Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw

For those of you who use Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw for their photo workflow please be aware, the new releases Lightroom 1.4 and Camera Raw 4.4 have been pulled due to some issues found once they were released. You can find information here on the Lightroom Journal maintained by the Adobe Lightroom team. It is always nice to see someone taking personal responsibility when there is a problem and then trying to figure out what went wrong. In my business it is called root cause analysis and it appears to be what the Lightroom team will be doing. Then they will fix the process for the future.

Now - not to get on a rant here (too late) but it is about time we see people take responsibility for their actions. I have no trouble with people asking for compassion when they are having an issue even if they caused it as long as they admit their mistake. On the other hand - I have no sympathy what so ever for those who know better but blame someone else. I had a co-worker a few years ago who was fired from their job because they were using their corporate credit card for their personal purchases. Mind you - this wasn't a mistake of taking the wrong card out of their wallet but rather they were over-extended on their own credit card and said "Gee - I have this one from the company...." They were over-extended because they 'needed' to have some new clothes and other luxury items and only shopped at certain stores. I was brought up that you only spend for what you can afford and if you can't afford it you go without. When they were asked why (after they were warned multiple times) the answer was 'well, I had the card and I couldn't live without this other stuff....'.

So 3 cheers for the Lightroom team and stay posted to their blog for when they will release 1.4.1 and Camera Raw 4.4.1

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Thursday Night Soccer Report

So – this is a very late report for last week’s game probably because I wasn’t really happy with the result and didn’t want to relive it. Not a good excuse but at least I am getting to it before this week’s game.

We were playing the Montville Stallions who were in second place while we were residing in third place. A win meant we moved into second and had a good shot of playing for first place in the playoffs two weeks from now. We had a full compliment minus Nick who was off at Lake Placid and the second game of the night so it wasn’t late at all.

We got off to a great start. Less than 5 minutes into the game Rolfie had his first shot of the night and placed it well in the lower left corner of the net. The keeper didn’t have a chance. We had them pretty well marked up and were keeping them away from the net. Around the 10 minute mark – Rolfie had a ball down the left side of the field where he somehow beat the first guy; even he isn’t sure how he did it and the managed to get past the next two for a weird angle shot that looked pretty all the way into the back of the net.

We felt pretty confident at this point. We were marking their team well and seemed to have a good rhythm. Then we got to over-confident. We started giving them more room in the middle and our fullbacks made some runs up the side. Although we were getting caught a little bit, we still managed to hold them pretty well. We had a play down the left side which got broken up and then 4 passes later it went to one of their players who put a shot in off the right post. Frank didn’t have a chance at it but we never should have given him the shot in the first place. We gave the room in the middle and didn’t have enough people back to cover them on the break.

We clamped down at this point but we did this by not pushing up. Effectively we were stranding either Rolfie or Wes up front with no one to pass to. Rolfie kept trying to go through people but even he isn’t that good (although he would never admit that). He still managed a shot or two – hitting the post once and then on the second reverting to his old self – nowhere near the net.

Montville equalized with about 8 minutes left with a shot from the same guy who scored the first goal – this time from around 24 yards out. It was a beautiful shot that completely handcuffed me and Frank in goal too. Bent right around and ended up in the right side of the net. We discovered later that he used to play professionally in Italy, didn’t make us feel better though.

We spent the last 8 minutes pushing as hard as we could, everyone played pretty good. With less than two minutes we had a corner from the left side that went right to Wes at the far post. He was lined up and we thought this was it – a third goal to put the game away. He tried to head it down but misjudged it and it came off the top of his head and went over the wide open net. The game ended up in a tie.

Although I was pretty happy with my play, I had some nice passes and defended well, I was sick with the outcome. We needed a win to move into second and with the tie we dropped to 4th, one spot behind the Wildcats which one their game. Since the Wildcats and the Stallions play each other this Thursday our best hope is for them to tie and for us to score 9 goals to beat the Stallion on goal differential. Since we played the number one team, I am not sure we can score the nine goals even though I expect to win. So, until Thursday, we will have to just wait and see what happens.

