Friday, March 30, 2012

Ahhh … conservatives … thank goodness for conservatives and their tight reign on the fiscal health of the nation …


Harper’s governments have managed to raise their operational spending by a whopping 25 Billion, or 54%, since it came to power in 2006.

Whaaaaaaaaat, you say?

That’s right. The “conservatives” are the most liberal spenders we’ve had in quite some time.

And now, their idea of an “austerity budget” is to shave tiny increments off the budget each year until they have managed to peel away 5.2 Billion in 3 years … which is about 1/5 of the excess spending that they themselves added in the first place.

Yup … the most conservative (and competent) fiscal manager we’ve had in decades was a Liberal -- Paul Martin – both as Minister of Finance and as Prime Minister.

This government, by comparison, is a gong show.

Read all about it:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dang! I missed the 1,000,000 page view milestone by a month or so …

I lost track of my traffic stats in the last couple of months as I had wanted to post a mini-celebration of the 1 million page view mark. But I brain farted my way through that one … *sigh* …

From inception until today …


The blog has crossed the half million mark for visits and the one million mark for page views. Over 300,000 unique individuals have taken a peek.

Thanks so very much to those who have supported this blog over the years. I realize that a post like this is a little shameless, but I am understandably happy to pass the 1,000,000 views milestone. Of course, a site like DPReview passes it about once every 30 to 45 days, and major news sites pass it every day … so I am quite able to keep this rather minor achievement in perspective :-)

Almost peed myself at the end :-)

And one more time … governments have a responsibility to leave a solid country behind …

Ours wants instead to leave a country solidly behind …

Too many of our governments have driven our debt upwards … the current government of Stephen Harper inherited Paul Martin’s very competent surpluses and carried them forward for only two years before launching programs that see our debt curve going even more asymptotic than Dalton McGuinty’s curves for Ontario.

Note Harper’s curve when adjusted for current inflation. Not pretty …



Of course, the curves are mostly upwards except for the long and very fruitful period where Chretien and Martin were the Prime Ministers. And Martin was Chretien’s Minister of Finance for a lot of his time. In other words, you give the controls someone with vision and discipline like Paul Martin and you get sensible spending that maintains the status quo in real terms at least.

And even they could not stop the ravages of inflation, apparently. But running up even higher debt is not exactly the answer, and the policies of the current government are going to see us buy crappy jet fighters that we do not need and expand our prison system to support a war on drugs that we do not need.

In other words, Harper is bent on following a right wing red necked program that will see this country fall very far from its status as one of the best countries to live in. Of course, a few corporate lobbyists will get much richer and numerous government officials will probably land very softly later on, so who should complain?

Fuji X10 versus Fuji F550EXR – Battle of 3200 ISO

During my test of the Fuji X10, I performed a simple test of the X10 versus the F550 at 3200 ISO in a room with only filtered daylight coming in. I can’t find this test in my review posts so I suspect that I ignored it and did a full ISO ladder instead.

I was exploring the X10 archives for shots to process and when I saw these I wondered how ACR7 and CS6 would handle them. And I was pleasantly surprised as both came out very well for their relative sensor size.

The processing is very similar between these two, yet their color and tone response is dramatically different. I cannot really account for it, but perhaps the light was at differing levels when I shot the test. It happens now and again. Or the sensors have dramatically differing responses to light and color, and that would not surprise me since Fuji developed a new front-side illuminated EXR CMOS sensor for the X10 when it already had some pretty good back side illuminated technology in the F550 line.

Anyway, here is an animated version of the test image.

And here are some animated crops from the middle with the F550’s image downsized to match the size of the X10’s image:

So what do we see? At 100%, both are a little crunchy looking in shadow, but the X10’s larger sensor is clearly superior at retaining details, especially in shadow. I find that the F550 is still pretty decent for a 1/2” sensor, though, and I regularly publish images shot at 3200 ISO on my blog. Most of the time, the images look like any other image.

