An Atlantic Dawn

Atlantic Dawn I

 

Atlantic Dawn II

A couple of pre-sunrise shots taken at Southern Shores, North Carolina.  I didn’t have far to walk to the beach so when I saw the cloudy sky, I grabbed my bag and headed out.   These scenes come early so if you have trouble getting out of bed, you will miss them.   Be there and you’ll be rewarded with some fabulous sky colors.  These two shots were taken on the same morning.  A complete makeover that occurred within just a few minutes before sunrise.  Both shots were handheld. The second a tad longer exposure.  Both shot with a Nikon D800e camera and an 18-35 Nikkor lens.  If you’re heading for a beach this spring or summer, take along an alarm clock.  It’s worth the agony of getting up early.  Have a good week.  See you next time.

Reprocessing old RAW Files

I wrenched my lower back this past week.  I wasn’t trying to lift a car or anything, just bending over in a chair to tie my shoe.  I was greeted with the awful muted pop!  I knew what happened as soon as I felt it.  I’ve had the problem with my lower back for a long time.  I won’t bore you with all the whys etc.  It all  comes down to sitting….. too long!  Sitting too long at the computer processing photographs and writing….another book.   Any orthopedist will tell you, sitting is never good for the back. Ever!

I had to stop sitting so much.  It required some lifestyle changes.  I got my old oak, adjustable drafting table out of the barn here on the farm and refinished it.  It now serves as my desk.  And,  I bought one of those standing pads and a good  pair of walking shoes with a large “toe box.”  Mine are New Balance 877’s. They are working wonders for me.  ( I am not paid by New Balance to endorse their shoes.)   I wear a back brace often during the day and I am doing lower lumbar exercises every morning and afternoon and my wife and I bought a new firm mattress.  I have good days and bad days but overall, I get the idea things are improving.

I know this is a photography blog.  Stay with me.  I’m getting to it.

So what to do when you can’t go roaming for that perfect shot?  You work on old files.  Since I converted to digital photography in 2009, I have shot everything in RAW.  Nikon’s version of that is called NEF. Raw is, for lack of a better term, a digital negative.  It captures everything the camera sees.  It does not condense or compress any of the data.  The downside is, shooting and keeping raw files requires an enormous amount of space.  These files are BIG.  I have five external drives devoted to storing these things as well as on line storage in the so-called cloud.  These files require processing or conversion before posting or printing.  It’s sort of like developing  film in the old days.  I use the conversion program in Photoshop Elements.

Going back and reworking old gems allowed me to take advantage of software tools that either were not around or I did not know about about at the time of the original conversion.  This past week, I’ve been reprocessing shots are from the summer of 2011 taken on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, one of my favorite places for photography.

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Sea Oates at Duck Posted to Flickr August 9, 2014  Blogged. Facebook

My reason for going back and reworking these shots was to remove camera shake (I had taken these handheld with no tripod. Now I know better) and to use the haze reduction tool.  You’ll have to take my word for it that the sharpness and clarity of these two views are remarkable improvements over the originals.

So if you don’t shoot your images in the RAW format your camera has, think about it.  External drives and on-line storage are  pretty cheap. Flickr is free!   You’ll have the benefit of seeing just about everything your camera has recorded and, you’ll have something to take your mind off an aching back….for a while.   Thanks for the read, have a good week and stop sitting so much!

Photo Of The Week: Nor’Easter

The Sea Oats on the Barrier Dunes bend South as near gale force winds buffet the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Windswept

Windswept

After multiple attempts to get the light on the ocean  where I wanted it, I finally came close to what I had visualized.  Of course, if you’re like me, you’re never satisfied and so you keep going back time and again for the perfect shot.  I’m not sure I can do any better than this.  But,  I’ll keep trying.

Particulars:  Nikon D750 Camera, 24-120 f/4 lens.   Shot with manual exposure, f/8 at 1/640, center weight metering, auto white balance, focal length 65mm.  No filters. I used a Slik tripod for the shot.

My thanks to those who stop by for a look. I appreciate your taking the time.  See you next time if not before.

