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Well, it's been a while. I've waved farewell to the previous gig, which proved to be a suitable venue to demonstrate my C abilities, with even some modest measure of assembly, speeding up the core event processor by around eight times, for greatly improved latency. Hey, I should do this for a living!

As a few of you may have noticed, I've taken my photography a little more seriously since last time I posted. (Not seriously, one should understand - it's way too much fun =:) I'd been enjoying the TZ5, but I couldn't shake the feeling that at full zoom - where I usually was, for wildlife - the effective, useful resolution wasn't anywhere near 9MP, with the noise level rendering full resolution somewhat useless. Then there were other obvious aspects, like being unable to play with shallower depth of field beyond macro shots, or even having direct control over shutter speed, making it very difficult to catch action shots.

And then the coworker brought in his new Sony A380. I took it out for a spin. And thus began my quest for knowledge, learning about the manifold lens mounts - different for just about every manufacturer - the way Nikon and Canon keep stabilisation in the lens, whilst all others move the sensor, the virtues of RAW vs JPEG, and just what the essential differences are between the various models in each maker's lineup.

A couple months later, I was ready to take the plunge myself, with the Nikon D5000 seeming like a fair choice - not quite up to the D90, but noticeably cheaper. However, the salescritter wouldn't match a price I'd seen elsewhere (and not a net-only establishment, either, but a genuine camera store) - but, in the process, he gave a nod to the idea of buying used, mentioning one or two places. And thus it came to be: a D90 for not much more than a new D5000, with only 2,821 shutter activations. As for the lens, I went for a superzoom, aware such designs are always something of a compromise: a Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 VC DX (model A20). Last September, feeling the weaknesses of the lens somewhat, I opted for a prime: the Nikkor 300mm f/4 AF-S, as it was relatively affordable (moreso than, say, the Nikkor 500mm f/4 =:), and received universally glowing reviews. Used, from the same place as the camera, making it 60% of the new price - an offer I couldn't refuse! And here is the new, improved Bunnycam:



And indeed, it is very good. No chromatic aberrations - color fringing, especially noticeable with sharp contrast boundaries - I can see, and nigh perfect acuity, even from across a field's length. Very fast (and quiet) focus, too, though the D90 might let it down now and then, as it seems the adjustment in AF-C (continuous autofocus) mode isn't always as fast to respond as it might be - again, one of those characteristics that improves with the pro bodies.

But what can it all do?









I'm happy. ^_^ I enjoyed the TZ5 for a year and a half, but could never quite shake the sense that, at full zoom - where, inevitably, I usually was for my wildlife photography - the noise level was simply quite high, effectively reducing it to a 2MP camera or thereabouts, not to mention a subtle lack of realism. The TZ5 is nonetheless quite an accomplishment of technology, and certainly cheaper and lighter - but, no question, the above are worth the tradeoff.

And to catch up, some Things™ that have appealed to me sufficiently that I would like to share their joy with you. ^_^

First up, a remarkable short, "The Third & The Seventh", by Alex Roman. It's Baraka of a world that never existed, for every frame is, unbelievably, purely CGI. It's gentle, and unutterably beautiful; I was in tears in awe.

If anyone's had the good fortune to enjoy the BBC production of The Box of Delights (partly filmed in the proverbial back yard of our esteemed loganberrybunny!) - and if you haven't, I must recommend it most heartily - then you might be interested to learn that Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire", et al) and Frank Cottrel Boyce (Code 46, Millions) will be bringing a new version to the big screen, possibly this year. ^_^ "'I first heard 'Box of Delights' as a radio play on the BBC when I was a boy,' Newell said. 'I was immediately seduced by the tingling, opening harp music and the fantastical, mysterious, magic story that followed.'"

The production company, Brilliant Films, is a recently formed venture, with directorial talent including Mike Newell, Martin Campbell (Goldeneye, Casino Royale), and Duncan Jones (Moon) - so they're emphatically not lacking in cluefulness! It's possible, however, that the project has sunk into Development Hell™, as there doesn't seem to be any news later than that announcement; I've asked their PR peeps for comment, so perhaps there'll be illumination yet.

Here's a discussion about the reasons people do, or indeed, don't, use an avatar of the opposite gender in SL. It does, unfortunately, get a little rocky at points, as some of the landmines get set off, but it's a worthwhile thread for all that. What about you?

RockerFaerie's machinima for Pornophonique's "Sad Robot" (available as a free download here) is worth enjoying:

I should like to direct your attention to timberwoof's guide to transformative bloodborne pathogens.

Some phrases about lapines.


