JHP Newsletter - 2008, No. 2, 31 July
Greetings from Glacier National Park, Montana!
Equipment: Apple MacBook Pro
I haven't bought a new laptop. Rather, the laptop has become my only computing platform. My partner and I have moved into an RV full time, and there's not enough room or power to run my old eight-core Mac Pro. The MacBook Pro can process images in Photoshop just as fast as the Mac Pro, and it's almost as fast running Capture One. It's real limitation is that it can only obtain good performance with these two processor-intensive applications when that's the only thing it's running. My old Mac Pro could keep blazing through interactive Photoshop processing with Capture One processing images in the background and Safari and Word running in the background.
I can hear you wondering how I can do critical image processing on a laptop, and the answer is that I'm still using the Eizo ColorEdge CG210 as an external display for that work. The laptop screen has replaced my old Eizo FlexScan L887 as a second screen for pallets and such.
Internet access is not much of a problem because I'm using a Verizon air card (a USB727), so we can get internet just about anywhere, including while motoring down the road. In fact, I'm sending this from St. Mary campground in Glacier National Park. It's wonderful to be able to go out and shoot early in the morning, return to the office in the middle of the day, then go out shooting in the evening again, and in a few days move the office to another great shooting location.
Travel: Mt. Evans, Colorado
Our first destination after moving into the RV was Mt. Evans, Colorado. Mt. Evans is probably the best spot in the US to shoot mountain goats, and early June is when the babies start coming out. We didn't see as many babies as usual, but we did spend some wonderful quality time with one youngster and its mother (below left). The best part of our stay was finding a group of bighorn sheep with two lambs. We started shooting them near the road, then I followed them up a steep hill and spent a couple of hours with them as they relaxed and let me approach quite close. The shot of the ewe and lamb (below right) is one of my favorites.
1/750 sec, f11, ISO 320
1/1500 sec, f8, ISO 320
Travel: Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks
After getting the RV all ready for boondocking (camping without facilities), by installing solar-electric panels, an inverter, and a new larger bank of AGM batteries, we headed up to Grand Teton National Park. My partner wanted to shoot a sunrise with the Patriarch tree, so we headed out before dawn one morning to take the short hike out to the tree. I passed on the official subject and used a nearby fallen tree as a foreground subject for a nice shot of first light on the Tetons (below left). The image was exposed for the sunlit peak, then processed twice to get detail in the peaks and the foreground. We saw some interesting wildlife while in the park, including two two-year-old grizzly bears, some coyotes, and a pair of sandhill cranes. The most interesting shots were of two Richardson's ground squirrels prairie-dogging at their burrow (below right).
1/4 sec, f16, ISO 100
1/250 sec, f11, ISO 400
We had some great grizzly encounters in Yellowstone, and were able to get good shots during one of them (below left). The most interesting wildlife encounter was a group of bison bulls that were sparring. The two bulls in the image below right were eyeing each other up before testing each other's strength. That was the first time I had seen bison bulls spar, and it was fascinating. They'd approach each other, decide if they were comparable, scratch up the dirt and urinate in it, then tussle to find out who was stronger.
1/500 sec, f8, ISO 800
1/250 sec, f8, ISO 400
While looking for bears one morning, we stopped to shoot wildflowers. Sticky geraniums (below left) have very colorful blooms that are about an inch across. Later, after shooting some paintbrush, I focused on some nicely backlit fern fronds and captured the image below right.
1/60 sec, f4, ISO 100
1/30 sec, f16, ISO 100
Travel: Shoshone National Forest and Beartooth Pass
We spent three wonderful nights in the Shoshone National Forest near the Beartooth Pass at around 10,000 ft. The area is east of the northeast entrance of Yellowstone, and the alpine landscape was covered with wildflowers and wildlife. We saw, but didn't shoot, mountain goats and whitetail deer, and shot marmots and picas. We boondocked next to Little Bear Creek, and had great scenery within 100 yds to use for sunrise shots. The shot across a slow, almost pond-like area of Little Bear Creek (below left) includes the best sky we had. One frame was captured to make the image, and it was processed twice, once exposed for the sky and once exposed for the foreground. On our last morning, we got some color again, just enough to help the shot looking downstream over a cascade on the creek (below right). Two frames were captured for this image, one exposed for the sky and one exposed for the foreground.
1/6 sec, f11, ISO 100
0.7 sec & 3 sec, f11, ISO 100
Most of the marmots in the area were very skittish, but some let us approach and take good images (below left). Picas are usually very active, running throughout their territory collecting food and bringing it back to their dens. We found two different picas that were unusually good models — they stopped and posed for minutes on end, and allowed us to move in very close (below right).
1/1000 sec, f8, ISO 250
1/750 sec, f8, ISO 200
So far, it's been incredibly windy here in Glacier. We've been able to get some great shots of bighorns and a sunrise. I'll tell you about it in the next Newsletter.
Take care and happy shooting.
James Hager Photography :: www.jameshagerphoto.com