St. Patrick's Day Moon

I certainly seem to have a fascination with the moon these days. It is becoming fuller each day and was out quite early tonight, or should I say late this afternoon. On a lark I took this as I got home and it came out much better than I expected. I was surprised at all the detail that I managed considering that I had to crop this shot as it was done at 300mm hand held. Just goes to show you what a D300 with a nice VR lens can do.
D300, 70-300mm VR, 300mm, f/8.0, 1/250s, ISO 200


I was walking back from Sunset Lake to the car when this little critter decided it was a good time to play peek-a-boo. He was a little skittish but really wanted to see what was going on so he kept sticking his head out and then pulling it back. Squirrels are a sure sign of spring and they seemed to be out in force today.

The good news about not putting your camera away is that you never know what you are going to see.
D300, 70-300mm VR, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/320s, ISO 400

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sugar, Sugar

Meet Sugar. I met this pretty dog on a walk around Sunset Lake while I was taking pictures on my way home from work. She is an 8 year old long haired Jack Russell Terrier without the classic Jack Russell Terrier attitude. The amazing thing about Sugar is that as friendly as she is, as soon as you take a camera out she runs and hides. It was very comical that as soon as I pointed the camera at her she ran away. As soon as you turn it away she comes back and wants her tummy rubbed. Sugar's still a cutie in my book!D300, 50mm f/1.4, f/10.0, ISO 200, 1/400s

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Family walks

We used to be pretty big into walks in this family and it is something we should definitely be doing more often. It's exercise and family time all at the same time. Yesterday the weather turned out nice and Sue decided as part of her birthday weekend that we should go for a walk. Everyone went, even Doogie, and I, of course, felt the need to bring the camera. You never know what you are going to find while you are walking.

I liked these shots,
Mother & Daughter
D300, 18-200mm VR, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/400s, ISO 400

D300, 18-200mm VR, 65mm, f/5.6, 1/400s, ISO 400

Katie & Doogie
D300, 18-200mm VR, 135mm, f/5.6, 1/250s, ISO 200

More spring evidence in Wanaque

The weather has been very warm here and except for the frequent boughts of rain it has been pretty nice. We decided to take a walk as a family yesterday and the benefits of living at the bottom of the hill versus the top (where we live) become obvious.

The first picture is of a tree right in front of our house as its blooms appear.
D300, 18-200mm VR, 200mm, f/5.6, 1/100s, ISO 200

The second photo is a similar tree a block and a half away at the bottom of the hill. The blooms are already cracking open.

D300, 18-200mm VR, 170mm, f/8.0, 1/400s, ISO 200

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Birthday photo

Last week was my birthday and Sue decided she wanted a photo of everyone but her celebrating my birthday. They all piled on the couch with me and Doogie was not to be left out. The good news is that tomorrow is Sue's birthday and turn-about is fair play.

First Hawk - Oops - Turkey Vulture

Photographing birds in flight is never an easy thing to do. Between trying to keep the bird in focus (or in some cases even getting the bird in focus) and framing the shot it is very difficult. Add to that the fact that you need a decent zoom or prime lens it gets even more difficult. My longest zoom is a 200-400mm but it is too slow for getting useful shots of birds in flight so I am now using my 300mm f/4.0. My guess is that I will go to a 1.4 or 1.7 teleconverter for more reach when I am doing photos like this in the future as you lose some detail when you crop a hawk shot at 300mm.
D300, 300mm, f/11.0, 1/400s, ISO 200

Friday, March 14, 2008

Moon over Wanaque

The half moon decided to make an appearance this afternoon and led to this photo:D300, 300mm f/4.0, f/7.1, ISO 200, 1/400s

Which was follow by these robins who were very comfortable in a budding springtime tree.D300, 300mm f/4.0, f/10.0, ISO 200, 1/400s

Almost Spring

I was out shooting this afternoon for a few minutes and noticed that spring is ready to be sprung. You can see the buds on this tree just starting.
D300, 300mm f/4.0, ISO 200, 1/400s, f/8.0

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Birthday present

I had a birthday last week and got an interesting present. My mother-in-law gave me a bunch of great stuff but then I got to this one wrapped present that when I opened it I had no idea what it was. My wife suggested it might be a bagel cutter but we weren't sure exactly how it would work.

