Horse in Field

Compression

Do you enjoy taking photos while making use of compression?  It’s sort of a geeky photography technique that involves zoom levels beyond what the eye can do on its own.  These end up having a bit of an “interesting” look, just because these view cones are impossible to the naked eye.  Personally, I don’t do a lot of it because my wide-angle lens is usually on… but I do enjoy the look.

I have this photo included in the full Nikon 200-400 Review.

Daily Photo – Horse in Field

In the afternoon, the horses at the ranch where I was staying are let out of the corral to graze in the meadow.  The sun gets low, and just before sunset, everything is lit with a very strong light at a low level of incidence.

The Tracer

More from Rudyard

Who has ever heard of Rudyard, Montana? Not many people, I figure! This is where I had the privilege  of spending several days with Jack Horner on a dinosaur dig in the badlands… slept in a tipi and everything. It was a great experience. To see the other photos from Rudyard (which many of you know this trick, now), you can just click on “Rudyard” by this post or over in the categories.

Daily Photo – The Tracer

Late one night, after everyone was super-exhausted from digging up dinosaurs all day, we had a BBQ. After the BBQ, everyone got out a bunch of guns and we started playing around with them. Good times in USA! Anyway, hehe… one guy pulled out a giant elephant-type gun and loaded it with tracers. We fired them off into the distance to watch their awesome parabolas. I set up to capture some of the action…

HDR Photov

The Rainbow After the Storm

Taking photos of Rainbows

I’ve taken a few of these in my life… mostly out of luck! But, I wondered about your experiences with rainbows. Do you get many photos? What is your favorite lens to use to capture the whole thing? In the one below, I used a Nikon 14-24 on a full frame body (the D3X).

Daily Photo – The Rainbow After the Storm

In the afternoons in Montana, sometimes a summer storm would come rolling through the Rockies. I think everyone loves a good storm, mostly because it changes the mood. An unexpected mood change always adds a bit of spice to the day, don’t you think? And, since these afternoon storms come and go, the sun comes back out again, giving us the opportunity for rainbow shots.

All that’s missing from this one is a unicorn. This is one reason I am excited about genetic engineering. I think that some odd-ball researcher is going to make a real unicorn one day… and everyone (well, MOST everyone) will love it. Hey future-unicorn-genetic-engineer, please contact me after you successfully bring one of these to term so I can take the first photo. That would be very cool.

HDR Photo

The Storm Hitting the Barn

Tripod as an Easel

I recently swtiched to some Really Right Stuff tripod legs. They are awesome! I have them linked up on the HDR Camera Equipment page.

So, there are plusses and minuses to carrying around a tripod. Here is a “plus” that not many people think about.

Whenever you are carrying around the tripod, it takes a bit of effort and forethought to set up a shot. You need to positing it in a special place, at a certain height, and at a particular angle. I compare it to Renoir or Monet taking their time to set up their easel and canvas in the perfect spot. It makes a big difference if you walk 10 steps closer to the target area or 10 steps further from the target area. There is an extra consideration photographers have to use because of the lens that is on board, but it’s still a similar process. So, as much as I lament the extra hassle of a tripod, I do like that it requires me to go through a thoughtful process of setting up the shot.

Daily Photo – The Storm Hitting the Barn

It was about 3 in the afternoon and things were getting over-the-top warm. You know that feeling when the weather gets so uncomfortably warm that you expect something to happen soon? This feeling washed over me about 30 minutes before these violent clouds form to sweep over the Rocky Mountains towards the barn.

The tripod was nearby, so I grabbed it to go outside and set up the easel.

HDR Photo

Doug and the Horseshoe

New Video – New Shoes for the Horses

The wonderful anachronism the horseshoe is our topic today!  The act of putting making and putting on new horseshoes is one of those dying arts.  There are fewer and fewer places where this is done on a regular basis.  So, I felt lucky to have the chance to watch the big event while I was at that ranch recently.

