Moloaa Beach

Moloaa Beach was another new discovery for me on my photo hiking tour of the east and north sides of the island of Kauai, HI with Kauai Photo Tours.

I shot quite a few images here with my Nikon D-7100 and Tamron 10-24 and 18-270mm lenses, but it’s this image from my Lumia Icon smartphone that I like the best.


Possibly because it’s native aspect ratio lends itself to landscapes such as this.  We were getting ready to leave, and I pulled my phone out and made this image using the automatic setting as I wanted to send one of “those” emails. You know what I mean.  One of “those” emails or messages we tend to do from time to time when we want to share something… and perhaps make someone a little jealous…  It’s a sign of the times – vanity made easier by technology!  In this case though, I wanted to share it with Mrs Frog who was enjoying her time at a different beach.

My next favorite images from this location were made with the 10-24mm zoom.  It’s just time and well, time that are keeping them from being posted at the moment.  I’ve never done scenics on a beach with a 10-24 before, and I have to admit that I really enjoyed it.

I am not getting paid for this – but I do have to say that I love my Tamron 10-24mm lens.  It’s not a Nik**, and no ultrawide zoom is perfect, and for what the Tamron costs compared to the Nik**, you can either save a lot of money or use that money to put more toys in your camera bag.  But I digress…  You’ll have to wait to seem more of that lens’ work.

Back to Moloaa Beach…

Technical details:  This jpg is from a dng file.  The original was at 0.00035 seconds, f2.4 at ISO 64.  The camera is also capable of full manual settings, shutter priority and aperture priority, any one of which could have improved upon the original just a bit – but not bad from a phone camera at all!  I tweaked the image just a bit in Perfect Photo Suite 9 – adding a slight skylight filter effect as well as a slight color enhancement.

Moloaa Beach on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai.

Moloaa Beach on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai.

This image of Moloaa Beach is in the Coastal and Beach Scenes Gallery on Laughing Frog Images.


Puukumu Stream meets the Pacific Ocean

Puukumu Stream meets the Pacific Ocean is one of my favorite images.  It has a bit of an unlikely story behind it.

I was on a hiking photo tour of Kauai with Kauai Photo Tours.  It was a bit of a last minute thing that Mrs. Frog encouraged me to do, so while I had my basic photo gear that I travel with (Nikon D-7100 body and Tamron 18-270mm and 10-24mm lenses), I didn’t have what I would take on a planned landscape shoot.  (That’s another post and discussion!)

So, our group is hiking down to the mouth of Puukumu Stream. Puukumu Stream runs north from the mountains of Kauai between Kahiliwai and Kilauea carrying rainwater to the Pacific Ocean.

My gear is in my bag.  We’ve crossed the stream and are heading north northeast to a small waterfall where the stream empties into the ocean.  And the group is moving.  And my gear is in my bag.  And the group is moving.  I look to the left and think “hey, that’s a great shot…”  And my Icon is in my pocket.  So, I stop briefly, pull out the Icon and snap a few in automatic mode, and then keep moving.

Puukumu Stream meets the Pacific Ocean on the north side of Kauai, Hi.

Puukumu Stream meets the Pacific Ocean on the north side of Kauai, Hi.

I thought it might have been a good grab shot.  And the more I looked at it later in the day, the more I realized that it wasn’t just a good grab shot, but that it was in fact a great shot!

This image was taken in DNG format with a Nokia Icon in Auto mode, ISO 64, 1/1500 second.  Minor post-processing took place in Perfect Photo Suite 9.

Puukumu Stream meets the Pacific Ocean can be found in the coastal and beach scenes gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

This image would be no ka ‘oi (“the best” in Hawaiian) as a metal print or on metallic paper in 1 high x 2 wide format (10″x20″, 12″x24″).

Symmetry at Sky Harbor

One of the benefits of today’s smartphones is that it’s easy to create an image as you’re walking along almost anywhere, like, for example, an airport.  As proof, I offer you Symmetry at Sky Harbor.

I was changing terminals one morning, and looked to my left and thought “there’s a picture there…”

Out came the Lumia Icon and I snapped a few pictures.

However, things just weren’t quite right in the Lumia’s original 16×9 (16 pixels wide for every 9 pixels high).

