Head Turned, Eyes Closed

Technical: Nikon D200, 1/400 sec, f5.3, focal length 250

I stuck with a shutter priority of 1/400 sec for this series. It was a bright sunny day. I didn’t want motion blur. Autofocus worked well except when there were tree branches that intervened. So I was able to work. I let the ISO ride, but mostly it hovered around 100 to 200. Notice that the third gunner from the right has turned her head as she fired. You don’t want sparks in your eyes. I just guess that sighting down the barrel is not something that was done too much. Daniel Boone or not, these weapons were not easy to handle. Oh, I had seen this soldier at other points before and during the battle so that I knew she was a woman. And, no, we do not have any women in active combat roles on the front lines – at least not officially.

Canon Fire

Technical: Nikon D200, 1/400 sec, f5.3, focal length 210

Firing a canon is a process. This demonstration could be anticipated to some degree. The sound of the blast was so loud, that from where I stood you could feel it. It made my shutter finger stutter every time. The call would come, ‘Fire in the hole.’ Then the designated man on the left would move in with the smoldering wick to touch off the canon. Note the gunners covering one ear. I just couldn’t quite see the wick touch the canon. So it was still a best guess as to when to fire the shutter. I mostly got smoke which was pretty neat and ok by me. But here and there I got the shot (photo) with the blast. Yeah, that is special. I didn’t get this the first time I saw this event. I’m glad I came back.


Technical: Nikon D200, 1/400 sec, f4.5, focal length 80

The patriots were not just standing around during battle. They fired ‘at will’ as well as in volleys. Here I got a rare muzzle flash as well as flintlock blast. This is pretty special. In other words, it’s a very hard moment to capture. No, no, no motor drive was used. I did use a faster shutter and the VR mode on my big old telephoto lens.


Patriot’s Day

Technical: Nikon D200, 1/400 sec, f5.3, focal length 240

This series documents the re-enactment of historical battles at the start of the Revolutionary War in America. The colorful and authentic clothing is historically accurate right down to the shoes, leggings and stockings. The British army is more colorful because of the bright red uniforms. It was easy to get candid photographs of the participants before the battle. The staging area was open to the public and the actors were all very gracious. Once the battles began the crowd was kept back to avoid injury. No bullets were fired but the black powder could cause problems. Besides, who wants a picture of grandma among the soldiers in battle.

In many ways it’s like a sporting event. There are critical moments, which are hard to capture and produce coveted images. In particular I tried to capture the spark and smoke as the guns were fired. In the setup, the sargeant would call to his group to present arms, take aim, and fire. It was a sequence repeated through the day. Then it was a matter of firing the shutter as the weapons were fired. I got to experiment with the motor drive. It really doesn’t work. You miss more than you hit. But if you don’t believe me, try it for yourself. I tired to anticpate the moment and then triggered the shutter by best guess. I spent the day trying and got a handful of shots in sharp focus.

There is a pause at the moment that the sergeant says fire. Here one soldier is ahead of the others. Notice the the first soldier in the line has his eyes closed anticipating the blast from his flintlock. But it was the glow and blast of powder that I sought to capture all day.

“Worth the Price of Admission” Slide Scanning

Nikon Scan Software


David (Sack)

I just want to be sure that you have my greatest thanks for tipping me off to Vuescan. In follow up to your kind suggestion at my blog, I trialed the software and then purchased it. It is twice as fast as the Nikon software. What a great find. I had heard of the software but was hesitant to try it. Your help on this is beyond words. It is as they would say in the USA, “Better than sliced bread.” Thanks again. I will blog post my thanks to you as well in the coming days. http://www.saturn-films.co.uk/

As the saying goes, I am sometimes slow to learn and then “lightbulb!!”

orchardparkway.wordpress.com Donna made a comment on April 14 on about slide scanning. I followed up a prior post with a new illustrated description of my setup. I have been a long time reader of photo.net and have read descriptions of scanning and woes of matching software and hardware. Nikon film scanners have been discontinued. Nikon has stopped supporting their scan software. And with the new advent of Mac OS X Lion, the old software doesn’t work because it’s a Power PC conversion program. In a nutshell, my scanner shouldn’t work with my Mac. Well, it does work. I’ve been afraid to change anything. Everytime you mess around, it’s days and days of agony until you have an efficient workflow established again. If you have read this far then you know that scanning film/slides is about getting the orginal image digitized so that it matches reasonably on the computer screen. This opens a whole big “can of worms.” You’re matching aging film media with software tranlators, photoediting programs, and LCD monitors. Depending on your OCD personality, this can truly be a great big headache.

