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  1. This was taken a few years ago on Queen Street East, here in downtown Toronto. I was walking with a photobud looking for interesting scenes when I spotted a young woman reclining in a chair with head back, legs outstretched and eyes closed basking in the warm summer sun. I exposed for the highlights to eliminate the darker, shaded background, and got this shot. motorized Nikon FA Vivitar 17~28 f4.0-4.5 AIS manual focus Fuji 100 ISO colour slide 5.6 @ 1/1000th
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  2. The still days of Autumn are upon us in Tasmania, where the loss-making forestry industry delights in making the air impossible to breathe for the rest of the State by taking the lazy way out and burning all the rubbish they created during the summer's clearfelling forest destruction they quaintly refer to as "harvesting". (Taken from 30km away as the crow flies, as measured on Google Maps, so simple geometry indicates that the smoke trail shown in the photo is 42km long, but in real terms it carried on for probably four or five times that distance.) And as a friend pointed out "...and on Earth Day, too". The forestry attitude to the people is a rather not funny "We fart in your general direction".
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  3. Evry six months or so members of the local rural community hold a "morning tea" at a rotating selection of farm properties, where people are invited to bring money, food, goods,and plants that they have for sale or raffle to raise funds for the continued operation of the Red Cross services in the area. While there I couldn't help notice the reducing numbers since I first started going to these events, along with the increasing amount of white hair and frailty amongst the participants. one of the participants checking out the plant she's just bought (with the farmer/owner of the property standing behind) Raylee (the farmer's wife and 42 year veteran member of Red Cross) draws the raffle tickets (she's a decades-long sufferer of MS, but still active in her '70's) ...and Carol, another Red Cross member, local farmer and Justice of the Peace announces the winner: I guess as farms become increasingly amalgamated and automated, the reduction in population this brings will see this sort of community gathering disappear in the not too distant future. In the past few years a cherry growing corporation has been buying up local farms and running them with transient and casual labour, so the end of this sort of thing might happen sooner rather than later in my community.
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  4. Some Bluebells from my garden with some OOF cousins in X-H1 + 35mm 1.4 1/100 f5.6 ISO200
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  5. Well this is a bit of a hijack, but its also something I'm passionate about, so, with apologies to Merlin's thread: Ansel Adams most certainly had access to, and used, colour. Taken by him in 1953, you tell me what looks better, an A.A. of Yosemite in B&W, or this bland thing (even if it is in the Smithsonian collection)? Ansel took many B&W photos after this, believe it! Julia M.C. worked at a time when hand colouring of photos was already an integral part of the business. I have a couple of stereo Daguerreotypes taken by Antoine Claudet at his studio at 107 Regent Street Quadrant, London between 1854 and 1856 which predate her active period (1864-75) and which have had extremely competent and beautifully applied colour pigment added to them - ergo colour in photography has been there almost since the beginning. A right English Rose if ever there was one I've copied and produced this as a 16x20 hand-coloured photo and it's been hanging over my mantlepiece since 1988, (coincidentally genealogy names her as also being Julia Cameron, but not the J.C. of photographic fame, unfortunately) : I recently reproduced a local "barn find" for a local family of what turned out to be an original Frederick Frith salted paper photograph that had Frith's patented "chromatype" process applied - a process which was in fact just him drawing on his life previous to photography as a silhouette and painting artist to provide a colour image that was as realistic as he could get using mixed tempra of watercolour, greasy pastel and oil paint. The photo is of a local doctor whose well documented history in the area and the family connections of descendant generations still living in the area enabled me to positively identify it as perhaps the best Frith Chromatype in existence (which was/is still in its original burl walnut frame), and furthermore through location of both the photographer and subject I could positively date it as being done in 1856. The fact is the people I named originally all had the choice of making colour photographs one way or another, but deliberately opted for the B&W result. All of these people also were advanced in photography or worked at it full time - processing was not a problem for them as with any business it is just part of the operational expense. Indeed, Ansel Adams became famous for promoting the Zone System of B&W photographic technique which involved reading and calculating exposure and modifying development to produce consistent results aimed at giving a decent print on a grade 2 paper no matter how contrasty or how flat the original scene might have been. As I said, B&W is an abstract form of the art. Colour is an attempt at reproducing realism. The two are just as different in objective and result as are photo-realistic painting (or drawing), and abstract art. Colour photography can also be used to produce abstract results, of course, but its primary use is the replication of the world as we see it. As I said, we don't see in B&W, therefore the end result is by definition an abstraction of reality. Because B&W removes us from reality it is the better medium for expressing such things as emotion or feelings as the familiarity and distraction of colour is absent. Anthony has more or less just confirmed what I've been saying for all the years of digital photography became the norm - B&W has been treated as a colour photograph with the colour removed in nearly all cases, and the results have been, to put it bluntly, shit. Take a photograph with the intention that it be B&W and you're on the right track, take a colour photo and then contemplate what it might look like in B&W and the plot's well and truly lost, I reckon. It's no secret throgh my posts on this forum and its predecessor that I have been trying over those digital disaster years to get a decent B&W result with digital equipment. First I bought a D7000 and shot at 6400 ISO for a so-so monochrome result, then the Sigma Foveon courtesy of my original DP1 and DP3 cameras got me closer to the mark, and my latest sd Q-H has got me closer still with its ability to produce pixel-for-pixel monochrome from