Photograph of an American Bison in the Snow
Bison in Morning Light on a Cold Winter Day

Happy New Year to all my readers.

Not that any of this is important in the grand scheme of life, but it’s always fun to numerically describe key events from the past year.

A quick look back at 2019 from my view of the road, by the numbers.

50.61 Percent Increase in Website Page Hits

29,550 Words Written on My Blog

0 Hours Spent Working For The Man

5 Months of Mountain Cabin Time

60 Soaks in the Hot Tub

0 Traffic Tickets

0 Traffic Accidents

4 New Tires

1 New Windshield

8 Trips to Denver International Airport

10 Lbs Weight Lost

1 Close Friend Passed Away

0 Visits to the Dentist

4 Snow Blower Activations

4 Photography Contests Judged

13 Days of Moose Photography

7,787 Moose Photographs

5 Days of Autumn Photography

518 Autumn Landscape Photographs

2 Days of Deer Photography

641 Deer Photographs

14 Days of Bird Photography

4,368 Bird Photographs

2 Days of Mountain Goat Photography

1,260 Mountain Goat Photographs

1,084 Stock Photographs Submitted

65 Stock Photographs Rejected

2,230 Photographs Sold

0 Cameras Purchased

1 Camera Sold

1 Lens Purchased

4 Lenses Sold

0 Equipment Failures

365 Morning Kisses For My Wife

365 Days of Retirement

0 Regrets

https://youtu.be/lwIkEZq4gIw

Expanding upon yesterday’s blog entry, I combined two different 4k video clips into one clip for comparison. This tests the 4k fps rate, first half being 60 fps and the second half being 30 fps.  Kinda boring stuff, but the idea was to see if creating 4k video using budget video editing software was viable.

Short answer, yes it is.

What I’ve noticed is that when using Corel Video Studio 2019, the preview video in the editor runs a little herky-jerky. The software is barely able to keep up when editing. Editing the same video clips in OpenShot video editor, there is a bit of improvement in the viewing panel, noticeably less choppiness, but still a little. This leads me to wonder if a full blown high end editing solution is going to improve the editing experience. Something like Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premier Elements, Filmora, or something like that. Hard to say at this point, as I don’t have the software and I’m not going to drop hundreds of dollars on it to find out.

Another consideration of course is the actual PC hardware. I’m not really state of the art here at the moment. Running a 4th generation Intel based i7 on a 5 year old motherboard with a budget graphics card could quite well be a limiting factor for the smoothness of the editing experience. But, that’s why I’m testing it. Does 4k video require the latest-greatest hardware and software to be a usable proposition for an average Joe out there trying to achieve a 4k video creating solution.

Everything starts with the camera though. If one wishes to delve into 4k, one must have a camera capable of 4k recording.  Which leads to the thought about current DSLR’s vs Camcorders vs Action Cameras.

Another consideration is the frame rate of the 4k video capture.

With most cameras on the market being capable of capturing HD video, shooting high definition with 60 fps capability seems to be commonplace. The most common frame rates are 24, 30 and 60 fps. 24 fps being the cinema video standard, 30 fps being standard consumer grade HD video and 60 fps being more suitable for those wanting to capture moving objects and creating smoother slow motion. High Def 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps is about where the state of the art is for consumer level electronics, but as you can tell from all the marketing hype, 4k is now becoming more common.

Resolution is doubled with 4k, at a base of 3840 x 2160 pixels.  The associated files sizes are growing as well, with a 60 fps clip being twice the size of a 30 fps clip. As with all things in the technical specs of consumer electronics, you can be certain that within the next few years, 4k video is creeping in as that new standard and for it to be a solid standard, we’ll have to see 60 fps as a minimum capability. If you’re buying a camera or camcorder that doesn’t support 4k at 60 fps, you’re buying into an already obsolete standard and to move up, you’ll have to replace it.

I found an article on “Camera Jabber” that lists the top consumer grade cameras for shooting 4k at 60 fps, so if you’re looking to get this deep into the 4k craze, this is pretty much where you should be starting. Anything less and you’ll be buying into obsolescence.

Here’s the link to that article.

Wilson's Mesa, Colorado
Autumn Scenery in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

I’ve been hard at work not taking photographs this past week. Sometimes, you just have to spend time in the office and get the housecleaning taken care of.

I’m presently getting things together for the upcoming Autumn Photography trip to the San Juan Mountains of Colorado during the last week of September. A summer’s worth of dust and grime has built up on the camera equipment. Cleaning is underway.

On the digital front, I’m making a few changes to my online footprint. Since I’ve decided to retire from doing active photo tours and workshops, I’ll be discontinuing my Colorado Photo Tours website. It’s mostly an advertising page for my business that only gets updated when I announce dates for existing tours and new offerings. Since there will be no new dates nor existing tours, what’s the point?

