Monday, October 29, 2007

Triple shot from Sunday:

Ceres looks so peacefully lazy up there.

gibbon ridge
There was a keeper coming to give the two white cheeked gibbons their medicine... the female started making subdued cooing noises at the poor guy once she realized what was up.

red tailed hawk
Not a part of the collection, but I had been standing about 15 feet away from this hawk before it decided it needed to go soar instead. Hiding behind a lightpost made it really easy to stalk him (guessing on the gender, it was really small for a redtail though, but otherwise an adult). None of the closer pictures worked well because of the wind and the fact that the camera was being stupid and autofocusing on the branch immediately behind the bird due to the wind blowing everything around.

Sorry for the four shots at once - I didn't get a chance to upload Saturday night because I had to start getting set up for yesterday - I did work at Boo at the Zoo, came home, passed out, and woke up with an allergy thing... very no bueno. Anyway, the remainder of my week is Tuesday and Wednesday at work, Thursday at work then a SMH staff meeting, then Friday at work, then a Saturday shift at the zoo again.

If I didn't post now, you weren't going to get anything this week.

From Saturday:

wt sparrow

Here's a white throated sparrow's butt from Saturday. There's a pair (male/female) that's hanging out outside my aunt and uncle's window. I hope they stay, they're funny little birds.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Why, hello there!


There's not supposed to be five inch mantids cruising around on October 23, right?

Fall follow up

Maine's trees

battlefield's soldier

cfalls state park trees


There you are, then. A lot of this is more interaction of light with color than the colors themselves, but whatever, it was fun and the camera tried to behave itself. Sort of.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What's molting on our porch?



Updated: These are ladybird beetle larvae. I've found seven now.

This is five more pictures of them at 1:1 magnification - each frame is 15.7mm tall and 23.5mm wide. The one that actually looks like a ladybug is the same one that, above, looks rather like an eyeless cabbage patch kid. How quickly they change over a single day's time.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Photo workshop results




kestrel keeper

group at large

Remainder. I did commentary again this time. Also, I really need to re-convert; the conversions from UFRaw + Gimp are detailed enough, but there is no noise reduction. The indoor shots are... point and shoot. Yeah... I didn't even know a 6 megapixel APS-C could be that noisy. ACR should do a lot better.

I spent a lot of time playing with exposure curves; also, I took the white balance a bit warmer in several places to give a more "inviting" feel to the pictures. I didn't manipulate very many by very much, though, beyond bumping around exposure and contrast some. UFRaw does give me a better feel for what the curves adjustments do. I don't think yesterday has changed my mind about shooting JPEG. If I had unlimited space and a faster computer, it'd be easier, but for long outings like yesterday, it's no doubt better to do a better exposure in the field.

That's pretty much what I liked doing, anyway.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

i see wat u did there


Brown phase Eastern Screech Owl.

I tried to use Pentax software as a workflow-type solution, but it's impossible - any change you make to one image's settings is duplicated on all additional open images.

I'm not sure when I'll have time to fix this. My car isn't so good at starting right now; it has a tendency to not do so immediately after it's been running. I haven't yet figured out the problem; I know it's not a voltage issue, as the car isn't even trying. I can hear relays click, but there's no drop in voltage in the system - none of the indicator lights dim. It seems to only happen when the car is not cold. I have a bad feeling the wiring for the starting system is failing, which sounds like one of those things that is "it's the labor, not the parts."

Incidentally, I read about what's going on with my temperature gauge - it's been pegged off-scale high while the key is on since quite some time ago; apparently, it draws its information from a second sensor, and that sensor can fail.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I win

One big moth.

Incidentally, I attended the night portion of the Tamron outdoor photography workshop today. Interesting experience... the photographer for the Beltsville event is Don Gale. He takes a really hands-off approach to image touchup/manipulation, so I think I'm going to do everything in my power to pay attention to what he has to say about exposure and white balance.

Note of interest - I was the youngest person there, if not by 15 years, then by 10 years.

