MY OPINION

Clean, Green State of Litter Everywhere

Litter and Jetsam

Does anyone care about the environment or Tasmania’s clean, green image we are selling to tourists, worldwide?

The behind-the-scene truth about the glossy, eyewatering tourism ads and sensational headlines about clean, green, pristine Tasmania, the “Holiday Island”, tourism destination. What if bus loads of Chinese tourists, whose tourism dollars our State so desperately depends upon, saw this waterfront rubbish, instead of the wafting fields of lavender, Cradle Mountain, Freycinet, and other over-sold and over-priced destinations? Might remind them of the banks of the Yangtze River, in China.

The amount of litter, just in this one location, along the River Derwent, is mind-boggling.

Add “trade waste” to this litter and jetsam in Tasmania’s drinking water sources, and I just do not believe the State would be able to do a better job than Taswater.

Photographs above were taken: 18 August 2017 and an email was sent to the Office of the Premier.

Note: Received a letter from MP Matthew Groom, dated 6 Sep 2017, regarding litter.
“. . . It is disappointing to see evidence of littering such as that shown in your photographs.

Littering of this nature is a complex issue that needs to be addressed through a range of measures and by working with a variety of stakeholders . . . “

I could have written that response myself. In other words, this issue is put into the “Too Hard basket”, because there is almost no cooperation or coordinated effort between the “variety of stakeholders”.

A year from now, the litter will still be there, if not washed out to sea.

All wasted words from a politician.

Stupid is as stupid does -Forrest Gump

_RLC9045-46-47-Terminally Stupid

So, we have the “seven deadly sins” and a TASPol and RACT driver education campaign, about the “fatal five” . . .

But, nothing will cure the terminally stupid. Look at this well and truly overloaded Toyota Traytop Utility. So overloaded the rear tires are compressed, creating more heat build-up from extra contact area with the road surface and risking a blow-out. In addition to the rear tires being overloaded and it is obvious no thought was given to additonal inflation up to the maximum stated on the sidewall, the rear suspension would be of little benefit for control. As it is a tall vehicle, its centre-of-gravity is higher and even more top heavy being overloaded, thus part of the reason you will encounter one of these firewood haulers coming opposite direction around a curve and across the double white lines. Another reason, aside from sloppy driving habits and being top heavy, is the minimal road surface contact with the front tires and steering authority being compromised, as evidenced by the front suspension at full extension or nearly so and uncompressed front tires. Notice the box containing the firewood is actually pulled away from the cab of the vehicle, due to the weight. These diesel vehicles chug, sputter and belch black exhaust, as they struggle uphill, in this overloaded condition, and they hold up all traffic behind them, as they cannot possibly come close to the speed limit. Not one of the drivers of these overloaded and struggling vehicles would ever consider pulling off the road, onto the shoulder or into a slip lane to let all the traffic banked up behind them to pass, as they do 87 in a 110 kmph zone. Then going downhill, these vehicles typically tailgate the vehicle ahead of them. I wonder how much extra stopping distance they would require, panic braking to a complete stop.

Being terminally stupid is one thing, not knowing the load capacity of their vehicle, that the tires need extra inflation, not considering horsepower to weight ratio and being inconsiderate of or oblivious to other road users is another level altogether.

The Graduated Driver Licencing (L1, L2, P, Full) scheme obviously doesn’t work. Somewhere amongst all those hours of driving lessons, and written exams, these drivers have missed the basics.

Imagine buying this vehicle from a Used Car lot. All shiny with Armor All on the tires, lightly vacuumed, muddy Engine Oil changed . . . You would think you got a great bargain and could never imagine the vehicle had been used and abused, like this. I wonder what condition the engine, gearbox, clutch, brakes, suspension and axles are really in. You would never know, until maybe six months down the road.

CEO of Royal Automobile Club of Tamania wrote,
“Thanks . . . I totally agree . . .
I think an education campaign on wood hookers would be worthless, it is more likely it would need to be a police operation.”

Need I write more

Comparison Photo Nikon D3x vs iPhone Camera

Other than pretty pictures

I handheld the 3.0kg Nikon 500mm f/4.0P lens, to take this shot.

Imagine trying to find a target, with a 4.94° Diagonal Field of View, get the focus and exposure right, just in the very small amount of time the target has been acquired. Challenging, to say the least.

I originally had the lens mounted on a tripod, but just could not change it fast enough along a horizontal and vertical axis.

So, I do not know the angular inclination of the lens above the horizon.

If the aircraft was straight overhead, it might be simple mathematics, knowing the physical dimensions of the aircraft, comparing the number of pixels the wing or fuselage length occupy to the dimensions of the Sensor.

The Wings are nearly parallel to the Hypotenuse formed by the diagonal line on the sensor. and in reality that rectangular area would be perpendicular to the axis from the Circle of Confusion on the Sensor to the middle underside of the aircraft’s fuselage. I depicted it in this way merely to give you some idea what I have been up to for the past couple days or so.

Because the aircraft is flying away at some angle and the wings is not precisely aligned with the Hypotenuse, actual pixel count seems more of a guess.