a single sensor layer with no colour interpolation at all and its removable IR-cut filter, the absence of which obliterates any hope of a normal colour result, but even so it's also a fact that I have recently started to use B&W film and have been buying old film cameras and lenses again to properly take photos from the outset in B&W once more. Even if the 120 Kiev-60 camera costs me over $1 every time I press the shutter button, it's worth it. Most of my 47 year career involved taking B&W photos on my own time out of choice anyway, even though throughout I've had access to the most up-to-date colour processes and equipment available to me. Even with that long experience with B&W I'm nowhere near the level of those who have excelled (such as those mentioned above), but that isn't going to stop me trying. As far as my own deliberate, non-commercial work goes into the future, I will be concentrating almost exclusively on B&W photography. Colour is for happy snaps and occasions that need accurate recording of events and the like only, as far as I'm concerned. B&W is for expression. Each to his/her own, I guess, but my heart and soul has always been with the B&W image. Just one that comes to hand to illustrate that I kid you not, I took this in 1986 with a 5x4 camera, a Rodenstock 65mm Grandagon lens and T-Max 100 film when I most certainly had full access to colour. If I had been one of today's modern digital landscape cowboys, I would have put a Lee grad filter on the lens and turned the scene into an Armageddon skied, over-saturated, eye-watering, in-your-face drama of a scene to save it from being boring and insipid in "natural" colour, instead of the perfect peace and tranquillity that I both felt and saw in the simple rural scene which unfiltered B&W transmits superbly.
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  6. One of the favorite genres in photography is spontaneous subject compositions. Sometimes I call it "subreal". 1. _DSF2164 by Aleksander Pustovarov, on Flickr 2. _DSF2157 by Aleksander Pustovarov, on Flickr
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  8. I have been stacking focus for many years now, so I’m no stranger to this technique. And the track of my learning curve (more like a spiral) has been fueled by my using better and better corrected lenses (APO) to enhance the stacking. In other words, the more finely corrected the lenses, the more careful I have to be in stacking, and on around. It’s like a Catch-22. I get lots of emails and messages about my photos. And not infrequently (at least from photographers) is the question as to whether I have tried one of the automated focus rails. In the past, I have taken a certain amount of pride in pointing out to these folks that I can stack quite well manually, thank you very much. I had no intention of varying my technique. Yet, as I pointed out above, the circular spiral of finer lenses and precise stacking led to more and better apochromatic lenses, like the Zeiss Otus series, the APO-El Nikkor 105, the Leica Elmarit-R APO 100mm macro, and so on. I pretty-much took these fine lenses in stride, hopefully learning to use them more and more skillfully. Then comes the Schneider Macro Varon 85mm industrial lens. I had kind of heard about this lens on and off for some time, but never had seen one come up used on Ebay and even trying to get availability and a firm price from the manufacturer and distributors was difficult. It was almost as if they did not want to sell to me because I was not a company that required industrial lens for line-scanning. I wrote them. I called them on the phone. A more detailed story about the Macro Varon would require a separate article. Suffice it to say that a good friend of mine, another photographer, sent me a FB message telling me that a Macro Varon just came up of Ebay and at an attractive price at that. It took all of perhaps one minute and I had bought it. It was not an impulse buy, because I had decided to get one quite a while ago, just not pay the retail price of about $4500. Ouch! The Makro Varon is a very highly corrected lens, certainly worthy of the name APO. However, perhaps most remarkable was that this was a lens built for a wide range of magnifications, which is unusual for industrial lenses, which usually have a very limited magnification range at which they are at optimum sharpness. The Macro Varon even has a separate ring to compensate for whichever reproduction-ratio is used, actually moving the inner lens elements around to accommodate that reproduction range. And, interestingly enough, its specs showed me that it could easily outperform the sensor of my fairly new Nikon D850. “Hmmmm, I mused. I’d like to see that.” And see it I did and pretty quickly too. But such a revelation soon led me to rethinking my bias against automated focus rails. It was not that I could not stack well, but I continue to get older and I am old enough as it is, and the little bumps, jars, and vibrations caused by me began to be more visible; they got in the way. Anyway, back to this blog. So, there I was, reading about the StackShot, when before I knew it my finger was hitting the return-key to order a copy. And to my surprise, the company (Cognisys) was right here in Michigan, only just up the road from where I live, in Traverse City. So, it was only a day or so before the automated-rail turned up at my door. However, learning to use StackShot was a bit of puzzle. It actually is very simple, but the manual is SO complete that finding the simple in it is hard. At least that’s how it struck me. I just wanted to get going right away and stack something, but although eventually that was easy, at first it was not so. And also, this device is meant for many kinds (or ways) of stacking. It took me a while to figure out what the name for what I wanted to do was. I finally did (Automatic Distance) and, as mentioned, it could not be simpler. Well, it could be explained more simply. LOL. As a software developer myself since the early 1970s, I recognized the kind of manual that indeed was precise, but is no beginner’s guide. I told them so. The problem was, IMO, how do I find what increment or step makes sense for the kind of close-up focus-stacking that I do. I don’t need the kind of detail one needs for stacking a bee’s knees, but I do need enough overlap of images to make the rendering of the stack smooth with no banding. Of course, I called the support line at Cognisys and spoke with a very nice person, only too willing to help. The problem was that at each question, each point where I was stuck, he pointed out that this or that particular choice was variable, very variable. So after fifteen minutes or so, I was right back where I started from, having to figure it out for myself. What’s new? Story of my life! LOL. And it took a while for me to run many stacks at different step-sizes to find a step-size that gave me what I was looking for and