New phones are a photographer’s dream

Last year I upgraded my iPhone 7 to an iPhone 11 Pro. One of the most compelling features of the 11 is the cameras. The capability to capture really good images, with such a small sensor size and lens is truly remarkable. Granted, it won’t beat a traditional mirrorless or SLR set up, but it’s also always in my pocket. As they say, the best camera is the one you have on you when you need to capture the shot.

I usually have my camera with me when I’m out for runs or bike rides, and so it’s always there for me when I need it. Then, with a little bit of post processing, I get some amazing shots from wherever my adventure takes me. Personally, I’ve developed a look that I really enjoy. It centers around a nice and rich black point, and a boost to saturation. Those two settings give me a result that I really have come to enjoy, and feel that doesn’t create something that looks so fake you can’t believe it exists.

I’ve embedded a few of my current favorites below.

A quick blog check-in

One may think that because of the pandemic and working from home full time, that you end up with all kinds of extra time to tackle all those big projects you’ve been planning. However, in reality, I’m still working, just as much as I did before. I have a little more time from not commuting, but I’ve already eaten up most of that time with daily runs and bike rides (today is 40 days in a row of biking).

I haven’t forgotten about being more active on the blog, I’ve just been distracted with other things. Namely, some new toys that I’ve gotten to play with. I’ve got a slew of product reviews that I need to work on, I just need to sit down and spend the time to bang them out. I recently upgraded my computer, got new running shoes, and have been playing with a bunch of new software. All of which I need to tell you about. It’s coming soon, I promise.

I did was to take a moment though to check in and write something, so that I can share that I hope you are all well, and able to live your best life, despite the circumstances. It’s hard to believe that it has already been two months since everything went crazy. It seems like forever ago, but at the same time, it feels like this is simply how life goes now.

The picture attached to the top of this blog is of a female cardinal who molted her head feathers recently. Right now she looks like a Skeksis from the Dark Crystal. It’s bizarre and frightening to see a bird like that at our feeder. You want to call the wildlife rescue because she looks like she’s seen some serious shit. But just give it a couple weeks. She’ll be back to her old self before you know it, with a whole new set of coverings. That’s where we’re at right now.

We’re frightening bald birds, just waiting till we get our plumage back.

Make sure you do what you can to show kindness and respect to others. We’ll get through this and it’ll all be OK on the other side.

International Wolf Center

I’ve always wanted to visit the northern Minnesota town of Ely. As a kid I knew plenty of people who went up north to the BWCA, but I never had a huge interest in camping until later in life. So I had never been to this part of the state. This past weekend the wife and I headed up to experience Ely in a typical Minnesota winter, and it’s been a great trip.

One of the key attractions for Ely is the International Wolf Center. This is an organization that does wolf research, and helps to educate folks on wolves in general. They also try to contribute to the difficult discussion around wolves and agriculture, which are issues that we simply don’t think about that much in the cities.

We visited the center early in the day on Saturday and got to hear a presentation about the ambassador wolves at the center, as well as see a couple of them sleeping in their enclosure. However, we knew that to truly see them we’d want to come back at 7pm for the Saturday evening feeding.

Sure enough, as soon as we arrived on Saturday night all four wolves were running around and getting excited about their upcoming meal, as well as all the people watching them. These wolves have been raised in captivity and so they’re very comfortable around humans. They can see inside the building and would often come up to the glass to look at what we were all doing.

There was a presentation on how wolves hunt and eat, and then the main attraction was the depositing of a road kill deer carcass into the enclosure. Sure enough they started chowing down right away. I managed to get a bunch of cool shots before and during the feeding. I’ve put them together in an album over on SmugMug.

https://swiftphotography.smugmug.com/Exploration/International-Wolf-Center/

If you’re in the Ely area, this is certainly worth a stop. It’s a great facility, and getting to see wolves up close is really cool.

A little canoe photography

I haven’t done a photo post on the blog in a while, so I thought tonight’s little adventure deserved one. We attended a fun event at a local park that revolved around video games, and especially ones that involved augmented reality, such as Pokémon Go, Wizard’s Unite, and Ingress. I play all three of those games, and my wife plays Wizard’s Unite, so tonight was targeted straight at us. We had a great time wandering around and listening to the band that was playing, but then we discovered that there was no fee for canoe rentals. The lake was crystal calm, and the sun was setting behind the trees, which made capturing this shot a ton of fun. A little editing in Lr, and it came out really nice (especially for an iPhone 7).