There is something about crocodiles and their relatives that fascinates many people. Perhaps it’s the 85 million year history of this family of creatures. Or maybe when we look into their eyes, it is the realization that they may be looking back at us as a potential meal that gets our attention. If you are in the Myrtle Beach (South Carolina) area a trip to Alligator Adventure may be a great way to spend part of a day. The facility has a wide range of crocodilia from all over the globe, including rare albino alligators (Note: I pushed my Nikon 1 V2 to f/7.1, 1/20, ISO-6400 to capture the image below)
The Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington Ontario (Canada) recently hosted a display of frogs from around the world. Frogs: A Chorus of Colours was an interesting, educational exhibit as well as an opportunity to capture some images.
There have been some interesting debates lately about what’s ‘wrong’ with the digital camera market as people try to understand the rather dramatic decline in unit sales that has been happening over the past 4 or 5 years, with volumes down by half from their peak. I let my old, porous brain muse on this for a while and have some perspectives to share. One way to look at this situation is to simply accept that there is nothing fundamentally ‘wrong’ with the camera market at all in terms of sales volumes. From a macro-economic perspective we could view the digital camera market as functioning exactly as every other market has done when a breakthrough technology burst onto its stage. If we look at the history of various product markets the basic rise and fall of market volumes are predictable when they have been impacted by fundamental technological shifts – in the case of cameras it was of seismic proportions going from film to digital. When any kind of ‘game changing’ technology takes hold in any market there are initial and dramatic volume surges as consumers leave their current technology and adopt the new one. That huge upward spike in initial demand then declines quickly as soon as the initial ‘change-over’ market demand for the new technology has been met. Product life-cycle planning is based on these fundamentals.
My wife and I have been to the Myrtle Beach (South Carolina) area many times over the past 20 years but it wasn’t until 2015 that we finally visited Brookgreen Gardens. To say that we were shocked with what we discovered there would be an understatement. We simply had no idea how extensive the grounds are and how much there is to see. From a photography standpoint Brookgreen Gardens is a treasure chest of creative possibilities. From the Lowcountry Trail, the zoo and plantation sites, the pontoon boat cruise, and many natural areas, the facility is brimming with image opportunities. Rather than try to explain the photography potential of visiting Brookgreen Gardens I thought I would share some images that I captured during a single morning that we spent at the facility. My wife and I have already decided that the next time we visit the Myrtle Beach area we’ll be spending at least 2 or 3 full days at Brookgreen Gardens.
Landscape photographers often use fog to help them create wonderful, moody images. You’ve likely seen one of those arresting photographs of a single tree shrouded by fog standing silently in a field.
During a recent trip to the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina I took the opportunity to try something new, and captured a number of images of brown pelicans. Although I’ve seen these birds a number of times in the past I never tried photographing them before, and as with any bird species there was a learning curve involved.
Sometimes we can get so caught up in the technical aspects of our gear that we forget that the most important things are the images we capture regardless of the gear we are using. Those images help to enshrine memories. They could be of family and friends, pets, events, or places that we have visited.
A Panasonic FZ28 super-zoom would never be considered as anything much more than a point-and-shoot camera by most folks. After all, its 10Mp sensor is a miniscule 1/2.33″ (6.08×4.56mm), with uninspiring dynamic range and colour depth, and very poor low light performance. But in my mind it will always be one of my favourite cameras because of the memories that it allowed me to capture. Like a sightseeing trip to Arizona and southeastern Utah.
Ever since Nikon announced the introduction of the Nikon 1 V3 back in March of 2014 the camera has been met with mixed reactions. Some of the design choices made with this camera left many photographers scratching their heads wondering what the engineers at Nikon were thinking when they put the concept for the Nikon 1 V3 together. Specifically many people questioned the use of a microSD memory card, making the EVF and grip detachable, introducing yet another new battery, and coupling the Nikon 1 V3 with a new 10-30 PD zoom that does not accept filters. As a result many people simply dismissed the Nikon 1 V3 out-of-hand and did not give it a serious look. That is unfortunate since the Nikon 1 V3 actually is a very good camera that brings a lot of new features and capabilities to the Nikon 1 system. It’s too bad that the camera did it in a three-steps-forward two-steps-back kind of way. Had Nikon not made those rather quirky design choices I think the camera would have been met with a much stronger and more positive reaction from the marketplace.
After writing my recent article Birds-in-Flight Images with Nikon 1 V3, it occurred to me how helpful using DxO OpticsPro 10 was in processing the RAW files for the article, and specifically the DxO Smart Lighting function. The DxO Smart Lighting function is designed to adjust the dynamic range in an image. This brief article shows a quick example of the impact of using DxO Smart Lighting. Let’s start with an out-of-camera jpeg of an image that I did not use in my recent V3 article.
I’ve been continuing my field work for my hands-on review of the Nikon 1 V3 and spent some time capturing images of birds-in-flight at Grimsby Harbour. This has been a particularly severe winter and some of the Great Lakes have frozen over completely. This is only the fourth time in the past 40 years that this has happened. As you can see from the image below, Grimsby Harbour is frozen solid out past the lighthouse. This made for some interesting captures of birds-in-flight.