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Things related to photography

Free time at San Francisco International

747 approachingMy Friday flight home from WWDC (San Francisco [SFO] to Portland [PDX]) wasn't set to depart until 9:15pm, probably putting me in the door around midnight. In an effort to get home somewhat sooner, I headed to the airport around 5pm, as there was a 6:15ish flight to PDX, and I thought maybe I could get on that one instead.

However, when I reached their gate, the departure board indicated "delayed," and the estimated new departure time was 9:40pm--well after my booked flight's departure. With no pressing requirements for the next four hours, I made my way to the end of the C concourse, where I had a good view of the planes taxiing by--as well as a view, though quite far away, of landings on runways 28L and 28R.

Thinking simply "I wonder if someone will come question me about this," I got out the Nikon, attached the 70/300mm zoom, and started snapping pix. Amazingly, over the course of an hour's worth of picture taking, I was completely ignored by Homeland Security. (The first few images were snapped from a café near the international terminal, outside the concourse proper.)

The pictures may only be of interest if you're a true aviation nut; most aren't even that good. I do like, however, the nose-on shot of the China Airlines 747, which was snapped as it maneuvered on the taxiways just outside the concourse. It makes a most impressive desktop image when cropped to fit 1920x1200! (As always, if you ever want a full-size version of any image, just ask.)

Play ball!

Last night, a few Macworld staffers took in the Giants-Blue Jays game at AT&T Park. Our seats were well out in left field, so the picture taking wasn't the greatest. However, the 300mm zoom did a decent job of bringing the action a bit closer, as you can see in this brief album.

The Giants won 3-2, with all scoring completed by the end of the 3rd inning--late arrivals to the ball park missed most of the excitement (though there was one spectacular home-run-preventing catch later on).

WWDC 2007 Keynote images

I took a bunch of pictures of the keynote yesterday--our press seats weren't the greates, as we were about 50 or 60 rows back and well off to the left. The room was quite dark, and I was shooting from our seats without a tripod. I used my new Nikon D40X with a 70/300mm zoom, with the camera (mostly) left in automatic mode (but with the flash disabled). Despite the long zoom and dark room, some of the shots actually came out halfway decent--a testament to the vibration reduction technology in the lens!

Here's the gallery, and these are definitely unedited pictures--the only requirement for inclusion was "not too blurry to understand." Feel free to borrow for your own uses if you wish--just ask me if you want a non-watermarked version.

Today I've been working on other stuff most of the day and haven't actually made it to any sessions yet, but that changes in 30 minutes or so as I sit through something that's probably way over my head! :)

The waiting game…

Macworld logoIf you read any of the Mac Mania blogs, you probably know I got to play around with a digital SLR--the Nikon D40X--during the cruise. Well, after I got home, I decided the time was right for an upgrade from my pocket digital camera. In a case of wonderful timing, Costco happened to have a D40X kit (camera, two lenses, memory card, case) available during our last visit, so I got my birthday present (and Christmas and next year's birthday and...) a bit early this year.

You can read about why I chose to upgrade, including some interesting comparison photographs, in this Macworld blog. I've only had the camera for a few days, but I'm having a blast with it so far, and really looking forward to taking it to WWDC next week--I have a free Sunday in San Francisco, and I hope to take a bunch of pictures.

One of the things I wanted with the camera was a more powerful zoom lens, so I also ordered a 70/300mm telephoto from Amazon. It shipped on Tuesday for a Wednesday delivery, but a recorded phone call early Wednesday reminded me that a signature would be required. So I was basically locked in the house until the lens showed up. And (eventually), it did:


Yup, nearly 12 hours into the waiting game, the lens showed up! Urgh. Just in time, too, as I was literally backing the car out of the garage to go pick up the girls at day care when the UPS van pulled up! Now that it's here, though, I love it, though I haven't had much time to play with it. Here's a shot of the lens (with the hood as shipped, not in shooting mode!), as well as two pictures I took--both from about 15 feet away, standing on our back porch one evening. (These were handheld shots, too--the lens includes an image stabilizer that seems to work quite well). Click any image for a larger (640x480) version:

Lens  Lens  Lens

Of course, the presence of the large lens meant that the nice Nikon bag that was included in the kit was no longer large enough to carry the gear...guess it's time to find a nice camera kit backpack!

Digital cameras, now and not quite now…

As a follow-up to my Cameras, then and now… story, here’s what’s happened with digital camera evolution in our household over the last three years.

As noted in the other writeup, our current digital camera is the Canon PowerShot SD400, a marvel of features and compactness that we bought this past July. It replaced a Canon PowerShot S30, which I purchased in January of 2002. So just how far have consumer digital cameras come in three years? Probably a lot farther than this article will demonstrate, as I’ll only be speaking to the differences in the two cameras we own. But even there, the changes are pretty dramatic, starting with (of course), the size:

s30 vs. sd400

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