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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Ten days ago, I spotted a new visitor in our garden: a couple of long-tailed tits stopped by and sampled the peanuts. Wikipedia says that they are not exactly scarce, so I hope to see them more often.

A long-tailed tit feeding in our garden

A long-tailed tit feeding in our garden
(click for a larger version of the picture)

PS. In Dutch the long-tailed tit is called a “staartmees“.

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As it turns out, Nikon had to release a second firmware update for the Nikon D5600, in order to correct the troublesome connectivity of  SnapBridge. In their own words, firmware 1.0.2 will provide “Improved pairing and connectivity between the camera and Android versions of the SnapBridge app“. I don’t use SnapBridge that often, but making a connection between devices should be simple, and certainly simpler than what I had to do 4 months ago.

Indeed: downloading the Android app on my smartphone and connecting both devices took just few clicks on both sides. I hope it goes fluidly for you too!

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If you own a Nikon D5600 DSLR (like me: I upgraded from a D5500 a few weeks ago), don’t forget to upgrade to the new 1.01 firmware. The DPReview site explains it all: “Nikon D3400 and D5600 firmware updates now available“.

The Nikon D5600 DSLR

The Nikon D5600 DSLR

The upgrade procedure is simple and won’t take long. Any corrections of the Snapbridge software are most welcome – my first tests worked in the end, but getting there was at times quite exhausting!

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A few weeks ago, I replaced my daily smartphone with a new model. Not because the Galaxy J5 is a bad phone, far from it. But the J5 I was using put only 8GB of memory at my disposal, and that is definitively insufficient: I have a “heavy” portfolio of apps that I can’t miss (Here Maps being one of them), and at the same time I am always trying out new apps. So a replacement was necessary, and it had to be a replacement with more memory.

I have been eying the OnePlus smartphones for a long time. The only reason I did not go for a 3T is the (screen) size: I already own (and use!) several tablets, so I don’t need to have a phone with a tablet-like size. But if you need/want a big phone now, OnePlus is the way to go. My choice, in the end, fell on the Samsung Galaxy S7 – its price notwithstanding but compensated in part by a cashback and a trade-in of my trusted S3. After using it for a couple of weeks, I can only confirm that I like my choice!

Moving from the J5 to the S7 was not exactly simple. Somehow, the Samsung Smart Switch app – which is the official way – was not sufficient. After a first attempt, the Smart Switch app managed to transfer only a single Google account and my apps collection. But it did not bring the data from those apps along… I reset the S7 to factory settings and tried again. This time all the Google accounts came along with the apps, but still no data.

I then turned to the ClockworkMod backup solution: Helium. Let me spare you the details of the hours I spent trying to make this work, and just present you wth the good news: it worked. The bad news is that the Helium solution is not a workable way to go from one machine to another for people who have no knowledge of OS command lines – it would not have worked without a lot of trial and experimentation and multiple tries!

These tribulations aside, I’m quite happy with the S7. The battery holds much longer than what I was used to, and I am really impressed with the quality of the camera. I know: in the past I have never attached much importance to smartphone cameras. My argument was that I always have a (better) camera with me, so what use could a smartphone camera be? I know better now, and the Fuji X20 is no longer a daily companion . The Galaxy S7 and its camera has taken over that role, and the only thing I miss from time to time is the optical zoom of the X20.

(Click the image to see the full picture - and more - on Flickr)

(Click the image to see the full picture – and more – on Flickr)

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Bearing Witness To History

Time Inc. has put together the “100 Photographs | The Most Influential Images of All Time” website and book. None of use lived long enough to see all these pictures shortly after they made – the oldest one in this collection dates from 1826. But I’m pretty certain that anyone with an interest in photography (and an interest in what happens in the world) recognises a sizeable number of them!

100photos-small.png

There is no formula that makes a picture influential. Some images are on our list because they were the first of their kind, others because they shaped the way we think. And some made the cut because they directly changed the way we live. What all 100 share is that they are turning points in our human experience.

I do hope the website can last a long time – forever, ideally. And if it doesn’t, you’d better have the book lying on a nearby table. These pictures are memories, not just for a few individuals, but for a global community.

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I strongly agree with the open letter sent to Gopro by user Jeffrey B.George – although “open” is a strong word for a text that apparently was only posted to Facebook. But anyway: back to the matter at hand.

I too was confronted with the need to create an account on the Gopro website and to login to that account in order to use the latest version of the Gopro software just to see my video’s on the iPad! That is quite an offensive move by Gopro, essentially blocking the use of their main product for any user out of reach of the Internet. I suppose I must consider myself lucky to having bought a relatively cheap Session and not a Hero5? That way, I won’t have wasted as many Euros? No, sorry, like Jeffrey says: “an action camera shouldn’t need an internet login“. Nor should the use of an app to control said camera.

If Gopro doesn’t change its stance on this matter , I won’t be able to recommend the brand to my friends. Is that what they want?

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When I mentioned the fabulous photographs of night skies in New Zealand, I also said that my first own attempts at astrophotography were less impressive. Luckily for me, I found just what I need to get better: a tutorial on “How to photograph the stars, moon, and Milky Way: a beginner’s guide to night landscape & astrophotography“.

Click to go to the tutorial

Click to go to the tutorial

Of course, as all of you know already, you and I will need to experiment a bit for each and every shot. There is no single simple instruction that will turn any night photo into a masterpiece. Getting a good shot remains hard work, be it day or night!

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