Snow Leopard – Its a Mac Thing

It isn’t really a ‘Mac Thing’ (or maybe it is!) – But the Snow Leopard is definitely my ‘favourite’ of the big cats (I also have a soft spot for the Persian Leopard); which accounts for my continual return visits to photograph them whenever possible at the Melbourne Zoo. This photograph was taken during the same shooting session as ‘Snow Leopard in Profile‘, but captures a very different moment and feeling. My only regret with both of these photographs is that this is a captive animal and not wild. But since Snow Leopards are native to a foreign country, endangered and extremely rare I hope you will forgive the captive nature of these photographs and instead enjoy them for their merit in their own right. I used the Canon 300mm F2.8L IS lens for this shot at ISO400 on the 1DSMK3. I have had a few emails from readers asking me how I photograph these animals without any ‘bars or cages’ in the shot – ‘Did I have special access?’ The answer is no – I photographed all of the animals either in the wild or from normal public Zoo access. The trick when faced with caged animals is to use a lens with a wide aperture like the Canon 300mm F2.8L IS and to put the lens as close as possible to the bars; whilst putting the animal as far away from the bars as possible. This effectively throws the bars or cage so far out of focus that they become invisible. Its a very useful technique to photograph captive animals.

Sandisks New Archival ‘Worm’ SD Card

The issue of how to safely and securely archive thousands, tens of thousands or possibly even hundreds of thousands of photographs is a constant problem for photographers. Well, a new solution is on the horizon from Sandisk – the ‘WORM’ Write Once, Read Many SD card. Initially available only in a 1 Gigabyte size; but larger sizes are sure to come.

IDG News Service – SanDisk on Wednesday announced a Secure Digital card that can store data for 100 years, but can be written on only once.

The WORM (write once, read many) card is “tamper proof” and data cannot be altered or deleted, SanDisk said in a statement. The card is designed for long-time preservation of crucial data like legal documents, medical files and forensic evidence, SanDisk said. The media comes with capacity of only 1GB. SanDisk determined the media’s 100-year data-retention lifespan based on internal tests conducted at normal room temperatures.

To draw comparisons, the card is like DVD-write only media, but much smaller and with a much longer life span. SD cards typically slot into portable devices like digital cameras and mobile phones to store or move images, video or other data. The WORM works like conventional SD media, but only with compatible devices, SanDisk said.

The company said it is shipping the media in volume to the Japanese police force to archive images as an alternative to film, SanDisk said. The company is working with a number of consumer electronics companies including camera vendors to support the media. The media is available worldwide through resellers. SanDisk did not comment on pricing.

Footprints on Mars – Processing in Lightroom 2.7 Video

In response to a few emails I have had asking me how I went about  processing this photograph – ‘Footprints on MarsI have put together a short video on the steps I took in Lightroom 2.7. I have subsequently upgraded to Lightroom 3.0; but the processing remains the same (the sharpening for this photograph is slightly different in 3.0). The video is quite large (over 100 megabytes and runs just under fifteen minutes) in order to keep decent quality to clearly see the steps and difference pre and post processing. You will need to right click on this LINK ‘save as’ to download the video file. Enjoy.

Mount Buffalo – Valley View

I have blogged before that the road up to Mount Buffalo in the Victorian high Country is one of my favourite drives in the country. I enjoyed it all over again last week whilst on holidays with the family  at Bright, Mount Buffalo, Mount Hotham and Falls Creek. It has been a bumper start to the snow season this year and there was a good covering on the summit slopes as well as some lower areas with the help of snow making equipment. Temperatures were cool during the day on Saturday hovering around -2 on the top of Hotham; but the sun was out and it was glorious to be out ‘in it’. Sunday was much warmer around 8 degrees (although it felt a lot hotter chasing the kids in the snow!) I did not get a lot of opportunity for serious landscape photography as I spent most of my time on the toboggans with the kids. I did however, manage to sneak away early one morning in the dark and fog to capture a nice sunrise across the fog filled valley from the Mount Buffalo road.

Iceland Volcano – Eyjafjallajokull Eruption Video

Another fabulous video on the Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption – posted to You Tube by Chris Weber. This video really gives you a great impression of the volcanos incredible power. It is hard to imagine just what a potential eruption at the nearby much larger Katla volcano would be like! The Modern Survival Blog has some interesting reading on just how big, devastating and powerful a Katla eruption might be – worth a read as the consequences could well be global.