False Creek Fog - 2013-02-03 : BC Place

Vancouver False Creek Fog

It was a foggy afternoon and I decided to venture down to Granville Island to see if I could get any interesting shots.  I couldn't get inspired, so I just watched a few street performers to pass the time.  I thought the evening light would make a difference but again, things just didn't come together as expected.  I took a few shots but didn't get anything great.  After sunset, I walked around the seawall to Science World and took a few shots in the area.  It was one of those nights where I went out to get a specific shot and just couldn't get it.  Some people things you can just go out and get a good shot, but in reality I may have to visit the same site 10 times before I get a shot that I'm happy with.  Here are a few shots from that night.


Nikon D800 Macro - Frosty Morning - Focus Stack Buds

A Frosty Morning - Nikon D800 Macro with Focus Stack

I was waiting for a frosty morning to get some macro shots. Today, I got a few in my back yard. I also attempted some focus stacking with Zerene, though results are mixed. Shots are all taken with a Nikon D800 and Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro lens.


Lynn Valley Hike : Suspension Bridge and Twin Falls 2012-12-29 : Twin falls long exposure

Lynn Valley Hike - North Vancouver

I took a very short walk in Lynn Valley just after Christmas, it was a break from shopping hell.  I went to the suspension bridge, then down to twin falls. I also wanted to try out the 10-stop ND filter.  Results are promising, looking forward to trying a bit more of this.


Jammie Christmas 2012 - Dogs dressed up for the holidays

Merry Christmas

No holiday season would be complete without dressing up the dogs. Jammie is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and despite the look on her face is happy to be Santa's Little Helper.  Cedric is a mix and is grumpy about the whole situation.  He complies as he knows there are cookies involved for being a good dog.

Jammie Christmas 2012 - Dogs dressed up for the holidays

Jammie Christmas 2012 - Dogs dressed up for the holidays

Cedric Christmas 2012 - Dogs dressed up for the holidays

Cedric Christmas 2012 - Dogs dressed up for the holidays

Shot in fairly low light with a Nikon D800, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G lens at f/2.8, ISO3200, 1/100s.  Processed in Lightroom and Photoshop.


Most popular posts of 2012

Best of 2012

I took a look at my Google Analytics and thought I would show what my three most popular posts of 2012 have been.   Not surprising that they are all photo gear related.

  1. Nikon D7000 vs D600 vs D800 : A Quick Comparison - Three cameras that photo enthusiasts are buying.  Different price ranges, and performance but all fantastic cameras.
  2. Nikon D600 Vs Canon 6D - Entry Level Full Frame Scrap - Nikon and Canon both released entry level full frame cameras.  Both will sell well, and nice to see that full frame is now becoming more affordable.
  3. Nikon D800 Contrast and Phase Detect Autofocus Testing - My early release D800 had the left side autofocus problems.  I posted my test methodology and results, sent my camera to Nikon, but the saga is not yet over.

My most popular photo related post was Hiking the Binkert Trail To The Lions which covers a popular hike in Vancouver, BC.   Thanks to everyone for visiting, and happy holidays.

 

Some of my favorite photos of 2012

Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Big Beach Sunset 2

Sunset in Belize, Coco Plum Island Resort

Alberta Visit Aug 2012 : Old Farmhouse Sunset HDR 2

Stawamus Chief - 2012-09-13 - Chipmunk

CFL Football : BC Lions vs Montreal Alouettes : Sept 8 2012 : BC Place Stadium Panorama

Wordpress Jetpack Carousel Test: Shelter Dogs 2012

Lions Binkert Trail Hike Vancouver - 2012-08-18 : tiny people on west lion 2

Wordpress Jetpack Carousel Test: Shelter Dogs 2012

Wordpress Jetpack Carousel Test: Shelter Dogs 2012

Siwash Rock At Sunset : 2012-07-06

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Jack Russel Terrier 4

Dragon Boat Festival: 2012-06-17 : Group : 300 Style

2012-12-05 : Belize Vacation : Scuba Diving : Pterois Lionfish

Vancouver : Portside / Crab Park : Vancouver skyline reflection 2 : 2012-11-21

Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Gray Whale Tail Fluke

Stawamus Chief Panorama : Sept 13, 2012 : 5000 pixels

Jammie mouth

Garden Bee: 2012-06-20 : Focus Stack with Zerene Stacker (105mm f/2.8 VR Micro)

 

 

MKH3754_5_6-Edit

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Pomeranian

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

 

Light painting attempt back hoe 2

 

George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary: Mallard in flight

Amsterdam Dec 2011 long exposure train

20120317-Shelter Dogs March 17 2012-7018-MKH_mini

 

 


Vancouver Animal Control : Shelter Dogs : Dec 14 2012 (Puppies!)

