I’ve been out o’ town lately (in Denver — see photos below), shooting a video with the inimitable Timmy O’Neill and the talented Mr. Jim Aikman. Plus I’m getting hitched next week to the wonderful Kristin M–, preparations for which event have had us running around like a pair decapitated baryard fowl.
Life is good, but busy. Too busy to post anything of substance. I’ll get some more stuff up soon after our wedding. Until then…
Just playing with the D800 some more. So far, I continue to be impressed. Two things on my wish list (and, it sounds like, everyone else’s wish list, too): 1) faster frame rate and 2) smaller RAW image size option. Anyway, minor nits. Of course, now that the D600 looks like a real option on the horizon, I’m starting to wonder if I’ll regret having dropped $3000 on an FX camera when I could have gotten a $1500 FX camera with many of the same features. Ah well, the best cure for inklings of camera-buyer’s remorse is to use the tool to create some cool work.
The following images were captured during last weekend’s Living Traditions cultural festival in downtown Salt Lake City. Strangely, I took most of my favorite images that day at small pop-up tent with a few guys and a bunch of birds, located near the festival entrance. I’m not sure what the booth was all about, but the birds were fascinating to observe.
But FIRST… here is a (somewhat underexposed) time-lapse video straight out of the D800. The camera’s automatic time-lapse function captured the images and stitched them together, in camera, into a .mov file. Pretty slick! For you pros out there, it probably makes more sense to capture hi-res .jpg files with the interval shooting mode and then create your own animation in Quicktime Pro, but for fun projects, this is a very neat little feature.
I just picked up a Nikon D800 from Pictureline, one of the best camera shops I’ve been to and certainly the finest shop in Utah. I have been shooting test frames around the house, and so far I’m impressed. The dynamic range, noise at high (1250) ISO, autofocus, overall usability, and overall image quality are superb.
I had to download a RAW update for Photoshop, and still can’t seem to get things working with Lightroom (I think I have to buy an upgrade), but I was able to open and pixel pick through a couple dozen images. They are definitely superior to the shots from my old D700, and far better than those of the D7000 I shoot with now. I’m anxious to get this thing out and capture the Salt Lake Valley and surrounding Utah landscapes, which deserve every iota of the D800’s 36mp full-frame sensor power.
So far, the only thing that I am not pleased with is the Live View feature. When you zoom in to focus on an image, the view is very noisy. I have read about this as a possible problem to be solved with a firmware update. Hope it doesn’t prove to be a problem down the line… Until then, here’s a quick example of the detail you can get out of the D800.
As an aspiring photographer, science and nature lover, and generally curious fellow, I find few things more fascinating and aesthetic than the forms of living creatures. They are at once alien and familiar. A strange mirror, they show us something of ourselves we are quick to forget.
Look at the frog, with its smooth, glistening folds of skin — can you not see some obtuse hint at our own origins? Look at the long muscles of its leg, not so unlike our own quadriceps. Look at the bulge of the belly, the short, chubby forelimbs; do they not remind of that rotund man at the gas station with his tight watchband and straining shirt? Regard the wide-set eyes and broad mouth; are they really so different from ours? View a frog from head on, add a jaunty hat and a pair of spectacles and what do you have? The gent you passed on the street the other day, grinning with a distant look in his eye.
The deer, the grasshopper, the squirrel, the snail, the giraffe… they are our not our charges; they are our brethren. They eat, mate, seek shelter from the elements and from predators. Had they only the words, can you imagine they would express sentiments so different from our own? But as they cannot speak, the best we can do is observe them closely and learn the lessens their ancestors have been teaching our ancestors for time immemorial.
I lived in New York City for four years, Brooklyn another four. Though I was in school for much of that time, the city itself was an education. I snapped a lot of photos of the urban experience, but most of them are on film and exist only in that frustratingly difficult to share analog format. (If you’re ever in the neighborhood, stop by and we can leaf through the pages of my many albums.) Following are just a scanty few of the interesting scenes I managed to capture with a digital camera.
About a week ago, a Facebook message caught our eye. It was from the Friends of Animals adoption center, Furburbia, a classy operation up in Park City run by diehard dog lovers. The message said that a litter of Aussie shepherd puppies had come in unexpectedly, and they all needed to be moved out of the center and away from other dogs while their vaccinations took effect.
K– and I have a dog already. His name is Bodhi. He’s an intelligent blue heeler with resource guarding and other issues. Still, we’ve long wondered what would happen if we got a second dog, so we decided to foster one of the pups from Furburbia as an experiment.
We picked up the puppy on a sunny afternoon and brought her home. From the start she was sweet and mellow. A little nervous, but happy to snuggle in anyone’s lap. She was painfully cute. The prototypical puppy, with soft fur, floppy ears, and a happy little yap that came out during playtime. We named her Mozzie and spent the week getting acquainted, knowing all the while we weren’t going to keep her. It was hard though. She won over everyone she met with her excess of cute. Every once in a while, we crossed into the “what if” territory, but always pulled back. Our hands are full as it is, and our little rented bungalow is pretty well at capacity, too.