Now luckily - there was a card in the box from the company it came from which said to call if you had any questions. After finally getting an operator -a story for another post - we asked what it was. It seems it was one of those gifts you get for opening a credit card or that you redeem out of a catalog, like one of those 'As seen on TV' gadgets. They had no idea what it might be either and after talking with the nice woman on the other end of the line I finally broke down and called my mother-in-law. It had come already wrapped when she received it and she thought there had been a sticker on it that also said bagel cutter. (and no Mom - I don't mean to make fun of the gift - it really has become a conversation starter - and yes I liked all the rest of the presents).

So - I thought I would ask all of you your opinion. I had Sue buy bagels the next morning on the way home from coaching and set out with my new (used) manual focus macro lens to shoot it for you all to decide. Feel free to leave a comment.

Yes the plastic is on the blade. Doesn't really fit the bagel wellNot really sure how you slice if the blade needs to go back and forth. Doesn't a bagel cutter usually protect the hands? You use a normal knife and stick the bagel in a holder that protects your digits


Mea Culpa! It has been almost exactly a week since I have a chance to get on here and post anything. This week ended up being much busier at work than I had expected and the meetings didn't stop once I left for home. I did manage to take some hockey pictures on Sunday which I will post a few of and some bird shots today that I should be able to get up tomorrow.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Thursday Night Soccer Report

We started tonight in third place and needed a win to stay in third with the possibility to move up to second. We were playing the fourth place team GJOA (pronounced Yoah). I didn’t think it would help that we had the late game – except that we usually have a full complement of players at the late hour. Nick was missing tonight as he was a bit under the weather but we had a new substitute join us who was pretty good. It was good to have a deep bench – 4 subs, meant no one really had the right to get tired.

We started off on the defensive with GJOA pressing hard. Nothing that we couldn’t handle – we had Buyar on the right and Charlie on the left so we were pretty strong. Rolfie started on the bench – he had a bad head cold and I wasn’t sure he would make it into the game. We cleared the ball once or twice and then about 3 minutes in – we had nice pass to Wes who brought it up. Frankie was wide open on the right and Wes played it beautifully to his feet. Frankie pulled the keeper off his line and passed it to Wes in front. Wes’ first shot was blocked but he made the second one count and we were up one nil. It took us less than five minutes later to go ahead two nil on a nice pass to Aharon who was wide open on the left. He held onto the ball until the keeper moved and then placed it right under the keeper’s right arm.

Rolfie subbed in for me after 10 minutes as sweeper and he was a sight to see. Holding his head in his hands when the ball wasn’t near him and then perking up. He had a great head ball and when I asked if that made his head feel better or worse the reply was to press both sides of his head in pain and scrunch up his face. He still ripped a shot from more than half field that the keeper barely stopped.

We dominated the rest of the game. We were confident and played that way. Tony had his first goal of the season on a nice shot from the left side. He can only score when his son David doesn’t come to watch. David likes to make fun of Dad and his scoring would have ruined it. Not 3 minutes later he pulled a Del Piero move going down the wing and beating two separate players. We may have to ban his son from coming to any other games.

We scored our final goal on a great shot from Charlie that beat the keeper high to the right. We had a few more chances including one from myself where the keeper made a nice save, although I probably could have placed it better.

We started playing really sexy soccer at one point. Rolfie moved up the left wing from defense and received the ball from Wes. He passed it to me at the 25 yard line as the last man back and then we did a back and forth with Rolfie and Buyar until we found an opening. I think we looked the best we have all season as we made them run around and chase while we found open space. Looked almost professional for a few minutes and if we can do that more often we will win every game. Great communication and great passing makes great teams.