A while back, I finally discovered why I'd been having problems getting some Windows programs to install and/or run successfully (such as Keil ARM MDK, TI SmartRF Studio & Sniffer) - old XP! (ie the original release) Yes, not one of them could be bothered to check their requirements and say something. Of course, updating brought its own fun, with repeated attempts to run Windows Update failing to install SP2, and the coworker's OEM Dell CD not being a match for the company's volume license. Rather than mess around with getting an installation up-to-date on another machine, exporting that, and bringing it into Parallels, a quick visit to the Bay of Pirates provided me with a perfectly current SP3 - much faster to install than from a CD, too. (And lo, Keil and the Sniffer work perfectly well now, though Parallels doesn't appear to be as good as VMWare Fusion in alerting Windows to new USB devices; I had to manually scan for them after connecting the Keil µLink, before the IDE would accept one was connected)

Via darac, news of a stunning (but only, for now, proposed) sculpture destined for North Wales - a huge Welsh dragon. =:D

For a soupçon of political salaciousness, this Top Ten Anti-Gay Activists Out of the Closet, and page 2, is delightful reading, lending credence to the notion that those who bray most loudly against gay equality quite often turn out to be quietly flaming. Quite what compels such people to work with such passion against perfectly normal behavior they themselves understand (or at least, know), I shan't pretend to be able to fathom.

Quite an absorbing look into Japanese bladesmiths making unparalleled kitchen knives, with many good photos. Not a sterile article by any means - this is more of a travelogue, looking closely at the processes and the people.

iFixit released repair manuals for the major game consoles. An excellent site to visit for other repair manuals, whatever the device - they cover various branches of electronics, having originally started with Apple's wares, but branched out in 2010 with the aim of offering any and all repair guidance they can.

I realised I was wretchedly unprotected against loss of most of my iPhoto libraries, and picked up a cheap StarTech RAID0/1/JBOD box, and two 1.5TB Samsung 5400rpm EcoGreen drives, for RAID 1 (mirroring) storage. So far, so good! Transfer speed over USB seems fine - around 30MB/s - and configuring it was as easy as setting the jumpers for RAID 1, and formatting the single 1.5TB drive visible to Dandelion, just as any plain external drive. No problems with heat after a couple hours of copying - did I mention the libraries from the start of 2009 until July 2010 occupy about 360GB? ^_^; (And for all of 2010, about 600GB..)

King Kazuma figure! (Sadly, sold out by now.. though I hear he was at FC =:)

Don't suppose anyone can identify this raptor? My knowledge of avians is strictly limited. I just happened to be looking skyward, and had the Nikkor on the camera, so I decided to try taking a closer look at what seemed like some big kite, or maybe a paraglider. ^_^


Apparently, the net really does offer all things: here's where one may obtain owl vomit by mail order)

Finally, a shot I took a few days ago..

 
 
 
 
 
 
Wow, I was wondering just yesterday where you'd got to. :) Thank you, as ever, for so much diverting material.
*giggle* It's my pleasure. ^_^ I'm delighted to find you're still here! I've heard murmurings of furs going as far as deleting their journals, and the level of LJ furry traffic having fallen noticeably - still, in my initial attempts to catch up with at least a few of my friends' recent comments, I'm very pleased to find it's really not so greatly changed from last time after all. ^_^

BTW, did we just miss each other hereabouts?
Hey, you came back! I've been wondering whatever had become of you. And you brought so many lovely rabbit photographs, too! The first two are absolutely fantastic. It's nice to see rabbits acting like rabbits and not just sitting there. I'll have to look through your plethora of links when I have a moment to myself, but it's great to see you back around the place.
It's one of those things.. I sort of felt I'd been spending just much too much time with LJ, with no real happy medium available, only a choice of culling the friends list badly, or not actually paying any attention to what everyone was saying. My choice was no better, of course, but I didn't really feel the stressful atmosphere of the last gig worked at all well with properly involving myself - I suppose I felt there wasn't really any other option.

But thanks! Its been a genuine delight observing those buns for that much time, and finally being able to capture some moments of their lives, far busier and more dramatic than some might give them credit for, on seeing them peacefully munching away in some meadow. When they're chasing each other, for instance, the routine acrobatics can be quite astonishing to witness when caught like this, and remain all but invisible to the human observer. Quite amazing. ^_^
Those are some rather spectacular bunny action photos! Excellent timing firing off the shutter.
What are they doing in that second bunny photo? Trying to jump over one another? :-)

Nice to see you still around LJ too.
It's quite a feat, keeping ready for just that moment, when they seem like they might be about to react to each other - sometimes with a chase, but often more complex than that. It's all down to body language, of course, given I'm well out of range of their scents, and surely wouldn't understand them anyway.

