Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Classic Portrait

This was a newly 'discovered' Marine Iguana image taken on the island of Fernandina in the Galapagos archipelago. I very quickly processed this image in Lightroom while on the trip back in May and then didn't look at it again. I recently put together a set of 7 images for critique on Fred Miranda's Nature & Wildlife forum and thats when I found this image. Not sure why I had ignored it for so long, because its quickly becoming one of my favorite Iguana images.

Technical Specs: Canon 1Ds3, 500 f/4 IS, f/8, 1/500s, ISO 400.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Crab Nebula (M1) in false color

The Crab Nebula (also known as M1) is a supernova remnant in Taurus. I find M1 interesting because it has curious shapes depending on which wavelengths of light you use to image it. To create this false color composite I used Hydrogen Alpha, Oxygen-III and Sulphur-II. I acquired the data for this image last November, but only recently managed to do the processing to make the final composite. I used CCDStack for all registration and stacking and Photoshop CS5 for the rest. Its incomparable to the image taken by the Hubble, but I'm still pleased with this result.

Technical Specs: 24" RCOS (4875mm focal length at f/8), Apogee Alta U42. Astrodon Ha, S2, O3 filters, 120s x 10 for each (1 hour total).

Friday, September 17, 2010

Red-naped Sapsucker

These images of the Red-naped Sapsucker are also from my trip to British Columbia earlier this summer.

It may be hard to believe based on these images but the light levels were actually very challenging to work with. This is because there were 3 factors working against me:
  1. These guys move fast, very fast! I needed at least a shutter speed of 1/2500 to 1/3200 to effectively freeze their motion.
  2. The depth of field is narrower than one thinks. With an 800mm lens and being close enough that the bird fills the frame, I needed to stop down to at least f/8-f/10 to get sufficient depth of field. This is compounded by the fact that they don't approach the nest hole on a perfectly perpendicular plane to the camera, so stopping down is essential.
  3. The best light to photograph these guys is in the early morning and it was a partially cloudy that morning on and off
All these factors put together meant that I was frequently shooting at ISO 3200 and even higher!

I am pleased with the way the images came out, especially given the high ISO. Unfortunately that use of high ISO also means that 24" prints likely won't be that great.

One thing I did realize on this trip is that I'm not that jazzed with taking more images of birds on pretty perches. I prefer images of birds (and wildlife in general) in the middle of action. It is challenging to pull off.

Here's an example of an image where even the 10 frames / second capture speed of the 1D Mark IV is insufficient to provide an ideal frame in the burst (I would have preferred one with the Sapsucker mid-frame). This was a digital composite of 2 consecutive frames. Bring on the 20 FPS cameras Canon!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Loon and Chicks

Another image of a Common Loon with its two chicks from my trip to Lac le Jeune this summer.

Technical Specs: Canon 1D4, 70-200 f/2.8 IS II @ 200mm, f/5.6, 1/400s, ISO 1600.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Afternoon at the Aquarium

We spent Sunday afternoon at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Maya had a great time there and I took only the Sony NEX-5 with the 18-55 lens and the Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8.

Not all the experiments worked out (like the one above).

I'm really digging the video capabilities of the NEX-5. Its almost as easy to use as a camcorder (the camcorder still has the edge when zooming) with DSLR level image quality (check the above video in full HD).

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Kahili Ginger

This is the flower of a Kahili Ginger. The plant is native to the Himalayas but at some time was brought to Hawaii where its considered an invasive species. It was planted in our tropical garden a while and was thought to have died until we saw it flowering this week. It has also a very pleasant smell.

Technical Specs: Canon 1Ds3, 85L, f/11, 10s, ISO 100.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

3D in Photoshop Book Giveaway

This is the "other" book I worked on this past year (Light and Skin Interactions was the first and was released earlier this year). The printing was of very high quality and the book has been extremely popular. As a contributing author, Focal Press was nice enough to give me an extra copy of the book, so I'm going to give it away :)

If you want a chance to win a copy here's what you need to do:

1. Go to the AK Imagery Facebook fan page.
2. Become a fan by clicking on 'like'.
3. In the wall post about this give away, just make some comment, any comment.
4. One random commenter will be selected and will receive a copy of the book in the coming week.

Its that simple, so get to it!

Monday, September 06, 2010

NEX-5 + Alternative Glass Corner Color Shifts

I have written up the results of a quick test of several alternative lenses (Zeiss and Voigtlander) on the Sony NEX-5 to show which ones exhibit vignetting and corner color shifting.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

King of the Beach

He knows who's boss here. Taken on a beach on the island of Espaniola in the Galapagos on our last day there.

Technical Specs: Canon 1Ds3, 24-105 @ 24mm, f/8, 1/200s, ISO 400.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Sunflower Disk Florets

This is the first image I made with the StackShot by Cognisys. StackShot is a macro focusing rail that is motorized and computerized. Its extremely well build and is surprisingly very easy to use.

Here is the setup used to make the shot above. I took 12 images and stacked them using Helicon Focus. The StackShot was used in manual mode (it can be set up to automatically trigger your camera, but I didn't have the cable). This was taken with the Canon MP-E at 5x magnification, so the step was set to 0.2mm on the StackShot (which seemed adequate at f/8).

One of the challenges with extreme macro photography is getting an interesting composition. I'm not completely happy with this image, but its a good start.

Technical Specs: Canon 1Ds3, 65mm MP-E, f/8, 1/250s, ISO 100. Strobe fired. Stack of 12 images.