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Contrast in Weather

Thursday, December 25, 2008

While we're getting over 5 inches of snow, and 34 degrees in Flagstaff, just 15 miles north, and a drop from 7,000 to 6,000 feet, it was sunny and 54 degrees!

I was standing on top of the Citadel ruins, looking at the Painted Desert in the distance.

Camera - Nikon D70.

Wait til next year

Location - Flagstaff, AZ

No problem, just 2 hours south, you can play on the links in Phoenix area.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

So how many people got a shining new camera or camera gear? :)

Be safe and stay healthy!

Spider Web

Monday, December 22, 2008

Location - Dade City, FL
With Camellia in the background, I saw this spider web all dewed up from the fog. Didn't see the spider though.

Camera - Pentax DL

Safety Harbor - Fishing Pier

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Location - Safety Harbor, FL.

The pier is occupied with fishermen in the evening time. Not sure if they had any luck catching any, but they all seem to be in really good mood, as they carry on with laughter, I guess they're not too concerned in scaring off the fishes.

Camera - Pentax DL.

Flash Test

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Unscientific Diffuser/Bounce test:

LumiQuest Pocket Bouncer and Sto-fen Omni-Bounce

Direct - Left: no diffusion. Right: With Omni-Bounce

45 degree- Left: no diffusion. Right: With Omni-Bounce

90 degree- Left: no diffusion. Right: With Omni-bounce

LumiQuest - Pocket Bouncer

Camera setup: Nikon D80, Program mode, White Balance, daylight. Flash - SB600, I didn't flip the built-in diffusion of SB600 over the lens.

Looking at these pictures, I am pleasantly surprised that no diffuser, 90 degree (bounce off of ceiling) is my top pick, but I find direct and 90 degree with Omni-bounce to be very close, and pleasant.

For convenience, it's more likely for me to use the Omni-bounce. Remember, this require a little experiment for different conditions.

Another product, that I do not have, but have seen the result, is the Gary Fong's Lightsphere. I don't know why, but the way Lightsphere spread out the light makes it really nice on skin tone.

City Center in Morning Light.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Location - Las Vegas, NV. Las Vegas Blvd.

This is a monster of a development right on the Vegas Strip. Sandwiched between Belagio and Monte Carlo. I don't know how many buildings were leveled to make room for this development. Even with the economic downturn, it does not show any signs of stoppage/slowdown, it is moving right along.

Camera - Olympus E500. I chose to bring this camera because of its light weight.

Nite Shot - Hoover Dam By-pass

well, a day time shot.
Location - Hoover Dam

I took the first 2 shots as we were stuck on Hoover Dam on the 26th, waiting for our turn to go through the single lane due to traffic accident. On our way back on the 28th, no accident, but seeing the traffic backed up as people heading towards the Neveda side, for maybe 2 miles south of the dam. I don't know how long the wait was, but we saw people going potty on the side of the road.... I am sure people wish that the by-pass is completed.

Camera - Olympus E500.

Fay Canyon Hike

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Going up to the arch.

Fay Canyon is a fairly easy hike, unless you want to reach the arch. It was fairly rough path up to the arch, but we're glad we did it.

The trail is very shady in the afternoon, and the temperature difference is quite noticeable.

To get there:
South on 89A (from Flagstaff direction), turn right on Dry Creek Rd.
Turn Left on 152C
Turn Left on Boynton Pass Rd.
The first parking lot on the left is for Fay Canyon. If you go a little further, 1/4mile maybe, you will see the parking for Doe Mountain trail, which we visited last week.

Camera - Olympus E500.

Doe Mountain

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Location - West of Sedona, AZ

Doe Mountain trail - only 0.7 mi, 450 ft gain in elevation. Not too bad of a hike, but last 200 yards to the top is a little treacherous, or, interesting, where the trail gets narrower, and more loose rocks. But once at the top, you have a very nice view of the red rocks. You are actual on top of a small mesa, and you can walk around some more so you can have a panoramic view. The parking lot you see is for Fay Canyon Trail, we'll have to visit that one soon. Shot is a little washed out, very bright day at 72 degree, nice.

Camera - Nikon D80.


