June Safari Update – Day 8

June Safari Update – Day 8
June 8, 2014

Today was our full day in the Ngorongoro Crater. An early rise greeted us with heavy cloud and a misty decent into the floor of the crater. Not more than 10 minutes into the trip, we found four huge male lions and four females and an added bonus of a pair of young cubs. Although they were playing just out of camera range, it was a great sight to see. We continued along our way photographing the landscapes of the crater, as well as flamingos, zebras, jackals (golden and silver back), and Cape Buffalos. We worked hard to locate the rhinos however, they would not cooperate so we returned to camp for wonderful African dinner and an evening around the campfire. As a highlight, the kitchen staff baked a birthday cake for Jeff. What a surprised look he had on his face when he figured out what was going on.

Early morning storm in the Ngorongoro Crater.  Nikon D800, 24-70 @ 24mm

Nikon D4, 200-400mm f/4, @ 330mm; ISO 200, 1/250 sec at f/7.1.   B&W conversion in NIK Software.

Tomorrow, we are off the Gibbs Farm to end our safari on a very high note. With lots of activities planed for Gibbs, it will be a full day.

Cheers and happy photo’ing

Live Blogging from the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater made possible by XCOM GLOBAL International.

June Safari Update – Day 3

June Safari Update – Day 3
June 3, 2014

Early to rise today with jombo jombo at 0530 and a departure at 0630 we were off heading for the Research Area in hopes of finding quality cats. Man oh man, did the Research Area produce. With 30 lions before noon, we were off to a great start. The highlight was a lioness posing for us in a tree, a large male lion next to the road and a number of cubs with the Marsh Pride. The total lion count for the day was 30 plus 2 cheetahs.

Nikon D800, Nikon 200-400 f/4.0 at 200mm, ISO 200, 1/640 sec @ f/6.3.  Converted to B&W with Nik.

Back to camp around 1630 and greeted by hundreds of wildebeests who will lull us to sleep tonight. Until the wind came up, we released a quad copter and took some shots of the camp. With the numbers of wildebeests continuing to increase around camp, we hope use the copter to do some filming in the local area. A light rain has passed over us and thunder and lightning in the distance. This will make for a very pleasant night tonight and I hope it will relocate some of the wildebeest into our immediate area. Tomorrow will be another early rise as we will push into the Moru Kojpes for some different cats and some killer landscapes.

Cheers and happy photo’ing

Live Blogging from the Serengeti made possible by XCOM GLOBAL International.

Back Home from Namibia

Well, it has been about 15 days since I have returned from a killer landscape workshop that I led in Namibia. While I was gone, lots of things changed in my photo world. While it is always fun to return to Seattle and discover what little things changed, but man, change was everywhere around me upon my return. The big changes included:

1.  Nik Software is now available for $149.00 for the entire suite. Normally HDR or Viveza would cost this much alone. I use Nik products in just about every image that I process. I would suggest that you get it now, as we have no idea what Google will do with the product line.  You can get this software here.

2.  Nikon released a new, and much needed, 80-400mm Zoom. Still at an f-stop of 4.5-5.6, it sports a much faster focusing system, and Nano-crystal lens coating, making this a great safari lens for those that can’t justify the much more expensive 200-400mm.

3.  Nikon released the D7100, which returns another full stop or two more sensitive than the D7000.  Built as a pro-consumer body, this is a great camera for those interested in a 1.5 crop sensor.

4.  Posterious died with short notice. Posterious, the posting service that I used to post to my blog from the bush, was absorbed by Twitter about a year ago.  With 5 days notice, they folded their doors and left me searching for alternatives to support live blogging from the bush while I’m out on safari.

5.  The Hasselblad H5D series is now shipping to the US. After tons of trouble with the H4D series, this new release is the one that I have been waiting for. Better lens / body connections, new menu systems and weather-proofing make this a solid medium format camera that will last well into the future. I cant wait to get my hands on one.

6.  Last and certainly the least, is the big Adobe announcement for LR5. If the past trend of releases continues to be true, we might see a LR5 release by the end of June or July.  Looking at the LR5 Beta, the big improvements include:

  • Very powerful advance healing bush that allows for non-circular click and drag corrections
  • New Radial Filter for off-center vignetting and elliptical local adjustments
  • Upright in the Lens Corrections to automatically straighten photos and fix perspective
  • Smart Previews supporting off-line editing of photos
  • Grid and guide overlays for library, develop, and tethered captured
  • PNG file support
  • True fullscreen mode
  • Page numbering and layout saving in the Book Module
  • Videos can be included in slideshows
  • Windows HiDPI support
  • New smart collections criteria

I hope to release the final details on the Mountain Gorilla and Massai Mara safari (scheduled for early March), a June trip to Botswana, and Iceland in August, just as soon as I possibly can. If you are on my mailing list, you will receive advance notice of these safaris before they are posted on the web. As usual, space will be limited across all safaris, so start thinking about your desires.

I’ll post a few notes from Namibia before I depart for Tanzania again on the 12th of May, including Martini Madness. Meanwhile, I’m on the road heading to Atlanta to see my youngest daughter graduate with her second Masters. Rumor has it that she will soon be employed with a top notch consulting company in Washington DC.

Cheers and happy photo’ing

HDR Software from Nik Software

As many of you know, I use all of the NIK products (usually) in much of my digital photo development.  I also use a number of products in my High Dynamic Range work, so I am always on the lookout for the lastest and greatest developments in these areas.  You can imagine my excitment when I ran across this annoucement while I was crusing the net late last night: ‘Nik Software about to release their own version of HDR software’.  I am hopeful that it will be a plug-in for Lightroom as well as PS4/5.  Based on my previous experiance with the Nik product line, it is sure to be a hit for those of us that play in the HDR zone.  For now, sign up for additional information on their advanced release notice over at Nik Software.  As soon as I get my hands on this, I will be sure to review it along with my two cents worth.


Cheers and happy photo’ing