Friday, June 19, 2009

More around Haixi and Lake Sayram

Bath in such nature beauty, one eventually lost his sense of time. We photograph around Haixi area, and back onto the lakeside of Sayram before have to pack up for going back to our Yurt, breakfast, and head to our destination today, Yining 伊宁.
This one taken by using D3X, I gave the picture a little more oil painting feel, for a more pictorial look.
This shot is made by using Canon G10, from Haixi overlooking Lake Sayram. Canon G10 is perhaps the most versatile camera for me this trip, near pocket size, fast snap shot, sometimes quick sequential shots for panorama picture, and of course all the video clips in this trip were using Canon G10. With this one, again I paint the picture a little extra color.
This one, the twin swan on the Lake Sayram, also by Canon G10.
This one by Sigma DP-1, on our way heading back to our yurt, for late breakfast.
Finally, this one also by Sigma DP-1. Must add that given its small and compact built, this little camera offers nothing but great image quality for what it is, more on this later.

May 24, Haixi 海西

After the morning session around Lake Sayram 赛里木湖, we drove to a nearby scenic spot, Haixi 海西, famous for its sea of flowers, but unfortunately the unusual cold spring this year, we arrive about one week too early to witness the full blossom, but nonetheless a beautiful place and wonderful to be here. Few shots here by Nikon D3X with AF-S VR 70-200/2.8G IF-ED, it is now one of my most trusted lens.

These two shots of my wife, Pook, made with Phase One P45+ on Contax 645 and the famous Carl Zeiss Super-APO TPP 300/2.8
My friend Wanbing 萬兵 is making his master shot on top of the Land Cruiser, thanks to Neo 牛哥, the new English name I just gave him.
Our friend, trip guide, driver, and most importantly, navigator, Neo 牛哥.
A wide angle snap shot using the compact Canon G10. What an amazing compact camera, the resolution and sharpness put this little compact easily competing some entry level DSLR.
Another snap shot by Nikon D3X. 2 photographers walking toward the yurt.

More around Lake Sayram 赛里木湖

At the height of 2,070m and spanning 458, it is a big lake, so big that easily within a short period of time, you can see different weather developed around the lake and its surrounding mountains.
Still use the Nikon D3X making most of the shots, and mostly with the amazingly sharp AF-S VR 70-200/2.8G IF-ED. The overall package for this combination is both portable and yet powerful. I am not saying it is light weight, but for most experienced photographer, professional or not, coupled with the vibration reduction feature of the lens and high performance in ISO 200 or higher of D3X, you can shoot sequential of shots for super panoramic picture with Photoshop CS4 (Photo Merge) or Stitcher, you can easily produce image file size dwarf those from medium format digital backs or large format film cameras, of course, base on one shot capture, although the later can also use to take sequential shots, either not as efficient, nor as robust and in varies weather condition, more on this later.
This picture, with Nikon D3X, stitched from 2 shots
and two more also by D3X

Thursday, June 18, 2009

May 24 morning, Lake Sayram 赛里木湖

A historical place, where in distant history Genghis Khan inspected his troops nearby before their long march to conquer the world. Sayram 赛里木 means "blessing" in Kazakh; Mongolian and Kazakh tribal people pitch their yurts here and tend to their herds of camels, sheep and horses.
Early morning, we came by the lakeside to start this day of photography. My wife, Pook, was taking pictures using the Nikon D3 and snap this picture for myself, Wanbing 萬兵 and Huang Zhen 黃政 training our camera and lens.

Lake Sayram, by Nikon D3X + AF-S 24-70/2.8G ED.
This one is captured with Canon G10
And a super panoramic picture for the 180 degree view of the Lake Sayram, using Nikon D3X + AF-S VR 70-200/2.8G IF-ED. Stitched from 9 captures, original file size 39,445 pixels X 3,607 pixels

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dinner & Rest of the night in Jurte 氈房

There is nothing better than a great meal at a warm place after a long drive day, photograph in windy freezing lakeside. Our night will be spending inside a common house in this region, in Jurte 氈房 , as well as being our dining room. Looking forward for a beautiful day tomorrow.
Short video clip to exhibit the living inside the Jurte 氈房.

