I asked the ChatGPT AI to write a story about two women and a dog sitting at lake in the fall from the point of view of the dog.
I asked the ChatGPT AI to write a story about two women and a dog sitting at lake in the fall from the point of view of the dog. Here's what it produced.
As I lay at the edge of the lake, I watch the two women sitting nearby. They laugh and talk, their voices carrying across the water on the cool fall breeze. One woman throws a stick for me to fetch, and I eagerly run into the water to retrieve it. The other woman watches with a smile as I splash back to shore, dropping the stick at her feet.
I can feel the crunch of fallen leaves beneath my paws as I lay next to them, the autumn colors of the trees surrounding us a beautiful sight. The women continue to talk and laugh, and I close my eyes, basking in the warmth of their company.
Occasionally, one of the women will rub my ears or scratch my belly, and I let out a contented sigh. I am so happy to be here with them, in this peaceful spot at the lake. The world around us is changing with the coming of fall, but this moment, with these women and me, feels eternal.
As the sun begins to set, the women gather up their things and we start the walk back home. I follow them, my tail wagging, grateful for their love and companionship. I know that no matter what the seasons may bring, I will always be by their side.
The Lens-Artists Challenge #171 is all about the weird stuff we can find around us. I consulted the Weird NJ website and found some weird things about New Jersey. But given the expected weather for the weekend, a trip out of town seemed ill-advised. So I decided to do something much, much closer to home.
It's almost a year since I have dabbled with macro photography. Until I purchased the Fujinon MCEX-16 extension tube, I last did any macro photography in the spring of 2020 when I rented an XF80mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro lens. It was almost two years since I switched to Fuji, and when I rented the XF80mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR, I had forgotten the technique of focus stacking. I failed to maximise the potential of that lens when I was out in the field photographing spring wildflowers. Before that rental, I last did any significant macro photography work during a water droplet macro photography workshop with Don Komarechka in 2017. Don's course taught me some handy tips and techniques. My first attempt at focus stacking for macro photography was because of Don's 2015 blog post. Back then, I did not have a dedicated macro lens, and my technique involved using macro extension tubes and a macro rail or shooing handheld with a Lensbaby Composer. Most of my knowledge returned during the week after I started using the Fujinon MCEX-16.
At first, I tried shooting handheld and on a tripod, but I didn't like the results. I opened the aperture too wide, and the first image's depth of field (DOF) was too narrow. When I stopped the aperture down to f/8, I got a better depth of field, but the images were so dark that I had to increase the ISO to 6400. There is a lot of noise in the images. What I wanted was a way to increase the depth of field while shooting at low ISO.
This week I experimented with the focus bracketing feature of the Fujifilm X-T3 and focus-stacking the images in software. At first, I fell back on the Adobe Photoshop techniques I learned in Don's workshop. I focus bracketed about 40-50 images and attempted to export and align them in the most recent version of Adobe Photoshop CC. However, I soon realised that my 2013 iMac was not up to the task. Photoshop struggled to auto-align the images even after several hours. In 2017, the 2013 iMac quickly processed the 16-megapixel photos from my Nikon D5100. But it seems my iMac's 3.5 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 CPU, 32 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4 GB GPU are no match for much larger 26-megapixel images from my Fujifilm X-T3. I tried all weekend to process these images. Late last night, I remembered trying other software to process and focus stack my picture. After a quick Google search, I rediscovered Zerene Stacker, which I had first used with the macro rail technique.
The Zerene Stacker Adobe Lightroom plugin imported, auto-aligned, and stacked the image in several minutes, typically six minutes or less. Zerene Stacker has two stacking methods, PMax and DMap, which produce slightly different results. I ran both methods on my images and compared the results, but I didn't see much difference. I won't try to explain them here. The Zerene Stacker website has the details.
The images were a bit dark. I needed more light, but larger apertures would have reduced the DOF of each focus slice. I had set the Fuji X-T3 to capture 50 images adjusting the focal point from near to far in steps of 10, but I think I should have used an off-camera flash for additional lighting and captured one hundred images in steps 10 with a 3-second pause between each capture.
I don't know if this entry meets the criteria for weird, but given that I don't normally see objects at this level, it may be.
During the past 20 months of the pandemic, I’ve been extremely restricted in terms of photographic opportunities. Not being able to shoot my regular action material and being confined to a small area has forced me (or rather I should say encouraged me) to go out and to shoot the same few scenes over and over again, and to try and do something different with it each time.
This is something that I would recommend any photographer do (but maybe not for this long), no matter your chosen genre or experience level. Wrapping yourself up in something that you’d perhaps never even considered and then re-imagining it is a great creative learning exercise.
The best camera is not necessarily the one you have with you, though that helps, too. It’s the one that does the job you need it to do: no more, no less.
I did my due diligence, thought long and hard about what I wanted versus what I needed, and I understood the choices I was making when I decided to purchase my first Fuji X camera. I knew why I wanted the Fuji X-T2. I knew the advantages and disadvantages and I accepted them. Unless it breaks, my current Fuji camera will be my camera of choice for a very long time.
In Things I wish I hadn't bought, photographer Hugo Pinho looks back at his photographic purchase history and writes about purchases he regrets and what he has learned along the way,
Many of these bad decisions and things that I regret buying are mistakes that we can only learn with time and experience. And some purchases I can't correctly define as a mistake because our needs change, evolve, and certain items stop making sense.
