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Friday, August 21, 2015

Computer Down (Part Two)

Resorting to iPhone and Adobe Lightroom Mobile for a while. Replacement computer not on horizon. Will get back into it when I'm able to but to keep something visible. I'll post my photos from my iPhone which will be my ready camera for the long run. 

This was a shot taken with my iPhone 4s and edited in Lightroom Mobile

Same with this one to get the clouds and the sunset. 

So making do with what I have at the moment and trying to create some memories with this iPhone to prove that even an iPhone camera is better than no camera at all. 


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Computer Down

My younger son screwed up the computer.  Now it will not boot at all.  

Well the computer went down again.  I'm now stuck having to do all my blogposts on iPad.  Now I am computer-less till July 20.  And my younger son got his ears chewed off.  He was on a on line game site when he should not have been.  

Unfortunately now I am going to have to spend almost $1000 to put all programs that I need to put on the computer to utilize the new computer for photography.  

Also I am not happy with London Drugs computer department for the computer that I currently have that went down.  I have taken that computer in quite a number of times to try to find out why that computer is freezing unfortunately the computer technician at London Drugs cannot seem to figure out why.  Needless to say I am not impressed.  

Plus on top of the computer going down; I'm finding that I lost all the images that I placed on the hard drive which I had not managed to back up onto CD ROM or DVD ROM.  Let's face it; it sucks.  

Anyhow, considering all that is happened so far; it will be nice to finally get a computer that won't freeze every 25 minutes when it feels like it doesn't want to work anymore.  

I am not a computer technician. When something goes wrong with the computer I cannot fix it.  Put it plainly if the computer goes down I'm screwed.  I will definitely be transferring a lot of files off the old damaged hard drive and hopefully I can recover most of the files that I have but I'm not holding my breath.  

Eventually I had hoped to replace the computer; however it seems that this has accelerated the timeframe and has majorly screwed up our finances for the short-term.  

As it stands I will have to replace the computer on 20th of July.  

Replacement cost of computer $485.00
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6 $199.99
File transfer cost $175 CD ROM/DVD ROM
Windows 8.1(full) $119.99

Total cost $979.98

This is an expensive amount of money spent just because somebody did not listen to his father and went on a game site he wasn't allowed to go on and ultimately corrupted the computer to the point where it cannot be used again. 

Needless to say; Dad is pretty pissed off.  

Friday, June 12, 2015

Storm (My Daughter) - Portraits

Spent time with my daughter at Bear Creek Park today.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Gorgeous Sunset Tonight

Took a look out my window this evening and saw a gorgeous sunset at 9:00PM: yep the days are getting longer and the sun goes down later in the day.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Gone Squirrelly!

After spending a lot of time trying to figure out what it is that I want to do...I found that I'm still interested in wildlife and plan to do other things including landscape; taking the opportunities when they come. Turns out my home is a good enough place to find wildlife too. A family of squirrels have set up home in my eaves - darn it!

Honey! Our eave just grew a tail!

It's kind of nice to have a family of squirrels that will pose so willingly for photos even though they are rather skittish. Now to get the raccoons living underneath the shed.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

My very first VLog

I've been having some real creative block these past few months and I've been looking for a kickstart to my creativity. I'm hoping that doing these vlogs every week will try to give me that creative kick-start that I need to get back into shooting on a regular basis. A lot of "outside the photography stuff" happening that has put a bit of a crimp in those plans but I'm hoping to be able to multi-task enough that I can get everything done.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Cherry (Sakura) Blossoms

With Spring around the corner, I had the urge to go find some cherry blossoms or sakura as we Japanese-Canadians call it. And the Lower Mainland is plentiful in cherry trees. Every year they blossom into beautiful pink/white blossoms that make for beautiful photos and drive poor gardeners to distraction (while cutting the lawns - I know, because I used to be one oh so long ago when I used to help my father on weekends with his gardening business). Now I photograph the cherry blossoms instead of swearing at them when they drop their blossoms all over the grass.

There are plenty of places around the Lower Mainland to photograph cherry trees and the best way to locate them is through the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival website where you can locate Neighbourhood Maps in order to find the nearest and most photogenic photographic opportunities. Keep in mind that cherries blossom from late February (think the last week of February if it is unseasonably warm) to early April.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Foggy Morning

It was a foggy morning.

