Down East Sunrise

This sunrise shot on the beach along the Southern Bogue Banks of North Carolina is without question the best I have taken here since I first started coming down here ten years ago. Suffice to say, it was a keeper and I went to my usual lengths to make sure I held on to it.

If you’ve ever had a memory card get corrupted, and I have, you quickly learn not to take chances.  I learned a long time ago to always format memory cards in the camera I’m going to use.  It’s probably overkill, but I even go  a bit further.  I dedicate memory cards to specific cameras even though all are Nikons.  One set lives with the D750, another set with the D800e,  and a third with the D7100.  If you shoot with more than one brand of camera, and these days it’s not unusual to see a Sony or a Fujifilm in the same bag, do yourself a favor and always reformat the card for the specific camera you are going to use. There is no bigger bummer than to spend an entire day shooting and wind up with a corrupted card and nothing to show for the effort.

Thanks for the visit.  See you next time!

A Rant About Ready-made Frame Sizes

Looking to frame your digital photograph.

…….Don’t bother with all those ready-made frames you see in all the stores.  They won’t work for you unless you first crop your picture!  Read on.

 

It’s been 42 years since an Eastman Kodak Engineer named Steve Sasson invented the first digital camera;  and 18 years since Nikon came out with the first DSLR body designed from scratch by a single manufacturer: the 2.7 megapixel D1. Now digital cameras are everywhere from phones to drones,  yet for some reason the people who make all those frames you see at the big drugstores, craft stores, big box stores, etc…have never adopted digital photograph frame sizes.  They still base all of their frames on photograph sizes from the film era; 8 X10 or 11X14. Even a lot of the digital photo organizer software out there still offer only the standard analog photo print sizes that were set way back in the days of the Kodak Instamatic.  It forces you to  crop every digital photo you print so it will fit into those outdated,  ready-made frames you find on the store shelves. You’ll have to go online to find photo labs that will print digital sized photographs. Be sure to search for  “digital sizes” because they also print the old film sizes.

Once you do that, you’ll have, for example, a 12 X 16 print instead of a cropped 11 X 14 but you’ll have to have it custom framed or frame it yourself because the ready-made frames won’t fit. You’d think, after 18 years of commercial digital photography, the ready-made frame business would have caught on.  You’d think!

Thanks for the read, and look. See you next time. Oh, and have a great Holiday Weekend.

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: New Year’s Day

_dsc3717                                                           The moment of sunrise at Duck, North Carolina along the Outer Banks.

I’m beginning the new year with a new camera, the Nikon D750.  Well, it’s new to me anyway.   The 750 has been out a while but I wasn’t drawn to it initially because I didn’t think it was a true successor to the D700, which to this day I wish I had not sold.  I was chasing megapixels back in those days.  The D700 had 12.  The norm now is about double that but the D700 was still one of the best digital cameras Nikon has ever made. My humble opinion!  The 12 megapixels plus the full frame sensor made for incredible photographs. It captured the nuances of light uniquely.  It shined.  The 700 also had a pro body. It was a tank just like the Nikon film cameras.  And, like the old Nikon F’s,  it was just a still camera. No Video.  My kind of rig.  I’ve never shot one frame of video on any camera since and I wish I could still buy a camera without it.  Easy, I’m 71.  I’m old.  Still photography is still my only bag. Instead of the then new D750,  I bought the Nikon D600.  Within a year, it was back at Nikon getting a new shutter because of oil splatter.  They fixed it well and I put upwards of 75 thousand snaps on it before selling it this fall.  Why?  Well, Nikon was out with refurbished D750’s at a price I could not refuse. It was a bit faster and, better in low light.  Having used it for a month,  I have only a few gripes — apart from the fact that it is also a video camera.    First, it has the cheap Nikon eyepiece that is forever coming off.  Why Nikon cannot engineer its consumer cameras with the same round eyepiece it puts on its pro models is beyond me. Perhaps they are making too much money selling replacement eye  pieces.   I have to keep a supply on hand because they are always coming off the camera.  I wish it had an auto focus “On” button paired up with the AF/ AE (E for exposure) lock button on the back of the camera. True, there’s a work around using the “fn” button on the front, but it’s awkward.  And i wish Nikon would move either the ISO button or the Quality button to the top of the camera. I keep hitting the “quality” button when I go to change the ISO and I don’t realize it until I go to process the file and discover its not a RAW file.  One of the reasons I didn’t go for the 750 when it first came out was the pop out tilting monitor on the rear of the camera.  I was certain it would prove to be a weak point. I have been proven wrong.  I suffered a serious fall while on a photo outing in December.  I took a beating but the 750 which crashed to the pavement with me suffered nary a scratch. So with the few gripes I have listed, I love the camera.  The resolution,quality, clarity, sharpness, improved grip, weight  etc are off the charts. I’m looking forward to 2017 with it.  I will also watch my step.

My best wishes to all who venture here every so often for a joyous, healthy and prosperous 2017.  Blue Skies and Green lights everybody and thanks for the look.  See you next time.

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: 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.

Photo Of The Week: Autumn On The Outer Banks

Serenity  Posted to Flickr october 28, 2016

I’ve always been convinced that Autumn and Winter are the best seasons for grabbing a dynamic sunrise or sunset shot along the coast.  I’m no weather guru but it just seems the cooler temperatures seem to generate more clouds which, when struck, by the light of the rising sun, make for  a spectacular scene.  This is the moment of Sunrise along the Outer Banks of North Carolina somewhere between Kitty Hawk and Southern Shores.  No filters. Nikon D800E Camera with an 18mm lens. ISO 400, Manual exposure, center weight metering, f/9, 1/320th of a second.  Thanks for your visit and have a great week ahead.