What really strikes me is how much brighter the shadows are for the X10 image. I really have no idea how that happened, as mentioned above. But one thing I note is that the deeper shadows on the F550 image cause the F550 to render a more three dimensional image. In other words, you get the sense of dimension form looking at the image, where the brighter X10 image has flatter tones and does not radiate three dimensions at all.

So clarity is not everything. At web sizes, these cameras are not as far apart as you might think, and it is clear that the lighting (or the camera’s response to the light) is probably the most important factor in how the image is perceived.

For all its weaknesses at super high ISO, I actually prefer the F550 image here. The tonality and dimensionality easily win it for me. I also like the stronger sense of contrast between the red and yellow.

Fuji X10 in the snow at night …

No idea why I did not publish this image when I took it. It was shot on 27 December 2011 at 5:17pm, and I was coming out of a shopping center. It was obviously snowing to beat the band, but that also makes for a nicely lit image. I used a short shutter speed and got some lovely snow streaks in the sky.

The lights are pretty blown, but that is my fault as I wanted to draw out the snow. There are no classic X10 ORBs in this image, the overall ambient light was too high to create the necessary sensor blooming that triggers the ORB production.

Anyway … a shot to remind us why we love spring so much Smile

Fuji X10  400iso  f/2  1/10

Processed with ACR7 and CS6. Love that new 2012 process.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

In keeping with my recent theme of extreme government waste and extravagance …

A comment on the CBC story that our federal government is now being accused of rigging the F35 deal (how shocking :-) led me to this very interesting open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, leader of our neo-conservative party, a merging of the Reform Party, an extreme right wing party from the badlands in Alberta with the last two conservative members standing. People continue to elect these guys because they are incredibly confused … they think these guys are the conservatives of old.

Anyway, these fellas love the US of A’s thoroughly broken society (e.g. excessive spending on war on drugs that leads to super prisons chock full of non-criminals, excessive military spending without a lot of due process, excessive influence by corporatist lobbies, and so on.) They seem to want to make ours an off shoot … hence their focus on “deep integration.”

Now, I will freely admit that this article is the first I’ve heard of it. It is actually an open letter to our Prime Minister from Ralph Nader, one of the great shit-disturbers on the planet. Now get this … he is sounding the alarm that the deep integration agenda should not be handled in total secrecy. A US citizen blowing the whistle on our government. What does that tell us about this federal government? Nothing good, that’s what.

This is a government that happily prorogued two parliamentary sessions to avoid embarrassing disclosures. Yet voters gave them a majority to do as they pleased, so now we have minimum sentences (even Texas has come out and said that they do not work), our own little drug war, and F35 fighters that we do not need and that do not work. We are broke, but we are integrating anyway, in secret.


Read the article … it’s an eye opener:

Shameful fiscal performance by our Ontario Liberal Government

I refer you to a blog called “Viable Opposition”, and an article that examines the collective Ontario Governments’ tragic fiscal record since the mid-80s. We had a tiny 30B debt back then and today we have a massive 262B debt. The current Liberal government has our debt growth to near-asymptotic levels, and that should be a crime, punishable by jail time. Seriously. The catastrophic level of irresponsibility they have collectively displayed is unfathomable.

Here is the net debt curve so you can see the ramp that the steep ramp up the current government has created … it is even worse than Bob Rae’s incompetent NDP government of the the first half of the 1990s …


See that flat spot where we were actually reducing debt for a few years in the early 2000s? That’s Mike Harris’s second term as Conservative premier. Nicely done. And then Dalton and the wrecking crew took over and the rest (and Ontario) is history …

And before people try to draw parallel’s to our federal conservatives, they are a different breed. Reform party people akin to Tea Baggers as opposed to remnants of the old conservative party of the last century. Times have changed and it takes a strong premier to bite the bullet. Today’s budget is labeled an austerity budget, but it looks to me like he’s just going to slap around government employees. Probably too little too late.

Anyway … read the article …

Monday, March 26, 2012

What you don’t know is hurting someone …

I’ve railed often against the transition from the mom & apple pie world of the 40s through the 70s to the corporatist culture of the 80s through today. The mantra goes that all actions of the company are driven by increasing “shareholder value” … which of course means that we must do more with less and slash costs everywhere.

