Crop of Nikon D200 NEF (RAW) file – as shot

I planned to write a lengthy email giving Topaz Labs some feedback on their Topaz Photo AI app, but then I figured it would be too difficult to cover everything in an email.

So, here we are.

Fair Warning: this post might only interest Topaz and possibly a few people who own or are considering getting one of Topaz’s AI apps or their entire suite.

*** Unless interested in photo post-processing apps, best give this post a pass. ***

NOTE: This is in no way to be considered a criticism of any of these apps. They are my go-to apps for most of my post-processing, and I have nothing but praise for the company and the products. All I’m doing is pointing at something they might want to fix.

Right, here we go!

This is a look back at photos from the last five months of 2022.

“Why five months? Why not six months?”

Well, Bob — if that is indeed your name — I’, not going through this again. If you want an answer, read the intro to the previous post.

Anyway, we continue with a brief — but hopefully worthwhile — look at a sampling of the 2022 photos I snapped using the Nikon D7500 camera.

“So, like, are these the best photos of the year?”

This is a look back at photos from the first seven months of 2022.

“Why seven months? Why not six months?”

Well, Bob — if that is indeed your name — I have 56 photos and wanted to split them into two posts, and it just happened that the first 28 photos cover the months of January through July of 2022.

“But you could have just processed a few more on this first half, no?”

. . . everyone’s a critic . . . Yes, I could have, but I didn’t set out with a particular number in mind. Fifty-six is what I had in the end, and fifty-six is what I’m working with.

“So, like, are these the best photos of the year?”

Just a quick . . . er . . . semi-quick post about the communal bathing habits of House Sparrows. It all started in September, when House sparrows became regular visitors to the birdfeeders. They usually come in small flocks of about ten or so, but occasionally more.

They got into the habit of doing vigorous bathing, usually with multiple birds in the birdbath at the same time. Wait, let me back up a bit . . .

It’s been a while, so if anyone needs a refresher, Parts 1 and 2 are HERE and HERE. BUT . . . since it’s a rare reader indeed who follows links, a quick recap:

  1. Original plan: Chicago, north through Wisconsin, across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, down to the Lower Peninsula, through Indiana, and home.
  2. Modification 1: North to the Lower Peninsula, up to the Upper Peninsula, back down to visit friends, down through Indiana, and home.
  3. Modification 2: 1,909 miles from home to as far North as Whitefish Point in the U. P. and back home in 102 hours.

This post, then, is about September 18th, 2022. Them who read the previous posts know today’s travels start at the Ojibway Hotel in Sault St. Marie (The Soo). It would end nearly 300 miles later in Traverse City, MI. We’d originally planned a stopover at Tahquamenon Falls, but based on the accelerated schedule, we decided to skip Michigan’s largest falls (upper and lower) and its tannins-tainted waters.

For some reason, some of the photos are loading slowly, and I don’t know if that’s WP or SmugMug’s fault, but if I mention something and you don’t see it, try refreshing the screen. Like, for instance, the following map.

That’s the route, and what follows are the photos . . .

Just a quick post . . . I just saw the notice for the winner of Flickr’s contest. Specifically, the Nature category winner.

I’m like . . . “What?! A hummingbird Photo?”

I mean, I have hundreds of hummingbird photos. Heck, this past Sunday’s SmugMug Appreciation post had three photos of hummingbirds that I think are just as good.

Here they are:

Pareidolia. I’m always looking for potential ‘faces’, especially in food. Many a times I’ll interrupt the assembly of my breakfast, whip out my phone, and . . .

Bagels are the most frequent targets because I cut them into four slices, exposing various air pockets. Combined with the center hole, it makes for a high probability of facial expressions . . . provided one has the imagination and desire to see them. I’m told some people can’t see them . . . the poor bastards.

Kind of busy today, but took the time to relax and play with a few photos from THIS post.

I keep forgetting to play with Plot-A-Verse (Plot-A-Graph is the option I use within Plot-A-Verse), but I occasionally remember . . . and then I look for photographs suited to the effect.

Here are three . . . I don’t know how they will play because I’m linking them from SmugMug . . . and these files are large (~12MB). The first is of one of the pelicans (remember, you might have to give it a few seconds or longer for it to load) . . .

