Photos: August 22, 2008

>> Sunday, August 24, 2008

Out on the USNWC trails Friday after work. Beautiful weather, a little overcast. Here are five photographs from the trek (five being a number selected because of Blogspot's defaults, basically; it could just as easily be four or seven if Blogger's menus were constructed differently).

Little has been done with the photos: some tweaking of white balance instead of sticking with the camera defaults. Conversion to JPEG, of course. One unusual thing I did (for me) was to go ahead and use a flash on the spider photograph: I hate doing this in the woods, as it seems a bit intrusive--but it was an overcast day and I really didn't think Ms. Spider was in a position to mind too much. At some point I need to go ahead and just spend the money on a monopod or easily portable tripod--then I can take a nice tack-sharp picture of a spider that doesn't involve blinding it.

It wasn't quite the best of walks or sessions. For instance, I think I would have loved to really get down on the ground to try to get a face-to-face with the butterfly if it would have let me, but I really didn't want to get down and low after last week's teeny spider bites, which basically stopped itching yesterday--an annoyance which won't keep me from getting in the dirt again, it was just too soon for a possible repeat, y'know? And I wasn't real happy with most of the pictures I did get, but these weren't too terrible. (I'm not fishing for compliments with that line: you should have seen what I deleted while I was picking these five. No, that's not right: you shouldn't have seen those shots, and I'm glad you didn't, and that's why they've been deleted.)

Anyway, enjoy!


Nathan Sunday, August 24, 2008 at 4:56:00 PM EDT  

Nice pics.

But let me get this. Blogger has a way to load five pics at a time? Is that what you're saying. I always have to upload them one at a time.

Give with the answers blogger-boy.

Eric Sunday, August 24, 2008 at 6:06:00 PM EDT  

1) Click on the "add picture" icon.

2) Under "Add an image from your computer," click "Add another image."

3) Keep clicking "Add another image" until nothing happens. You should have five blanks, each with a "Browse..." button next to it.

4) Click "Browse..." to upload files from your computer, or follow this tip: when selecting your photos, copy them to a convenient location (e.g. your desktop or a temporary folder) and give them all a nearly-identical name (e.g. 1, 2, 3...); instead of hitting "Browse..." each time you can simply hit it once and then copy the first location/name and change each name:

Example: The first photo I might download might be /home/MyName/Desktop/01.jpg (your directory will have a different name); I simply copy this into each blank and then change the number to "02", "03", etc.


Eric Sunday, August 24, 2008 at 6:07:00 PM EDT  

Oh, obvious last step:

5) When you're finished, click "Upload Image."

Random Michelle K Sunday, August 24, 2008 at 8:48:00 PM EDT  

Nice pictures, tho maybe a hair dark?

I got a small tripod--almost fits in my pocket--expands to about two feet, and is good for taking pictures of flowers, and group pictures when set on a table or chair.

Didn't cost much at all.

Eric Sunday, August 24, 2008 at 9:03:00 PM EDT  

I suppose they are a shade dark, tho' that's partly because I tried to adjust the white balance on these renders to reflect the way I remembered things looking when I was actually out there--late afternoon, cloudy. That may have been a bad choice, tho'. :-)

Nathan Monday, August 25, 2008 at 6:15:00 AM EDT  


Maybe. We'll see when I try it.


John the Scientist Monday, August 25, 2008 at 10:54:00 AM EDT  

Eric - In Japan, cameras are more expensive than here, even the stuff made in Japan, but the ancillary equipment is cheaper. Let me know what kind of tripods you are interested in, and I'll see if I can find the same for cheaper, or a better one for the same price at Yodobashi when I'm in Japan in October.

My wife swears by the Sliks.

Eric Monday, August 25, 2008 at 11:21:00 AM EDT  

John, I appreciate the offer! I don't know exactly what I want/need/can afford right now--but I may take you up on your generosity the next time you're headed East.

I gotta say, I'm continuously impressed with the quality of folks I seem to have fallen in with online. You're all good people, you really are. Thank you.