This is, of course, all very well understood these days. I loathe it for the simple reason that it embodies the seeds of the destruction of our way of life in the western world. And by “our”, I mean the middle and lower classes that are now commonly known as “the 99%.”

The 1% are busy raking in more cash than ever while governments suffer from the loss of the middle class (USA borrows 40c for every 1$ it spends) and while formerly middle class workers struggle to make ends meet with two or even three service jobs at minimum wage, assuming they can even find one. Students are in terrible straights … their unemployment rates are skyrocketing.

Now, we know why there is no great hew and cry over this from John Q 99% … it is because we are all sedated every day by out latest fix of cool and fun toys. Brought to you for a song from factories all over the world. Jobs that once would have been in North America are no longer there. Shareholder value requires growth, and that requires slashing costs. People cost.

Now … I’ll stop here because most of the rest is obvious. Middle class jobs still exist, but they exist in other countries now. The tax base has wandered off and the government that depends on it allowed this to happen. One wonders what sort of backroom deals could have made all that happen …

But wait …. those middle class jobs must have improved the lot of someone, no? The people to whom they went should be raking it in and living the high life, no?


In fact, if you read this very interesting graphic from -- created by a small and passionate team who are really chuffed about the fact that we are all so numb to the plight of the people that build our crap for us – you will find that these people are much, much worse off than even our destroyed middle classes.

In other words, only the shareholders (think “owners, or 1%) benefit in this scheme. The middle classes here have been decimated. The people there are treated like chattel, paid nothing, and have suicide rates that would make dentists and lawyers blush.

So next time you buy yet another toy, think a moment about that child who built it at the end of a 10 hour shift …

The 1% and their greed screw Canada yet … one … more … time ….

Geezuz … this is getting tedious. Another rich set of investors take the money and run, leaving Canada with its thumb up its bum when the time comes to decide whether to feed our own people or ship it all elsewhere and let us starve,

I won’t even bother to rail again … this article (thanks go to my sister Gaye for pointing this one out) clearly outlines yet another depressing story, this time focused on Canada’s penchant for grabbing the bucks, to hell with the future.

And where is out government while this country squanders its resources in the name of a few bucks for a few rich people?

Thumb up the bum … that’s where. (Perhaps building some serious hack and slash creds for when the time comes to reap the post civil service contracts?)

Anyway … click below and cry …


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sharpening the Fuji X10 RAW Files ** Updated for CS6 **

Note: The article is more or less redone as I screwed up the second crop, leaving the panel on exposure instead of sharpening and thus removing any value :-) My thanks to DPReview user timo for pointing this out to me.

The X10 is a tricky beast. It is not always easy to get really nice textures out of it because of the rather ugly patterns that get embedded during demosaicing of the kinky EXR matrix.

Note: Adobe may have removed most peoples’ objections to ACR with X10 RAW files. The new process 2012 is impressive with sharpening of X10 files. Following are three sets of settings and you can decide for yourself how you will sharpen these images.

The first is default settings. ACR comes up with these settings and they are not too bad, at least in ACR7.

Click for the full sized crop

The second set is how most people approach a more aggressive sharpness. You see the Fuji EXR pattern that shows up on all the RAW files when you get a little frisky with the “amount” slider in sharpening. However, in ACR7 the pattern is very fine and is less obtrusive. I’ve had to really crank the settings to show the effect and it is less obvious even then. Still, you don’t want this pattern as it will make your images look “crispy”, which means that they look “digital.”

The third is a method I recommend using for EXR cameras. Works much better and creates very crisp images when you want a bit more sharpening than the default.

click for the full sized crop

That herringbone pattern is from the mosaic, it is not real texture from the lens. Here is the real texture with the settings I consider optimal for more aggressive sharpening … again, ACR7 appears to make this less necessary.

click for the full sized crop

It helps if you boost clarity a bit too (on the main exposure panel.)