Photo Of The Week:Boardwalk Empire

Boardwalk Empire.  Posted to Flickr November 12, 2016e

The walkway to the Gazebo at Duck, destroyed by Hurricane Irene more than five years ago, is back in business, though this was as far as I could get given the rather formidable chain blocking access.   I suspect the owners now rent it out.  The walkway connects to the Duck Boardwalk which runs along the coast of Currituck Sound for perhaps a mile or so. The late afternoon sun coupled with the perspective made for a rather interesting shot with a wide angle lens. So what has been a roosting place for Seagulls is now ready for humans, but as with most things now, it’s pay to play.  Nikon D800E Camera. 18-35 mm lens. Thanks for the look and have a great week ahead

 

Photo Of The Week: Flags for the Scouts

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This shot of the Stars and Stripes and the State Flag of North Carolina flying on the barrier dunes along the Outer Banks at Sunset was chosen by the Eastern Council of the Boy Scouts of America to be awarded to  selected friends of Scouting for their outstanding support.  Exquisitely matted and framed by Shenandoah Printing and Graphics of Greenville, North Carolina, it is a most impressive presentation.  It was a real honor for the Scouts to select my shot.  I cannot think of a better organization to be associated with.  Thanks for the look.  See you soon.

Photo Of The Week: November In The Wetlands

Autumn in the Wetlands

Autumn in the Wetlands

It’s probably not on any government map as an official,”Wetlands,” probably because it’s not very large; maybe 50 to 75 yards wide and a mile or thereabouts long.  Whatever, it’s on our farm and  it’s home to several families of Beavers, goodness knows how many Canada Geese,  Mallards and Wood Ducks, not to mention the Deer, Bears, Foxes and other forest critters who visit daily for a drink of water or to munch on some tasty leaves and berries.  We don’t permit any hunting in our wetlands and we leave the perimeter untouched so as to isolate it and make access difficult for humans.  I seldom venture there now except in the fall when navigating the vines, thorns  and overgrowth has died down to the point where one can gain access without getting hopelessly entangled in the thicket.  This past week, I took the plunge,  fitted out with hip boots and a very thick, thorn proof jacket.  It’s been quite dry here since Hurricane Matthew blasted through dumping well over a foot and half of rain so the slog for photos wasn’t too difficult for these old bones.  My photo gear for this little adventure was my trusty Nikon D7100 small sensor camera and a Sigma 10-20mm wide angle zoom. I leave my expensive full frame cameras in the bag when I venture into water either here on the farm or at the ocean front.   Why chance it when the D7100 will do the job.

It was well worth the trip.  I think the late afternoon shots on a partly cloudy, blue sky day captured both the isolation and the wildness of the area.  The shot above was taken from the North side of the Wetlands about 100 yards  East of the largest Beaver Pond with the Sigma dialed in at 10mm with a slight crop in post.  As is my usual practice when shooting into the sun, I used the manual setting and spot metering, taking my reading in the blue sky to the right away from the sun, locking the exposure ,then recomposing and shooting. The sun star, of course, is inherent at f/22.  As for the ISO, suffice to say I usually shoot at several different settings and just pick what I think is best.  The winner here , at least to my eye, was ISO 400.

A camera change for me.  I’m trading in my Nikon D600 in favor of a refurbished Nikon D750.  I bought the D600 new when it came out some years ago, and as you might know, the model was plagued with shutter oil splatter on the sensor requiring constant cleaning of the sensor.  Nikon finally agreed to a recall and replaced the shutter free of charge and the camera has given great service ever since. I opted for the D750 because It’s faster, has a tilt screen, 51 focus points, high ISO range,  among other improvements.  Prior to the D600, every digital camera I have ever bought from Nikon has been a refurbished model and I have never had the first problem. I’ve always heard that unlike  Nikon’s random assembly line checks of new models,  each of the company’s refurbished models is gone over by by a Nikon Tech and set to factory specs before it is cleared for sale.  I’ll let you know how the refurbished D750 measures up in a future post. As always, thanks for the read.  See you next time.

Photo of The Week: Autumn On The Banks

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The ubiquitous Sea Oat telegraphs a very calm dawn along the barrier dunes on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  It is very unusual to encounter such a quiet Atlantic this time of the year.  Am recovering from surgery so will leave it at that.  Nikon D600/ 24-120mm f/4 lens.  Have a good week and thanks for the look.