I am in LOVE!!!! Day 1 with my D810

Instagram_Pub&PizzaJust got my new D810 yesterday and thought I would do some test shots at dinner last night.  Popped on the Nifty Fifty and we headed out to Afton Pub & Pizza.

Since this was a mixed lighting situation (some natural light coming from the window in the front, warm down lights on bar area, light from the TV over the bar), I put the 810 into Auto ISO mode.

Not a bad shot for my trusty iPhone … Bring on the big guns!

Wow can this thing go!

ISO 12,800 f5.6 1/50 sec; Raw post processing in LR – only applied the Camera Standard profile and exported to JPG 667X1000.


Played with this one a bit more – ISO 7200 f5.6 1/50 sec; Raw post processing in LR to apply the camera profile, minor exposure adjustments, white balance and rather large crop.  Export to JPG 1000X706.


And here’s a fun one.  INSANE ISO of 51,200 f6.3 1/40 sec; Raw post processing in LR  included camera profile, some noise reduction, contrast, clarity and crop.  Export to JPG 800X1000.  Lack of crispness at this is operator error… This was a grab shot – put down the wine and grab the camera in one move!


Another insane ISO of 36,204 – no noise reduction applied!


I think it’s time to start practicing for Dark Ride photos for the next Disney trip!

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Publish to Facebook Testing

Testing out the publish to FB functionality. I’m sure that with this last update, I’ve missed some silly parameter!

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Random Musing on the Cloud 2014

Setup and configuration of a new PC.

What happens when your 5 year old desktop dies…time for a new machine.

Happy to report that it was not a hard drive failure so all files were salvageable .  Fortunately, having segmented media files on a separate physical drive turned out to be a real time saver.  Reloading iTunes and Lightroom then copying their respective database files and pointing to the existing media drive worked like a charm.

I was also able to recover necessary files in the interim and leverage my laptop.  This got me thinking about the cloud more and more.  My personal usage patterns are to access content from multiple locations and that means that more and more I am looking to cloud services.  Call me a late adopter but having those key files available everywhere regardless of what machine is turned on is a real life saver.

Now, if I could only find a way to move my TB+ of media (pictures & music content) to the cloud I would be a happy camper.  Right now it’s just not cost effective or time effective either (Carbonite for instance would take about 4 years to replicate my data and that doesn’t count any new additions. )

Well, this post is really just a test post to make sure my software was updated correctly.  So happy weekend to all and I leave with a “Happy Place” picture.


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Heading Out on the Next Adventure

Looking forward to the Disney Dream and Christmas in the parks!

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Egads! It’s Twenty Ten All Over Again!

So if you are just coming to the blog today – December 31, 2011, you will find the basic Twenty Ten theme – complete with someone else’s images in the header -(Update – removed those!).

My object for this holiday weekend is to do a complete spruce up of the entire site.  Nothing drastic, just some tweaks.  One of those tweaks is that I plan to style the blog pages the “right” way…yes, as a child theme rather than directly editing the template pages!

So, step one – revert everything back to defaults & mod away!

Here we go…

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Countdown to Food And Wine

Just 10 more days until our next trip to the Happiest Place on Earth. Looking forward to a week of food and fun and photos!

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Waiting at the Crossroads

We’ve been talking a lot about trains these days since we are planning on taking the train from Raleigh to Disney World this coming October. It will be a first for us – a new adventure. We’ve been looking at train schedules, train delays, train stations, videos on trains – I’m almost to the point of looking for an engineer’s cap. Choo Choo!

So, it was a bit ironic that last night, I had to wait for a train. And wait. And wait. And wait.

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Camera Pr0n OR Packing It In For Our Mediterranean Trip

First, a confession:  I am an unrepentant certified, chronic over-packer.  I want to make sure that I have “stuff” to cover all of the myriad possibilities of what might happen.  I can’t count how many times I have returned home from vacation with a suitcase half full of clean clothes that I never needed.

I’m no different when packing the photography gear.  So why should this trip be any different? The only thing that kept me from taking EVERYTHING is that I had to fit all the critical bits into my carry-ons.  (All the breakables into a backpack but some of the little stuff like cables, extra batteries, and such– those could go into my other rolly bag along with my extra shoes and undies!)

