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snowhiker

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Those gifts are definitely a few standard deviations away from the average crap that kids get for X-mas. I hope they will enjoy and appreciate them.
 

Stereodude

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She bit my wife, and my wife said the bite was one of the worst bites she's ever experienced. (and that includes being bitten by spiders and snakes (pythons)).
You say this like getting bit by said creatures, especially the snakes, is normal. I guess things really are different "down under". :dunno:
 

LunarMist

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You say this like getting bit by said creatures, especially the snakes, is normal. I guess things really are different "down under". :dunno:
Why? I've been bitten by snakes, praying mantises, a tarantula, lizards, etc. I just missed a scorpion bite, but the victim's foot did not look good and it was quite painful.
The tarantula bite was the most painful I experienced and recovery took about a week. When a mantis spreads its wings and aims at you it is agitated. ;)
 

Stereodude

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I've been bitten by snakes, praying mantises, a tarantula, lizards, etc. I just missed a scorpion bite, but the victim's foot did not look good and it was quite painful.
The tarantula bite was the most painful I experienced and recovery took about a week. When a mantis spreads its wings and aims at you it is agitated. ;)
Yes, but your work for the CIA as a spy put you in dangerous spots around the world that normal people don't encounter.
 

LunarMist

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Yes, but your work for the CIA as a spy put you in dangerous spots around the world that normal people don't encounter.
No, that was in the 1960s and 70s in my younger days. ;)
I didn't leave the US before 1981 and I was not stationed overseas long term for a few years after that.
 

Chewy509

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You say this like getting bit by said creatures, especially the snakes, is normal. I guess things really are different "down under". :dunno:
We've both had our own fair share of bites from various things over the years, myself having been in the Army for a number of years, and also enjoying hiking and camping... My wife has worked with various wildlife rescue services over the years, and also studied for a veterinary science degree (specialising in bovine), which included visiting farms, etc... Not uncommon if those are your working conditions, but for everyday suburbia, pretty uncommon except for various spiders...
 

Chewy509

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As for other presents (besides lots of Lego), our son is also getting a Fringed Jumping Spider and a Mottled Scorpion for Christmas. I'll take photos when they get here...

As for pets total (and this will seem like a zoo). A Border Collie and Jack Russell dogs, a Ragdoll cat (we are foster caring for on behalf of the RSPCA), a Blue tongue, a Pygmy Bearded Dragon, SP2 Tarantula, Bird Eating Tarantula, Champagne Robustus Tarantula, Eastern Brown Trapdoor Spider, Rainforest Scorpion (SE QLD), Flinders Range Scorpion, Black Rock Scorpion, Stick Praying Mantis (as pictured above), Whip Spider and a Giant Panda Snail (as pictured above). And in the past we've had (under care) spotted pythons, turtles and a few others...

Rainforest Scorpion
DSCF3185_2.jpg

Flinders Range Scorpion
DSCF3209_2.jpg

The only downside to having smaller pets, is that I'm pushing what photos I can get with our current camera... Might need to save up (for many years) for a good macro setup.
 

LunarMist

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The only downside to having smaller pets, is that I'm pushing what photos I can get with our current camera... Might need to save up (for many years) for a good macro setup.
I really got serious about photography in the 1970s specifically for the macros of small animals. Back then calculating multi-flash exposures at various magnifications was rather difficult without a flash meter. Nowadays there a number of relatively cheap macros, not to mention that there a number of macros from years ago that are still fine optically on modern cameras.
At high magnifications body movement or manual focus is better than AF much of the time.
 

LunarMist

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A couple years ago I was into macro. It seemed the best way to get the focus right was with an adjustable rail of some kind.
That's fine for immobile subjects, but it's often necessary to move in three dimensions for maintaining composition and magnification while following critters around.
 

snowhiker

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You want the 64GB or 32GB Extreme Pro cards for action.
Now that I've had the new SanDisk Extreme Pro SD cards for a while I can comment on their performance. I have noticed a nice boost in write speed. From my unscientific tests I noticed the full buffer in my D610 completely empties in 7.x seconds down from the 11-12 seconds with the slower SanDisk Extreme SD cards.

The write-speed ratings on these SD cards are 90 vs 40 MB/s. I'm not seeing a 2x increase in write speed and don't know if it's camera limited or overly optimistic ratings on the "Pro" cards but I'm happy with the 50% or so increase in write speed nonetheless. And most importantly the write speed increase is enough that I have not had to wait to take another 2-3 shoot burst.
 

snowhiker

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A few more birder shots. I need to get off my lazy butt and setup some feeders. Seems I am only getting shots of quayles and the one hummingbird whose territory extends to my backyard.

