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WORK IN PROGRESS - Battery and charger test

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I have been working the past few days testing my new battery charger and my NiMH batteries.

The results are very surprising so far. I'll post the results soon when I have collected enough data, but I think it will change the way I charge these batteries so they will last longer (take better care of them).

What this is not: a review of batteries and chargers, I simply don't have the resources to test different chargers and batteries. After reading the battery charger manual, researching on-line, and reading the results I have gathered so far, I'd change the way I charge these rechargeable batteries for longer service period for my own use.

What I am using:

Charger - LaCrosse BC-900

Batteries -

  • Duracell 2650 mAH x 16 - Recently ordered off of ebay.
  • Panasonic 2300 mAH x 12 - Purchased from CostCo, maybe 12-16 months old. 2 of which have been hiding in a remote control, glad I caught them!
  • Energizer 2100 mAH x 4 - Purchased from HomeDepot, about 18 months old.
  • LaCrosse 2400 mAH x 4 - Came with my battery charger.
  • Sanyo 1850 x 2 - older - I have these guys since 2003, came with my Minolta 7Hi.
  • RayoVac 1800 x 2 older - Oldest of the bunch, maybe 2002-2003.

Sanyos and the RayoVacs are relegated to maglite duties now due to their age. When I put the Energizer cells in my Pentax DL, it will not power on. But Energizers can power my flashes without any issue.

The charger comes with 4 modes:

  1. Charge
  2. Discharge
  3. Refresh
  4. Test

Here's a link to the instruction: http://www.lacrossetechnology.com/900/manual.pdf

I purchased mine from Thomas Distributing for about $60 including shipping. It came with 4 AA and 4 AAA batteries, converter to C cells, carrying case. Since I am not affiliated with anyone, I don't think I need to provide a link to Thomas Distributing, but I am sure you can do a search and easily find them on line, and I have to say the experience was painless, and very quick shipping. But shop around, I am sure you may be able to find a good deal.

Test is not completed yet, so I'll post that when I get a chance to refresh my Energizer, Sanyo, and the RayoVac batteries, that's the result I am waiting for.

I'll also post some reference sites, Steve's Digicam and Imaging-Resource all have very good reivews, and they definitely tested more chargers and different brand of batteries.

Printing Contact Sheet in Picasa 2

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I have to admit, I have never figured out how to use PhotoShop. I tried it a few times at work, but just never could remember those commands. Because of my handicap, I use Picasa 2 about 85% of the time, it does what I need to do, easily, and handles the printing fairly well. The other 15 %, just Windows viewer and IrfanView for quick sizing of files.

I had a need to print out a catelog of pictures, so using Picasa, there's a fairly easy way to print contact sheets. On a 8.5 x 11 photo paper, you can print 42 images on a single sheet (6 x 7). The final print out includes date, time, and file name under each picture.

The Process is fairly simple. If the pictures are all in the same folder, just select the pictures you wish to print, either by pressing the CTRL key and then click on the picture, or click each image you'd like, and press HOLD on the bottom of the screen, then click another image, just remember to press HOLD. This will work well if you have to go to another folder to select the image.

Once you have selected all of the pictures you wish to print, click on Folder option (pull down menu option), then select Print Contact Sheet option. You can also use keyboard short cut by pressing CTRL-Shift-P.

This is a nice way to catelog your photos.

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Site Spotlight

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Check out this creativity extraordinaire.


You'll find a lot more in Chema-Madoz.


tattoo removal

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Saw this on Eolake's blog, have to link it here. Funny, :~)

Photo Club Field Trip

Friday, September 21, 2007

We had a field trip for our photography club tonight. We went to Hance Partners, a professional darkroom located in Flagstaff. We met the owner Richard Jackson, and his assistant Peter. It was a very informative, educational, and eye opening visit, and Richard and Peter were really great hosts, gave a great tour of the facility, and answered a lot of questions.

Hance Partners specializes in using IlfoChrome paper (formerly known as CibaChrome) for museum/gallery quality output. The equipment they use was simply amazing: we were shown the scanners, photo workstations, the lightjet printer, and then the large developer. The amount of time spent on one image is just amazing (from scan to print). It is possible to go through several proof sheets, before the final copy is made with photographer's approval. Now I understand the cost, I'd say its worth every penny!