John the Scientist Monday, August 25, 2008 at 2:54:00 PM EDT  

Yeah, well, ask Nathan about me and you'll get a different story. I didn't drag your ass to the stink tofu place. :D

John the Scientist Monday, August 25, 2008 at 3:10:00 PM EDT  

Actually, this one is a good workhorse, and the price is right at B&H.

I can check on some of the professional ones, but look over the B&H tripod pages.

I think my wife has the Pro 3 way, I'll check when I get home.

John the Scientist Monday, August 25, 2008 at 3:12:00 PM EDT  

Here's the Slik catalog, B&H does not carry the whole product line (but I bet Yodobashi does).

Eric Monday, August 25, 2008 at 7:02:00 PM EDT  

Thanks for the tips, John--and the prices are less than I expected.

Do you have any idea how suitable that model is for throwing over the shoulder and galumphing around trails with? I.e. what its weight-vs.-durability ratio is, so to speak?

(And John, if I haven't said it before--you truly are a mensch!)

rbird Monday, August 25, 2008 at 8:33:00 PM EDT  

wow! what a cute little spider. i'm impressed.

Eric Monday, August 25, 2008 at 8:42:00 PM EDT  

Thanks, sis! I was pretty pleased with myself for the spider photo.

John the Scientist Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 10:29:00 AM EDT  

I don't know what you normally carry on a hike, but here's my take.

Even before kids I carried a ton of gear. Hiking up Fuji San, I carried 2 sets of survival gear, because the wife had a backpack with 3 cameras, film (this was back in the 1 megapixel digital days), etc. The only things other than cameras she carried were water and power bars.

That meant that I also carried the tripod, as well. Now that we have kids, she still carries the digital camera, kid stuff, and I schlep the food and tripod. So I've got about a decade's experience carrying these things around. Not that I'm complaining, unless I schlep it for 10 miles and we don't use it for a single shot... :D

The lighter the better. If you have a daypack on your hikes you can sling it in the carrying case on the bottom or top of your pack, like a bedroll.

Our carrying case has a single shoulder strap. When not carrying a daypack, I sling it diagonally over my shoulders. Even with jostling kids, etc. I really don't notice it until maybe 2 hours of walking.

My wife does have an older Pro model. I notice the newer pro models have the clamps on the leg sections. Ours has the twist-tightening clamps like the non-pro model I pointed out to you. Those are fine for most digital cameras- but not great for heavy equipment. Now that digital cameras can use big lenses, I think they've switched their pro models to the sturdier clamps, but we've had ours with the twisters since 1999, and they still work fine. The twist releases are lighter, so I'd say go with that unless you have lenses bigger than 200mm or a 200mm with an image stabilizer.

My one complaint about the across-the-shoulder carry bag is that when you lean over or down to look at something, it swings around. and sometimes plonks into what you are looking at.

John the Scientist Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 10:50:00 AM EDT  

If you noticed, Yodobashi's site was down for maintenance yesterday. Here is their Slik page.

I note that the Pro II 3 way is $350 at B&H, but only ¥12,800 at Yodobashi.

At today's exchange rates (~106 yen after transaction fees), that works out to ~$117.50, not including tax.

Like I said, the price is really right for that non-pro model at B&H (I don't think Yodobashi can beat that), but if you want something even better, let me know. A $200 discount is nothing to sneeze at.

John the Scientist Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 10:59:00 AM EDT  

Heh, double-checked - the Japanese Pro II has a smaller (lighter) 3 way panhead that only supports 2 kg, the B&H model's panhead supports 7.25 kg. But paying an extra $210 for the heavier panhead seems a bit excessive.

Find a model you like, we'll compare B&H models to Yodobashi, and then you can decide whether you want to go B&H, or wait until October for me to hit Yodobashi.

Eric Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 10:28:00 PM EDT  

I think I'll hit a cheaper non-pro model at B&H to learn with, since I'm still figuring out my needs.

My hikes (or walks, really) are less intensive than the ones you've made: I suspect the shoulder bag will work fine.

I appreciate the help and advice, John, and I may take you up on your offer later, if it's still open on a future visit to Japan after October. You've been a tremendous help. Thanks!

Jeri Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 1:36:00 AM EDT  

I liked the spider too - although all the pictures were very well done. And good for you for getting out on the trails!

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