Sunday, July 31, 2011

Route 66 between Apple Valley and Barstow, California. Some strange people with some strange collections...


 Hi Photographer friends,

U.S. Route 66 (also known as the Will Rogers Highway after the humorist, and colloquially known as the "Main Street of America" or the "Mother Road") was a highway within the U.S. Highway System. One of the original U.S. highways, Route 66 was established on November 11, 1926 -- with road signs erected the following year. The highway, which became one of the most famous roads in America, originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through California, before ending at Los Angeles, covering a total of 2,448 miles.

Route 66 underwent many improvements and realignments over its lifetime, changing its path and overall length. Many of the realignments gave travelers faster or safer routes, or detoured around city congestion. One realignment moved the western endpoint farther west from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica.

Route 66 served as a major path for those who migrated west, especially during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, and it supported the economies of the communities through which the road passed. People doing business along the route became prosperous due to the growing popularity of the highway, and those same people later fought to keep the highway alive in the face of the growing threat of being bypassed by the new Interstate Highway System.

U.S. 66 was officially removed from the United States Highway System on June 27, 1985 after it was decided the route was no longer relevant and had been replaced by the Interstate Highway System. Portions of the road have been designated a National Scenic Byway of the name "Historic Route 66". It has begun to return to maps in this form. Some portions of the road in southern California have been redesignated "State Route 66", and others bear "Historic Route 66" signs and relevant historic information.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Just for fun! What if Angry Birds were the political arena? Which characters would be Democrats and which characters would be Republicans?

What if Angry Birds were the political arena? Which characters would be Democrats and which characters would be Republican?

Picture 1. What political figure does each bird represents for you, Democrat or Republican?

Picture 2. Who is that? Republican or Democrat!

Picture 3. What title would you give to this screen?

Picture 4. Name the pigs.

Picture 5. Which is Boehner and which is President Obama...the bird or the pig?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Words of wisdom!


Some people spend hundreds of dollars for a good camera. Some people spend thousands of dollars for an advanced DSLRs. There are those people that even spend tens of thousands of dollars for the best camera on the market. The bottom line, my friends, is that the best camera in the world is the one you have with you... and that could simply be a cell phone.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Las Vegas at Night...still one of my favorite place to photograph.


Hi Pentaxian friends.

We took some time off work last week and headed down Vegas. We stayed at Planet Hollywood, and had a good time.  I ventured out around midnight to take some pictures. I love taking photographs of Las Vegas at night. There's no place like it.

All the images were taken with my Pentax K-5 and using my AlettA Stabilizer for every shots.

Vegas has changed quite a bit this last year. There were more homeless people and beggars than I had ever seen. I could have taken pictures of those lost souls, but I decided that their livelihood was sad enough that I didn't have to make it worst by publishing their pictures all over the Internet. I gave money to some of them, and frankly, I don't care about what they were going to do with it. I could be me in their shoes or even you...

I'll stop now...I don't want to lecture anyone. It very sad when you think that we are supposed to have the highest standard of living and yet...people are sleeping in the streets.

Thanks for reading,

Yvon Bourque

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Shooting RAW and JPEG at the same time with the Pentax K-5 and other Pentax DSLRs.

They can sleep through all the noise...but lay them in bed at the house and they won't want to sleep!


Hi Pentaxian friends.

I've been gone on a mini-vacation since last Sunday. I had my iPad with me but it's a little cumbersome to load, edit and publish images, while on the road, with the iPad. I did take some video clips with the iPad and using the iMovie application, I made a two minutes movie/slide presentation about the abundance of food we have in the U.S. and how it is in Somalia. and third world Countries. More on that later on this coming week.

I used my Pentax K-5 during my trip and I wanted to have RAW files, (to further enhance in Post Processing later on if needed) and JPEG to post on the Internet immediately after shooting. Many photographers shy away of saving images in both formats because it takes too much room on your SD memory card(s). While it is true, what if you happen to get a "once-in-a-lifetime" picture in JPEG only and you have to tweak it in Photoshop?  You know it's difficult to get great results in Post Processing once a file has been converted to JPEG.