Shelter Dogs Dec 14 2012

When needed, I try to help out at the local animal shelter (Vancouver Animal Control) by taking photos of their dogs available for adoption.  I believe the quality of the photos makes a difference in the dogs adoption so I’m happy to help out when I can.  It helps me and helps the dogs.  You can see the animals they have available at PetFinder.com (not just dogs but rabbits, lizards, and at times even more strange things).  You can also see previous shelter dogs I photographed here.

Yesterday, I went to the shelter to photograph a litter of puppies.  They look like little polar bears, so damn cute.


Belize 2012-12-02 : Coco Plum Island Resort : Dock at Night

Belize Vacation

On November 30th, my wife and I left rainy Vancouver to visit Belize for the first time.  Belize is a tiny country in Central America with a population of about 320,000.   It is 290km long and 110km wide, you can literally drive around the whole country in one day if you wanted to.  English is the official language which makes getting around very easy.

Due to our last minute booking we had to take four flights (Vancouver -> San Francisco -> Houston -> Belize City -> Dangriga) and a boat ride to reach our final destination, Coco Plum Island Resort.  The last flight is on a small plane which lands on a tiny runway in Dangriga, just part of the adventure I suppose.

2012-11-30 : Belize Vacation : Belize City to Dangriga Hopper Flight

2012-11-30 : Belize Vacation : Dangriga Airport Approach

Coco Plum is on a small 16 acre private island about 15 minutes by boat from Dangriga.  There are only 10 or so cabanas on the island, so it is very quiet and far removed from large resorts elsewhere in Belize.  As soon as you arrive on the island, the staff make sure you are well taken care of.  Bags are taken to your room, and the bartender makes you a tropical welcome drink.  In our case, mosquito bites :)

2012-11-30 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Welcome Drinks - Mosquito Bite

The bar is a central hub of activity for staff and guests.  Special thanks to Leo for being such a nice guy and a great bartender.  Erwin, Bella, Sam, Crispin, and Byron also deserve special mention for making our stay fantastic.  The roof of the bar is covered in t-shirts from former guests, each with its own message.

2012-12-01 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Shirts At The Bar

After check-in, we went to our cabana and were surprised how big they were.  More than enough space for two people.  Everything is very clean, well maintained and comfortable.

2012-11-30 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Cabana Interior

2012-111-30 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Cabana Interior

2012-11-30 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Cabana Interior

The ocean literally steps from the door.

2012-12-01 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Cabana View

 

2012-12-01 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Mangrove Trees

The resort is beautiful, tranquil, and a great place to relax.  Here are some shots from around the resort.  The island in the photo below is another resort, Thatch Caye.

2012-12-01 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : View To Paradise

2012-12-01 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Conch Shell

2012-12-02 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Sunset

The long dock is one of the great features.  During the day a place to relax.  At night the lights attract rays, sharks (small ones, don't worry), and squid.  It's also a good place to snorkel, we saw a lot of interesting creatures and I even found a huge live conch.

2012-12-03 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Live Conch

A large hermit crab.

2012-11-30 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Hermit Crab

Another type of crab which seemed to be unhappy about my presence.

2012-12-01 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Crab Under Dock

Even an urchin which did a good job of hanging onto my hand.

2012-12-05 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Sea Urchin

The water is typical Caribbean: blue green, warm, and clear. Katie and I spent a lot of time snorkeling around the area.  We also ventured out on most of the snorkel trips from the island to the local barrier reef.  Belize has some of the best snorkeling I have encountered anywhere in the world and I have been to a lot of great locations.  The reefs are still in great shape and there is a huge variety of coral, fish, and invertebrates.  Spotted Eagle Rays are common.

