Category Archives: Technology/New Stuff

Return to Carlsbad Caverns — Part 2


Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages

As you’ll recall from Monday, we are this week taking a second look at Carlsbad Caverns.  This time, however, we’re relying upon advances in digital photography to produce handheld images that were all but impossible just two years ago.  Whereas my July 2011 photoblog on Carlsbad relied upon techniques for taking long exposures without a tripod, on this trip I instead relied upon the Handheld Night Scene mode built into the Canon G1 X.

Top of the BIg Room — 255 feet (78 meters)

Top of the Big Room — 255 feet (78 meters)

Most of today’s pictures are of the Big Room — the largest portion of the caverns.  The hallmarks of the Big Room are the immense columns reaching high above the cavern trails and the “Top of the Cross,” the point on the ceiling of the cavern that is the highest above the Big Room floor.  “Top of the Cross” is an intimidating 255 feet (78 meters) above, and one shudders when looking at photographs of the spelunkers who hung suspended beneath it during an expedition back in the 1970s.

Column

Immense Column

As always, just click on any of the images below to bring up an album showing enlarged versions:

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Return to Carlsbad Caverns — Part 1


Looking Back to the Cavern Entrance

Looking Back to the Cavern Entrance

It’s been almost two years since I authored my very popular blog So Easy Even a Caveman Can Photograph It—Carlsbad Caverns.  That article — which was later “Freshly Pressed” by WordPress —  described in great detail how to photograph Carlsbad Caverns without the use of a tripod by implementing many of the techniques I covered in Available Light Photography Without a Tripod.

Wire and Wood Ladder used by Early Explorers

Wire and Wood Ladder used by Early Explorers

Well, it’s amazing how much the technology in digital photography has advanced in so short a time.  On our latest trip to Carlsbad Caverns I decided this time that I would rely upon the “Handheld Night Scene” mode on my newest travel camera, the Canon G1 x (a three-part review begins here:  Canon G1 X Review—Part 1).  Handheld Night Scene takes three rapid, sequential photographs at high ISO, and then internally combines those three images to create a relatively noise-free, stabilized JPEG image without the need for a tripod.

Still My Favorite Formation

Still My Favorite Formation for Some Reason

How well does it work?  Reasonably so.  In particularly dark shooting situations any hand movement will result is some blurring, and when the photograph is later blown up to a 100% crop there is some digital noise evident.  Still, images taken from ISO 3,200 all the way up to ISO 12,800 are better than many travel zooms can produce at even ISO 800.  All in all I was quite impressed, but next trip I’ll probably take a GorillaPod all the same.  That way I’ll be able to produce images at lower ISO with the ability of storing them in RAW format for later post-processing.

Carlsbad Caverns 20

Carlsbad Caverns 20

So, for this week’s blog articles, I return you to Carlsbad Caverns with many images I was unable to capture during my previous visit because of equipment limitations.

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Interesting Aircraft — The ???


Last Friday I showed you an interesting aircraft that calls El Paso ‘home.”    That was the Super Guppy.

Here’s another.  Let’s see just how good your aircraft recognition is.

And the first person to correctly identify this aircraft will receive for their Kindle, Nook, or device using the free Kindle or Nook reading App, copies of my two murder mysteries Decisions and The Globe.

The Catch:  Exempted from this contest are current or former air traffic controllers (or other FAA employees) from either El Paso or Albuquerque (for obvious reasons, guys and gals).  Persons who already own these books are asked to pass on the prize (should they guess correctly) so that the second correct guesser may have the chance to enjoy them.  Persons too young to attend unaccompanied an R Rated motion picture will be ineligible to receive either book.  The winner is requested (but by no means required) to post reviews of both books on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Clues:  This is the only example ever made of this particular aircraft.  It was originally designed for the military, but later offered to the civilian market as a business jet.  Lockheed won the contract for which this aircraft was originally designed.  This prototype originally flew when Dwight Eisenhower was president.

Here you go (the registration number has been digitally removed to prevent cheating):

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