not one that took all day by over-stacking what probably couldn’t be seen. I wasn’t stacking a microscope image, but just a flower or two. I messaged Rik Littlefield, creator of Zerene Stacker, the stacking software I use, and asked him about over sampling. His response was that it won’t harm anything to make too many images, but it might add a wee bit of extra noise. After a few happy days with StackShot, here is where I am at. So far, it looks like the more detail you can get with the smaller increments with Stackshot, the better the result, within reason. StackShot likes to work in thousandths-of-an-inch or in millimeters or fractions thereof, your choice. I found myself working with MLS, thousandths of an inch, a setting of 20 Mls seems pretty good. 10 MLS is slightly better, but perhaps not worth the extra time, etc. A lot depends on keeping natural light even, which is hard with variable cloudiness. My thoughts on using the StackShot automatic-rail are positive. I have stacked for many years, always barely touching the focus barrel or whatever mechanism as required. I got pretty good at it, but also made little accidental bumps and knocks, which have never helped at all. And, as I drill down on these ultra-sharp industrial lenses that can challenge the sensor of even the Nikon D850, there is less room for user-caused error and a greater demand for regular precise increments. After many years of focus stacking, my most valuable learned skills are in setting up and composing the shot, although I have always done my best to move carefully through all the steps that focus-stacking requires. However, having tried out StackShot, I am convinced it has a lot to offer me in stability and consistency, leaving me more time to consider what shot I want to take. I am enjoying that. I have a fair amount of testing the Stackshot yet to do, but I am already getting a handle on it. By testing various step-sizes, I am already converging on what seems to work for me. I’m not doing photo-micography, but rather just simple close-up and macro photography. Of the many options that StackShot offers, the one I seem to be gravitating to is Automatic-Distance, which allows me to choose the granularity, the step-size, that works best for my work. In other words, I have one main step size that will be applied no matter what scope or distance I want to cover. Should that not be fine enough, I can easily make if finer, etc. The only caveat might be with spherical objects, where following the curve demands finer steps, IMO. So, the step sizes I have settled on should work. Physically, the StackShot is very well made, meaning it is robust, as strong or stronger than any other focus rail I have and I have ten or so. Its vertical profile for my camera is low, about as low as it could be and I have fitted it with my favorite RRS Arca quick-release clamp, the one with a larger knob. I can see no way that this is not better than what I have been doing myself by hand. And the program allows me to introduce all kinds of latency time, which I have done, so that at each movement of the auto rail, I take a second or so to let any vibrations created by the mechanism movement subside. The only problem, which has nothing to do with StackShot, is that since I use natural light, on a variably-cloudy day the lighting changes from moment to moment and affects the stack. To counter this, I would have to be standing there, slightly modifying the shutter moment-by-moment to keep the light stable. That kind of takes the auto out of automatic, but that’s the price we pay for natural light. It varies. So, my initial impression of the StackShot is not only good, but very good, almost something like “where-have-you-been-all-my-life?” good. I like it. As for taking the time I am used to spending stacking focus at the camera away from me, which I traditionally associate with meditative absorption on my part, it does not seem a problem. My hard-won skills are seeing the shot and setting up for it. With StackShot, I do the creative work and let an expert step through the mechanics while I do other stuff. Makes sense and seems fine. StackShot is easily rough enough to take into the field, provided you realize that it is heavy and if you don’t have any wind. Here in Michigan, I wait to see each day if there is no wind at first light. Rare, but it happens. A Hidden Surprise Surprise, surprise! There is almost always a surprise with new equipment. Using stackshot made one thing very clear. By standardizing the process of focus stacking (the mechanical part) all lenses were treated equally. It’s true that I always did my best to incrementally stack focus as carefully as I could. But, I cannot pretend that on any given day, I may have stacked looser or tighter, even or less even. I can only guess at the variation. But one thing is clear so far from using the StackShot and that is that the regularity of increments (the step size) reveals more clearly than I have ever seen the true or actual difference between any of these highly corrected lenses. It is clear that some of these lens differences were veiled by the more organic (sloppy) process of stacking by hand and not by auto-stacking. However, by regulating the stacking process, it creates a much more level playing field. And I found it very easy to see the differences between lenses, many of which I could never before be certain about. And so, whatever else auto-rail stacking provides (and there is a lot) a wonderful bonus in allowing me to see more clearly than ever how lenses differ, something I have always strained to see (regardless of all the graphs) for myself. By stacking in a more regulated manner removes (at least for me) a veil that has been obscuring these difference all of this time. Below are a couple of tables that might be useful. StackShot likes to work in thousandths-of-an-inch or in millimeters or fractions there of. 1 Millimeter = 39.3701 Thousandth of an Inch 1 thousandth of an inch in is equal to 25.40 μm Thousandths-inch TO MILLIMETER 10-mils = 0.254 Millimeters 15-mils = 0.381 Millimeters 20-mils = 0.508 Millimeters 25-mils = 0.635 Millimeters 30-mils = 0.762 Millimeters 35-mils = 0.889 Millimeters 39-mils = 0.9906 Millimeters 39.37 mils = 1 Millimeter MILLIMETER to Thousandths-inch .25 MM = 9.84 Mils .333 MM = 13.11 Mils .5 MM = 19.685 Mils .666 MM = 26.22 .75 MM =29.5276 Mils 1 MM = 39.37 Mils 1.25 MM = 49.2126 Mils 1.5 MM = 59.055 Mils 2 MM = 78.7 Mils 2.5 MM = 98.42 Mils 3 MM = 118.11 Mils 3.5 = 137.8 Mils 4 = 157.5 Mils 4.5 = 177.2 Mils 5 = 197 Mils Here are three example images, both done with StackShot, one with the Schneider Macro Varon f/4.5 and another with the APO-El Nikkor 105mm f/5.6. A third one is with the Nikkor “O” CRT lens. Also, a poor-quality shot (shot at night in bad lighting) of the StackShot controller (Vecro-ed to a post) and the basic StackShot setup. Note the RRS Quick-Release Clamp with the large knob.