This is, I suppose, the benefit of having watched them for that long. ^_^ The job itself had, shall we say, shortcomings, but being just a few minutes' walk from the buns every day was something very special. I'd be out there every day, whatever the weather, and they would be too - only a couple if the rain was heavy, but even then, there'd often be one or two huddled close to the hedgerow, doing what they could without getting completely soaked.

On my final day by the trail, having enjoyed their company so much, I cried a few times. Wherever I find myself next, I'll always have a special pace in my memories for that lot - crazy, cute, fast, adorable, curious. I did, finally, bring along a big bag of raisins, and scattered them along the trail edge. Viva Lapinity!

As for just what they were trying to do.. hee! Who can tell? I did see a few other examples of what resembled jousting, though, where they'd launch at each other, almost always missing each other entirely - so, quite how serioous an endeavor it was, I'm poorly placed to judge. There was one moment, though, when one managed to actually nip another in the air - I'll fetch that Flickr URL one I'm back home. ^_^

I do feel quite privileged in having been able to observe quite so much of their lives. I'm endeavoring to find more opportunities here - not easy, but I'm driven to find out. Life in the wild is just far too fascinating,
Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhh.

I'd love to get my hands on that lens. Am I to understand correctly that you're shooting a regular Nikon lens on a DX body, effectively making that a 450 mm?

Those rabbit shots are just delicious. Thanks for sharing, and glad you're back!
Just so. ^_^ It really is as good as all the reviews say - pretty much perfect, as far as any real lens can be. ^_^ I've got a rather nice voop shot on Flickr, cropped down quite a bit, that's still perfectly sharp - and he was over 120' away. Just incredible!

And if I remember, despite the current finances, I'm looking to avail myself of BorrowLenses' services for the CNY parade next month - what are the odds I'd find myself in the largest Chinese enclave outside China, on the dawn of the year of the rabbit? ^_^ I'm looking at one of their Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 - not as wide as the Sigma 8-16, but much brighter, and given this'll all be starting around eveningtime, that'll be particularly useful.

Don't suppose you might also be in the neighborhood for that? ^_^
The new photos are lovely! I'm glad you're still around and that life's treating you pretty well. :D
Thanks. ^_^ it was a real joy to be in a position to capture such moments. Indeed, I'm keenly scouting out any such opportunities that may exist locally - might you have any suggestions? Doesn't have to be lapines, though that's obviously a big plus. =:)

How have things been for you?
He's ALIVE!!!!!

*bunny-dance-of-joy!*

I can't tell you how much I wanna "lolcat" some of those bunny pics. :)
Hee! oh, I'll alway be around, somewhere or other. ^_^ I expect I'll be around for good.

So, what have you been up to lately? Are you finally in the Bay? ^_^


IT LIVES!!!
And wow, that's not a camera, that's a MORTAR!!
Welcome back.


Welcome back :) And nice shots!!
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Thanks. ^_^ *hug* It's good to be back, finally. ^_^ I hope all remains well down on the ranch!
Just love the photo of th' leaping bunnies!
It was really one of those magical moments. ^_^ I wasn't even sure I'd caught it at all, as it all happened so very quickly. Just goes to show - what might seem quite routine or fleeting on a human timescale can be so very much more for the participants!
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*giggle* I finally got out only four weeks after my original departure date! (No, not so impressed with KLM, Air France, and Delta - finally wound up going for a refund, as they and Southall Travel seemed unable to actually issue a routing for LHR to SFO that stayed in place right up to departure, but that's a saga in itself, beginning with Heathrow's closure on Dec 19)

It's hell, I tell you! If I dare open the windows, I risk wafting aromas of Italian style pizzas from down below. And the wild parrots on the wires out over the junction don't want to come any closer, defying my mere 300mm lens, confound it! =:P

I was so pleased to catch a few good shots of the buns in the snow. ^_^ They're fabulous anyway, but there's just something about that glossy whiteness as a background, and I deliberately pulled the aperture in a bit for greater DoF, to better show off all of the participants.

The challenge now, of course, is finding where to try encountering wildlife here! Timberwuf's suggested down in Glen Park itself, and a friend from a previous gig thinks the parks around the Oakland hills would be worth trying.

Still, I've caught a few semi-decent shots around town in the meantime, including a couple of the oven at the nearby Italian-French Bakery - built around 1907, apparently, and now fired by a rather imposing gas jet. =:D And their ciabatta is fantastic - great dough, and a glorious, crunchy crust. That and a bit of Raclette makes a good lunch, even moreso with the two-buck-chuck Cab.Sauv. from Trader Joe's. =:9
Oh yeah, that second shot is hilarious! SO good to see you again and yes, I'm sure you were on many minds. Now that's what I call a lens! I'm the proud owner of a new one myself, beans and rice for a couple of months nets me a Tamron 70-200 2.8. Yeah, 2.8 all the way through be-aitch!! Awesome light-gatherer for astro-photography. Now all I've gotta do is get this damn polar mount hacked properly.