For example, knowing the wing from tip-to-tip is 36 feet (10.9728 meters) and the fuselage length is 28.25 feet (8.6106 meters) . . . I have measured between 987.5 pixels for the wing span . . . When comparing that to the length of the fuselage, the pixel count seems incorrect . . . Or, doing a pixel count of the fuselage, taking a ratio and applying that to the wing, the pixel count will be off. Frustrating.

There must be an accurate and predictable method, but I have not played with mathematics on this level in a very, very long time. Believe it or not, I designed a rocket, at university, but that was more than four decades into my past. I was smarter, then, or had many more active brain cells working for me.

What this demonstrates is that photography is more than just pretty pictures.

Possible solution:

Right Triangle

 

 

 

 

 

tanTheta = b/a       tan(2.47°) = 0.043136357952622       b = 3,634.45       a X tan(2.47°) = b

a = 84254.9109962412 pixels
(Note: this will be from the Focal Plane to the belly of the aeroplane, between the main landing gear))

sinTheta = b/c

sin(2.47°) = 0.043096280984403      c X sin(2.47°) = b      c = 84333.2630329656

Taking a piece of paper, hold it parallel to the Span of the Wing, that is taken from a point in the middle of each wingtip and one gets 987.5 pixels. We know the Wing Span of this NACA 2412 type of wing on a Cessna U206G is 35 feet 10 inches (+/- 2 inches, depending on references) and is 987.5 pixels. The Wing Tip uses a NACA 0012 type of aerofoil and measures 3 feet, 8.5 inches.

The Wing Span is a known number.

So, I would want to know the number of pixels/foot of wing span.

If 987.5 pixels ÷ 35.83333 feet, then I would have 27.5581395348837 pixels/foot

Taking excerpts from the above:
a = 84254.9109962412 pixels ÷ 27.5581395348837 pixels/foot = 3,057.3512007072 feet from the Focal Plane to the belly of the Cessna, between the Main Landing Gear.

This is plausible. That still does not give me the height above the ground.

This may not be correct, though.

Why?

In the photo of the aeroplane, the Fuselage length appears longer than the Wing Span, but we know this is not true, as the Fuselage Length is 28.25 feet, as compared to the Wing Span of 35.83333 feet.

Measuring the Fuselage Length, I arrive at 865 pixels.

865 pixels ÷ 28.25 feet = 30.6194690265487 pixels/foot

35.833333 ÷ 28.25 = 1.26843657699115

How does this ratio compare with the pixels/foot count?

987.5 ÷ 865 = 1.14161849710983

Do you see the difference and the dilemma I have???

This is probably due to a parallax. How do I resolve that???

84254.9109962412 ÷ 30.6194690265487 = 2751.67772906799

3,057.3512007072 – 2751.67772906799 = 305.673471639207

Big difference! Which is correct? Is there a mathematical solution to know for certain?

How about this addition to the confusion? Measuring the Right Wingtip it is found to be 95 pixels and 3.70833333333333 feet or 25.6179775280899 pixels per foot.

Let’s average the three pixels/foot counts. That would equal 27.9318620298408 pixels per foot

So, my best guess for the distance from the Focal Plane to the aircraft belly would be:

84254.9109962412 ÷ 27.9318620298408 = 3016.44447857533 feet

This is more plausible, though still does not give me the height above the ground of the aircraft.

3016.44447857533 feet becomes the new hypotenuse (c) to determine Height of the aircraft above the ground.

It would not be too far fetched to assume 3,000 feet above ground. And, the angle I held the big 500mm lens at could have been as much as 84° above the horizon. Maybe. All a guess, really.

I would guess 2,500 feet, considering the surrounding hilltops are approaching 1,500 feet or 457 meters. Too many variables?

Moral Compass

_RLC6687_Moral Compass copy

For those whom have lost their way, your moral compass garnishes this defunct religious bastion.

Congregational Church (c. 1883), 47 Davey Street, Hobart

One thing about religion that puzzles me . . . For a period of time a religion and its place of worship seems relevant, well attended and worth killing or dying for. Glorious monuments are built to celebrate it or battered to near total destruction only to be superseded by an equally flimsy and fractious congregation. After a while, both cease to be relevant or well attended or worth defending. Soon afterward, the religious edifice, if it survived bombardment and conflagration or neglect, is sold in preference for the one true omnipotent entity –MONEY.

Should one’s faith be as temporary and purchasable?

Quality Control?

Made-in-China

This circuitboard was within a two-slice toaster, Made-in-China, that stopped working. Toasters are not very durable or reliable, lasting not more than two years, regardless how expensive they are. The above photo shows the most likely reason. Does anything more need to be written?

Economics 101

_RLC6086-One Dollar

Consider the Cash rate or Exchange Rate:

High Value-
• Great for overseas travel.
• Great for importers.
• Great for shoppers/consumers for foreign-made products, which is almost everything on our store shelves -including food.
• Bad for those whose salary is paid in foreign currency.
• Bad for exporters from Australia.
• Bad for egregious-profit-seeking businesses.
• Bad for wealthy Chinese sending their brats here for an education, to set up small side enterprises buying Baby Formula to sell at three times as much, back in China.
•Bad for wealthy Chinese real estate investors snapping up apartment and office buildings and a dairy at bargain basement prices.
•Bad for the wine industry exports.
•Bad for the Tourism Industry reliant upon visitors from overseas.