The differences here are somewhat subtle in the Adobe 2012 process. But there is a definite improvement in the very fine details on the lens. The key is that there is a bit more sharpness but no more halos, a real problem in Adobe process 2010. This technique works even better there.

What I find with sharpness is that you need just the right amount to improve dimensionality. Going over the line and letting edges degrade, especially with halos, immediately removes all sense of dimensionality and makes the image look crispy, as in highly processed and digital. Frankly, that looks like crap, and far too many photographers continue to publish images like that. Maybe they are using older monitors or monitors with poor focus. Check yours if people complain about that. Try the infamous web site

The bottom line: I see a lot of posted X10 images that are either soft, or have a crispy feel. Sharpening is absolutely critical if you want the X10 to meet its potential. Too sharp and not sharp enough make the X10 look ordinary.

The EXIF for the above image:


Nikon D300, Fuji F11 and Adobe Photoshop CS6

A pretty decent combination.

In looking back through my archives, I remembered my business trip to the UK in September 2008 (a year after the Stonehenge trip), where I tacked on my youngest son’s first trip to the UK for his 18th birthday.

I revisited two images from that trip …

Here, Jon and a working colleague Nick (same name as my eldest, who joined us later from Leeds, where he studied for his third year of English Literature) are wandering around London at night. Something I did a lot of during my 5 trips to the UK.

_DSC3826_jon_nick_night_stroll2D300 + 18-200VR  1600iso  f/4.5  1/50  -1/3ev

I find CS6 with either Neat Image or Topaz Denoise (NI in this case) handles the rather rough high ISO of the D300 with great aplomb. This image is far nicer than the one I originally processed from the raw file.

During that trip, I spent the first three days walking from the Danubius Hotel west of Regent’s Park to the southeast corner of Regent’s Park where the Royal College of Physicians is located. I walked the outer ring road once, but after that I walked through the park and enjoyed some pretty excellent scenery. There were still some beautiful flowers in bloom in September, so I would walk past some of the gardens and shoot certain tall plants that attracted my eye.

DSCF6403_F11_CS6Fuji F11  800iso  f/4  1/340  -1/3ev

That old Fuji F11 could sure take amazing images under the right circumstances. As many have said … have Fuji advanced at all since boosting ISO and inventing EXR technology? Well, I say yes. The bodies are far better, we have stabilization, we have reach and true wide angle, we have pocketable cameras, we have RAW. The new ones are much better … but the old ones sure take a nice image now and again.

As mentioned, Nick joined us later for a few days and we had a grand time. Here, we are doing the obvious uber-touristy thing as the boys climb the Trafalgar Lion and pose for a shot.

_DSC3953_boys_lion2D300 + 18-200VR  640iso  f/9  1/160

The cleanliness and clarity of this shot is down to how much more sophisticated the new processing engine is in CS6. I am very impressed. As good as LR4 is, CS6 is that much better because I can comfortably use all my other tools on layers.

Anyway … it’s been fun tripping down memory lane a bit with CS6 and ACR7 … I am really going to enjoy these two, that is for sure.

The potential for human stupidity never ceases to amaze me … vaccinations are FUxxING MANDATORY!

The whole controversy regarding immunization should not even be on the table, much less a dangerous public health hazard. I can hardly speak when I contemplate how many people put everyone else at risk to satisfy their own smug, self-satisfied, non-critical thinking, vacuous, puerile stupidity.

(Don’t mince words … tell us what you really think!)

From vacuous celebrities with their fatuous arguments to religious nut jobs with their faith that disease won’t strike them, people are opting out in record numbers in certain pockets of the USA. Who the fuck “opts out” of taking care of their children? Meth-heads? Maybe. But just as dangerous are these people who simply feel that their children do not need man’s intervention.

Idiots of the highest order.

From the Wall Street Journal article (link only valid for 7 days from now for non subscribers):

Parts of Oregon, Washington state, Idaho, Montana and a few other states have some of the lowest rates of compliance with vaccination guidelines

Overall vaccination rates in some of these communities are under 80%, far below the threshold that is needed to prevent an outbreak for certain diseases.

