More on 4k Video

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.

I’ve Always Been In To It.

Black Friday.  The winter storm has moved on to the East, but it is still cold and snowy here in Denver. The final total for our place was 13.5 inches, as I measured in multiple locations around the yard. Not the heaviest snow we’ve ever had, but for November it’s a little unusual.

We made it through Turkey Day, not without challenge. I got little sleep the night before and spent the day dealing with some type of stomach virus. Ended up spending most of the day taking care of that and lying in bed. It was bad enough that I didn’t go to the Thanksgiving dinner with the rest of the family. Trudy’s daughter-in-law was kind enough to send a plate of food home for me.

I did manage to get a few more of Trudy’s home video tapes converted to digital. I’m about 1/3 of the way through that process. Images from her life before knowing me. An interesting retrospective. Myself, I have very few photos and virtually no video from my life before Trudy. What little I do have were gifts from family members, photos taken by others in a time long ago and far away.

Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays kinda get in to me that way. I start thinking about the old days, the good times, the not so good times, and if I haven’t reconciled everything that’s passed by now, well, life is about living and having learned something in the process. With my 62nd birthday approaching, I realize that most of my living has been done. It’s fun to delve into Trudy’s past and it helps keep things in perspective to realize that our lives have many things in common.

As for the video editing. I’m finding this to be mildly precarious, all this video capture and different software. I never know when the software is going to crash and it does from time to time. Not enough hassle to keep me from getting it done, but video editing on a PC isn’t always pretty. What really strikes me is the difference in quality between a VHS video tape and a modern HD video camera. Even more striking are the old Super 8 home movies I do have on VHS. I did a lot of Super 8 film back in the 70’s, which has somehow managed to survive the efforts of others to relieve me of them. I’ll get a clip or two up soon to share. Me and my childhood friends doing goofy stuff on film. Takes me back to the beginning of my learning photography.

I’ve always been in to it.

My Rodents Are Out Of Order

Marmots are common in the Rocky Mountains and are very sociable animals. They are related to squirrels.

In lieu of the fact that I’m not out taking photos this week, I’ve decided to go through some of my neglected image catalogs.

Case in point. Rodents.

Not the most glamorous subject in the photographic world, rodent photos still sell on the stock agencies though I’m not sure why.

My best guess is they are needed to fill out some type of web or print article on the subject, and as such I try to keep a good supply of nice, clear photographic depictions of the critters available for that purpose.

While going through my catalogs, I noticed that my rodent photos were not exactly organized the same way I organize most of my other photos on the hard drive. Neglect pure and simple.

Today, I’m wading through a sea of rodent photos and have been concentrating on getting my portfolio of Marmot shots straightened out.

Here’s one of them. He is now a well organized rodent.

After Action Report for Autumn in the San Juans

Mt. Sneffels at Sunset

I experienced another great trip to the San Juan Mountains for autumn photography this year.

For the second year in a row, the skies were clear and blue. A challenge, photographically speaking. One learns to shoot small and keep the overwhelming bright blue to a minimum, but still, it makes for interesting photography once the compositions are found.

My trip almost ended shortly before it started. While driving along the highway near Cimarron, Co, a group of deer jumped in front of my vehicle while doing 50 miles per hour. Deer scattering and darting around in traffic with no warning as they were obscured behind an oncoming semi-truck until they leaped into my lane. I managed to get to the side of the road quickly, but unfortunately one deer slid under my front left wheel as I was coming to a stop. I’m sad to report that my front tire crushed one of the deer’s front legs above the ankle. She hopped off into the sage brush, but I knew she wouldn’t survive long with that injury. As for me and my vehicle, all I suffered was minor damage to the faring on the front left of the SUV and a broken heart knowing that there was nothing I could have done to have prevented it. The incident still weighs heavy in my heart and makes me cry to think about it.

Having made it through that incident, I tried to focus (no pun intended) on the upcoming task of a week long photography trip with Jon Steele.

Jon was hosting a workshop out of Ridgway this year. My original intention was to photograph the mountains around Crested Butte this year, but one of Jon’s clients backed out at the last minute and we worked out a deal where I would work with his photography group.

It was sorta fun not being “in charge” for a change and I informed Jon on many occasions to consider me just another client. Still, I think it worked as a win-win for everyone, even though I’m not teaching and hosting workshop/tours any longer, my experience and knowledge of the area seemed to be of use to Jon and his group.

There had been a lot of noise on the internet and in the news about autumn color change being delayed by at least two weeks, due mostly to a much warmer than normal August and September this year. That wasn’t really the case, at least not in the Ridgway area, as color change seemed to be about normal if not delayed by a half week or so from normal.  In fact, color patterns this year felt more normal than the past couple of years, so I have no complaints.

We worked mostly on the North side of the San Juan range and along the Million Dollar Highway where color was peaking right on schedule. We also had one day in Silverton to photograph two trains of the Durango and Silverton NGRR.

Based on previous trips to the area, I was hoping to get at least two dozen usable stock photos for the portfolio. That effort was a success as I haven’t finished editing all the images from the trip and already have at least 26 photographs on the stock agencies.

It was a dusty week. Jon had rented a Chevy Suburban for the workshop and in all honesty, it wasn’t very well sealed from the deluge of dust and dirt churned up on the forest roads. I’ve never seen so much dirt in my camera bag. It took me several days to get the gear and camera sensors cleaned upon my return.

