Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hilton Suites … Not what it once was …

As I age, I must admit that my tolerance of mediocrity gets lower each year. The Hilton Suites at Winnipeg Airport has always been my preferred choice when I visit family in my home town, largely as a result of excellent location near both the Assiniboine Park and my parents’ home. But perhaps this is the last year for the suites …

When the boys were younger, I got the suite so they could sleep while I went to the English Gardens or the zoo (or both) without disturbing them. They like to sleep late and this afforded me the perfect opportunity to do some photography. The first few times we stayed here I was very happy with every aspect of the room. A door between the rooms, a central bathroom with lockable access from both sides. What was not to like?

Fast forward to my trip last October. The room configuration was different and sucked … a huge glass mirror covered a hole between the rooms that let every sound pass between. WTF? I don’t need a California kitchen between the rooms. The toilet seat would not stay up … the bathroom door lock was broken … there was never any diet pepsi in the machine on any of the floors … very unimpressive …

This trip, I got a decent deal on Expedia for a much longer trip, although they charged my credit card for the whole room amount well before I left for Winnipeg. When I got here the first night at 1am, there was one spot left in the parking lot and it was in back. I could not access the hotel from the rear door because I did not yet have a room key, so I trudged around to the front. About 1/3 of the way there, I was told that the ballroom entrance was open in the back. Sheesh … trudge trudge trudge …

I had stopped in the morning to reserve a room, complaining to the front desk person about my room from last year and saying that I did not want a room with the hole between the rooms. When I picked up my key, I repeated how much I disliked my previous room. And when I arrived in my room, I found … you guessed it … a mirror on the wall. I was in the same kind of room.

Since I was alone for the first week, this was not all that annoying, so I let it lie – even though the toilet seat would not stay up … sheesh. Then the boys arrived, and we immediately noted that the bathroom door lock was still broken. We had reported that to staff several times during our October stay last year and here we are in August and it is still broken …

Have you figured out the big play yet?

They gave me the *same f’ing room* … the boys confirmed it, although I had suspected by now. The trip down the hall seemed very familiar. So after complaining to everyone how much I hated that room configuration, they gave me the same room. No maintenance has been performed on this room in almost a year.

As for service … well, I / we did not receive a fresh bar of soap until I explicitly called and asked for one on the 10th day … that’s right, no new soap for 10 days. The maid had one day left her cleaning rag hanging on the bathroom door knob. I left it alone and it disappeared the next day. The room was generally clean, but the mirror was left open one day … they are little things, but the effect is one of inconsistency, which really spells mediocrity.

What really tore me a new one was arriving at the hotel on the last night, very late (2am) and finding that our keys had both died. So we trudged around to the front … *in the rain* … and I went to the front desk just steaming. I open with something along the lines of “how is it that both my keys are dead at this time of night?” The guy does not even stand up, just smiles and asks where I kept them? I respond with incredulity and he adds, again without standing up or touching his computer screen in any way, was it in your wallet?

Now I am livid … I bark “I don’t need this bullshit, I need working keys!”

Now he jumps up and finally looks me up at his terminal, apologizing that he was just asking questions. Think about the implications though … it is 2am and pouring rain … the lot is always full in front so I have clearly walked from the back of the hotel and am wet. I am angry that two keys have died at the same moment. And he presumes that I am an idiot and demagnetized both keys – all before he bothers to stand up and check to see of the computer did it …

Oh yeah … and there is still no diet pepsi in the damned machines :-)

The Hilton empire seems to have slipping standards these days …

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


In the mother province for a while …. visiting family. Arrived Saturday morning …

Enjoyed flying executive class … no line at luggage drop, free snack at 5:30am in the Maple Leaf Lounge, first on the plane, 3rd off the plane, first luggage off the plane … I like how the other half lives :-)

Might be able to post a few images as time goes by …

Start with this one … I expected a Taurus when I got to the airport and ended up with what can only be thought of as a manhood extension device … a great big Dodge Charger. Very smooth and quite powerful for a V6.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Very funny sendoff of a typical wannabe shopping for a camera …

Warning … this conversation gets rather vulgar towards the end, do exercise discretion if you are wimpy about that stuff …

Nick’s Newest Tattoo

Nick likes tattoos …

He got a skateboarding tattoo a while ago, and now he’s chosen to celebrate his heritage permanently. He had an idea months ago for a free hand tattoo of the Maple Leaf and his tattooist traced an outline he provided and then free handed the coloring, exactly as Nick wanted.