So here is the “stuff” that needs to go into the pack: 

  • PinkPC – Too small for major post-processing work but OK for minor LR adjustments and for backing up the cards. 
  • CameraNikon D700 (Considered taking a backup but didn’t think I would have the room.  Did pack my little Canon Point & Shoot as a “just in case”.)
  • Lenses – Nikon 14-24mm; 70-200mm; 24-70mm; 50mm.  That should pretty much cover it.
  • Flash – The pop-up on the D700 is pretty useless other than as a Commander.  Figured I would take the SB-400 for “snapshots” and then pack the SB-800 in case I wanted something a bit more powerful.  Oh yeah, will try to fit in a LumiQuest softbox as well  – another “just in case”. Hmm… what about remote triggers or a flash cord? Probably overkill.
  • Misc “Stuff” – Lens cleaner. Card reader and cables. Wireless mouse. Battery charger. Power supplies. PacSafe55L to secure the backpack. SunSniper camera strap. Regular camera strap. Quick Release plates.  Lots of CF Cards. Extra batteries.  Monopod?  That one can go into the checked luggage.


So let the creative packing begin!  The backpack is a basic Targus – a big main compartment with a laptop sleeve and some smaller zippered sections front and side.

Laptop slides into the back. Slip in LumiQuest.  Then 70-200mm and the 14-24mm lenses share a neoprene laptop sleeve (a freebee from BestBuy!).  Shove the longer lens into the bottom, fold, add the 14-24mm and we save space and offer a bit of bump protection.  SB-800 in its case sidles up next to that. 50mm in a little pouch goes in next then the camera with 24-70 attached slips in with a bit of padding around that.  Shove PacSafe into a side pocket for easy access, stuff all the little stuff in the other outer pockets and throw a couple of ball bungees in the top so that I can secure the backpack to my small roll-on luggage bag. The pack is now stuffed with no room to spare and I have a 22 lb weight attached to my back.  UGH! 

The Verdict

So after packing all of this gear, I suppose you might wonder what actually got used.

Well, the laptop was a definite must so glad that I had it.  Even if I didn’t do any post processing work, it was nice to be able to look at the pics on something larger than the LCD of the camera. Not to mention, that I felt much better knowing that I had file backups of everything.

As you might have already guessed, the 24-70mm lens was the most used.  It is certainly the work horse of the bunch.  This was followed closely by the 70-200mm.  On the tours, it was “Spray, pray and move on to the next place!” That didn’t leave much time for exchanging lenses.

The least used lens was the 14-24mm. I had just gotten this before the trip and had not had much of a chance to work with it yet.  I did do some shooting around the ship with it though.  Here’s one just for fun:

@ 14 mm - Tone Mapped in Photomatix

Had a bit of fun with the 50mm too (f1.4 @ 1/50th sec).  Here’s a shot from the midnight dessert buffet.  (I was tempted but took the picture not the brownie!)

Dessert Anyone?

Completely forgot that I had the Canon P&S. Wish I had thought to take it to Sorrento in the rain but oh well , guess we’ll have to go back!

Minnie and UsFlashes were overkill. I popped the SB-400 on for our character breakfast pics but that was about it.

The SunSniper strap got used about half of the trip.  I made the ultimate mistake of using an un-modified quick release plate as the connector instead of the swivel screw from SunSniper.  Walking through Topsiders Buffet, the ring came off.  (GASP!) But I had rigged a “safety strap” so all was not a disaster.  Of course, without pliers, I couldn’t unscrew the QR plate and had to fall back on my Optech strap.

NEVER touched the monopod.

I have to say that for my first foray in Europe, I learned a lot!

  • I will NEVER again tote all of my camera gear in a backpack. It was heavy, hard to stuff under the seat and didn’t really have enough padding for protection. (Before we even got home, Steve had ordered the Pelican 1510 for me.  It was waiting by the front door when we arrived! )
  • Tours and shore excursions are a great way to get a flavor for a place especially if you are not a seasoned traveller.  BUT,  the pacing is fast and it can be difficult to get unique shots.   Now I have a good idea of where to go next and how to plan more shooting time.
  • I WILL carry the P&S camera with me at all times – even if I never use it. “Just in case”.

And most important….We WILL go back!

Check out Steve’s trip blog for more of our fun in Europe – Where in the World

And for more pictures – Mediterranean Cruise Gallery


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Flashback Friday Spring is Coming!

For this second installment of Flashback Friday, I thought I would pull something fun from the archives. 

As many of you know, I love Disney.  (There are people right now snorting wine out of their noses saying “Ya Think”?”) We are just really big kids and have an absolute blast with every trip.  There is always something fun to look at and to photo.

For this week, I pulled of shot of one of my favorite characters at one of the best times of the year.  So from May 2005, I present Minnie at the EpCOT Flower and Garden Festival!

Topiary Minnie

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Flash Back Friday

This is the first in a series of “setting the way back machine” and doing something fun with a pic from the archives!

So looking back into 2005, here are two of my favorite guys racing down to the water.  Time to bring out the flip flops and grab the sunscreen.  It’s BEACH TIME!

Race You To the Water

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