My Office

Mar. 20th, 2009 05:48 pm
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
I work here in a converted barn type building in Chester Springs. It's nice, but we're moving soon alas into the thronging King of Prussia. I thought that before we departed I would take some pictures of the nice place where I've been working for over a year now. It's not often that I work at a place longer than a year, so I guess I must like it! :)

Flowers

Mar. 20th, 2009 02:43 pm
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
Put up the images of flowers I took earlier this week Here
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
It appears that after some poking around after a suggestion by [Bad username or site: neopolaris'/ @ livejournal.com] it appears that the bird I photographed may well be a Bewick's Wren. This is particularly interesting as theoretically based on information on whatbird.com, it's way out of it's back yard. They are endangered in Maryland, and they aren't supposed to come as far east as Pennsylvania, so I may have caught quite a rare occurrence. I wonder if there aren't some ornithologists out there that would be very interested to know about it, but I really don't know where to go to find out.
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
I wandered around the park again for a bit today. Managed to get a distance picture of a what looks to me like a wren:



Not much other than that - got a couple of flying crows, but I keep forgetting to do basic things like setting up my exposure compensation when taking a picture of such a dark bird, so it's basically a blurry silhouette against the sky, so it looks pretty crappy.
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
Got some goodish ones today of flying geese:

photos
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)

Picture

Feb. 17th, 2009 02:56 pm
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
I got only a solitary good picture today. The lake was quiet, so I wandered back behind the lake to the picnic area. Managed to hear a woodpecker in the tree, and got a couple of shots, of which only one really turned out worth anything.
armtuk: Cheetah (photography bird)
Today is Saturday, which means I get to go out during the day and take pictures anywhere I want, well, within reason (Phipps conservatory in Pittsburgh is on my list, but that's a weekend, not a lunch-time jaunt). Based on reading I did, I decided to mount the 100-400mm directly on my camera without the extender, which is supposed to improve picture quality, and also means I get auto-focus back.

It was a good call. Today's pictures I think turned out better than almost anything else I've taken. I noticed right away looking through the lens that colours seemed brighter and the picture seemed very sharp. On these pictures, I hardly did any colour modification at all in Aperture. All I really did was crop, and occasionally sharpen.
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
Today I wandered off to Marsh Creek again in hopes of having more luck that Tuesday.

I got a few shots of birds that I'm thinking are maybe crows on the ice, none really turned out thogh, and I thought I was pretty much done. I started packing up, and as I had just closed the trunk, two crows flew over and landed on top of the building next to me. I was dumbfounded. I stood there looking at them for a minute and wondered if I should get my camera out, if they would hang around for long enough. I dithered about it, and the flew off and landed on the ice, at a good range. I quickly got my camera together again and as I looked up they were flying off to the right. It didn't seem as if they flew far so I hurried around the other side of the building, and found the birds wheeling and dancing over the ice a bit far away, but as I was watching, they started flying in front of the building, and I managed to catch a few shots of both a couple of gulls and a couple of crows (I'm sure someone will correct me here). They weren't the best shots ever, but they might be my best shots ever.

I don't know how to figure out how to get sharper pictures though. I'm not sure it was camera shake, as some of them were as high as 1/2000th of a second. I think they just weren't quite in focus. Because of my lens not being the high end f2.8 lens, the camera turns off auto-focus when you slap on the 2x converter, so it was hand-held manual focus all the way. Given that, I'm not too unhappy. I've only had the lens a few days, and I'm still not used to zooming and focusing and taking pictures all in one go yet.

Pictures of birds flying about Marsh Creek
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
Today I went to Marsh Creek with my new lens. The birds were very far away, that even with 800mm effective focal length, I was stumped for a good picture. Add to that that the lens I have 100-400mm does not use auto-focus with an XSi body if an extender is connected and we have a recipe for crapness.

So I took some pictures of rocks, and a tree, and some water to at least try out the new getup. They were mostly at f11 at 400mm balanced on a Canon monopod with a cool swivel head.

Then I came home, and took some pictures of our kitten Rothko as we haven't had new pictures of him for a bit. Then a bug landed on my desk, and I coaxed it onto a white-ish box and took some macro pictures of it. Those pictures were done with a 100mm f2.8 macro lens on a 25mm extension tube. I wish I could have made the depth of field bigger, but one 300W light at F4.0 at 100mm plus extension tube == slow exposure time / large magnification. You can see the faint traces of camera shake creeping into the pictures.

Photos for 11th February 2009
armtuk: Cheetah (photography bird)
Today we have some macro shots - mostly of dice.

Photos of Dice, some of which I really like.

Most of these shots were taken with a 100mm f2.8 macro lens with a 2x extender, and then a 25mm extension tube. The really close ones were taken with a MP-e 65, which I also added the extension tube to just to see how close I could get. Focusing was mostly achieved with a focusing rail mounted on my Velbon tripod, which I LOVE. I also lit the scene with a single 85 Watt Fluorescent bulb (300 Watt equivalent) (maybe next time I should use the 5500K bulbs, but I left them upstairs).