2012-12-01 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Spotted Eagle Ray Over The Coral Reef

2012-12-04 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Sting Ray

Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Coral Reef

2012-12-02 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Snail on Coral

A lobster trying to hide in the coral.  The lobster here don't have big claws.

2012-12-03 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Lobster on the Reef

This puffer fish was also trying to keep a low profile, but I spotted him.

2012-12-02 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Hiding Puffer Fish

There are also a lot of birds in the area, including pelicans.

2012-12-02 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Pelican Unhappy With Us

We had a few nice sunsets while we were there, though not quite as good as we had in Thailand and Hawaii.

2012-12-01 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Sunset At The Bar

2012-12-02 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Sunset in Belize

2012-12-05 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Sunset In Paradise

2012-12-05 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : The Dock At Sunset (Final)

On some days, there are several inland tours you can participate in.  We chose to visit the Belize Zoo, which is small but well laid out and quite natural.  Animals have large pens with plenty of room for cover.  Considering that this is a third world country, the animals were well kept.  Unfortunately, when we were there it was raining and a lot of the animals were not visible.  We didn't get to see a jaguar, which is one of the big draws.  It also made getting good photos harder, but here are a few from our visit.

2012-12-04 : Belize Vacation : Inland Tour : Monkey at Belize Zoo

2012-12-04 : Belize Vacation : Belize Zoo : Monkey at Belize Zoo

2012-12-04 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Tapir

2012-12-04 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Deer and Food Thief

2012-12-04 : Belize Vacation : Inland Tour : Puma at Belize Zoo

2012-12-04 : Belize Vacation : Inland Tour : Peccary at Belize Zoo

2012-12-05 : Belize Vacation : Jaribou Stork at Belize Zoo

On the say to the zoo, we also stopped at a gift shop that had captive Coatimundi.  Similar to a racoon, they are very cute and curious animals.  Unfortunately, they have to live in this small cage.

2012-12-04 : Belize Vacation : Inland Tour : Coatimundi

 

Being far removed from a large city there isn't much light pollution and on a clear night there are a lot of stars visible.  Though I have almost no experience with star photography I decided to give it a shot.  Here you can see the mangroves lit up from a small amount of light on the island.

2012-12-02 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Mangroves at Night

I also tried to 'light paint' some of the mangroves with a flashlight in a few of the shots.

2012-12-02 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Mangrove at Night with Light Painting

 

One of the cabana at night.

2012-12-02 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Cabana at Night with Light Painting

While the snorkeling was great, I also enjoy scuba diving and went out with divemaster Steve for two dives (thanks to Byron for setting it up!).  As expected, it was amazing.  The reefs are teeming with life.

2012-12-05 : Belize Vacation : Scuba Diving : Spotted Eagle Ray

Here Steve swims with a green sea turtle.  This guy didn't seem spooked and just swam around with us for a while before moving on.

2012-12-05 : Belize Vacation : Scuba Diving : Steve With Green Sea Turtle

Pterois Lionfish are not native to the Caribbean, and are quite damaging to local species.  They don't have the same predators here that they do in their native waters, and their numbers are rising.  They are strikingly beautiful fish (though poisonous so don't get too close), but they should be removed from these waters when possible.

2012-12-05 : Belize Vacation : Scuba Diving : Pterois Lionfish

2012-12-03 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Pterois Lionfish

The variety of coral is just fantastic.

2012-12-02 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Fan Coral

2012-12-02 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Coral Formation

Some great camouflage.

2012-12-05 : Belize Vacation : Scuba Diving : Fish Camouflage
Finally, a few parting shots.  The bar at night.

2012-12-02 : Belize Vacation : Coco Plum Island Resort : Bar at Night

Mangrove trees at sunrise.  Shot straight into the sun, then converted to a sepia tone.  I just liked the composition.

Belize 2012-12-02 : Coco Plum Island Resort : Mangrove at Sunrise (Sepia)

The dock at twilight, a few stars visible in the sky.  In the evenings, the hut is converted to romantic dinner spot for two.  I like the contrast of the warm red light in the hut with the cool blue and green tones of the surroundings.

Belize 2012-12-02 : Coco Plum Island Resort : Dock at Night

We left a lot unseen in Belize, it will warrant a return trip some day.