Many photographers' work were displayed on the wall: Steve McCurry, Joe McNally, Thomas Mangelsen, Howard Schatz, etc. The works was simply amazing. I have only seen some of the work on web sites, seeing it in prints is a totaly different experience.

Check out their web site at http://www.hancepartners.com/.

Their about page says:
"Welcome to Hance Partners: master fine art printers, utter perfectionists, and specialists in the art and science of attaining the "what if".

After seeing their work, I agree.

Protect your LCD

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

One thing about Nikon D70 is that it comes with this nice LCD protector. Mine is slightly scratched up now, but it's better than scratching up LCD.

The Pentax DL on the other hand, does not have this feature, so I use the Fellowes WriteRight to protec its LCD. My old cover is coming off, time for a little surgery.

I purchased a package of this WriteRight prodcut, and this is the third time I have to replace this cover on my DL.

The tools? Actually just a pair of scissors. The box cutter is there for support, :). Since this thing comes with grid line, it is easy to measure the size you need for your LCD. I alway cut it a little wider than the actual screen itself, this is to allow me to peel it off later on without using any special tools that may scratch the screen.

Cut out the material, and then lay it on the LCD screen one more time before you peel off the backing and expose the sticky side.

Voila! It's on the camera, for continous protection. The hardest part of this little project is actually get the darn bubbles out, :).
Total Time: 5 - 10 minutes.
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Noise Reduction Software


I took the picture in Vegas, in Forum shops, it's like an in-door mall by Caesar's Palace.

The original photo was taken with high iso setting, then converted to B&W. The darker part of the picture shows a lot of noise, as I don't have any noise reduction software, I did a quick search and found the Imagenomic's Noiseware Standalone Community Edition (Free).

I like the result afterwards. Some details were lost due to noise reduction, which is typical, but the final output is fairly nice, I can definitely use it.

You can download a copy of this from http://www.imagenomic.com/index.aspx.

Standard and Professional versions are also available, and it also comes as a plugin for:
Adobe Photoshop 7.0, CS, CS2 and CS3
Adobe Photoshop Elements 2/3/4/5
Corel Paint Shop Pro 9 and X
Corel Draw 10, 11 and 12
Microsoft Digital Image Suite 2006
Ulead PhotoImpact XL, 10 and 11

Final Result, Not bad.
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Have some fun

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Well, it is raining cats and dogs right now. That means the satellite is taking a break due to the weather. Hmm, looks like DSL is working, here we go.

Take a detour here to check out the following link:


This is got to be one of the funniest thing I have read on photography. Check it out. This brings up something that's been bugging me, there have been some great photos, and there have been some, well, stuff that really sucked. Sometimes I think people buy pictures as artwork based on who took them, nothing else.

Enough ranting, here's another funnier side:


On-line cartoon, also very good.

Food for Thought

Stuffed Chicken Wrapped in Bacon

WIth holidays coming up, I have a suggestion for those of you looking for a photo project, and perhaps a great gift idea.

Think about a family heirloom recipe book. Food is a big thing in so many cultures, and it plays an important role in family gatherings. Food can bring out comfort and fond memories; now a days, it is typical to be living away from your families, take an advantage when everyone's together, and document the family cooking process/experience.

Depending on the theme, this may take several sessions to complete, totaly up to you. Photograph your parents, grand parents while they prepare your favorite dish, or their famous secret recipe!

Once you have all of the material you needed, go to your on-line photo site and prepare a photo book, so instead of the usual wedding photo book, you are creating a family treasure!

If you have any experiences with creating photo books, feel free to share the info!

And don't forget, you will also end up with a nice meal at the end of the photo session! Yum.

Once you have gained the experience, I can think of this is a nice little work on the side to offer others. What grandma wouldn't want to pass along their favorite recipes in a nice little book to the next generation?


  • Include loved ones! Food is great, but the people who prepare the food is the key here.
  • Capture the process, or the finished product for reference. The photo books can be arranged to include many photos you wish to include, but don't get to cluttered. Just like the wedding book, this can also be elegant.
  • Include a few pictures of the utensils used, the prep area (counter top), the fancy food mixer; also pictures of the table settings, fine china used, stemware, etc. Many of these items can be passed on to family members, few years from now, having the item in your hands, and in a book, can trigger strong memories.
  • Capture the eating experience, eating, drinking, laughing at the table.
  • Since dishes may be prepared at different households, ask others to document/capture their cooking process, so you can combine them later.
  • How about your ideas?