You all know that with most of Pentax DSLRs, you can shoot RAW + JPEG at the same time. However, here is something that some of you may not know. When choosing RAW + JPEG, the JPEG file does not have to be at the full resolution. In the case of the K-5, the JPEG files can be set to 16mp, 10mp, 6mp and 2mp. So what I did, is to set the RAW format to DNG (because all Adobe products recognizes it easily) and I had the JPEG set to 6mp, conserving space on the memory card and allowing the file to be large enough to render very acceptable images and to be quickly sent on the Internet, whether posting or emailing.

It's a simple tip, but you never know when one of your image will be worthy of a  publishing contract with National Geographic. Having the full resolution RAW file and a small JPEG  is a great insurance...for me anyway.

Thanks for reading,

Yvon Bourque

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Front or back focus problems? You can't adjust that with your DSLR! Just get intimate with your lens.


Hi Pentaxian friends.

This is like the number one complaint, all across the Internet, for photographers. It's not all that bad, I assure you. You can still take excellent pictures with a lens that front or back focuses. Of course the ideal is to have all your lenses calibrated to your camera or your camera calibrated to your lenses. Most of the newer semi-pro to pro DSLRs have the capability to adjust the front and back focus problem.

What is front or back focusing?

Front focusing: Auto focus lock occurs at a distance closer than the point you are focusing on.

Back focusing: Auto focus lock occurs at a distance further away than the point you are focusing on.

Why does this happens?
With interchangeable lens cameras, you have two separate components that have to work together. You have a lens and you have a camera body. (They both  really are mechanical devices but about 60% of it is electronic). The factory has a tolerance when adjusting cameras and lenses. Let's say, for the purpose of this write up, that a tolerance of +/-2% is acceptable and  not perceivable. Each camera is tested at factory specifications and as long as the focus mechanism is within plus or minus 2%, everything is fine. The same is true for lenses. Let's assume that the tolerance is also +/-2% for lenses as well. If your camera is actually calibrated to a +2% and the lens you attach to it is calibrated to -2%, you wind up with a perfect match with +/- 0%. But what if your camera is factory calibrated to +2% and your lens just happens to also be factory calibrated to + you have a problem. The system (camera and attached lens) are now +4% and this is not acceptable and you will have front or back focusing problems.

You likely have more than one lens and some are focusing right on the money and some have front or back focusing problems. If your camera has the capability of adjusting this problem internally, the solution is fairly easy. Several charts are available from as much as $139.00 to free for the download.  Obviously, some of the charts may not give you the accuracy you want, but not necessarily. Some people judge equipment and results by the price they pay. If that makes them more comfortable with the results, so be it.  Many charts are available and I even have one I designed myself. It's all about contrast detection and set-up. If a chart is well designed, a $139.00 or $1.00 chart will give the same results. It's not rocket science.

Previous posts about Front and Back focusing: Here and  Here.

Just get intimate with your lens!

You can still get excellent results with a not-so-perfect lens.  Just give yourself some time to get fully acquainted with your lens. You know, you can override your camera automatic decisions. Set the camera to where the shutter can be released even if you are not it focus. (All cameras have that function embedded in menus). Then learn, by trial and error, how much your lens front or back focuses in certain situations. Once you know approximately, make it an habit to let the camera focus first, and manually move the focus to before or after the point you are trying to focus on. It's like learning on how to hold a camera for slow shutter speed. With practice, you can get there in less than a week.  If a shallow depth of field is required, you will shoot with a large aperture, which makes even more difficult, but if you can, use a smaller aperture...that way more of the space ahead and behind your focus point will be within  acceptable accuracy.

If you're made of money, send your entire arsenal, camera and lenses, to the manufacturer for calibration.  They'll be happy to oblige and take your money. Then, every time you buy a new lens, send it back with the camera and when you update your camera to a new one, send all your lenses and the cameras for calibration. While your equipment is out for calibration, use your smart phone!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011



Model Honors 645D

Camera Grand Prix Japan 2011 “Camera of the Year” Award

GOLDEN, CO. (July 13, 2011)…PENTAX Imaging Company has announced it will offer a limited edition 645D camera kit produced to celebrate the PENTAX 645D being named Camera Grand Prix Japan 2011 “Camera of the Year.” This limited edition camera features an elegant, lacquer-finished body. The components of this unique kit that will be available on a very limited basis include:

• PENTAX 645D Japan camera body

• Leather Strap 645D japan O-ST123

• Body Mount Cap 645D Japan

• Center-Spot-Matte Focusing Screen DS-80

• Specially designed paulownia-wood packaging

PENTAX is planning built-to-order production of this model with a minimum four month delivery period from the date each order is placed.

