Tuesday, October 27, 2015

few tools erase mistakes

Stars

shot with Nikon AF-S 50mm on Nikon D700

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Call from unrecgnized number, (408)890-6977

Received a phone call this afternoon from an unrecognized number, (408)890-6977. Since I do not have this number in my contacts, I let it go to voicemail. The caller left me details. The caller turns out to be from San Francisco 49ers' sales team trying to sell season tickets. If you're interested, please call Joe (Joan?) at (614)420-2486.

Go Niners!

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Friday, August 14, 2015

Stars

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Help Nepal

Water 2

yet another beautiful sunset

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Girl with a red earring

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sydney

Weekend
shot with Nikon D5300

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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Holidays++

holidays++
shot with Nikon D5300

Script to Automate Backup of Memory Cards on Windows



@ECHO OFF
SETLOCAL ENABLEEXTENSIONS
SETLOCAL ENABLEDELAYEDEXPANSION

REM All cards to copy from. List them all, separated by space
REM on my system, SD Card is E:
REM on my system, CF Card is G:
REM and I back up both of them

SET BACKUP_FROM_CARDS=E: G:

REM All drives to backup to. List them all, separated by space

SET BACKUP_TO_DRIVES=I:

REM Since I shoot JPG and NEF, I backup both (yeah, I know, it is crazy!)
REM All file types to backup from the card/s to drive/s. List them all, separated by space

SET FILE_TYPES=jpg nef

REM separator between year, month, and date (also used between hour, minutes, and seconds)
REM if not modified, directory files will be copied into will be appended with yyyymmdd_hhmmss

SET SEPARATOR=

REM set it to 0 if you do not want to shutdown Windows after backup is successfully completed

SET /A SHUTDOWN_ON_SUCCESS=1

REM 60 seconds after backup is completed, system will be shutdown if SHUTDOWN_ON_SUCCESS=1 above

SET /A SHUTDOWN_AFTER_SECONDS=60

REM ====================================================
REM   UNLESS YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING,
REM      DO NOT MAKE ANY CHANGES BELOW
REM ====================================================

REM
REM calculate the folder name based on date/time
REM example folder where the files will be saved to: 20141227_131026
REM
SET

DATESTAMP=%DATE:~10,4%%SEPARATOR%%DATE:~4,2%%SEPARATOR%%DATE:~7,2%
SET TIMESTAMP=%TIME:~0,2%%SEPARATOR%%TIME:~3,2%%SEPARATOR%%TIME:~6,2%

SET DATEANDTIME=%DATESTAMP%_%TIMESTAMP%

SET /A CARD_AVAILABLE=0

SET /A DRIVE_AVAILABLE=0

REM
REM check card/s to backup is/are inserted
REM

for %%c in (%BACKUP_FROM_CARDS%) do (
    IF EXIST %%c\NUL (
        SET /A CARD_AVAILABLE=1
    )
)

REM
REM check drive/s to copy to is/are connected
REM

for %%d in (%BACKUP_TO_DRIVES%) do (
    IF EXIST %%d\NUL (
        SET /A DRIVE_AVAILABLE=1
    )
)


REM
REM if card/s not inserted, exit with an error
REM

if %CARD_AVAILABLE% EQU 0 (
    echo No card/s to copy from
    GOTO EXITFAILED
)

REM
REM if drive/s not connected, exit with an error
REM
if %DRIVE_AVAILABLE% EQU 0 (
    echo No drive/s to copy to
    GOTO EXITFAILED
)

REM
REM check if enough space is available on backup drives -TBD

REM
 

REM
REM now do what needs to be done!   
REM
for %%c in (%BACKUP_FROM_CARDS%) do (
    for %%d in (%BACKUP_TO_DRIVES%) do (
        mkdir %%d\%DATEANDTIME%
        for %%t in (%FILE_TYPES%) do (
            ECHO saving all %%t files from %%c to %%d\%DATEANDTIME%
            for /f %%f IN ('dir /b /s /A:-D %%c\*.%%t') do (               
                copy /Y /V %%f %%d\%DATEANDTIME% > NUL
            )
        )
    )
)
GOTO ALLDONE

:EXITFAILED
ECHO fix errors before you try again
SET SHUTDOWN_ON_SUCCESS=0

:ALLDONE
ECHO backup completed

REM
REM now that backup is complteted, format cards -TBD
REM


if %SHUTDOWN_ON_SUCCESS% EQU 1 (
    CHOICE /c YN /D Y /T 30 /M "Do You really want to shut down?"
    IF ERRORLEVEL 2 GOTO NOSHUTDOWN
    ECHO Shutting down in %SHUTDOWN_AFTER_SECONDS% seconds...