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  9. A cave opening on the precipitous hill overlooking Askrigg Creek.
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  10. A strenuous but immensely rewarding off-trail adventure amongst the soaring rock cliffs in the Nature Preserve. The connections with trees, rocks, lichens, and even cacti befitted the day. We ascended the chimney to the top of the mesa, and basked in the sunshine and incredible vistas, celebrating and giving gratitude for the majesty of our Earth. X-T2, 18-55mm 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.
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  11. Hugh & Alan, Sadly Australia is not on the itinerary just at the moment as I haven’t had my pension increase yet! I’ve been to Brisbane and Perth but not Tasmania or Melbourne so far. So if a balding portly gentleman knocks on your door🚪 it might be me. Now there’s a threat if ever there was.
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  12. My vision for this website is a simple one. It is for Fotozones to become known as a place where friends of photography can become friends with one another and share in the joy we find in the craft of making and sharing our photos with each other. Here we can share our photographic experiences, knowledge and little parts of our lives in a way that is friendly, honest and free of any over-bearing ego. I don’t intend for Fotozones to become a huge, raging internet success story with multiple revenue streams, huge traffic and more members than anyone could ever hope to converse with earnestly in their life time. That’s what happened when Nikongear became popular and honestly, I was not well equipped to deal with the pressures of that environment. I want to wake up every morning and check in here to see what my friends around the world have been doing (or learning about) with their cameras and other gizmos, not have an argument with anybody over what camera is better or how bad my choice of software is. I hope that everybody here wishes for the same thing. To that end I would like to encourage more members to consider authoring articles for FZ that other members can enjoy. They don’t have to be in-depth, serious pieces, but as long as there is something of photographic interest for others to read, I will happily publish them on the site’s front page. I have put links in the sub-menu of the articles item on how to do this. There are also a set of guidelines on how to publish and also how to monetize your work (Patreon, affiliate links, etc). While I’m talking about the articles, I’d like to publicly thank @Michael Erlewine for the outstanding effort he has been putting in here by letting me publish his well written articles on the photographic work he does with exotic lenses. What many people may not know is that Michael was one of the first people to help get FZ off the ground by generously helping to fund the purchase of the software we use here. Thank you Michael for your contributions and also for putting up with all my nonsense over the years and still sticking it out on here. Anyway, I thought I would share this bit of positivity with you folks today: on Fotozones let’s always assume that everyone is our friend. Let’s try not to demean anybody, their gear choices or their approach to the craft of photography. Instead let’s learn from one another and use our diversity to build something really special on this website. Have a great day everyone!
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  14. My poor cousin (once removed)! Why was I not told he had died?
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  15. Wore new hiking shoes in the Nature Preserve today. Despite a bit of apprehension, they worked excellently, in terms of stability, grip, and cushioning. We even did a bit of off-trail exploring, clambering over rocks, across fallen logs, and up and down a few slopes as part of the testing process. Definitely keepers. The wind was rather icy, though, so thermal wear was needed, but the sun, deep blue skies, trees, rocks, and vistas were magnificent. X30 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
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  16. It happens with the moon as well. I guess you're a bit too tropical and too close to the warming factor of the ocean for it to happen all that often in Durban. At 42°S and inland from the ocean we see the phenomenon reasonably often here.
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  17. It so happened that it was necessary to change the camera X-Pro2 to X-H1. The third week I get used to and I'm testing a new device. I made a couple vylazo with her on the island Tatyshev. 1. _DSF0795 by Aleksander Pustovarov, on Flickr 2. _DSF0786 by Aleksander Pustovarov, on Flickr Ducks are not something that is tame, but they will soon be at least for people and beg for delicacies. 3 _DSF0763 by Aleksander Pustovarov, on Flickr 4 _DSF0778 by Aleksander Pustovarov, on Flickr 5 _DSF0801 by Aleksander Pustovarov, on Flickr 6 _DSF0233 by Aleksander Pustovarov, on Flickr 7 _DSF0222 by Aleksander Pustovarov, on Flickr Seagulls in contrast to ducks while fearful 8 _DSF0165 by Aleksander Pustovarov, on Flickr 9 _DSF0488 by Aleksander Pustovarov, on Flickr In general, the camera is satisfied. Although not usual little. There are too new moments.