Exemptions in many states for philosophical or religious reasons allow parents to opt out of requirements for children to be vaccinated before entering school. Other parents delay immunizations for their young children, leaving them exposed to possible infections for a longer time.

"The Northwest is a black hole for religious exemptions"

Health experts say a community needs about 95% of its citizens to be immunized against measles to ensure herd immunity, where vaccinating a large percentage of a population keeps even unvaccinated people from getting the disease. Even people who aren't vaccinated, such as newborns, get some protection from herd immunity

WTF? EXEMPTIONS? OPT OUT? Now we have public health organizations run by idiots too? In the last decade, religious exemptions in Oregon are up from 2% to 5.6%. Soon, that alone will be the cause of the next major outbreak and children will start dying.

The human animal is obviously just that … an animal. All brawn and no brain. How sad for us that even problems we have already solved are being systematically destroyed by the USA’s shift from away from being a secular nation. And that when the vast majority of other nations are seemingly going in the opposite direction. The separation of church and state is supposed to guarantee that important policies and decisions are not subject to interference in this way.

Something has gotta give, and it is clearly going to be the health of some of these communities where logic has being vanquished by the illogic of many of their citizens …

Stonehenge reinterpreted – September 2007 with the D2Hs

Back in September 2007 I had the privilege of traveling to speak at our developer’s conference in London, essentially repeating a talk that I had given in Florida that same June. At the time, I managed to line up one day off with a premium tour that visited Stonehenge, Lacock Village (think Harry Potter) and Bath (think Roman baths.)

Stonehenge was first, and we arrived just as the sun was burning off the fog. Since this was a premium tour (60 pounds at the time), we traveled by huge motor coach (with only 16 passengers) and we were led into the circle to walk among the stones and touch them at will. This privilege is only afforded those to take premium tours and you get half an hour before the exhibit opens for the day.

I have blogged this before, but with Adobe CS6’s arrival, I felt compelled to see what I could make of the Nikon D2Hs’ very small raw files. So here are the results. I am quite pleased, and the 2012 processing engine destroys the 2003 processing engine. Not even a smidgen of a contest.

There is a bit of fog left as I start shooting.

D2Hs  + 18-200VR 200iso  f/8  1/500  -1/3EV

Turning around to face the sun, I capture what is arguably the best image I have ever shot. Certainly in the top 5.

D2Hs + 18-200VR  200iso  f/8  1/750  -1/3ev

Shifting to the left, the lighting changes dramatically. Of course, the circle image above was rather enhanced in post processing.

D2Hs + 18-200VR 200iso f/8 1/160 -1/3ev

Turning further left, I have the sun over my right shoulder. This lights the stones with a beautiful warm glow.

D2Hs + 18-200VR 200iso f/8 1/80 -1/3ev

I wander outside the circle and capture a gorgeous image of the stones with the sun at my back. What a stunning place to spend a morning.

D2Hs + 18-200VR 200iso f/8 1/160 -1/3ev

Inside the circle again, I capture images of details everywhere, I enjoy seeing the stones and caps as tunnels, and when they line up as in the next image, they create the illusion of passages.

D2Hs + 18-200VR 200iso f/8 1/200 -1/3ev

I must have spent 2 dozen hours cloning out the contrails in these shots. But now I look at them and they add to the sense of age. Jets flying over a circle of huge stones that are, what, 5000 years old or so?

D2Hs + 18-200VR 200iso f/8 1/125 -1/3ev

We left Stonehenge after 30 or 45 minutes and headed off to Lacock village. Unfortunately, the Abbey where they shot Harry Potter 1 and 2 (and later 6 I believe) was not yet open to the public, so no cauldron shots. However, the George Inn was serving an English breakfast that was essentially all you can eat. And darned good. This pub is alleged to have the longest continuous liquor license in the UK.

I did not bother reinterpreting any of those shots. They are not all that memorable.