Oh what news I've got! Might wanna spread this one around, and consider it yourself! It's gonna be an historic mad fun event. First adults-only outdoor event? Yep! And it's gonna go down at my house!

Ooh, yes.. 2.8 would've done me so well. ^_^ But, I knew I'd have to extend it, and it'd just feel like spoiling it, just dropping a 2.0x TC on it, winding up not much faster than I began. There just doesn't seem like much middle ground between the Nikkor 300mm f/4 and anything longer, unfortunately - and f/2.8 at longer lengths winds up with glorious insanity like the ultimate Sigma. =:D

Now that's a sorely tempting event. If I can make it, I will, but it's all up in the air at this point. There seem to be some good leads locally, which obviously take priority over anything else, though I'd still love to make time for something like this. ^_^ What will actually pan out, of course, remains to be seen.. HR critters are most peculiar sorts.
Those are some fantastic photos!

I was given a DSLR at work when I started in November, a D3000 with the basic 18-55mm lens as well as a Nikkor 3000mm f/2.8one. Alas, yesterday it was returned to the office pool, since one of the other Nikons was broken on the weekend. So, now my fairly chunky Finepix s1700 feels stupidly slow and plastic-y. :D

Aack! Now that's a bit of a jarring transition. Do you think - as and when finances permit, of course - you might wind up getting your paws on a DSLR of your own? Needn't be new, either.. find one that hasn't seen heavy use (given the shutter mechanisms tend to be rated for around 100,000 actuations - sounds like a lot, but in 2010, with all the bunwatching, I went through somewhere around 30,000!), and you could save a third or so of the price on a reasonably current model.
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Well, hello, good wanderer! =:D

I'm delighted to see you in these parts again, and all the more so with such fantastic photos. I'm highly jealous, I must say, and really less of your lens than of your results. The second photo in particular has fantastic energy to it.

Touching on something you mentioned above, it's perhaps true that LJ's furry component has shrunk a little over the last couple of years. I think a lot of people have taken themselves off to FA (even me, to a small extent) but I'm reasonably hopeful that it won't fall apart in the way alt.l.f did.

No idea what the bird is. It's definitely not a kite (no forked tail) but you probably knew that already. =:P
Indeed, the equipment is just a means to an end. The job may not have been exactly amazing, and I'd originally been cursing the fact the office was on the very edge of town, on a small business park, so there wasn't really anything within easy walking distance that would still leave anything of the lunch hour available. Or so I thought, before I noticed how reliably present the rabbits along the trail were.. ^_^

And to the unaided eye, of course, all we might otherwise see is a quick chase, or maybe a leap - it's only with the magic of photography that we can see just how much careful, incredibly rapid coordination is going on in every tiny slice of each second. I feel so fortunate in having had all that time with them.

The second, which I've dubbed "Skydiving", is probably my favorite shot of the year. It's hardly technically perfect, but that moment.. (insert physics joke here)

Ah, yes, FA! I'll likely be waking up there again soon, too, though probably just for commenting/faving rather than journals. Maybe even an artwork submission at some point, now the Intuos 3's pen is but a day away from delivery - despite the lack of funds, I felt it was high time to get the tablet back in action; the pen was lost during the last move, unfortunately, and at the time, a replacement seemed to be around £70+, which has since shrunk to $64. It'll likely be quite handy as an input method for brush enhancements to photos in Aperture 3, too.

Maybe I'll post that shot to animaloptica, and see if anyone there can identify it, though I might be better off on a dedicated forum like FredMiranda, particularly given the apparent avian leanings of that forum.
YAAAAYYY!

BUNNY IS BACK! YYAAAAAAYYYY!!

Awesome shots as always, and I think the bunnies are getting used to you. You're always there, always sending them love. One of these days, one of them is going to come up and nibble on your shoes.
*grin* Actually, whilst they never went quite that far, there were quite a few times when one would sit relatively near (say, 30'), looking directly at me, as if wondering what I was thinking, just as I'd always ponder what they were thinking. ^_^

It was quite a wrench, finally leaving the area - the locale as a whole wasn't really where I belonged, yet it was a very friendly small town, and wonderfully peaceful. (The downside, of course, was that it was unutterably peaceful =:) Whilst the job wasn't especially fun, being able to watch their lives every weekday was a truly marvellous way of decompressing during a long day, letting go of the tiny stresses.