Denver Lillies

Today I successfully completed another attempt at a three loop run through Springdale Cemetery.  If you recall, I actually pulled this off for the first time two weeks ago.  Form no-runners, this might not seem like much of an accomplishment, but that course will inflict some serious hurt on your body – there are three major steep hills in the standard loop direction but we take the second loop in reverse which results in two ridiculously long hills that leave you begging for mercy.  It was a big moment to finally face my demons and get it done the first time (let’s just say I’ve tried countless times to get through it, but each time succumbed to the exhaustion).  Today was a commitment to myself to complete two 20 miles runs before attempting another life list item.  With that out of the way, I can focus on making sure all the moving parts are in tip top shape.  Now, the downside of all of this is I’m dead tired at the moment and staying off my stiff legs.  This of course translates to … extra time to get a post out, yeah.

The bonus statue from the Denver Botanical Gardens shoot in the last post reminded me there were a few more landscape shots I had not processed yet.  Yes folks, another non-bird related post – hopefully this will quench the hate mail that has been burning up my inbox as of late hehehe.

Denver Botanical Gardens June 2013

These shots were taken at a small pond in the middle of the gardens.  Unfortunately, we were there in mid-day so we were dealing with some harsh light.  I have two monitors in my den one set a little darker and the other set a little lighter than Linda’s Mac.  I should probably sync this up since we print off of the Mac screen settings.  The two settings allow me to quickly see if I want to lighten or darken a shot without having to make physical changes.

Denver Botanical Gardens June 2013

The vibrant water lilies on the dark toned water caught my eye while I was taking shots of sculptures scattered about the area.  The tripod would have been handy for this shot, but that was left in the car on this outing.  That would have allowed me to smooth out the water with a longer shutter speed.  Oh well, you go with the conditions you have available.  The ripples do give a sense of motion to the scene.

Denver Botanical Gardens June 2013

In another area of the pond I spotted some white flowers and thought it would be a good complement to the pink flowers.  Now that these are worked up I’ll probably try putting these to paper (after tweaking them on the Mac so they match our printer service color shading).

Denver Botanical Gardens June 2013

It has been a while since I’ve featured a flower shoot on this blog – that is really in Linda’s wheelhouse.   Hey, that reminds me – I have Biltmore flower garden shots still to process!

Have a good one everyone – I’m going to go foam roll my legs.

11 thoughts on “Denver Lillies”

  1. Nice shots… I think I like the last one the best. Not sure if it’s just the framing, but the picture looks more… tranquil?


  2. Hey Skids, welcome back! I was leaning to the first or last as my favorite as well. I like to give my subjects room to breathe in my crop with both of those have, but I also like diagonal lines over horizontal which tips it in favor of the last. How did your Yellowstone shots come out? I did post most of my good shots from when we were out there in 2013 over the last 2 or 3 months. You will likely recognize many of them.


  3. Oh, I’ve been lurking and checking out all your shots. I just can’t provide much help on the bird ones, so I haven’t been commenting on much. 🙂

    And yes, I did recognize many of the Yellowstone shots. 🙂

    Not to hijack the comment thread on these pictures, but since you asked… We did get to go there in March. It was a good trip overall, but most stuff beyond reach of our glass from a photography perspective. Our spotting list was pretty complete though, which was surprising for early season.

    We did see 3 wolves (through the spotting scope of some kind wolf watchers that took pity on us trying to see with 10×42 binoculars) so no shots there.

    We also did see a grizzly bear on a carcass but was at the limit of what you would call “recognizable” with our biggest lens (18-300mm). I have one or two shots that may be ok for some touch up / processing though. After the grizzly moved on, 3 coyotes came in and snacked on the remains. Strangely, maybe because of contrast, those actually look better than the shots of the grizzly sitting on the carcass while snacking.

    Also saw the usual: 2 coyotes crossing river, 3 bald eagles, 100’s of antelope, 15 – 20 big horn sheep (got some really good shots of those), 100’s of buffalo, 100’s of elk, and lots of deer this time too, which seemed kind of odd (but maybe it’s just a timing issue, as we normally don’t see many deer when we do go).