Our final stop was Bath, and we did the obvious. Tour the Roman baths and the Abbey. Some people shopped and one girl managed to lose her camera, with every image she had taken on her multi-month European tour. What a downer. She cried for the next 3 hours as they searched all the stores and then all the way back to London, which is almost 3 hours from Bath (you can see the western coast and Bristol as you leave Bath.)

Anyway, I captured several images of the stones that made up what was said to be an air conditioning system for the floor. I.e. the floor would sit on stacks of stones and cool air from underground would keep the dwelling tolerably cool. Pretty brilliant stuff.

The following two images are shot at 6400 ISO and 3200 ISO, which is pretty highwhen you think about the age of these images. The technology really was not up to it, but I must say that ACR7 and CS6 sure are.

D2Hs + 18-200VR 6400iso (!) f/4 1/15 -2/3ev

D2Hs + 18-200VR 3200iso (!) f/4 1/15 -2/3ev

And finally, a shot of Bath Abbey. I really liked this place. In fact, I really enjoyed shooting several Abbeys and Cathedrals in the UK. Very nice architecture and some very old buildings.

D2Hs + 18-200VR 400iso (!) f/7.1 1/50 -1/3ev

And that’s that. See the whole series at

These are tacked onto the end in reverse order unfortunately. The mini Java uploader is a POS and I won’t be using it again.

So for me CS6 and ACR7 are a hit. I really enjoyed the feel of Photoshop after so long with Lightroom. LR is very nice, but Photoshop is just that much nicer, especially now that it has the new engine inside. Ah well … I will do what I can to sort it all out when the time comes.

My Garden for 2012 – Same old mess, but maybe this spring I’ll give it a good solid cleaning …

Last Wednesday evening on the second day of spring here in the Northern hemisphere, I popped out to the patio to assess the damage from winter. The fence that separates my yard from my next door neighbour is made of vinyl and exactly one post has been trying to break free of its bond with the earth. I think we got short-changed in the length and cement department here.

D7000  800iso  f/4.5  1/60

You can see how high the bottom of the fence panel is from the ground. That’s a 4 inch post in my neighbour’s yard that is visible well below the panel. So it is up about 6 inches and is very obvious.

Artistic Vinyl put this up and they sent a bunch of kids, if you happen to be looking for a fence company to avoid.

I get these interesting vines every year with little prickly seed pods on them. I like how they look, so I don’t try to control them. Here’s one from last year.

D7000  2000iso  f/10  1/40

My neighbour’s beautiful Black Crimson King Maple Tree houses a Robin’s nest. Easily visible when the leaves are not there.

D7000  2000iso  f/10  1/500

Of course, that Maple tree is right up against my fence, so I get to clean up its droppings every spring.

d7000  2000iso  f/10  1/40

My rusty trusty barbecue chimney (holds coals to heat up much faster) is sitting quietly on the ground awaiting the first BBQ of the season. And this is literally the first moment I thought of BBQing again … this low carb lifestyle takes some getting used to. But one huge advantage is that meat is not the problem :-)

D7000  2000iso  f/10  1/60

I must take care of this usurper. I cut half of it off last year, but I need to get it just above the roots this spring. In fact, I think I will hack off most of the bushes and get some new growth going.

D7000  2000iso  f/10  1/60

I still love my Yellow Twig Dogwood bush. I can’t resist spiking the colours when I get images of it not in leaf.

D7000  2000iso  f/10  1/60

Facing west, I get a shot of my next door neighbour’s tree next to our shared fence. Pretty shaped tree and makes a superb silhouette.

D7000  2000iso  f/10  1/1250

I also need to rid myself of the pile of thorny Buffalo Berry. Nasty stuff, with 2” razor sharp spikes.

D7000  2000iso  f/10  1/25

Look up ….. look waaaaaaay up ….. and I’ll call Rusty.  Well, this friendly giant flew right over my head and I could not resist an image. This is pretty clean for the high ISO and a crop to the jet.

