Friday, December 4, 2009

Trondheim again!

Dusk panorama
EOS 7D, ISO 400, 24-105mm (A2_031232)
A tiny file here, but in fact an 87Mp composite image (almost 28000 pixels wide)!

A fairly quiet day today, starting off in Trondheim in the morning, and proceeding down the coast on the second-last day of this voyage (well, for most passengers anyway: some of us will keep on going). The days are definitely getting longer. This afternoon I got to see the inside of the ship's bridge for the first time. The arrangements here are unlike the open-bridge policies common to the "expedition style" ships down south, but if it keeps this monster of a ship operating smoothly day in and day out I don't mind.

Monk's Island, Trondheim
EOS 7D, ISO 400, 24-105mm @ 55mm (A2_024891)

Monk's Island is just outside the Trondheim harbour (it can be seen from the docks) and has a varied history. Execution ground, Benedictine monastery, fort, prison, and now summer playground.

When I get to Bergen I have to post some DVDs of photos and video, so the next day will have some of it spent getting those ready. Hopefully this routine will get smoother over the next two voyages.
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Thursday, December 3, 2009

In-camera sharpening DOES matter!

Crossing the Arctic Circle again today on our way south, the town of Sandnessjoen and the Seven Sisters mountains just south of it are amazing. But the day started with a distant glow on the horizon as we crossed the Circle...

Dawn glow
EOS 7D, ISO 1600, 24-105mm @ 75mm (A2_024653)

Arctic Circle Monument
EOS 7D, ISO 3200, 24-105mm @ 105mm (A2_024645)

One thing I realised today: some of my camera settings have been wrong! Not for my stills work, but when reviewing my video files from this voyage I've just noticed a problem. I'll explain: when shooting RAW stills, the cameras' sharpening and contrast controls have no effect on the RAW data, but they do affect JPEG files. As a result they also affect the LCD review image and the histograms that are generated from it. For some years now I've had my cameras set to optimise both of these (e.g. the contrast setting can affect how soon the "blinkies" appear on the review images).
But now I'm also shooting a lot of video with these cameras I need to choose settings that also work for video, as this goes through the same processing. The recent video clips have been a bit too sharpened and "crunchy" for my taste. Mind you, they're 1080p clips which will get edited down to SD video on DVD so they're not ruined. But I've now changed the settings for future recordings...
Continue reading "In-camera sharpening DOES matter!"...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

In the Vesterålen Islands

Wow. Today was certainly uplifting! The scenery amongst the Vesterålen and Lofoten Islands is very special.

Moon over Svolvær
EOS 5DmkII, ISO 200, 17-40mm @ 17mm (A2_024557)
These images are from late in the day, but the morning started with a bus trip from Harstad to Sortland where we met up with the ship again. It was very interesting to see some of the snow-covered countryside away from the coast.

EOS 7D, ISO 6400, 24-105mm @ 82mm (A2_024350)
Most houses in Norway seem to have open curtains and lights blazing into the darkness (with triple-glazed windows for insulation) but for some reason only one of these was lit up.

Moon through cloud
EOS 7D, ISO 1600, 24-105mm @ 45mm (A2_024336)
Here the cloud managed to darken the moon just enough that the camera could capture everything in the scene within its dynamic range.
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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By the light of the moon

MS Lofoten
EOS 7D, ISO 6400, 24-105mm @ 50mm (A2_023690)
Every day or so we pass another ship in the coastal fleet. This was around 9AM as we passed the MS Lofoten, the oldest ship in the fleet (commissioned in 1964).

Full moon only, near Øksfjord
EOS 5DmkII, ISO 6400, 50mm/1.8 (composite) (A2_023867)
Many times there's stunning scenery passing by in "the dark". If you're inside the ship looking at the windows, all you can see is blackness. But usually if you go outside and let your eyes adjust to the darkness there are wonders to see. Especially today with an almost-full moon, and decent snow cover on the nearby hills (although the intermittent cloud does darken the overall image). This photo was taken at 7PM, and is a composite of 8 images (a 50Mp panorama). Partly obscured by the watermark are the lights of some houses near the waterline.

The chief drawback of course is that it can be cold and windswept outside, but there's often at least one hardy soul outdoors enjoying the view. And then there are people inside the ship blithely ignorant of the scenery they're missing out on ("When did you take that? Here?").
Continue reading "By the light of the moon"...