    SHUTDOWN /s /t %SHUTDOWN_AFTER_SECONDS%
REM     to put Windows to hibernation, instead, comment out the above line and uncomment the following line
REM     SHUTDOWN /h

)

:NOSHUTDOWN


This script is available for download from Dropbox. Feel free to use after modifying it to your needs. Make sure you check what drive letters your cards and drives resolve to on your Windows system and modify the script accordingly. Drives/cards on my system are as follows:




I have this script, pixbkp.bat, on Desktop of my Windows tablet (of an earlier post). I just double-tap it and the backup is done automagically! The script even shuts down my Windows system after backup is complete!!




Other than memory cards, hard drive, and HP Stream 7" Windows tablet, the following are what I used:
 
If you have any questions about this script or have suggestions to improve this script, please leave a comment below.

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Digital Camera Memory Card Backup System With Inexpensive Windows Tablet

backup shot with a Panasonic Lumix point & shoot with its built-in flash triggering an off-camera Yongnuo flash.

A backup system based on an inexpensive 7" Windows tablet to automatically copy images on memory card in a digital camera to one or more hard disks. Seen in this picture:
(To reduce clutter, USB cables to connect various pieces are not shown. So is the power cable to power the USB hub.)

Although these hard disks support faster USB 3.0, this Windows tablet only supports slower USB 2.0 but gets the job done.

If one has access to laptop computer, this backup solution should be avoided or adapted for laptop.

More about my script to automate backup of memory cards here

I use this lighter tablet when I do not carry my laptop on trips. I haven't been able to get my iOS devices to do this type of backup. If you have a more elegant solution that uses an iOS device, I would like to know. Please leave me a comment with information.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Nikon D5200 at Sunset

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Photography Books on my Bookshelf

My Photography Books:
Scott Kelby's Digital Photography Boxed Set, Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5
While I like all books in the above set, this is my favorite:
The Digital Photography Book: Part 1

The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Book for Digital Photographers by Scott kelby
The Adobe Photoshop CS6 Book for Digital Photographers by Scott kelby
Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers Using Photoshop by Scott kelby
Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It: Learn Step by Step How to Go from Empty Studio to Finished Image by Scott kelby
Photoshop for Lightroom Users by Scott kelby

Focus on Lighting Photos by Fil Hunter and Robin Reid
Light Science and Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting by by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver and Paul Fuqua

Photographing Shadow and Light: Inside the Dramatic Lighting Techniques and Creative Vision of Portrait Photographer Joey L by Joey L
Kevin Kubota's Lighting Notebook by Kevin Kubota
William Christenberry by Fran├žois Cadava, Carlos Martin, Justo Navarro and William Christenberry
Secrets of Great Portrait Photography: Photographs of the Famous and Infamous by Brian Smith
The New Art of Photographing Nature: An Updated Guide to Composing Stunning Images of Animals, Nature, and Landscapes by Art Wolfe

What They Saw by John Loengard
Women Who Light The dark by Paola Gianturco


The following books, although not directly related to photography, are as inspirational as they are eduational:
Art That Changed the World by DK Publishing
The Art Museum by Phaidon Press (is too big for my bookshelf, so sits on a coffee table and, hence, is enjoyed more than the others!)

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Visiting Death Valley? Five Locations to Consider Photographing

untitiled
shot with Nikon 60mm f/2.8G ED AF-S on Nikon 1 J1 fitted with Nikon FT-1 F-Mount Adapter

Death Valley is an amazing place to visit but not all of us have the time/means to take in everything this incredible landscape has to offer. Even if one gets a chance to wander around here for only few days, one should feel blessed. Just like all National Parks, Death Valley has its share of iconic landmarks that most landscape photographers try to have pictures of in their portfolios. Each of the following (except the last one) is a short distance from Furnace Creek:

  1. Zabriskie Point (sunrise)
  2. Artist's Palette (sunset)
  3. Salt flats at Badwater (sunrise)
  4. Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes (sunrise/sunset)
  5. The Racetrack (sunrise/sunset)
The Racetrack is about 70 miles from Furnace Creek. The last 25 miles takes two hours or more of (cautious, slow) driving on a dirt road. Although a high clearance vehicle is recommended, do not let that stop you from going there if all you have is a car (as long as it is decently reliable). Just drive sensibly and you will get there and back just fine.