As for the Bodhi experiment, things went better than expected. The two would play for hours on end, Bodhi, at two years old, acting every bit as goofy and puppy-like as the ten week old Mozzie. A good sign for a future when we might be more ready to bring a second dog into the house.
Today we will say goodbye to Mozzie. A friend of a friend has already vowed to meet us at Furburbia when we drop her off in the afternoon, so they can be sure to get her before anyone else. It’s not easy to give her up, as she’s already managed to tangle herself up in our heartstrings, but it’s the way it must be. With that, I dedicate this Photo Friday to Mozzie the dog. May she have a long and happy life.
This is actually a belated Photo Friday post. You’ll have to excuse me, as I was in Joe’s Valley bouldering yesterday and didn’t get around to putting it together. On the up side, I grabbed one more photo to add to the gallery. Unfortunately, I also grabbed a nice sunburn.
Every spot pictured below is worth a visit except Stansbury island. That area has very little good bouldering and is also home to an active shooting range. The geniuses who were shooting there during our visit did not seem particularly concerned with safety; from up on the hillside, we could see their bullets sending up dust plumes less than fifty feet from where we parked, seemingly outside the island’s loosely designated shooting areas. Of course, no one stopped shooting in our direction as we walked back to the vehicle, very visible in our brightly colored clothing and with a massive crashpad sticking up in the air. The constant echoing report of the bigger guns alone was enough to put us on edge for the few hours we were there. Proceed with caution.
…And I guess I wouldn’t drive too far to go to the Ogden Boulders, either, although they do offer some good lines and are perfectly climbable on a sunny winter day.
One classic granite bouldering spot I frequent that’s not represented here is Little Cottonwood Canyon. Maybe I’ll get a LLC-specific gallery together for a future Photo Friday post. Until then…
Years ago, I took a trip to Australia for my friend’s wedding. I took a month for the trip, so I’d have time to go climbing and exploring the countryside. I rented a Subaru in Sydney, learned to drive stick and drive on the wrong side of the road, and went on a mini-walkabout. It ended up being one of the greatest trips of my life. (Up there with the trip where I proposed to my fiancée in Paris, a trip to Greece with my parents when I was in my teens, and the RocTrip China trip.) I could easily write a five-thousand word travelogue about my time in Oz, but I have neither the time nor the inclination. Instead, I’ll share a few selected photos of the thousands I took. Happy Photo Friday!
It is a strange phenomenon when people who live very near to something extraordinary pay it no mind. I call it local’s apathy. I myself have suffered from local’s apathy. I lived in New York City for eight years and never once visited the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty. I went to the Natural History Museum and Times Square twice each.
Now that I live in Salt Lake City, I make it a point to check out as many of the cool parks and preserves as possible, from the Shoreline Bonneville Trail to Arches National Park. In part because I’m new here and apathy hasn’t yet settled in. But also because I keep encountering people who have been here their entire lives without visiting the amazing natural places Utah has to offer. Antelope Island is one of those places.
My fiancée holds a romanticized vision of the American West close to her heart, so Antelope Island is a fantasy land for her. There are rolling vistas textured with decomposing stone outcrops dating back to the dinosaur age, an unlikely herd of America Bison nearly 800 strong, an old settlers’ farmhouse kept up for educational purposes, and a wild view of the Great Salt Lake, one of the world’s largest inland bodies of water. (And yes, there are also Antelope on the island.)
And all of this is just thirty miles from downtown Salt Lake City. Thirty miles! You can actually see Salt Lake City from the Antelope Island. Other than the funky Salt Lake smell and buggy summers, I can think of no reason not to go. Salt Lakers who haven’t been here yet are suffering from the worst kind of locals’ apathy.
Below are a few photos from Antelope Island to help you motivate to make the trip. More info on this unique State Park here and here.
On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I went to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and took a walk by the Disney Opera House, part of the LA Philharmonic complex and designed by the inimitable Frank Gehry. The following photos are from those two spots. Happy Friday!
I’ve been taking pictures since I was a wee lad. My parents got me a basic film SLR when I was in high school, and I shot as much as I could afford to develop (ah, the good ol’ film days!). Starting in college, I began to work my way up the digital ranks. An early Sony point and shoot, then a D70, D80, D700, and I just put in a pre-order on the D800.
These days, I live in scenic Salt Lake City. Well, the surrounding mountains are scenic, at least… when they’re not shrouded in lung-searing smog. I also travel a lot for work and for pleasure. Both things offer plenty of great photo opportunities. Recently, I went to China for the Petzl RocTrip. I managed to grab a few nice shots, three of which comprise my first “Photo Friday” post. If you like them, keep your eye out for my travel report from RocTrip China, coming soon. In the meantime, Andrew Bisharat, on his blog eveningsends.com, has posted on the same topic, here and here.