First announced in June 2010, the PENTAX 645D is a high-performance medium-format digital SLR camera combining super-high-resolution digital images with approximately 40 effective megapixels that offers exceptional reliability and superb operability. The camera was selected Camera GP Japan 2011 “Camera of the Year” for its array of original, outstanding features including a large CCD sensor, and a dependable, dust-proof, weather-resistant body that operates in temperatures as low as –10°C.

Information about the camera, features, awards and product images is available here:

The new model kit will be available for pre-order on

PENTAX Imaging Company is an innovative leader in the production of a variety of adventure ready digital cameras including weather-resistant digital SLRs and stylish, compact, waterproof cameras, as well as lenses, flash units, binoculars, scopes, and eyepieces. For more than 90 years, PENTAX has developed durable, reliable products that meet the needs of adventurous consumers and businesses. With headquarters in Golden, Colorado, PENTAX Imaging Company is a division of PENTAX of America, Inc.

Silver Efect Pro 2 made by Nik Software. I'm having fun with this plug-in to Lightroom.

This software is fun to use but can also be a very serious editing plug-in for Professional Photographers. Anything you can imagine in your mind's eye, as long as it involves Black and White , can probably be done with this software. The two examples herein are color photographs turned to light sepia while retaining one color. I like it a lot.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Facebook vs Google+ for photographers!


Email from my daughter:  We talk photography on this blog!

Click to enlarge.
Any questions?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My favorite site on this Sunday July the 10th, 2011.


Hi Pentaxian friends.

Check this site. Get a cup of coffee because it's lenghty, but worth every minute. 


Link to: Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-135 launch Gordon Laing, July 2011

On July 8 2011, NASA plans to launch the last of its Space Shuttle missions: STS-135. This will be the 135th Shuttle mission, the final launch of Atlantis, and the last of the entire Space Shuttle program, which started three decades ago.

Once Atlantis returns to Earth 12 days later, it will join the remaining Shuttles, Endeavour and Discovery, to be displayed at museums across the USA. From that point on, anyone wanting to visit the International Space Station - and get back again - will need to pay $200 million for a return ticket on a Russian Soyuz craft (with a seat custom-built for your bum), or wait for private enterprises to offer alternative transportation.

I've been fascinated by space and space travel since childhood, and witnessing a manned rocket launch in person has been a lifetime ambition. When NASA announced the closure of the Shuttle program, I realised I was running out of time. I made two attempts to view Endeavour's last mission, STS-134, first in July 2010 which was delayed long before I even left home, and most recently on April 29 2011, when it was scrubbed three and a half hours before launch. Frustratingly I had to return to New Zealand before it finally flew two weeks later, leaving me with one last chance to view a launch: STS-135, the final flight of Atlantis and the entire Space Shuttle program. On this page I'll detail my own mission to see the flight, and of course the equipment I'll use to hopefully photograph and film it. I'll also make suggestions on locations and settings to photograph the luanch yourself!

I'll update this page over the following days, so check back soon! There's also an official thread in the Cameralabs forums which accompanies this page for any questions or comments! To get the ball rolling, here's a short film I made about my attempt to see the April 29 2011 launch attempt of Endeavour / STS 134. I hope you enjoy it! .....


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I just purchased Silver Efect Pro 2 made by Nik Software. It's really as good as they claim.


Hi Pentaxian friends.

About a week ago, Nik Software reduced the price of Silver Efex Pro 2 from $199.00 to $98.00 for a limited time. I've been wanting that software for a while but couldn't bring myself to spend 200 bucks. At $98.00, my impulse was too great to pass that offer. I bought it and downloaded it immediately.

It may be a little hard to appreciate the images from my blog, but as I look at them, full size, on my 27" monitor, I'm really impressed. I'm not a  fan of  "real" Black and White, but Silver Efex Pro 2 lets you add hints of color. In all the example above, I chose light sepia.

There are so many tools to manipulate the images, that it will take a while to perfect the results. It has a range of borders that you can apply and you can see some of them applied herein.

There is just something about monochrome pictures that people like. I will just have to enlarge and frame a few images. If I'm lucky, my wife will let me put one in the living room, and if will be the garage or my bathroom!

Thank you for reading,

Yvon Bourque 

Monday, July 4, 2011

I must be Stabilizers now selling for only $79.95.


