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Everything posted by Dallas

  1. Dallas

    Illumination of objects of architecture

    Very nice work, Alex. I particularly like #3 and #7 best.
  2. Dallas

    Backlit cactus

    That’s very nice!
  3. Dallas

    At the beach

    Definitely colour for the last one.
  4. Dallas

    Working With What You Got

    I think that's just the table, Mike. I don't notice any serious distortion when using the 8-18mm (unless I try to edit the images in a program that doesn't apply the lens profile).
  5. Dallas

    Working With What You Got

    Here in South Africa we face many challenges, ALL of them brought about by inept and corrupt government. One of the recent, but recurring challenges is the failure of the parastatal Eskom to be able to deal with the demand for electricity, so once again, some 9 years after this issue was first brought to the fore we are experiencing load shedding yet again. What's that you may ask? Well, imagine the power in your area gets cut twice a day for 2 hours at a time so that the power grid doesn't collapse. That's the challenge. And it would happen at an hour when I got inside one of the best houses I have been to photograph in a long time. Architecturally speaking that is. This house sits atop one of the many hills in our city, about 20km inland, but faces east, so on a clear day you can see the ocean from the huge double volume window seen in this photo. The exterior of the house is facebrick, so no major painting maintenance to be done. However, one of the most interesting features that the owner told me about are the floors. These bits of wood are the original hardwood floors from the Durban city hall and have been dated to be 160 years old. When they did some refurbishment of the city hall several years ago the owner of this house bought a bunch of the planks and stored them. He then had them cut into parquet strips, installed and bourne gleamed them for this amazing 3 story house. Simply wonderful! Unfortunately they were already halfway through moving out of the house so there was hardly any furniture and this was the only angle that I could shoot that showed off the kitchen, dining area, huge picture window and of course the floors. Processed with Aurora 2019 using three bracketed ambient frames. I love this software.
  6. Dallas

    Working With What You Got

    Here's another shot taken from the entrance.
  7. Dallas

    Working With What You Got

    They are surprisingly hard wearing these bourne gleamed floors. Most of the old houses with suspended floors in the city have them throughout, including in kitchens and bathrooms. In our kitchen and bathrooms the owners tiled over the wooden floors, but in many homes they don't, so you'll often find them left natural or given the varnishing treatment seen here. I think that a lot of people who opt to use laminated faux wooden floors end up regretting it because those definitely don't react well to spills (depending on the product used).
  8. Dallas

    Fund Raising

    Dear Fotozoners, As you know this website runs on premium (non-open source) software which has a 6 monthly license renewal cost in addition to the hosting fees I pay every month. I have just renewed the licences for the next 6 months so we are good to continue sharing and opining on our photography and the gear we use to make it happen. The license renewal also prevents the site from being inundated by spam accounts and allows me to keep the system updated at all times, thus ensuring your online safety here. As a small community there is no great need (or desire) to have advertising pay for the costs related to this community. What I do offer instead is a monthly $5 subscription that gives the subscriber a few additional privileges on the site. If several members take up subscriptions these will definitely help with keeping Fotozones an independent recreational photographer's hang out and place less of a financial reliance on me. If you haven't already become a subscriber, please consider it. You can find out more here. Thank you for being a part of the community even if you opt not to subscribe.
  9. Dallas

    Review: Luminar 2018

    A very nice looking addition to Luminar is coming out in a week or so, namely the library module. Here's a video by Jim Nix giving a demonstration of the feature. I must say it looks very good.
  10. Dallas

    I Must Apologise

    Yup, especially when the owner isn't even in the country. Best to just walk away. I am eagerly waiting on a local dealer (where we bought our first Ford Fiesta) to present one of their salesman's cars to me. Then yesterday while photographing one of the properties the young man who showed me around went gaga for my little van, so there's a possibility that I could get a nice private sale out of them. Fingers crossed.
  11. Dallas