I did get a shot of a songbird, on the neighbors roof, but too far away for good detail. This bird also gave me my first two, and only two, shots of birds in flight. Poor shots really, but I have almost no hope of getting such small and fast birds in flight shots. Been trying to get the hummer when he's hovering but either I'm too slow of AF is too slow and he's already gone before I get a shot off.

Pics below. As usual, click once for full-screen, click again for full-sized, un-cropped/shopped, 24 MP images.







 

snowhiker

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I went ahead and picked up two of those 64 GB Extreme Pro cards for $43/each @ B&H.
On sale today the 14th for $35. Typical. I buy something just before it goes on sale. Sigh. If I didn't already have a ridiculous number of 64 GB SD cards I'd probably buy two more.
 

Chewy509

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Our son's Mottled Scorpion was delivered today.

DSCF3215_2.jpg

(Will try to get a better picture later on when it's not hiding in the cave setup).

Also here is a good view of the underside of his Whip Spider. If you look closely you can see the primary pincers which has spikes a lot like a praying mantis, as well as the mandibles.

DSCF3218_2.jpg

And here is a little friend that has decided to create a web by our front door. (She's a common Garden Orb Weaving Spider).

DSCF3229_2.jpg

Unfortunately the flash drowns out the deep grey colour she has. (The body is about 2.5cm / 1 inch in length).
 

snowhiker

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Ask for a price adjustment? Return / rebuy?
I guess I could have done that, but $18 minus "the hassle/time of doing that" = not worth it.

I now have 10x 64 GB SD cards. 6x more than I'd probably ever need. And that is if I shoot in "raid-1" mode where exact same data is written to slot-1 and slot-2 at the same time.

Now what will happen to me within the next few months is a new, super, must-buy, camera will come out that has ZERO SD slots. LOL.
 

snowhiker

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Since I use my 200-500 f/5.6E lens at the long end 99% of the time, my new dream, I'll never be able to afford it, lens is this one. Of course it's 4-5x the value of my car. :rotfl::rotfl:
 

LunarMist

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Since I use my 200-500 f/5.6E lens at the long end 99% of the time, my new dream, I'll never be able to afford it, lens is this one. Of course it's 4-5x the value of my car. :rotfl::rotfl:
Buy a D7200 and go somewhere where the animals are in a natural setting. Get closer to the subjects and use a blind if necessary.
Generally that's all much cheaper and will yield better results.
 

snowhiker

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Buy a D7200 and go somewhere where the animals are in a natural setting. Get closer to the subjects and use a blind if necessary.
Generally that's all much cheaper and will yield better results.
True. Very true. The NikonUSA web site had a "one-day-only-special-deal" on refurb 7200 for $800. I should have snagged one.
 

snowhiker

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Damn, I did not know there was one. Do they include a year Nikon warranty?
As far as I remember it was a ONE-DAY-ONLY sale on refurb D7200 for $800. Off the official NikonUSA web site so I think they had the one year warranty. But sadly it was one day only.
 

LunarMist

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As far as I remember it was a ONE-DAY-ONLY sale on refurb D7200 for $800. Off the official NikonUSA web site so I think they had the one year warranty. But sadly it was one day only.
I haven given up on the Christmas and will wait until early March, just in case there is something better announced by then. I know it's not likely.
 

snowhiker

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I haven given up on the Christmas and will wait until early March, just in case there is something better announced by then. I know it's not likely.
Everyone in the Nikon world has been hoping and praying for a "pro-model" APS-C camera, ala the D400, that's at least in the same class, if not better than, the Canon 7Dii. But I don't see it happening. The 7Dii isn't a big seller and there's not enough demand, at least from the "general public" for a pro-APS-C model. :(

D400 specs I'd like to see in the "it'll-never-happen" camera .
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
- 24MP APS-C 1.5x crop.
- AF system same class or better than D750/D810.
- Metering based on actual AF-point.
- 10-12 fps.
- LARGE buffer, 50-60 (RAW) images.
- WiFi and GPS.
- Dual (and SAME) memory card slot.
- UNDER $2000.
 

LunarMist

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Everyone in the Nikon world has been hoping and praying for a "pro-model" APS-C camera, ala the D400, that's at least in the same class, if not better than, the Canon 7Dii. But I don't see it happening. The 7Dii isn't a big seller and there's not enough demand, at least from the "general public" for a pro-APS-C model. :(

D400 specs I'd like to see in the "it'll-never-happen" camera .
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
- 24MP APS-C 1.5x crop.
- AF system same class or better than D750/D810.
- Metering based on actual AF-point.
- 10-12 fps.
- LARGE buffer, 50-60 (RAW) images.
- WiFi and GPS.
- Dual (and SAME) memory card slot.
- UNDER $2000.
I don't expect any pro body in APS-C, but perhaps something like the D300/7D class. The new fast card types (XQD, CFast, and SD UHS-II) reduce dependency on large buffers.
 

