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Archive for the ‘Things’ Category

Details of West Texas

As many have noticed, I haven’t been shooting as much as I normally do and the vast landscape shots have all but disappeared. While I am a native Texan, I am missing (terribly I might add) the landscape of the Pacific Northwest and Vancouver. While I am a HUGE fan of the desert of West Texas, I am not a huge fan of the Austin landscape.  Here its largely flat,Plateau Live Oak and Hackberry Trees are the dominant species here though several sites claim there are over 100 different species in the area. Suffice to say, while an Oak is great for a lynch mob, they aren’t really great when compared to the majestic 120′ tall trees found in Washington.

As a result, I have tried to find other things to shoot. With my background in Architecture, I am always drawn to images and details of structures. Texas has a ton of old ranches and farms. This particular shot was taken in Johnson City, at a historical landmark where President Johnson grew up.  The ranch was in amazing shape without signs of over preservation. The wood, nails and paints that were used them are still in place. I really liked the way this site was tended to. It was authentic in every

Details of West Texas

Details of West Texas

aspect. This shot of a 40′ tall windmill was one of my favorite details. The texture of the blades is what caught my eye. I am still looking for a “theme” or set of things I can focus on to shoot. Its hard. nothing here really appeals to me artistically so I am searching for my “eye” again. Things just don’t jump out at me like they used to. I largely attribute this to not shooting as much as opposed to the local scenery. Either way I need to fix it…. soon

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Tradition

Every college has its traditions. My school is no exception. This is a statue of Will Rogers. His statue is in the center of the main entrance to Texas Tech. The Administration building is in the background. The Traditions is known as “Midnight Raiders,” and takes place on Thursday nights before every home football game. The Saddle Tramps (A spirit organization for the school) wraps the Will Rogers statue with crepe paper and Streamers. Along with the statue these are hung from the coaches’ tower, band tower, and light poles all over campus. After Will is wrapped, the Saddle Tramps circle the horse to sing the Fight Song, Matador Song, and pledge class songs.This shot was taken on a recent visit to the school (March 26, 2011). I was there to take my kids to see the school and to see the spring inter-squad football game. While there I took this shot, one that I never took while attending the school despite having a camera with me everywhere I went.

Tech Tradition

Tech Tradition

Even though it was just spring football game, it was nice to be on campus again, see the sights with the kids and capture a shot that I should have taken over 20 years ago.

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Finally….

Finally…. its about time I can get back to the work of making images. After a VERY LONG move from Seattle back home to Texas, I am finally able to get to work again. Its been a long time since I have added anything… even longer since I have taken anything new. This shot was one taken on drive #2 from Seattle to Texas. this is a grain elevator in Lubbock Texas. Generally these are built in a series. Usually the are made of concrete but these were made of steel. I liked the geometry of the steel plates, rivets and seams.

Steel Symetry

Steel Symetry

More to follow… I really need to find something new to shoot here in Texas. The mountains here are more like hills and the trees more like shrubs when compared to the Pacific Northwest, but its nice none the less. I just need to get used to shooting a different landscape and get more familiar with the area.

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Telephone Line

December 30, 2009 2 comments

So, recently I have been spending a ton of time in Vancouver, BC. One of the things I have noticed there that you dont see as often in the states is that there are phone booths. There are the real totally enclosed ones and these street ones. I had been driving past this particular booth for months. Its on East Hastings in a REALLY bad part of town. I liked the color of the shot as well as the texture of the booth itself.  So, one night I went out and decided to suffer the cold and the wind and take a shot. In this particular shot there is a bus going buy. It was a 2.5 second exposure so I could get the color while not overexposing the shot and losing the detail.

A phone booth in Vancouver, BC

Telephone Line

As always…. comments and feedback are appreciated.

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Prickly – Macro Photography and Kenko Extension Tubes

September 9, 2009 5 comments

With this winter approaching I thought I would try something different and get into some Macro Photography. Being that I already had Nikkor’s 105mm f2.8 Macro Lens (Also a great portrait lens) All I needed was some extension tubes and focusing rails to get the REALLY close up shots.

Extension tubes are designed to let a lens focus closer than its normal minimal focusing distance. Getting closer to the subject as the effect of magnifying it allowing more detail to appear in the image.  These tubes allow the photographer to take any lens and virtually turn it into a Macro lens at a fraction of the cost while preserving the optical quality of the base lens.

Being that this was a new area for me to venture into, I wanted to do some research and make an informed purchase. I looked at a few makers of extension tubes and decided to purchase the Kenko DG Extension tube set for my Nikon D700 and D300. The Kenko DG tubes have no optics and are true extension tubes. They come in the same range that the Nikkor tubes come in and have the same  metal Nikon mount featured on the Nikkor tubes. The key difference between the Nikon tubes and the Kenko tubes is that the Kenko tubes have the terminals to allow TTL metering and Autofocus to work through the tube where the Nikon tubes are the same ones they have made for 30 years and dont allow TTL nor autofocus through the tube.

Close up of a weed

Close-up of a weed

Another key difference is construction. The Nikkor tubes are made of the same metal casing that their lenses are made of. The entire tube is metal construction where the Kenko tubes are made of a high-grade impact plastic but are fitted with metal mounts, spring loaded mount clips and the metal terminals for the TTL and Auto focus.

I had read on several sites that some people were afraid to use the Kenko tubes because of the construction. I can tell you that after close inspection I had no doubts about connecting a $1300 lens to these tubes. In fact, not only did I attach the lens to all three, I shot my sample above on my tripod with focusing rails. So, there was a lot of lens hanging off the end of my D700 mount and it functioned perfectly.

Now, having said that, I would not attach a 70-200mm nor the 80-400mm lens on all three tubes with out support provided by a tripod lens support. Both of those lenses are heavy and that would be a 4 inch extension. Thats a great deal of weight being put on the tubes and its unwise to having something that far out from your camera mount with that kind of weight regardless of the manufacturer.

I rate these tubes an 8 on a 10 scale. Why…? simple. They come boxed and connected but there are no caps and no case for the tubes. Luckily I had a few extra body caps and lens caps so I was able to sandwich them together and cap them to prevent dust getting in the tubes and to protect the terminals. Beyond that these things are great. Just use common sense when mounting a big lens on the tubes and enjoy a new world of Macro photography.

Additional Info that relates to the Kenko Tubes

1- When using focusing tubes, you cant focus to infinity. The focusing range of the lens will be limited greatly to very close distances only.

2- There is light fall off when using any extension tubes. This fall off can be 3 f-stops when using multiple tubes together.

3- Nikon “D” information is not transmitted by the tubes. This is due to the fact that the lens is being allowed to focus at a distance it is not programed to focus for by virtue of changing the focusing plane of the lens.

4- These tubes are auto focus compatible with Nikon AF lenses and AF-S lenses.

As always, please send me any feedback or thoughts. If this review helped you please let me know.

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Canada Place – Vancouver, BC

In my most recent trip to Vancouver, I set out to photo-walk downtown and see if I could get any good Architectural shots. One of the structures that is unique to Vancouver is the Canada Place. Its a Tent Structure that has hotels, fine dining and is the dock for cruise ships. Its a very large structure, and capturing all of it requires being at Stanley Park or in the air. This is a close up of the tent structure.

Canada Center

Canada Center

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Re-Do: a re-edit of “Desert Flower” Nevada

Here is a shot I put online a few month ago of a flower. This shot was taken in the Valley of Fire National Park.

Let me know what you think of this version. Comments are encouraged and appreciated.

Desert Flower (re-edit)

Desert Flower (re-edit)

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