    I Must Apologise

    I know I haven't been around much or made many posts the past few weeks, but I have an excuse. Between my apparently now full time job of photographing real estate, organising the Fotozones safari for 2019 and also moonlighting on a couple of other website projects, there just hasn't been much time for me to produce any content for Fotozones. Sorry. I do check in at least once a day, but I am noticing that there aren't too many new posts being made by the rest of the gang either, so either everybody is experiencing their own busyness or there's just not a lot left to talk about as far as photography goes. Let's hope it not the latter! So yeah, I am fast approaching the 250 mark for houses photographed since April. At one point last month I was getting up to 5 new appointments a day, which is great for me, except that trying to co-ordinate appointments with people during the week across a very large geographic area is not unlike herding cats! I travel as far as 40km south, 40km west and even up to 50km north. Can't go east for obvious reasons, but you get the picture. A lot of driving. Which has also raised another little issue that I need to address, namely a vehicle upgrade. For the past 6 years I've been driving around in a little Ford Bantam pick-up van, which has been an awesome little thing, but there's one problem. It doesn't have air-conditioning and as our temperatures begin to climb north of 30˚C together with the humidity we have on the east coast, things under the collar are getting a little (shall we say) "slicked" when moving from property to property. So I am on the hunt for a "new" 2nd hand car, which brings with it a whole lot of other things to consider. I can't afford to buy a new car, so I'm looking at something about 5 years old, preferably with mileage as low as the vehicle I will be trading in (I have done less than 80,000km in the Bantam in 6 years and it already had 35,000km on it when I got it). I'm quite keen on the Ford Fiestas, although an Ecosport would be nice, but I am not quite in that league just yet. I also looked briefly at the Hyundai Accent about a month ago, but I'm still not quite sold on the brand. I like my Fords. Camera wise my Olympus E-M1's are still going strong. Apart from the rear command dial on one body not always making proper electrical contact there have been no other issues. One thing I am acutely aware of now though is that because I am sometimes shooting over 1000 bracketed frames a day, there's going to come a day very soon when the shutter is going to konk out. The E-M1 is rated to 150k actuations and I must be getting close now. It occurred to me that I should probably use the electronic shutter, but unfortunately this feature is disabled when shooting in auto bracketing mode. I suppose I could bracket manually, but that means more time per frame, more risk of moving the camera and then this increases the risk of failed jobs. Not really an option I want to explore too deeply! Best to just budget for a camera upgrade next year. But to what? My options are the E-M1 Mk II, or if I want to save money I could look at a lesser body, like the E-M5 Mk II or even the E-M10 Mk III. For RE photography I really don't need all the weather sealing or other features that the E-M1's have. I could consider the Panasonic bodies, however... the brand support is still very sketchy in this part of the world and not an option I can consider realistically. Believe it or not I have been looking at the Sigma SD Quattros. I think that the image quality I have seen coming from those Foveon sensors is better than anything coming out of any Bayer array camera system. The main considerations for me would be size and battery power. I have read that they are very power hungry and are also not the smallest cameras around. For RE photography the size isn't a deal breaker though. I would only have one lens and one body to carry around. My other main concern is the workflow. Apparently the cameras now offer .DNG raw files which makes them compatible with Lightroom, but I need to investigate whether this has any impact on IQ when compared to using the Sigma software. My RE workflow is already very complicated so I am not all that keen on making it even more so. But I am looking into this lot quite seriously, so stay tuned. On the personal front all is well. I am back in the kettlebell gym classes 3x a week after noticing that my pants were getting (ahem!) a little tighter. It's amazing how quickly fitness can leave you. I didn't do any training for about 5 months and my first couple of classes didn't go well at all. A month back in the saddle now and the metabolism merry-go-round is starting to spin up to speed again. Just as well, with a new camera and "new" car on the horizon there is no room for a new wardrobe too! Ohhh! Before I forget, the safari for 2019 is all coming together swimmingly. I have made all the bookings and already had an argument with the local airline flying us to the Kruger Park. I made an error on one of the tickets and they wanted to penalise me 50% of the ticket price. I raised Cain with them and was pleased to hear this week that they will refund me in full for the error, less a small "admin fee". I can't help but wonder how many meeker people they rip off this way. It's not right I tell you. Anyway, I am also now an approved sales agent for safari destinations from &Beyond which is great. They manage a lot of exotic destinations so I will be working on producing more safaris with them, including something very special at Phinda Private Game Reserve in 2020. This will be a unique safari experience, unlike anything I have done before. Make sure you are on my mailing list here or on Photographers.travel if you want to be kept in the loop with what is going to be happening. Great things are unfolding! Please keep posting! I am watching, if not participating as much as I should. 😎
  12. Dallas

    From my room with a view.

