Sunday, May 26, 2019

Hi, I'm Glenn and I'm a Blog-a-holic

Hi, I'm Glenn and I'm a Blog-a-holic.

It's been more than a month since I last posted and I'm going through withdrawal. Well not exactly, but it's heartening to look at all the messages I've received saying, "what's going on, I haven't seen a blog post from you in a while?"

Mostly I post on Facebook. If it's just a picture, with no real story to tell behind it, it's easier. And I've gotten in the habit of logging in there because I help moderate the Photoshop and Photography group, and I spend (too many) hours in this computer chair.


Don't get me started. I wear a Garmin Vivofit so I can look and see, "oh, another day I didn't do very many steps". It motivates me occasionally, but my entire life revolves around my bed, my computer chair, my couch, my car seat... and other places to sit and lie down. I've started walking a little bit to prepare for my summer Newfoundland trip, but not enough. I've complained about leg pains of different sorts and they have to come from sitting too much!

So the personal stuff:


  • my house is still for sale. I'm sure the price is right but the right buyer hasn't come along. In my humble opinion, the ideal buyer is an older couple who want a place to retire outside the city that doesn't take a lot of maintenance, has plenty of room and is not TOO remote. The Inn across the road is a good thing. So is the one-level layout and the lawn you can mow in half an hour. If that sounds like you or you know someone, go to the listing here. Take the Virtual Tour, Anthony added some cool drone photos and we adjusted the price for a quicker sale.
  • My grandson, 2nd Lt. Ryan Davenport, RCAF has completed his level 1 flight training, mid-winter in Manitoba! He's now riding a desk for a while before he goes back to his college studies and continues his journey towards becoming a fighter pilot. As I write this, he's off to do land and sea survival training... I don't envy him that one!
Here are a few pictures he sent me, and said I could share:








It's interesting that in the military, the pilot flies the right seat, not the left as in civilian aviation. I read somewhere that has something to do with having access to the cyclic and other controls in a helicopter, but I'm not sure. 




Apparently after you solo, you get dunked in a bathtub full of icewater, an RCAF tradition that's been going on since the very beginning almost 100 years ago. Maybe even the same bathtub. In Manitoba, in the middle of winter! Brrrr. 


  • Medical and dental aging are ongoing. I don't want to dwell on it, but I'm still here!
  • I've officially given up painting. My easel and supplies went to my art teacher who will pass them on to other students. I found it too frustrating, since I wasn't very good at it and it took a big effort to set up and paint: oils take forever to dry, it's a mess to clean up... maybe I'll take it up again, but perhaps acrylic or watercolour (there's a watercolour artist in St. John's that I've known as a photographer for a while, hoping we can hook up briefly while I'm there. His name is Darrell Heath, look for him on Facebook. He's really good!)
I have, however, kept my sketchbook and charcoals/pencils. Again I'm not very good but if the urge takes me, it's not a big chore to sketch something. Here's the latest:



Canada Goose and a pair of blue-winged teal.



Here's the digital sketch I based it on. 





Raptors yeah!

Look at me. You KNOW I love basketball. I'm 4'20", I outweigh most NBA players and when I jump, I sometimes can ALMOST get my toes off the ground! What's not to love about that game!

PS as I write this, they just beat the Bucks. I'm not buying a "Ran the East" shirt because I'm waiting for my NBA CHAMPIONS shirt!

Go Raptors, Go. 



a mini-commentary on our times

I keep reading rants online about how the Walmarts of the world are eliminating jobs by installing self-checkouts.

I'm NOT with them on this one. When was the last time you pulled up to a gas pump and an attendant came out to fill up your car, check your oil and cleaned your windshield? Some stations offer that service but you pay extra for the privilege, makes sense, right? After all they do have to pay that attendant... when you go to a restaurant, do you still line up at the cashier to pay cash on the way out, or does your server bring over that portable credit card reader so you don't have to get out of your chair to pay for dinner? Oh and it offers to calculate the tip for you too, if you want. When was the last time you stood in line at a bank for the teller? Or do you do your banking online or at an ATM? Do you even carry cash any more?

There are tasks and jobs that kids haven't even heard of, unless they read about them in history books, made obsolete by technology. Buggy whip manufacturers, do people still have jobs plucking chickens or delivering ice blocks? Do they still milk cows by hand? When was the last time you saw a bunch of guys with scrapers and brooms come out and clean the ice between periods of a hockey game? We have machines for that.