• In short great for the little guy, but bad for the Big end of town •

Do not be afraid to challenge yourself. Or, the evolution of my success.

_RLC4252_Bedroom Window Aurora Sighting

Photographers are a very strange crowd.  Most photographs of an Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) or Aurora Australis (Southern Lights), you will not find any “how to” information or camera settings, as if it is a military secret or as if would compromise their genius and creative skill set to give a clue.  My advice is, don’t ask, just go out and do it.  My images turned out superior to a “local Hobart expert” who gives “aurora tours and workshops” for about $50.00, believe it, or not!

How I did it:

Just before 8:23 p.m., 07 October, while closing the upstairs bedroom window curtains, I saw an amazing Aurora Australis bloom. I decided to grab a few photos.

I started at 4,350°K 1600ISO, f/4.0, and 25 sec and as it became more visible, I was shooting at 640ISO, f/1.4, and 15 sec.

I decided that is could only get better and packed the car for a drive to a location on South Arm, that I scouted back on 20 September. It would take more than an hour to reach the location.

Everything looks different in the dark. I turned up three different dirt tracks toward the south-facing shoreline that were wrong. Returning to C330, I found the correct track, just prior to midnight.

How disappointing. I talked with a couple other photographers, who left before me. I took five photos, “I was there.” I decided to return home and took a shortcut to a familiar haunt. Glad I did.

The camera was set-up, initially, to what I had set for South Arm, that is 1600ISO, f/2.8, and 15sec. Whoa! Over-exposed.

I backed it off to 400ISO, f/2.8, and 15 sec. At that setting, I changed it to Incandescent (Nikon) or Tungsten (Canon, which coincides with 3,000°K, and 3,800°K (Loic LeGully’s recommendation), 4,440°K, Daylight 5,500°K, 6,450°K (as near to a calibrated computer screen at 6,500°K and 2.2 Gamma), and Auto White Balance.

Oh, what crap! Is all I can say. The sensor seems to become sensitive to different colours or changes the colours from observed. Also, as we have had fires in Tasmania, and at the shoreline and busy farmers, there is a lot of atmospheric haze.

To my untrained eyes, the observed greens closer to a Staedtler yellow highlighter. Supposedly reds are not visible to the naked eyes, but I could perceive reds, other times blues. The Aurora was constantly changing, sometimes making horizontal S-shapes, at other times well-defined radiating lines, and still other times, a combination or variation.

IF, IF possible, when the Aurora Index is at least 6, I would suggest using not more than 400ISO, due to electronic (digital) Noise. After all these years, two areas my photography suffer is treating Noise and Sharpening. I try not to be too aggressive with either, though aware that display sharpening is different from print sharpening.

Another thought, I would try to use a shorter exposure time than 15 sec. Though using a wide angle lens, i.e. 28mm, when viewed on my computer screen at 100 to 400%, stars are slightly elongated. So, I will consider using 10 to 8 seconds, but I will have to use a wider Aperture.

Also, it will take the eyes a bit of time to “dark adapt”, even after using headlights from your vehicle, or a torch (flashlight for Yankees), and believe it or not, viewing the LCD screen on your camera. When your eyes are properly dark adapted, then you can really see. When I was in the military, we allowed 45 minutes to fully dark-adapt our eyes. If you happen to have an oxygen tank available, you can pre-breathe oxygen to facilitate your dark adaptation.

Well, this was my first real attempt to photograph the Aurora Australis. I think it turned out OK. You have got to have a plan.  The last photo was published in The Mercury online edition and remained at the top of the page for two days.  I was told it was the talk of the office, that day.

Not a guardian of information.

Setting up a Home Studio:

Typically, I use a “minimalist” two light set up, but the backdrop ends up poorly illuminated and a bit grey. All of this gear stores neatly into trunks and boxes. It will take a fair bit of time to exhume all of it. More to set it up and make adjustments. I will measure each light output for illumination and colour temperature. I am interested in equal lighting and equal colour temperature head-to-toe from each light. I would like the backdrop to be evenly illuminated without blown-out highlights and as near to white as possible. I do not want any strong shadows behind the mannequin, or under the chin or nose, yet have just enough shadow to show facial structure.

Of three different studio light set-ups I tried, this is the one that gives me the most flexibility, even lighting and separation of the subject from the background.

Many photographers use one light with a set of barn doors to illuminate the backdrop, but that causes a semi-circular or half moon halo (highlight) effect to one side of the subject. I prefer continuous even lighting across the backdrop.

I replaced the mannequin with a fully clothed human subject, to verify my planning and set-up, with good results.

Notes:

If I had a larger area to work with, I suppose I could get wild and crazy setting up lights. I have two more 1000 watt-second lights, huge octagonal softboxes, etc., but this set-up suits a limited space of 25 feet (L) X 12.5 (W) feet working area, and a backdrop that covers a floor area of 10.5 feet (L) X 9.5 feet (W).

I find that 400 watt-second lights are good enough. Though 600 watt-seconds are a good alternative, but have to dial them down to Minimum or move them further away. That is right. If a Studio Light is already set at MINIMUM 1/8 Power, then move it further away or change the light-modifier to reduce the amount of illumination.