Monday, June 15, 2009

May 23 Destination: Lake Sayram 赛里木湖

After a long drive, late lunch, stop for change of car battery, right before sunset, we arrive at our destination today, Lake Sayram. It was not a picture perfect day, but it is still a picture perfect place. We drove around the lake, slowly digest the beauty of the lake, stop to take some shots while the day entering into night, time for dinner and rest.
This shot made by using Nikon D3X + AF-S VR 70-200/2.8G IF-ED setting at 200mm, f/9 1/40s ISO 100, stitch of 3 captures, original file size 14,364 pixels X 3,867 pixels.

Another one, similar setting, but a 7-capture stitch, original artwork size 32,886 pixels X 3,728 pixels.

My wife, Pook, shooting with Phase One P45+ on Contax 645, mounted with Carl Zeiss Super-APO TPP 300/2.8 with MAM-1 adapter.

few more images from the Nikon D3X.

May 23, lunch at Wutai 五台

Delicious lunch at Wutai, very worth to wait, it was already after 3pm of the day. With Canon G10, I made a few snap shots around the restaurant, the cook preparing our food, and a lovely local muslin girl enjoy her meal.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Digital and Panoramic Pictures

It is hard to resist as a photographer not to try to do produce some panoramic picture in Xinjiang, me as an example. If there is only one draw back while traveling in Xinjiang, it is the amount of driving involved; but at the same time, you are also rewarded with diversified landscapes, most of which are beautiful in their own way, and in many ways.
Of course, not to be taken seriously, many images were taken on spots when you have to pee. Sorry, China.
Digital camera format today is not to be confused with film, although the industrial borrowed those terms into digital. Today's so call crop-factor DSLR, although of smaller sensor, can easily produce equal or sometimes better image than the 135mm film cameras, and today's top end so-called full-frame DSLR, at least to me, well surpass the overall image quality of those 135mm film camera, and nothing less than those 6X4.5 or 6X6 film cameras can produce, this is my own cnclusion, many may disagree, and I believe each have his own reasons. And those 39mp or 56mp or 60mp digital back, they can produce images that was not previously achieved by convenstional film and camera. Digital has its advantage, and so is film, for me, I am very willing to compromise for settling on digital, accept the area it fell short. Many other photographers may do otherwise.
To me, digital capture is photography, but also a production. No longer the pictue is done in one-shot, because the software allow the original RAW file processed in a compact hardware - the computer, free form chemicals, and with a good notebook computer - for example my Apple Macbook Pro 17", it is a lab on the go. And back to the digital capture, you can capture a RAW file that is at the same time color or monotone, you can take a series of capture and make it into wide format camera, or a round-shot camera, produce panoramic superwide images, or as later I will demostrate, a 360 degree motion file, QTVR, allowing total different image experience. Of couse, not to forget cameras like Canon 5D2, with movie quality good enough for Hollywood production.
Two panoramic images, this one by Nikon D3X + AF-S VR 70-200/2.8G IF-ED, setting at 102mm using f/6.3, 1/160s ISO 100. Original image stitched of 6 captures, 30,118 pixels X 3,426 pixels.
This one is by Canon G10, f/3.5 1/200s ISO 80. Stitched from 6 captures, original artwork 15,894 pixels X 2,970 pixels.

May 23 Tienshan Highway 天山公路 - Du-Ku Hghway 独库公路 - Quey-Sai Highway 奎赛高速

Suggested by Niu 牛哥, we are moving on a long way to our next destination, Lake Sayram, only to stop by a lunch - great food, to be well into late afternoon. So on May 23, we are more or less between moving on the highways, often stop to take some quick snap shots, also to digest the largeness of Xinjiang. I took most of the shots handheld, primary with D3X + AF-S VR 70-200/2.8G IF-ED, few with the compact Sigma DP-1 and Canon G10 for quick snap and video clips. Needless to say, as it is for the rest of the trip, it is a long ride, but it is a beautiful ride. Some images took along the highways........