Saturday, July 28, 2007


Now this was not expected! I got it a couple of months ago and forgot I had it! I've got tens of thousands of pictures, in which there are pictures buried that I have not seen since I took them. Some of my best shots. I must face a huge job to take on--slowly--one shot at a time. So I won't be taking allot of pictures for a while. I've forgotten some of my best shots. More about that later--be sure to read about what I would have done if I could start-digital photography over again from the beginning! Don't end up like me with literally over 1TB of pictures (that's 1000 GB!) that are a mess of repeated files, junk files, and good files, hardly any organization spread over a dozen portable hard drives! I often use two SLRs now. Thus I don't need to change lenses to catch a shot that I was not looking for. And I was lucky to catch this one!

Now that really pissed bird here decided to take it to the next level. I doubt they seriously harm each other--this broke up before I could seen get another shot. I have not moved the birds or modified there appearance at all here, but it might be interesting to note here that I completely removed several large phone, cable and power lines from both of these images which made them really cluttered. I just did this in PSE 4.0. It's an easy trick especially with a background like this picture has. Adobe's awesome programs let you do things like this with ease. I would not change anything that would add to this pictures content. Like make it look worse or move the birds around. I tend to like accurate real shots--right-off the camera. Especially as I am usually a journalistic-style photographer. Not that I don't enjoy trying stuff-but I should note that I would never put up a fact-event like this modified to make it look different or better or worse. One really bad example of this was that stupid picture about "giant spiders" in Iraq. It went all over the Internet. It was a simple shot using depth of field and a couple of basic Photoshop tricks to enlarge the image and make these two look like they were locked together in a horrible mess or gore and massive. In fact, this small superposes of tailless peacekeeping is harmless. It makes me angry when people put out terrible stories like this. I am a bit sceptical about the degree of seriousness of this recent Hobo-spider hysteria. The Internet blows this way out of proportion when there are many other things and even spiders that could have caused these bites and infections. The doctors admit they cannot tell if it was a hobo-spider or brown recluse when someone gets that flesh-breakdown disease well known with brown recluse victims. I am not saying it's all junk, but there are many factors often not noticed or taken into account even by doctors. I have heard ridiculous rumors before. There is that one about the Daddy long-legs
that everybody believed, nearly-- who and why would someone say it's the most piousness spider in the world but harmless since it can't puncture human skin with it's fangs. That is all a lie. Larger specimens could bite, but I stress the point made by the human gunny-pig on the Discovery channel who forced a number of them to bite him in the arm. He was fine. There also have been black-widow venom and general venom tests on mice. I do not approve of this kind of testing and believe it's a crime--but it proved that huge amounts of daddy long legs venom still did not kill the mouse. The black widow caused nearly instant death at small doses. Some people may lack something that makes the Hobo-spiders complex venom far more dangerous then the black widow.

A NOTE ABOUT DADDY LONG LEGS--They are HARMLESS. Even to pets and children.
They do have a hard time pushing through human skin but larger ones can. The bite, which I have gotten many times--is so small that I doubt it would cause a child to cry. A bit of tingling and a pinch is all you feel. Not even 1/10th of a bee sting if you rated it on a pain scale.
Even several bites would not be bad. But do not mess with them, they are very fragile. It is easy to harm them without knowing it. NEVER CATCH A SPIDER WITH TWEEZERS. That
will smash whatever you pick them up with. Ok--I'm getting tired and lecture over for now.
I got tons more pictures to add and thins to do.

In 1992 I recorded a Discovery channel documentary on spiders that had a specialist who said "all spiders are poisoners". That is not exactly true. There is one family of spiders that lack the venom glads. Yes they do produce enzymes to break down there pray, but technically--they lack poison glands and the typical poison system all other spiders do. If I recall I will explain more later, the point is, even real experts with degrees can be wrong and can make mistakes. I have been told that bites from the "hobo spider" are basically impossible to
tell if it came from that of the well-known brown recluse. Or possibly the new lesser problem of "Hobo spiders". The males seen on walls in homes and outside are everywhere, the brown recluse. The feemales live in webs that often remain for a long time. Most spider live one or at max 2 years.

The last moments of sundown in Guam. The island to hard to see. The sunset pictures I have from there are still amazing me. I've got allot of work to do however, I'm putting taking new pictures nearly totally on hold as I say---from my site to answering questions I am behind. I
appreciate any comments about the content of my site. I have a number of tips to write about that I hope may help beginners. I know I am still very much a beginner myself, but as I spend most all my time working on photography I have been learning a great deal I wish I'd have known from the beginning.

Monday, July 23, 2007


I must appologize for not putting up any new pictures recently. I have been really busy. I thought I'd show a couple of highlight shots from the past. I happened to notice the above rainbow just on time. They come and go very quickly. By the time I had the right lens on to see the whole thing, it was gone. This picture is straight off the camera and untouched with any
editing program.