I had symmetry, but it wasn’t right.

When I got to my next gate, I opened the image in my Picture Perfect app and began to create the symmetry I wanted.  In this case, symmetry (at least to me) meant that the image needed symmetry as well.  That meant a 1:1 (square) crop.  So, that meant a little finger dragging to position the crop box and a simple tap to finish the image.

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I left the colors as the camera captured them.  The muted pastels of the building and the sky offer a stark contrast to the metallic-like reds and blues on the tails.

(I still prefer the classic “AA” image of American Airlines that dates back to the late 1960’s, but I didn’t get a vote when they changed.)

If you look closely, you’ll also see another element of symmetry – the auxiliary power units that appear just below the tail of every aircraft.

It’s all in the details, which in some case rely upon how long you look at an image to find them.

This may never sell as the cropped image is too small for much more than a coffee cup, and it may never win any awards – but I like this image, and that’s part of what it’s all about.

It may also give you some ideas the next time you see symmetry, or the potential for it, in your travels – airport or otherwise.

You can see this image in the planes gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

Thanks for visiting!


Ever need every last drop?

That morning cup of coffee is a ritual for millions the world over.  Ever need every last drop?

I was organizing images tonight and came across this one of our dearly departed Hunter.

He liked a drop or two of iced coffee every now and then, and this day in November 2013 was one of those days.

There were a few drops left, and he was determine that they were to be his.  Never mind the fact that his head wouldn’t fit in the glass – he was going to get his due!

I never saw him get his head stuck, but I did see him contently licking iced coffee from his paw a time or two…

Things came to a bit of a halt tonight as I paused to smile and remember him.

For those of you who didn’t get to read about him when he passed, he was a gentle giant and a kind soul.

Some &^$% people left him in front of a pet store in a crate on a cold February morning in 2012.  We me him not long thereafter, as it seems that adopting cute kittens is far more prevalent than adopting a six year old.  He was a project – building trust and getting him to understand that we were here to serve (cat owners, you know what I’m talking about…).  Every time I see one of those “Who Saved Who?” bumper stickers, I can’t help but think of Hunter.

And, I think of him when I’m going for every last drop…

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Beyond the memories this image stirred up, there’s a moral to be found here – and here it comes:

Take pictures.

Take pictures of your family.  Take pictures of your friends.  Take pictures of your pets.  Take pictures of things that make you smile and things you want to remember.  These days it’s pretty cheap and pretty easy to make a memory – there are few excuses not to make a memory.

And when you stumble across random images when you aren’t expecting to, they bring a pause and a smile to the insanity and craziness that seems to be everywhere in life today.

And that’s not a bad thing….

Amtrak Gallery updated!

You might has well have figured that this was coming given the recent videos and NJT gallery update!

There were some firsts in my brief time on the platform waiting for my train.  Besides the NJT ALP-45DP, I saw and photographed my first Amtrak ACS-64 locomotives.

There was probably two  “lasts” that day as well – my final video and still images of Amtrak’s AEM-7 locomotives.  As the ACS-64s arrive, the AEM-7s are being put out to pasture.

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In the above photo, we see Amtrak’s Siemens ACS-64 pulling a northbound into the station as a Bombardier ALP-45a pushes a NJT train south.  If those names don’t sound familiar to you, or sound”foreign”, there’s a reason.  These locomotives are based on European locomotive designs, as there isn’t a sufficient market (or cohesive transportation policy) here in the States for the domestic manufacturers to create and maintain an off-the shelf domestic locomotive design.

Fittingly, at least to me, was that my southbound Northeast Regional Train was pulled by AEM-7 917.  As she drifted into the station, there was still enough sun left to capture her in pixels, and that image is in the Amtrak on the Northeast Corridor Gallery on Laughing Frog Images.  In all likelihood, that was my last ride behind an AEM-7.  Despite being over 30 years old, she was earning her keep that day, and I clocked her over the century mark (100 m.p.h.) more than once on my journey.

Amtrak donated AEM-7 to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, so they won’t go the way of Alco’s C-628 and numerous steam and electric locomotives that either live on in recycled metals or are forever gone.

