Sometimes when traveling via air, it’s necessary to put your equipment in checked luggage. This all depends on which airline you are traveling with and their carry on restrictions. One of the most trusted storage options are Pelican cases. Choosing which case is suitable for your needs is often a hard choice. One of the best options is to take your equipment down to your local camera store and try them out. It’s amazing how a case which on paper seems large suddenly shrinks in size when you start putting your gear in. I find the padded dividers work best for me as it allows me to reconfigure the case as needed.
One of the key things to consider is the internal height of the case. This is especially important if you have one of the “pro” bodies that have an integrated vertical grip. A large number of cases that on paper look fine will not work when you try to put a Nikon D3/D3x in them. The reason being is their interior height is much too short, making it impossible to shut the case lid! The photo shows a Pelican 1550 case with a D3 on the left and a D2x on the right; this case has an interior height of 7.62″. You can see that this case is the minimum height that allows you to store the camera upright. Cases such as the 1450 and 1500 do not have sufficient interior height (6″ and 6.93″ respectively). You would have to lay the camera down flat with these cases, hence consuming precious space.
Last week on Thursday 4th December, the MV Ushuaia grounded in the Antarctic Peninsula. Luckily, nobody was hurt and all the passengers have been taken safely off the ship. Full details can be found at the IAATO website (see the press release section). We sailed on the M/V Ushuaia on our trip to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island and Antarctica back in January 2008. The ship has a great crew and we wish them well. One of the photographs I took on that trip is shown on the left, with the M/V Ushuaia on the horizon with a King Penguin and Antarctic Fur seal in the foreground.
Images from our 3.5 day trip to Northern Ireland are now online. We had a great time travelling with a friend. Although we had typical weather… two days of rain and one good day, the scenery and people were “grand”. Next time we’ll plan a longer trip so that we can cover Ireland. I’m still processing some of the s, so more may be added in the future. You can access the photos via the Galleries tab or directly using this link.
Photographs from our trip to Baja California Sur, Mexico, are now online. This trip included photographing California Gray whales. You can access the photographs via the Galleries tab or directly using this link.
We have 47 of our photographs on display in the gallery at Keeble & Shuchat Photography. The collection consists of landscape and wildlife photography from the African Savannah to the frozen continent of Antarctica. The exhibitions runs Dec 2 through Jan 15. We’ll be holding a reception on Saturday January 10th 2pm-5pm. The photographs are in the gallery, which is up the stairs and past the darkroom/repair department.
Keeble & Shuchat Photography
290 California Avenue
Here’s a map
On Friday November 14th, we were lucky enough to watch the night launch of the Endeavour space shuttle from the Causeway at the Kennedy Space Center. This was pretty amazing to say the least and was quite challenging to photograph. The cropped shows the launch, just as the shuttle cleared the tower. The orginal photograph was taken in portrait orientation, with my D3, 200-400 with 1.4 teleconverter, ISO 800, 1/125 sec @ f11. The causeway is about 6.5-7 miles from the launch pad. I”ll be posting an article on my experiences photographing the night launch in the near future.
During my recent travels, I’ve been keeping a log of camera battery usage. I did this to get a better feeling on how the camera and battery combinations were working so that in the future I would have a good idea on how many batteries I would need out in the field.
The first major workout for my D3 was our trip to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and the Antarctic peninsula. This was a twenty five day cruise in the Southern Ocean. I used the Nikon EN-EL4a rechargeable Li-ion battery exclusively taking a total of three on the voyage. The usage statistics for this trip are shown below (14-bit RAW capture with loss less compression). The lenses used and the approximate percentage of use were the 17-35/2.8 (~15%), 28-80/2.8 (~10%), 70-200/2.8 (~15%) and 200-400/4 (~60%). The 70-200 and 200-400 lenses have VR and this was enabled. Weather conditions on the Falklands are similar to England (rain, wind, sleet, sun, all in about 60 minutes!). South Georgia is colder, with temperatures from just below freezing to about 5C (windchill can lower this considerably if you get Katabatic winds). The Antarctic peninsula was about the same as South Georgia. During the trip, I never had to change a battery whilst out shooting.