I tried shoot through and reflective umbrellas, but the set-up in this photo rendered the best result.

I used a snoot with a crosshairs made from wire tie-wraps to aim the lights, accurately, during initial set-up and adjusted as necessary.

Further information:

One photo was done using an in camera set White Balance of 5,000°K, based on measurements taken with a Gossen ColorMaster III. Another photo was taken with AUTO White Balance set in-camera. In truth, I did not like either. WHAT?!

I am really big on colour accuracy. I have spared no expense or effort towards that end result.

In Photoshop, I mixed the two photos, did multi-pass sharpening (not too aggressive, though).

Then, I opened the photos in Nikon’s Capture NX2 at 100%. I always will do that as a final perceptual test. I decided the photo needed a bit of colour correction, still, plus contrast, as the backdrop seemed a bit dull-bluish-grey. So, I sweetened it and selected D-Lighting (Fast) because “Better Quality (HQ)” did nothing for me. Then, I cropped just the head and shoulders and overlaid that onto the studio light set-up image, so you can see the result.

Note how the mannequin form and colour really stands out from the backdrop, almost 3 dimensional and the lighting is vey even, nil shadows under the nose, nostrils, and only slightly, under then chin.

The actual photo of the mannequin was taken with a Nikon D3x and Hasselblad 503CWD.

The photo presented here, using the Nikon D80, was for documentary purposes, only.

What got me going down this path was the seemingly deliberate lack of information by Photographers whom tout themselves “Fashion Photographers” or shoot in a studio environment. They will have all sorts of software-generated diagrams that do not actually yield too much information. Some will cite measuring a light or setting a light at some certain f/stop or ratio to another light, but that does not translate into any usable information, in reality. Just makes them seem like they have magical powers or “true professionals”. Change one thing, in their or my set-up and it will change how the light falls on the subject and how it will be recorded by the camera’s sensor.  Move a light forward or aft one foot, will change the light. So, unless they provide exact placement of the lights, angles, distances, type of light (watt-seconds) and its power setting, then it is all useless information.

Throughout my studio set-up, I measured the light, at ISO50, 1/200sec, and it yielded f/8.0, including head-to-toe of the mannequin. I also measured colour temperature throughout the scene, which will change with the output of the studio light, angle, distance. It was all very close to 5,000°K, except the soft box nearest the clock, which yielded 4,800°K, but it turned out OK, anyway.

By the way, I do have Radio Triggers, such as cheap Chinese-manufactured junk (my least favourite, and I have Pocket Wizard IIs, but I prefer the old-fashioned PC-Sync Cord, because it is flawless and actually allows higher Flash Sync Speeds than Radio Triggers. True.

Lastly, so many of these “true professionals” or Model Mayhem website wannabe Fashion Photographers, mysterious guardians of information, and professors of studio lighting have the wildest lighting set-ups, as if it makes them more professional than someone who achieves the same result with one light or using natural light from a window, but, you can see for yourself that lighting set-ups do not have to be complicated and wild. I think the more complicated, the more room for error, a component failure, tripping over wires, dropping the camera, knocking over a light stand, et cetera.

So, there you have the method to my madness, in excruciating detail.


Were you born holding a Nikon D4 or Canon EOS 1D X?

Model: Aimee
Tried a bit of Fashion Photography with the Nikon D80, back in 2009, when this photo was taken. It was not a bad camera, in its day. It was a DX Sensor, of 10.2 million pixels, “effectively”, according to Nikon, whatever the hell “effectively” means.  The Sony CCD ICX493AQA 10.14 Sensor size is 23.6 mm x 15.8 mm, with an image area of 3,872 x 2,592 pixels. Truthfully, I did not know then, what I know today about digital photography.  Before the Nikon D80, I used a Nikon F4S 35mm film camera, which I still have. I could probably write a book about what I didn’t know, especially about the value of taking photographs in NEF (Raw), to enable me to extract the most out of an image.  I didn’t know or appreciate that a computer screen or monitor needed to be color calibrated . . . as I was still using an old Windows laptop that was pretty limited or limiting.  I didn’t know half of what I know about processing and post-processing.  And, almost every day I am learning a new technique. Well, even the “Photogs” with their noses upraised high in the air, whom would never lower themselves to have a Flickr account, are represented by an Agency, shooting for Vogue or those whom advertise the title “Grand Master of Photography”, by the AIPP, whom I never heard of, until 2011, when I returned from living and working in Shanghai . . . Except for those whom were born with a camera in their hands, we all started somewhere. I was first published in a magazine, in 1992, which paid for my photos, as well, though they were taken with a Minolta 35mm film camera, because I could not afford even a used Nikon. That’s where I got my start. Something to think about.