    Just curious – what is your current body / lens set up? Was looking at maybe getting a refurb 7200 as it allegedly has better ISO processing than my current 7000. Are you using a 7200? Or move up to the “big boy” bodies now? Also leaning towards picking up that Nikon 200 – 500 for a bit more reach since it had such good reviews…


  4. My main shoot rig is still the 7000 with the 200-400 glass. I am probably going to send it in to get all cleaned up and guessing the sensor could use an overhaul by now – I’ve shot a LOT of shots with that setup and at this point wouldn’t give it up for anything. There was nothing in the 7100 or 7200 that upscaled enough from the 7000 platform that justified spending the additional money. Linda has one as well and was her main camera until she stepped up to the 810 – that is really nice camera and she loves that for all her dog, portrait and landscape work – I prefer the cropped sensor over the full size of the 810, but I will definitely switch to that later in the day when I start losing light – that 810 has awesome low light capability on high ISO. I did just leverage it to get some nice shots of a nesting Eagle – 810 + The Beast + 1.4 tele on a cloudy day – those looked really nice and didn’t seem to have the normal fuzziness when I put the Tele on the 7000. Heavy camera though – all that weight will make your arms sore after a long day, where I am pretty comfortable now with The Beast on the 7000 all day!

    Ron, any comments from your perspective – I know you have the 7200

    Oh, and I’d stay away from the 600’s – major issues and the recalls of late indicate they are starting to admit it

    Feel free to comment – always good to see a comment every once in awhile hehehehehehe


  5. Hi David,

    I think Brian has moved up to the D810, at least for part of the time, but I have been using the D7200 since last fall. I moved up from a simpler D3100 that I really liked, but I do like the features of the D7200 much more. Most of those features are on your D7000, though. The one you mentioned, better ISO processing, is one of the advantages that people talk about, but I haven’t really compared that ability to what I had before. I believe what all the reviewers say about that. It goes up to ISO 25600 by default, and you can choose in the menu to extend that up to 102400 in black-and-white, but I haven’t gone beyond 25600. The reduced banding effects in the dark areas of photos are supposed to be a real improvement, but these are subtle things to me.

    A feature that I believe has come in very useful is the better auto-focus operation under low-light conditions. I took photos of American Woodcocks in very late dusk and had no problems at all focusing on the bird. The camera has a Sony 24Mp sensor, so you also get more resolution than your 16.2 Mp D7000. Be prepared for >30MB raw files and >14Mb JPGs–I upgraded my computer to get USB 3.0 and bought a USB 3.0 card reader.

    The increased buffer size is the other selling point of the D7200, allowing 6-7 fps for up to about 100 shots for JPG and 18 shots for the highest resolution, 14-bit uncompressed, RAW that I use. There is a lag while you watch the photos get updated in the display afterwards, though. I have the camera set on high-speed continuous shooting with the shutter depressed, and I haven’t had it stop because it ran out of buffer space.

    I haven’t used the video mode. I also haven’t used the WiFi feature, but sometimes I want to send Brian a picture from the field so I may use it in the future. Sometimes people take smartphone pics of the LCD image in their camera viewfinder in a pinch, but I could transfer the pics to my iPhone through the Nikon app and mail them in high res from there. (You can also fire the camera from the app while viewing the live “video” on the smartphone screen.)

    One thing that Brian says he likes on the D7200 is the locking mechanism for the mode setting dial, so you have to press a button on the top to rotate it (exactly like my 1983 Nikon FE2, I might add.) At first I thought it made turning the dial from U1 to U2 quickly without looking more difficult, but Brian tells me that he has had the dial accidentally rotate on him so perhaps it’s for the best and I’ve gotten used to it.