There are new jobs arising every day which nobody ever thought of until now, and which most of us older folks can't even imagine. The world is changing, get with the program.

Get over it, ladies and gentlemen (and people of other non-binary genders). The world our grandparents and parents grew up in is gone. The world WE grew up in is gone. The world our kids grew up in is evolving. Ten years from now, people will not remember what a taxi driver was, or a flight attendant (stewardess!), or a cashier.




FAC First Aid is sold!

I know that the new owner is committed to keeping up the tradition of selling only the best products and providing great customer service. Here's the website, I know he's working on it but it functions.

The phone number that belonged to the business went with it, so you can no longer reach me there. If the phone number you have for me starts with area code = '416' and you don't know my real number, please contact me via this link and I'll get right back to you with the current information. Just trying to stymie the Nigerian Royal Family and assorted telemarketers, I know you understand!


By the way, I made it so you can still create an emergency medical card to laminate and carry in your wallet. NO INFORMATION GOES OUT OF YOUR COMPUTER, you're merely filling out a pdf form and printing it. EVERYONE should carry one. Here's the link: https://faczen.com/medcard.pdf. I need to rewrite the interface but it still works.






Newfoundland trip is coming together!

I'm excited to get going! Scheduled departure is July 1 and the ferry date booked homeward bound is August 18th, although that's flexible. This year I'm mostly on my own but I'll be hooking up with 3 or 4 groups of people for a couple of days here and there. That includes my son and family from New York, Trudy and Jeff, Dr. Ron and Ricki, maybe Jacqui and Arjuna. Let me know if anyone else wants to meet up, I have 2 bedroom places almost throughout the trip.



Here's my route map again. 
Itinerary:


  • July 5 arrival, drive to Stephenville via Codroy, hopefully sunset at Cape St. George
  • July 6&7, Port au Choix
  • July 8-15, Burnt Cove in Raleigh. This is a HUGE Iceberg year.
  • July 15 one more night in Port au Choix
  • July 16-30 at Crow Head, Twillingate
  • July 30-August 2 in New-Wes-Valley,  Greenspond
  • August 2-8 in Bonavista, last night probably Trinity
  • August 8-15 at Pouch Cove.




I bought a new camera!

I got a Nikon Z7 mirrorless, with the 14-30mm f/4 Z-mount lens and the adapter to accept all my F-mount Nikon lenses. This will be my landscape and general purpose camera. My trusty D800 seems to be better for birds and long telephoto stuff — or I'm just not far enough along the learning curve on the "Z". We'll see...

Here's a silly "unboxing video" I did. It's traditional!


My D5500 and 18-55mm lens is for sale. LOCATED IN CANADA. Comes with the kit lens (18-55), two batteries and charger. In EUC, never had any problem with it. I have the box, the manual, a guide book, a Lowepro case, a wireless ML-L3 remote, the strap... shutter count is only 18,235. I'll throw in a 32Gb SD card or two.
 The strap mounting point on the top right side (looking at the back of the camera) is broken. See the third picture. I don’t remember how but the camera’s never been dropped. I think when I took the regular strap off — I’ve used a BlackRapid style sling strap mounted to the tripod mount almost since day 1. I’ll throw that in too.
I bought it as a backup to my D800 2 years ago. Now my D800 is going to be my backup camera to my new Z7.
 Henry's wants $650 for the used body only plus $160 for the used lens plus taxes... You do the math.
I want $600 CDN total. That's Canadian Dollars. Like $450 US. Plus shipping if I'm shipping it. Paypal’s good.
 PS: I'm using the strap right now on the D800, waiting for the new one I ordered for the Z7 to arrive in a few days.
Contact me if interested...







That broken strap mount 





Some Pictures

Here are a few pictures from the last few weeks. Enjoy!




Some devastating damage in Bracebridge from the spring flooding. Army engineers begin a mission to evaluate the damage  




The ultimate off-road vehicle — an armoured personnel carrier!




Opposition Leader Andrea Horvath talking with a local official and army major Graham. She's wearing a helmet because she came out of that APC. 



One of the first shots I took with the Z7 and 14-30mm.  



Yellow-Rumped Warbler at Carden Plain




Bobolink at Carden Plain 




Chestnut-sided Warbler at Carden Plain 



Multi-image focus stacked shot of a Trillium at the Minden White Water.  16 steps, made in-camera in the Z 




1/6 second handheld exposure in the Z. Internal image stabilization is fantastic! 