If time is money, stay in Furnace Creek. Choices are: Furnace Creek Inn (less expensive) and Furnace Creek Ranch (more expensive).

If money is time, Beatty, NV is only about 40 miles (~45 minutes drive) from Furnace Creek. It has a Motel 6 and few other motels. If one is alone, driving from Beatty to (locations near) Furnace Creek in the dark for sunrise shoot and returning to Beatty from Furnace Creek after sunset shoot might be tedious. More so when there are hardly any cars passing by. Do not count on cellular coverage between DV and Beatty. Gasoline is much cheaper in Beatty than in Furnace Creek.

if you prefer camping, there are a few campgrounds as well around Furnace Creek.

Do not forget to stop at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center to pay park entrance fee and get a map. Also for information on road conditions.

I've been to Death Valley four times and I sincerely hope I get to visit again.

Friday, August 1, 2014

What Camera Should I Buy?

Legally Nikon
shot with Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED AF-S on Nikon D200 with multiple off-camera Yongnuo 560 ii and Yongnuo 560 flashes triggered by Yongnuo RF-603 N1 Transceivers.

I've been asked "What camera should I buy?" so many times, I decided to post my answer here.

Warning: If you're expecting a specific answer to this question, I am sure you will be disappointed. Please feel free to click away.

My answer is a bunch questions that will, I hope, put you on a path to informed decision. (I am assuming you're looking at getting a digital camera, not a film camera.)
  • If you have a phone camera, isn't it helping make images you're trying to make? What do you find lacking in your phone camera?
  • Is this going to be your first digital camera? Or, an upgrade from your current one? If an upgrade, what is lacking in the camera you already have that is preventing you from making images you wish to make with it?
  • How important is compactness? (Notice I did not use portability. IMO, most digital cameras are portable.)
  • What is your maximum budget?
  • How serious are you about photography to budget that much money?
  • Are you going to use it for still images? Or, Video? Or, both?
Okay, you're still reading this means you're serious about buying a camera. It also means I can move on to next set of questions!
  • What cameras do your family and friends use?
  • Have you tried using their cameras? How do these cameras feel in your hands? Too heavy, too light, or just right?
  • Do you like any of the cameras your family and friends use?
  • Have you asked them why they use the cameras they use? If not, ask them. Pay attention to what they like or not like about their cameras.
  • Do you like the pictures any of your friends and family make with their cameras? Would you like to make similar kind of pictures?
  • If your friends and family do not have cameras or you do not like any of the cameras they have or pictures they make with their cameras, time to search the internet or visit your local camera/electronics stores...armed with all the answers you have (to questions I asked above).
You have talked to your friends and family and done some research on the internet. If you're still undecided about what camera to buy, let me see if I can help you. Since you've come to Nikon Coach, you will hear me recommend Nikon cameras. That doesn't mean other brands are not good, it is just that I am more experienced with Nikon cameras. That's all.

If compactness is crucial, you will have lots of choices among point & shoot cameras. If compactness is not all that important, you will have even more choices. You will find quite a few Mirrorless and DLSR cameras that will fit your budget.

If your budget does not allow for a brand new camera, do not despair. Consider a used camera. (If you talked to your friends and family, I am sure one or more of them showed interest in giving/selling their camera to you so that they can justify getting the latest/greatest!) I've seen gently-used, well-taken-care-of mirrorless and DLSR cameras for $50 to $200 on Amazon, Craigslist, eBay, etc. For this amount you won't get the latest/greatest that is out there, but you will get a camera that will serve your photography needs. They may be old but still plenty capable and more than adequate as first DSLRs.