Compare these numbers with a trip to Antarctica and the Falkland Islands that we did in late November/ early December the previous year. This was early in the season and hence we had colder weather whilst in Antarctica. I was also shooting with the D2x as the D3 became available whilst we were away. The lenses used were almost identical to those mentioned before with the 12-24/4 being used instead of the 17-35/2.8. Both EN-EL4a and the lower capacity EN-EL4 were used; capture was 12-bit uncompressed RAW.
Notice that the average number of pictures increased with the D3 compared with the D2x. You can also see the higher capacity EN-EL4a performing much better than the EN-EL4.
Finally, some statistics for the D3 in hot climates. The D3 with the EN-EL4a was used for a trip to Belize for the last two weeks of May 2008. The first week was spent in the jungle whilst the second week was spent offshore on the two of the Cayes. Temperature was very hot, around 38C (100F) with humidity through the roof in the jungle; on one of the Cayes, we were photographing Red footed Boobies on a platform, in absolutely scorching sun, so temperature was around the same but humidity was lower. The same lenses were used (17-35, 28-70, 70-200, 200-400) with the 200-400 being used for about 90% of the s. All s 14-bit RAW capture with loss less compression.
The middle battery numbers included using the live-view feature in tripod mode; this tends to use up more batteries due to the use of the rear LCD. Normally I would expect the battery performance to be better in warmer conditions, but the numbers are slightly distorted due to the more intensive use of the 200-400 (with VR) and also the live view mode.
Recently, my wife was using Capture NX (1.3.3) to process a Nikon NEF file. After modifying various parameters, she did a “File -> Open with…” to export the file into Photoshop. This will render the file as a TIFF and automatically pass it to Photoshop. Normally this works fine, but this time, when Photoshop opened, instead of showing the , the Adobe Camera RAW window popped up. This should not have happened. Somehow, the Adobe preferences had got screwed up (from my experience, corruption of Adobe preferences can randomly occur). To resolve this issue, open Adobe Bridge CS3, go to the Bridge CS3 menu and select “Camera RAW Preferences…”. At the bottom you will see JPEG and TIFF Handling. If these boxes are ticked, then Photoshop will use Adobe Camera RAW when you select a JPEG or TIFF file. In our case, these preferences were somehow enabled, and hence when we exported from Capture NX to Photoshop, it automatically went through Adobe Camera RAW. To prevent, this, simply ensure these boxes are un-checked.
When buying electronics or digital cameras etc, you usally get asked whether you want to purchase an extended warrenty. Normally I don’t bother with these but when I bought my Apple Macbook Pro over a year ago, I decided to get the AppleCare protection plan as the laptop used the new LED backlit displays and I erred on the cautious with the new technology.
In April this year, I had the screen replaced as I had a few stuck pixels. Yesterday, I went to boot up my Mac and had the unfortunate experience of seeing it fail to switch on, not even the startup “bong”. I could hear the disk being accessed, but had a black screen and no sync on my external monitor. This was about fourteen months after the date of purchase, and hence for the normal warrenty of twelve months, I would’ve been out of luck. As I had the AppleCare, I was able to call up the phone support (normal phone support is only 90 days!) and went through a bunch of procedures to try to get the machine back to life. None of these were sucessfull, although we were at least able to get the startup “bong” but no life on the displays. So, we booked an appointment at the Genius Bar. Unfortunetaly they couldn’t fix it either as it looks like it needs a new motherboard. Hopefully, I’ll get a fixed computer within a week. I’m sure glad that I decided to buy the extended warrenty this time.
I’ve previously written about the problem I was having when selecting a number of s and hitting command-return for an instant slideshow. With Lightroom 2.0 the s were being displayed in random order which was really frustrating and different to what I was expecting (Lightroom 1.4.1 did not do this). Well, whilst drinking a beer, I looked at the slidehow settings and guess what? The default behavior is to use a random order for playback! That’s not very clever; why not have the order set to sequential by default? To fix this, go into the Slideshow module and in the Playback panel, remove the tick from the Random Order option. After doing this, my instant slideshows are back to being in sequential order.