It has been a very long time since I’ve posted anything to this site, hopefully that will change over the coming months. Career change, moving across the country, adding a puppy to our little family, making new friends, seeing new places. I’ve been taking pictures the whole time, but sitting down and editing them has seemed boring and mundane and not something I could convince myself I needed to do. This image is from a recent work trip…. recent meaning I returned over 6 months ago… 2019 has flown by. Watching the sunset over this lighthouse with my wife is definitely a snippet of this year’s highlight reel however.
Quite possibly my second favorite part of the trip (getting to see the Witherspoon’s topping the list). There is a short road connecting Haines with British Columbia. Running along the Chilkat River with mountains rising up on both sides, this 40ish mile stretch of pavement is exceedingly gorgeous. I have a few pictures from here I’ll wind up sharing, but today I’ll just post up this picture of a juvenile Bald Eagle. Courtney and I were able to spend a few minutes slowly creeping closer as the eagle casually preened and eyed fish in the river.
After visiting Sitka we returned to Juneau for the last couple of days of our trip. We decided to take a day trip to see the Tracy Arm Fjord. While the fjord itself and the glacier at the end were gorgeous, the highlight of this trip was the wildlife. More bald eagles than we could count floating on the icebergs that had broken off the glaciers, and humpback whales feeding at the mouth of the inlet. These are just a couple of the hundreds of photos we took that day, I’ll have more to upload at some point. Thanks for stopping by.
I’ve been putting this off for far too long, but it’s time to get around to editing all the thousands of photos from Alaska. Progress will be slow but I promise to upload images as I get to them. While we did not see any Kodiak bears in the wild on our trip (one maybe, but too far away to be sure, and the location suggested black bear), we did visit Fortress of the Bear while in Sitka, Alaska. The website explaining their mission and with more information can be found at http://www.fortressofthebear.org/
Headed out to Alaska next month to explore and to catch up with some friends and meet their (not so new anymore) kid! Everyone keeps telling me how many bald eagles we’ll get to see on our visit, and as you can tell by this website I’m a huge fan of all aerial creatures and machines. I’ve been getting pretty rusty with the camera lately, so I decided to head out yesterday afternoon to practice and familiarize myself with some new gear. Within the last couple of years I’ve acquired a Nikon 1 V2, a Nikon TC-14EII, and a Nikon 300mm f4 VR PF but I only recently received the Nikon FT1 as a Christmas gift allowing me to mount my F-Mount lenses to the Nikon 1 camera. The smaller sensor size on the Nikon 1 cameras equates to a 2.7x crop factor meaning my 300mm lens is now an 810mm lens – sort of… It’s a bit technical and I barely understand it as is so I won’t do you the disservice of trying to explain it. GTS. I’ve had pretty good luck over the last couple of weeks with the 300mm on the V2 at 810mm chasing ducks, geese, and seagulls around but yesterday I decided to throw the 1.4x teleconverter into the mix and see what happened. Without the TC-14 the autofocus of the V2 hunts a bit and really slows down the 300mm VR PF, but it still does an adequate job for my needs. Especially since the best I can do with the D800 is 630mm (1.4x TC and 1.5x DX in body HSC mode) I’ll learn to love the V2 for its 810mm. Attaching the 1.4x TC turns that 810mm equivalent into a whopping 1134mm equivalent focal length. Sounds awesome, and it is from a purely fun standpoint, but the already shaky AF performance absolutely falls apart. Teleconverters suck up light passing through the system, and make even the best AF systems on the market work a little harder. Maybe I’m being too harsh and in perfect sunny conditions this would be an alright combination, but as the Tongass National Forest is a temperate rain forest, I’m not practicing for ideal weather. So, as yesterday was overcast and cool with the threat of rain (rainforest?) I walked down to the river in search of the aforementioned ducks, geese, and seagulls. Imagine my surprise when the photo subject I’m practicing for is out fishing in the St. Clair River. So, looking like an idiot (I’m good at it) I go sprinting up the boardwalk to get into a better position and start snapping away like a madman. I can tell during my frenzy that the Autofocus just isn’t keeping up, but I kept working at it. I wound up with about four pictures in decent focus… I guess that’s why we call it practice. I’m not very happy with the above picture from a technical standpoint, but it’s my favorite from the bunch. I spent about 5 minutes in photoshop trying to clean it up, just kinda rushed it, and it shows. I think I’ll be leaving the TC-14 off the V2 combo, it softens up the image more than I like, decreases saturation and contrast, and really seems to muddy up the out of focus areas. I’m going to test it out a bit more before our trip, but not a fan right now. It works phenomenally well in conjunction with the 300mm and D800 however, so I’ll keep it around for that. Comparison jpeg image straight out of camera of just the 300mm VR PF and Nikon 1 V2 – taken at the Toledo Zoo in mixed indoor lighting and handheld. Good contrast, fairly quick AF, and pretty darn sharp. The distance to the subject was obviously much closer, may have made a big difference, I’ll do some testing of that as well.