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  18. Today was ANZAC Day, the date that Australian and New Zealand troops landed at Gallipoli as part of the British-led assault on Turkey in 1915. While unsuccessful and involving much loss of life over the months that the battles ensued, it was the first major conflict Australian troops had been involved in since the Commonwealth of Australia was formed in 1901. As such it has become the Day Australia remembers its soldiers in all wars, and is marked by dawn memorial services taking place in most towns and cities in Australia, usually at the town's war memorial (which most towns and cities have). Today I was at the service at Gretna, Tasmania for the Dawn Service which started promptly at 6:00am, well before it started to get light. It was during the laying of the wreaths at the memorial that I took this one: As the poem that is always read at theses services goes: "They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them." I thought this photo expressed that rather well.
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  19. Playing around with light
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  20. On Sunday, celebrated 148 years since the birth of Vladimir (Ulyanov) Lenin. 1. _DSF3059 by Aleksander Pustovarov, on Flickr 2. _DSF3082 by Aleksander Pustovarov, on Flickr 3. _DSF3165 by Aleksander Pustovarov, on Flickr 4. _DSF2967 by Aleksander Pustovarov, on Flickr
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  21. Thanks all. The Salton Sea is an awesome place to shoot, but unfortunately is also being cleaned up slowly but surely. I took this one at the north end of the lake. I wish the pallet was a canoe or something, but you shoot what you can. I adjusted the pin cushion and rotated it a tad. I also worked on the noise a bit (not sure if I got most of it) and made an attempt at eliminating those halos. I also made the puddle a little bluer and darker. Better? Rags, I haven't gone out there to shoot wildlife yet even though I have a 150-600. Not a bad idea for next month before it really gets warm.. ps - This one seems a little darker for some odd reason. G
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  22. Awwww.... isn't it cute how the big one carries the little one around? (yeah, yeah, I know - just kidding, of course! :D)
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  23. If only they would say that, Mike, because that's the truth of it. Instead they call these abominable burn-offs "regeneration burns", and prattle on about the "science" that native Australian vegetation needs fire in order for seeds to germinate successfully in a warm ash bed. It's true that eucalyptus and wattle seeds are triggered by a fire event in nature, but it's equally true that they don't need fire to do so. I've grown several eucalyptus trees from seed with nothing but cold, damp soil. The firestorm that these idiots provoke by dropping napalm from a helicopter creates fire of such intensity that its equivalent is rare in natural circumstances, but is deliberately so in that along with providing this "warm seed bed" (sounds almost inviting and benign, but that's the aim of propaganda), it kills any seeds already in place from before the clearfelling (particularly the rainforest species which are slow growing and of minimal bulk commercial value) so that Forestry can reseed the "warm seed bed" with single species, fast growing eucalyptus seeds that they derive the quickest return from. Combine this totally unnecessary burning with the more justifiable "fuel reduction burns" which are designed to reduce fuel loads and thus the intensity of summer fires (they lit one of those today not 10km from me), and you get an atmosphere that sets of asthma attacks and other respiratory reactions (particularly in the young and the elderly), lasts for days and leaves everyone with sore throats and smarting eyes at the very least. Bear in mind that it is illegal for private citizens in towns to light backyard incinerators; as well if a private home wood-heater is observed being too smoky there are heavy fines dished out, yet this piss-ant Forestry industry (which has made a loss of $475 million over 22 years and never turned a real profit in that time) and employs only around 2,000 people at best gets free rein to cut down public forests and create as much smoke and pollution when and where they feel like it without any course of action against this through legal channels being available to anyone who objects. Thinking that only third world countries are corrupt is a mistake, too, because when it comes to logging and Forestry, this lot are a shining example as to how to engage in first world corruption and nepotism and apparently get away with it. The State government has even enacted laws that make it illegal to criticise or denigrate the Government Business Enterprise of Forestry (if that's what one could actually call what is in fact a legislated welfare operation) in an attempt to silence dissent. Thankfully Australia does have a constitution that gives people both nominated and implied freedoms, and each time the Tasmanian government has tried to prosecute anyone under this and similar laws the High Court has backed appeals by those convicted and dismissed the laws as unconstitutional. That doesn't srop the government continually trying to get their ways by introducing new laws, though. The last such case against former Senator Bob Brown was thrown out on appeal with the Judge actually referring to the drafting of the particular law as having been "Monty Pythonesque" in its incompetence.
