Instagram & Customs Hell

I have broken down and joined Instagram. Look for me on there under ryan_donovan. My first picture? My Continental Express flight to Newark…right next to my fiancee’s flight to Vancouver. Next to each other but separated by the glass of the secure pre-clearance area of US Customs within a Canadian airport.

And speaking of customs…I almost missed my flight. The computers were down. They had no way to let anyone through. So, processing is supposed to begin at 5AM; it was closed until 6:15 when computers were restored. All of the 6AM flights were over an hour late. And the line extended to hundres. Luckily I was early – or I would have missed my flight as they departed at 6:45 (once the flight crew got through) pretty much regardless if folks were there nor not. This in my mind is a huge weakness that should be remediated – otherwise if something really bad happened – the nation’s commerce would potentially suffer as much of a hit as it did around 9/11.

As it was I made my connection and landed in Vegas later (second Instagram photo).

All is well that ends well – and I have a fun, addictive new hobby. But no thanks to a huge liability in the nation’s border system.




Fun with Lightroom and RAW – Part 2

San Miguel Dusk #32 by rdonovan
San Miguel Dusk #32, a photo by rdonovan on Flickr.

Now, here is the exact same photograph as from last week/last post – but with considerably different color and tone settings utilized.

Because all of the data is there – and it can be processed quite differently – I have been able to re-render the same image very differently.

The only problem with this – is that I end up spending way too much time in Lightroom now deciding what I actually like…

Why High ISO and Multi-Autofocus Matters

Atotonilco & Vicinity #13 by rdonovan
Atotonilco & Vicinity #13, a photo by rdonovan on Flickr.

One of the more interesting locations I visited in San Miguel was the Church at Atotonilco. It is a World Heritage site – and upon perusing its interior it is easy to see why.

However, it is anything but a museum. It is a working Church – and services are held regularly. And there are many worshippers present even when services are not being held.

And, there is no flash photography allowed – for good reason.

Hence, it poses something of a photographic challenge – as there is no loitering around to setup a tripod for a long-exposure. I managed to capture this and other photos simply by using the high ISO and multiple auto-focus points on the camera to get a good shot – in a big hurry with a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens with no image stabilization.

The results were fantastic. I have rarely succeeded with these types of shots with my previous gear.

Retro-United at Sea-Tac International

As I was disembarking on a business trip to Seattle from an Air Canada Dash-8 on the tarmac – I did a double take. No, time hadn’t shifted back a few decades. But there was United’s old Friendship livery – on an Airbus A320 at gate N16 just getting in from San Francisco. It’s great to see the old UA livery outside of an air museum. Now, if only they’d repaint something in the Saul Bass Tulip scheme. 

The San Miguel Photo Set

I have the first round of photos edited and uploaded. Whoa – there is a lot to do here…everything will ultimately be posted in this Flickr set. So you can start looking now at this URL:

And check back often as I’ll be updating it as I can go through the rest of the photos. I’ll also do some specific posts on specific photos or sets as well as I have time.

In the meantime, hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I did throughout the entire photographic process!

Back with Photos – now the processing begins…

I am back. Had a wonderful time. Took several thousand photos. Some of the highlights included dusk, the downtown skyline, walking around downtown, the churches at Antonilco, and the botanical garden. It will take me some time to process it all and upload – especially given that my DSL is too slow (thank you Bell Canada) for doing this at home. But stay tuned – I think this is some of the best yet…the new 24-70 and 70-200 lenses with the 1D Mark IV absolutely rocked – as did the old standbys of 16-35 and 100-400.