This shot is from the D700 at 3200 ISO with the Tamron 28-75 at 75mm and f/2.8. The light was a horrid mix of blue from his left (two monitors) and orange form his right (compact fluorescent bulb.) There was no chance ot get the skin all one color, so I chose to take the image to black and white except for the tattoo, which remains in color. I obviously masked that off, but I also had to use the hue/saturation brush to suck out the skin color and then boost the reds back up.

I did a few skin tweaks (easy peasy with the healing brush set to “lighten” and set to “content-aware” … and tweaked the eyes with masked levels to get the whites looking brighter (he is exhausted after working 7 days a week for quite a while now and sitting outside counting cars all day today …

The result is acceptable I think …


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Denis Leary might have the secret to a long life …

***Warning*** – Guaranteed to offend quite a lot of people … exercise extreme caution and the utmost in discretion.

I am serious!

Do not complain if you watch and then get offended.

This is not a joke.

Stop if you are faint of heart or weak of spirit …

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Color IQ

One of my fellow work shop / photo op participants from last year, Marc Gaudet, posted a link to a site for testing your Color IQ, basically testing your acuity with distinguishing colors as they change hue from one to another. The test is rather simple, yet extremely effective.

Marc scored a 4, with zero being perfect and scores above that being worse and worse …

I scored 54 … no doubt a product of my color deficiency … and the kicker is that the four bands looked pretty smooth to me. But obviously that’s the point … color deficiency is a problem that does not manifest itself until it is tested.


Go try it out … it’s fun and very informative.

Update: On my fairly new Dell U2311H eIPS panel, I scored 39, and my errors were clustered a bit tighter. Definitely an obvious pair of areas where my hue discrimination is atrocious.


FTF – Frivolous Time Frittering – Time for another self-exile for a while …

Well, I allowed myself to get drawn into a long argument with a jerk … the kind of person that would post the following comments (look down at the end and be stunned) …


I’ve been having misgivings about my time on the forum for a while now, and this scene just broke the camel’s back.

I really can’t be associated with people like that so I am taking some time away from heavy participation in the forum. I won’t miss it much … I will probably post a wee bit … some things require a response. But I have no interest in dealing with the likes of this scum bag on a daily basis …

I hope the F300EXR turns people on there back to photography.

A virtual walk inside the circle at Stonehenge!

This blew my mind … I was poking around with Google maps and wanted to paste a lonk showing the stones highly magnified via satellite view. I scrolled right to the end and there I was right inside the stones! Way cool!!!

I’ve walked inside the circle before, on a premium tour to Stonehenge, Lacock and Bath. This was at sunrise and the images I got were fantastic. You will get some of the same feeling from this.

View Larger Map

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Perseids 2010 – Second night, 5 more sightings!

Well, after the spectacular 12 sightings on 12 August, I thought maybe it would be an idea to try again on 13 August with the Tamron 28-75 at 28mm. So out I went, back to the same location. And I managed 5 more sightings, including two absolutely spectacular burning meteors. I caught three meteors on film, but I don;t think I saw two of them, so there were a surprising number of meteors out there, considering the time of day (evening is not as good as early morning) and the direction (north east is better than south west.) I sure hope you all got out to have a look …

Unfortunately, on night two the Milky Way was barely visible due to hazy skies and some wispy clouds that show up all too well on film. Processing can mitigate the issues, but the images are not as vivid as night one’s images were.

I also decided to reprocess night one and change the white balance to more of a blue-ish tint, more accurately reflecting the way things looked out there. Remember that I am shooting high ISO and very low exposures, so I don’t exactly get a ton of data on the sensor … I have to spend a lot of time boosting what I get using layers with screen blend and levels and so on. I also have to run noise reduction because even the incredible D700 can generate a great deal of noise if you lift shadows enough.

So I will show you the six images in order of capture … the first three form night one, where the seeing was simply amazing … and the last three from night two, where the haze was depressingly strong …

As always, click on the images to see the 800px versions …

DSC_5026_perseids_2010b[1] DSC_5034_perseids_2010b[1]

The following streak was very faint and pulled up a lot of stars when processed.


Everything on night 2 is fainter … and because of the much wider angle, the streaks are smaller and there is light pollution along the bottom …

DSC_5108_perseids_2010[1] DSC_5144_perseids_2010[1] The last one was literally my last meteor shot of the night … I don’t even think I saw this one, as it was just above the horizon … my 5 sightings probably did not count two of these three shots!