Hi Pentaxian friends.

I must be crazy, but I have reduced my Stabilizers to a ridiculously low price. Why?
Because I want you to have one. Once you have one, you'll wonder how you got around without it.
Available for all models of Canon, Nikon, Pentax, etc.
Actually...there is a Stabilizer that will  fit your DSLR.
Only $79.95*
$99.95 for Customized Stabilizer.
*At that low price, the handgrip is optional. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Pentax K-5 e-book is now available for iPad, iPhone and iTouch.


Hi Pentaxian friends.

For some time now, I have received emails to make the K-5  e-book 100% compatible with the Apple products and other tablets and mobile devices. i.e. iPad, iPhone and iTouch. The K-5 e-book is my last e-book and I still have the current files on my new computer. I will search for the other e-books, but after my hard drive crashed, I lost many of my precious files.

It's not that the current e-books do not load on the iPad and iPhone, but some of my readers have reported that some of the images did not appear. There are many ways to fix this compatibility problem, check here, but with the K-5, I reformatted the whole book so that all the images would be viewable.

The iPad and iPhone have the capability of bookmarking, referring to a table of contents, search within the e-book or on Wikipedia. It can also easily link to other sites and come back to the e-book. I would say that the iPad and iPhone are at the top of the list for mobile devices. However, it seems that "Droid" mobile devices can read PDF files better than the Apple Products.

Let me (us) know what device you use for reading the e-books.

Thank you for reading,

Yvon Bourque

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ricoh buying Pentax is another take-over, which may increase sales, but some people will find themselves out of a job because of it.

Hi Pentaxian friends.

The purchase of Pentax by Ricoh, just a few years after Hoya acquired them, reminds me of my own career demise back in 2001. Why would you care about my career? You don’t have to care about my career at all, but there is a lesson learned here, that I would like to share. Here’s my little insignificant story (given that I’m only one person among seven plus billions of people on our small planet) :

I worked all of my adult life as a mechanical engineer, slowly advancing in my career from Design Engineer to Project Manager for hundreds of million dollars projects. During the last ten years of my employment, I worked for five Companies, without ever having to move to a new office. The original Company had been started by two brothers, seventy years before. With hard work and dedication, they had turned a small Company of less than ten workers to a great Company of five thousand employees. We specialized in Engineering and Construction of Pulp and Paper plants, Chemical plants, Refineries and other types of industrial complexes.

So...ten years prior to my career ending, the Company was purchased by another Giant Engineering and Construction Company because they wanted the expertise of our Pulp and Paper division. Money always talks and soon after the acquisition, new “Golden Boys” from the new owner started replacing our management. Some of the industries we were serving were dropped and hundreds of long time employees lost their jobs. The Company changed hands five times during the following ten years, laying off employees and downsizing the company further each time. Finally, “Raytheon” (a monster size Corporation for people that don’t know who they are) purchased us. Our Company had climbed back to a viable size by then, although we were serving completely different clients than when the company was originally founded.

As history tends to repeats itself, Raytheon bought us for a specific area of our expertise, for the location we were operating at, and primarily because we were a competitor in some areas of our work. After warm welcomes from their management and promises of a better future, the cycle started repeating itself but this time around, they completely brought us to extinction. For them, although we were bought for about one hundred million dollars, we were just a dangling leaf at the end of a tree branch. They eliminated the small competition we were to them, got a great tax break and put several thousand employees out of a job.

It is obvious now, that Hoya bough Pentax for their medical endoscope optics and perhaps other branches of the company, but didn’t want the imaging department. They did bring Pentax Imaging up, but maybe with the  purpose in mind of getting the division somewhat profitable, or promising enough to resell it.

Now we might see Ricoh-Pentax on the next generation of cameras, for a  while, anyway, then maybe just Ricoh  and there are good chances that current Pentax employees will be replaced by Ricoh’s Golden Boys. After all, Ricoh has a Digital Imaging department.

“My Opinion Only” My take on all of this changing hand is that Corporations are killing businesses all over this globe, and we let them, (We the governments, not We the people). It’s the big fish eating the little fish. We let them get so big that  governments cannot let them fail and wind up bailing them out…with our money, the money of the little

It would really be shameful if a pioneer name like “Pentax” would disappear. Hopefully, in the end, this last acquisition will be a better fit than the Hoya venture. Hope this will not be another Konica-Minolta.

