Saturday, July 31, 2010


The Wichita Mountains are suppose to be older than the Rockies. So how many years did it take to form this arch ?
While climbing around on Mt. Doris or Baldy as more commonly known, I thought this little rock bridge was interesting.
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It's like shooting fish in a barrel!

From the Maui Ocean Center on Maui, Hawaii (of course)

I really wanted to get into the tank and do some swimming around but apparently they frown on that!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Asian Cowboys!

Female Photographers

Night shot with 6 SB800 flash. Four flash bounce off the wall, and one on each side of her.
I think this female photographers works harder than us! After a long day of shooting, she still wants modeling for us.

Photographers In Actions.

Following the wind

Spotted this fellow last weekend making his way South with the NorthWesterly at his stern. It was a beautiful day and I was out hiking at the time.

Not the highest quality picture, but I posted it for it's composition more than anything.

Tango on the water

Staying cool

The temperatures here have been in the high 90's the last few weeks and are forecast to be above 100 for the next several days. I may end up joining these birds for a swim. Like Paul, I am about as white as the swans are so I should fit right in!

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I ran out of paint, and the Home Depot closed today. So I have time to take these photos today. You think my wife believe me?

Reviews R Us

I have been looking for a new backpack for my camera gear for a few months now. Because of my previous profession I needed a camera bag that had all of my equipment in one spot so that I could just grab it and go and I didn’t have to worry about whether or not I had extra batteries, the chargers, memory cards and video tapes. This lead me to buying my first camera backpack which I came to love.

I have since changed professions and gotten more equipment but I still like the idea of having everything in one spot so I can just grab it and go. I started looking for a backpack that was comfortable and big enough to handle the equipment I now have and was something that I could live with cost wise.

Since I’m cheap, er, I mean, thrifty, it takes me a while to find what I want because I am always looking for that ever illusive “deal”. I finally found that deal, and a really good one I might add, about two weeks ago in the Kata HB-207 backpack.

I have to say that I have developed a love/hate relationship with this backpack. I love this pack because it will easily hold all of my gear. I hate this backpack because it will easily hold all of my gear!

With three camera bodies (Nikon D300, D80 & D3000) two battery grips, five lenses including the huge Sigma 150-500mm, a digital video camera, chargers, batteries, filters, memory cards, video tapes, my laptop, an Induro tripod with ball head and a bogen monopod with ball head the pack weighs in at 35 pounds! You can see an empty slot in the photo and that's only because I had to take the photo with something!

The good thing is this is a VERY comfortable backpack to wear and the weight doesn’t even seem like it is there. Granted, I don’t always take this backpack where ever I go. I mainly bought it for long trips (such as to Hawaii) where I want to have all of my stuff with me and for my day trips when I’m not very far from the car. I have a Tamrac Velocity 9 sling bag for taking a single camera body with grip and a few lenses if I’m going to be away from the main backpack for awhile.

The Kata HB-207 would probably be considered huge by most standards. The pack is 25 inches tall, about 15 inches wide and the inside compartment is about 8 inches deep. The pack has a lumbar support and the waist band is detachable if you don’t want to use it. As an accessory you can purchase luggage rack type setup for it that comes with a handle and wheels so that you can roll it through the airport or other places if you don’t want to carry it.

The pack comes with four mesh bags that have Velcro on them so that you can secure things like charges, cables, memory cards and such and then stick them in the bag where they won’t move or fall out when the bag is open. It also comes with a rain/sun cover to keep everything cool or dry. The rain side of the cover is black and the sun side of the cover is silver to reflect the heat and sun off the bag. They have made the rain/sun cover big enough so that if you have a monopod and/or tripod attached to the side the rain cover has enough size that it will protect these also.

There are several pockets on the pack and even a padded slot for a laptop. One of the best features of the pack is that the bottom back outside of the pack is formed and hardened somewhat to act as a protective shell for the camera compartment that sits at the bottom of the pack. You can see the curve of this formed part of the pack in the first photo at the bottom left.  The padding is extremely thick on the inside of the pack and protects the gear well.

Another good feature of this pack is that the inside is bright yellow. Since all of the camera equipment is normally black, this makes it easier to see the things in the adjustable spaces inside the pack.

The zippers on this pack are extra heavy duty and all have a cover to help keep out dust and moisture. There is even a top compartment that can be rearranged so that you have access to one camera body and lens without having to open up the entire back of the pack. Just zip open the small top pocket where the handle is, reach in and grab your camera and start shooting.

I haven’t found anything I don’t like about this pack except for the retail price, right around $300, but since I’m “thrifty” and try to never pay retail this isn’t too much of a detriment. Thanks to a little luck and E-Bay I paid less than half of the retail price for this pack ($123.45 including shipping).

I don’t have any pictures of me wearing the backpack, I didn’t want anyone making fun of my legs :~) but I have found it to be very comfortable. The pack probably wouldn’t be that comfortable with someone that has a small frame. Since it is 25 inches tall it does take a good size upper body to where it and be comfortable. It works perfect for me.