A couple of people have asked what type of camera I used.  I have a bit of info about some of my gear here, but specifically for these images I used:

  • Nikon D800 DSLR camera
  • Nikkor 14-24 f/2.8 lens (the wide angle zoom)
  • Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 lens (the normal zoom)
  • Really Right Stuff TVC-33 tripod and BH-55 ball head

For the underwater photos, I use:

  • Canon PowerShot SD870 IS Digital ELPH
  • Canon WP-DC17 Underwater housing

The Canon camera and housing is a relatively inexpensive way to get decent underwater photos.  The housing is good to 40m of depth and suitable for recreational diving.  The major drawback is that I can't shoot in raw and adjust white balance in post processing.  White balance adjustments are needed much more for underwater shots then for photos on the surface.  Unfortunately, I can only do so much with a jpg file.

 


Nikon D800 Macro - Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro - 2012-11-27 : Jammie eye closeup

Nikon D800 Macro with Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

Today I got my Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR lens back from a friend who borrowed it.   Since I haven't used it for a while I decided to bring it with me on my beach walk at Acadia Beach in Vancouver.  It was a cold morning and I was hoping to get some interesting macro shots of frost but I didn't find any.  I did take a few photos but I'll have to try another day to get some frost.

All shots hand-held, ISO800, processed in Lightroom.


Vancouver : Portside / Crab Park : Vancouver skyline reflection 2 : 2012-11-21

Vancouver's CRAB Park at Portside

We had a small break in the rain tonight so I decided to head out to catch the last bit of daylight. I visited CRAB Park at Portside (Create A Real Available Beach), which is close to Canada Place and the Vanterm TSI Container Terminal.  I didn't have much time but did get a few shots before heading home. It is certainly a place I will visit again soon.

 

One of my first shots when I arrived. Unfortunately in my haste I didn't check my settings and shot this image at ISO 3200. I had to apply a lot of noise reduction so it's softer than I would want. Still, the sky was very dramatic and I'm happy I got the shot.
Vancouver : Portside / Crab Park : Vancouver skyline at sunset : 2012-11-21

 

The Vanterm TSI Container Terminal. An active port in Vancouver's Burrard Inlet with the North Shore mountains in the background.
Vancouver : Portside / Crab Park : Vanterm TSI Terminal : 2012-11-21

 

Tug boats at the port.
Vancouver : Portside / Crab Park : Vanterm TSI Terminal black & white : 2012-11-21

 

I found a small pond which created some great reflections.
Vancouver : Portside / Crab Park : Vancouver skyline reflection : 2012-11-21

 

Vancouver : Portside / Crab Park : Vancouver skyline reflection 2 : 2012-11-21

 

And finally a long exposure on my way out. Needs a return visit to try and get something better.
Vancouver : Portside / Crab Park : Vancouver skyline long exposure : 2012-11-21


Vancouver Animal Control : Shelter Dogs For Adoption : 2012-11-09

Shelter Dogs Nov 10 2012

When needed, I try to help out at the local animal shelter (Vancouver Animal Control) by taking photos of their dogs available for adoption.  I believe the quality of the photos makes a difference in the dogs adoption so I’m happy to help out when I can.  It helps me and helps the dogs.  You can see the animals they have available at PetFinder.com (not just dogs but rabbits, lizards, and at times even more strange things).  You can also see previous shelter dogs I photographed here.


Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Sunrise Lighthouse (Tofino MCTS Centre)

Ucluelet Vacation

In early October my wife and I decided to visit Ucluelet, BC. It had been too many years since I made a visit to the 'real' west coast of BC. I forgot how beautiful and how close it is. From Vancouver it is only 200Km plus a 1.5 hour ferry ride. The weather was truly amazing, it was unseasonably warm for October and we made the most of it. At night it got quite cold but during the day it was in the mid 20's and sunny. I wore shorts, t shirt, and sandals, we couldn't ask for better weather.