I have bought a Nikon 1 J1 with 10-30mm lens (less than three years old technology) for $85, Nikon D200 body (less than nine years old technology) body for $125, and Nikon D70 body ((less than nine years old technology) for $40! All of them came with memory cards, batteries/chargers, camera bags, etc. And all of them are in excellent working condition, having been used to take less than couple thousand pictures on each for the entire duration their previous owners had them.

If you make an informed decision now, chances of you selling your camera few years down the road, barely used, and for a fraction of what you paid to acquire it, will be minimized. Not only will you use it for a long time for your photography needs, you will also enjoy photography.

If you want answers to some specific question/s you still have that need to be answered before you can make a decision, please ask your questions (with POST A COMMENT) below.

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

My Pi

Tontec case for Raspberry Pi
shot with Nikon 60mm f/2.8G ED AF-S on Nikon D200 with an off-camera Yongnuo 560 ii triggered by D200's pop-up flash dialed all the way down

I know I'm dating myself here when I say I still remember my first PC with these specifications: Windows 95 running on an Intel Pentium 100MHz processor with 32MB RAM, max RAM upgrade possible on the motherboard. Had a whopping 2GB hard disk and a 17" monitor. I think it had a (fast!) 28.8 kbps modem to connect to the internet through some dial-up service. The whole thing cost more than $2000. How technology has improved and costs have dropped! The little toy computer I recently put together is more capable, much smaller, yet cost only a small fraction:

  1. Raspberry Pi Model B
  2. Raspberry PI 5MP Camera Board Module
  3. Samsung MicroSDHC 32GB Class 10 Plus UHS-I Memory Card: An 8GB card was working perfectly fine. Updated to 32 GB card when I upgraded this computer system with the camera board module.
  4. Tontec New Raspberry Pi Board Enclosure: The assembly would have been easier had Tontec supplied instructions. I hope the above image helps those trying to assemble it. Other than missing instructions, this is a nice little case for Raspberry Pi.
  5. Airlink Wireless N 150 Ultra Mini-USB Adapter
  6. (this will soon change but currently using a) repurposed USB power supply from an old Amazon Kindle
Currently I'm using this as a poor-man's video surveillance system. However, I am exploring how this can be used in photography, especially in a photobooth application with a DSLR, for cloud backup of images directly from a DSLR, etc. If you have any pointers on how to go about doing these, please leave me a comment below.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Mayan Calendar ended

Mission Peak Marker by nfarmer
Mission Peak Marker, a photo by nfarmer on Flickr.

Monday, September 3, 2012

layers

layers

Monday, July 9, 2012

New toy...Nikon D800

New toy...Nikon D800 by nfarmer
New toy...Nikon D800, a photo by nfarmer on Flickr.

My ex shot my current!
Nikon D800 shot with Nikon D200.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Natural Bridges State Beach

Natural Bridges State Beach by nfarmer
Natural Bridges State Beach, a photo by nfarmer on Flickr.

Friday, November 4, 2011

comfort zone

comfort zone by nfarmer
comfort zone, a photo by nfarmer on Flickr.

Shot with Nikon D3100 in Kathmandu, Nepal

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy Diwali!

Happy Diwali! by nfarmer
Happy Diwali!, a photo by nfarmer on Flickr.

Shot in a Kathmandu temple with Nikon D3100

Halloween on the beach

Halloween on the beach by nfarmer
Halloween on the beach, a photo by nfarmer on Flickr.

Shot with Nikon D200

Nikon D300

myD300 by nfarmer
myD300, a photo by nfarmer on Flickr.

Nikon D300 shot with a Nikon D50

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I am watching...

I am watching... by nfarmer
I am watching..., a photo by nfarmer on Flickr.

Colobus monkey shot in The Animal Orphanage in Nanyuki, Kenya.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

sunset

sunset by nfarmer
sunset, a photo by nfarmer on Flickr.

This group of rocks looked like a giant (skeletal) foot to me.
Shot by a beach near Davenport, CA.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lighting in Layers

Yes, I blame it all on the Flash Bus tour! Thanks, Mr. Strobist (and JoeM).

After attending the seminar in San Francisco, I watched the earlier DVDs, "Strobist Lighting Seminar". Having been a regular reader of strobist.com, I kinda knew what goes on behind the scenes but seeing Mr. Strobist explain and then demonstrate them crystallized the concepts and techniques for me.