This is the only shot of lighting I have ever captured on a still camera. It was a really great catch by accident must admit, a compact camera accident! Just a push of my shutter button at the right time.

I bought my D40 not just because it is a very light weight SLR and it allows me to use my old Nikon lenses. I chose it way over getting a new compact super-zoom because I really don't do much with compact cameras anymore. When you get hooked on the speeds of a digital SLR it's hard going back (the D-40 packs a VERY fast shutter, faster then the D80!--1/500!) But this lighting shot actually was delayed by a compact camera. When I pushed the button this was not happening until the shutter delly went past! It was a real lucky hit out of know where since there was only a few strikes of lighting about every 15min or less.

Despite old huge shutter delays it happened. Not to sound too much of a know it all, but from what I have learned lighting is difficult for still photographers. There are ways to catch the initial flash and trigger a camera as many lighting bolts move flash twice or expand. But you would need a very high end camera and lots of gear. The most easy way to get lighting shots that I know of with a digital video camera!

If you only do stills, it is a longer exposure. Set up your camera to shoot at a slow iso such as 100-200iso. F-stop really does not matter all that much because it is a long exposure. To be sharp--I'd be at 8-11 depending on the conditions (I don't have the exact camera settings for this image and I have not done much lighting photography--this is the only shot I've tried). If you are in a lighting storm you want the shutter open a long time but the iso low and the f-stop up so that the very bright effects don't overwhelm the image and you can see details. Experiment with a tripod setting your camera at long exposures to test out lighting conditions. A good reference is obvious, see the lights in the distance in my picture, they show how dark it is. From that you can get an idea how much and how long your exposure should be with some experimentation.

Anything from 1/8th to 1/10th up to as much as a half min. or more =(1/30") th+ depending on your cameras ability's. It takes time, but the next lighting storm we have I plan to catch some more. We don't get many. Most digital medium-end digital SLR s max out at 60sec long exposure. Some are able to go longer but you may need a remote control for "BULB" mode.

I've been really busy with other things then photography, so for right now I may not put up any pictures for two weeks or so, maybe more. If your on my website for the first time don't forget the month-menu. Each one has a number but that is not the number of pictures in that month. It is the number of posted articles. There are 100s of pictures in some of the months. Make sure to check that out. This "blog-site" is really big and I've had allot of people
forget that there is so much more then the first scroll down page.

Oh--yah, a few people have wanted to know my exact optics systems for the D40 super-macros. as well as other shots done with compact cameras that can be just as good. I plan to reveal a great deal about my optical studies and how to take some awesome macros relitively soon. It is my hope to get in a magizine for this. So I'm going to wait until I am really ready to fully present it all. The idea that photography does not have to be expensive is radical, but you can find stuff in some really simple places. I found one good optical lens from a half-pair of binocularly someone threw in the bushes. Not broken, the glass was good. It makes a great diopter. Rad. Rad, radical. That's rad! I just remembered that. When did that word become out dated? Everything used to be rad. I like that better then "the bomb". In this time period. My generation settled on "cool" and that's usually what I call the stuff I like the best.

READ THIS--here's my plan I hope will prevent you from going through the hard time I have!
ALSO a few other facts and TIPS on your OPTICS and cameras-> Computer space problems and other things are also an issue. I warn myself and other people, don't wait until you have a stack of a dozen hard drives full of tens of thousands of huge pictures! Be selective and delete the junk BEFORE you upload it to your computer! The new digital SLRs have very high-res screens and using the zoom in mode it is usually possible to pick out most of the duds quickly and erase them so that they don't fill your HDD. If you must (like me) shoot RAW+JPEG all the time, this is really important. Another peace of advice is that every time you dump into your computer-burn the contents onto a CD-R or DVD-R. Making backups as you go along rather then putting it off. Or you will end up with one hell of a mess and inevitably forget good pictures lost in it. Computers crash. So organizing your files in folders is something I only do in external additional hard drives only connected to my computer when they are in use. Thus hopefully preventing contamination if a virus or other thing gets into my system. Using clean external hard drives has become easy, reliable, and far cheaper. Check them out. Flash memory has also been cut in nearly half price in just one year. This stuff never ceases to amaze me, how fast technology is growing.

Saddly, keeping up costs alot of money. That however, is not what photography is about. I have shown that with a very low budget, you can do some amazing things. I've for lack of a better word, "fooled", (with all due respect to those photographers I know that are way- farther advanced then me)-- into thinking I had very high-class gear. Building my own lenses for compact cameras and digital SLR s has yielded incredible results. My fears of lens quality effecting prints and such are small. But I remind everyone like I do myself--don't clean your lenses all the time! Tiny amounts of volcanic dust and other things slowly but surely can damage your lenses. Of course, get yourself a UV-filter. That's what they are for. Protecting the lens--you can clean the filter all you need and replace it for less then $30. Your original optics are a different story! --hope this helps some people.