Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bat Fish Under A Ledge

I can't remember if I had posted this photo or not, but maybe it is worth posting again if I had already...A group of Batfish hiding from the raging current under a ledge...a tricky shot to get with the current and movement from the waves above...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

An Artist's House?

This was the side of a house in Papua. Any normal person walking by would think it was a mess, but I love the side of the house and the way it is painted...looks like an artist had his way with the painting...sure beats just a solid color of paint, don't ya think?

Monday, May 28, 2012

How About Two Million, and Call It Even...?

Below is the photo by Andreas Gursky of the Rhine River which sold for a record 4.3 Million Dollars at an auction held by Christie's...FOUR POINT THREE MILLION...whoa!!

Here is a photo by Scotty Graham of some unknown river in Africa...I'll take half of what Andreas sold his about TWO Million even?...I'll even make a massive sized print for you...sounds fair to me...any takers? Should I put it up for auction at Christie's?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Giraffe Coffee Break

In the middle of a deserted landscape in Namibia, there was this very small pond of water...These Giraffe were huddled around the pond getting into position for a drink. I guess it is no easy task to drink...they must have one hell of a pump to get that water up those long necks to their bodies...

Speaking of coffee, I had the pleasure of meeting Stuart Taylor of Highlander Images yesterday in Jakarta. Stuart has been following my blog for a couple of years, and we follow each other on Google+. Very cool to meet in person. We had a long talk about photography, blogging, Google+, software, HDR, and other fun topics. We may even team up for some fun photo excursions in the future. He is a long time resident of Asia like myself, and we think we would make great guides for photo excursions around Asia. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Early Morning Grazing

This is the herd of Buffalo that the lion in yesterday's shot was near...such a peaceful scene in the early light of the day...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Stare of The Lion

There was a large herd of Cape Buffalo near-by. We followed some lions hoping we could see them hunt the Buffalo, but the hunt never came. This female was checking things out in the high grass.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Flying Over Victoria Falls

Continuing with "the lost files" from my Africa trip a few years ago, here is one from the air over Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Zambia. We took off from a small float plane on the Zambezi River, made a couple of passes over the falls, and then landed back on the river...very cool!!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Elephant Crossing

I was cleaning my office yesterday. I have three generations of Macs sitting my office. I have the old G4 Machine that has been sitting neglected in the corner of my office, and then an old iMac sitting on my desk with my new iMac. I had not turned on my old G4 in years, but decided to turn it on, and see what was there. To my delight, all of my Africa photos were there, so I started to browse those old photos...most of them un-edited. I have now copied all of those files over to my new machine, and backed them up onto some external hard drives.

In any case, I am going to post for the next week or so some of those photos from Africa which were taken on my old Nikon D2H and the Nikon line cameras at the time. The D2H was only a 4MP that with the D800 today...36MP...and the D2H was a 4-thousand dollar camera!! Unreal how things change...

Onto the Photo...

So, this photo was taken at our first reserve we visited in Botswana...Cobe. We were in a small boat cruising down the river, when this herd of Elephants started to cross. They came very close to our boat...a pretty uneasy feeling having these HUGE animals coming towards you only a few meters away...that didn't stop me from firing away with my camera, though...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ready To Dive

Now we move ABOVE the pier. This is the top of the pier from yesterday's would anyone know so much action was taking place just beneath us? Ah, what a nice spot to decompress...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Action Under The Pier

While most stayed on the boat tied to the pier for lunch, I peeked under the pier where the kids were fishing, and saw lots of what does a guy do? Suit up, and jump in!! I was rewarded with an incredible sight...the scene below...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Kelly and Kayla

I have been slack with the blog the past few days...finally feeling better from that nasty bug that attacked me, and now that the stupid medicine I had to take is finally out of my system, I feel even better. Whew...glad that is over with....will have to stay away from salads when eating out...

Here is one of my "test" images from the D800. I would upload the full resolution version, but it is over 40MB, so will just post this "for the web" version. In any case, a very impressive camera indeed...the details are simply out of this world...

I did make my final decision in regards to cameras. I am keeping my M9, and will use the Leica for my travel photography. I have a D800 on order (who knows when I will actually get it), and will get the new Ikelite housing which is very affordable. I will then have my dream arsenal for photography...the Leica for travel and photowalks, and the D800 for everything else including underwater...the dream lives!!

My daughters, Kelly (left) and Kayla (right)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Incredible People of Indonesia

Don't ya wonder sometimes what you would do if your house burned down and you lost everything? No car, no computer, no camera, no bed, no shower, no running water, no dishes, pots or pans, nothing but the clothes on your back...To make matters worse, what if you had no insurance on top of it all, and no job. What would you do?

In America, this would be a rare event, but here in Indonesia, it is quite common. I am always amazed at how well people cope with this awful scenario. In America, people would get bitter and would want to blame someone for their misfortune...they would demand their government to do something for them...not, the people keep smiling, and life goes on. It really is amazing, and one of the reasons I just love the people here...

After I took the photo below, the guy turned around and gave me a smile from ear to ear, and asked me how my day was going...You look at where he lives, and he is asking ME how my day is going...that says it all.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Nikon D800 vs. Leica M9

If you read this blog, then you know I sold all of my Nikon equipment two years ago, and bought the Leica M9. You can find the three guest articles I wrote about the M9 on Steve Huff’s website here, here, and here. If you haven’t read them, it might be worth your time. I have also praised the M9 countless times on this blog. It would be fair to say I am now a “Leicaphile”. I love this camera, and I thought it would be my last camera ever…

Enter the Nikon D800...uh oh...