Crystal caste makes semi-precious gem dice that I think would be totally awesome to take at this proximity/zoom level. I'll have to avail myself of a set or two of them I think.
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
Birds in the parking lot of Staples )

In case you are wondering - this is the second post about these particular birds. I got a chance to edit the photos, so I posted the updated versions and removed the old ones. There was not too much I could do about a few of them. They were over-exposed, and some of the highlights got blown out, so editing couldn't do much for that. I will have to remember that taking pictures of mostly white objects against a mostly black background is going to lead to over-exposure. I didn't have much time to think. We parked outside Staples and I saw this flock of birds sitting in the parking lot, and we were already late, so I grabbed my camera, donned the 70-300mm lens and snapped a view piccies without to much thought or reflection, so I'm pretty happy I got even a couple of workable shots.

Again my extreme apologies for my lateness to the gaming session. I had planned ahead to make sure we had enough time, but various things sprung up and we ended up rather later than was okay. We'll endeavour to be more timely in future.
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
Pictures from my walk today. I went down Park Rd to the actual park part of Marsh Creek Park. It was pretty, but very cold. Not much to take pictures of though. A few birds, and some people fishing in the ice. I did the birds today, if we get another cold spell, I'll go back and do the fishermen next time as I ran out of time. Somebody else clearly had the same idea as me though, as another gentleman with a tripod and camera wondered out toward the lake a little further down.
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
Went for a little walk today in the park. Took my camera (of course), and snapped a few Pictures. Some of them turned out good I think!
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
I just picked up a Sigma 10-20mm wide angle zoom lens. I really enjoy taking landscape style photos (actually - I think I just enjoy taking photos of all kinds period), and I wanted a wide angle lens to do this well. The Canon lens is 50% more expensive than this, so I looked upon this as an experiment to see what Sigma lenses might be like, and I figured if I didn't like it, I could send it back to Amazon, who are great about returns.

The lens arrived today, and I took it out of the shipping box, and opened up the lens box. Firstly - it comes in a really nice case. The case is padded and fitted to the lens. Not only that, but the appropriate lens hood is in the bottom of the case, all tucked in neatly. I pulled the lens out and was immediately impressed at the feel of the piece. It had a good heft to it, and the surface finish was not the smooth plastic finish of most of the canon lenses, but a slightly more grippy gritty finish. Twisting the zoom ring, I was immediately impressed at the feel. It's just right. Not too sloppy, and not too tight. The ring has enough resistance to make fine adjustments easy, but relaxed enough to make sweeping twists pleasant. The focus ring is similar. Both rings have enough grip depth to be easy to work with, rather than some of the canon lenses that make manual focusing quite uncomfortable. I have only taken a couple of pictures with it, and both at very low light conditions, so it's hard to tell what the picture quality is like yet, but I think I'm going to pack up my camera bag and take a lunch break tomorrow in the direction of a park, there seem to be about half a dozen parks within about 5-10 minutes driving distance of my office.

Pictures to follow!!

Mouse_04

Feb. 4th, 2009 08:07 pm
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
Pictures with my Macro lens )

Sorry about that folks, this is the first time I've used pixel pipeline, and I wasn't sure what it would do.
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
I am moving all my photographic stuff to SmugMug http://plexq.smugmug.com. The reason is because Yahoo sucks. I went to update my security question, and they won't let me update my security question unless I tell them what my existing security question is. I have no idea what my existing security question is, it could be one of a dozen things. I lost my last yahoo account (armtuk@yahoo.com) probably because it was either compromised or Yahoo's systems fucked up and corrupted it. I was left being charged for a paid service I had with Yahoo, and Yahoo customer service did nothing about it. They would not verify my account based on my credit card number, or stop the charges based on my credit card number.

This said, I am very jumpy about loosing another yahoo account, and potentially the on-line version of all my photography. I am sure that over the coming year it will grow in size considerably, and re-uploading all of it will become a herculean task, and would eventually violate my Comcast connection TOS and get me banned. That said, I am going with another service, and SmugMug seems okay. If you know of something better, then I am all ears. Picassa was well built, but horribly expensive for uploading originals. Google's storage charges were more than Apple's, and I could use S3 or Rackspace's cloud hosting for much less.
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
Snow!

It's been snowing today. Nearly got in an accident twice on the roads. Think I'll stay home till they clean up the roads a bit.

Photos

Dec. 24th, 2008 10:20 pm
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
Here are some Photos of Fin's very beautiful ball-jointed doll. They were all taken with the Canon EOS XSi. I used three flashes for this lot, a ring flash mounted on the lens, a flash to illuminate the background, and a flash off to one side and above the subject.

It was difficult to balance the light from the three flashes properly. I got the Sigma ring flash, and I can't figure out how to set a A:B C configuration like you can from the Speedlite 580EX II. I wanted to control the background flash a bit more, as often it is too bright. Maybe I'll check out the Sigma flash's manual.

Ok - After checking out the manual - I am even more confused. I'm not sure the Sigma talks to the Canon flashes at all, but some of the photos clearly seem to show that the background is lit giving a rather glowy effect to the hair. I'm clearly going to have to experiment some more with this.

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