Saturday, June 5, 2010

The NY Times speaks out...

Most photographers don't usually publish other photographer's images on their blogs, but I felt this photo-essay was too important not to share.

In defense of the planet...

Environmental Activism and photography have been bedfellows for a long time. From the photographs of William Henry Jackson, whose photographs in the 1870s later influenced the creation of Yellowstone National Park, through the later work of Elliot Porter, whose work in the Glen Canyon did not save the area from flooding but drew national attention to the environmental conflict, photographers have often fought "the good fight" to preserve the earth we inhabit.
Yes, the Earth has a tremendous capacity for renewal, and there are flowers blooming at Chernobyl. But do you ever wonder just how far we can push before we reach the end of Nature's potential to regenerate? If we lose this game, the stakes are very high.
So the next time some political genius asks, "How's that hopey/changey thing working for ya?", suggest that they ask the residents of the Gulf coast how "Drill, baby, drill" is working for them.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Nexto ND2700

Nexto ND2700

independent battery-powered Peripheral drive

Because those who know me are aware of my borderline paranoia (some would argue with the “borderline” part…), they know I insist on redundancy when it comes to back-up (I say it’s not paranoia when they’re really after you…) For this reason, I need to have reliable back-up that is NOT laptop-dependent. In case the laptop is stolen. Lost. Trampled by elephants. Eaten by piranhas. Pooped on by pelicans. Etc.

The Nexto eXtreme fits the bill pretty well. It’s small, fast, and holds 320 GB. It can download a 4 GB card in less than 5 minutes (with a 5400 rpm drive) and a 7200 rpm edition is due out soon, according to the company. And did I mention it costs about $260? It has a small LCD so you can tell where your folders are going, but cannot be used for editing. The Epson P-5000 can, but costs $700. That makes it a pretty simple choice for me. I’m looking for storage here, not a mini-computer screen. My Nexto has survived weeks along the Amazon in 200% humidity. It has been dropped (not an activity I recommend) and continues to hum. The battery is rechargeable and you may also purchase an external battery that extends the usability of the unit in the field.

An excellent value!

Check it out at

Leopard Lacewing

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Map Treefrog (Hypsiboas geographicus)

Notice anything different about this Map Treefrog (Hypsiboas geographicus)?

How about its eyes? How about the different color of each eye? I can't explain the difference, and if anyone out there can shed some light on this, I would appreciate the information.

And yes, I moved the frog from the leaf to the other location. It was done very carefully, with minimal handling to avoid bruising. Amphibians have very delicate skin, and any bruises can encourage entry by parasites or fungi, leading to the death of the frog.
"Primum non nocere" remains the Golden Rule of responsible nature photography--"First, do no harm!"

Ring Flash Revisited...

Hi Bill;

The rig on the Adorama site is similar in concept to the Nikon and Canon "ring flash" in that it has two discrete light sources instead of a single ring around the lens. This allows for some separation and directionality. I notice that the light sources are also more distant from the face of the lens, allowing for even more flexibility. I'm not familiar with the manufacturer, but it might be worth trying, especially if you can adjust the intensity of the flash units individually.
Good luck and let me know how it turns out!


Monday, April 19, 2010

Polkadot treefrog, revisited

Here's another image of the same type of treefrog, but a different color morph. The Polkadot tree frog is actually a fairly common species in this part of the Peruvian Amazon.

Thanks for the kind words. I think the lighting is indeed rather flat. One of the drawbacks of ring flash is that the light is parallel to the lens axis and falls flat on the subject. When you consider that it is DIRECTIONAL light that causes shadow, and therefore, texture, it is not surprising that edges "lack character". In addition, the flower of the water hyacynth is far enough away from the leaf so there is no shadow.