Amtrak is betting that the Siemens ACS-64 will be around for a while, unlike the HHP-8 locomotives from Bombardier / Alstom that were 15 years old and are being replaced along with the AEM-7s.  The Amtrak HHP-8s never quite lived up to their expectations or potential.  Time will tell…

For the curious, all of the new images started as a .dng file from my Icon smartphone.

Thanks for looking!  And think about what a cool coffee cup this picture would make for you or the railroad enthusiast that you know…  If this one doesn’t catch your fancy, there’s more in the Frog’s galleries!

NJT gallery updated

As you might have noticed, there’s some new “stuff” from New Jersey popping up on Laughing Frog Images.  I’m still processing and sorting out the vacation photos, and this little run of NJT and Amtrak is what you might look at as “low hanging fruit.”  The day job has been really busy of late, so I’m making do with what I’ve got to work with.

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I managed to catch NJT ALP-46A electric locomotives (4600 series numbers) and ALP-45DP dual mode diesel and electric locomotives (4500 series numbers) in some sweet late day sunlight, which has given me the chance to add to the NJT Gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

I haven’t been a good student of the NJT fleet, and when I saw the first 4500 roll by – I noticed that it only had one cab.  Of course, that happened while a cloud was stealing my sun, so that shot didn’t make it to the gallery.  I was starting to watch the clock, as the time for my train was drawing near.  And I saw an ALP-46A.  And then another one.  And then – you guessed it, another one.  And the clock kept ticking…  The last train before mine was headed up by a 4500, and that image did make the gallery.

When I had some time to research the 4500s, below is what I found on the Bombardier website (the link follows as well if you want to look at some of the technical information that’s posted).

Dual power for all lines

New Jersey and Montréal: Two metropolitan regions, similar challenges. Only a few electrified tracks for passenger transport are integrated in a well-utilised freight transportation network with diesel traction: a heterogeneous infrastructure that often forces passengers to change trains.

To overcome such system limits and to markedly increase travelling comfort, both NJT and the Canadian Agence Métropolitaine de Transport (AMT) utilise Bombardier’sALP-45DP. This modular locomotive combines the technology used in the bogies, the locomotive body and the propulsion of the ALP-46A. However, two further diesel engines are also integrated. Because the DP locomotive is used in push-pull operation with double-deck coaches, it also has a pantograph and driver’s cab.

So, while it was a brief wait at EWR for my train, it was an interesting one, as I managed to catch a new locomotive that quite frankly, I wasn’t even aware of!

Thanks for looking!  Enjoy this brief look at how many folks in Jersey travel every work day.  It has to be better than I-10 in Los Angeles County….


Pacific Sun Railroad

The Pacific Sun Railroad is a WATCO shortline that was established to take over local freight traffic from the BNSF on their former ATSF Escondido Subdivision and Miramar Branch.  Seems like it’s the stuff that the BNSF didn’t want to be bothered with.

As near as I can figure, the pictures in the Pacific Sun Railroad Gallery on Laughing Frog Images represent half of the railroad’s locomotives.

From what I’ve been able to find on the web, these are said to be former Western Pacific GP40s that have been upgraded to -3 standards. These workhorses are somewhere between 43 and 49 years old.  They’re working for at least their third owner – the Western Pacific was merged into the Union Pacific over 30 years ago.  It’s almost hard to believe that the 40-series Geeps have been around that long!  That means I’m…. never mind.

They’ve reportedly got two other units – said to be former Seaboard Air Line GP35s working for at least their fifth owner.  I’ve only seen these units in the yard at Stuart Mesa.

I’ve seen the GP40s working at night several times, and most often parked behind a fence at a transloading facility along Miramar Road.  This was the first time I’ve seen them in daylight and not behind the fence, so naturally that called for their portrait!  It was late in the day in nice light – the deep blues were starting to set into the sky.

Once again, these were taken with my Microsoft/Nokia Icon.  This is a .jpg image made from the original .dng file.

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Here are two sites to check out if you want to learn a little more about the Pacific Sun Railroad:

Now, to get the GP35s…!

Thanks for looking.

Everyone likes a cracker

At least this little guy (or gal) did!

Mrs. Frog and I were at a great museum that exceeded expectations – the Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo, NC.  There’s a recreation of a 16th century sailing ship, exhibits of the Native American inhabitants of the area, and interactive exhibits of the early settlements, among other things.  You know how sometimes you go to a museum with reservations (about going – not a scheduled time)?  I went in with a little bit of that attitude, and left with a different view.  This was well worth it, at least to us.

