E.J. Peiker, Nature Photographer




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

All contents ©2007 E.J. Peiker

Autumn 2007 

(Vol 5, Issue 4)



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.  Back issues (sans photographs) are available online at http://www.ejphoto.com/newsletter.htm.


Long Hot Summer Comes To An End

2007 was the hottest summer ever here in south-central Arizonaís Valley of the Sun, more commonly known as the Phoenix Metro area.  This year had the most days over 110 degrees ever.  We didnít just beat the old record by a day or two, we obliterated it with the equivalent of a whole week more of temperatures over 110 Ė that is over a month worth of days at above 110 degrees.  It was also the hottest summer for average temperatures ever.  Global climate change and a never ending increase of concrete and asphalt are to blame so itís likely not to get better anytime soon.

Whatís a photographer to do when itís just plain too hot to be out and about in your area?  Well I got the heck out of Dodge several times.

The 4th of July weekend took me to the Black Hills of South Dakota.  South Dakota was one of only 8 states that I had not previously visited.  While there, we toured the Black Hills including a 4 wheel drive foray into areas less traveled, spent a morning at Mount Rushmore, photographed Bison and Pronghorn Antelopes in Custer State Park and Prairie Dogs in Wind Cave National Park.  I also took a drive over to Eastern Wyoming to visit Devilís Tower National Monument Ė an incredible place with many photographic possibilities.

A business trip gave me the opportunity to photograph in Ireland in the middle of July.  Rather than flying home on Friday after my business dealings concluded, I stayed the weekend where a colleague from Ireland and his sister offered to be tour guides.  In return, they would get as much photo advice as they were able to absorb in one weekend.  On Friday evening we drove across the country from just west of Dublin to the Atlantic shores of County Clare in the West of Ireland.  This also took us from miserable weather on the east side of the country to fantastic weather on the west side of the country.  We spent the weekend exploring the area in what we affectionately dubbed the Castles and Coastline Tour of 2007 (featuring Food).  We visited 3000 year old ancient burial sites, castles of centuries long gone by, and the spectacular west Ireland coastline.  Ireland is a photographic gem but donít forget to bring the rain gear.

At the beginning of September, I went to the Atlantic Coast for the first time in several years to take advantage of a time share that my father owns in Virginia Beach right on the waterfront.  While there, a short trip up to Assateague Island and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge revealed what a great place this is for wildlife.  I was able to photograph Black Skimmers skimming right at roadside and also got to see the famous Chincoteague Wild Ponies although they were too far away to photograph well.  A highlight was all of the Dolphins that were continually at play in the Atlantic right outside of where we were staying.

In early September, I spent a weekend at Mount Rainier.  The weather was less than ideal with fog and rain most of the time.  I was able to get above the fog on one day by hiking up to 6300 feet.  The next morning was even foggier so I started the trek up the mountain again.  I got to approximately 8600 feet before I had to abort the trek due to a very rapid deterioration in weather.  Unfortunately the wild flowers were mostly gone but this park, if going at the peak of summer, sports some of the most amazing wildflower displays to be found anywhere.  I will definitely be back to defeat the heat of an Arizona summer in the future.

To close out the summer and usher in fall, I was invited by a friend and fellow photographer to meet him in one of my favorite places in the US, Grand Teton National Park, for a few days.  Once again, a severe low pressure system moved in and we never even saw the grandeur of the full Teton range the entire time.  We were however successful at photographing a number of Moose and Bison as well as spectacular fall foliage.


New Gear

This summer has been nothing short of spectacular in new product announcements.  The most noteworthy to me are the new pro camera bodies from Canon and Nikon

EOS 1Ds Mark III Ė This is a new 21 megapixel  camera to be introduced in November.  It is the successor to the EOS 1Ds Mark II which I feel is the very best DSLR to date despite it now being three years old.  The 1Ds Mark 3 incorporates all of the new technologies of the cropped sensor action oriented EOS 1D mark III that I wrote about in the last issue of Quack but with a full frame sensor.  Letís hope the autofocus issues of the 1D Mark III are not replicated in the 1Ds Mark III.