For the next 18 hours or so, I've got a Tamron SP 90mm f2.8 macro to play with. Should be fun tomorrow at Patuxent wildlife refuge.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

What's in a standard?

I just engaged in something of a back and forth about the Design rule for Camera File system specification sheet.

The whole issue was that someone thinks the most important thing that needs to be added to the K10D firmware is the capacity to write five digit file numbers into the filename.

I assumed this meant IGP_12345.JPG for a filename, which exceeds the 8 character limit.

Being the helpful internet jerk I am, I said they needed to tell the JEITA instead of Pentax, then, in a change of heart, edited my message to apologize, then say that they needed to tell the JEITA instead of the dprevew forums.

Naturally, someone took issue with that, asking "who cares?" I had to go on a mini-standards-compliance rant, proclaiming that it's stupid to allow camera manufacturers to do whatever they want and still label the cameras as being DCF/EXIF compliant, and that it's stupid to allow the camera manufacturers to do whatever they want because it makes (literally) everyone else's lives miserable.

OGM, the wikipedia article is wrong - it's really alphanumeric characters, not just letters! Well, that's fine, but my initial assumption was that the person wanted a digit added, not a free character converted to a number.

I did some research, specifically, looking at the examples in the DCF specification (hosted here for free if you'd like). Apparently, DCF allows different sets of free characters in the same numbered folder within the DCIM structure.

This is phenomenally stupid in my mind, because any given write device should have a consistent set of free characters. By allowing them to change from file to file, you're opening the door to both users and reader-class devices having a hard time identifying what device produced what file if it ever becomes necessary down the road. I could see it being an issue for me, as well - if my *ist DL wrote an IMGP4032.JPG and I purchased a second *ist DL, I would at least have the expectation that I could come up with a duplicate IMGP4032.JPG. If I bought a K10D now and started shooting, I'd eventually get to IGP_4032.JPG, and I would be able to tell at a glance which came from which camera. Sure, there are EXIF tags and theoretically larger file sizes, and the actual pixel dimensions would be different if I had to open them, but they'd both be different at the name level. If I bought a K10D and it had a five digit code, and then I bought a followup camera, and let's say both used IGP to identify the files as having been 1)image files 2)written by a Pentax camera 3)in three alphanumeric characters, I could shoot to IGP04032.JPG on both and not have any idea which came from which without parsing EXIF, especially if they were similarly spec'ed as far as the sensor and compression are concerned.

That seems, to me, counter to the notion of even having a specification in the first place.

Furthermore, the DCF specifies the first four characters as free and the last four characters as file number. In my mind, no part of the free characters should therefore be used as an extension of the file number.

What would I suggest people do instead? Well, my filesystem right now is set up in a way that would make it fundamentally impossible for me to create duplicates. Each day I upload, I create a new folder encoded like this:

07, the year digits (let's face it, I won't be shooting until 2107, but even if I do, I can batch rename)
10, the month digits
04, the day digits.

Unless I take over ten thousand images in a single shoot without uploading, I'll never run into a duplication situation with one camera. With two, I can't conceivably see the file numbers coinciding unless one of the bodies were to fall into serious disuse, but still saw some action every now and then. My better plan would be to have one DCF body at a time, or to rename my "Camera JPEG" folder to "istDL JPEG" and create a new directory for the new camera.

There are simple workarounds, most of which amount to "don't keep ten thousand images in a single folder." I'm wondering why I'm the only person that doesn't seem to have a problem with all of this, but I'm glad JEITA seems to think the same way - in camera, it's specified that a new folder (101PENTX instead of 100PENTX) should be created.

I still think it's stupid that they allow different free characters, but whatever - as long as the standard does its job, I'm happy.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

For love of color


I don't know why this ended up so soft, but look at the lighting in contrast with the clarity of the color of the sky...


golden orb weaver

Probably three inches tip to tip... this spider is just hanging out by the basement side door for KEY right now. Pointy.