We found a great bar & grill near the hotel called the “Full Tilt Saloon” for several of our meals. One of the big challenges in the San Juans during autumn photography trips is finding restaurants open later than 8 pm. Full Tilt’s chili was excellent, the burgers were tasty and the beer was cold. Plus they were serving food until 10pm. What more could a fellow ask for when trying to cut a day’s dust?

The weather was warm and clear the entire week, until our final day on Friday when we woke up to cloudy skies and fresh snow on the peaks. If only it had occurred a day or two sooner. We did manage a dramatic morning shoot on our last day.

The six hour return trip to Denver that afternoon was a beautiful if not tiring drive back along the Collegiate range through South Park.

Within 30 minutes of arriving home, I was sound asleep in my king size bed with both dogs curled up against me.

2019 is in the books.

The Aspen Tree

No photographic collection of autumn landscape photography from Colorado is complete without a selection of Aspen, and for good reason. The Aspen is the tree that defines the autumn landscape of Colorado.

For your viewing pleasure, here is a collection of Aspen tree photographs I’ve taken over the past 15 years.

Golden Leaves of Aspen Trees in a Mountain Forest. Colorado Autumn Scenic Beauty

Shifting Gears

Autumn in Colorado – The Crystal River With Chair Mountain as a Backdrop

After a marathon of moose photography this past August, I’m taking a few weeks off from photography. I’ve been editing a large number of moose images from the summer, uploading stock photos, and doing much needed office work. The thought of photography isn’t all that enticing at the moment. Not to worry though, I’m in the planning stages for my Autumn photography trip the first week of October.

I have to deal with the question of where to go every year. Colorado has numerous locations for great fall foliage, but the two main areas that keep bubbling up are Crested Butte and/or The San Juan Mountains.

Crested Butte has a lot of beauty; however, the actual choices are limited by location and what time one wants to go there. The east side of Kebler Pass normally comes into color before the west side of the pass, and the dining situation is not that great. Most of the restaurants in Crested Butte are part-time at best and the general attitude of the locals is slack at best.

So I’ve decided to make this year’s trip to the San Juan Mountains. I know the San Juans like the back of my hand. Been there many times and the photographic variety is far better than Crested Butte.

First things first though. I’ve put my Ford Explorer in the shop for some much needed maintenance. 9 years of bad road has taken a toll on the front suspension so it is time to drop some money on getting it back in good working order.

In the meantime, I’m back in the office and working on things that have gone ignored for most of the summer. I’m looking forward to the heat wave breaking and some cooler, even wetter weather. I think we had about 20 days of 90+ degree weather and .35 inches of rain in August and September is starting off where August left off with record heat and dry conditions.

It’s time to shift gears from wildlife to landscape photography. As much as I like moose and other wildlife, it’s Autumn photography that I most look forward to each year.

Scenic Saturday and Other Things

Mt. Sneffels in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado

With all this moose business taking center stage this time of year, I’m still planning other adventures. Such as my upcoming trip to the San Juan Mountains for the first week of October for Autumn photography.

I do an annual trip, somewhere, and this year it was between Crested Butte and the San Juans. I get better sales from the photos out of the San Juans and to be honest, it’s a better target rich environment down there.

So, here’s today’s “Scenic Saturday” photo. On the Dallas Divide in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.

Enjoy your weekend and stay tuned for more moose photos as my second week in Northern Colorado begins on Sunday, August 11.

Too Much Gear Head Talk These Days

Shiras Moose of the Colorado Rocky Mountains

Happy Moose Monday

Enjoying a few last days of quiet time before I meet a group of photographers in Red Feather Lakes for a 4 day moose photography trip.

This is the second year in a row I’ve organized the outing for North American Nature, Wildlife and Landscape Photographers Association, a Facebook group I started about 6-7 years ago.

The intention is to organize this outing each summer as long as there is interest. Moose are a niche photography subject. I think a subject for the elder photographers. I’ve been debating writing about them for Fstoppers, but I’m not sure the audience for that publication is all that interested in things like this. Maybe it’s best to keep things in their respective boxes. Young people are more interested in photos of young women’s assets and gear head talk.

Life in the slow lane.

I don’t generally hang around young women trying to show off their assets and I don’t do too much gear head talk these days.

The Hawaiian Islands Will Have to Suffice

Tropical Scene From The Northwest Shore of Maui, Hawaii

Each year, June is the month I spend a lot of time fixing everything that broke over the winter. I don’t know exactly why, I can only speculate, but since I was a young electronics technician in the Navy, it seems that the highest rates of equipment failure always occurred in June.  This year was no exception for me.

I’ve finally cleared the table of most of my private maintenance issues, with only my home spa remaining to be fixed, but it’s on the schedule and should be resolved soon.  The electronic thermostat in my home Heat/AC unit went down. Not a major problem to fix, but again I had to order the replacement part and am now awaiting for it to arrive.  Fortunately, I can still cool the house, I just don’t have the ability to alter the program or make changes to the system.

Once I get everything back on the track, I’m looking forward to enjoying some time in the mountains and we’re actually talking about making a trip to Hawaii later this year.

This week’s “Scenic Saturday” photograph is from Maui.

For now, photos of my previous visits to the Hawaiian Islands will have to suffice.

 

 

Prairie Birds

Photograph of a Meadowlark.
Western Meadowlark

One of my favorite birds is the Meadowlark.

They have a unique appearance and aren’t overly skittish. Most of all, I like the distinct song they sing.

This particular fellow was quite cooperative yesterday, sitting on a fence post just a few feet from the vehicle for quite some time. He seemed quite interested in singing to us as we sat there racking off the shutter clicks.

A great way to enjoy Feathers Friday.