So I went ahead and ordered Strobist: Lighting in Layers with David Hobby (7 DVD Set) new for 2011. I am curious to find out what this latest instruction material on DVDs will contribute to my off-camera flash skills. Can't wait to learn from them!

(I will find out if these new DVDs contain concepts/techniques that were discussed/demonstrated in the earlier DVDs or if these new DVDs build on top of the earlier DVDs. That is another way of saying that I would also like to find out whether one needs to go through both sets of DVDs or just get the new set of DVDs and get same education.)

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

My Light Stands and Swivels

Recent addition to my gear.
Sturdy and fully functional. Giving the ability to easily point light in any desired direction. Yet reasonably priced.
Manfrotto 1004BAC Master Stand
Manfrotto 026 Swivel Lite-Tite Umbrella Adapter

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

baseball

baseball by nfarmer
baseball, a photo by nfarmer on Flickr.

shot with shot with Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR ED Nikkor Lens on shot with Nikon D300S DSLR.

Friday, May 13, 2011

guardian

kitchen guardian by nfarmer
kitchen guardian, a photo by nfarmer on Flickr.

shot with Nikon D300S.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My Photography Gear

My photography gear:
Nikon D800
Nikon D700
Nikon D200
Nikon D70
Nikon 1 J1 10.1 MP Camera with 10mm and 10-30mm VR 1 NIKKOR Lenses
Nikon 35mm f/1.8 AF-S Nikkor Lens
Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AF-S Nikkor Lens
Nikon 60mm f/2.8G ED AF-S Micro-Nikkor
Rokinon 14mm F2.8 UWA Lens with Automatic Chip for Nikon
Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8D ED-IF AF-S Zoom
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S Nikkor Wide Angle Zoom Lens
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens
Sekonic L-358 Flash Master Light Meter
Vanguard Alta Pro 263AGH Aluminum Tripod with GH-100 Pistol Grip Ball Head
Vanguard Tracker Series B300 Aluminum Tripod
Vanguard SBH-300 Ballhead
Yongnuo YN-560 II Speedlights
Yongnuo YN-560 Speedlights
Yongnuo Digital Speedlite Flash YN465
Yongnuo RF-602 N1 and Yongnuo RF-603 N1 radio triggers
Manfrotto 1004BAC Master Stand
Manfrotto 026 Swivel Lite-Tite Umbrella Adapter

Software:
Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan (Photoshop CC + Lightroom)

Wishlist:
Nikon D4s

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

About Nikon Coach

I'm a long time Nikon user. I can help if you
  • recently acquired a Nikon DSLR (or mirrorless) camera or had it for a while and are baffled by all those buttons and knobs
  • do not have time to read the manual/books or do not know where to start
  • already read the manual/books but are still confused about f-stops, shutter speeds, ISO, JPG, RAW, etc.
You can benefit from all the time I already spent (and continue to spend) on Nikon DSLRs!! If you would like to learn to use your Nikon DSLR, from an entry-level Nikon D3300 to semi-professional Nikon D610, look no further than Nikon Coach. (If you own a professional, full-frame Nikon DSLR, you're on your own! I currently shoot with Nikon D800, Nikon D5300, Nikon D200, and Nikon D70.)

Duration: 2 hours (You may bring along a buddy who also has Nikon DSLR or is interested in photography). Division of time between theory and hands-on shooting will be tailored to suit your topics of interest/knowledge level/goal.
When: Saturday | Sunday | Holidays
Where: at a public place of your choice. Anywhere in south bay area. (If you don't have a preference for a place, I can pick one for you.) And, yes, I mean the bay area around the Silicon Valley.
Fee: About as little as what it costs to get a new Nikon 50mm f/1.8G, the least expensive Nikon prime lens for a full-frame camera!

I will coach you how to use the tool (DSLR/Software) of photography...and you will be on your way to realizing your artistic vision through photography.(Unfortunately, I can't teach vision.) Email me (sales AT NikonCoach DOT com) to schedule a session or for more details.

My camera gear
My photography books

Disclaimer: Other than being proud users of Nikon products, owners/users of this website have no affiliation with Nikon or Nikon's subsidiaries/affiliates. Please visit the official Nikon website at nikon.com. All trademarks and brands belong to their respective owners.

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