Monday, August 30, 2010

Dolphins in the air II
Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
If you can shoot a swallow feeding it's fledglings without landing then this should not pose much of a challenge. And it wasn't. Only real challenge was pointing my camera at the right spot of water, you never really know where they will jump.

Since this was some distance away I just went manual focus and set the lens to infinity.


Exposure 0.002 sec (1/640)
Aperture f/10.0
Focal Length 200 mm
ISO Speed 400

I just had to ignore some annoying people in front of me that couldn't appreciate a D300 going at a high speed burst.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

squinting sparrow
Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
Doesn't that sound like a ubuntu version?

I was in the Dolfinarium, our dutch version of seaworld but a lot smaller.

Anyway, places like that where food is sold and eaten you find house sparrows. Usually mangy little birds that clearly show they live on junkfood. Not this little lady, a healthy looking bird taking a few seconds to enjoy the sun while the whole clan is busy getting the seeds from these plants.

I really like this shot, it's extremely rare for me to find a small bird such as this relaxed enough to display this kind of behaviour.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back to shooting deer

Or, sometimes it comes together. After my earlier success I did something really well when I came back from vacation and did my first sanity walk.

First I met this big fallow, ehh, fellow:

fallow male

Exposure 0.005 sec (1/200)
Aperture f/5.6
Focal Length 300 mm
ISO Speed 1600

And a few minutes later this nice roe deer male came out of the undergrowth, stood there looking at me and continued it's way.

roe male

Exposure 0.013 sec (1/80)
Aperture f/5.6
Focal Length 300 mm
ISO Speed 400

It's these things that the 70-300 VR does very well on the D300. Not too small, not too far away. I am quite proud of these. The fallow deer stands out well from the background and the roe is so typical for the way you often see this species.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sandisk Sansa Clip+ review
A review of the Sandisk Sansa Clip+ 4gb mp3 player.

Over the last year or so my taste in music has changed dramatically. From a lot of pop, rock and country I've shifted to classical, opera and jazz. A taste in music that my old player, a Creative Zen V plus, could not cope with well. So it was time for a new device.
Last of a dying breed?
At least, so it sometimes seems to me. Look around in any shop and you will see multimedia devices in abundance, capable of playing videos, games and who knows what else? Devices dedicated to playing just music are becoming a rare breed.

Sandisk? Don't they make memory cards?
Yes they do, good and expensive cards. But they also make a series of fine mp3 players. I found this particular model trough a lot of searching and settled on it after reading this:

So, what do you get?
Well, for not quite 50 euros I got a player, a set of cheap earbuds and a standard look usb-mini usb cable. Oh, and a manual in just about every European language.

What does it look like?

Tiny. A very prominent screen, slot on the right for a micro sd card, the same card used in almost all mobile phones, headphone connector. Tiny powerswitch on top and that's it. Oh, and a clip of course, integrated in the player.

Using it
Well, that's what's important isn't it? If you bought it for the looks you should have bought an ipod.

At first power-on it asks you the language you want to use and the region of the world. If you select Europe then you will get a volume limiter to prevent hearing damage.
There's a few free tracks included which I wiped immediately.

Transfering data is a matter of hooking it up to your computer, waiting a few moments and that's it. After that you can either use mediaplayer or another specialized tool such as mediamonkey or you can simply copy/paste with a file manager like windows explorer.

I loaded the device with a mix of medium and high quality mp3 files and a few flac files, plugged in my trusty sennheiser pmx-60, fiddled briefly with the album selector and settled down for a good listen.

OK, wow! Or WOW! Now, this bit is hard to describe. Clarity, pureness, depth. Suddenly a 192kb mp3 file sounds a bit mediocre, higher bitrates sound a lot better but with FLAC it really shines. This unit can easily give the kenwood set in my living room a run for it's money.

I compared this with a current generation Ipod touch. It's very close, mainly a matter of taste. Personally I think the Clip+ sounds just a bit better, crispier.

Sound quality aside, there's more to like. The clip is designed very well, you will not loose this, even in the gym. The control buttons work, providing just enough feedback. The screen is readable enough in the sun. The player charges with every standard mini-USB charger. Unlike the creative players which force you to buy a special charger this works with everything.

Costing only 40% of an ipod touch the Sansa Clip+ brings impressive sound quality in a very manageable package. If you just want to listen to your music and you value sound quality more than buying the same mediaplayer everyone else has then this is highly recommended!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Swallows in flight

I've seen swallows in flight quite a few times. Up until recently they proved to be very elusive models since the average swallow has a very erratic and rather random flight path. Combine that with their small size and high speed (I am going to do my very best not to quote Monty Python in this post!)

So, what I ended up with was a lot of blurry pictures of landscape where a swallow had just passed.

Untill a few weeks ago during our holliday in Somerset. There on the roof of a pub I noticed three fledgling barn swallows making an incredible amount of noise. Then I saw one of the parents swoop down and very quickly stuff a morsel of food into the fledglings. Despite having consumed most of a pint of Cotleigh's "snowy" ale already on an empty stomach I managed to get my camera out of the car and shoot a few frames.

Now this was at 1730 on a very overcast afternoon. Not much light. I quickly found out that I needed 1/2000 to freeze the action which ment shooting at high iso and almost wide open. Even at 300mm I had to crop so I ended up running Dfine 2.0 to remove the worst of the noise.

(all pics clickable)






Despite the obvious shortcomings I think these are excellent examples of behavioural pictures, they show behaviour that you don't see all that often or easily.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

It's diffiicult to avoid

Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
A black and white conversion if you're dealing with steam engines. However in this case it wasn't because I wanted to emphasize the mood. No, I just had to deal with a high contrast and a blown sky. I n color I just didn't get the emphases on the three guys.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Intense pictures from the Vietnam war

Found this via nikonrumors which featured it because #19 is a photographer with a Nikon. All the rest is interesting as well.

And a free documentary on frontline photograhper Robert King:

Watch more free documentaries