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  24. Since I’m always on the lookout for sharp and well-corrected lenses, APO if possible, over time I have kind of run out of lenses for the Nikon mount to find. I am sure there are some out there, but I don’t know where they are or can’t (or won’t) afford them. LOL. Another approach is to find ways to enhance the APO lenses that I already have. Let’s take my old standby the Voigtlander 125mm f/2.5 APO Lanthar, still the best all-around macro lens that I know of. Other lenses best it in this or that feature, but when you add up all the features, the CV-125 still comes out on top every time. One of the areas where the CV-125 didn’t quite match up to some of the best APO lenses is sharpness, whether you consider sharpness as acuity and resolution or, as I do, add to that how well corrected is the lens is for the various aberrations, etc. Yet, lately I did find another way to better compensate for some areas that the CV-125 fell ever so slightly short. And that is by using the lens on an automatic focus rail. I use StackShot, but there are also others out there. If I mount the CV-125 on the Nikon D850 on the StackShot auto-rail and set the step increment on the finer (shorter increment) side, the CV-125 very much benefits from regular short increment steps and focus stacking. The net result is to bring out or compensate for the very slight lack of sharpness I see when I stack the CV-125 by hand by turning the focus ring of the lens directly. My point is that using precise auto stacking brings out the sense of sharpness with this lens and I would imagine with any other lens. Here is a photo taken with the Nikon D850 with the CV-125 lens mounted on the StackShot auto-rail. To my eyes, the degree of refined sharpness is a little better than what I can do by hand. This image is reasonably sharp. So, for we focus stackers out there, using auto-rails may be a way to get better “sharpness” without having to spend a fortune for better lenses. Of course, how would I know because I have spent way too much on buying really well-corrected lenses. LOL.
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  25. A radial filter in Lightroom or Photoshop should do the trick. See below.
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  27. This is my daughters boxer/staffie mix, giving me a please give me look, because I have a bag of treats. iPhone X
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  28. It’s very hard work being a cat and Dave is having a quick nap! X-H1 + 80mm + TC 1.4 @ 1/170 f8 ISO 1000 Thankfully Dave’s injury is well on the way to healing, fur is growing back nicely and it is now quite difficult to see where the injury was, my neighbour Julie tells me he’s now very nervous of white vans, so we’re thinking he was hit by such a white van. Funnily he always seems to take his naps at the same spot!
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  29. This release is, to me, big news. It reminds me of color grading which video enthusiasts are already familiar with, but for stills. This update is for Lightroom, Photoshop and, of course, Camera Raw. It includes a new Adobe Color to replace the standard we have had for ten years or so, plus ones for Monochrome, Landscape, Neutral (maybe like S-Log in video), Protrait, and Vivid. These are for raw files. In addition there are some 40 or so creative profiles that can be applied to any type of file, JPG, TIFF, etc. Plus there are all show as imaged on the main screen of Camera Raw, for instance. This is a very important change and looks to save me LOTS of time. Check it out: https://theblog.adobe.com/april-lightroom-adobe-camera-raw-releases-new-profiles
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  30. Dead right, Mike. The Victorians knew how to build stuff. Ships, bridges, railways ...
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  31. Yesterday he was taken out with a friend for a walk of his cat. It's already becoming a tradition for us to walk the cat in January. 1. _DSC3333 by Александр Пустоваров, on Flickr 2. _DSC3341 by Александр Пустоваров, on Flickr At that time, it was -27 degrees Celsius on the street. 3. _DSC3367 by Александр Пустоваров, on Flickr 4. _DSC3374 by Александр Пустоваров, on Flickr Please smile, shoot! 5. _DSC3390 by Александр Пустоваров, on Flickr 6. _DSC3420 by Александр Пустоваров, on Flickr 7. _DSC3438 by Александр Пустоваров, on Flickr 8. _DSC3447 by Александр Пустоваров, on Flickr 9. _DSC3486 by Александр Пустоваров, on Flickr Yes, do not care about the frost! That's really true - invented, -25 - frost. The normal temperature for Krasnoyarsk in January. The Siberian in such weather in flip-flops, a shirt and trousers for ice cream in the stall runs, with three of them, one on the way back eats. :))) 10 _DSC3513 by Александр Пустоваров, on Flickr 11. _DSC3521 by Александр Пустоваров, on Flickr 12. _DSC3535 by Александр Пустоваров, on Flickr 13. _DSC3572 by Александр Пустоваров, on Flickr 14. _DSC3580 by Александр Пустоваров, on Flickr On the shore of the Yenisei, the cat was tired of portraying a wild predator and already wanted to go home. 15 _DSC3608 by Александр Пустоваров, on Flickr During the shooting, no animals were harmed. There was a cat above and nothing superfluous. And it's just to illustrate how it looks like a frosty day on the river bank. 16 _DSC3625 by Александр Пустоваров, on Flickr 17 _DSC3615 by Александр Пустоваров, on Flickr
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  33. I agree, if the program has a normal functionality for processing and koniertatsii - it will be a very convenient solution. Especially for processing "in the field," when there is no way to use powerful computing resources, you can easily manage a modest laptop or tablet. But for now it seemed strange to me this program.
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  34. Hi Dallas, I have seen this phenomenon before. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halo_(optical_phenomenon) called a a sun halo. Caused by ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. Can be very beautiful.
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  35. Looks like @Mike G isn't the only Fuji XH-1 user on Fotozones now. Good results, Alex.
