Thursday, July 28, 2011


We traveled to Speculator NY last weekend to look for moose in the Adirondacks.  It has been years since we stayed in the Adirondacks and it was a pleasure to return.  We traveled many log roads and accessed some remote areas and saw lots of pretty scenery.  We saw a black bear, lots of black bear tracks, a few deer and lots of coyote tracks.  Mornings were calm and afternoons were extremely windy.  We experimented with HDR and panoramas.  The shot below is of Mason Lake just above Speculator New York and it is a HDR panorama.  It is made up of three shots are metered exposure, 3 at -1 stop and three at plus 1 stop.  The 9 shots were combined in photoshop to attempt to produce what we saw in person.
Cano 1D MK IV Canon 24-105 f4 @ 24mm f16 ISO200

Joan took the deer shot in the dark woods with her D3s set at 1600 ISO.  Notice the fine detail of the deer and no noticeable noise!!!

Nikon D3s; Nikon 80-400 @400mm f8 1/160 ISO 1600
The following is another HDR shot taken with the Canon 1D MK IV.  It is a set of three images so that the image actually shows what the human eye saw for light range.  I find that many folks push their HDR composites to unrealistic looks.  I prefer to use the technology to replicate what I actually observed. 

Joan loves clouds and silhouetted trees!  She captured the following first thing in the morning. 

There were Black eyed Susans decorating the roadsides, the medians and even in log truck landing areas in the forest.  The following shot was taken with a Canon 24-105 f4 lens with the Canon Macro filter screwed onto the lens to convert it into a macro lens.

Until next time

Jim Borden

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Herons, egrets and other Wildlife at Walkill NWR

Nikon D3s; 80-400 Nikon at 400mm f8 1/500 ISO250 (Joan Borden)

We traveled to Liberty Loop Trail at the North end of the Walkill NWR. The trail is part of the Appalachian Trail and a portion of the loop is in New York State and a portion is in New Jersey.  It is in the "Black Dirt" region of New York State.  We enjoy going there in the winter for Hawks and Bald Eagles and in the spring for the duck migration.  We decided to visit it during the summer to see what we could see.  We got there later than we wanted to and the lighting was very harsh for photography.  We saw about a dozen Great Blue Herons, two Great Egrets, 1 Green Heron, various warblers and various insects.  It was an enjoyable day.  The Green heron was very skittish and avoided being photographed three times.  Joan does not like the weight of big prime lenses and she has found the 80-400 Nikon lens is working well with the D3s body.  We spent time calibrating the focus system during the week and it paid off.

Great Blue Heron with Great Egret in background
 1D MK IV; Canon 600 f4 @f9 1/640 ISO 400 (Jim Borden)

We enjoyed watching the Blue Herons and Egrets argue over "turf". The blue herons would share spots and fish-but became agitated when one of the egrets would get near.  Lots of wing flapping and cackling would result until either the egret moved or the Great Blue Heron gave up the space.

Great Blue Heron Strutting
Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 600 f4 @f9 1/640 ISO 400 (Jim Borden)

The wet areas of the trail had lots of dragonfly and skimmer activity.  Another set of subjects to photograph and then research to learn about them.  That is one thing we are immensely enjoying about the immersion into photography is that it is a way to stop and "smell the roses".

Nikon D3s; 80-400 Nikon at 400mm f8 1/125 ISO320 (Joan Borden)

Common Whitetail
Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 600 f4 @f9 1/640 ISO 400 (Jim Borden)

Until Next Time

Jim and Joan Borden

Friday, July 15, 2011

Nicholson Bridge

Mid-day July 3, 2011, Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 24-105 f4 @24mm f16, 1/100 ISO 200

The Nicholson Bridge (aka Tunkhannock viaduct) is a concrete railroad bridge that crosses Tunkhannock Creek in the little village of Nicholson Pa.  When it was finished in November of 1915, it was the largest concrete bridge in the world. It retained that distinction for 50 years. The bridge is 2375 feet long and 240 feet tall.  It is a grand thing to see. I have tried to photograph it in early morning light with mist rising around it as well as mid day with puffy clouds in the background.  I am anxiously waiting to be able to catch it with clouds and a pink/red sunset on it.

Sunrise September 6, 2010; Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 24-105 f4 @24mm f14, 1/160 ISO 200 EC-1

Hopefully next week, I will return to a posting about Wildlife!

Jim Borden

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Digital Noise

Nikon D3s; Nikon 18-200 DX Lens at 95mm; f5.6 1/80 ISO 6400 (handheld)

I have been very pleased with my Canon 1D MKIV for getting photographs in low light.  It has far less digital noise that what I had experienced up to when I got that camera body.  My switch from Nikon to Canon took some getting used to though as the digital noise is different in Canon versus Nikon.  The color noise is more readily seen and one has to be real careful about exposure to keep it at a minimum.  Joan got her Nikon D3s last week and I am absolutely amazed at the low noise in that camera.  The above photograph taken at ISO 6400 has very little noticeable digital noise.  The Canon 1D MKIV shows more noise than this at 1250 ISO.  This feature makes this camera body one that is great for wildlife photography as we are constantly "fighting" available light as fellow photographers Willard Hill and Paul Staniszewski discussed in one of Willard's excellent posts at Pa Wildlife Photographer.  The ability to handle high ISO with low noise when couples with a fast lens makes for ability to get early morning and late evening animal activity.

Many folks are all excited about high megapixel cameras.  My experience is that megapixel counts are not the important thing.  How those megapixels are used to get an image is far more important.  The D3s has 12.1 megapixels, the Canon 1D MK IV has 16.2 megapixels-yet the lower megapixel camera body far outperforms the higher megapixel body in color rendition, apparent clarity and noise.  

The following pictures are only about 6 megapixel pictures as they were taken on full frame body with a DX lens. Consider the richness of color and amount of detail in them!

Here are some more images from the D3s:
Nikon D3s18-200 @200MM f16, 1/4 ISO200

Nikon D3s; 18-200 @200MM f16 1/10 ISO200

Nikon D3s, 18-200 @200MM F16 1/10 ISO200

Nikon D3s, 18-200 @20MM F16 1/40 ISO200

The last image sure could have used a little help from a circular polarizer.  

This weekend we will be looking for some SandHill Cranes that are local and we are hoping to get some good shots of them.

Until next time

Jim and Joan Borden