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.


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.

WP_20151211_7553 m 360 wm

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!


30th Street’s Solari Board

The Solari board is an interesting creature.

They’re a form of display board that I most closely associated with railway stations before I started to research them.  One of the more known Solari boards was at Grand Central Station in New York City.  The first time I remember seeing a Solari board was in an old black and white movie that had a scene in a railway station.  No, I don’t remember the movie… just the board updating.

Compared to a digital display, a Soalri board has a personality and some intrigue about it.

How is that possible?

Well, check this out Solari board updating itself and tell me if there’s personality and intrigue in a Solari board compared to a LCD or LED display!

Sorry for the wiggle – this is hand held video taken of the Solari board at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.  Yes, I know, I preach tripod use… but sometimes, you just can’t travel with a tripod…

Why do I say it has personality?

Well, it has sound and action.  It doesn’t flicker – it’s very straightforward and direct.  It’s not like looking at a television or computer display to be told where to go or when to be there.

Why do I say it has intrigue?

Well, it’s like a carnival or casino game in that you don’t know what it’s going to say until it stops and is silent.

According to our friends at Wikipedia, there are exactly eight (8) Solari boards left in the U.S.  You can learn more about Solari boards, which are covered on Wikipedia in an entry called “Split-flap display” by clicking here.

This video is also posted on the Laughing Frog Images YouTube Channel.

The original video was shot in 4K format on a Lumia Icon.  It has been downsampled and reformatted for posting on YouTube.


There was a time when air travel was civilized.  There was a time when there was a degree of decorum about it.  There was a time it was an event.

And then, there’s now…

American Airline paid homage to those times back in 2000 with the resurrection of the Astrojet livery applied to a Boeing 737 and 757.  It’s not paint – the aluminum is polished and the stripe and lettering are decals.

I’ve never seen the 757, but I’ve seen the 737 three times and flown in it once from LGA (La Guardia, New York City) to ORD (O’Hare, Chicago).  This is the first “good” image I’ve been able to get of the 737 Astrojet.  It’s at Gate D38 at DFW (Dallas – Fort Worth) International Airport.

The Astrojet livery honors the image applied to American’s first jet aircraft, a BAC (British Aircraft Corporation) 1-11.

WP_20150831_12_45_37_Raw__highres c&c 600wm

Admittedly, the Astrojet didn’t feel any different than any other plane, but it did make me think back to when flying was something special in my life and not a regular occurrence.

It also made me think back to the black and white pictures of early air travel – men and boys in suits, women and girls in dresses.  Dignity and decorum.  I’ve got to guess that the boarding process back then was different as well – orderly lines and civilized entry as opposed today’s cattle call and “What do you mean Group 4 isn’t first?”

Or, maybe the pictures were just figments of the public relations department’s minds?  Maybe it was as crazy as it is today?  Nah.  I have to believe that it was more civil.  I remember it being more civil even just 20 years ago.  Now, it’s rush-rush-rush and that look of “obviously you don’t know that I AM more important than you and I deserve to be in Group 1, not Group 4!”

Perhaps the only fun I find in air travel anymore is to watch people who try to defy physics by trying to shove a bag that simply won’t fit into the overhead bin.  They seem to think that if they push hard enough, or wiggle it, or turn it around, it’s miraculously going to shrink and fit.  And then, they get mad at the Flight Attendant because their bag doesn’t fit.  I see this play out on almost every flight I’m on.

There also should be a rule that if you can’t lift your own bag over your head, you shouldn’t be allowed to carry it on and try to place it in the overhead bin.  Just saying.  And no, for those of you that think this statement only applies to females, you’re wrong.  Been there.  Seen that.  Almost been hit by dropped bags more times than I can count.

This image of the Astrojet can be found in the commercial section of the planes gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

Lumia Icon on Auto setting, jpg image created from the dng (raw) image.

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.

WP_20150721_17_53_35_Raw__highres LFI 420 wm

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!

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.

WP_20150709_14_52_38_Raw LFI 400 wm

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!

Sunset from the back of a plane

When I fly, I tend to get a an aisle seat.  I’m not always sure why, because my head and arms are regularly hit with nary a tinge of guilt on the part of those striking me.

However, I might want to start rethinking that.

When I replaced my old cell phone from the Dark Ages (it was a flip phone with no keyboard…) with a new smartphone, I chose the camera first, and then the phone.  I wanted a Windows phone so I could manage this site in Internet Explorer, so that somewhat narrowed my choices, but they weren’t bad choices.  I ended up with the Lumia Icon, which has a 20mp camera, and also produces a RAW image in .dng format.  It takes phone photography to a new level that I won’t get into here, because this isn’t about a phone or a camera – it’s about a snapshot in time memorialized in bytes.

More importantly, the Icon gives me the opportunity to capture some fantastic images without having to carry a camera with me all of the time.

Here’s a shot from a window seat in the back of a Southwest Boeing 737.  We’re heading east over Huntington Beach at sunset. As we turned east, I noticed the sunset and thought “there might be a picture here…”

WP_20150514_19_16_17_Raw 480 wm

You can see ships waiting to get in to Long Beach Harbor in silhouette from the setting sun, you can see the waves headed towards the beach, the blue sky and darkness separated by the rain clouds.  There’s a lot going on here.

This is the jpeg file straight from the camera.  I haven’t played around with the dng file to what I might be able to do with it.  I didn’t have time to go to manual and select the settings as I would try to do for a sunset – so I metered off of the clouds above the sun and hoped for the best. ISO 64, f2.8, 1/1250 second – all set by the Icon’s camera.

I ended up with a quality image of something fresh and different, and that’s what makes time behind the camera meaningful.

Shoot often and shoot well!

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).


Sunrise Done Different

Most of the time you see a picture of a sunrise, the photographer is looking at the sun…

Always having to be different, the Frog presents an alternative way to capture a sunrise.  Look the other way!

While on vacation in Hawaii (before you East Coast folks start, it’s closer to me than Boston is right now…) on the island of Kauai, I awoke to a very bright day (which is easy to do when you’ve traveled west).

I looked to the east, and the sun was hidden by a cloud layer.  No shot there…

But, as I looked to the west, well, here’s what I saw:

WP_20150209_07_27_39_Raw__highres 320

The mountains were in shadow, the clouds were lit by the sun, there was a faint rainbow, and the moon was still out!

Being 2015 and all, I did what most anyone would do – I grabbed my phone to take a picture!  I would have grabbed my camera, but the phone was closer and the rainbow was changing (for the worse) before my eyes as the sun rose behind me.

This image is straight from the camera’s raw file (Nokia Lumia Icon), and was cropped to a square image and converted to a jpg for posting and sharing.

I tried to play with it a bit in an editing program to bring out the rainbow, but as every action has a reaction, and the reactions were not favorable, I decided against that train of thought.

You can find the image here on Laughing Frog Images.

Thanks for looking!