On the way to Ucluelet, we stopped at a river to let the dogs have a break and enjoy some time out of the truck. Cedric immediately ran into the water and started to pull out sticks.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Cedric having fun

 

Jammie almost took our her eye by running through the forest.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Jammie almost missing an eye

 

Then she did her best impression of a wolverine.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Jammie's wolverine impression

 

We also stopped along one of my favorite spots along the drive. Here the river (I can't remember the name, if anyone can help please post in the comments) cuts into the bedrock leaving deep green pools and amazing formations. It is a busy spot in the summer, but now there was almost no one there.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : River and bedrock

 

Once we arrived in Ucluelet, we went to our condo which was fantastic. Located right on Big Beach and near the Black Rock Ucluelet Resort facing west for a fantastic sunset view.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Condo main level

 

Upstairs, Katie immediately took advantage of the chaise to relax.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Condo upstairs

 
I also managed to lure a resident blue jay in for a photo with some crackers.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Blue Jay

 

Our condo from the front.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Condo

 

The first night we were there, we were treated to a beautiful sunset. I find that sunsets over the open ocean are often amazing and I have seen them from several spots in the world. With no obstructions and a completely flat horizon you have the most vibrant colors.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Sunset Day 1

 

A few minutes later. The contrast between blue and orange is great.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Sunset Day One 2

 

Katie and I spent a lot of time at Florencia Bay, it was a 20 minute walk to get there but we usually had the beach to ourselves. It is a nice walk through the forest and we saw a ton of different types of mushrooms so we dubbed Ucluelet the 'mushroom capital of BC'. Here are a few of them.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Mushrooms 9

 

Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Mushrooms 7

 

Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Mushrooms 6

 

These are some of the best mushrooms to eat, I grew up collecting these with my family. Common name is the Saffron milk cap (genus: Lactarius).
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Mushrooms 5

 

Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Mushrooms 4

 

No idea what this is, but looks like fungus so I'm throwing it in. If anyone can help identify it please post in the comments.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Mushrooms 8

 

Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Mushrooms 3

 

Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Mushrooms 2

 

Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Mushrooms 1

There were more, but I would just fill up this post mushroom photos. At the trail head to Florencia Bay, there was a funny sign. I guess you if you are going to deface a sign you have to do it right and in both languages.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Funny Sign

 

Once on the beach, the dogs could run around and we could walk for ages and not see anyone else. There was bull kelp all over the place and the dogs loved to play with it.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Bull Kelp Black and White

 

I also found that it was hard to take a good photo of the waves.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Waves

 

The second night, I decided to venture out on the rocks at Big Beach for some sunset photos.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Sunset Rocks

 

Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Sunset Rocks 2

 

Also took a long exposure shot using a neutral density filter. I definitely need more practice with this, but it does give the water an interesting texture.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Long exposure rocks

 

On my way back to the condo, I saw a couple of black tailed deer in the parking lot of the condo complex. They didn't seem to be too scared so I watched them for a few minutes.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Deer

 

One morning, I decided to try and photograph a sunrise instead of a sunset. I went to the lighthouse at the south end of the peninsula, it's near the Tofino MCTS Centre but it's actually in Ucluelet (go figure). This was taken just before the sun came up over the horizon. I was the only one there, very peaceful and quiet.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Sunrise Lighthouse (Tofino MCTS Centre)

 

Shortly after the sun came up over the horizon.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Sunrise Lighthouse (Tofino MCTS Centre) 2

 

Soon after the sun came up, another photographer joined me and said he could see a whale off shore. After a few minutes of looking, I did see a humpback whale breaching in the distance. I tried to get some photos, but it was just too far away to get a decent shot. Not long after this sighting, a gray whale came cruising by much closer to shore. Having seen two whales that day, I decided to check into a whale watching tour.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Humpback whale breach

 

On the way to Tofino, we stopped at Long Beach. It was a foggy morning so we didn't stay long. I think other beaches in the area are much nicer but this is popular with the surf crowd.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Long Beach Tofino : Foggy morning

 

Katie and I decided to go out with a tour company in Tofino. We did try to find a humpback but were unable to do so. However, we did get very close to two gray whales feeding. A great experience.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Gray Whale

 

Two gray whale spouts.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Gray Whale Spout

 

A rainbow created by the spout of a gray whale.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Gray Whale Rainbow

 

Considering how big these animals are, they are very graceful in the water. Even the giant tail fluke barely makes a splash as it sinks below the surface.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Gray Whale Tail Fluke

