360 Degree View of San Francisco

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Posted by Angelo | Posted in Photography, Travel | Posted on 28-11-2009

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed my California photos taken last April.

But I found a gem.

I remember taking a series of shots atop 2140 Taylor St. which would give me a 360 degree view of San Francisco, well at least the Nob/Russian/Telegraph hill part of SF if stitched together into a panorama.

Photoshop is currently crunching the numbers to stitch a whopping 19 photos together.

Ah great. Spinning wheel of death – Photoshop is not responding.

Let’s retry that with just 16 images, and hope Vista doesn’t freeze again.

I tried to stitch the images together back in the summertime, but my Coreduo Macbook Pro with only 2Gb of RAM just could not handle the task. I forgot about the panorama since, and now that I’ve returned to Ontario, and also to my desktop computer containing a significantly faster processor and much more ram, I think I’ll finally be able to stitch the photos together.

Success! Photoshop stitched the photos using Photomerge in a blazing fast 155 seconds!

Now the result – Click the thumbnail to view its  42 mega-pixel goodness! (6mb)


You’ll notice a few images are blurry due to my excitement of having such an awesome viewpoint. Next time i’ll try to focus more on taking the picture, but nonetheless, Photoshop still managed to stitch the photos perfectly.

Blue Moon = Rickard’s White

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Posted by Angelo | Posted in Photography, Travel | Posted on 29-09-2009

I’ve returned back to Waterloo for another school term, and I’m looking forward to a good term!

During my summer, I jumped across the border to Washington State with a friend Max to camp in the Olympic Mountains and just generally be a tourist. Apart from seeing some rather gorgeous sights, I had been looking forward to sitting back in a camping chair in front a fire with one of my favourite American beers  I discovered while in California back in April 09′.

That beer, as the title foreshadows is a belgian-style wheat beer (witbier), called Blue Moon. The picture below was taken at the 6000 foot summit of Blue Mountain in Olympic National Park.

Blue Moon on Blue Mountain

I hauled 24 bottles back to Canada.

Fast forward a couple of weeks where a friend of mine, Ilya, came to Victoria for week prior to heading for co-op down in Seattle. Before he arrive, I mentioned, “I can’t wait to show you this beer, Blue Moon – it’s my favourite American Beer; I brought back two cases from the states.”

That’s when I found out.

Blue Moon is marketed as Rickard’s White in Canada. Ilya mentioned his roommate, Dan Armstrong, who also co-writes the beer column ”The Brew Man Groupfor The Iron Warrior, informed him a beer called Blue Moon is Rickards White north of the 49th. I couldn’t believe it, yet, after a quick google search, evidence poured in confirming this rumour. Both beers weigh in at 5.4% and are brewed by the same company (Molson Coors).

Ilya arrived in Victoria soon after, and along with my friend Max and his parents, we held an informal blind taste test.

The Setup

Ilya volunteered to moderate the first round of the test.

Test Subjects

Each taster received three numbered glasses – one contained one beer, while two contained both of the second beer.

The primary goal of the test was to be able to distinguish which two out of the three glasses contained the same beer. The secondary goal was to determine which beer (Blue Moon or Rickard’s White) had been poured in each glass.

Observations

Sight – At first, I looked at the colour of each beer, and noticed two out of the 3 had the same colour while the other appeated slightly darker.

My Tasting Glasses

Smell – No noticeable difference in Aroma.

Taste – Like smell, I could not distinguish noticeable difference in taste.

My Conclusion

From my obvervations in taste and aroma, I could not distinguish between the two - I based my conclusions entirely on the colour difference. View the picture above of the three tasting glasses keeping colour in mind. Notice glasses 4&5 are similar while 6 is a tad darker? From this,  I concluded 4 & 5 were the same beer, while 6 differed. Also, I decided Blue Moon was poured in 4&5 and Rickard’s in 6. I wrote my findings on the following stickie.

Results

Well I was right about my colour hunch. The contents of 6 did differ from the other two; however, I was completely wrong with my blind guess on which beers had been poured into each glasss. Rickard’s white had been poured in 4/5 while Blue Moon into 6.

None of the others tasters correctly identified their two glasses of the same beer, and thus could not also correctly guess the contents of each glass.

Overall Conclusion

In the case of Blue Moon and Rickard’s White….When presenting tasters three glasses of beer, where two contain the same and the remaining glass contains another, 4 out of 5 tasters  cannot distinguish which two glasses contain the same beer, thus Rickard’s White and Blue Moon are the same beer.

Pentax K-7 Fund

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Posted by Angelo | Posted in Photography | Posted on 23-05-2009

Pentax K-7 Fund, originally uploaded by omiala.

Wow.

Already almost a month since my last update. I have already failed at this whole blog thing.

Anyway, I’ve decided that I will replace my current camera with the newly released Pentax K-7. My less than three-year-old K10D is a perfectly fine camera that is still fast and great to use.

So what lead me to this decision?

1.) Noise.

I’m getting tired of being apprehensive to use ISO 800 and heaven forbid ISO 1600. If it is anything like the K20D, noise will be controlled at 800 and bearable at 1600.

2.) 5.2 FPS.

3 FPS hasn’t met my needs. Even ever since I still shot with the *istDL’s measly 5 shot buffer, I have lusted for at least 5 FPS.

3.)Video.

Ever since seeing the quality and amazing DOF of some friends 5DmkII’s, I’ve been wanting to see how the FA limiteds will perform with video. Could be a gimmick for me, but I’d love to try it out!

4.) Compact.

The K-7 is in my eyes, rediculously small – especially with it’s feature set. Since I’ve finally settled into a kit of lenses that I’m comfortable with, I’ve been trying to reduce the bulk and weight of my bag.

5.) 3″ High Res LCD.

Ever since I used Matt Manjos’ Alpha A900, i’ve been amazed by the usefulness of a high res LCD on the back of a DSLR. Without zooming into the photo on the display, one can easily check for the correct focus. There have been MANY times where I belived a scene was in focus when checking the rear LCD, but much to my dismay when I get on the computer, I was wrong.

On the flip side, what I will miss from the K10D?

1.) Dedicated bracketing button.

At this point, its too early to tell if I will actually miss it, but its something I have used extensively.

2.) Ability to Store Extra Memory Card in Battery Grip.-

Easy, convenient, and quick. Three brilliant words to describe having an extra memory card on hand without having to dig through your bag. I suppose you suffer convenience for compactness.

EDIT: Looks like the D-BG4 grip for the K-7 will be able to store another memory card as long as you are using the lithium battery insert and not the one for AAs.

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Of course, image quality is most important, and will not be known until production cameras make it out into the world, but I have my trust that Pentax has their act together on this camera.