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  37. South Africa has been known to build some very scary small cars. In the 1980's they also came up with the BMW 333i, which was an E30 body that borrowed the engine from a BMW 733i. I had the ride of a lifetime in 1988 when I was picked up by a guy while I was hitch-hiking from Pretoria to Durban in my army days. I had expected to spend the whole day on the road waiting for lifts between towns when this fellow found me in uniform in Heidelberg (just south of Johannesburg) at about 8am or thereabouts. He told me he was a pilot driving to Harrismith which is about halfway between where I was and my destination, so I jumped in. I got to Harrismith about 0930. This is a drive of about 225kms, so we were averaging well over 160kmh! At one point he asked me if I minded if he saw just how fast this little machine could go, so I said sure, no problem. Well, he took it over 200kmh for a short while but then I think he got scared and brought it back to sensible speeds. I had been hoping to get to the local watering hole in Durban for a pub lunch, but my next ride was an elderly lady and her daughter who never moved the needle above 100kmh.
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  38. If you took all the photos in the listing, then we’ll done that man!
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  39. Very good looking friend.
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  40. I am going to agree with both Mike and Alan here. B/W is great when it is done well, and with the right content. But I see a lot of not very good B/W where it seems to me that not a lot of thought or skill has gone into the process, and where the subject matter does not benefit from B/W treatment. B/W is difficult to do well, and very satisfying when this happens.
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  41. Dallas -- These images are a huge step-up from what I see our local realtors using. The majority of the houses for sale in our area have asking prices of USD 800k to USD 3M. Yet, all but a few of the listings are marketed with images clearly shot with a point and shoot (1" sensor at best). Too, the local RE community seems to have discovered the "clarity" control (or unsharp mask) and just simply push that slider to 100%. Gives the images a unique look -- loads of sharpening artifacts. All this for commission rates usually set at 6% of selling price. Any work a professional can do is bound to make the marketed home stand out. Good luck to you in this endeavor. Frank
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  42. Yes, a lot to see and lke in these images, and by direct implication even more for those that venture out there to see the subject matter for themselves. The junipers and the rocks certainly have character, no doubt fashioned by the years. As a matter of interest, do you often encounter widlife and hunters? I only ask because of the dangers posed by hunters and the knowledge that in my part of the world more than one or two bushwalkers / trampers / hikers have been shot by trigger happy hunters. Do you use hi-visibility clothing when hiking to deter these clowns?
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  43. I like to tell myself that my photography gear is convection based, constantly turning over like the topsoil of a garden. While there are a few lone gear survivors, everything else has its day and heads for Ebay or, if I am too lazy, into the storeroom. My most volatile category is the lenses. One thing that all lenses share is that they take photos. Aside from that, there are a wide variety of lens types and quality, not to mention there being a myriad lenses out there. For my work, there are not that many “great” lenses. I seem to gravitate toward highly-corrected lenses and never seem to have enough of them. I have been getting rid of those that I seldom use, with a few exceptions. I decided some time ago that I can’t afford to be a lens museum and am moving away from that. And I imagine that any photographer out there with more than a few lenses drifts toward collecting those lenses that make up his or her particular photography niche. I know I do. I’m usually bundled in with the macro photographers, but in reality I am a close-up photographer. I don’t enjoy the confines of a limited view like 1:1. It makes me feel claustrophobic. I like to breathe in a somewhat larger context. On the other hand, although I do some landscape photography, it is more context than I need. I am into little dioramas, micro-environments, what I call “small worlds.” I have even sold many legendary macro lenses that I had just because I did not use them or “like” them that much. Examples would be the Nikkor 200mm Macro, the Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar, and others. Nice, but I found I always preferred other lenses, so why keep them? Just to say I HAVE them is no longer interesting to me. I don’t have them, but I had them. That says it all. Then, there are lenses that have great qualities, but are IMO otherwise flawed. For example, the legendary Coastal Optics 60mm Macro f/4 lens is very well corrected, even at the forensic level, except for a giant hot spot right in the macro range! However, the lens is poorly designed in other areas like focus throw (there is so little that I have to put the camera/lens on a focus rail!), plus no hood, cheap housing, etc. I still used that lens, but I finally protested the design flaws enough that I sold mine, shipping it out to somewhere in China. I sometimes miss it, but not often. Which leaves me in the company of those types of lenses that I do use and dote on. These are not so much macro lenses as they do a variety of lenses that I can make work for me in close-up nature photography. And they are a rag-tag crew. Aside from the lordly Zeiss Otus series, I have a mess of industrial lenses, mostly from scanners, plus enlarger and large-format lenses. I love the little devils and use them on view cameras, which brings me to another point. I had several view cameras, one of them very large and very heavy, but I sold them too. Who needs a beast like that? I am down to the Cambo Actus Mini View Camera and the Novoflex BALPRO bellows system. That’s enough, although I very much like tilt and sometimes some shift. I also must have ten or twelve focus rails, most of which I am too lazy to sell, having settled on the Novoflex Castel-Q along with their Fine Adjustment Handle. That’s what I use these days. I won’t even mention the scores of adapters, helicoids, step-up and step-down rings, and