Here are two more . . .

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. Let me explain . . . on Monday, Labor Day here in the US, I started the day by sitting outside and photographing hummingbirds. Mind you, there were lots of other birds around, but I concentrated on the hummingbirds. Then, throughout the morning, I shot more photos.

For the record, 170 photos were snapped, of which I kept 123. The SmugMug gallery (HERE) has 75 of those 123.

How many am I going to show here? Don’t know yet, but not that many.

These photos are all cropped from the originals. Even after cropping, the photos are about 2400 pixels per side, and I’m linking photos about half that size (meaning, SmugMug offers larger versions, as will the slideshow at the end).

The Throwback Today posts are a chance for me to get my D100 and D200 out, make sure the batteries are charged, that there’s a fresh CF memory card waiting to receive photos, and go out and shoot with them old workhorses.

But, sometimes, it’s me revisiting past captures to see how they might benefit from postprocessing techniques and tools that were not available back then. Today, we’re looking back eleven years to photos captured in 2011.

Specifically, to the day when a Tarantula walked from my forearm to my fingertips across my palm.

I should mention all these photos were already shared in THIS post, where I documented our visit to the Butterfly Pavilion in Denver, Colorado.

I always feel weird adding the state when I mention cities. I mean, sure, if I say Marion, there are a number of them strewn throughout the US, so it makes sense to say Marion, Illinois. But, Denver? OK, there are 19 places named Denver in the US, but how many readers know the other 18?

Anyway, let’s continue.

The voting for Round 6 of the Title Writing Prompt Challenge closes at Noon, Tuesday, September 6th. If you are interested in reading the stories and voting, or if you’ve read the stories and have yet to vote, there’s no time like the present.

You can find the poll and stories links in THIS post, and also — as a service to lazy readers — the stories, with their associated blurbs, linked below.

As mentioned in the last reminder post, both Perry and Gary wrote pretty good stories, and their heated votes battle reflects that fact. Of course, it would be nice if readers made a point of reading all our stories, but I’m suggesting their Round 6 stories are worth the effort. Mine? Nah.

E. J. D’Alise submission<<link
Edwina never dreamed she’d have to defend her choice. Now, she’s doing just that in justifying her antinatalism view.

Perry Broxson submission<<link
Jack, recently divorced, starts his second act. He finds a great new lady, only to lose her…inexplicably, to suicide. He has to know why, why, why she took her life. But that information will cost him dearly.

R. G. Broxson submission<<link
What makes a family uproot and risk everything for a new life? Follow a boy from Honduras as he and his mother and unborn sister make the treacherous journey to the land of opportunity. It won’t be easy. Hot on their heels is Satan, a ruthless gang banger that can’t afford to let them testify against him. Will they survive? Read and see.

Now, then . . . . Samsung Note 20 Ultra. I’ve not been posting many of the photos I snap, other than the results of me using Photoshop Mix and Paper Artist.

But, today, I share photos from April. Not all, mind you, but some.

I begin with a panorama of the Southern Illinois University Campus lake.

I happened to have spent a fair amount of time around that lake. Sometimes walking with Melisa, sometimes fishing, sometimes riding my bike, and sometimes just sitting. I was surprised to learn that bikes are no longer allowed on the paved path that goes around the lake.

Why was I there so much? Well, to the right of that first photo . . .

A quick reminder to vote for your favorite Round 6 story (if you’ve read them). The poll and links to the stories are in THIS post.

We’ve had an uptick in votes as the various factions (… two factions …) weighed in for their favorites. There are about ten days left to the deadline, and them days will go by quick (there’s a holiday in there), so if you are interested in reading the stories (and voting), I suggest proactiveness.

Today, I share a few more recently recorded videos. Again, these videos were shot with the D7500. They were shot in 4K, but I downsampled them 10 1080p for publication. The file size differential makes the choice easy . . . unless I happen to have an amazing video. These are fine as presented.

First up, the action at one of the feeders. You can see another in the background, but this is zoomed in to just one feeder of the 13 I have spread around the house. The original recording is almost five minutes, but I pared it down to a bit over 3 minutes.