31 March 2008

The Nikon 18-200mm

When I first purchased my D70s one and a half years ago, this was THE lens I had my eye on. This was the lens I knew I would have to get someday, but it was so expensive and hard to get I couldn't justify it till now. Well, here it is. This is the first "zoom" lens I've owned. I've had it for about an hour and it's pretty dang incredible. I know that 3rd party lenses are good (Tamron, Tokina, Sigma, etc), but in my humble opinion, there is nothing out there built like a Nikon. The quality, precision, speed, sharpness, and overall build is just in a league of it's own. There is nothing like it.

Took these from my chair...

(@ 18mm)

(@ 200mm)

(100% magnification @ 200mm)

Besides covering the entire standard range of focus in one lens, it also has Vibration Reduction (VR). Nikon says this gives you 2 extra stops in low-light situations. On my first impression, I found it to be better than that. The following shot was taken at 200mm. The general rule of thumb is that you should shoot with anything slower than the inverse of the focal length (i.e. if you're zoomed in at 200mm, 1/200sec is as slow as you should use). If I gain 2 stops of light (through VR), at 200mm I should be able to shoot at 1/50sec (one stop: 200/2=100, two stop: 100/2=50). This next shot is at 200mm. The shutter speed: 1/13sec.

(@ 200mm, 1/13sec)

(100% magnification @ 200mm)

I mean, it's not the sharpest shot ever, but it's pretty incredible. 1/13sec at 200mm is ludicrous to attempt, but here we are. You can feel the VR almost "floating" the image around through the viewfinder. It's insane. I can't imagine the electronics involved within this beast.

Well that's it for now. Tomorrow I get my Tripod (with a capital "T" because it's so awesome). Actually, I'm just going to refer to it as "Tripod" from now on (ex. "Has anyone seen Tripod around?")

(I've got so much backlog for my blog. I've got backblog. I hope I can get to it soon.)

On a completely unrelated note: I knew one of these was going to hit too close to home...

#93 Music Piracy

Don't judge me, StuffWhitePeopleLike.com!

28 March 2008

Jody's One Man Comedy Spectacular

...Starring Jody and a couple other people. Well... something like that. We went to see Jody do stand up last night as part of a monthly (i think) comedy troop he's a part of (feel free to correct me, Jody). It started out a bit rough (the comedy, not Jody) but it got to be pretty funny. I'm really tough on stand-up comedy. It's just... it's like watching someone do karaoke or some recital, I get so nervous for the person and at the first sign of things not going well I start to sweat. On top of that, I have fairly high expectations for what makes me laugh, so stand-up... well, I don't usually go to stand-up.

However, I ended up really enjoying this one. All of the comedians seemed to have a really good sense of humor, not just in telling jokes, but in reacting to mistakes and crowd comments. It's always nice to see someone roll with the punches. And of course, Jody was hilarious. Rather than a typical "So I was flying to Albuquerque the other day...," he reads from his "diary" regarding various days/activities. I think it's a good way to add a little uniqueness to a market I'm sure is rather difficult to stand out in.

Something I find funny is that Jody told me he attributes most of the way his sense of sarcasm is now to me (high school me). I find this funny, because I attribute a HUGE amount of my overall sense of humor to him. Funny how that works.

Jody's date did not like the camera. (Tyler pointed out to me that it looks like I was taking a picture of Jody's date and Jody ran in to shove her out of the way and get in the picture. I agree with that.)

Shameless self promotion on Jody's shirt...

I wish I could say, "A face like this happens when...", but I have no idea. I just opened my mouth and this was the photo we got.

On the other hand, I really really enjoy this shot of Jess. She looks surprised/anxious/confused. It's a face you don't normally catch. I guess it only lasts a split second normally. And the light is cool.

27 March 2008

Photoshop Express (Online)

Hey everyone. I thought this was pretty cool. Adobe has put a free version of Photoshop online (no need to install anything, it's all flash based on the site). You can create a personalized page with 2GB of space. It's obviously not a full blown version of PS, but it looks like it'll cover the basics that you'd need a basic version of PS for anyway. It looks pretty simple to use and definitely a cool option. Here's a list of what it can do:

Crop & Rotate
Auto Correct with variations
Red Eye Removal
White Balance
Fill Light
Soft Focus
Pop Color

For day to day photos, there's not much more you could ask for.

Adobe Photoshop Express

26 March 2008

No Good Deed...

Well, I was in the Harris Teeter parking lot yesterday waiting to get out when I had my first encounter with a runaway cart. I saw it moving, but it wasn't going to hit me. It was heading straight for this BMW who was not able to get out of the way of it. I didn't think I had time to undo my seatbelt and run around my car to grab it, so my video game instincts must have taken over because I decided to stop it with my car (more accurately I thought I'd tap it with the bumper and maybe stop it). Well, I did slow it down enough for the BMW guy to get out of the way, so that was good. I kept meaning to check it out last night and see if I messed anything up, but forgot till this morning. Obviously, I messed something up.

Not a huge deal. $40. Ah well.

24 March 2008


Hey wanna watch The Big Lebowski?