So I decided to take advantage of that and photograph some trees close by for that eerie image.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Morning With The Boundary Bay Eagles

Spent the morning of the twenty-sixth of February down at Boundary Bay communing with the bald eagles armed with my Nikon 600mm f/4. Considering that I only had a monopod to manage the 600mm, the shot to keeper ratio wasn't too great.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A New Tripod Competitor Emerges - Jobu Algonquin.

Like its namesake, the Algonquin emerges from the forest as a tough competitor in the tripod battle - I am looking at Jobu's offering: the TCF-36 Algonquin (a proudly Canadian name)

Judging from it's size, and load capacity, it can take a Nikon 600mm with no problem. It's load capacity is 55lbs or 22.3 kg which is the load capacity of the nearest competitor, the Gitzo GT5542LS. It allows me to pack on my 600mm f/4 and my D300s (with an MB-D10 battery grip) along with whatever else I need to load it up with including a preview monitor if I'm shooting long-distance wildlife video or a flash or mounting a panorama or video head. And considering its Canadian build, they know what sort of abuse it will go through during the course of shooting outdoors in the wild.

And considering that FalconRose Photography is going strictly Canadian and non-U.S. suppliers in our photography from hereon in, it makes sense to buy a made-in-Canada tripod and support our Canadian tripod/gimbal manufacturers. I apologize for the anti-American slant on this post, but I'm choosing to support Canadian and non-U.S. suppliers from now on.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Move In The Works appears that we may be considering a move in the near future - one that will dictate how the business develops. It's known that buying a house farther south in Surrey will affect the family in several ways. It'll require my wife needing to move from her current place of work, to another store that will give her more options to move up in the company. It's also going to mean uprooting the kids from their current school; sending them to a school in the same school district and it will mean that I move closer to my subject matter - wildlife and landscapes. However where we land in terms of housing is a completely different matter. Right now it's a plan that's up in the air. But any chance to land somewhere near where I am able to photograph my main subjects is a plus - it means less gas outlay and more time shooting.

My main locations are the following.

Serpentine Fen - mostly waterfowl and great blue herons

Boundary Bay - for eagles and other raptors as well as the occasional great blue heron

George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary and Alaksen National Wildlife Reserve - all sorts of birds including sandhill cranes

Now I enjoy being able to get out there and photograph, but currently it puts wear and tear on the car and eats up a lot of gas, so the closer I am to the sites that I go shoot at, the better it is. I haven't had the opportunity to photograph sandhill cranes, but that's something that I plan to do one of these days. The cranes are resident at Reifel and it'll be worth the $5.00 admission fee to be able to go and photograph them but only when I have enough cash to do so. So for now, it's sticking to the sites that I know I can get in for free like Boundary Bay and Serpentine Fen.

Here's a shot from 2013 - time to go back out and shoot some more down at Serpentine.

Living closer will be good.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Night Structures - Central City, Whalley; Surrey, BC

Trying to get back into the swing of things after the post-Gibson's throat infection - tired and fatigued, but itching to get that camera in hand. Went up tonight to go take some photographs.

I think at ISO 100 they came out a lot sharper but the ISO 100 on the Nikon has less definition and has to be pumped up a bit in post. The Nikon ISO 100 is actually a base ISO 200 underexposed by 1 stop to simulate ISO 100, but unfortunately, the highlights tend to clip earlier and the sensor is less sensitive. I wanted to shoot at LO 1.0 because I still found that when I was shooting at night that if there was definition like clouds, there would be noise. So thus I went to LO 1.0 to remove what noise that was there. These images I shot in JPG. The next bunch I'll do in RAW.

What I am finding is that the 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 is not wide enough for what perspective of view I want. So it's either go with the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 or go with the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8. Or perhaps both. pocketbook is going to really not like me after this.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Fog on the Fraser River, Barnston Island, February 1st, 2015

I had hoped that my recovery would be quick, however it has been almost three weeks since I came down with this and I'm still coughing periodically. They say the cough lasts for about three weeks afterwards in terms of sinus infections post-recovery, so that pretty much puts the timeline pretty well about where it's at. Anyways, I got bored, picked up the D300s and the 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 lens and headed out to Fort Langley after dropping Chris off at the Langley Sportsplex for his hockey game. It was just a minor shoot and I wanted to get the fog on the river so that's what I did using up 1/16th of a tank of gas whilst doing so. ~sigh~ the money we spend getting the creative juices flowing.

