E.J. Peiker, Nature Photographer


Newsletter of E.J. Peiker, Nature Photographer and www.EJPhoto.com

All contents 2003 E.J. Peiker


Winter 2003/2004

(Vol  2 , Issue 1)

Welcome to the quarterly update from E.J. Peiker Nature Photography.  In this quarterly email publication, I will keep you all posted on upcoming workshops including the DuckShop Series as well as sharing some photos and experiences with you.  I will also give you brief impressions on any new equipment that I get the opportunity to use and any other general information in the world of digital nature photography.  Please feel free to forward this along to other photographers and interested parties.  If you would like to be added or deleted to the mailing list or if you would like copies of past issues, just send me an email message at ejpeiker@cox.net. 

2004 DuckShop Wrap-up

I would like to thank all of you that attended this year's DuckShops and the Homer Eagle Workshop and I am humbled by all of the positive feedback I have received.  The Phoenix DuckShops were again a great success this year with a minimum of 13 species photographed during each session and as many as 15 in some.  We were treated to some new waterfowl this year with opportunities to photograph a male Hooded Merganser during two of the workshops and a Black-bellied Whistling Duck at the final workshop.  Redhead, Mandarin, Red-crested Pochard, and Wood Ducks were present at every workshop.  We also got the rare opportunity to see a true Mexican Mallard during one of the sessions.  Total count for the Phoenix DuckShops this year was 15 species - American Wigeon, Ring-necked Duck, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Northern Mallard, Mexican Mallard, Ruddy, Canvasback, Redhead, Red-crested Pochard, Wood Duck, Mandarin Duck, Yellow-billed Duck, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, and Hooded Merganser.  The only disappointments this year was that the group of Green-winged Teal did not return and the Mandarin population diminished to just one male this year.  Overall, it was a very successful year and the weather was sunny and warm for each and every session. 
The inaugural Southern California DuckShop was also a success with all three Teal species and a special treat - a Eurasian Wigeon.  Additionally two species of Grebe, Northern Harrier, White Pelican and numerous shorebirds were present.  The weather was great for this workshop as well.
The Homer, Alaska Bald Eagle Workshop held in conjunction with Greg Downing Photography went well despite never quite getting the weather we were hoping for.  7 photographers got to experience and photograph our fantastic National Symbol up close.
The 2005 DuckShop schedule will be announced in the coming weeks.
Canon EOS 1D Mark II
I am eagerly anticipating delivery of the new Canon EOS 1D Mark II.  With 8.5 frames per second and an 8.2 Mega pixel final image while maintaining the original EOS 1D 1.3x crop factor relative to 35mm, it should quickly become the wildlife photographers dream camera.  Some other new features that I am looking forward to include a new dual CPU autofocus system which will increase autofocus speed and tracking accuracy.  Flash exposure accuracy should also be much better as the new ETTL-2 flash exposure system will use distance information and have the ability to throw out overly bright or dark areas in the final exposure calculation if the extreme area is out of the focal plane.  The start-up time of the new camera is under a half second, nearly twice as fast as the EOS 1D and 5 times as fast as the EOS 1Ds and EOS 10D.  Data write speed to the flash card is now a sustained 5MB/sec compared to about 2.5MB/sec on the 1D and 1.8MB/sec on the 1Ds.  Canon has accomplished this by widening the bandwidth of the data stream from two pipes to 8 pipes and utilizing Dual Data Rate RAM - similar to that found in high performance computers.  The camera will take 20 shots in RAW mode before having to wait for the buffer to free up more room.  Unlike the EOS 10D, the camera can write data to the flash card while the shutter is depressed so the buffer is actually clearing as you shoot.  Another new feature is the inclusion of a second Flash Card slot.  Unfortunately this second slot is a different form factor and utilizes the smaller Secure Digital cards.  Canon had to go to a smaller secondary media or else redesign the camera housing which would have added many months to the development cycle.  The camera can write to both cards simultaneously creating an in camera backup of write to them switching from one card to another after one fills up.  One other new feature that will probably save many photographs is that the buffer is not dumped when the flash card compartment is opened.  As long as the flash cards aren't ejected, simply closing the door resumes writing to the flash card.  White balance bracketing within a single shutter firing is another new feature - the camera writes three images for one shutter depression at three different white balance settings.  Look for my impressions on actually using the camera in the field in the summer newsletter.
Digital Developments
Those of you that know me know that I like to keep up with the latest developments in digital SLR's.  Two new and exciting innovations have recently been introduced by Konica Minolta and Fuji.  Konica Minolta has announced their first digital SLR in the form of a Digital Maxxum 7.  For those that know the Minolta line-up, you already know that the Maxxum 7i is arguably the most advanced Prosumer film SLR camera available.  Minolta has added a 6MP digital sensor.  That's all nice yous ay but here is the real advance - they have incorporated image stabilization at the digital sensor level so if you already have Minolta AF lenses, they all become image stabilized by adding this body.  I am eagerly looking forward to seeing how well the technology originally pioneered in smaller cameras will work at this level.
The second innovation is one that I wrote about in other places when research was first announced.  Fuji is bringing to market their new digital image sensor that incorporates two sensors per pixel, a small area sensor is tuned to highlights and a large area one is tuned to darker luminance values.  The data from the two are then electronically combined.  This should provide a dynamic range of 9 to 11 stops of light compared to the 5 to 6 stops of light our current cameras can handle.  The exposure latitude offered by this starts to approach that of the human eye and should really help in eliminating exposure compensation on this camera.  The Fuji S3 DSLR will be the first camera to incorporate this development.  Again, seeing how this new technogoy pans out in the real world will be exciting.
NatureScapes.net Update
NatureScapes has easily become the fastest growing Nature Photography dedicated site in the last few months and recent additions make it an even better site.  Recently thumbnails were added to the forum listing which makes navigation to a specific image very easy and it also gives you a quick snapshot of all of the new images posted.  I am amazed by the quality of images that are regularly being displayed in the NatureScapes forums.  New products are continuously being added to the NatureScapes Store.  Some recent additions include flash cards, flash card wallets and NatureScapes has become a NEOS overshoe dealer.  personally I find these to be one of the best investments I have made as it allows your feet to stay dry even in about 10 inches of water.  Additionally, in cold climates, they add an extra layer and make a huge difference in how warm your feet stay.

2003 - E.J. Peiker, Nature Photographer. 

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