This one is also a crop, as the light pollution was brutal (bottom left corner.) And watch for the two airplane tracks in the top half of the image … until I examined it very closely, I thought I had a miracle shot with three meteors … but no, the top two have faint images of regularly flashing lights :-)


Friday, August 13, 2010

D700 Shoots the Perseids in 2010

Those who have been reading me for a while will remember my pathetic attempt to shoot the Perseids last year. Not even a sniff of an image. I managed to see two meteor sin half an hour and basically gave up.

Tonight, I looked for a few minutes in Karen’s back yard, which allows a very good view of the dark sky and the Milky Way, being in a small town with minimal light pollution and I saw two meteors within 10 minutes. And these things were bright! Both were in the western sky. We even saw a satellite moving through the North Eastern sky, almost touching the star at the very tip of the ladle in the Big Dipper. Very cool.

I left around 11pm and stopped on the way back at a spot with a wide open field facing south and west with a nice view of the Milky Way, although not as contrasty as Karen’s view because it was much closer to the city. I looked at the sky for a while and decided to take a shot … I set up the D700 to catch part of the Milky Way (which looks terrific on film) and set exposures around 10 seconds at 1600 ISO and f/2.8. The 50mm 1.8 was used, although I realize as I am typing this that the Tamron 28-75 is wider and would have been a better choice … DUH!

Anyway, I caught 3 meteors on film tonight! And that’s out of 12 that I saw! Amazing evening. The Perseids are just going nuts tonight.

Here is my first and best image. This was one incredibly bright meteor … enough that I was able to add a lot of contrast and get everything to stand out. What I found weird is that, with the sky set to black using the ACR white balance tool, the streaks were all yellow. And so was the Milky Way. I’m not really sure what color it all should be, but it looks fine this way … to me at least :-)


Remember to click on the images to see the 800px versions. Much clearer view of the meteor.

The second image barely caught the meteor and it was much fainter, hence the lower contrast to keep the meteor streak visible.

DSC_5034_perseids_2010[1] And the third is the faintest of all. In fact, I’m not actually sure that I saw this one live. It is very, very faint. I pulled it up along with about 2.3 billion stars :-)

DSC_5093_perseids_2010[1] This was an immensely successful evening … 12 meteors, 3 on film and a satellite to top it off.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce – Updated: Excellent Customer Service!

image CIBC originally handled a fraud situation beautifully for me by reversing $2300 in fraud charges by some scum bags that stole my identity and charged $500.00 to a place called the Maple Truck Stop in Maple, Ontario (presumably a cash transaction and it boggles the mind to think that whoever gave the cash was not complicit) … as well as three charges in April, May and June with Bell Mobility.

Then CIBC called me on Thursday, 12 August and dropped the bomb that they were charging me the $800 for April and May because it is my responsibility to check my bills thoroughly and call within 30 days else I eat the costs. Now, since I push all my expenses through the card every month, that’s a big job. And I don’t always see small charges (which is how they started) …

So here is the update: CIBC called me today on Friday, 13 August to say that they spotted my blog and reviewed the fraud situation again and have accepted the two charges from April as fraud. My credit will appear in a week or two. This is superb news, and I must say a very impressive bit of customer service. The speed of reaction for a large corporation is mind-boggling.

My real grouch in all this was their analytics. Both RBC and MBNA have responded instantly to fraud on my accounts in the past by running analytics in their back office systems. CIBC, on the other hand, never gave a peep.

I still think that CIBC needs to look at how their analytics missed the strange maple Truck Stop transaction for a large, yet even number ... and even more importantly how they failed to note the Bell Mobility charges with an account that did not have my name on it anywhere (I called Bell Mobility myself to check.) The representative did say that their fraud group was going to look this over a bit more and I hope that means examining it to see if it could have been caught.

When first contacted, I had pushed back a bit asking if these were illegal charges? The first woman who contacted me danced around that but there was no way for her to say that these charges were legitimate. All she could do was repeat over and over … “you did not call us within 30 days.”

I am toning down this post considerably, since CIBC has made good on the fraud and do not deserve the lambasting I gave them. There is also apparently an escalation process that I could have used, but I figured that fraud unit would be the last word. That's a lesson we can all take from this -- check to see if there is a higher authority. Of course, I would wonder if the response could have been any quicker than it was in this instance.


In yesterday's original post I mocked their catch phrase -- for what matters. Today I have to say that the CIBC is showing what does matter, which is responsiveness and an appropriate solution to an obvious problem. I can only thank them for moving to right what felt like a wrong to me.

