Some thoughts on Yellowstone

Oct 16, 2013

Yellowstone is an amazing place with very stark contrasts. The thing that struck me at first is the disneyland style tourist infrastructure around the famous sights. There are thousands of people moving through the main arteries of the park creating an iPad traffic jam whenever a deer or bison is near the road. I find it more than a little sad that many don’t even have the desire to leave the confines of their cars in order to get a better shot of whatever it is they are seeing. Yellowstone seems to be the ultimate nature drive through destination, very much like this video clip.

The other parts of the park, the less frequented trails, are some of the most serene places I have been to. They are a welcome contrast to the tourist crowds that congregate near the roads and create a theme park atmosphere which often kills the mood of this truly magnificent place.


Clara + Enzo = Idiots in the woods

Mar 25, 2012

While walking my dog through the local forrest I came across an area where at least 10 trees were marked senselessly by people who clearly don’t respect the nature around them. Normally I don’t feel like ranting about such things but this is a re-occurring motive in many places I have been to. What possesses people to do this is still a mystery to me. Is it because trees don’t hit or bite back ? Surely if I had the sudden urge to scratch my name into someone else’s face on a subway I would be stopped by others or at the very least be annoyed and compelled to stop by the screams of the victim.

I saw some ancient petroglyphs in death valley that were scratched over by the same type of minds, ruining it for everyone else. Maybe those types of people think their senseless markings are their petroglyphs for the future generations to remember. All that will be remembered however is the enormity of their stupidity and disrespect. There are a lot better venues to leave a mark for others to see, ones that don’t involve desecrating the ever shrinking areas of natural beauty we still have. Next time you see the likes of Enzo, Clara, Mike, Rose and similar idiots desecrating our natural environment, do something about it.

Nikon D800E vs. Pentax 645D

Feb 7, 2012

I was thrilled with the announcement of the Nikon D800 today. Hearing rumours on various forums and blogs for months that it would have a 36mp sensor made me consider it as a backup body for my 645D kit. I already have some Nikon lenses and the price for the body is relatively inexpensive for the published specs.

My great disappointment came when I viewed the sample images Nikon published here. I already knew that a 36mp sensor would put tremendous demands on 35mm optics but did not realize the combination would create a cell phone photo feel at 1:1.

I’m still hopeful the test images are a mistake done by the Nikon marketing department. Hopefully some skilled landscape shooters will get their hands on one of the units soon and conduct more tests using proper shooting technique and processing.

At the moment the Nikon D4 looks like a much more compelling camera to me. It would not serve as a backup to my 645D, but it would complement it for high speed and low light shooting. Resolution does not matter if you can’t get the shot to begin with.

I’m posting this non scientific comparison of images taken with the 645D at a similar vantage point to the Nikon samples. I realize that I’m risking contact with a lynch mob of Nikon loyalists or pixel theorists by posting this image, and that is all right. To me at first glance the Pentax 645D has more micro contrast and detail compared to the D800E, which is the version of the D800 without an AA filter. It’s also worth noting that the 55mm Pentax lens is not even the sharpest lens in the lineup.

I’m hoping things will get cleared up soon and the D800 proves to deliver 36Mp of resolution and the tonality to match medium format digital. It would be an incredible game changer to get medium format quality at a 3000 dollar price point. Unfortunately the samples Nikon posted seem like a step backwards, hopefully they can prove everyone wrong in the upcoming days.


Pentax 645D samples processed in ACR, default USM settings. Linked file is 16.8mb, please view at 1:1



Panasonic, are you &*#!%@^ serious ??

Jan 9, 2012

All right, I do like the Micro Four Thirds system Panasonic has going, it’s well designed for fully automatic or manual shooting and all the important controls are easy to get to. But like with any camera system, not everything one wants comes with the camera, for example a remote shutter release.

Often times I find myself having the camera on a tripod, especially with the longer lenses to avoid camera shake. While the camera (GH2) has a two second timer that can delay shake from the initial trigger push, it’s not always enough. In addition, if one wants to use the cameras bulb mode for long exposures the build in functions don’t work to well (or at all).

I did some research and found that panasonic sells a remote trigger for the camera and ordered it for my trip to california where I plan to do some long exposures along the coast.

The DMW-RSL1 is essentially a button on a wire that can be locked in the down position. Nothing more, nothing less. It also costs 89 canadian dollars at the local photo chain and comes in at over 100 dollars with local sales tax. This is a shameful money grab on behalf of Panasonic for an accessory that is ridiculously simplistic and does not even provide rudimentary time lapse capabilities like the old nikon coolpix remotes.

I realize that companies want to make an extra buck on accessories, and that is fine, but this here is a blunt rip off. The Pentax remotes that do the same thing (wirelessly) and work with the 645D, a much much more expensive camera cost 33 dollars at B&H or 23 collars on amazon. One would figure that the accessories for high end gear would be more money because the end customer already spent thousands of dollars on the initial system so 100 extra dollars here and there is not a big deal given the initial cost of the system.


Shame on you Panasonic.



The Panasonic DMW-RSL1 Button on a wire.