Nikon D3 - Nikon announced the D3 which is a revolutionary camera for Nikon in that it is a full-frame sensor camera Ė Nikonís first.  The body touts too many features list but it is nothing short of spectacular and comes closest to my perfect camera from any manufacturer so far.  Like the latest Canon models, it uses 14 bit pixel depth for better tonal graduations and offers the high speed crop mode made famous by the D2x for fast action photography.  But in this cameraís case, the crop mode is the traditional 1.5x APS-C sized crop. The downside is that it is only 12 megapixels.  However there is a higher megapixel D3x strongly rumored for 2008.

The Gold medal definitely goes to Nikon this year.  In addition to the D3, they also announced a 12 megapixel APS-C (1.5x crop) D300 which will likely be a winner for wildlife photographers.  I am already getting questions on whether I plan to switch back from Canon to Nikon.  I switched from Nikon to Canon in 2001 due to Image Stabilization in Canonís super-telephotos.  Along with the D3/D300 announcement also came an announcement that Nikon is releasing a new line of super-telephoto lenses that include their stabilization technology called VR (for Vibration Reduction).  At this point I am holding off on any purchases until several things happen.  First and foremost, Canon must fix the autofocus problems that have plagued an unprecedented number of early EOS 1D Mark III cameras.  Second, the jury is still out on Nikonís new offering as no production models are yet in the field, the same goes for the EOS 1Ds Mark III.  Finally, I will likely wait until rumors of a D3x solidify before making any decisions.  As a postscript I continue to toy with the idea of switching to medium format digital for my landscape photography.


Photoshop Tip

This quarterís Photoshop tip is a Bridge/ACR tip.  Letís assume a situation where we have taken a number of photos under the same light conditions and we have adjusted a photo in ACR to our liking.  Unless you happened to do the adjustments in a batch, you are now faced with the task of applying the same settings to a number of other images.  Fortunately, the new version of Bridge makes this easy.  Simply right click on the photo you have already adjusted and select Develop Settings followed by Copy Settings.  Now select the other photos that you wish to apply the same Camera RAW develop settings and Right Click again.  Select Develop Settings and simply chose Paste Settings.  At this point a dialog pops up which has all of the different settings that will be pasted checked.  You can choose to not apply any of the copied settings by unchecking them; however, I find that the default is usually correct.  You will now see in Bridge, that the new RAW file settings (such as white balance, hue, and all of the other settings) have been applied making RAW conversion of the images a much faster proposition.



DuckShop 2008 still has a couple of slots left for the SoCal DuckShop which I have not done the last two years.  The first one in 2004 was a great success.  Click http://www.ejphoto.com/duckshop_ca_page.htm for more information.

A camera profile for the EOS 1D Mark III is now available.  This will calibrate Adobe Camera Raw for the color characteristics of this camera so that itís output matches the known Gretag Macbeth color values.  Profiles are especially handy if you have more than one type of camera body as their color outputs will now match when shooting in RAW.  Click http://www.ejphoto.com/acr_order_page.htm for more information.

A limited amount of DuckShop hats are left in stock.  These hats feature a Wood Duck head from one of my photos embroidered on the front.  They are $20 including shipping.  Click here for more info: http://www.ejphoto.com/hat_page.htm

EJPhoto closed November 10-17.  I will be making a trip to northern Manitoba (but not Churchill) to photograph Polar Bears.  All email and orders will be processed in the order they were received after my return.


Legal Notice:  Written and Photographic content © 2006/2007 - E.J. Peiker, Nature Photographer.  The text and photographs contained herein may not be copied or reproduced without written consent.  This newsletter may be forwarded without restriction unaltered and in its entirety only.


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