Save Your Marginal Digital Images – Here’s why

I took this photo at Eaglehawk Neck, on the Tasman Peninsula of Hippolyte Rocks Island, on the horizon, last year, during winter months, in Tasmania, on a gloomy day. Typically, I hibernate when the weather is cold and gloomy. My wife was participating in an Irish dancing competition, which gave me sufficient time to fill the hours, rather than sitting in an auditorium, listening to repetitive Irish jigs and reels. This photo began life as a muted NEF (Nikon Electronic Format) Raw file. It did not impress me. I placed it into my external hard drive into the “blah” bin. I decided to take a second look at the image, as I had thoughts for processing, which might be able to make the viewer seem to be there, sharing the experience, the sound of the waves crashing against the cliff face, the smell of the damp, salty air, feeling the chill, and seeing the Hippolyte Rocks Island and Thumbs in the distance. I tried three programs to process the NEF.  Each program, on its own, yielded disappointing results. One, made the image too Sharp, to the point when I viewed it at 200% or 300%, I could see a brightened Halo. I want my image to be sharp enough to see the structure of the rocks and water drops, without the halo. As I would see it in real life. Correct Sharpness is always a challenge for me. There are a lot of words written on the subject . . . And, I must say that I have seen absolutely stunning images out-of-focus. Sharpness is not everything, always. Depends on the subject and what artistic impression a photographer wants to render. I did process this image as a monochrome and what I liked about the black&white is that it rendered the clouds in the background and the sea with form and realistic dimension. Hmmm, got me wondering about a colour version. Tried my usual processing methods, but I was not satisfied, which is the reason I initially rejected the image.  I persisted.  I processed the NEF using three different Nikon Picture Controls, leaving the Sharpness dialled back to maybe 2. I used a second software to combine the three TIFs, because I just cannot do it using Nikon’s Capture NX2.  There does seem to be a bug in the Nikon software, because it will have a smaller version embedded and that will not allow it to be post-processed using other software, until the embedded smaller image is removed. Once the three TIFs were combined, I used a program to reduce the haze, which is common throughout Tasmania. Then I imported the huge 300+mb image back to Nikon Capture NX2 to view it at 200%, darkened it to show any spots clearly, removed them, and then restored the image back to correct Exposure. Next, I selectively modified contrast and saved the file, just in case. Next, I selectively reduced the Exposure Levels & Curves and saved the image. Next, I began to work on Sharpness, bringing the image up to 300%, looking at tree branches and rock crevasses for Halo or the brightness of the Halo and reduced it to the point where it was barely visible, yet Sharp, then viewed the image at 100%. Next I decided to Crop the image, asking my wife’s opinion with each variation, as women see things and use their brains differently from men. She preferred the image in its entirety. I must say I attempted processing this image a few times, already.  I gave it a big effort, again, last night, until past 11:00, to my wife’s displeasure, thinking I was ignoring her.  I was on a roll. I finished it this morning, which is presented here.  I am guessing a film image might have taken just as long to process. Moral of the story.  Never delete a marginal digital image.  You may learn a new processing or post-processing technique.

Studio Portrait – Au naturel

In the above photo I removed four spots on the backdrop and a couple pieces of lint on the dress. That was it. That is all I ever want to do with any photo, to minimise the amount of time at the computer processing and post-processing. When a Model is truly beautiful, why would anyone want to make her skin look like plastic? I truly dislike photographs of Models that have their skin Photoshopped to the point of having no pores or looking like a plastic Barbie Doll, the domain and standard of typical downtown photography Studio assembly line “looks” they charge dearly for.  No human really looks like that.  If a Model’s complexion is that bad, wait for her hormones to subside or photograph a different Model. The Model is 65 inches tall.  The camera was mounted on a tripod, 8.5 feet away and 44.5 inches above the floor. Colour Temperature was 5,260°K. When setting up the lights, I used a snoot to aim the lights, accurately, before putting the beauty dishes on. One 600 watt-second light, set at ¼ Power, with beauty dish at 30° angle to Model on the right side.  Beauty dish with a grid. One 600 watt-second light, set at ¼ Power, with beauty dish at 30° angle to Model on the left side.  Beauty dish with a grid. One 400 watt-second light illuminating the backdrop.   I should have set the Power 1 Stop higher, in retrospect. One 400 watt-second light with snoot pointed at a white ceiling used to discharge other lights. The camera settings were ISO 50, 1/250X, f/11.0,  and a PC-Sync Cord 16 feet, 4 inches length was used, allowing 1/250sec Flash Sync Speed.

Bright Idea

Sitting home with nothing to do, itching to go out to take photos, but the weather is uncooperative? Challenge yourself?  Challenge what you can do with a camera. Have you ever seen the tungsten filament of an incandescent light bulb clearly, while it is illuminated? Ever wonder why the filament breaks in an incandescent light bulb? In the above photograph, the point of this photo, is to prove the Tungsten Filament vibrates at very high speed with the 240 Volts 50Hz or 50cps running through it. Not even 1/8000sec Shutter Speed can completely stop it, as is evident in the reflection of the heated-glowing filament, lower in the bulb. The light bulb socket was mounted on a tripod, as was the Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4 lens and Nikon D3x camera. A remote release was used, as was mirror up mode, to minimise vibration. Yet the two photos I merged were the only two that the Tungsten Filament were closely aligned. One photo was taken with no electricity to the Light Bulb, while focused on the tungsten filament, just so I could expose the socket-mounting. Another photo was taken with electricity running through the bulb and the filament heated-glowing white hot or nearly so, taken at 1/8000sec, the filament support wires are very sharp and clear, and the rest of the bulb and socket are deliberately under-exposed, but in this combined photo, the filament and support wires are slightly blurred from its not-so-apparent vibration. This is one reason that incandescent bulbs do not last and their filaments break, from repeated heating and cooling and stretching and continuous vibration when electricity is passing through the filament, eventually weakening the filament, until it breaks.

