Archive for October, 2012


Along the Payette River

   Posted by: John    in Pictures

Had a road trip to McCall yesterday.  It was a gorgeous day, lots of sun.  I took these pictures along the way.  None of these were with the new lens.  I did not have that much time to spend tinkering with it.  Another time.

ISO-200, f/6, 1/160 sec, 55 mm

ISO-200, f/6.3, 1/160 sec, 130 mm

ISO-200, f/5.3, 1/100 sec, 55 mm

ISO-200, f/4.5, 1/40 sec, 55 mm

ISO-400, f/7.6, 1/200 sec, 116 mm

ISO-400, f/7.1, 1/200 sec, 55 mm

ISO-400, f/8.5, 1/320 sec, 55 mm

ISO-400, f/4.8, 1/90 sec, 35 mm

ISO-400, f/7.1, 1/200 sec, 32 mm


New Lens (Goody goody goody…)

   Posted by: John    in Pictures

This has been several years coming.  I have some awesome lenses for my camera, but I have not had a real good telephoto lens.  The Nikon 55-300mm lens is not bad, but sometimes just does not reach out as far as I would like.  I paid $400 for the 55-300mm lens, and it was a good deal because it filled in a gap that I needed.  But I also wanted a 500mm lens.  (I have a 100-500 Samyang lens, but it is purely manual and takes time to get everything right before taking a shot.) 

Nikon makes a 200-400 telephoto lens.  Nice unit, but $7,000.  They also make an 80-400mm lens, but that one is $1900.  That is more than I was willing to spend.  And if I really wanted to go all out with fixed focal lengths, Nikon has a 400mm for $9500, a 500mm for $8600, and a 600mm for over $10k.  Yikes!

I decided to look at Tamron.  They have also been around for a long time and make nice equipment.  I decided on a 200-500mm telephoto lens.  This one’s specs are f/5-6.3, which is not bad at all for a zoom of that focal length.  It is autofocus and mates up with the camera nicely.  Idaho Camera had one I was able to try, and it was real nice.  But the $1000 price tag was still a little steep. 

After trolling eBay for several weeks, I found one that was listed as mint condition, only used a couple times.  I decided to take a chance and got it for $546 including shipping.  Well, I got it today!  It was dark before I got home, but I put it on the camera and took a few shots inside, and all I can say is this thing rocks!

Here’s what it looks like.

From Tamron's web site

That’s pretty cool, but I took a picture of it on the camera and tripod, fully extended and with the glare shield in place.  This one was taken with the phone camera, so picture quality is not super nice.

Camera Bazooka

It really is a good thing it is not as heavy as it looks.  But it does kind of look like a tank cannon doesn’t it.

I took a few shots of one of Karen’s butterfly decorations on the wall, zooming the lens in.  You can really see how well this works.






Pretty cool.  I can’t wait to go use this outside.  It appears that I have a couple of road trips coming up, so I will get a chance to use this bad boy outside.


Fall Colors

   Posted by: John    in Pictures

These are pictures taken at Albertson Park on Wednesday.  This is a week and a camera cleaning after the previous ones.  We also had some rain and wind so there are more leaves on the ground.  The yellow and orange appears to be peaking and will probably fade soon.  I also took some closer up shots that had some good variation and color contrast.  There is not much red, but a couple shots capture a little.

ISO-200, f/5, 1/100 sec, 68mm

ISO-400, f/5.6, 1/125 sec, 22mm

ISO-400, f/5.3, 1/100 sec, 35mm

ISO-400, f/5, 1/90 sec, 22mm

ISO-400, f/5, 1/90 sec, 30mm

ISO-200, f/4.5, 1/125 sec, 28mm

ISO-200, f/5.6, 1/125 sec, 32mm

ISO-400, f/6.3, 1/80 sec, 28mm


It seems a little early for snow…

   Posted by: John    in Pictures

…but there is some snow in the mountains already.  Just a dusting, but I guess Bogus Basin got a few inches of the white stuff.  I managed to get a couple pictures from the train depot.  Click to see full size.

Snow dusting. ISO-200, f/4.5, 1/1000 sec, 98mm

Snow dusting over downtown Boise. ISO-200, f/5, 1/500 sec, 170mm


The Road More Traveled By

   Posted by: John    in Outdoors, Pictures

Scenes along the path going through Albertson Park.