And that, I think, is how customer loyalty is built.

I should mention here that I was not asked by the CIBC to update this blog. Not even to tone down the rhetoric. I have made these changes myself out of a sense of fair play for a company that is obviously trying to do some good.


This is one amazing video! The best slow motion captures I have ever seen. I found this on the iPhone-Photo Blog. He’s got other good stuff there as well.

Tempus II from Philip Heron on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Topaz Denoise 5 Review Part 2 – How to fix the magenta cast.

So the DPReview crowd has the usual whinging about the fact that I did not watch the videos to figure out how to process using this new version. What a silly concept. I complained about bad defaults, not a bad application. So here is how you fix that magenta cast.

First, load the same image and click RAW Strongest:


What you will see is that, unlike Denoise 4, the shadow slider has been pegged all the way to the right:


And you will see the Magenta cast on the whale:


It’s a simple matter now to dial back the “Adjust Shadow” slider to where it would have been on Denoise 4 … moving it back and forth in tiny increments, this 2/3 position is about where you get maximum noise reduction with no change in color.



Now that’s more like it. But since the only change is the “Adjust Shadow” slider, now I am curious about how Denoise 4 would handle me cranking that up.

Oops … it also pegs the slider at full, but does not muck with the contrast or colors.



Hmmm … ok, so let’s go back to Denoise 5 and try again. Leave the shadow slider pegged right and play with the new black level slider, which starts at 1.00, which should indicate that the setting is neutral but clearly indicates nothing of the sort. In inching it along from 0 to 1, I find myself wanting to leave it at 0. That seems to mimic what Denoise 4 does.



Yup, that’s the offender I it looks like. In fact, since either the “Adjust Shadow” or the “Correct Black Level” sliders can repair the problem, I think it is obvious that the two are not far apart in what they do -- and it kind of makes sense that black level has a lot to do with the appearance of shadows. :-)

So … I think Denoise should default black level correction to 0 so that the application does not harm your colors. It is not possible in Denoise 4 to cause this issue, because maxed out the Adjust Shadows slider is tame. But add the seconde control for black level in Denoise 5 and mayhem can ensue …

Here again is the Denoise 4 output:


And here is the adjusted Denoise 5 output with 0 black level. I also backed off the NR very slightly using the fade command, just toi restore the edges. Looks great.


So with this tweak, Denoise 5 looks as good as (and maybe slightly better than, but that requires more testing) Denoise 4 and runs about twice as fast. What’s not to like?

Topaz Denoise 5 Review – Bad news … it mucks with colors! ** Updated–not as bas as I had thought …

I took a rather noisy 25,600 ISO image shot in the Blue Whale display at the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan (yes, the one in the movie) and processed it in ACR 6 with no sharpening or noise reduction. Then, I passed it through Topaz Denoise version 4 and 5 with the same default setting – RAW Strongest.

Both version produce a very clean output. But version 5 has a new feature that adjusts the black point, and by default it adds a magenta cast to the shadows. This is a bit funky looking to me. We’ll see that in a moment.

But first, kudos to the Topaz team for speeding things up rather dramatically. Version 4 processed the image in 48.9 seconds, which version 5 processed it in just over half that time – 27.7 seconds! Very well done. I remember timing Topaz Denoise when it first came out at about 6 minutes per file. And it was still worth it! But we’ve come a long way baby …

So let’s see the original image at 800px (remember to click on the thumbnail you see here to see the 800px version) …


Noisy, but not all that bad for the screamingly high ISO. Note that the room is actually quite dark. My exposure is a bit higher and the shadows have been opened somewhat, which exposes a lot of noise in the shadows. Still … tolerable.

When I unleash Topaz Denoise 4 on it, the colors and tones remain identical and the noise magically vanishes. Now, I would not leave the noise reduction quite this strong, but for the purposes of the demo I had to leave it exactly as Topaz processed it.


Well … that’s incredibly clean for 25,600 ISO. And there is still detail in the faces (a bit, not a lot.) This is a remarkable rendering of what I saw in a dark room. I’m very pleased.

A note on color balance … I set neutrals in ACR 6 on the left most post on the first floor. That gave a pleasing rendering for most of the elements in the room so I went with it. The incandescent lighting tends to win in this color scheme, with a very slight red tinge to everything.

Finally, Topaz Denoise unleashes a rather blunt instrument on the file.