My Gray Photography web site will see further integration with Image Colorado over the next year. The blog is seeing an increase in web traffic, however, I’ve never really put much effort into maximizing the SEO of the page. I don’t know that I’m too worried about the search ranking on Google. Google prioritizes search results for those who give them money and I’m not giving Google money so I don’t get much search priority.

As Mark Twain was once quoted as saying. “Obscurity and a competence – That is the life that is best worth living.”

I’ve experienced a bit of increased notoriety over the past 10 years but to be honest, I’m becoming more enamored with the concept of people not knowing who I am unless they know me and I know them. Of course, it’s difficult to remain obscure if you have an online presence. I leaning towards agreement with Mr. Clemens.

I’m also working on getting two more Stock Agencies up to date with my stock catalogs. There are the big guys and the little guys, so I’ve saved the little guys for later. Later is now. One of these days, I’ll have to write an article on doing Stock Photography. I know I mention it from time to time, but I’ve never considered myself a significant source of knowledge on it. The problem is the notoriety thing keeps coming up so I’m almost feeling compelled to start talking about it in greater detail.

As for this blog. I’m tapering off on the frequency of posts a bit. For one thing, there just isn’t that much to talk about right now. A couple – three a week seems to be the happy spot at the moment. I can’t bring myself to yammer on about gear-head issues and new camera releases and pursuing pseudo advertising shtick that provides no actual benefit to the discussions of photography. I find fan-boyism extremely boring. I’m more of a view of the road kinda guy, even though I secretly study all things technical. I just don’t care to ramble on about it.

I think I’ve trimmed down my Facebook stuff to a suitable level for now. Facebook is what it is. A lot of my readers are FB friends and associates and it’s hard to migrate that following to something different. So, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. I’ll keep my FB page, but Google+ and Twitter are worthless. I’ll probably remove myself from those platforms. Google isn’t used by anyone to any great degree and Twitter has become nothing but a political shout box. We all have our political/social viewpoints. I don’t see much point in adding to the noise.

Your mileage may vary.

Mule deer doe watching the sun rise.

 

This has been a quick week for me, despite having done much of nothing. I managed a mountain goat day trip with my friend Merlin. I took a one camera one lens combo this trip. The Nikon D7200 with the 70-200 f/4 VR. It took a bit to get used to it, as I seldom shoot with the D7200, despite the fact that it’s a pretty good small DSLR. It worked out fine.

In my slack time, which has been most anytime, I’ve been consolidating my photography articles to the Image Colorado Blog. The WordPress blog is slowly taking shape and I’m certain that by the end of this year it will begin to be my main entry point into the internet for things I like to blither about. Facebook is a hard habit to break, as a lot of folks follow me there.

I have republished one of my articles, A Primer for Achieving Sharp Focus With Telephoto Lenses.

I’ll keep pecking at it.

Doobie and I are bachelors this weekend. Trudy is in Red Feathers with her mother. I’m pretty boring to Doobie. There is a routine to our co-existence. We have a large yard so I make it a point to get him at least 30 minutes of high intensity running around like a crazy dog activity each day. All I have to do is go sit in the shade of a tree and watch. Doobie does all the work. He’s a heck of a dog. Nothing like sitting in the Summer shade with a Doobie.

One thing I hate about bachelor days is how I eat. I don’t cook for myself unless it’s a very simple and unhealthy meal. I don’t eat fast food either. That’s on my list of things to quit doing. I’m 95% successful, and it’s really a question of my self discipline. I have none.

I managed to get a half dozen stock photos up yesterday, taken on my singular photo day this past week. I’ve got a little print making to do sometime this weekend. That’s good, the printer has been idle for a few weeks.

Today’s photo is an old shot. I think I took it with a Canon EOS 5D and a Sigma 105mm Macro Lens. Yeah, a wildlife shot with a macro lens. It was early in the morning and a friend and I were walking over the ridge on Mt. Falcon to get wildflower shots. Thus the macro lens. As we peaked the ridge a group of mule deer ran in front of us in a line. It was a perfect setup and I just raised the camera and framed each of them as they passed through. I liked this one for the deer stopping long enough to look back in the direction of the sun. One of my personal favorites as it was totally by surprise and I had less than 5 seconds to get it all with no warning. The old Sigma 105mm EX DG Macro is a discontinued lens now, but without a doubt one of the best macro/prime/telephotos optically that I’ve ever seen. Sigma replaced it with an image stabilized version and ruined it. Good luck looking for a used copy, as people who have them don’t want to let them go. When they do come up, they aren’t cheap. They were less expensive brand new.

That about sums up my word on a Friday afternoon.