Now all I have to do is make sure I can get it in the overhead bin on an airplane!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


The Fisherman

Here is an interesting picture, actually only about 1/4 of a picture taken at 400mm (I croped it some). By rights it should all be in focus, but the heatwaves rising off the water have given the boats in the background an almost water colour painting look.

Thinking for the next shot!
Also, Paul legs would be great in this tone.

California Coast


OK, not really, but they were walking fast!

The wife and I were headed down the drive way to go out for some dinner the other night when we quickly found ourselves surrounded by a small herd of longhorns.

I thought about honking the horn to get them to move but then I wasn't sure how much putty it would take to fill a hole in the side of the car made by a longhorn.

This is my front yard as part of the herd was moving through. The only saving grace is that I don't have to do too much mowing!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Blown Highlights!

I usually have the camera set to show highlights in the display after the picture has been taken... The only thing flashing in the display after this picture was taken was my bright white legs! I wonder if they make a Graduated ND filter for that? LOL

Found this shallow sandstone cave on one of our hikes a couple of weeks ago. After looking at it for a time the lightbulb above my head came on! I handed the camera to my Wife and after she got me lined up with the cave opening, she took my picture. Now I remember why I have always been more comfortable on the other end of the lens...

OK. After I finish painting one 10x10 wall, my arm is sore. Got back on the computer work two more photos for you guys. I'm hearing my wife said the movie is started, got to go watch clash of the Titans. I hope you like it.

Where Is The Spike

We will make this fun.

Two trees over from the spike.

Not to leave anyone out, all will be revealed when the resident P.I. collects his thoughts! LOL
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In Ron's last post he coined the phrase ( Shots of Opportunity ). I need to borrow that phrase to describe my feelings on what my photography means to me. I feel so fortunate to be associated and accepted by a class act of fellow photographers with all degrees of skill levels each with a sincere desire to deliver a photo of interest and quality. Each and everyone is willing to share every skill that was learned or found by trial and error. This is all taken in and hopefully some of it will stick in my mind.
I had a Nikon setup (numerous lens, filters and accesories ) in the early 70s and 80s. This was bought for recording my numerous hunting trips and adventures that took me from Mexico to Canada and points in between, but primarily in the Western states. This Nikon was my constant companion on many trips on my motorcycle. Everything was shot in slides 35mm. At some point it seemed the camera was getting in the way of my having fun. Lugging around camera and at least two lens to even make a short hike seemed to take away from the enjoyment of just enjoying where I was. When getting back home there was the wait and exspense of development of the film. Half of the slides were thrown away and the other half really needed editing with an occasional real keeper in the crowd. ( I'm talking lots of rolls of 36 Exp. ) This is not to say I was not happy with alot of the results just that it was becoming exspensive and a chore to keep up with all the stored slides and projectors and screens .
Jump to 2008. Kids gave me a Nikon setup with two lens and bag. The Digital Age arrived on my doorstep! I finally retired and found myself with time to enjoy things with no rush. An interest was kindled again in taking pictures. Now if I can learn my camera, and transfer the pics to computer all will be well. Wife helped me start doing this. Now what do I want to take pics of? Hiking had become my new interest so it became a natural to become a photographer of Shots of Opportunity.
I enjoyed travels in my Fifth Wheel so I decided that would be my base for my new photo taking and enjoyment. The Digital world has opened up a new world of interest that I am enjoying again. I have decided to take it slow and easy ,try to learn what my camera and lens,plus filter I have added to the best of my ability will do. I downloaded Picasa 3 for my storage and editing. Photoshop is a little intimadating to me right now. I'm sure with time I will move up to it. I have lots of support from my family(I'm the recorder of family events) plus my honest friends on Shutterbugs.(Tell it like it is brother).

My mission is to travel when I can , use my camera as best able, keep something of interest in front of the lens, always back up the pic with a story, appreciate all the knowledge and apply it as I can from the excellent tips , and keep taking SHOTS OF OPPORTUNITY !!
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Sunset on the Range

I have to admit that seeing Quyhn Le's photos over the last few days has inspired me to be a better photographer. I am normally somewhat lazy and take the shots of opportunity instead of seeking out the shots I really want. I think a lot of that comes from my profession of being a Private Investigator, the shots usually come to you instead of you going to them. It's a habit I need to break.

The wife and I went for a sunset park along the lake by our house and I took a few photos. You thought I was going to say something else didn't you? They frown on that kind of stuff here on federal land! :~)

I stayed for about an hour getting some shots as the sun went down and gave me different light and some different views. I even used the spot metering technique on these, spotting the water instead of the sky and I used a graduated ND filter to knock down some of the brightness in the sky.

Sunsets are something I really like to photograph, I don't know why,  I guess there is just something about the colors. These were all shot with the Tamron 18-250mm lens with a graduated ND filter covering the sky and the f stops ranged from f/16 to f/22. All were handheld.