The following photos were taken by the Barnston Island Bridge leading from Fort Langley thru Barnston Island heading to what used to be the old ferry landing from Barnston Island to Maple Ridge before the Golden Ears Bridge came into being.

I wanted to show the fog on the Fraser River south of Barnston Island. I think I succeeded somewhat.

Hopefully I can get myself out to do some more shooting over the next while.

Hockey Trip to Sechelt - The Ferry Ride Over (January 9-11th, 2015)

After coming back from Sechelt on the 11th of January, I ended up with a severe throat infection which pretty much sidelined me the rest of the month with regards to photo-shooting. So unfortunately nothing new...other than these three photos that I took during the course of the trip over to Sechelt.

This was from when we were at Horseshoe Bay waiting on the ferry to arrive so that we could board.

The following three photos were from the ferry ride; where I took a rather cold walk across the observation deck trying to see if I could find some photo opportunities.

This shot was from Cowrie Street in Sechelt close to the motel where we were staying for the weekend.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR - The 300/4 Cometh.

Well...a few days ago, we saw Nikon come out with their newest telephoto lens - the long awaited Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR to replace their very long-in-the-tooth but very capable AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D IF-ED. The Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR has added VR to the mix as well as a Phase Fresnel lens to cut down on chromatic aberration and ghosting. If London Drugs or Broadway Camera get a sample lens to try, I'm going to get a couple of shots with it just to see how it is. My prime 300mm will be the f/2.8 VRII, but I'm liking the size of the Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR which is dramatically smaller than the lens that it replaced. Let's just say Nasim Mansurov at PhotographyLife blog has offered up a size comparison. Go to his blog and take a look. That means that lens will be able to be handheld easily which is great for long hikes through rough terrain and that lens can still take a 1.4x or 1.7x teleconverter easily. I don't know how a phase fresnel lens works so I don't know how it will affect using an aspherical TC-20EIII, but I will test that out too when I can get my hands on a workable copy of this lens. Outside of my disagreement with Nikon on the fact that pro-DX still has a market to cater too, I find the lens offerings from Nikon to be very nice.

My own personal opinion is this is a lens that is very useful to the outdoor photographer on a budget. But since I shoot in dark dim arenas, the only time I'd be able to use this kind of lens is when I'm going outdoors to shoot. It's still useful for sports photography if lets say that you are shooting for an outdoor trackmeet, but still the f/4 aperture will mean that you will have to put your ISO higher and get your shutterspeed up to freeze action, but overall, this lens is well worth looking into and may be an alternative to the f/2.8 VRII version which will set you back over $6K CDN.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The FX/Pro-DX Conundrum

The more time that elapses between July 30, 2009 and now; the more I feel that Nikon perhaps is considering the Pro-DX market dead. And that is unfortunate because Canon will swoop in quickly to fill the void left behind as Canon is continuing to pump out their 5D full-frame bodies out with regularity every few years. I'm not a Canon shooter nor will I ever become one. But I am extremely resentful of being forced to upgrade to a professional grade body when a Pro-DX body would do just as well and be considerably less than what it would cost to convert to an FX pro-body with the specs needed.

Having found a niche in sports (think hockey) photography from wildlife (though professional wildlife photography is still my main goal), I find that my requirements require high-ISO to boost the shutterspeed to handheld (1/250th and faster) from shooting in dimly lit arenas and fast moving hockey players. It also requires a fast f/2.8 14-24mm lens to capture the action in the corners which also requires another fast body to utilize the lens to its full potential.

So my gear when fully realized will be the Nikon D4s (FX) with 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII and my long-in-the-tooth Nikon D300s (pro-DX) armed with the 14-24mm f/2.8. Ideally a 300mm f/2.8 would be useful for getting close-in shots of hockey player's faces, but that's another $6,000 lens that I don't need to expend money on at the moment.

Do I like have to acquire a new camera body? Not when I have no choice in the matter. Hockey is shot in dark, dimly lit arenas and that starts pushing the specs of the camera to the edges of the performance envelope. I'd rather have a margin of safety with regards to consistency of photos than have to deal with a camera that's shooting at the very edges of what it was meant to do. Certainly the D810 if pushed will do what's necessary, but if I have to upgrade to something that I have to push to do the job I want it to do, then why don't I just spend the extra $3900.00 and go all the way up to a professional body?

...AND because of the lack of continuation of designing, manufacturing and releasing Nikon pro-DX bodies THAT is exactly what Nikon is forcing us to do.