(Sensor) Size Matters

There is a strong argument for the immediacy of photography done with a camera-phone, such as the Apple iPhone and others, for social media websites, such as Facebook. Could you make a high definition wall-size photograph from a camera-phone photograph? Highly doubtful. Why? See the above comparison photographs of a lavender flower, measuring approximately 5mm (3/16″) across. Physics is working against a person capturing an image with a camera-phone.  Then, there is just no comparison between a Hasselblad or Nikon lens and the lens found on a camera-phone.  To make a fair comparison, I tried to take a photograph of the lavender flower, nine times, to no avail. Sensor size does matter.

Nikon D3X auction on ebay – Buyer beware!

Regardless how promising an ebay Seller’s auction may seem – Buyer beware! Presently, I am the proud new owner of a “perfect” Nikon D3X, with merely 250 shutter actuations, original box, instruction manual, and accessories, that has been rendered inoperative due to perished Nikon EN-EL4a batteries . . . all three, that were part of the auction! After much correspondence back and forth, the ebay Seller has at last agreed to refund $300.00 to purchase two new Nikon EN-EL4a batteries. What about the third? Should anyone have to go through this? What does “perfect” mean to you?

Not supporting Australian retailers

My first stop was at a local photographic retail shop, and then a second, where I was quoted $349.00 Recommended Retail Price or List Price for just one genuine Nikon EN-EL4a Lithium-ion Battery. When I balked, I was told by the sales assistant that he could match the price of a retailer on “the mainland”, looked it up and told me he could do it for $238.00 AUD and the other quoted $228.00 AUD. Wow! What a bargain. And, I intended to buy two batteries. That would have cost me $501.60 AUD. Then, I told the sales assistant the price on the original box was $149.99 USD, thus I will check online. I found the same batteries on ebay for $157.00 AUD each, including FEDEX Shipping. I purchased two, for $314.00 AUD. That was a whopping $187.60 savings! Are such retail mark-ups justified? If it would have cost me $10.00 to $20.00 more, then I would have made an immediate purchase, in the shop, but certainly not for 60% more than what it should righteously have cost me. Australian retailers just don’t get it. They have complained bitterly to the government to impose taxes on all imports, to discourage online purchases, outside Australia. I think you will agree with me, Australian retailers are over-priced and are merely greedy bastards!

Keep it simple

While Nikon creates some great photographic equipment, don’t you think it would be appropriate to include instructions with accessories, though instructions are buried within their camera instruction manuals?  As there are no separate instructions to replace a Focusing Screen, I have created a one page set of instructions how-to replace the standard Type-B Focusing Screen with a Type-E Focusing Screen.  Email me if you would like a PDF copy of the above.

Digital versus Film?

Though I create photos using a Nikon D3 or Hasselblad 503CWD, (digital cameras) I truly miss the physical process of loading a roll of film into a camera, the simple choices and camera settings I had to make about capturing a subject or scene on film. I would take that roll of film to someone who specialises in film processing, then wait up to one week to collect the photos and see my results, good or bad. In 21st century photography, I probably spend more time sometimes using up to three photo-processing software applications to process one photo than I do actually taking 12, 24, or 36 photographs, as in the photograph above.  The above photo was created using my Nikon D3, along a roadside.  EXIF data reveals that I used a 45mm f/2.8 lens, 100ISO, 1/125 second Shutter Speed, and f/11.0 Aperture. What attracted me to this landscape scene were the variety of colours, the clouds obscuring most of the sky, the purity of the blue sky, and of course, the mountain.  In retrospect, I should have mounted the camera on a tripod, measured the Colour Temperature, et cetera. However, I was en route to another destination that was still two hours away and made the photograph in haste. If you submit to the postulate that to create great photographs, one should never rush, then all one has to do is look at the numerously published photographs for one of the most famous Manhattan, New York (street) Photographers, William J. Cunningham.  He barely puts the camera to his eye.

In the above photo, I first processed the raw image file (on the left) in Nikon’s CaptureNX2 software, converting the NEF image to a TIF image, then migrated the image to Adobe Lightroom 5. I did not like the result. I imported the Nikon raw NEF image file, directly into Adobe Lightroom 5, selected the Nikon D3 camera profile, moved up to Lens Corrections, including Rotation, then Sharpening, removed dust spots, et al, then Exported the image as a TIF file. As I was still not completely satisfied, I imported that image to a Noise reduction program, then into Adobe Photoshop CS5 only using a plug-in to reduce Haze, which modifies contrast, colour, and other parameters. Using that plug-in requires much trial and error. I saved that image and then combined two images and adjusted the mix in Photoshop.  As I was still not satisfied, I had imported the image into CaptureNX2, and made final adjustments and corrections. One refinement or correction to a digitally captured image that I most often need to make is levelling. I do not recall having such a problem keeping a film camera level. When I created photographs using film, exclusively, the photo on the left would have been likely dismissed and never seen the light of day. The resulting image on the right was my fourth attempt to salvage the original image on the left, since it was first captured, 20 December 2011. I am reasonably satisfied, with the final result.  I truly wish there could be one photo processing software that includes the features of Nikon CaptureNX2, Nik Silver Efex and Dfine, Adobe Photoshop CS5, with the simplicity and ease of use found in Lightroom 5. One improvement that all photo processing software could use is a better or more accurate method to sharpen an image. Adobe Lightroom 5 employs a small loupe.  It needs to be much larger to use accurately. Another frustration I suffer from is that various photo processing software strips EXIF data to some degree or completely from an image. When I contemplate the aforementioned discourse, I begin to wonder when a subject captured in a photograph created with a digital camera, then processed, and further corrected or refined using software migrates away from the Photographer’s original concept toward artistic rendering or artistic interpretation. Is it still a photograph created by the process of photography, by definition? What differentiates the image on the right from Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) used in Hollywood? One noted Australian Photographer, Peter Eastway, dared suggest that Ansel Adams certainly would have used Photoshop, if it were available, in his time, as the magic of his images were really created in the darkroom. Blasphemy! -to a photography purist.

