Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tiger Tiger

So I went to a private zoo today and they had a white tiger cub on brief display. Here he is with his owner (I blew the focus on the shot of just the cub himself as they passed by) over his shoulder.
Cute little guy, will get much larger very quickly.
Nikon D2x, 80-200mm f/2.8 @2.8, ISO400

Friday, September 20, 2013

Simple Seagull

This is what you get when you nail the focus on the reflex lens. The distracting bokeh is minimized because of the textured sand, and the sky behind the gull is uniform. 
The D2x has a focus confirmation setting when using manual focus lenses and it was spot on here (using a tripod helps as well, as reflex lenses are really susceptible to camera shake because the lens is so light.)

More Horses

Again, not a great shot as the horses were partially obscured by the trees, but it reminds me of the three stooges.
All shots on Wallops Island were taken with the 500mm reflex lens as I wanted to put it through its paces and see just how good it can be. When I nail the focus (and that's darned difficult with a reflex lens) the results are quite good, bokeh notwithstanding.

This is not a great shot

It is, however, a funny one. Even better with the caption:

"Idiots, we all know one."

What is your quote for this image?

Ancient Life

Since it's so rare I see a live horseshoe crab, I wanted to post another shot of one crawling towards the ocean. 
You'll notice the ocean is *behind* him and the direction he is crawling, but that's okay because I turned him in the direction of the ocean and he (it? she? they? I dunno) happily crawling into it.

A Horse of Course

Nestled alongside the NASA flight facility on Wallops Island is a National Wildlife Refuge where wild horses (and/or ponies) roam. I got very lucky on my day trip to see some up close and personal.
Well, as up close as they will get, which was about 200 feet away, but no matter, here you go. The odd looking eye is because the horse has one blue eye (pictured) and one brown eye (other side) and not an artifact of the reflex lens.
The bokeh is odd on a reflex lens because of the way it's made, the light folds back in on itself before hitting the camera's sensor, which gives the out of focus areas their unusual look. It can be very distracting if it's not controlled well, but it's not too distracting here.

Fun in the Sun

From the same set that brought you the horseshoe crab and rocket launch. A mother and son splashing about in the warm(ish) Atlantic Ocean on a sunny afternoon.
Taken with the 500mm reflex lens (manual focus, they only come in manual focus as far as I know) on my Nikon d2x.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wallops Island Critters

After the Antares rocket launch at M.A.R.S. (Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport) I went wandering around the rest of the area. The beach in particular was especially beautiful with many interesting creatures around, including a still living Horseshoe Crab. I have not seen a live one up close an personal since I was in Denmark as a child.
This was taken with my 500mm reflex lens, on a tripod, from about 10 feet away.

Another Rocket Shot

Was fortunate enough to shoot another rocket launch for a technical publication.
Here is the link to the launch pictures and some surrounding shots

I will post some shots here of the surrounding wildlife shortly.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Story for NASA

I got the pics of the Wallops Island launch, and associated story published.
Rather than report here entirely, I'll put up the links to the site

and the next link are all the pics I took (unedited, unmodified, I am given to understand modifying pics for journalism is heavily frowned upon)

Enjoy the read.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


As it turns out, shooting a rocket launch is more difficult than one might think. For starters, we were two miles away from the launch site. My best lens, the 80-200mm f/2.8 I use for concert work just wasn't going to cut it. Then you have the issue of it being perfectly dark outside, interrupted by the night becoming daylight for 5 seconds when the rocket motors ignited.
I was fortunate enough to borrow a 500mm reflex lens but even with that, I couldn't fill the frame as much as I wanted. As night wore on, and I waited for T-minus zero, the temperature dropped rapidly, causing condensation to form on everything, lens included. This caused problems, as you can see a halo around the image, and it's somewhat overexposed. That's because I didn't know what setting to use, so I made some educated guesses, talked with a few other people, and went from there. I don't feel too bad however, a number of people with far more experience than I got absolutely nothing but completely blown out images. 
Anyway, I'm now hooked on rocket launches, and want to shoot another one.

Grabbing the Bull by the Horns

This is the Minotaur-V rocket, a re-purposed Peacekeeper ICBM, sans nuclear MIRV warhead. Inside the 80+ foot rocket is LADEE, the Lunar Atmosphere Dust Environment Explorer, which is heading to the moon to examine the contents of the atmosphere (or, more correctly, exosphere) and run other tests.
The launch was slated for 11.27pm Friday night and NASA's flight facility was swarmed with approximately twenty thousand visitors. I was part of the media, a group of about 50 people who had special access to get close to the rocket and then for the launch.
The weather was absolutely perfect, not a cloud in the sky and the winds were nil. Launch went right on schedule.
This was shot with a 17-35mm len on my Nikon d2x.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Coming Soon, The News!

I have been invited to shoot a NASA rocket launch for Friday night (midnight launch.) Watch this space for pics.