Thank you for reading,  

Yvon Bourque

Hoya, a supplier to Canon , the world's largest maker of digital cameras! I didn't know that.


Hi Pentaxian friends.

Hoya Corp , the world's second largest maker of optical glass used in cameras, said on Thursday it would open its first furnaces overseas by the end of the year, diversifying production away from Japan, where power shortages loom.

The firm, which competes with market leader Ohara Inc , will open a plant in Weihai in China, hoping to take advantage of burgeoning demand for cameras in China, and easier access to raw materials including rare earth lanthanum, a company spokeswoman said.

The plant is set to begin operations in December. Hoya said the cost of the factory is yet to be determined.

Hoya, a supplier to Canon , the world's largest maker of digital cameras...

Whole Article

Does anyone else see a conflict of interest here, or is it just me?

Ricoh just purchased Pentax!


Hi Pentaxian friends.

12.59 AM, California time. Here I am in my bed, reading my emails and surfing the internet on my new iPad 2.I can't believe it...Ricoh just purchased Pentax from Hoya. It's all over the Internet, and you can read the news on other sites listed on the right side of this page.

This comes as a big surprize to me. I didn't see it coming.


HOYA Corporation (“HOYA”) and Ricoh Company, Ltd. (“Ricoh”) hereby announce that pursuant
to decisions by the President and CEO of HOYA and Representative Director of Ricoh, respectively,
HOYA and Ricoh have executed an agreement as of today to transfer HOYA’s PENTAX Imaging
Systems Business (the business of developing, manufacturing and selling optical instruments such as
digital cameras and replacement lenses, digital camera accessories, security camera-related products,
and binoculars) (the “PENTAX Imaging Systems Business”) to Ricoh. HOYA will effectuate this
transfer by incorporating a new corporation (“NewCo”), cause NewCo to succeed the PENTAX
Imaging Systems Business by way of a corporate split (kyushu bunkatsu) (the “Corporate Split”),
and transfer all shares of NewCo to Ricoh (such split and transfer shall be referred to as the
“Split/Transfer”) as of October 1, 2011 (Estimated).

Prior to the Split/Transfer, HOYA intends to transfer its interests in PENTAX VN CO., Ltd., an
overseas subsidiary of HOYA in relation to the PENTAX Imaging Systems Business, to NewCo.

Please note, that since the Corporate Split is a simplified corporate split (kan-i kyushu bunkatsu),
disclosure items/content have been partially abbreviated.

Further, HOYA will continue to develop its businesses assigned from PENTAX Corporation which
was merged (kyushu gappei) into HOYA on March 31, 2008 other than the PENTAX Imaging
Systems Business, such as its businesses regarding digital camera modules, DVD pickup lenses,
endoscopes, artificial bones, and voice synthesis.

HOYA merged (kyushu gappei) with PENTAX Corporation on March 31, 2008, and has developed
the PENTAX Imaging Systems Business assigned from PENTAX Corporation until now. As part
of selecting and focusing its management resources, HOYA has decided to cause NewCo to succeed
the PENTAX Imaging Systems Business via the Corporate Split, transfer the business and shares,
etc. of HOYA’s Imaging Systems business subsidiary to NewCo via a business transfer and
share/interests transfer, and thereafter, transfer all shares of NewCo to Ricoh.

Ricoh’s core business is office solutions focusing on MFPs, Ricoh has also introduced many cameras
to the market since its inception in 1936. Ricoh was one of the first manufacturers to launch digital
cameras in 1995 and Ricoh’s current high-end compact digital cameras are well regarded in the

Now Ricoh aims to establish a consumer business. As a first step to achieve this goal, Ricoh
strengthens its camera businesses. Ricoh takes it as an indispensable initiative to obtain the small and
lightweight interchangeable lens camera technology, lens technology and sales channels held by the
Pentax Imaging Systems Division to pave the way for further advancement and innovations in the
digital camera market.

Through this acquisition, Ricoh plans to 1) enhance its digital camera businesses (especially the
interchangeable lens camera market which is expected to grow), 2) create value-added businesses for
taken photographs (creation and development of value-added services that encourage seeing, storing
and refinishing photographs and utilize photographs as communication tools), and 3) expand to other
fields (study of entry into the image archiving business using medium-format digital cameras and
enhancement of security-related products)

Complete release information is available here:

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