection tool to select the yellow color of the pants and notebook and decreasing the saturation of all other colors to black and white. Other processing was performed with Nik Viveza, Nik Define, and Photoshop CS5. I thank my sister Kari Sheppard for for persevering while printing the image for the exhibition since it kept coming out too dark.

 

Girl with Yellow Pants Running into Building with UNE Party Sign in San Francisco de Sales. Pacaya Volcano National Park. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 24 mm f/1.4G lens (ISO 280, 24 mm, f/2.8, 1/200 sec). Raw image processed with Capture One Pro, Nik Viveza 2, Nik Define 2 and Photoshop CS5. (David J Mathre)
Girl with Yellow Pants Running into Building with UNE Party Sign in San Francisco de Sales. Pacaya Volcano National Park. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 24 mm f/1.4G lens (ISO 280, 24 mm, f/2.8, 1/200 sec). Raw image processed with Capture One Pro, Nik Viveza 2, Nik Define 2 and Photoshop CS5.

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Tuesday (31-May-2011) — New Jersey

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 an 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 Semester at Sea, Spring Enrichment Voyage — Ultimate Travel Photography Workshop (UTPW-II) earlier this month. Several of the folks attending the workshop had the larger 500 mm and 600 mm lenses and were able to get some great images that made those of us with lighter kits (70-300 or 80-400) jealous.