Friday, October 29, 2010

Horsing around

Horsing around
Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
More and more I'm enjoying when I can catch some movement in an animal picture. The most obvious way of doing this is panning of course but sometimes you get lucky and you can catch something like this paw moving.

Shooting trough wire is always tricky as you can see here again.


Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
I was rather unsure when I shot this. Spend some time getting the big male of the group in a good view and, somehow, I ended up with this. Bit bummed about that pole in the view on the left.

What did amaze me is what a few clicks with the mouse in Adobe Camera RAW managed to get from what was originally a very drab image. The colours on the nose and the shoulders are magnificent!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Macaque mother

Macaque mother
Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
We went to Ouwehand's zoo yesterday. Lousy weather for photography, solid overcast all the time.

This picture says it all for zoos. On one hand, live goes on, this mother is suckling her young. On the other hand, animals look out of place in an artificial environment as you can see by the background here.

I was by no means the only one carrying a DSLR, spotted quite a few of them. I was the only one using a monopod and not using the pop-up flash for everything.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I'm well camouflaged

I'm well camouflaged
Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
I more or less stumbled upon this little deer, just about a year old I think. I was tracking a herd of one big male and at least 5 females by tracks alone when I heard something besides the path. This little girl was there with a bigger female, possible the mother. She noticed me and didn't feel much like running. Instead she did two paces and though she was hidden enough since she couldn't see me anymore and started cropping these greens.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
A lot of people will convert to black and white purely because this is an old trade. I didn't, I converted because it was a low colour image to begin with and I wanted to emphasize certain aspects of the image.

Shots like this do make me realize how much of an art black and white really is. I wish I could do images like this out of camera. I'd be very interested in something the size of a small DSLR body or even an evil camera that could do a dozen different types of black & white film and do that very well.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

bored now!

bored now!
Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
Took a bit of tweaking but this pic just looks so right to me. The colours really reflect what I saw at that time and still the deer pops out of the picture really well.

I'm slowly getting the hang of Nik's Viveza to make a subject pop.

The behaviour is really typical of a fallow deer buck, it's stared at me for a few minutes and now it has decided to wander away.
HDR Efex pro 1.0

Apparantly I'm not the only one who thinks this piece of software is not as good as it could be.

Yesterday at 21:06 I sent the following message to Nik Software:

Perhaps HDR efex was released a bit too soon.

I'm running it on an AMD x2, 240 @2.8 ghz with windows 7 and 3gb ram.

I'm on day 5 of my trial now, I've processed maybe a dozen pics so far.

HDR efex has crashed 4 times, invariably taking CS5 with it. On 3
counts it acted wonky and vivenza crashed twice (which it never does)

Processing from selecting 5 images in bridge until a completed image
takes 5 minutes easily.

OK, granted, you guys have show the world, including the people behind
photomatix, that it is possible to produce good HDR software with a
nice user interface. Shame it's still very buggy and requires a very
high end intel box to run.

I don't think I'm going to buy it, this is not 160 euros nice.

Now, within an hour I got this reply from Josh, a product manager at Nik (note the misspelling of my name, this makes me believe it's no autoreply)

Dear jereoen,

Thank you for contacting Nik Software.

We have run into a few issues that we are currently working to resolve. The issues you indicated you are having with HDR Efex Pro are affecting a small number of our users, however the update that we currently have planned for early next year is planned to resolve these types of issues.

Please keep an eye out for when this new version comes out, as it should be both much faster as well as much more stable for your system.

So... I'm curious to see how early next year this may be.

Since HDR Efex pro 1.0 runs fine on a friend's Intel based laptop I would advice anyone to try the trial version before buying this. If it runs it's very nice.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What I see on a sunday morning

Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
Not an over the top HDR but a shot that more or less captures my sunday morning. Including, I like to think the verry chilly temperature this morning.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Roman bowman
Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
Some old shots from august I just got around to processing. Legio II augusta from the UK visited.

A Roman archer, something you don't see often. Even rarer, a Syrian auxilia

auxillery bowman

Now I'm not sure if this is also an auxiliares or a barbarian. The dagger suggests Gaul to me.

Look here's my dagger

And last, the Aquilifer, I think. The person carrieng the Legion's standard. An important and well paying job.

slavegirl serving drink

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I love VR!