etc. that I have around here. In my case it seems that when it comes to photo equipment, more-than-enough is just enough. LOL. And I am always finding something I don’t have! I also have a trail of tripods that I still have or have given away, mostly old Gitzos, having settled on a couple of Really Right Stuff tripods for my regular use. And tripod heads? Don’t even ask. I have lots of them, small, medium, and large, but all I tend to use are the Arca-Swiss C1 Cube, of which I have a couple. I keep looking for the energy to sell off hundreds of photo items I don’t need, but the amount of work to put them on Ebay and then box them up for shipment is just too much. I will wait until I need the money and then I will do the work. Anyway, I like to rummage through them all trying to adapt this or that lens for this or that purpose. For some reason I am real fussy about quick-release clamps. I gave up on Manfrotto clamps years ago after they failed a couple of times! I have a drawer full of quick-release clamps, all of them Arca-Swiss. And I REALLY dislike lever-release clamps. What I love are the RRS screw-knob Arca clamps with the big fat knobs. I like to be certain my camera is firmly attached and that does it. I even installed them on my two Arca Cubes because the ones that come with the Cube suck. They are too tiny and weak. As for cameras, I love Nikon and I have had pretty much all of their DSLRs, but have sold them off over the years. I still have my first DSLR, the Nikon D1x, which cost $5K and is worth today maybe $100. It was all of 5.3 Mpx. Aside from nature, I took 33,000 photos of rare concert rock-n’-roll posters with the D1x using a vacuum table I built myself. So, those are some of my equipment biases. I feel like a spinning coin on the table that has finally come to rest with the Nikon D850. It does what I need and always wanted. The rest is up to me. Am I the Lone Ranger or do others have similar experiences? [Photo with the Nikon D850 and the Schneider Macro Varon 85mm lens.]
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  44. Which is the second part of my fix - I have now diverted the down-pipes from the gutters of the two roofs that are lower than the inlet to my water tanks (so can't be piped into my water supply without a lifting pump and all the infrastructure involved) so they now flow directly onto the ground, which slopes away from the house, thence onto my farmer neighbour's paddock and onward to his dam. The farmer certainly had no objections to getting more water onto his paddock, which costs him $$$$ each year to irrigate as it is. Why one Earth they put what is basically a suburban drainage scheme into a rural property that slopes away to a natural drainage course (dam, creek and river) is simply beyond me, other than the Education Department of the day (the property being a school originally) had more money than they knew what to do with.
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  47. This next winter a small wood pole line will be built for about 20 miles. It must be done AFTER the ground has frozen 18" deep, and there must be at least 4 " of snow cover over the tundra. I thought some of you might like to see tundra vegetation. Where I live has the appearance of the rolling hills of western North Dakota. Not many trees on the tundra, BUT..... all you have to do is step out and walk a bit, and you immediately know it is not the Dakotas. Squishy, spongy, water saturated, plenty of ankle twisting holes and hummocks. Lots of cranberries..... these are VERY tart. They are in lichens of various types. A Milbert's tortoiseshell butterfly. I believe he is sitting on common yarrow. The small red leaves are BIRCH. Would you believe they are DWARF birch? They are in a bed of lichens, with other tundra vegetaton. These beautiful leaves are from the cloudberry plant (locally called "salmonberries.")
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  48. So the experiments over the past few months with a Sigma sd Quattro-H camera (and old Soviet Bloc lenses and equally old 6x6 film cameras and lenses from the same source) culminated last Saturday with me finally having the courage to use the Sigma fitted with a Mir-20M 3,5/20 lens with its standard orange filter fitted to the rear element and the Sigma's IR-cut filter removed. I'm prepared to wager that no-one else had photos quite like this taken on their wedding day last Saturday that look anything quite like these two examples.... I really appreciate the couple agreeing to this as well - it was a leap of faith on their behalf to go along with my suggestion as I only furnished them with a verbal description of the hoped-for outcomes. I also shot a roll of T-Max 400 120 on the Kiev-60, I'm still working on those, but I'll throw this one in anyway, taken with the Jupiter 36b 3,5/250 hand-held: ....plus a further 700-odd colour shots taken with the X-T2 in single-shot mode, of course. Even so, this is probably the last wedding I'll ever shoot - I only took this on reluctantly after having avoided weddings for the past seven years already, but after a full 12-hours of running around with three bags of equipment and almost constant shooting I have confirmed that I'm simply getting too old for this sort of caper.
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  49. Another good series Merlin, are the boots being shy.
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  50. I spent much time as an assistant photographer in the 1970's hanging on to my boss's legs while he lay on his belly in the back of his station wagon with the tailgate down as we hurtled down the freeway at well in excess of the speed limit (with the account exec driving) taking photos like this for both Ford and GM-H, so I do appreciate the difficulties involved. The slower the travel the easier the framing, communication and coordination, but also the slower the shutter speed needed for a decent wheel, road and background blur. Even back then what we were doing was highly illegal as compulsory seat-belt laws had been introduced and the 100km/h speed limit on the freeway was strictly enforced, as were things like driving with a door open (tailgate) and passengers being improperly seated. Pretty much a perfect result for a shot that looks deceptively easy to accomplish but is anything other than easy in practice. This Capri would also be illegal for road use here with those wheels extending outside the wheel arch and the V8 (the Capri in Australia was fitted with a 4.1 litre six cylinder as its largest engine).
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