Nesting Loon on Minden Lake. Shot with the 400mm adapted on the Z 




3-shot HDR, shot with the new 14-30mm lens on the Z. This is what this lens is for!

See you next time. I'll try not to take so long!


— 30 —

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Left Brain Challenge

The Right Brain is considered the creative, artistic side.

The Left Brain is the calculating, scientific half.

Those who know me know that it's only in this part of my life — say for the last 15 or 20 years — that I've indulged my creative spirit and done my best to discard and ignore the old technical part. Without success, I might add. I moved over to Mac from PC, for example which is a source of never-ending frustration because I can't dive into the code like I used to. Not that I really want to, I just want to be a "user" and let others solve the technical issues. Which doesn't always work, but that's another story.

I 'play' guitar and keyboard (in quotes because I'm really a hacker) but I can't remember how to read music much, despite years of training in my youth. I 'paint' and 'sketch', also in quotes because I suck. I write: no quotes there, I do that, but the only way I'll finish my novel is if I have another 20 or 30 years ahead of me! And of course I photograph and digitally manipulate images.

I used to shoot guns and ride motorcycles but always with the left brain engaged, respect for the mechanics. No, I've really had enough of the cogitative life.

So WHY IN HEAVEN did I decide to get a star tracker? It's one of the most complicated contraptions I've tried since Rube Goldberg was a kitten.



Here's my camera mounted on an iOptron Skytracker Pro. The thing on top is my iPhone which runs TriggerTrap software to operate the camera shutter. I could use a remote, but hey, this is more complicated!

What does it do? Inside the red thing is a motor that turns the camera mount at the same speed as the earth rotates, ideally in the exact opposite direction, so the stars stay put in the frame. Note: if you're a "flat-earther" you can skip to the next article because this won't make sense to you. The camera is mounted on a ball head so you can point it where you want, and that's sitting on a counterweighted arm — which technically isn't needed with a wide angle lens, but I was trying to learn how to set it up.

Since everything rotates around the North Pole, you have to align the thing with the Pole which is close to (but not exactly on) the star Polaris.The thing on the right with the rubber band on it is a Polar Scope (the rubber band is to keep the lens caps from falling off), a little telescope you use to align the thing. Without boring you to death with detail, that's the hardest part: you roughly point it North, tilt it to the correct angle for your latitude (there's an app for that), look through the scope by bending over at an impossible angle and you should see Polaris. I saw A STAR, I think it might have been Polaris... then you use some clumsy controls to put it in the right place in the scope. Sure. When it's -2°C, windy, and the stupid ball head control gets in the way. Oh yeah, and you have to make sure the tripod is perfectly level (with a bubble level). Once it's aligned take care not to move anything or you have to start all over again. That's harder than you think.

OK, why? Well if you shoot the milky way, for instance, a typical exposure would be say 15 seconds at f/2.8, ISO 3200. If you know anything about digital photography, the high ISO generates lots of 'noise' which interferes with a sharp, clean image. Any longer, and the moving stars will leave tracks instead of being round dots (if you're in focus. Another issue...). So to get the ISO down, you need to keep the shutter open longer, hence the tracker to keep everything still in the picture. My go-to exposure would be 4 minutes at f/4, ISO 400, not too far off, I think.

With all of that said, I went out on Wednesday night to give it a try. The moon was too bright, there were clouds coming in, but I got a couple of shots.




This is a 4 minute shot with the tracker on. As I said, it wasn't perfect, but not a bad first attempt. You can see that the foreground is fuzzy because the camera was moving the whole time, but the stars were (reasonably) sharp. 




This is a shot with the tracker turned off.  You can see how much the stars moved during the exposure but the earth stood still. I turned on the inside light in the car for a bit at the beginning of the shot.



So what you do is blend those pictures together in Photoshop, then fiddle with it for an hour and this is what you get. Pretty cool, eh? 



Here's another one, facing ENE but I forgot to shoot a foreground shot so it's fuzzy. 

I'm looking forward to getting out on another clear (but WARMER!) night to try again, maybe with the Milky Way this time! Exercising those computational muscles on the left side of my brain!



Newfoundland

Planning is well underway. I only have a few days left to book, I'd really like to find something around Greenspond for the end of July, but may have to settle for the Bay Roberts area (not that there's anything wrong with that, but I'd love the chance to roam around Greenspond for a few days). No available accommodations there that I've been able to find.