I made the video part of this with my D3S (see my Nikon D3S Review for more).  I really love how this camera is so easy for shooting video.  I used the Nikon 50mm 1.4 prime to shoot all this footage, although it probably was not necessary to use a lens like that.  I probably could have gotten the exact same footage (and depth of field) with the more flexible 24-70mm.

Daily Photo – Doug and the Horseshoe

Whenever earn would press the burning-hot horseshoe into the foot of the horse, this smoke would billow up in an amazing cloud. The reason they do this is to see how the shoe fits before going back to make a few adjustments. The whole process was awesome to watch, as you can see. I felt like I was time traveling!

HDR Photo

Morning. Coffee. Yellowstone.

HDR Tutorial now en Español y em Português!

You all know we have a free HDR Tutorial here on the site for English speakers. Well we have a few international friends that have translated it for us into Spanish and Portuguese!

  • Tutorial HDR em Português – Esse simples tutorial HDR de 6-passos já ensinou milhares de pessoas ao redor do mundo, então tenho certeza que ele pode ajudar você também. E lembre-se, VOCÊ pode fazer isso!
  • HDR Tutorial Español – Este sencillo tutorial HDR de 6-pasos ya enseño a millares de personas alrededor del mundo, entonces tengo seguridad de que puede ayudarlo también. Y recuerde, USTED puede hacer esto!

Many Brazilian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Mexican Bothans died to bring you this information.

Daily Photo – Morning. Coffee. Yellowstone. Fog.

My poor family. I dragged them all out of bed at 5 AM and put them in the car so I could go take this photo. I did load up on plenty of coffee to keep things fresh and warm on this cool morning, but my kids zonked out in the back of the car anyway. Well, if they’re not asleep, they’re whining, “Dad??? You stopping again!” … I rush out the door and trail off, muttering into the wind, “Yes but art must be made, you see…”

This spot is not too far from the entrance to West Yellowstone. The warm water that comes from the earth mixes with the cool morning sky. It creates a surreal layer of fog that simply rests on top of the river. It flows up, around, and through the neighboring trees. It reminds me of the dry ice that comes out of cauldrons on Halloween.

To take this shot, I set up with a tripod and grabbed 7 exposures from +3 to -3. I always anchor at even zero for these “sun shots.” I also set up for matrix metering, since you can’t figure out where in the dynamic range to hang your spot.

HDR Photo

Horses on an Evening Meadow

Topaz with Photoshop CS5

I am still using Topaz Adjust quite a bit to do some final sharpening on my images. Topaz Adjust 4 does work on Photoshop CS5 now, but it still feels a little slow. Actually, I find Topaz Adjust 3 is faster. What is your experience with it?

They tell me (when I complained) that the algorithm is exactly the same. This is probably true, but it does launch a new UI in a new window. The process of launching that new window seems to take a while longer than before. I’m on a Mac… maybe it’s just a Mac problem… but wondering if I am alone with this!

If you want to see other images from Topaz, see my Topaz Adjust Review here on the site… I try to pop new images in there from time to time.

Daily Photo – Horses on an Evening Meadow

Every night before sunset, the horses would be let out of the corral for a bit of “personal” time.  They spent almost no time at all on the Internet, and, instead, just meandered around this grassy meadow at the ranch.

The grass looks nice eh?  And there was no lawn-mowing necessary.  All you need is a bunch of beautiful and hungry horses, and your lawn can look just like this.  Don’t worry about your neighbors.  You don’t like them that much, anyway, do you?  No, of course not, all your real friends (like me) are on the Internet.

This evening turned out really well.  After spending some time taking photos, I went into the lodge to have a wonderful dinner before going into the great room.  There, one of my friends named Annie sang some opera while we enjoy apres-dinner espressos.  It was really great.  It’s the second time I have heard her sing, and it was just as good the second time around.  Should I put her last name here?  I don’t know… let me ask her first to see if she is too shy!