ISO-200, f/4.5, 1/80 sec, 55mm focal length

ISO-200, f/4.5, 1/60 sec, 55mm focal length

ISO-200, f/4.5, 1/45 sec, 55mm focal length

ISO-200, f/4.5, 1/20 sec, 92mm focal length

ISO-800, f/8, 1/250 sec, 105mm focal length

ISO-200, f/4.5, 1/40 sec, 62mm focal length


Foliage in Albertson Park

   Posted by: John    in Outdoors, Pictures

Some close-up shots of some of the foliage in the park.

ISO-200, f/4.5, 1/60 sec, 98mm focal length

ISO-200, f/6, 1/125 sec, 55mm focal length

ISO-200, f/7.1, 1/200 sec, 300mm focal length

ISO-200, f/6.7, 1/320 sec, 300mm focal length

ISO-200, f/5.6, 1/125 sec, 300mm focal length

ISO-200, f/5, 1/100 sec, 116mm focal length

ISO-200, f/6.3, 1/160 sec, 220mm focal length


Reflections in Albertson Park

   Posted by: John    in Outdoors, Pictures

Here are a few shots with water.  These are all at Albertson Park.

ISO-200, f/6, 1/160 sec, 55mm focal length

ISO-200, f/6, 1/18 sec, 72mm focal length

ISO-200, f/7.1, 1/180 sec, 55mm focal length

ISO-200, f/6.3, 1/160 sec, 55mm focal length

ISO-200, f/6.7, 1/160 sec, 55mm focal length

ISO-800, f/9, 1/320 sec, 55mm focal length


Critters in Albertson Park

   Posted by: John    in Outdoors, Pictures

I found a few critters in Albertson Park as I was walking through.  Here are some of them.

ISO-200, f/5, 1/100 sec, 120mm focal length

ISO-800, f/10, 1/400 sec, 300mm focal length

ISO-800, f/10, 1/400 sec, 300mm focal length

ISO-800, f/9, 1/320 sec, 165mm focal length

OK, so that last one is not critters, but they looked like they were just enjoying the day.


Colors in Albertson Park

   Posted by: John    in Outdoors, Pictures

Today was one of those days that I just needed to get out of the building for a while.  Too much going on, and I needed a breather.  So I went up the road to Albertson Park and took a walk with the camera.

Autumn is my favorite time of year.  I love the crisp air and fall colors.  It rained yesterday and the wind blew pretty good so the air is nice and clean now. 

So with the trusty Nikon D-1 in hand, along with the 55-300mm lens with the polarizer attached I took a bunch of pictures.  Here are some showing the incredible colors.  (There will be a couple more of these sets of the same park with different themes.)

ISO-200, f/7.6, 1/200 sec, 55mm focal length

ISO-200, f/6, 1/160 sec, 72mm focal length

ISO-200, f/7.1, 1/180 sec, 72mm focal length

ISO-200, f/6.7, 1/180 sec, 55mm focal length

ISO-200, f/7.6, 1/200 sec, 55mm focal length

ISO-200, f/6.7, 1/180 sec, 116mm focal length

ISO-800, f/10, 1/350 sec, 55mm focal length


New Toy

   Posted by: John    in Computer and Network

Well, it was inevitable.  When I built my PC over 3 years ago, I got an Intel i7-920, new MSI mainboard, lots of RAM, case…but I was out of money and had to install used hard drives.  The board is RAID capable so I put four 160 GB drives into a RAID-5 array.

But lately it seems like the PC has been slow, and last week the controller reported a dead drive.  I was able to clone the entire thing over to a single drive, but decided that it was time to do something different.  One of the clients I go to on a regular basis has some i7 machines with SSD drives in them.  Solid state, no moving parts, all electronic.  Newegg had an awesome sale on an Intel 330 SSD, 120GB for $90.  So I got one. 

Intel SSD

There is no way I am going to be able to put the 250 GB of stuff I had on the old array on this device, so I decided to start with a fresh install.  I just put the operating system and a few applications on the SSD.  I have a regular hard drive as a second device with the documents, pictures, videos, etc going to it.  Additional programs are installed on the regular hard drive.  So, as it sits right now, I have used about 65 GB of the 120 on the SSD.   And let me tell you…this thing is fast.

It takes about 90 seconds to boot up now instead of 4 minutes.  Once the OS is going, just about everything is instant, or very close to it.  Even Roxio, which used to take 20-30 seconds to get going is ready in about 5 seconds…and it is installed on the hard drive, not the SSD. 

So far I am very impressed.  Eventually, I am going to put a couple of 1TB drives in a RAID-1 (mirror) for the D drive, as the drive I am using now is over 4 years old.  That should give me ample space and good protection from failure.  It is very nice to have this hot rod PC act like a hot rod again!