Nikon D3 Digital SLR versus Nikon F4S

Other than convenience and the ability to see the results of the photograph you just took, immediately, considering the process to achieve an image worthy of publishing or printing, is the modern Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera, like the Nikon D3 which is already obsolete, truly superior to its venerable older sibling the Nikon F4, for example?

Assuming you have decided to take a simple studio portrait, with the Nikon D3 and Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f1.4D Portrait Lens attached, studio lights have been arranged and metered.  The backdrop has been set up. Your metering method determined that you will expose the photo at 100ISO, 1/125sec and f/11.   You will capture the image in NEF or Raw format.  Now, the challenges to creating the perfect photo begin.

You want the colours and tone to be perfect.  Exactly what you see, that is.   Will you use AUTO White Balance, the thoughtless and careless solution or Preset White Balance using a Grey Card or Expodisc (Neutral or Warm versions) or a Datacolor SpyderCube or an X-rite Gretag-Macbeth ColorChecker or maybe the $1,500 option using a professional-grade Colour Temperature Meter to set only an approximate Colour Temperature in the Nikon D3?

Is your computer screen calibrated?  Are you using 6,500°Kelvin and 2.2 Gamma or some other setting?  Is your post-production software using the same ICC colour profile, either Nikon sRGB 4.0.0.3002 or Nikon Adobe sRGB 4.0.0.3001?  Next, consideration on the Shooting Menu list is what Picture Control will you set in the camera?  And, what value have you set Sharpening, Contrast, Brightness, Saturation, and Hue?   The default Colour space is Nikon sRGB 4.0.0.3002.  It should be noted here that some Colour Space aficionados recommend using Nikon Adobe sRGB 4.0.0.3001, while others recommend ProPhoto RGB, before converting the NEF to TIF, in the processing software, such as Capture NX 2, and then converting the saved TIF Colour Profile to Nikon sRGB 4.0.0.3002 and saving it as a JPG file.   The aforementioned discussion about achieving what-you-see-is-what-you-get colour and tonality was all previously entrusted to trained specialists in a photo processing lab, who often had years of experience. As modern Photographers, it is incumbent upon us to spend, at least, an equal amount of time and energy learning software idiosyncrasies and methodology, then develop a “workflow” or routine to get that photograph we took from Raw format to an image we would be proud to exhibit.  Welcome to the world of digital photography.

By contrast, a Photographer could be completely computer illiterate and still take award winning photographs with the Nikon F4 camera to his eye.   Personally, I do not believe any of Nikon’s professional DSLR cameras have nor will live up to the reputation the F4 righteously earned.  Our lust for modern convenience and immediate results introduced digital photography to the layman and caused the demise of iconic film companies, like Kodak, that has been in existence since 1889.  Scanned images of film are at least equally as good as digitally produced images and often better, in my experience.  I have a few in my portfolios.  Can you tell the difference?

Ever had MS Word crash, just as you typed the last word or about to Save?

Typewriters don’t crash!

Consider modern society’s frustration with software compatibility after upgrading their computer operating system, software viruses, computer crashes, and accidentally deleted or over-written .doc files. There was none of that with the typewriter. Supersede your frustration with something obsolete. Supersede obsolescence.

$127.22 Bosch Crankshaft Position Sensor “kaputs” $160,000.00 Mercedes-Benz E500

Crankshaft Position Sensor, manufactured by Bosch for Mercedes-Benz, Part Number A 003 153 27 28 was superseded by Part Number A 003 153 28 28.  Price $127.22

This single Crankshaft Position Sensor replaced the conventional mechanical timing method of a reciprocating engine using a Distributor, Rotor, Top-Dead-Center Timing Mark and Points.  The Crankshaft Position Sensor sends a signal providing rotational speed of the Crankshaft and Angular Position of the Flywheel to the car’s Engine Management Computer.

This single, small, plastic encased, $127.22 part can cause the engine to quit running, unpredictably, which cannot be restarted, in a luxury automobile costing more than $160,000.00, before optional extras, dealer delivery and preparation costs, tax and license!  If you are lucky enough to have the part fail, in front of the Garage, it will cost no more than $205.00 to get you back on the road.