  13. Dallas

    I Must Apologise

    100% Alan. We have now owned 5 different Fords since 1994 and none of them ever gave any drive problems, except for the 1981 Escort Mk II (which was partly my fault after driving through a huge puddle and drenching the distributor). Every other kind of car we'd owned including BMW, Mercedes, Nissan, Opel and VW have all had a variety of drivability issues. The worst experience was one of the 2 Nissans we had, followed by the 2004 VW Polo. The Polo experience was one of the most infuriating because it was always the same thing that gave trouble - engine sensors that would go faulty and then prevent you from even starting the car. I'm still contemplating the Fiesta, but the one I had my eye on (a private sale) is too complicated as the owner is in the UK and the car is still under finance which makes it very difficult to buy. Plenty of fish in the sea though...
  14. Dallas

    Zuiko Digital 35-100mm ƒ2

    Concur. I had this lens in the past and it is staggeringly good, but for me it was just too big and heavy so I sold it. In hindsight I do regret it because I let it go for peanuts. I think that if one comes around again I will probably buy it again. Below is practically straight out of camera, handheld on an E-M1.
  15. Dallas

    I Must Apologise

    Thanks Alan. One of my priority items for a new (used) vehicle is that it has to be fuel efficient and reasonable to service, so that puts the Freelander out of the equation (even though the diesel is efficient, servicing and spares is where you get gouged here). Toyotas are the most popular car in this country, however, they come with a very high risk of hijacking (car-jacking in other parts of the world), which puts them out of contention for me altogether. A real pity because they fit the bill for both requirements I have perfectly. The insurance on Toyota and VW's here is probably double what I pay for the Fords. The other thing with Toyotas is that they are now the number 1 choice for Uber and Taxify drivers, who I must add, are trying to wrestle away the title of "world's worst drivers" from our mini bus taxi drivers. These idiots think that putting the hazard lights on means they can stop anywhere, at any time and the whole world around them must come to a stop so that they can collect or offload a passenger. Uber is the worst thing to happen in this country since the previous president took office. Back on the subject of Fords, I have read and heard nothing but praise for the Ford Ecoboost 1.0L engine, so it's high on the radar for me. I don't know how they can get the power out of it, but as long as it works and can be trusted, I am not fussed about the how!
  16. Dallas

    I Must Apologise

    Thanks Frank. I almost bought a Honda CR-V a few years ago, but ended up getting this little Ford van instead. They are good vehicles. A bit expensive to maintain here, but nowadays everything is I suppose.
  17. Dallas

    I Must Apologise

    Not the reason why I selected it. I had actually meant to put it up last month but then I got sidetracked and it was only when somebody added a comment that I remembered. I have also noticed other fora that have slowed down. I hope it isn't those confounded Facebook groups that are causing the drop off in participation. That would be very sad.
  18. Dallas

    I Must Apologise

    I have used that before, Hugh, but thanks for the link. I just checked my primary RE body now and the number of releases is only 48,880 so I am still good for a while! The other E-M1 has done less work. I recall the last time I checked it it was under 25k.
  19. Dallas

    At the beach

    I am not very familiar with the Fuji cameras at all, but is it not possible to shoot in RAW and film emulation/JPG together? I like the first shot most. We've also been having an inordinate amount of wind since spring began here. It's been blowing hard for three days non-stop now, which is weird, but also a bit of a blessing because otherwise it would be really hot and sticky.
  20. They dropped this on us today. Oh my. I must have this before next year's Wildlife Safari!
  21. Dallas

    New Oven

    What time is the roast beef coming out, sir?
  22. Dallas

    Was there a fire drill?

    Where'd everybody go? 🤔
  23. Dallas

    Winter comes

    I've looked at this image a few times now and I think that the trouble I have with it when viewed in its large version on a 27" screen, is that there is too much fine detail competing for attention with no dominant subject. On the smaller version it's not as pronounced and easier for the brain to process.
  24. Dallas

    Was there a fire drill?

    An absence deserving of a headliner post on its own merit, Alan.
  25. Dallas

    Was there a fire drill?

    I came very close to purchasing a mint condition Sansui AU219 just last week. I read very good things about that unit and it certainly looked pretty enough, but in the end my head said that it was just too old for the asking price. I might also look at a good NAD 3020 if one comes along, but these days the asking prices around here for those old gems is pretty high too. I'm certainly not in the valve amp stratosphere!

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