I booked the ferries: July 4th outbound, August 18th inbound. That gives me a couple of days on the Western shore on either end of the trip. I'm still open for people (photography or artist types) to share part of the time with me. 

If you want to see my Newfoundland pictures from 2017 and 2018, go to my Portfolio page, here:



House Sale

I had an offer a couple of days ago, but it didn't work out. Still available, great location and house and price, perfect for someone from Toronto looking to move out of town or even to use as a cottage as a stepping stone to moving up here. 

Here's the listing site from my agent:




Algonquin Park visit(s)

I was up in the park twice. Last week, Amin and I went for a drive up — we had a great day but didn't see much, other than the Pine Martens. We did run into a few friends, the "Susans" and we met Dave Nicholson who had never seen a Marten, so we sent him to "the spot" where he saw one for the first time.  


I grabbed this Canada Jay picture there, and turned it into a sketch:





Then Ron called and said, "let's go to Algonquin Park". "Sure, what time?" and I met them up there Saturday morning. He brought Rob Klein and Lil Schneidman with him, Lil is the outgoing president of the Richmond Hill Camera Club. We'd met before but with my memory for faces and names... sorry Lil!

That didn't go exactly as planned. As I was driving east on Highway 60 out of Dwight, a deer decided to remodel the front of my car. The insurance is covering everything but the deductible and I'm off in search of a body shop tomorrow.







Here's the deer. Not going far with a broken back half. I shot the picture while waiting for the police. The nice officer dispatched it with his Glock: I volunteered to do it but for some reason he wouldn't lend me the gun... We left it for the wolves and other critters in the bush. 



This is one of the shots I did for the insurance company. A lot of plastic to be replaced, a little sheet metal, and maybe a little internal damage to the A/C Condenser. We'll see. The plastic did its job, no damage to the frame or anything, I think. Subarus are tough! 


When I finally got to the Park, I met up with them and shot some pictures. Almost all were with the 200-400mm 'bazooka'. It's soooo sharp but it's soooo heavy... except as noted below. Enjoy.







The obligatory Pine Marten shots. See what I mean about sharp? This one is cropped quite tightly, too. 



I hate Grackles. They empty my feeders in half a day, chase all the other birds away and their call is annoying and noisy. But they do have pretty iridescent  feathers!



A common Redpoll 



A digital sketch of Turtle Rock up on Opeongo Road. More complicated than it looks because it was a composite of 12 separate images shot with the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and edited in Topaz Studio. 




 Here's Lil, using a similar technique.




We stopped at the ice cave on Hwy 60 on the way back. Careful footing to get up to it, here's Lil trying not to fall.




And this is a merged-HDR pano shot from the entrance to the cave. With a little help from Topaz! 9 shots HDR merged in Lightroom, done with the 24-120 lens.

'til next time!


— 30 —

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Blast from the Past

A blast from the past

There's a story behind this picture. 
I came across it while cleaning up today.



McGill University
MacDonald Physics Building
Physics undergrads, March 1968
Photograph by Glenn Springer

I should have written this years ago when my memory was sharper. You have to understand, this was more than half a century ago! Gawd, I'm old! I think this group of students were from Dr. Lee's Theoretical Physics class. My main recollection of that class were (1) Dr. Lee had a very thick accent and half the time we couldn't understand what he was saying, (2) we didn't understand it anyway because the entire class was on General Relativity and the convoluted mathematics behind the Schrödinger Wave Equation, and (3) I have a mind picture of a blackboard covered from wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling with equations. I do have a flashback to the astounding moment when I actually succeeded in deriving ' E=MC² ' from basic principles.


What I can't remember is the name of the head of the physics department back then. I know that Dr. Stansbury had been promoted to Dean of Arts & Sciences and I can picture his replacement, a dour and forbidding older professor (he was probably in his 50's! LOL). I should, I worked for him as a research assistant on a project involving predicting lightning for a summer or two afterwards. Anyway his name escapes me but he was an intimidating guy who always seemed to be angry at us and had no patience for any 'tomfoolery'. We'll call him "Dr. X".

We spent our time in the MacDonald Physics building, a stone edifice built in 1893. The halls were 'hallowed', that's where Dr. Ernest Rutherford did his work on radioactivity, for which he won a Nobel Prize (in chemistry, though!). As an aside, the CCD sensors that Nikon used in their digital cameras (they now use CMOS sensors) were discovered by Willard Boyle, a McGill Physics alum, for which he shared a Nobel Prize in 2009). And you thought this was going to be boring!