Location - Sedona, AZ
Wired burro sculpture, carrying a heavy load.
Camera - Pentax DL with SMC 50mm f1.4.

The Wave

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Location - Page, AZ
There are layers and layers of these crumply sand stones in this area. I am wondering what geological event led up to this formation here.

Camera - Pentax DL.

Holding On

Location - Page, AZ

Looks like the person on the right is holding on tight! I am sure I'd be worse than that if I am up in the air. Funny, I am not afraid of flying, but not sure about this, I think it has something to do with sense of control.

Camera - Nikon D70, 200mm.

Ready For Take Off

Location - Page, AZ

3 balloons getting ready with last minute prep.

Camera - Nikon D70.

Article - SB-20 Mod

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I have purchased several Nikon SB-20 flash for use with my off camera flash project. Recently, I found this article to perform some minor surgery to make it compatible with non-Nikon cameras, specifically if you want to use it with Canon cameras (all manual mode) - see link here. I am more comfortable of using it now as an on-camera flash with my Pentax DL, and occassionally, Canon G2.

Unlike traditional flash head, it is a little difficult to mount a light modifier to it (such as a snoot), due the the shape of the flash head.

SB-20s are nice flashes, tt offers 45, 60, 75 and 90 degree tilt, so you can bounce off the ceiling, but does not allow you to swivel the head. But I do find it a little lacking when I bounce off the ceiling, so I thought I'd try a small mod to see if it would help.

first pic - on camera, bounce off of ceiling:

I noticed the SB-20 has a slot right behind the flash head.

That gave me an idea, so I prototyped a bounce/reflector with a card board material.

Set the flash head tilt to 90 degrees, I noticed an immediate difference, even with the small size of the reflector, what this gave me is that I don't have to use full power with the flash, so that means faster recycle time. Notice my prototype has a small tilt.

The card board reflector works, but doesn't really look very nice. I was hoping I can hit some sign companies here in town for some scrap material they have, but a quick stop at Home Depot, I found some acrylic sheets that are fairly reasonable, so I grabbed a couple of sheets for fun. And with some trial and error, I made this:

Hmm, why is it wider than the prototype? Well, while I was at Home Depot, I also picked up some white paint swatches, and they happened to be wider, :).
And this is what it looks like:

Unfortunately, although I have mastered the technique to cut and shape the acrylic, bending it require some special heating strip/tool, so my acrylic reflector mod is straight up, but it doesn't seem to have any ill effect.

Here's the result, same camera/flash setup as above photo, does bring in a small amount of shadow, but I'll work on another mod for that, :).

Horseshoe Bend

Monday, November 3, 2008

Location - Page, AZ

This is a must stop for anyone who likes to shoot landscapes. From the edge, it is only 1200 feet down to reach the river bank. I took the river boat ride last year, and saw how high it was from the river, it was pretty intimidating.

Camera - Nikon D80, 17mm.

Hot Air Balloon Regatta

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Location - Page, AZ
First weekend of November, Page holds the Hot Air Balloon Regatta. Since its only 2 hours away, I thought I'd take a visit. The send off is at 700 AM in the morning, so I got on the road around 5 AM to get there in time. I am glad I made the trip, as it was a gorgeous day, and light wind, not very cold once the sun was up.

Besides the hot air balloon, there's the Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell, and Horseshoe Bend that you can visit.

Camera - Nikon D70.

Skydiving - Tandems

Monday, October 27, 2008

Location - Cotton Wood, AZ
Red Rock Skydiving.

Here's our friend Mary up in the sky, enjoying herself. :)
I am too much of a chicken (something) to jump off an airplane. I wouldn't mind getting on that Cessna though, since it flew right over Sedona, must've been quite a view over the red rocks.

Camera - Nikon D70.

Skydiving in Red Rock Country

Location - Cotton Wood, AZ

A friend of ours decided to go for a tandems dive to celebrate her birthday. So we tagged along to check it out. This is a shot of the dive instructor, with the red rocks in the background, I like the effect.

Camera - Nikon D70.