Have fun!

My Early Muir Owl

Saturday, September 15, 2007

This is a great video, and so creative.
Glad I don't have to go through this now, I am not sure how one can top this.

Photo Lessons from Adoroma

Check out this link for Adoroma's 100 photography tips in 100 days.


Just started, so it still has plenty of new ones to come.

Flagstaff Bed Race Day - Toys for Tots

Went to return some library books today, and they had the Flagstaff Bed Race day today. Cool.

I was really surprised with the first place prize - Trip to Hawaii to compete in the National Bed Race!

Second prize - Trip to San Diego!

Third prize - Trip to Vega$!

There were some serious competition, tons of people. This is what I found out of places/towns that have 4 seasons: They really appreciate the nice weathers! I remember going to Milwaukee for business trip during Summer time, they had lunch time outdoor concert in downtown area parks, every day, that was really cool. Of course, the Winter is pretty rough.

We didn't stay to watch the whole thing, but it was nice to be outside, and watch the activity, people, etc.

MONSTER Amulance.

Starting Gate
The Marines against the Hippies, :)

Com'on, let's go!!
EMT against team Target.
Leaves are changing color already.
While we're close to downtown, we strolled around downtown a little bit. I can't believe the drop in # of tourists. We kept getting asked by shop keepers, "are you local?".
One of the coolest looking church.

Friday night

During Summer months, every Friday night at downtown Flagstaff gets pretty wild. A free concert while light out, then followed by a movie for family.

Tonight we went to downtown to our favorite eatery - Moutain Oasis, and the downtown was actually kind of deserted. The movie night was over, just skateboarders around the plaza. Hey, at least it was easy to find a parking spot, .

This shot was taken near a bar on the first floor of Monte Vista hotel. Usually packed with rowdy crowd, but tonight, it seemed quite. I guess temperature getting down to 44 degrees for tonight has something to do with it?

Ink refill

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I hate buying inkjet cartridges, they are expensive, and I always get the feeling that I am getting ripped off.

I am never sure about ink refill services, I have heard stories that can be kind of scary. But when Walgreens had a free ink refill promotion yesterday, I took my HP 57 ink cartridge there to give it a shot. I figure it doesn't cost me anything to give it a try.

Below is a link to Walgreens' info page on their refill program/cost.


It costs about $19.99 for the #56 black cartridge, and refill for $10.
It costs about $34.99 for the #57 color cartridge, and refill for $15.

The savings for color cartridge would be significant, if it works.

After I got the refilled cartridge, I printed a test page, and it shows the color looked pretty good, but after it sat overnight, I printed another test page (a google map), the red is no longer showing up properly (more purple), and the highlighted route that appears yellow-orange on the screen, looks yellow-green printed on paper.

For additional test:
I ran a clean cartridge function, printed a test page, then performed the same function with a genuine HP cartridge.

Comparing the colors:
Cyan is good.
Magenta is off with the refill, it looks has too much blue.
Yellow looks puke green.
Purple is good.
Green is good
Red appears purple/brown.

Also, the colors from the refill has lines across (not solid).

Here's a scan for comparison:

The top row is using genuine HP cartridge, and the bottom row is from refill.

This is disappointing, I am not sure if they just filled wrong color in the cartridge or not, it is hard to tell, and I am not sure if I want to bother to go back to that store to find out. For general printing of records and such, I am probably just going to use up this cartridge, but for sure not going to use this for photo printing, :)


Second Attempt

Welcome to my BLOG!

My second attempt in setting up a blog.

Not that my first attempt was a failure, but it was, hmmm, more of a pre-live site for me to practice what I need to do. Since I am not really sure how to wipe it out, and give it a new name, I am starting a new one, :)

I even got me a book on blogging, The Rough Guide to Blogging, hope it will help.

As the title implies, this blog will be photo related. I will display my pictures that I have taken. Now that I live in Flagstaff, I think I am pretty lucky that I am close to several great photo spots!

Keep in touch.


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