So the dark hallowed mahogany halls of the building were decorated with ancient pictures of famous physicists and class pictures posed in front of the building. Many of them dated back more than a half a century — what is now over a full hundred years — gazed at with reverence by students and faculty alike.  Dr. X was very much steeped in tradition, I recall. We, on the other hand, were irreverent. Oh, we did our share of stupid nerdy things, à la Sheldon Cooper, but we were all serious students, every briefcase contained a Keuffel and Esser slide rule and a book of log tables, spiral-bound notebooks filled with mathematical derivations and mechanical pencils because they were easier to sharpen or at least use after a lead broke. Remember, these were the days before computers, or even pocket calculators!



This was like mine except my sheath was green. It went with me everywhere. To quote Dr. Leonard Hofstadter, "I wasn't a Nerd, I was the King of Nerds"!

Someone came up with the idea of shooting a picture of our class that echoed the ancient pictures in the hallways. Since I was into photography (and actually owned a Nikon and had a darkroom), I was designated to take the picture. So one day we all dressed up in period costume as best we could, and gathered on the worn stone steps of the MacDonald building (I remember the steps being worn smoothly concave by thousands of students' feet over the years).

I shot the picture, I put the camera on a timer and ran into the shot. If you don't recognize me, I was the handsome fellow on the right with the Beatles haircut. Don't ask me for other names, they're long gone.

When I printed the 8x10's I made them sepia, to match the aged images in the hall. I know I printed one for each of us, and I wonder if anyone still has one!

On a quiet afternoon, with nobody else around, I took down one of the mahogany-framed, glass-covered pictures on a wall, and slid our photo in front of the existing picture. Then it went back up on the wall.

Every time we walked by it, we used to touch it and laugh inside. It looked just like the old ones. Then one day, maybe as much as a year later, Dr. X came into one of our classes. And seriously laid into us for violating and destroying a venerated piece of history. I remember I came clean and invited him to open the frame, so he could see that the original picture was still there, untouched. He stormed out, outraged and steaming.

That was a cool moment. Almost as good as the day we sprinkled moist Nitrogen Tri-Iodide powder on the floor around the lectern. About halfway through the lecture it dried and every step the professor took resulted in a mini-explosion! Nerds!




February and early March are emotion-draining weeks up here in the Highlands. We had a wickedly cold January and everyone I know turned into a hermit, too cold to venture outdoors unless you had to. Sadly, after more than half of March is gone by, I've literally shot NO pictures. I just don't feel like getting out there. Later this week, I'm going to try to go up to Algonquin Park, especially if Dr. Ron comes for a visit and spurs me into it. I've been going from my bed to my computer chair to the couch and back again, with the occasional stop in the bathroom. Sad. My Garmin Vivofit says I've averaged less than 3000 steps a day, and I'm feeling it.

My house is for sale — as I said last year, I want to move back to the city when I CAN instead of when I HAVE TO. I love living here, don't get me wrong — but at this age and condition, it's that time. Here's the link to the listing if you, or someone you know, wants to live in God's country. http://www.trilliumteam.ca/viewlisting.php?id=1344553








Tassimo is discontinued


No big surprise, if you go in grocery stores the variety of Keurig K-cup pods is overwhelming. Loblaws has cut back on the variety of Tassimo pods available, the writing is on the wall.

Too bad, because Tassimo had two things going for them: larger pods to brew a strong extra-large cup, and Latté/Capuccino varieties that included milk pods.

So I guess I'm buying a Keurig machine. I already have a small one for travel (but it isn't very good). 


Update: I bought one. Costco had the best price on the Keurig Elite. I set it up and tested it, it's pretty good. There's so much choice of coffee varieties, it'll take a while to settle on the ones I like best! Too big for travel, though...




Carden Plain

The birds aren't back yet. I'm seeing reports in other areas of the Province — further South — of meadowlarks, kildeer, bluebirds. Even a Phoebe. Nothing at Carden yet. Wylie Road is still closed  (I wouldn't dare, snowcovered and not plowed) beyond the Warbler woods. I did hear some meadowlarks but they didn't come out.

There were two pair of trumpeter swans on Canal Lake at Centennial Park Road, and I saw some European Starlings on MacNamee Road.  





Give it a few more weeks.