Family Guy Movie?

Perhaps you'd prefer any episode of Arrested Development or Sunny in Philidelphia?

Or maybe just SNL?

Holy crap. So Billiard(king of pop culture) just sent me this. I've seen some videos from Hulu before but never thought much about it. They have all these movie and shows on their site for free. AND it looks like they're doing it LEGALLY with permission from all these networks.

I don't know what else to say. Okay I just thought of something: wow. Yeah. So thanks for the heads up, Billy. Everyone else, you really should check out all the stuff they have up already.


(oh, and they have 3 Amigos! on there. snap)

21 March 2008

Happy Good Friday

1.) Listening to Colbert's book at work. Too funny. Here are some quotes I enjoyed.

Buddism. Here's another go figure religion. "Hey why don't we all put on robes and sit in a rock garden and just, like, be aware?" Exactly. That's the easiest rhetorical question I've ever asked. Buddism instructs its followers to forsake attachment to material things. I say go for it guys. That's just more material things for those of us who have enough sense to glorify our Lord with speedboats.

Sodom and Gomorrah. If you ever wonder what God thinks about sodomy just ask a Sodomite. Oh that’s right; you can’t because God destroyed them all with fire and brimstone.

Ha. Speedboats.

2.) There's this bizarre little furry bug character in Horton Hears a Who. She's THE most random part of the whole movie and whenever she's on screen she does something totally creepy and random and it's hilarious. here's one of them...

3.) I've always enjoyed MSNBC's Week in Pictures page, but after some time learning about quality and whatnot, I really REALLY enjoy them. To me, they're like, the pinnacle of awesome photojournalism nowadays. I just got done going through weeks and weeks on their site and it's just... awesome. I don't know what those people are doing there at the right place and time, but I'm glad they're there.

4.) A friend from church sent me an email telling me they make Safari for Windows now. Not one to shy away from new things, I've been giving it a go this week. It's interesting. It's not as universal (in terms of reading all websites and applications) as firefox or explorer, but it's pretty darn fast. It seems to use a little less memory than Firefox, it loads pages faster, and the colors/contrast are different. It's odd. I'm not entirely sure what it is, but the contrast is different; seems more saturated or something. Anyway, it's new; it's different; it's worth checking out.


19 March 2008

Josh Gives Concert Photography a Shot

(Ingrid Michaelson & Joshua Radin, respectively)

Usually, I just bring my Olympus to concerts so i can record parts of songs, however, I did not last night. I really want to get a press pass for Bonnaroo this year, so (and while I really don't know how possible that is) I thought I'd give it a go last night in hopes of getting some practice. The Exit/In seems like the most difficult lighting (other than no lighting) to shoot under. It's pretty dim and the only lights are spotlights, so there's no middle ground on light and dark. 

For what it's worth, all of these were taken at 50mm, f/2-ish on ISO 1600. Then I used some major noise reduction in PS with Neat Image. (That first one of Ingrid was a lucky catch of someone else's flash.)

Things I could've improved on... I could've moved more. I was off to the side and didn't feel wading up to the front for a shot was worth it that night (i mean, this was just for me). That's the biggest one i can think of. I could also use more zoom. 50mm is essentially the same zoom/field of vision as your eyes. So, something over 100mm would be lovely (and I think I have just the lens for that).

By the way, the concert was great. We were excited to see Ingrid Michaelson and Joshua Radin. They seemed like super nice people. The appeared quite genuine and I can imagine them being great fun to be around.

17 March 2008

I Love Excuses to Get Together with Friends

And this was no exception. I hope everyone had as good of time as I did. I feel like I didn't get to talk to everyone as much as I would've liked, but hopefully you got to talk to someone... for... as much as you liked. Anywho, some pictures! (NOTE: I apologize for any unflattering pictures of anyone. I just takes what I sees. Just kidding. I just like unflattering pictures :) )

The lovely bakeries made by my wife... delicious.

"The flag is fine, Dudley! Go put your shirt on!"

(ha. Dudley, the Black-Irish Pimp (thanks, Jon))

Jesse wondering if it's time to party yet. Steve is... sad... that it might not be time to party yet.

Huh. Billy, Jody, & Chris (sorry you're mid drink there, billy)

Cara... impersonating Dudley?

Quite possibly the most disturbing Todd image ever.

I'll make it up to you, Todd, with this fat Josh pic.

More people!

I can't believe I didn't think about this before, but the wireless flash was a pretty fun party prop. I could just give it to people and let them point it wherever while I took a picture. As you can see, Billy and Jody enjoyed it.

And just when I think I may have run out of uses for the fisheye, it goes and reminds me of how it's the absolute best party/group shot lens ever. You really couldn't ask for more. ALSO, many props to Summer's husband Thomas for his awesome faces in the group shots. He had some good ones. (And look at my Mr. Fantastic arms go!)

But of course, none of this would've happened with the (my) most awesome party plannin' wife. I couldn't possibly ask for more.

I think the cats helped too, but not nearly as much.

(Of course, if anyone wants any of these full size, just let me know. I gots 'em.)