I have heard of third party scan software like Silverfast and Vuescan, but because Nikon Scan software works so far, I have been deathly afraid to change what works. I also read at: Photo.net

The photo enthusiasts have a forum for digital darkroom and have been trading tips on scanning. The problems they discuss have kept me reticent to try anything new if what I have is working. Gee, did I say that already?

Parenthetically, for years, I have gone to bed mulling a computer problem that seems in unsolvable. I wake in the morning with new ideas that often work. Now science is saying that we continue to process problems while asleep. Imagine that!

The big experiment: I downloaded a free copy of the software at: hamrick.com

It’s a free trial with watermarks until you buy the software. I scanned in a Macbeth color chart. I can honestly say it worked in a few minutes. I use a Nikon Coolscan 5000 with an SF210 batch feeder. This is important because I’m about half way done scanning/editing more than 100, 000 slides, about 3070 rolls. Nuts! You bet!

The software even recognizes the batch feeder. The color scan is accurate enough compared to the original … so far. And it’s fast!! I’m now scanning at about a slide a minute with the software set to ignore dust and scratches. My old computer was between 3-5 minutes a scan. My Macbook Pro is scanning at less than 1 minute right now. At this rate there is a chance that my slide scanning project will actually be complete in this decade maybe even this year. So thanks again to David and to Donna. Their suggestions and comments have made a real difference for me.

The examples here are of slides that would challenge the software and scanner. You can see the sunset is a matter of taste. And fog is always hard. Depending on the settings there is still work in Photoshop to make final editing decisions.

Nikon Scan

Vuescan, not quite, but acceptable

Nikon Scan

Vuescan, different look

Water Droplet Flower

Technical: Canon EOS 7D, 1/80 sec, f11, ISO 1250, focal length 60mm

Wow! Cousin David outdid himself on this shot. The water droplet alone is well done. Composition is great. The exposure is good. But look again. The water droplet reflects the flower in the foreground. This is a photo to publish and exhibit. The foreground flower balances the water droplet, which is placed in a black background. Wow! Really!

Christmas Photo Op

Technical: Kodak slide

My wife has complained that every year I gift my brothers with camera gear. As recently as several years ago, I upgraded them to DSLR cameras. And this past year Eric got the GoPro head camera for ski and surf. What can I say? But back in the ‘80’s here’s documentation that she (wife) is always right. I just didn’t realize how nuts it has been all these years. There was already video in use at that time. I count eight cameras, two tripods, flash, and assorted gear. And then there’s the camera that took this slide. Pretty funny. Who knew of all the slides that day, this would be really worthy of mention so many years later. For the curious, it’s little son David, brother Eric, and sister in law Fanny.


Technical: handheld, slide film, dumb luck

My son David decided to blow up this still life with a tennis ball. He asked me to photograph it. In those days and at that time, I was just as curious as he was about making this shot. We tried maybe two or three times. There was no way to instantly check on the results. There’s no such thing as an LCD display. I did not have a motor drive. So the two images are as fast as my finger could trigger the shutter. It’s a pretty fair pair of shots considering how primitive my setup. Sometimes you’re just lucky. It would have been a lot more difficult if it had been a serious photoshoot. Therein lies the difference between hobby and professional. I have to admit that David has quite an imagination.

HDR Blossom

Technical: No data. HDR manipulated

The focus across the image is done very well. The diagonal lines bring you across the image to the main flower. The blossoms that have not bloomed are distracting. Cousin David has great backlight on the main flower. I think that I would have preferred to focus on this flower. The backlight makes the petals translucent and this would have been a stronger image.