http://www.moosepeterson.com/blog/category/technology/camera-tech/lenses/
The latest Nikon lens for the mid range seems to work well for mid range shots.  I am becoming convinced that this will be the next major lens in my bag.  Moose is getting typically great results from it.  He has made major league art in his air to air shooting.  I really love the shots of the B-17 and the recent Corsair shots.  Take a look if you on his site for those as well.
The last year has been crazy.  My photography is not staying still, the Nikonians community has seen a great influx of folks.  My participation is reduced significantly, offset by the development of a local Puget Sound Nikonians chapter.  They have gotten my out of the chair a couple of times and shooting seriously.  The spring shoot of the Tulips in the Skagit Valley, and our recent shoot at the Museum of Flight in Seattle were great fun.
The Software issues are not fully resolved but better.  The Expression Media conversion was avoided by the purchase by Phase One of the package and their release of Media Pro, fixing some significant issues and providing significant assurance that continuing with their product will enable me to keep my workflow intact.  
I am also discovering my iPhone camera in the spirit of the 'best camera', what fun.
For now I am satisfied just pushing my photography forward.  I your reading this I hope you too can find a place for you passion in your life.  sometimes it just takes others to pull you ahead.  I appreciate the Puget Sound Nikonians for getting me moving again.
     Last entry I was pursuing alternatives for my catalog/DAM program Expression Media Pro.  Frustration had become fully developed and with the upgrade of my MAC OS flaws in the tool had become more than annoying.

     Sometimes the value of a technical capability is just not understood or valued for it's explicit uses by management teams not familiar with the culture or environment where their tools are being applied.  Microsoft clearly didn't value the community or understand the existing user base sufficiently to keep the tool current.  Instead they harvested value from the technology for their own culture and exploited it for the community which they did understand and may have gained sufficient value from their  new suite of web tools that they finally realized that further investment in the photographic community wouldn't yield profits enough to make the business case.

     I count myself with the creative folks and many people who find business cases helpful, but would rather rely on customer understanding and software which is developed with creative innovative quality and competence.  iView supported its customers with 'style' and understood the community they served.  The testament to their effort is reflected in the fact that no major upgrade over the 'conversion' to Msft. was released and yet their software remained a leader in the genre.

I did find a couple of very good competitors but had not committed to any when the acquisition by Phase One of my favorite DAM software was announced.  This is the best news in four years.  Phase One has purchased the software and we iView Media Pro/Expression Media Pro folks can now have renewed hope and a tangible investment again.  So, ok I'll give them a chance to show what they can do, and surprise, out of the starting gate a good faith offer to retain the community and give us something tangible.

I took advantage of their offer of Capture One 5 as a free download for licensed EM users had a great initial experience and a flawless install of their first integration upgrade to incorporate the catalog/DAM with their fine photographic workflow software.

  I am impressed with their capability and am willing to give them a chance to redress the years of neglect in the hands of folks who didn't get what they had and mishandled the product badly.  I am very pleased to communicate a very positive experience as a new user of Phase One's products.  This is hopefully the first notice of positive improvements in my own personal workflow.  I'm looking forward to what is coming in the future.

Meanwhile, the rain and colds have put a damper on the photography,  I am hoping that our northwest summer will kick in by the 4th of July.
So it's May, my last post was in November '09.  The Dark is over, holidays and after holiday Taxes, the rain blahs are all behind us now.  Have shot a few good photographs since my last post and am very pleased with my newest equipment addition, my tripod and ballhead.  Panoramas and landscapes have improved.  I will be getting out more as the weather warms.  I always know Summer is close when it's my sisters birthday.  The family birthdays in April & May and the other seasonal changes remind me that it's the time of flowers.  That early morning let's go fishing smell of the moist northwest forest air is one of my favorite things.

It's also software upgrade time.  Upgrading the old laptop to Snow Leopard caused a crisis in my catalog management.  My Expression Media DAM tool is no longer able to reflect the actual thumbnail after adjustment of the RAW file in Capture NX2.  So I am looking for a replacement tool.  I found a fine tool called AtomicView out of Europe, it is very fast and has a nice UI, but it can't view the revised RAW file either.

It is frustrating that the embedded jpeg file which should reflect the last saved raw scripted edits appears not to be saved into the NEF file.

I intend to move to another tool at the end of the day. But while I am still looking for a catalog solution.  I am sure I am leaving the Microsoft tool, it's just a matter of when.  At least AtomicView reads their forums.  Over on the Microsoft support site there is a thread, the most attended thread, which is a very thorough discussion of what the available alternatives are to the Expression Media Pro tool.  You have to acknowledge that support and development of a product is on it's last legs when the company doesn't bother to read it's own user support forums.  Customers are the life blood of any software package, and when the firms own forum hosts the discussion of how to move on, you have to admit being patient further is probably foolish.
 
The summer is coming, and the pictures will flow from the camera.  Perhaps we'll get a patch to the software after all.  But I am taking this lesson in company commitment and enthusiasm seriously.  The small startup with the positive and supportive forums focused on the customer and the other approach.
So, I have spent the evening recovering from a cold and editing some photos I took last summer.  A conversation I had tonight struck me hard.  The technology of accomplishing the task, what ever it is, is a separate thing a separate transaction from the capture.  I was thinking of my early photographic training and Ansel's book 'The Print'.  I was working with a car shot in a parking lot, and the unfortunate thing was that it was in the cull pile... due to a background issue.  The guy sitting in the chair at the other end of the car, likely the owner of the neighboring car wasn't helping the shot at all.  The general background was fine.  In the old days, I wouldn't have hesitated to mask him out of the print and take it from there.  For a moment I considered why I'd tossed this shot, and realized I was using a different standard for my digital shot.  I was using the I can adjust contrast, color, noise etc, but not change the reality to make a better picture.  This double standard is one of those things everyone struggles with.  This time I took charge, opened it in Photoshop and masked him out of the shot.  Got a much nicer file and finished the picture as I normally do.  I don't do this very often, but no one is making a news article from the shot, and the car was special, and I wanted it in my collection of car images.  Technology changes but it enables us to do what we know in new ways, I find it interesting that the underlying power of the technology would inhibit an old shooter from making a nice shot more interesting to share.

Where has the time gone

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Since first note I have shot a significant number of pictures, had two significant hard drive crashes and been sick at least 6 weeks over the last 7 months.  The best of intentions and I still have not done a thing with this blog and am determined to start soon.  Just have to begin and stay in the habit.  More soon.
Well, this new blog has presented me with the capability to end the excuses and begin to document my observations about my photography and the other visual things which attract my attention.  I do love shiny objects!  Take a look at my Nikonians Gallery.  Take a look at the new entries, the Charleston Trip and in Natural world,  the latest is a Coopers Hawk, in the P.A. back yard.  Enjoy.