Jan 29, 2011

Weird Weekend

Bit of a strange weekend on this end.   The first weekend in my memory that I haven't been hanging out with Jen.  An weekend of unforeseen circumstances.  Normally I would have been at Jen's this weekend but Keaton decided he wanted to come up here to study for his hardest exam (but I think he just likes the piece and quiet and more importantly the high speed internet).   On top of that Jen came down with the flu earlier this week and has been feeling terrible, although she seems more on the mend today and to top it all off she's carless.  Her car decided to die during the cold this week.  I was unable to boost it and the battery seems fine.  Sucks that I couldn't help her out more.  But it's been towed off to a garage and hopefully will be an easy, and cheap, fix on Monday.    As a result she's at her home and I'm at mine. :-(  

Got up this morning and the snow was coming down.  Would have been a good day for a walk in the woods but instead spent the day working on Bermuda Images.   For years I've been putting off organizing and naming many of my images.  So today was Bermuda!   Found a good program for making galleries called  JAlbum, so after figuring it out, naming images, uploading and changing all the html code I looked up to discover it was dark again.   Ouch, an entire day!   I'm still not 100 percent happy with the home page but the galleries have come together.   Bermuda images is now up to page 3 on google so I'm hoping it will continue to move up and start getting some hits.  Anyhow, check the site out and see what you think.  I'm always open to constructive criticism, just remember I'm not much of a web designer ;-)

I also realized today that this is the 1 year mark of when I made one the toughest decisions of my life.  It was 1 year ago today that Cathy and I sat down and decided to separate.  As a result this past year has involved a complete lifestyle change along with the ups and downs associated with it.   Unfortunately much still needs to be resolved with things not going as smooth as I had hoped.  But in evaluating the past year I can honestly say I have no regrets.   I'm so much happier and healthy now, I feel so much younger and am enjoying life.  Having Jen with me has made my world such a wonderful place.

No pictures to post but I did post almost 200 over on Bermuda Images, so if you wanna see some warm temps and ocean views, head on over and check them out.   I'm watching the airfares to Bermuda right now, Jen and I are trying for a trip to the island in May.  It can't come soon enough!  And looking forward to showing "my island" off to Jen ;-)   She's going to love it.

If the weather is clear I'm going to try for a few landscape and horse shots in the morning.  Check back to see if I got off my lazy ass and made it happen! ;-)

Jan 22, 2011

A Couple More....

A couple of more shots from the new lens:

Shot through the kitchen window.

A portrait of the most beautiful woman!  ;-)

Jan 21, 2011

Nikon 18-200 vs Nikon f2.8 80-200

Well I've had my new (used) lens in my hands for less then an hour.  A Nikon F2.8 80-200mm arrived from Henry's Ebay Store in a nicely packaged box, cut it open, took a look inside (very clean), took a look outside (a few scuffs) and slapped it on the camera.   Was pretty self explanatory.

Sitting on the D200 - it look big!  Even bigger when the lens hood on.

Noticed a dripping icicle so took a few pictures, put the old 18-200 on, took a few pictures and this is the result:

(click the image for full size to see the difference - the files are big!)

First test, used F5.6 for a sharpness comparison @ 200mm.  Since the 18-200 won't do F2.8 I stepped it down to 5.6.  I'd also read that 5.6 is pretty sharp.

Nikon 80-200 @ f2.8 @ 200mm

 Nikon 80-200 @ f2.8 @ 200mm

Nikon 80-200 @ f2.8 @ 200mm

My first impressions are WOW, this thing is sharp compared to my 18-200mm.  These were shot hand held.   The zoomed in images makes it very clear that the sharpness and detail is way above the 18-200mm.  Weight wise it's not as heavy as I feared and seems pretty decent to handle.  But let me re-advise on that after I've carried it for a bit.  Time will tell I guess, but for now I'm pretty happy!  Now I'm dreaming of the Tamron F2.8 17-50mm VC for the low end ;-)

Jan 17, 2011

Panorama Time!

Suddenly realized today that I have completely forgotten about shooting panoramas.  Since shooting the horses in the snow last week I have to say the photography bug has bitten me again and I've been racking my brain trying to figure out what to go out and shoot and what new ideas to try.   It hit me that I used to love shooting panoramas and that I should give it a try with the lovely blue skies and the white snow.   So I braved the -20C temps and took the metal tripod, with the metal camera out around the farm to take a few shots.  Needless to say I was rather chilled by the time I got back, my fingers were ice even with the gloves on.  Ah the joys of shooting in the cold.  Hope my buds in Bermuda and Vedd down there in Malaysia feel a bit of sadness for me ;-)

Make sure you click on the images to see the full size of these ones.   The only downside of displaying panoramas is how to make them look good on the web?   Wide is so cool, but can things be to wide?

From the front of the farms driveway.  7 vertical orientated images shot with my Sigma 10-20mm.  Note my shadow on the image thanks to the long shadows ;-)

 The side of my yard looking out the driveway.  9 vertical orientated images.

 My little house!  11 vertical orientated images.  There's that shadow again!

 The view from my deck.  Looks weird as it's L shaped and I'm standing in the corner of the L.  A whopping 17 vertical images stitched together.

Not a panorama.  The sun coming thru the tree onto the snow was cool!

All images were shot with my D200 using a Manfrotto Tripod and Sigma 10-20mm lens set around 18mm to cut down on the barrel distortion.  Stitching done with Photoshop CS5 and majority of the editing (levels, straighten, crop) done with Capture NX2.

On another thread, I know I've been talking for some time now about getting a D7000 to replace my D200.   The more I've thought about it, the more I think I'm going to upgrade my glass instead.   My main lenses have been the Nikon 18-200 VR, the Sigma 70-300mm and my Sigma 10-20.   None are low light and not the greatest, although they probably are the most economical and versatile lenses out there.   The 10-20 is safe, I want to keep that one, it's fun playing that wide.  But the other two I'm thinking of replacing with the Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 VC   and the Nikon 80-200mm F2.8 ED.  Both are low light and have great reputations and the costs are mid-range when compared to the top Nikons.  Each appears to be the best bang for the buck.   The Tamron I can pick up fairly easily.  The Tamron is reasonably priced new so not worth looking at used and there is a Nikon 80-200 on e-bay and the auction ends tonight.  But the price is close to my range.  Just a few hours to figure out what to do.  Any advise out there from my mates?  Worth upgrading my glass?

Jan 8, 2011

Snowy Horses on a Snowy Day

Jen and I are just chilling at the farm this weekend.   Been snowing the past 24 hours but still less then 10cm's down so no snowshoeing yet.   But we did get out for a lovely walk thru the woods and around the farm.  Naturally the horses look pretty cool in the snow, a few shots.

(Click the image for larger version)

Jan 3, 2011

Random Stuff

Back home again after spending almost 10 days at Jens having a wonderful Christmas.  Feels very strange being back in my own little home alone with no cats, kid or Jen.  Very quiet hahaha.   But wouldn't have traded the past 10 days for anything.  A wonderful time.

Not a lot of photos taken over the past 10 days but a few here and there.  Click the image for a bigger version.

I'd promised photos of the tattoos after healing, well it's been healed for weeks ;-).   Excuse the hair, unfortunate side of being 40+ old male.

and Jen's!

Jen and I.  She looks taller from some heal action on her shoes ;-)   So much for vertical strips making me look slim....

Two pretty ladies.  Jen and Erin.

My pretty lady ;-)