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Earlier today I tweeted

I’ve long had a site on Flickr, but it hasn’t really seen much usage for a long long time. Yahoo acquired two of my favorite sites and Flickr, and essentially let them rot. In hindsight they could have done so much with Flickr. Over the years, I’ve used a number of photography site. One of them, Smugmug, has sustained as my primary catalog of photographs. Instagram has risen up to the top as the default “share my best work” site even mostly because of its reach and the level of engagement one can get there. This year I ended up taking my personal Instagram private and started a new photo centric one (I also started one for my son). Back in the day, the place where there was a ton of engagement with others, especially other photographers, was Flickr. It was the social photo site and could have been what Instagram is today. …

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By any standards this was a weird year. For most people it was a year they’d rather forget and for good reasons. For us it has been a little different. Covid changed our weekend schedule. No more soccer or swim classes. No visits to the grocery store or Costco. But we didn’t want to be stuck at home, especially with a 7-yr old. We were lucky. We all love nature, in particular birding, and our son isn’t necessarily the most rambunctious or social kid. So this year we ended up spending many of our weekends birding and taking a lot of pictures. For me, it was a return to photography in a big way and the little one came along for the ride. We are quite the sight as seen in the pictures below. …

Like most photographers I’ve been fascinated by black and white photography. In a world of color, how do you use black and white effectively? Is it just useful for portrait and street photography? I’ve dabbled in black and white and editing, but mostly only for people. Till recently almost a 100% of my black and whites were pictures of people and I didn’t do much with them. As a bird and nature photographer, I assumed black and white wasn’t for me. This summer I tried my first landscape black and white. I think it came out well but that was not because of anything specific that I did. …

For the past decade plus I have rocked a Canon EOS 7D (Mark 1). At the time it was the best camera that I could find for what I wanted to do, mostly bird photography. I ended up buying it used along with a bunch of used Canon L glass, notably the 70–200 F/4 and the 100–400 “dust pump”. Those two lenses and an EF-S 17–55 were my go to’s for a long long time.

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Somewhere along the way I bought a Sony a6000 as a small walkabout and travel camera. Nothing that came out in the interim excited me. Until this year. So many cameras, and such high quality. So in the end, I bit the bullet and ordered the Canon EOS R5 and invested in a number of RF lenses. Turning your entire kit around is a huge change, but given how old my body was, the improvements in tech, how long these bodies and lenses tend to last, and Canon’s clear investment in the RF mount, it felt like the right thing to do. The R5 took its while to get to me (2+ months), so I ended up selling the Sony and getting a Canon EOS RP to use with all the RF lenses and as my backup body. The RP was my first full frame camera, and while it has its limitations, the detail in the sensor, and my improving Lightroom skills ended up in pictures like this…

I’ve never been much of a landscape photographer. Sure, we went to Banff a few years ago and took some beautiful pictures and there are a few pictures of Mt. Rainier floating around, but in general photography has focused on wildlife, nature, and cities (especially during travel). Part of me regrets not making “documenting travel” a more conscious things, but there’s time to rectify that once we start traveling again.

In recent months, thanks to watching some amazing YouTube videos I’ve become more interested in looking for interesting landscape compositions. This past weekend we went to Camano Island, about an hour north of Seattle. …

As seen through the eyes of my favorite YouTube videographer, Of Two Lands

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One of my favorite birding locations in Seattle is the Union Bay Natural Area, AKA the Montlake Pit. Yesterday, my son and I headed up there around 7 am and spent a couple of hours. A good chunk of it was spent in 2 spots, because there was so much to see. First of all, it’s beautiful, especially when the sun is still low. Second, you get a great mix because you have water on one side, and vegetation/wetlands on the other. There’s a loop you can take (take it clockwise). One of the earliest lessons I learnt about birding is patience. Stay in one place and wait, and you never know what will show up. …

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Over the years I’ve used every possible lens type, or at least looked into it. Shooting with the Canon 7D I ended up with the following

  • EF-S 17–55
  • EF 70–200
  • EF 100–400

I also had a wider 10–20 Sigma that I can’t find, the nifty fifty, and a 100mm macro. But those three are the lenses that got the most use, with the 100–400 being the birding workhorse.

As I switch the EOS R system, I find myself essentially replicating that with the following

  • RF 24–70
  • RF 70–200
  • RF 100–500 (and I got the 1.4x extender)

These are essentially strictly equivalent to the EF lenses and I plan to sell most of the EF lenses shortly (will probably keep the nifty fifty). I also ended up with a couple of…

I have watched more YouTube during Covid than probably the entire year before that. One of the drivers has been my interest in film and movie making and it’s become the main avenue to learn everything about color grading, editing, gear, and shooting techniques. Perhaps my favorite person to watch and listen to is Of Two Lands. They are a French/Australian couple, but you mostly get to hear Florent. Their videos have the pace, quality, and content that really appeals to me. I love the approach and the somewhat minimalistic technique (the opposite of my “hey how much gear can I get” approach. I also rather like Florent’s voice. In many ways my decision to stick to the BMPCC4K as my main camera for video with the R5 as my photo and hybrid camera came after watching them. You should watch everything. The video I keep coming back to when I am struggling to figure out how to get going (which is all the time) is the one on Travel Cinematography. It’s got a ton of inspiration and information, and I absolutely love the style and look. Even without being able to travel like this, the style and content is much of what I want to do. …

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I suppose history should have made a simple fact obvious; for me to act on something there needs to be a goal, a sense of purpose. Back in the day, I used to blog regularly, but as much as anything, the blog had a purpose which resulted in a flow of ideas. Over the past few years, without that sense of purpose blogging has floundered. I am so far removed from science that I can’t really do that anymore. I could blog about product management, business, leadership, or the cloud but I think about those all day and it’s not that interesting to write about them. …


Deepak Singh

Computing, management, synthesizers, science, photography, writing, geekery, fatherhood. I run Containers, Linux, and HPC @ AWS.

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