D7000  2000iso  f/10  1/200

Here is the image as shot.

The neighbours across the street have a much bigger nest in their surviving Ash trees. Probably one of he black birds we have hanging around and cacawing all the time.

D7000  2000iso  f/10  1/320

My trusty garden climbers from last year. I bought them on the cheap from Walmart to hold up the plastic fence that I used to keep out the kids when the main fence section went down. They served their purpose and now stand alone and lonely in a weedy area of my yard. What to do … what to do …

D7000  2000iso  f/10  1/40

I cannot resist shooting an image of my neighbour’s roof. The shingles are beginning to curl … unlike my wonderful new architectural shingles :-)

D7000  2000iso  f/10  1/125

The pool has eyes. The vinyl continues to degrade in my pool. It is well past the time for replacement (vinyl liners need it every ten years or so and this is year 15.) I feel blessed that I only have two nasty holes in the vinyl and they are above the water line, so no leaks. This is year three with the rips and I am getting used to them.

D7000  2000iso  f/10  1/100

And finally, the side of the house with the path to the street. You can already see the Day Lilies fighting their way through the dead crap from last year. Impressive.

D7000  2000iso f/10  1/30

So, the start of a new gardening season. Awesome Smile

D7000 – more miscellaneous shots … and the unveiling of CS6 beta versus LR4 beta 1

I was catching up with a fellow who was in my team last year and we got onto the topic of photography, as we always do. He is much more avid than I am and has begun shooting weddings with his D90. He knows that it is underpowered and so has ordered a D800 and has a line on a friend’s D700 as backup. Serious envy here …

But for shits and giggles, I happened to have my D7000 with me so I shot an image of him in my office. To get a decent shutter speed, I set ISO5000 because I was shooting at f/10. In retrospect, I did not need that small an aperture because I was not at 300mm, but I used it anyway.

The results were pretty amazing. Here is a near 100% crop of his left eye. I think you will agree that an APS-C camera with a consumer lens (70-300VR) on it shooting at 5000 ISO is doing fairly well with a shot like this:

D7000  5000iso  f/10  1/125  112mm (168mm equivalent)

I won’t post the actual images for privacy reasons. But clicl through to see the eye in full size. It really is superb for that ISO. I presented it in B&W because I am not yet fully comfortable in handling skin tones in Lightroom. CS6 beta came out and I like that much better for skin.

I left the office late today, and shot this image of the Scotiabank Place, where the Stanley Cup will be housed later this year (he says with great confidence.)

D7000  100iso  f/10  1/50  300mm (450mm equivalent)

Not a bad shot at all. But this was shot through my office window and look at how dirty it is when shot from the same location.

Pretty amazing, no?

When I got home, I noticed that the tulips are rapidly reaching for the sky. I have more than I expected, but then I never expect any to survive the winter and these are actually going on 5 years of steady blooming. I’m very pleased.

D7000  8000iso (!)  f/7.1  1/8 (!)  80mm (120mm equivalent)

That is a pretty nice shot for 1/8 second and 8000 ISO. It was processed in Lightroom 4 beta 1. Here is the same image processed in CS6 Beta.

I have noticed that I tend to process darker and more contrasty in Lightroom. I am much more comfortable in Photoshop and just might go back to it when CS6 ships. ACR7 is amazing as well. The one difference that I would miss from LR4 is the grid you automatically get when adjusting distortions. LR has it, ACR does not. Rather crude for such an expensive software package. I think that would make a superb patch feature.

Now here is a major difference. Many people will prefer the first image, which is done in LR4. But I prefer the second image, done in CS6. More open and softer and warmer tones. I just find it easier to get the open tones I favor.

D7000  8000iso  f/7.1  1/30 Lightroom 4 beta 1

Photoshop CS6 with Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) 7

YMMV of course.

So far I am a huge fan of CS6 and ACR7. I think these are winners, although I hope Adobe drop the upgrade price a bit. 200 bucks is a bit stiff for this one with no majoe features in it. Lots of nice smaller features though, so I will be sorely tempted.