 

One more walk on the beach, here Katie is enjoying the sunshine and solitude with the dogs. It turned out to be one of my favorite photos from the trip.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Katie and the dogs

 

We had a beautiful sunset every night we were there but the last one was the best. Clouds always make a sunset more interesting and colorful, this one was taken from our condo.
Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Big Beach Sunset

 

Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Big Beach Sunset 2

 

Ucluelet BC Vacation : 2012-10 : Big Beach Sunset 3


Vancouver False Creek At Night

Last night, I went out for a few sunset and night time shots with my friend Scott. Sunset was a bust, but we did get a few shots of Science World and the Vancouver skyline. Overall, a fun night out and made better as we finished up with a pint at the new tap house.


Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, BC : 2012-10-11 : Fall Colours

Fall Colours in Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Park

Just as I did last year, I took a short walk through Queen Elizabeth Park to view and photograph the fall colours.  The weather forecast said rain, and lots of it, for the next week so I knew it was my last chance before things got really wet.  I hope to go back in a week or so, weather permitting.   The conditions were not ideal, it was a bit foggy and I could not get a good shot of the whole garden without losing a lot of contrast in the background.  I used a polarizing filter to cut some of the glare but some shots just didn't turn out that well.  It was still nice to get out, the colours are really great right now.

This was one of the first images I shot. As you can see, the trees in the background are starting to get lost because of the foggy and humid conditions.

Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, BC : 2012-10-11 : Fall Colours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sky was very bright which made some exposures more difficult but the fog and overcast conditions made for a nice diffuse light.

Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, BC : 2012-10-11 : Fall Colours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, BC : 2012-10-11 : Fall Colours

Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, BC : 2012-10-11 : Fall Colours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, BC : 2012-10-11 : Fall Colours

Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, BC : 2012-10-11 : Fall Colours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, BC : 2012-10-11 : Fall Colours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, BC : 2012-10-11 : Fall Colours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, BC : 2012-10-11 : Fall Colours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, BC : 2012-10-11 : Fall Colours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, BC : 2012-10-11 : Fall Colours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, BC : 2012-10-11 : Fall Colours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On my way out of the park, I stopped by the duck pond to watch the action and take a few shots. There were at least eight species of birds in and around the pond when I was there.

This guy was taking a bath in the pond just a few feet away from me.

Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, BC : 2012-10-11 : Duck Pond Crow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

King of the pond.
Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, BC : 2012-10-11 : Canada Goose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

His little minion.

Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, BC : 2012-10-11 : Mallard Duck


Shannon Falls, Squamish, BC : 2012-09-13 : Nikon D800 with Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 lens, B+W Polarizing Filter

Nikon D800 vs iPhone 4S : Round 2

Coming back from hiking the Chief near Squamish, I decided to stop at Shannon Falls for one more quick photo opportunity. Shannon Falls is a beautiful waterfall outside of Squamish (between Vancouver and Whistler). It is the third highest waterfall in BC, and well worth a stop if you are in the area.

I had my Nikon D800 with me and was using the Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 lens with a polarizing filter. I also decided to shoot the same scene with my iPhone 4S. Yes, not a fair test but just presented for fun. The iPhone fared much better this time compared to my previous attempt.

Here is the iPhone shot, edited on the device with Nik Software's (now Google's) awesome Snapseed.
Shannon Falls, Squamish, BC : 2012-09-13 : iPhone 4S with editing done in Nik Software Snapseed

 

Now the Nikon D800 shot, edited in Adobe Lightroom.
Shannon Falls, Squamish, BC : 2012-09-13 : Nikon D800 with Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 lens, B+W Polarizing Filter

 

Both files downsampled to the same resolution. The iPhone did ok, though couldn't get the longer exposure time needed to get the softer water effect on the D800.


Nikon D600 Full Frame Camera : Left Side

Nikon D600 Vs Canon 6D - Entry Level Full Frame Scrap

Photographers should be happy, both Nikon and Canon have released 'affordable' full frame cameras into their lineup. Nikon is already shipping theirs while Canon simply announced a camera with availability in a few months. Nothing like a 'me too' announcement when the competition gets the jump on you. Nikon is first to market with the D600, a $2100 USD, 24 megapixel camera. Canon follows up with the 6D, a $2100, 20 megapixel camera.