Wow … that’s one seriously magenta floor … in fact, the shadows are all polluted with this cast. I have no idea what happened, but it perhaps is related to the new “correct black point” slider, which must be in the wrong position be default. Still, that would not account for the massive color shift. ** Update – it does. Black point is very sensitive to reds.

Here are three sets of crops to illustrate the problem …again, remember to click on each image to see the crops at 100%.

First, the three guys standing at the very bottom, left of center near the sign.


The color shift is very obvious here. When you look at the full sized crops, you also notice a slight loss of shadow detail. This causes things like the camera to flatten a bit. Not a big problem with elements that will appear very small in a print or web image, but in larger areas this could be an issue. There is somewhat more detail in the carpet though, so the tonal shift might work once they iron out the magenta problem. ** Update: I always watch the shadows and drop the black point until the colors do not shift.

Next, the area around the second floor railing on the left.


Again, too much magenta. The area under the floor has some detail in the middle crop that is very dark and absolutely polluted in the bottom crop. The people on the left have lost a lot of clothing detail in the bottom crop as well. Here, the stronger contrast does not help as it did with the carpet.

Finally, the whale. By the way, all of the animals on display in this museum are real. Many were hunted in the 20s and 30s specifically to stock this collection. And since that can no longer be done, this collection has a pretty high value. It is simply stunning to see.


And again, the magenta cast kind of wrecks the image. I’m not saying that the colors I got by setting white balance on that post were perfect. What I am saying is that a noise reduction algorithm has no business changing the colors at all, much less this dramatically.

** Update 26 Nov 2010 – I’ve been using Denoise 5 for a long time now and can say that this cast is an unusual circumstance. I still see the odd image that shifts like this, and it is always related to reds … so you cannot let it just do its thing, you must check the shadows. Other than that, though, Topaz Denoise 5 is a pretty incredible piece of software …

Monday, August 2, 2010

Is it hot outside?


Karen deserves the credit for passing this awesome cartoon along … kind of puts the summer of 2010 into perspective …

D700 vs F80EXR – Gatineau River Mouth at the Ottawa River

Yesterday, I blogged the river and ornamental gardens as shot by the F80EXR, a nice little compact camera from Fujifilm. Today, I finished processing the images I shot with the D700. I had far more of those to choose from but I culled them pretty aggressively. This article focuses only on the rivers.

So, the mouth of the Gatineau River as it enters the Ottawa River. Remember that I shot that from across the Ottawa River, way up on a lookout near the entrance to the Governor General’s residence on Sussex Drive. In fact, just to make this a bit more clear, let me show you on Google maps.

map_outlook[1]Remember to click on the images to see the 800px versions. On this map, it is clear that I am about 1km from the bridge and about 1/2km from the piers closest to the bridge. This comes up in a moment …

But first, a digression. I met an interesting gentleman who got into the topic of fishing in the Ottawa River, which he says is very good … I mentioned that I was from Manitoba and that I had done a lot of fishing with my dad all over the province. We went back and forth on this until he mentioned some clips on YouTube that are must see clips, like the following clip of two men catching enormous catfish by causing the fish to swallow their arms. Not kidding … watch …

Ok, enough digression now .. but that was something pretty special I think. Who’d a thunk you could feed 10 families at a barbecue in 10 minutes with no bait …

Back to the lookout … here is an image shot at 85mm, which is about 50% magnified from a normal field of view. You can see some really small guys about 1/2km away on the boat nearest the bridge, although I think you’ll need to click on it to get the 800px version to see anyone. Also note the church steeple on the right for later on.

DSC_4366_gatineau_river[1]You already saw the F80EXR image in the previous post, so here are two images shot and cropped from the 85mm (the image above) and the Nikon 70-300VR at 300mm. Remember that the D700 is full frame, which means that 300mm means 300mm … crop factor is 1.

For giggles, I cropped all three at 100% and then enlarged the F80 and the 85mm images to match the people’s size on the 300mm image. This is mildly interesting in that it demonstrates a couple of points about reach and sensors. First, the 300mm lens is razor sharp at f/11 despite its reputation for being soft at 300mm. Yes, the 300mm f/4 AFS is a better lens, but this one is better than some people thing way out at 300. Second, 85mm is way to short to see anything … despite the lens being stunningly sharp, enlarging the image as much as I had to made everything extremely coarse. And finally, the F80’s detail is excellent for 6mp.

