Monday, November 19, 2007


Well I got very busy and went to the Dubai airshow. Was unable to take my Nikon. Ended up taking our little pocket Fuji. Will post some of those soon. I can't wait to see how the D300 comes out. Been reading a lot of reviews on that camera. I am hoping to get a macro lens or maybe another prime lens like a 35mm or 50mm.
For a macro I am looking at the AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I SO forgot

Yep. That is right. I so forgot to check what ISO I was shooting and ended up not being happy with the result of my sunrise pictures. Not only that but I had left the camera on Large Basic JPG setting which meant that in addition to the noise there is a little pixelation in the gradients. I did get some that I am pretty pleased with. Here is one of them:

This one on the other hand has a lot of noise, even though I was happy with the composition.

There is a lot to keep track of. I was so worried about framing and getting the picture that I so forgot to check all the settings :) Next time!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Photography 101

Tonight I was reading on Ken Rockwell's site and ran across this:
" is much easier for a layman to use and create what looks like a technically passable, sharp and well-exposed image. As most beginners discover instantly, simply having the best tools and technically sharp images doesn't get the glorious, passion-inspiring results they intended. "
and then later on another page Ken adds:
"....Your camera has NOTHING to do with making great photos. You have to master technique of course, but that's just a burden to get out of the way to free yourself to tackle the really hard part. The hard part is saying something with your images.
Photography is art. It's abstract. Therefore it's difficult for many people to grasp. It's easy and lazy to think a camera makes the photos. It's easy to blame bad photos on a camera. When you get better you'll realize you would have been better off to pay more attention to your images and less to your camera."

These two statements summarize what I think I was feeling in my post last night. Dog-gone is harder than it looks :)

Sunday, October 21, 2007


I went out trying to get some good pictures. Here's two that I thought turned out pretty ok.

I took some time tracking that dang moth around and around the flower bed. Finally was in position to capture him. I actually ended up taking it in landscape but cropped out the extra detail and turned it to a portrait.
On the second picture I layed in the grass firing away at different angles looking at the shots. After I got back this was one of my better ones.
So I spend some time and get some interesting pictures. But contrast those to this one I got when my son, Ryan, came running at me guns a-blazing!!! This was not staged and I only got off one shot. I like it the best of these three :) and in some ways it is discouraging that without perfect timing, atmosphere, etc there are only good pictures not GREAT photographs.

So I keep my camera handy and am trying to remember to take it everywhere. I did get a great sunset picture. I took about 5 shots 5-10 seconds apart, tweaking the settings. Only the first one that I rapidly shot to capture the stunning orange sky turned out...slowly beginning to understand why photographers carry around a GPS device that shows sunrise and sunset time tables for wherever they are :) There are only seconds to catch that perfect shot...and in the case of a kid...well milliseconds before they expect you to fall out of the chair 'dead' from well aimed 'finger' bullets :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Why did I buy a new camera

I am now on my 3rd expensive digital camera.
1. My first one was a Fuji Finepix S602 Zoom. It was awesome and I would probably still be using it except I dropped it :(
2. Next I bought the Olympus E-500 with the two kit lenses. Wow! It took amazing pictures was fun and flexible. BUT my daughters took up indoor sports (volleyball) AND its flash was annoying in that it strobed when trying to auto focus in low light conditions, effectively blinding everyone. So I got rid of it and got...
3. My new Nikon D80 with the amazing 18-200mm lens and an 85mm 1.8 lens. I am still learning about this camera and what all it can do.

So why talk about this. Well I was reading tonight about "Why Your camera does not matter" ( He points out that the camera and even a cameraphone can get great pictures and then Ken states: "Maybe because it's entirely an artist's eye, patience and skill that makes an image and not his tools. Even Ansel said "The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.""

So why did I buy a camera with lenses twice as expensive??? Was I an idiot I wonder? So I started going back through my photographs and felt much better about spending the extra dollars on my Nikon. I bought it to capture the memory of my kids growing up and having fun. And heck...I like taking pictures. Compare the two shots below:

Both of the above shots are without adjusting colors or anything. I just cropped and reduced them to approximately the same size. The one on the left with the action frozen and a bright look is the new D80 camera. The one on the right is my E500. Granted a lot of the diffence is in the lens. Which is another reason I chose Nikon...they have great lenses. I still have a lot of practice to go to get a good shot during the extremely fast action of volleyball in a dimly lit gym! More on that another time.

Wealth of camera information

One of my favorite sites while researching which camera to buy, became Ken Rockwell's website. It is located at
He is heavily slanted toward the Nikon brand and makes no apologies for any of his opinions. There is a phenomanal amount if information on his site and if you are thinking about getting a Digital SLR (regardless of brand) it is well worth multiple visits.
I ended up choosing the Nikon D80. Ken has a great guide on it.
I have to admit some of his stuff was rather eye opening. His Megapixel Myth page ( had me opening and comparing shots from my old Fuji S602Zoom shot at 3 MP with my new 10 MP Nikon D80. Wow. Next really big eye-opener was the $150 vs $5000 dollar cameras page at

Check it out and let me know what ya think :)

Scanning your way to Hi-res photos

I think we have all at one time or another scanned a picture, negative or slide to digitize a picture. Recently I had access to some old family pictures and had no scanner around to capture them, so I laid them out on the table and used my 6MP digital camera to digitize them...they turned out pretty good :).
This post though is about an aritcle I read the other night on using the flatbed scanner for macro photography! I was skeptical at first until I saw some of the images.
Basically the concept is that you place the object you want to 'take a picture' of on the bed of the scanner. If you want a black background turn off all the lights in the room and scan away and the result is a high quality picture of the object (
I have to climb up in the attic and dust off the scanner that I thought lost it's usefullness some time back and see what images I can create with it. I will keep you posted on when and if I make that trip into the attic to retrieve one of my archived computer items. I think it is next to the AMD 586/133 desktop with16 MB of ram :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

More picture taking stuff :)

The entire photography scene is way more complicated than I ever dreamed. Learning about f-stops and aperature (same thing I found out), shutter speed, scense composition, artifacts, sensor dust, macro, micro, metering, color aberations etc etc. It has been a fun learning adventure so far and I have just scratched the surface.
Last night my favorite read was Macro photography with a pringles can! (

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Every once in a while

It seems that every now and then I remember to blog...
So here goes.
I got a new Nikon D80. A really sweet camera. Picked up two lenses for it, 18-200mm VR and the 85mm 1.8. I really wanted the 1.4 85mm but it was just too much. It is really amazing how much a really good lens costs. I was looking on Ebay the other night and saw a lens from 1974 going for over $4000 bucks. The 2007 equivalent lens is $6000. They hold their value amazingly well. I have been having fun taking pictures...kinda a new hobby. I actually got up early on the weekend and went to a local park to snap pictures. Learned that I am not yet a very good photographer, but the camera took high quality pictures of whatever I pointed it at :)