I'm well on my way to planning my Newfoundland trip this summer. Yes, I'm going back again, I don't think I want to live there (you think winter was tough here?) but I absolutely love it there. I've booked all my accommodations, except for a few travel days and one four-day period at the end of July which is up in the air. I'm looking at leaving home around July 1st or so, coming home about August 20th.



This was the original plan, and it's looking good. I won't go to Labrador — it's a trek and I don't think there's that much to see — and the timing's a little different. 

The one new place for me is the Northern Peninsula, overlooking Iceberg Alley and near the Viking settlements at L'Anse aux Meadows. I'm bringing all the camera gear and the computer — whether I get a new camera for the trip depends on the sale of my house. 

I've booked 2-bedroom or more accommodations throughout but I'm on my own except for a week or so around the end of July/beginning of August. I'd love some company and I know all the great spots to shoot, so if you've always wanted to go to the Rock, now's the time! Get in touch!

Here are a couple of pictures from last summer that I've been working on. 



This is the well-known "Cribbie's" house at Tor's Cove, south of St. John's. I did a bunch of post-processing on it to convert it into a sketch. I will print this when I get a chance. 


This is actually right around the corner from there. It's called "Fox Island". 






Parting Shot

I reworked an older image that I had taken in Old Montreal. A Facebook colleague had put up some work that showed an effect I really liked. I couldn't duplicate it (nor would I want to) but it inspired me to make this picture:





That's it for now! I'll be back...

— 30 —

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

I refuse to stay indoors!


In a sketching mood...

I took this picture of the Red Umbrella Inn across the road on a grey, very cold day. In fact I took several, sitting in my car just in front of my driveway, and merged them to a high resolution pano.


I had the 70-200 on the camera and was too cold to get out and put on the wide angle. So it's a 140 megapixel merged pano. 

I shot it because I had a sketch in mind. In fact, a pencil sketch, not a digital sketch, and I wanted a source photo. However I did play with it in Topaz and came up with this digital version:


Again, the purpose was to use it to do a pencil sketch. 

Without further ado, here's the actual pencil sketch I did. HB Graphite pencil on Strathmore fine-tooth sketch paper.


Then I opened this pencil sketch in Photoshop and Topaz and did a little fine tuning. Here's what I ended up with:





Newfoundland

On the cusp. I need to decide soon. Talk to me...

(also the house for sale thing. Procrastinating).



Algonquin Park

The weather forecast for the week is lousy but Sunday looked OK so I headed up to the Park. Never disappointed! My big problem is choosing which images to post here but hey this is a digital world, so I have a bunch! I'll split them up...



Shooting right into the sun at Lake of Two Rivers. Some HDR and Topaz manipulation to give it the effect I wanted 




Ice Cascades






This is an edit of the picture above it. I wonder what caused the break between the stalagtites and the stalagmites. 


This ice cave is on the north side of highway 60 near LOTR. What looks like another cavern is actually a big ball of ice! It was treacherous climbing in there: wear good boots, cleats if you have them, and be prepared to wade through deep snow.



Birds 
(or as Ron would call them, "chickens")


Red-breasted nuthatch hoping for peanuts. On the Spruce Bog trail


Immature male pine grosbeak.. These next shots are all at the Visitor's Centre


Female Pine Grosbeak 


Mature Male pine grosbeak 


Common Redpoll. He refused to turn around! 



Critters

A lot of people think Pine Martens are cute, cuddly creatures. They are NOT. One of my Facebook friends calls them "adorable assassins". They may look cute... this day I managed to capture images of one in a pissy mood. They have teeth that don't fool around.

These were all shot at Mew Lake, but I saw them in 2 other locations that day as well. These pictures came out best.








I shot all of the bird and critter pictures with my D800 and Nikon 200-400 f/4, handheld or leaning on a railing (my arms and shoulders are still tired!). They came out sharp and beautiful, I thought, until I ran them through Topaz Labs AI-Clear. What a difference! You would think I shot with a $10,000 lens (Oh, wait... look up the Nikon 200-400!).

AI-Clear is an adjustment in Topaz Studio. You can use a preset version of it for free, or you can download the 'Pro' version, that's currently under $100. Or you can trial the Pro version for 30 days for free. It is absolutely worth it. 

There's a Topaz Labs icon in the right panel of this blog. If you use that link, and you read what to put in the coupon field below the icon, you'll get another 15% discount. I could tell you what it says, but what would the fun be in that?  Go see for yourself!

Until next time!

— 30 —