It’s funny. I was reading Trey Ratcliff’s blog  a couple of months ago, and he had an interesting post about DSLR’s and how he will never invest in another one again, and that the mirror-less cameras were the future. I was nodding my head in agreement and it was nice to have my decision to get the M9 rationalized even further. Then the D800 came out, and Trey suddenly did a 180, and bought it. He said that when he wrote what he did, he had never visualized something like the D800 coming out. I thought, “I won’t do that…I am happy with the Leica…I am not interested in the D800”. Ha! Who am I kidding? I am with Trey on this one...

My Underwater Camera Dies

Now I have a problem. There is not an underwater housing for the Leica…well, there is one, but it is out-of-this-universe expensive. Besides, the Leica is not really practical for underwater use. I need to replace my underwater camera as underwater photography is my first love and still what I enjoy the most.

Now you know how the D800 walked into my life…say it again, “uh oh”…

To make a long story short, and to get to the real stuff you want to hear about, I was able to try out the D800 last week, and I want to give you my impressions of this camera compared to my beloved Leica M9. It is NOT a review of the D800 or the M9, but my thoughts about these two cameras.

So, What did I think of the D800?

In a word, AWESOME! This camera is a game changer. It felt nice to actually hold a Nikon in my hands again. It was not as large as I thought it would be, and feels very well built. I put on the 14-24mm lens, and went outside to take a couple of photos. The feeling of shooting a Nikon again was strange…”wow, auto-focus, and FAST, ACCURATE focusing at that…” I was so accustomed to manual focus with the Leica, it felt strange to have the camera do it for me. I didn’t realize how much I had missed that. Then the screen…holy moly…huge and vibrant! Again, this is different from the Leica. So can you picture it? I am holding the camera in my hands (thoughts of size come to mind), then I snap a couple of photos (listening to the purr of the mirror flopping back n forth), then look at the screen (amazed). Isn’t this what everyone does when they are given a camera for the first time?

The next thing I do is dive into the menu(s). Ah, this is what I DON’T miss…so many menus, options, settings, blah blah blah…the manual that comes with the camera is thicker than my old Navy NATOPS manual for the HH-46 Helicopter. I could not figure out how to get the camera to take multiple exposures for an HDR. I know I could eventually figure it out, but the last thing I wanted to do was to look it up in that thick manual. This momentary setback did not squash my feeling about the camera, though. I was very impressed with what I was holding in my hands. Next, download the photos to my computer.

The D800 is a 36MP camera!! THIRTY SIX!!…THREE SIXER!!…whoa!! Twice the resolution of my Leica which I used to brag had 18MP…my thoughts were, “well, it is going to slow down my computer…working with these huge files (a RAW file is around 40MB) is going to be sloooowww…and I am going to need a LOT more drives to store photos from this camera”. Well, “yes” on the latter point, but the files opened quickly in LR and working on them in PS was just as fast. I noticed no difference working with the files from the D800 as the files from my Leica. Granted, I have the latest iMac with 16 gigs of RAM and the new i7 chips, but my computer was not slowed in the least with these huge files. The first thing I noticed after opening the files in LR was not a single spot of dust…the one thing that drives me crazy with the Leica. I had to make a note to myself about that. The detail was beyond amazing. You can crop half the picture out, and still have an 18MP file. Another note to myself…this camera is going to make an excellent underwater camera.

Ok, I am biased. I love the files from the Leica, and there was something missing in the D800 files…that “Leica Look” you have heard about. I don’t know if it is imaginary or not, but I am a believer…there really IS a distinctive look to a Leica file that no camera can emulate. I can’t describe it, and maybe you think I and other Leica users are crazy, but it is there, and it is missing in the D800 files. Don’t get me wrong, though. The files from the D800 are unreal…they are astounding.

The Facts

The Nikon D800 has these advantages over the Leica M9…

Larger screen
Twice the resolution
Weather sealed
Higher resolution screen
Lower noise at high ISO
Auto focus
Live view
More dynamic range
Longer battery life
Great for sports and other types of photography the Leica is not good with
More storage slots
Built-in flash
Self-cleaning sensor
Shoots twice as fast
Significantly longer exposures
Faster max shutter speed
Much faster write times to memory card
Does video
Way, way, way more cheaper

The Leica M9 has these advantages over the Nikon D800

Easy to carry (a GREAT travel camera)
Small, fast lenses
Leica glass (the finest optics in the world)
The “Leica Look”
Simple menus
Simple design
The “FUN” factor
Low profile (great for street shooting)
Requires a much smaller tripod (if you use a tripod)

Look at these two lists carefully. Why would any sane individual buy the Leica M9 when they could have the Nikon D800 for less than half the price? I guess it is what is more important to you. When I gave up Nikon, and went with the M9, the things I listed under the M9 were all very important to me, and still are. The list under the Nikon was not nearly as extensive with the older Nikons. The advantages of the two were more in favor of the M9. However, I would have certainly made a different decision if I were trying to decide on the M9 today.

What am I going to do??

I am going to keep my Leica M9 if at all possible. I am going to buy the Nikon D800. I am going to sell my old Nexus underwater housing and the ports/accessories, and buy the new Ikelite housing that is much more affordable than the other housings available.

I won’t travel with the D800…too big, too much to carry. I will use my Leica for trips and Photowalks. I will use the D800 for sports, parties, shots of my kids, and any studio type work.

I will have my dream…the BEST travel camera in the world, the Leica M9, and the BEST overall camera in the world for everything else, the Nikon D800. Decision made.