We were determined to make sure that Frank got the shutout. GJOA started pushing their entire team forward and had one good shot on Frank from point blank that he made a great save on. Other than that we refused to give them anything. I promised Frank I wouldn’t let the ball get to him and made a couple of diving saves and blocked shots. We were clearing the ball and pressuring them. In the last 7 minutes they got one of their players thrown out on a red card. He was upset at a call the ref made – and to be fair – the ref didn’t see everything but no one played dirty. Their player ran up to the referee and started yelling how blind he was and how he never moved. The ref gave him a yellow card and when he still didn’t stop a red. It was too bad since GJOA was a pretty good team and needed all their players.

We finished off the game with a 4 – 0 shutout and a guarantee of staying in third place. Not bad for a night’s work and a heck of a birthday present for me. The game ended just as my birthday started.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Ducks at Sunset

I was going through my photos from yesterday (didn't really get a chance to shoot today because of the rain) and found this shot that I took right after the sunset skies that I posted yesterday. I like this picture because I captured so much of the scene. The ducks, the sky, the water - I just like the way it all fits.
D300, 18-200mm VR, 48mm, f/4.5, 1/30s, ISO 320

Water + Electricity

What happens when you mix a little rain and some electricity? Or, in our case, no electricity? The power went out in parts of Wanaque around 3:00 this afternoon. The electricity was out in the Meadowbrook section up to our part of Wanaque. The Wanaque School did manage to stay lit tonight although the High School was dark. Normally this isn’t a bad thing except for the fact that it had been raining for a fair amount of the day. Around 6:45 we hit our limit and the water started to rise in the sump pump hole. We had a real bad luck streak since my battery backup should have covered this situation but didn’t. We couldn’t run the sump pump and water started to come up the french drains.

I got a little lucky here in that I was offered a generator if I could come pick it up. Off I went to get the generator while Sue and Kimmy worked on getting stuff off the floor in the basement. Katie would have helped but she has been sick the last day or so and it wasn’t an option. Kimmy really did a great job.

I get the generator, test it to make sure it works which it does and load it into the car. No sooner do I get it into the car then the power kicks in at 7:11. The sump pump immediately starts working and we catch up to the water in no time. We still have to finish the cleanup – a bunch of stuff got wet and we have a rug on the floor down there but all in all it was not the worst. Just means that we will probably get rid of the rug and a few things. Of course I also will need a new battery backup for the pump or a new pump – depends on what I can find. That plus a generator may be making a home here soon. So that has been our eventful evening.

Sunset over Sunset Lake

I went to Sunset Lake in Bridgewater to take some pictures of the birds who have a tendency to hang out together. Of, course, I had to stay for awhile and before I knew it the sun was setting over the trees and it made for some great shots.
D300, 12-24mm, 12mm, f/4.5, 1/50s, ISO 500
D300, 12-24mm, 24mm, f/4.5, 1/50s, ISO 400

Monday, March 3, 2008

Geese Flying

I stopped at Sunset Lake tonight on my way home to play with my camera once again. I took lots of pictures of the ducks and geese but this is one my favorites. The geese coming in to land from the direction of the setting sun.
D300, 70-300mm VR, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 200

Monday Morning Catch-up

We had a nice full weekend. It ended up snowing Friday night and by the time I got home at 10:30 there was 2 ½ inches of snow on the ground. I got a little worried since I had a 9am meeting on Saturday and Katie had indoor soccer too. By 8:30 in the morning it was already 33 degrees out and the snow was already melting. The end of the storm had been rain so it was a quick clear of the driveway and we were off.

Grandma and Grandpa came out in the afternoon. I think it was mostly to get both of their laptops fixed but Katie played a spirited game of Head of the Class with Grandpa who seemed to enjoy being a little silly and making it seem like some of the questions were pretty hard. Katie did beat him anyway and we headed out to dinner at MBG up in Mahwah.

Sunday was another beautiful weather day and we went to see School House Rock live at the Y (I’ll talk more about it later) but let’s just say Bill and Inter-planet Janet were there. The kids loved it.

The rest of the day was kind of just hanging around and relaxing and having some fun. The kids played school most of the day and we got a few things done.

Soccer: Our team is now in 3rd place after the win last Thursday and if we can keep our winning streak up we have a good chance in moving up to second.