    I’ve been wondering aloud to Brian off and on whether the D7200 produces sharper pictures than the D3100 I had before. I’m a super details person, in a good way. I think now that this was a misconception of mine. The greater number of pixels, along with the removal of the low-pass optical filter on the sensor, can create the illusion of poorer-resolution pics. I’ve read that there may be more grain because there are more pixels, but it is finer grain and easier to remove when processing. (The optical low-pass filter on the sensor was for preventing accidental Moire patterns due to aliasing effects, but the sensor has greater effective resolution without it and you can always remove those with Lightroom. I have never seen them anyway.) I finally got birds that pretty much filled the field of view of the camera rather than cropping down to tiny birds way off in the distance, and I got very sharp pictures. Plus I’ve gotten much better at processing in Lightroom. Oh, speaking of that, you have to upgrade to Lightroom 6 (or the Lightroom CC cloud-based version) to open raw files in the new D7200 NEF format, so that’s $75 more. Adobe will not back-support raw file formats and this is a new one.

    My understanding from reading everything online I could about the D7200 is that it’s probably not worth upgrading from a D7100 (which as a 24Mp sensor already, etc.) but perhaps from a D7000. Anyway, I haven’t used a D7000 so I can’t really compare, but I thought I’d give you my impressions of the D7200 for what they’re worth (which is like a million dollars, but for you–free!).



  6. Hi David,

    I see that Brian posted his comment while I was composing my comment, so you can ignore my guess as to what Brian uses today. Since he has been using the D7000 and I never have, he has a much better idea of the worth of the features of the D7200. Hey, Brian, if you want to switch camera bodies for a while on Saturday, let me know.

    BTW, when I wrote “I have the camera set on high-speed continuous shooting with the shutter depressed, and I haven’t had it stop because it ran out of buffer space,” I meant that I have never needed to shoot even close to 18 continuous shots in a row, not that the camera will always keep up in continuous mode. Just thinking “50MB per shot, 50MB per shot” limits my continuous firing.



  7. wow, that was like a full post review! Just a couple of clarifications – I actually do NOT like the dial button lock – That makes it way to hard to do a quick switch to the other U mode. Admittedly, I have slipped it accidentally, but I’ll take that risk for ability to actually switch that dial while still looking through the viewfinder. Only other clarification is I usually only take one single picture of a bird subject so continuous shoot mode and buffers isn’t much of a selling point for me (hehe)


  8. Ha, I find the only time you only take one pic of a bird is when I’m trying to identify it! 🙂 I thought you liked the dial button lock–I’ve gotten used to it, I guess, so I can do the switch from U1 to U2 or vice versa without looking at the dial.

    Not a full post review, nothing blog-like! I have no birding blog and therefore am not bound by rules on when I can count a new bird. Whew!

    BTW, I like all the pics of water lilies here! Every one is vibrant and has really good composition. I think the ripples add to the pictures, too.



  9. I just read a response in Bird and Blooms that joked that they all too often only get one shot of bird and asked to identify it hehehe.

    Say it with me … I have a blog …. I love my blog…. I want to put my bird shots on this blog because that way I can claim my +1

    now take a deep happy cleansing breadth and get to blogging!!!!!


  10. Wow, thanks for the great info, Ron! I did a bit more research, and found a few other sites discussing the pros / cons of moving from a D7000 -> D7200. Most were along the lines of the “not enough difference to justify the extra money”, and one even said they’d switch to a D5500 over the D7200 if they were spending money (not sure I agree with that, but hey, what do I know).

    While I’d like the better resolution and better low light / higher ISO performance, it may not matter that much for what we normally photograph right now as most of the subjects are in the land mammal category, and we are not “get there 2 hours before sunrise” kind of folks. It’s normally pretty sunny by the time we are on the go.

    Other than wolves running (which is pretty rare for us to see at any distance where I could actually use a camera), most of the animals plod along pretty slowly, which means continuous low is my “go to” shoot mode when I want to try to capture something and avoid the blur from me jabbing at the shutter release. So the buffer probably wouldn’t buy me too much at this point.

    So while I would love to pick up a new toy… I think it’d be a hard sell for the wife. I think for now, I will take the extra $750 or so for the D7200 refurb body I was looking at and spend it on the Nikon 200-500 lens and see how that goes. And maybe I just need to drink less caffeinated beverages when shooting, and I won’t get so much blur… hehe!


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