Stereodude

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Cool shot. I haven't ridden a subway in a long time, but I've never seen one with a fence protecting the tracks.
Japan had something similar for the tracks for the high speed train lines going through the station, but not the standard slow lines.

How do you like Shangahi?
It's okay. I don't think I'd want to live here long term though.
 

snowhiker

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More pictures.

As usual, click on thumbnail for a full screen image, then click again for un-edited/shopped*, full 24MP jpg image.

Taken last December. Beautiful sky but a total crap picture. This is one of those many instances when the eye sees something amazing but the brain knows you won't get a good picture out of it. I thought for a second I should jump in the car and drive a bit to get out in the desert for a decent shot. But by then the light would be gone.



I shot this through a window Christmas Day. Just pointed and clicked. Shame I wasn't zoomed to 500mm. Bird flew away before I could zoom in.



So happy to see a different hummer. This one has pink markings. Sun was already down so ISO is 5000.



Almost had it. Slow AF. Sigh.



Again poor lighting, and hummer was in the middle of the tree, viewfinder showing "H 2.0" and still underexposed so dropped shutter down to 1/40. No ISO recorded in EXIF data so it must have still been above 6400. Not a great shot but decently sharp for handheld at 500mm, just leaning against a post for support. 1/40 sec @ f/5.6. The VR / IS on the Nikkor 200-500 f/5.6E is decent. Maybe not 4.5 stops good as claimed but at least 3 stops of VR reduction.



And finally the hummer letting me know what he thinks of my photography "skill."




As always, any and all comments no matter how brutal, are very welcome.








*image opened in paint.net and re-saved with a touch of jpg compression (if needed) to get file under 8MB for image host site.
 

snowhiker

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A hovering bee. My Texas mountain laurel tree flowers for 2-3 weeks every February so I thought I'd try to get some shots. The all black bumble bees flew away before I could grab the camera, so just got this regular honey bee instead.



1:1 crop. Taken with my 200-500mm at 500mm about 8 feet away. Exposure 1/2000 @ f8, ISO 900. The image is not as sharp as I'd like. Single AF point aimed dead-center of bee. I wonder if I need to play with the focus fine-tune function or perhaps the VR is actually counter-productive with an already fast shutter speed.
 

LunarMist

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A hovering bee. My Texas mountain laurel tree flowers for 2-3 weeks every February so I thought I'd try to get some shots. The all black bumble bees flew away before I could grab the camera, so just got this regular honey bee instead.



1:1 crop. Taken with my 200-500mm at 500mm about 8 feet away. Exposure 1/2000 @ f8, ISO 900. The image is not as sharp as I'd like. Single AF point aimed dead-center of bee. I wonder if I need to play with the focus fine-tune function or perhaps the VR is actually counter-productive with an already fast shutter speed.
I'm not sure about that lens, but a good lens should be much better in the center unless the bee was moving erratically. That was on a so-so tripod, correct? Did you try with the VR off or in different modes?
I used to shoot the bees with a 105/2.8 micro-Nikkor and get quite close. 8 ft. is rather much unless you are allergic to bee stings. ;)
 

snowhiker

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I'm not sure about that lens, but a good lens should be much better in the center unless the bee was moving erratically. That was on a so-so tripod, correct? Did you try with the VR off or in different modes?
I used to shoot the bees with a 105/2.8 micro-Nikkor and get quite close. 8 ft. is rather much unless you are allergic to bee stings. ;)
1) Hand held, no tripod, so perhaps image shake is the issue.
2) "normal" VR mode was on. "sport" mode is for panning I believe.
3) I've used my 105/2.8 on bees as well. Bees were higher in the tree, so tele used.
4) 8 ft. is near the close-focus limit of the 200-500mm f/5.6E lens.

The bees were bouncing around too fast for a tripod to be useful. I thought 1/2000 w/VR working would be fast enough for hand held 500mm shots focused at 8 ft. Perhaps not.

Edit: Long article about Nikon VR here. It's an older article from 2010 but has got me thinking of trying some shots with VR off and see if my results improve.
 
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LunarMist

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1) Hand held, no tripod, so perhaps image shake is the issue.
2) "normal" VR mode was on. "sport" mode is for panning I believe.
3) I've used my 105/2.8 on bees as well. Bees were higher in the tree, so tele used.
4) 8 ft. is near the close-focus limit of the 200-500mm f/5.6E lens.

The bees were bouncing around too fast for a tripod to be useful. I thought 1/2000 w/VR working would be fast enough for hand held 500mm shots focused at 8 ft. Perhaps not.

Edit: Long article about Nikon VR here. It's an older article from 2010 but has got me thinking of trying some shots with VR off and see if my results improve.
You really should test it on a tripod. Don't you have a gimbal head of some sort?
 
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