Fuggle is a Hop

Fuggle is a Hop variety, this is the flavour of the amber liquid, beer, larger, ale, the most wonderful refresher of them all on a hot summers day. This image was shot in the hop garden of the Seven Sheds boutique brewery in Spreyton Tasmania a wonderful place to sample some of the best amber liquid in Australia if not the world! A big claim visit Seven Sheds and taste for yourself!

A very brave photographer…

A very brave photographer with his Linhof Super Technika III 4x5 View Camera hangs on to a small ledge on the north side of the Cataract Gorge Launceston Tasmania

A very brave photographer risks life, limb and his beautiful Linhof Super Technika III 4×5 View Camera. I kid you not this is dangerous. The rock ledge he is perched on is about a metre wide and maybe one and a half metres long, but it is wet because every so often it gets splashed by that raging torrent that is flowing past him. The path that hangs on the north side of the gorge was closed up until the day before this image was made because it was totally flooded!

Memory and the XPro2…

Fuji XPro 2

Alik Griffin has written a really interesting article about flash card memory. Its interesting because the XPro2 turns out to be the fastest camera on the market when it comes to recording your images once the shutter has been pressed.

Alik has prepared a comparative table which gives ample information for thought on this most basic component of digital photography.

The takeaway from my own sixteen years of experience of flash or memory cards goes like this. “The larger the capacity the shorter the life”
This was true in 2002 when the first large capacity CF card with a staggering (at the time) 8Gb capacity card died after a bit over 12 months of usage it was a Sandisk. A few years later a 16 Gb card died. That was a Silicon Memory card very popular in Asia at the time. About five years later a couple 32Gb cards died with in a few months of each other. One was a Sandisk extreme and I remembered I paid what I thought was a lot at the time. Get the pattern!!! There are two elements in this equation, the period between failure and the size of the card both more or less double over time. I’m not complaining about this and rubbishing one brand over another as all cards were well used and I am pretty sure I have never lost any images. I recall that when each started to fail they popped a write error at which point I removed the card and replaced it with a spare.  I did this at all times having had years of experience with floppy drives (another blast from the past) and then once at home I extracted the files with a card reader mostly a San Disk branded unit.
Only once did I have to resort to recovery software. The cards were then reformatted and only used for studio work. invariably they failed again and were tossed in the tech recycling bin.
After pondering on the third cards death I remembered reading a description about the layering of microcircuitry in the RAM manufacturing process from years previous, I had an Apple ][ at the time! So as thoughts go I did more research on the production of flash cards and sure enough there were similarities. The following read write figures may not be correct and I’m not that bothered about accuracy for this purpose. However it seems that once 8Gb cards had been produced they had an expected write life of say 100,000 read write cycles then when another 8Gb layer was added to increase the capacity to 16Gb the read /write cycles reduced by I think half.  It then repeted again another layer of silicon adder to make a 32Gb and so on. The same pattern as my own CF card failure experience! So, with this knowledge I have continued to use nothing but 8Gb cards for every day work and I have not had a single failure since. Of all the brands that I have had multiple cards of  the only one that has never had a failure is Lexar. Now all of this may be down to a mixture of statistics, coincidence and perhaps even luck but that is my sort of ‘rule’ and I’m sticking to it!
As another qualifier I have a 1Gb CF card that is used in a Canon sureshot it dates from 2003 It gets used very little now but I take it out every so often and use it with its handy IR remote to photograph timid creatures in the garden…



De noise more or less…

DeNoise and Define

A few weeks NIK became free Topaz had an offer so I decided to test De Noise and DeFine On the left is the NIK and the right is De-Noise. NIK is about five years old and on that basis it stands up very well. De-noise certainly reduces the colour noise, smoothes out the interpolated constituent colours and increases the contrast at the same time. The result is greater definition overall.
NIK on the other hand seems to just extract selective colour noise and then goes no further… If the strength of noise reduction is increased much beyond moderate in De-Noise it gets smudgy and changes the look of the image. NIK tends to maintain the look and feel albeit with colour noise. I like NIK it has served well and seems to be more effective on higher key images than in this example which was shot at ISO 1600 at ten o’clock at night. Topaz De-Noise is obviously a huge advance in the programmes art and I feel will live up to Topaz’s claims to eliminate high ISO noise.
I need to use De Noise more and under varying conditions with my Olympus EM1. This image was shot on a Fuji XPro1. That said from less demanding images worked on and shot with the EM1 I feel that the results will be very similar. This was an extreme shot hence its use as an illustration of the softwares capabilities.

NIK software collection – now a free download!


Google just announced that the NIK collection is now a free download https://www.google.com/nikcollection/
I seem to recall I paid USD 350 when our Australian $ was about 10% higher. Not too phased about it it has been used a lot all except Efx most of which did not appeal or could be done better with actions in Photoshop.
Personally I would have preferred that the googs update a few of the modules. Define & Sharpen are looking a tad long in the tooth. Vivesa which is sort of like quick mask on steroids, Silver Efx and to a lesser extent HDR will have a lasting place in the tool box. Especially for folks like me who are not prepared to sub scribe to Adobe’s Greed cloud…