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More Pixels Let You Get More Detail From Your Originals.

One of the first digital cameras that I owned was the Olympus C-2000Z. This was way back in the year 2000. With its 3X zoom lens it had a sensor able to record images 1600 x 1200 pixels – roughly 2.5 megapixels. I treasured this digital camera since it allowed me to bypass the all of the film, darkroom and scanning steps and go directly to the computer screen. While the consensus is that 35mm film is roughly equivalent to 20 megapixel resolution, the quality of printed images from the C-2000Z would not match those made with film but they were certainly adequate for computer display.

Of course we’ve witnessed so many amazing improvements in technology these past twenty years and many would argue that digital imaging quality has surpassed that of film.

Since then I’ve been lucky enough (or unlucky according to my wife) to own a succession of digital cameras. With each new model the sensor resolution among other features has steadily increased. For a few years I have been using the Sony A7 III camera. This is a full-frame, mirrorless device with a 24 megapixel sensor and has proven to deliver excellent images under a large variety of shooting conditions. This camera had about the equivalent image quality as my ancient 35mm film cameras about 6000 x 4000 pixels.

A few years ago I upgraded to a newer Sony A7R IV camera mostly for its advanced autofocus and high burst shooting capabilities. It also gave me another feature – a sensor that captures 9500 x 6300 pixels – an astounding 60 megapixels of imaging data.

Shortly thereafter on my next photo excursion by car, I headed out west with the A7R IV.

Below is a photograph that I took when I stopped to shoot a large cattle feed lot near Ogallala, NE. I was standing across the Interstate highway about 100 yards from the lot fence.



The size of the original image is 9504 x 6336 pixels but for this web article the original has been reduced to 600 x 400 pixels (or 1200 x 800 if you click to enlarge)
.



Below I have cut portions from the original image to show you the amount of detail this camera is capable of recording. These portions are not enlargements. They are part of the original 9500 x 6300 image that have been cropped to fit on the computer screen.



Here are the cattle that are standing next to fence adjacent to the highway. You can clearly see the detail of these animals.




Here you can see the silo with the logo towards the back of the feed lot.



Lastly is an even smaller potion of the original image that shows even more detail of the silo.



Hopefully you can see why high resolution equipment is useful when shooting subjects such as scenery or wildlife. Capturing so much detail enables you to crop portions of your original photograph to achieve a desired composition.


Written by: Arnie Lee


The Small Stuff

23rd November 2013

Sometimes it’s the little things that count

I love being outdoors enjoying nature. And I’m an ardent admirer of landscapes and scenery.

When I’m hiking the scented woods, the winding trails, the golden meadows or the salty seashores, my eyes are usually drawn to the big things – the rolling hills, the roaring rivers, the jagged mountains, the immense forests.

But every so often something tiny, delicate or ephemeral catches my attention. I’m not deliberately seeking out the “small stuff” but somehow they make their way to the front of my lens as I attempt to duplicate the emotive feeling that I get from seeing them.



Yellowstone NP

Jenny Lake, Grand Teton NP


Goldfield, AZ

Reno, NV

Mammoth Hot Springs


Rocky Mountain NP

Glacier NP

 
Maybe after looking at a few of these up close photos, you’ll have a better understanding of how transitioning from the big stuff to the little stuff can change your point of view in a hurry.

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 

 


 

 

 

National Park Shutdown

20th October 2013

Just Slightly Disappointed

My plan was to photograph scenery and wildlife in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. I aimed the car towards the west, drove the 1900 miles to Jackson Hole and arrived on Sunday. I would spend a day in the Tetons and the evening in West Yellowstone, MT., explore the Lamar Valley and Mammoth Hot Springs on Monday, get some rest in Gardiner, MT. and then drive a short distance to Norris Geyser Basin to marvel at its thermal features on Tuesday. Of course neither I nor the hundreds of other visitors had an inkling that the parks would be closed.

On Tuesday (October 1, 2013) morning at 7:30am, I left Gardiner and passed through the grand arch on my way to the north entrance of Yellowstone. The ranger at the gate informed me that all entrances would be closing at 8:00am due to the government shutdown.

I thought, how lucky I am: “Since I’ve made it into the park, I’m going to be able to hike through the geyser basin at Norris.” I’d soon find out otherwise.


As a drove past the all of the turnoffs – Mammoth Terraces, Midway Geyser Basin, Biscuit Basin, West Thumb – I found orange cones barricading the entrance ways. Apparently, the park service anticipated the shutdown before the 8 o’clock gate closing and were already set to abide by the orders from Washington, DC.

While I was disappointed that I would not be able to visit Norris, I realized that all was not lost. There were plenty of places along the Grand Loop Road at which to stop to enjoy the scenery and wildlife.


There’s plenty of wildlife in Yellowstone and as far as I can tell none are aware that the park is closed so they’re out doing their own thing.

As I was driving in the northern part of the park just north of Obsidian Cliff, I saw this bison grazing in the field against the snow-covered mountains.

This was a lone bison, but during my short stay, I saw more bison in the park than any other species.


Continuing down the road a few miles, I pulled over at Roaring Mountain. It’s adjacent to the highway so anyone passing by can stop to admire the view.

The huge hillside is packed with dozens of fumaroles spewing steam and water into the air. It’s an amazing site.


My next stop was at Nymph Lake which is also adjacent to the highway.

Here I spotted another bison that was warming himself by the thermals and offered a picturesque view.

Although the bison was about 150 yards distant, one of my cameras had a long telephoto lens and was able to produce this capture.


Then I turned around to see another nice view.

This is Nymph Lake which also has thermals surrounding it. You can see how the trees towards the middle have been stripped of their needles and the trunk and branches absorbed the minerals from the hot springs.


Driving to just past the Midway Geyser Basin I pulled aside the highway again.

This is the Firehole River. Do you know how the river gets its name?

Here you can see the hot waters from the uphill geysers flowing over the rocks and feeding the river. The rocks gain their color from the various bacteria that inhabit these hot waters.


My next stop was at Old Faithful. I’ve been here many times but never have I seen as empty a parking area as today – fewer than 50 cars. Inside the Inn only the gift and coffee shops remained opened serving just a few visitors. Back outside I found a sign announcing the closing of the Old Faithful viewing boardwalk. The visitors ignored the sign and Old Faithful erupted as usual.

I walked around the boardwalk and snapped a few photos including this one of the Blue Star Spring.


Having lost hope that most of my favorite stop off areas were closed, I thought it was time to depart.

I continued on the highway towards the south entrance. When I reached the Lewis Falls area, I again stopped to admire the calm yet colorful foliage along the Lewis River.


As I exited Yellowstone at the south entrance, I stopped to take a souvenir photo of my shortened trip to my two favorite national parks.

I actually have a second photo that shows a closed Grand Teton National Park.


Before heading home, I made one final stop at another of my favorite places. Oxbow Bend is just outside the Grand Teton park boundary.

Here the Snake River makes an abrupt turn in a large flat that exposes the gorgeous Teton Range.

I’m thankful that this location was not barricaded.

Unfortunately, I saw buses of visitors that were unable to enter the park. I’m sure they are very disappointed by the shutdown. Although my visit was cut short, I still had a few days to enjoy my two favorite national parks and take back a few memorable photographs.

On the other hand, there were hundreds of thousands of government workers who were furloughed. And then there were the employees of the private enterprises that rely on park visitors – hotels, restaurants, gift shops, gas stations, more. Compared to these others, I suffered only minor inconvenience. I hope this doesn’t happen again to any of us.

Please feel free to leave your comments or observations.
 
 
Written by: Arnie Lee