This year, there seems to be a shift towards Nikon in terms of technical camera performance. Before the latest models were released, Canon had a highly successful offering in the 5D Mark II, a 21 megapixel full frame camera with high quality video capability for $2700 (at launch).  Nikon could not compete on video spec, or resolution with the D700 and D3S having only 12 megapixels.  The insanely priced D3X had 24 megapixels but at $8000 it did not compete well with Canon's offering.

Fast forward to 2012 and Nikon has a 36 megapixel D800 ($3000), a 24 megapixel D600 ($2100), and a 16 megapixel D4 ($6000).  Canon in turn released the 5D Mark III adding only 1 megapixel for a total of 22 and is now charging $3500 for the body.  It follows that with a 20 megapixel 6D for $2100 and an 18 megapixel 1D X for $6800.  Megapixels are not everything, but looking at the full frame landscape today it's obvious that Nikon didn't like taking a back seat and has come back with a vengence.

All those megapixels don't mean much if they don't perform well.  Not only did Nikon ratchet up the resolution they also developed some high quality sensors as well.  Looking at the DxO Mark scores you can see that Nikon is at the top of the pile in DSLR performance these days.

DxO Mark D600 D800 5D Mark III

 

Looking at the scores, it's a thorough trashing of Canon. The Nikon cameras have a history of good dynamic range, but the new sensors really take it up a notch. Even the entry level D600 beats Canon's 5DIII. Unfortunately, the 6D scores are not available yet but I'm sure they will be lower than those of the 5DIII. Canon has some catching up to do in the next refresh of the lineup though I doubt Nikon will rest on their laurels.

With the sensor discussion out of the way (mostly), we can see how other features of the two entry level cameras stack up. Comparing the physical cameras first.

Left side view

Nikon D600 Full Frame Camera : Left Side
 

Canon 6D Full Frame Camera : Left Side

 

Rear view

Nikon D600 Full Frame Camera : Back

 

Canon 6D Full Frame Camera : Back

 

Front view

Nikon D600 Full Frame Camera : Front

 

Canon 6D Full Frame Camera : Front

 

Top view

Nikon D600 Full Frame Camera : Top

 

Canon 6D Full Frame Camera : Top

 

Nikon seems to put more buttons on their cameras, especially on the front. I can't comment much on the handling of the Canon cameras as I haven't spent much time with them so I'll reserve judgement on ergonomics and accessibility of features only to say that Nikon is clearly better ;)

 

Now looking at the basic specs.

Spec

Nikon D600

Canon 6D

Sensor Resolution (MP)24.3 megapixels20.2 megapixels
Max Image Resolution6,016 x 4,0165,472 x 3,648
ViewfinderPentaprismPentaprism
Viewfinder Coverage100%97%
Built-in FlashYes (with wireless control)No
Storage MediaDual SD cardSingle SD card
Frame rate5.5 fps4.5 fps
Max Shutter Speed1/4000 to 30 sec1/4000 to 30 sec
Shutter Durability150,000100,000
Native ISO100-6,400100-25,600
Boosted ISO50-25,60050-102,400
Autofocus39-point AF with 9 cross type11-point AF with 1 cross-type
Autofocus Detectionf/8f/5.6
GPSVia adapterBuilt-in
WifiVia Eye-FiBuilt-in

 

Nikon is clearly ahead in almost all of the performance specs. It has higher resolution, faster frame rates, better autofocus, and dual storage cards. Canon has better ISO numbers but I suspect the D600 will be clearly superior in low light performance compared to the 6D. Makes no difference if the 6D goes to 100K ISO, those photos are not usable. The DxO Mark scores already show that the D600 is better than the much more expensive 5D Mark III so it's unlikely the 6D will fare any better. Canon throws in some gizmos like GPS and Wifi to try and distract you from the obvious performance gap.

It's unlikely anyone would jump ship form one brand to another as an investment in lenses usually means the cost to switch is significantly higher than simply the cost of the body. I'm sure the 6D will be a capable camera however if you are new to the DSLR world and considering these two models the Nikon D600 is a technically better camera.

Also see: Nikon D7000 vs D600 vs D800.