Anyway, besides all of the history stuff, there are friendly little critters running around the grounds.  Like squirrels.

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This guy/gal wasn’t the least bit bothered by the big two-legged things that invaded its’ home.  Indeed, it was quite content to have what appeared to be a mini-Ritz cracker or two.  As you can see, I was right there with my Icon as the cracker was carefully rotated and consumed.  As I’m sitting here typing this, I’m thinking to myself that this would have made an entertaining short video.  Maybe next time.

A couple of different images from this impromptu wildlife shoot will end up in the “peaceful (for the most part) critters” gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

Wander on in and check it out.  And maybe create a coffee mug or something else for yourself while you’re in there.

Happy browsing.  Enjoy!

NJT Gallery added

Next in the new galleries showing images of railroading in the Northeast Corridor is a small (for now) gallery of New Jersey Transit (NJT) trains and EMUs.

What’s an EMU?

Well, it’s not an animal, at least in this case.  EMU stands for Electric Multiple Unit, and the reality is that an EMU is a self-propelled passenger car (with or without a control cab) – an EMU doesn’t need a locomotive to move.

NJT operates passenger trains moved by diesel-electric locomotives, electric locomotives, and EMUs.  This gallery is a small sampling of what moves through the Newark International Airport station that is shared with Amtrak on the Northeast Corridor.

NJT operates commuter trains on routes that date back over 100 years.  Trains run on lines formerly operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad, Erie Railroad, Lackawanna Railroad and Central of New Jersey Railroad.  I think that’s it – but it’s possible that the Lehigh Valley Railroad might be a part of that group as well.  Unlike what happened out here in California where they put the rails back in where they tore them out, there’s a long history behind the services provided by NJT.

I thought initially that this would/could be a larger gallery.  As I selected the images for this gallery, I also became more aware of the limitations of iPhone photography, at least with the 4S.  What looks great on the phone’s screen…  But hey, the iPhone is today’s version of the Kodak Brownie or 126 film Instamatic, and it can do some wonderful things.  That’s another possible post…

But this is about trains – so back to the subject at hand.

You can learn more about New Jersey Transit from their website or from our friends at Wikipedia.

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You can check out the NJT Gallery on Laughing Frog Images and get a glimpse of how people commute in New Jersey.

Smartphone Sunset

Here’s a little “how to”post.

I was at Ontario (CA) International Airport at sunset recently, and saw the sunset, and you can guess what happened next.

Out came my Lumia Icon, and I made a few images.  Let’s take a look at them, and talk about how you can make great smartphone sunset images.  Both images were shot on “auto” and are straight from the camera.

WP_20150311_19_02_52_Raw 420 wmDetails of the above image: ISO 80, f2.4, 1/40 second.

WP_20150311_19_04_28_Raw 420 wmDetails of the above image: ISO 64, f2.4, 1/12 second.

So – how did I get the “ooh, aah” first image and get a “so-so” second image?

Many (most) smartphones allow you to select a focus area by selecting the area you want the camera to focus on by tapping the screen with your finger.  This also controls where the camera meters (measures light)!  Proper metering is the trick to great smartphone sunset images.

In the first image, I selected the brightest area of the sunset as the focus and metering point.  As a result, the camera thought everything was really bright and reacted accordingly – this caused the camera to let in less light.  This made most of the image darker, and allowed the reflected color in the clouds to appear in the image.

In the second image, I let the camera decide everything.  The result is “blah”, at least to me.

The images are shown in the order they were taken.  There are 90 seconds between the two – I was taking images and metering off of different points.  The first image is the best of the bunch.

Next time you see a great sunset, try this!  It’s a way to control your smartphone camera for sunsets even if there are no control options.

(This simple technique will also work for sunrises.  It will also work with pocket digital cameras that allow you to lock on to a focus point.)

Remember, film is cheap these days.  Shoot often, and have fun.

This concludes your smartphone sunset lesson.

As always, shares and likes are appreciated, and don’t forget to visit Laughing Frog Images for your decorating and gifting needs (and your own indulgences).