HDR Photo

Clyde Aspevig Interview

A New Mini-Documentary Video

I’m very excited to show you this little interview!

In case you don’t know of the great painter Clyde Aspevig (or you missed that bit in my book where I referenced his paintings), then this is a great chance to do so.  I was lucky enough to spend several days with him again in Montana at a ranch, and I did not waste it.  Many of you know my fascination with the French Impressionists; the idea that I was able to talk to a modern day reincarnation of one was thrilling.

Daily Photo – Clyde Aspevig in the Wild

While I was out there with the D3S (see my Nikon D3S Review) taking video, I also grabbed a number of stills.  While Clyde was in the middle of one of his paintings, I knelt down to grab this one.  I love it… I think he looks like a demigod.

Running Wild, Across the Meadow

I Need a New Phone! Help, my Euro and Scandinavian Friends!

So, I’ve decided to give Android a chance for a bit. But, I want a good unlocked phone so I can pop a sim card in for any country. I like the looks of the Droid X, but it’s locked down. I figure that my European and Scandinavian friends know the models of some great new phones that run Android really well.  Here in the US, it’s hard for me to get a good grip on what the hottest Euro/Scand phone models are!

Here is what I need:

  • An unlocked phone where I can pop in any Sim Card (not sure which US service I will use yet)
  • The ability to use it as a wi-fi hotspot so I can connect my laptops and iPads (I can do this in Europe too, I assume)
  • The menu system in US or UK English
  • NOTE:  If there is an AWESOME one coming in the next few weeks or months, I can wait a bit too!

Update:

  • Based on feedback and tweets, I’m leaning to the HTC Desire
  • Wondering if I should wait on the HTC Desire HD in October !
  • Or if there is another good one coming out between now and then…  that will let me pop in another sim card

Why I am switching from iPhone (since I know many will ask!):

  • I love the apps, but, really, I use 90% of them now on my iPad.
  • Because I use apps on the iPad, on the phone, I find myself only:
    • Talking with voice (AT&T is awful)
    • Looking at Google Maps (which are better on the Android)
    • Use Twitter (plenty of Android apps)
    • Light web surfing…  (and rarely, at that)

Daily Photo – Running Wild, Across the Meadow

I was just returning from one little adventure and then I stumbled onto another one!

Every day, about this time, a few dozen horses from the ranch run free across the meadow to graze in distant pastures. They stay cooped up inside the corral for most of the day, so they love the chance to run free. The cowboy rides behind them, cracking his whip. It echoes through the valley and everything seems right in the world.

The Forest on the Mega Volcano

Interview on Trip Atlas

I'm making this 200-400mm lens look a lot lighter than it actually is. Shortly after this shot, I collapsed in screaming agony.

There is a new interview at Trip Atlas. We talk about this and that. How’s that for a description?

Nikon 200-400mm Review

I have put up a new Nikon 200-400 Review here on the site and sprinkled many new photos inside! I rented it from Borrowlenses.com last week while I was in Yellowstone. It was a fun lens to use and quite different. I pushed myself to do a few landscapes with it, and one of these is posted below!

Daily Photo – The Forest on the Mega Volcano

I would guess about 50% of people know this, and I should not take it for granted that everyone does.  But Yellowstone sits on top of a giant caldera, and it’s due to go off any time (at least, geologically due!) If you look at a map of Yellowstone from above, you can see the clear outline of the caldera.  When the mega-volcano strikes, it’ll be a doozy!

In the meantime, the ultra-thin crust of this area gives way to some remarkable geothermal events. There is a period of the morning when the air is cool and the earth is hot.  It creates an exceptional amount of steam in some areas.

I woke up about 5 AM to go catch this morning steam.  I use the D3S as my backup camera, and I had the 200-400mm affixed.  I challenged myself to capture some compressed landscapes, and this area seemed just about perfect.
This is a single-shot HDR that came from a RAW file.  These RAW files contain a lot of light information nowadays.

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