I have not bought a new digital camera since 2006. All subsequent digital cameras (replaced due to too many drops) were purchased pre-owned from KEH or MPB (never eBay). Unless I break the current one (X-T3), I expect to own it until it no longer functions.
I, too, have made many amateurish errors when purchasing accessories such as memory cards, batteries, backpacks, etc.
Putting cheap memory cards or batteries into a digital camera is like putting cheap tyres on your car. Something is sure to go wrong. When a cheaply made tyre wears out quickly and explodes, it can wreck your car as easily as a cheap exploding battery wreck a camera.
The first camera backpack I bought (2010) was also the last. Getting gear in and out of the pack was a hassle, especially while photo-walking in a city where the only place to put it is on a dirty sidewalk. Ugh! I switched to a sling camera strap, and honestly, I can't imagine returning to another option.
I put much effort into choosing lenses when I switched to Fuji several years ago. I analysed my Lightroom catalogue to guide my purchase decision. When I had my Nikon, I had three lenses; an AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 G, an AF-S DX 85mm f/1.8 G, and a Tokina 11-16mm zoom. I used the 35mm and the Tokina much more often than the 85mm but rarely used the 11mm end of the Tokina.
For my Fuji, I have two lenses. The XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR weighs less and needs less space than the combination of the XF16mm, XF35mm and XF50mm primes and covers the "standard range" of those primes. The XF27mmF2.8 is a lightweight lens for street photography and photo walks. Those two lenses cover most of what I need to do. I occasionally rent the XF100-400mm for a bird photography workshop.
I go backwards and forwards about what I want gr36.com to be. Over the years it has been a portfolio of sorts, an attempt at being a news website, a podcast host and lots of things in between. Nowadays it’s decidedly more amateur and more of an extension of me that evolves over time depending on what I am up to and an extension of me.
I don’t even have a ‘thing’ I want to write about. Most people seem to have an issue or a cause, or even an interest they want to cover all the ins and outs of. I loosely revolve around technology but expand into all sorts of areas that interest me, but I guess that's the point a personal blog should be an extension of the person hitting the publish button.
My blog, this blog is over 18 years old. It started as a tech blog where I wrote about security testing, Linux system administration, open-source, and web development. It became a blog about my early experience living with type 1 diabetes. It then morphed once more into its current state as a photography-related blog. I don’t know what’s next for me or this blog, but I do know it will continue to reflect my interests and thoughts.
This past week's Lens-Artists Photo Challenge was indeed a challenge. I. J. Khanewala1 has asked us to lift "...the commonplace into the most extraordinary thing that you have seen". But what does it mean?
with no special or distinctive features; normal.
what is commonplace or standard.
Should I make an exceptional photograph of a commonplace scene or an ordinary picture of a memorable scene? What is normal and commonplace? Normal for me or normal for others? Does it matter?
At first, I thought about I.J. Khanewala's onion photograph and her approach. I might play with light and shadow from the early morning sunlight coming through the kitchen window. I'm a weekend photographer, and it's October in New Jersey. The light comes up later and goes down sooner, leaving very little time for playing with sunlight in the morning. The skies have been cloudy all week; flat light. But I tried. I'm not too fond of the result. I looked around my home and realised I didn't want to photograph any of it.
As a primarily outdoor photographer, my real challenge is seeing beyond the "every day feels the same" struggle of self-enforced "mental survival" routines I created during the pandemic lockdown. Netflix, Apple TV+, HBO, Hulu, and Disney+ became my escape from the constant reminder that I could not do the things I wanted to do. But, these routines continue despite the "opening". Monday to Friday, I usually don't leave the house Monday to Friday, and some weekends, I don't leave the couch.
I've hiked the Billie Johnson Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve many times over the last several years. It's a quiet place to sit, think, and get some low-effort exercise. The loop around the lake often has stunning fall foliage. I've photographed spectacular displays in early October, mid-October, and late October. But not today. It's too early in New Jersey. The fall foliage forecast in Central New Jersey has defied prediction. Perhaps next weekend?
I focused on photographing what was commonplace at this time.
Bhavana asked what photography challenge I was working on. I explained what I thought the challenge was about and why I struggled with it. I stopped to photograph some flowers, wishing I had a macro lens. The XF60mmF has been on my "wish list" since I both my Fuji (2018). But it's an expensive lens, and I have not convinced myself I would use it enough to justify the expense.
I recently re-discovered Fuji X Weekly's Nostalgic Negative Film Simulation. Ritchie Roesch created this recipe to mimic the Nostalgic Negative Film Simulation, which can only be found on the high-end and expensive Fujifilm GFX100S medium format digital camera.
Fujifilm stated that the Nostalgic Negative film simulation is based on "American New Color" photography of the 1970s. They studied photographs by William Eggleston, Stephen Shore, Joel Sternfeld and Richard Misrach in order to create them. Eggleston and Sternfeld largely shot on Kodachrome—II and X in the early 1970s, 25 and 64 in the late' 70's—while Shore shot mostly Kodacolor, and Misrach shot a lot of Vericolor. All of those are Kodak 35mm films but with different aesthetics.
Who is I.J. Khanewala? I don't know. Unlike Patti and Leya, some guest bloggers don't post their first names. ↩