I had to enlarge the F80 to get to 12mp, and then again to get to 300mm effective, and yet the image is still better than the 85mm. But … the water is flattened out almost completely. This is because 12mp is too much for a 1/2” sensor. This effect can actually be seen on all EXR sensors in HR mode, but it is shown here at M size because this water is very distant, putting the waves into the category of low contrast fine grained details. Note also that the 85mm, despite having even smaller details on the water, has no trouble showing far more detail on the water itself because there is no NT effect in play.


Anyway, it was obvious before you saw this … but let’s hammer the point home. There really is no substitute for optical reach. But there is also no substitute for a large sensor. Which is why professionals carry lenses that cost 10 grand and way 8 pounds …

With more sensible crops, the 85mm actually keeps up with the 300 at web sizes. It’s stunning clarity and sharpness (it’s a prime, remember) makes up for the lower reach when the output is reasonably sized.




I used some extra sharpening on the 300mm shot … that’s an error, but this is not a formal test so no foul. The thing to note is that both of these shots look fine. The 85mm actually pleases me more as the tones are less aggressive …

So remember that small church on the right side of the panorama? I’ve isolated on it here at 180mm, which is inside the really sharp range of this lens. This 70-300VR is carried by a lot of professional Nikon shooters in lieu of the 70-200VRII because the consumer lens is equally sharp in the common range and has the extra reach if needed (and you can see that it is decently sharp stopped down.) The only thing you give up (and it is admittedly important) is speed. The consumer glass is slow … around f/5.3 at 200mm versus f/2.8 … for indoor sports that would be a critical difference, but for a lot of shooting scenarios, that’s not a problem.

I would probably be inclined to carry the 180 2.8 with the 70-300VR as a decent alternative that is way cheaper. The 180 is one of the sharpest and most contrasty lenses Nikon makes. But it’s a bit old with slow AF. So only useful for portraits etc.

Oops … I digress again. The church and shore … followed by a crop of the church at 100%. That one is sharp, sharp, sharp …

DSC_4370_gatineau[1] What a magnificent shoreline. Those houses must cost a fortune! And I want one :-)


So … detailed enough for you from 1/2km?

The river here is pretty nice and rather busy with boaters. I would love to live along the river and see it every day. I can easily see why people do that if they have the bucks for the location.

The D700 continues to be my favorite cam by some distance. The D300 would have given me 50% more reach here, but I don’t care :-) 

And how about that 70-300VR … that’s some kind of sharp consumer glass ….

Sunday, August 1, 2010

F80EXR at the Ornamental Gardens – A Riot of Color

I drove out to the east end of the city for a meeting this afternoon and on the way back I drove the scenic Eastern Parkway along the Ottawa River. Just passed the turn off to the Governor General’s residence, there is a lookout that allows you a nice view of the Gatineau River’s mouth as it drains into the Ottawa River. I paused there to shoot images with the F80EXR and the D700, this article covering only the F80EXR.

The F series has again come under serious scrutiny at DPReview.com as Fuji has announced the F300EXR recently. This tends to bring every Tom, Dick and Nooby out of the woodwork to share their uneducated opinions on how “horrible” EXR cameras are in general and how “horrible” the F300EXR is in specific. Well … I don’t give a sh*t … I like how they shoot so I shoot them.

But I digress :-)

I ended up with only one shot that I found interesting at this location …


If you click through to the 800px version, you can see how detailed that is. The people on that far boat at dock are quite clear. The trees have lots of detail, and you can even see detail in the layers of hills.

I shot lots more with the D700, but those will wait for the next article.

A note: These are all shot in bright sunlight. This is awful light for shooting flowers as it sucks the saturation away … I added a lot back, hence the name of the post. I really don’t recommend shooting flowers in this light … but I felt like it, so there.

The next stop, which is quite a few miles from here, was the ornamental gardens. This being August 1, the gardens are showing right now several impressive stands of spider flowers. There are many daisies too, although I only got bugs on them with the F80EXR.

DSCF4480_wasp[1] Note the wasp on the left side of that one. The next couple are shot in the same location from different distances to give you an idea of what perspective does to backgrounds.

DSCF4481_spider[1] DSCF4482_spider[1]

Again, the next pair is shot from slightly different perspectives on the same plant …




The last of the spider flowers …


A shot of the beetles …


These two beetle shots are heavy crops … belying the rathe rnegative view people have of the pixel image quality of these cams.


The left hand beetle in that last one reminds me of watching a pug trying to pee on the top of a fire hydrant … ambitious little guys :-)