My Secret Waterfall

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Location - Oak Creek, AZ
Not really that big of a secret, but the few times I have been there, I only see few visitors there. It is on your way from Flagstaff to Sedona, on 89A. 2 - 3 miles before you hit Slide Rock State Park entrance, you will see this little picnic area on the right hand side (creek side). A fairly steep trail will take you down by the creek. There, you will see a few small waterfalls, a deep pool (usually stocked with trout), and a rocky beach area. Has to be a really nice area to visit during the hot Summer months to cool off. A mixture of gray basalt and red sand stones are found in this area, makes for pretty contrast.

Camera - Nikon D80.

Oak Creek Fall Foliage

This is the right time to be in Oak Creek/Sedona for fall foliage. The colors are spectacular. There're lots of visitors in the Oak Creek area, and parking at West Fork is almost impossible, be ready for a long wait, gotta get there early.

Camera - Nikon D80.

Sunset from Moran Point.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Location - Grand Canyon, Moran Point.
Camera - Nikon D70, 170mm

Got One!

Location - Oldsmar, FL. City Park by the water.

Camera - Nikon D70, 200mm.


Location - Safety Harbor Marina, FL

Camera - Nikon D70, 112mm.

Fall is Here

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Location - San Francisco Peaks.
At 41 degree, and wind gusting, it was a cold day up near the peaks. But it was worth the drive up, as more aspens have changed to golden hue - but some bigger trees are still green.

Camera - Pentax DL, 40mm pancake.

Yosemite - 2

Location - Yosemite National Park
Yosemite Fall, wrong time of year though.

Camera - Canon SD400

Yosemite - 1

Location - Yosemite National Park.
2 hours from Fresno, but glad I made the trip. A bit hasty this time, but I'll make another trip, fer sure.
Camera - Canon SD400.

Comparison in Size

Friday, October 10, 2008

Location - Maricopa Grove, near Yosemite National Park.

The giant Sequoia makes the 3-4 story tall pine tree next to it looks like a twig.

Camera - Canon SD400.

Among the Giants

Location - Near Yosemite National Park Entrance, off of SR 41, from Fresno, CA.
From Fresno, head north on 41, at Yosemite Park entrance, go right for 2 miles, and it will take you to this giant sequoia forest, it is called Mariposa Grove. Due to controlled burn, the place was a little hazy due to smoke.

Camera - Canon SD400, gotta travel light for work.

Fall is near

Sunday, October 5, 2008

With fresh snow on top of San Francisco Peaks, I was hoping the aspens would have more dramatic colors. But just not quite there yet. Maybe, just one more week.

Location - San Francisco Peaks
Camera - Nikon D70 with 80-200mm.

Verde Canyon Railway

Friday, October 3, 2008

Took the Verde Canyon railroad train ride today, starts from Clarkdale, AZ. Really enjoyable, not a very hot day, and a nice breeze. The rhythm of the train brought back memories of older days when I lived in Taiwan, where train travel was fairly common then. After 31 years, this is the first time I had a train ride in the states, cool, :)

Link: http://www.verdecanyonrr.com/

Location - Clarkdale, AZ
Camera - Nikon D80, 18mm.

Sedona Jazz Fest

Monday, September 29, 2008

Location - Sedona, AZ

Camera - Nikon D70, 70mm


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Location - Flagstaff, AZ

Camera - Pentax DL, Macro.

Aspen on Cinder

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Location - Bonito Lava Flow

Camera - Nikon D80, 70mm

First post with the Nikon D80.
Decided to treat myself and upgrade from D70 to D80. Being phased out, there are some nice deals on-line for the D80. So far, I really like the larger LCD and view finder, it makes it much easier as I am getting older, :(

Some what smaller than the D70, it still feels really nice in my hands. Some of the buttons are in different position, but it should be easy to get use to it. I am keeping the D70, as it isn't worth the money I'll get out of selling it. But I will have to sell my Olympus E500 - Ebay bound.

Leap Frogged

Location - Sedona, AZ

Camera - Nikon D70, 55mm.

Downtown B&W

Monday, September 22, 2008

A little noisy at ISO800, and several hot pixels, not stars, :)
Location - Flagstaff, AZ
Camera - Pentax DL, 40mm pancake.

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