D300 on a monopod, 70-300 VR on 250mm, iso 1600 and 1/4 shutter speed and I get this:

VR rules! 1/4 second!

Not too shabby I think. OK, granted, this was one of about a dozen but still...

A bit further on I got this.
Looking at someone else

Now, pictures like this will never draw in the crowds, certainly not on flickr but I like it. I'd found this doe and was tracking her for a few minutes in my viewfinder waiting for her to raise her head briefly. She did when a walker some distance away stepped on a twig.

This one took some more effort, this buck is camera shy, doesn't run but strolls away taking care only to show his rear towards the camera. Waling a big circle and doing a slow approach work

Elusive deer

All in all some nice work I think but still not the fighting bucks I'm hoping for.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

HDR Efex Pro, a very quick review.

Yes, it's out and you can grab a trial here. Review is perhaps a bit too strong, first impression would be better.

I downloaded the 27mb trial and first surprise, even though it is apparantly a 64 bits plugin it still works well with my 32 bits Photoshop. You can call it from bridge but all that does is open CS5 and start the plugin with the files you selected. I have not yet tried it from lightroom

On my humble dual core 2GB AMD phenom box it's somewhat sluggish, more sluggish than Photomatix although it does seem to take roughly the same amount of time.

What it does fairly well is aligning, Photomatix seems slightly better in aligning my handheld shots. It does beat photomatix in one critical aspect, usability.

Photomatix has an interface with a load of rather cryptic settings on the left. HDR efex has about 30 presets that are all quite different. Each can be finetuned. For each preset a preview is rendered which takes a bit of time. I tested it on three images and it ran out of memory and crashed once.

Perhaps it's my test shots but right now it doesn't blow me away in output just yet but, honestly, I did a rather quick and dirty processing job on just two sets. It does excel in usability, it makes you feel in control, makes you feel like getting a good looking HDR is relatively simple.

HDR efex:

Nik HDR efex test shot 1

Photomatix (slighty different shot)

hdr lens flare

And this was a weird idea that seemed

Nik HDR efex test shot 2

More to come soon, certainly before my trial period runs out.

fallow deer brotherly love 2
Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
There's a big chestnut tree that has been claimed by a very dominant male. Usually he's there alone bellowing to the other males in the area. On Monday morning he finally had company, quite a lot of company in fact. I counted at least 4 somewhat interested females and a score of young males that the big guy would sometimes chase away.

Also present, and that's something I don't see all that often, is these two very young males. Born this year and so young they don't even have antlers yet. Also so young that the big buck didn't feel threatened enough to chase them away.

All these are tricky shots. Half an hour after sunrise there's not that much light reaching trough that big chestnut tree. To get this relatively unobstructed view I had to move very slowly and ended up kneeling on a gravel path for almost 15 minutes before I caught these.

fallow deer brotherly love 2

Photography like this can be improved by throwing money at it. Any of the more expensive bodies with a clean iso 3200 or even 6400 would have been nice to have. A longer and especially faster lens would have helped. But, the D300 with a humble 70-300 does a decent job as well.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
Nik Software, makers of the controversial capture NX 2 suite and the pretty impressive dfine noise reduction plugin will release their latest software, a HDR tool this month.

I'm anxiously awaiting that, their other plugins are very good and photomatix, my main HDR tool, is driving me bonkers!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Run away!

Run away!
Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
Some fallow deer exhibit a typical gait, almost bouncing, just like Pepe le Pew in the old cartoons. The one on the right here is doing just that.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

fallow deer season

Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
It's the beginning of the fallow deer mating season. I'm spending as much time out in the woods as I can squeeze in. This year I've set myself the goal of getting a good action shot of two males battling.

Unfortunately I've had no luck just yet. I did get a male jumping a canal twice and I've managed some good shots of female deer.

This one violates a few rules. There's really too much foreground in focus and the background is not as quiet as I would have liked it. Despite that I like it, the contrast in colours between foreground, deer and background work for me.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

I didn't expect this

Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
Normally I get maybe one stream crossing per year. This is the second one in a week or so. This guy was drinking and suddenly he decided he wanted to be on the other side.