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Mount Washington Ride 2011

Last year a large group of about 12 motorcycles rode up to Mount Washington from Boston, drove up the mountain, and came home via the Kangamangus Highway (which has got to be one of the best roads in the Northeast.  You can see pictures here: Mount Washington 2010 Photos

This year was a much smaller ride, just three bikes: myself, Christian (which Hannah riding with him) and Alex.  All Ducatis, which was fun.  Having a smaller group was easier in many ways and made the whole day a little more laid back, although I did miss the massive group ride dynamic as well.

It was a long day, leaving my house at 9 AM and getting home just after midnight, but it was a lot of great riding, amazing views, good photos, and good friends.  Climbing Mount Washington was amazing as always.  At the top there was a huge glider circling the mountain and leveraging the wind and updrafts.  I shot some video of that.  On the way home at a rest stop in New Hampshire I got some cool photos of the moon behind impressive clouds.

You can see photos and the glider video here:   Mount Washington 2011 Photos

or just look below:

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Cambridge, MA – Winter 2009

I walked around the Harvard Square area a bit with Christian and shot some photos. I haven’t been shooting much since I moved back East from Seattle, so it was good to get out and take some pictures, although the pictures don’t really capture how COLD it was:)

Photo Shoot with the Canon 40D

I haven’t shot with a model in quite a while, and as such my new Canon 40D has been mostly used to document trips to the aquarium, and things like that.

On Wednesday I had a fantastic shoot with a model named Nori, who recently moved up to Seattle. It was great to be shooting fun stuff with a model again, and I hope this is the kick I need to get back into shooting on a more serious basis.

First, about Nori, she’s great to work with. She seems smaller and younger in person, but when in front of the camera instantly projects a commanding presence that makes it easy to want to shoot her. With a camera I mean. She largely poses herself, and moves through a variety of positions and expressions, pausing between transitions so it’s easy to capture. She is a trained dancer, which shows in her flexibility and natural alignment into very beautiful lines. She also takes direction easily, although I only had to ask for a few minor adjustments to get the look I wanted.

I highly recommend her as a model and hope to work with her again soon.

Second, the 40D is an amazing camera. I upgraded from my Canon Digital Rebel (300D) several months ago, but this was my first real shoot with it. I was using my two Alien Bee lights, one with a reflecting umbrella, and one with a large softbox, for lighting.

My impressions of the 40D, especially in contrast to the 300D (which I overall really liked) are as follows:

It’s really really fast. It starts up with no delay, the autofocus is not only instant, but razor sharp with no back or front focus issues, the shutter lag isn’t noticable at all, and the increased buffer size and processing power meant that unlike the 300D I never had to wait for the camera, and could snap as fast as I wanted even though I was shooting 10 MPixel Raws + high quality JPGs the whole time. The 300D used to bind up easily and left me, and the model, waiting for it to flush out the image buffer. The 40D imposed no such constraints.

The dynamic range is bigger. It was much easier to get the exposure I wanted without over or under exposing portions of the image. It’s a noticeable and welcome improvement.

The auto-exposure is better. I shot in manual mode for this shoot, so this doesn’t come into play, but from my other uses of the camera, I would trust it’s auto exposure for a real shoot. I wouldn’t trust the 300Ds for an important shoot.

The images look amazing. Great colors, good saturation, wide dynamic range, sharp focus, the whole package. The JPGs even look great. A few more shoots like that, and I may start to question the need for the RAWs. I’m normally a firm believer in shooting RAW, and I did my editing and outputting based on the RAWs using Aperture, however the final output images weren’t noticably better than the JPGs the camera itself had generated with the RAWs. Obviously if I’m in a situation where there are questions about lighting/exposure, I’ll stick with RAW, but with controlled studio lit situations, at least based on this last shoot, I’m not seeing a huge reason to keep with the RAWs.

Essentially I am very very happy with the new camera.

Out of 400 images, I had 52 that I really liked, and finally had to cut it down to 28 images that I thought were great. You can see them here:

20 images, starting from the last image on this page, and continuing for 3 more pages:

8 images, with nudity *be warned*, on this page: