Category Archives: Photography

The post features topics or images related to my photography hobby

Cardinal

Backyard Birds from February Snow Days 500mm f/4 lens

CardinalIt’s fun to put out bird food during a snow storm.  The backyard birds come out and make for some very nice photos.

There were two big snows in February.  It was very common to see Backyard Birds like Cardinals, Nuthatches, Black-capped Chickadees, Starlings, and Goldfinches.  And of course whenever you put out bird food, it’s only a matter of time before the neighborhood squirrel comes over and wolfs down the bird food.

SquirrelThe images in this posting are all taken with my 500mm f/4 lens.  The birdfeeder is on our patio and I setup a tripod in the kitchen.  The photos are taken through our new bay window.

Cardinal and GoldfinchI did have a few challenges.  It was windy outside, so the branches were wiggling back and forth.  The birds were not sitting still.  And, the sky was over cast so it was a challenge get the right mix of shutter speed and aperature. Most of my images had some blur.

Motorola-DROID-RAZR-MAXX-HD

Geotag images from Droid Razr Maxx camera. Exiftool fixes DateTimeoriginal timestamp

I was visiting South America, and I took pictures with my new Droid Razr Maxx.  To help me geotag the images, I also took along my GPS device; I know the camera has a GPS, but when you are traveling, Android data plans are too much, so I shut off the data service and only use voice+text.

My usual photo work flow is to take the track file from my GPS device and  apply geotags to the jpg’s from my camera.  I have done this with my old phones, point and shoot, and fancy DSLR camera.  I love geotagging photos. Geotags remind me where the picture taken so that I can do a better job of putting captions on photos.

There are several opensource or commercial programs that can do the tagging function.  My favorite is the tool is Geosetter.  You load a track file (*.gpx) into Geosetter, you point the program at a directory of photos, and it matches the photo’s time stamp to the closest timestamp in the track file — that’s where it finds the lat/long coordinates.  Those are then inserted into the EXIF text of the image.

Just one problem:

the Droid Razr’s jpg files don’t have the DateTimeoriginal timestamp field populated.  Geosetter depends on that timestamp to be there.  “All” other camera use this timestamp to record the time the picture was taken (vs record that time the file was created).    Geosetter won’t work with these jpgs.

But, I found a geotag fix!!

You need to run a magic tool called exiftool.  The tool runs from a command prompt.  I know it is kinda of a hassle to run, but it will save you a bunch of hassle.  You need to change to the folder that is holding the jpgs that need to be fixed and you need to run the following command:

exiftool "-DateTimeoriginal<ModifyDate" *.jpg

After the tool is run, and you refresh the Geosetter (F5), then you see the Date Taken column filled-in.  (and the tool is now happy).

When this column is filled in, then you can run the “Sync with GPS” command and get the geotag information written into the jpg files.

It seems like a picky thing, but when you take 30 or more pictures on a trip, it is much easier to run a Geosetter tool than setting the geotags manually.

Just so you know, the installation of the exiftool is tricky.  Since I run Geosetter, exiftool is already installed, but hidden in the Geosetter Profile FIles directory.  To make exiftool work, you need to find the path it sitting in and update the system path environment varilable.  Kinda of a hassle.  Also, you will notice that before I ran exiftool, I created a backup directory and copied all the original jpgs, there, just in case exiftool hoses things up.

#IVotedToday About 20 minutes at 5th Ave Station in #Naperville. #Election2012 #Vote

#IVotedToday About 20 minutes at 5th Ave Station in #Naperville. #Election2012 #Vote, a photo by jkozik on Flickr.

#Naperville #Election2012

 Naperville Election 2012.

Here’s the sticker I got after I voted today. The polling place, 5th Ave Station in Naperville Election 2012 , was crowded, but not too bad. About a 20 minute wait.. Even though it’s a train station, there was a big block of parking spots.

The ballots was a large legal sized page of paper.  I was given a black felt tip marker.  When done, a slid the ballot into a xerox machine sized vote reader.  I was delighted to get the “I voted today” sticker.

Nikkor 500mm f4

Sanibel-Captiva and my new Nikon 500mm f4 Lens

The trigger for me buying the Nikon 500mm f4 Lens started when I tried to take pictures of the beautiful birds in Florida.  With my more normal 18-200mm f3.5-5.8 lens, the picture of the birds were ok, but I wanted better.  For this posting, I wanted to share some of the photos from my new telephoto lens from our recent vacation in Captiva Island, Florida.

Birds from Redfish Pass with my Nikon 500mm f4 Lens

OspreyPelican

Here’s two favorite examples with the depth of field set to f/6.3  On the left, the focus is on the Osprey and the foreground palm tree is blurred out.  The focus on the right is sharply on the Pelican, with the background mangrove trees nicely blured out.  You should see the full resolution pictures!

Snowy EgretPelicans

Above are a few more birds in flight photos.  Using the 500mm f4 lens, these pictures were both shot at f/6.3 1/1250 with nice sharp focus with slightly blurred backgrounds.  Very nice.

Osprey over Redfish PassPelican over Redfish Pass

The two pictures above were both taken at f/4 1/2000.  The Osprey were frequently seen flying overhead carrying a fish.  Much more frequently, we saw Pelicans diving into the water to grab a mountfull of fish.  Both soared beautifully overhead, nicely flying with the morning sunlight showing a very flattering, sharp view.

These pictures were all taken from the balcony of our condo over looking Redfish Pass.  This small gap between the North most point of Captiva Island and North Captiva connects the Gulf of Mexico with the shallow Pine Island Sound.  This stretch of water has lots of fish, and thus lots of big beautiful birds.  Of course it helped alot that I took the pictures right after sunrise, with near perfect lighting!

Nikon 500mm f4 Lens used for Pictures from Ding Darling

A favorite activity for all visitors to Sanibel-Captiva is to visit the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. It’s a home for a wide range of Florida wildlife.  A visitor drives slowly along Wildlife Drive and stops to look at the wide variety of birds.  For this trip we saw: Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Iris, Black Crowned Night Heron, Roseate Spoonbills, Hawks, Osprey, etc.

Roseate SpoonbillsRoseate Spoonbills

The above pictures have Roseate Spoonbills.  From my many years visiting Sanibel-Captiva, these birds are most commonly found here.  Its always a thrill to see them. I have plenty of pictures of these guys, but they are much larger and clearer thanks to my new lens.  Since our view of the marsh area is from an access road, I rarely get a closeup view.
Black Crown Night HeronCormorant
And finally, here a nice picture of a Black Crowned Night Heron and Cormorants.