Telco debacle

Which Telco bright spark telephone installation and repair technician installed the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) Drop Wire Connector Box under the gutter?  It has a snap-fit or clip-on plastic cover and is not waterproof.  Inside the several wires, including the Earth Wire for the Lightning Arrestor were corroded. Hmmm. I wonder why? Can you imagine the installer was actually trained and licenced to make this installation!

Are you getting your money’s worth?  From December 1, 2011 to present, more than one year, by now, I have been trying to get telecommunications service that I pay nearly $180 per month for telephone, mobile (cell) phone, and ADSL2+ Broadband Internet on a combined service plan. My telecommunications provider has “offshored” its Call Centre staff to some developing country, where the cost of labour is cheap. When my call has been answered by frontline Technical Support staff, from one of those developing economies, I find it very difficult to understand their heavily accented English, regardless how polite and helpful they try to be. Without actually listening to my query or complaint about the service, they will merely read from a list of scripted questions. No matter to what degree I explain my troubleshooting steps to the Technical Support staff, they always will ask the same questions I had just provided the answers to, such as, “Do you have green lights on your modem?” or “Do you have an in-line filter connected to every telephone, alarm system, fax in your residence?” and down the script they read, as instructed to do so, during their induction training. It leaves one to wonder whether or not these foreign Technical Support personnel have any technical, telephony, or even basic electrical training.  Meanwhile, I feel my face is flush with unspeakable frustration, as I had previously told them all those troubleshooting steps and more, at which point I ask to speak to a representative in my country or their manager. This leads to miscommunication, misunderstanding, and my rising frustration level, like a mercurial thermometer. I am very capable troubleshooting electronics. I built my first radio, when I was ten years old. Though I do not hold a degree in electrical engineering, am not a certified electrician, have received no formal training in the repair of electronics, I can repair almost anything.

It was promised that I would have my ADSL2+ compatible modem (Technicolor brand) delivered within five working days. However, it took nearly two weeks to receive it in the mail from my Internet Service Provider. Once it was received, I attached the telephone line filter C10245M, that was provided, along with Ethernet RJ45 Cat5 Cable, setup the new modem.  With the modem switched On and making or receiving a telephone call simultaneously, I would hear a loud hissing noise in the telephone handset.  I replaced all the in-line filters with new C10245M filters . . . same result.  I removed one telephone at a time from each room . . . same result.  Regardless what combination I tried, I would hear a loud hissing noise.  I pursued this issue with my telecommunications service provider during the course of countless telephone calls and discussions with technical support staff.  At the end of each telephone call, I was disappointed and frustrated with the lack of progress or results.  I had scheduled a telephone repairman to inspect and test my telephone lines, for a possible cause for the noise.  Be fore he arrived, I checked the installation outside my residence and discovered copper wires green with corrosion. When that first telephone repairman came to my residence, he told me that if I have more than three telephones and devices connected, such as alarm system and fax, that I should have a Central Filter installed.  It took nearly ten months to learn that bit of information.  My telephone lines indoors had no faults.  I did more research on the subject of telephone line noise with ADSL2+ and pressed my case with the Internet Service Provider, as it is a well known common problem.  Prior to my Google research, I had no idea that Public Switched Telephone Network telephones and lines induce line noise when the phone is on the hook and idle. The telecommunications service provider knows this, but do not divulge that bit of information, providing misinformation, or try to divert one’s attention by getting the consumer to upgrade components,at our expense, because they do not want to be out-of-pocket to make it right, from the start.  The telecommunications provider will provide a minimum acceptable level of service and infrastructure for the maximum amount of profit. The telephone and internet service provider agreed to install a C10 Communications/NetComm C10100E Central Filter, waiving the $30.00 cost, plus installation fee.

The hissing noise was cured.  Though I live a mere 779 metres (cable run) from the Exchange, my internet connection became unstable.  The modem’s down synchronisation speed varied from from approximately 700 kbps to just over 22,000 kbps.  My modem had been upgraded four times by the Internet Service Provider.  The first one had overheated, after a few months normal service and the second one had a faulty power supply that overheated.  Presently, I am on my second Technicolor 797n v3 ADSL2+ Modem (costing $96.00, provided free of charge), with a C10100E Central Filter installed and a “stability profile” executed by the Internet Service Provider.  My modem synchronisation speed upload is 747 kbps and down load is 18,072 kbps. Bear in mind it took more than one year pursuing the matter with my telecommunications provider to achieve this. Am I getting what I paid for? I feel it is mediocre service at best.

As the National Broadband Network (NBN) rolls out across the country and governing our country has changed hands from the Labour Party to the Liberal Party, so has the NBN rollout plan. The Labour Party planned to have the NBN fibre optic cables installed to every business and home, at a greater cost. However, the Liberal Party will install the NBN fibre optic cable to a node to save money. From my experience, the obsolete and worn-out Telstra copper cable network from (the exchange) that node to the business or home will be the real choke point for internet traffic. When was the last time the copper network from your business or home has been inspected and serviced? Are the connectors loose? Are the connections and copper wire corroded? Has the copper wire been spliced together from being cut by a workman’s hovel or backhoe? Is the copper wire subjected to moisture? In my opinion, the Liberal Party has not thought their NBN rolls plans through, in their quest to reduce the size of the budget deficit. This is an example of how politics affects everyday lives.

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