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Old 10-18-2010, 06:46 AM   #3601
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Hey, it's me



Tundra: (it's actually an interesting read)





and traffic:

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Old 10-18-2010, 07:56 AM   #3602
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The squawk box crackles on...

...ear... BEAR!!!

I hear Blueberry's engine rev, and see LDF kicking up some dust as she pulls yet another wheelie.

I slow down, fumble with the helmet cam, and pull out the P&S.

"it's a big one. Grizzly!"

"Are you past it?" I ask.

"Oh yeah. Way past it."

"OK, I see it..."



It's about 30 yards off the road. I slow down a bit more.



I pray the helmet cam is on. It turns and looks at me. I slow down even more. It licks it's lips.



I do some quick calculations regarding a grizzly's maximum velocity, the distance I am from it, and realize that it could be at my throat in about 4 seconds.




I accelerate. That was very cool. And we're still alive!
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Old 10-18-2010, 09:11 AM   #3603
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Next stop,

Arctic Circle rest area.





While we were there, we met the couple who were driving the Jeep with NY plates.



Joanna & Laurent turns out she's from Queens, is an RN, met Laurent who is French, and they have aspirations of being travel photographers (more on that in a bit). On this trip, they'd had some bad luck with the Jeep... a cracked windshield,



and an adventure in tire changing when they got a flat and found that the anti-theft lug-nut had frozen on.



They were rescued by a chain of good-will from other travelers and the road crew at the Dempster Highway maintenance shop, and their legendary story was being told up and down the Dempster... "did you hear about that couple driving the Jeep with New York plates..."

To hear them tell the whole story was a hoot. "... so the guys at the shop had never even heard of an anti-theft lug-nut... they said 'why would you need something like this?'"



Anyway, they took some amazing photos of the Grizzly -- you could see the things eyelashes fer chrissake. Then again, that's what a superzoom and cage allows.

While they were chatting, I took some pichers myself -- (click on the panorama for a bigger version, or go here, click on the pano, and select "O" for original size )





See ya' on down the road, guys!
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Old 10-18-2010, 09:23 AM   #3604
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Emergency airstrip???



or.... Dragstrip?





... oh yeah.

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DR. Rock screwed with this post 10-18-2010 at 01:18 PM
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Old 10-18-2010, 02:34 PM   #3605
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Crossing the Eagle River





and back to Eagle Plains. We figured we'd stop for supper, and then decided if we should push on to Engineer Creek, or just hole up in Eagle Plains for the night.
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Old 10-18-2010, 02:37 PM   #3606
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First thing we did at Eagle Plains

was fill up with gas. As we were doing so, an airplane swoops down out of the sky, and lands right there in front of the pumps.



I was a little slow on the draw, so I only got the first pic after the wheels had touched down. It was pretty surreal though.



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Old 10-18-2010, 02:47 PM   #3607
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Joanna & Laurent

"Joanna & Laurent turns out she's from Queens, is an RN, met Laurent who is French, and they have aspirations of being travel photographers (more on that in a bit). On this trip, they'd had some bad luck with the Jeep... a cracked windshield,"
Hey, I met the same couple in Dawson City (campground), where they had returned for 6 new tires before their second assault on the Dempster!
Bear = cool. I saw one griz on the Alcan. Definitely a different attitude than a black bear. Not shy.
~Poppawheelie~
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Old 10-18-2010, 02:50 PM   #3608
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Next order of business

was a hot meal. We met Joanna and Laurant again in the restaurant, and chatted some more. We shared stories of our trips, and they showed us a copy of the book of photos from their trip to Patagonia that they had published.

Just gorgeous... minimal processing, and fabulous and dramatic lighting.

We bought a copy when we returned home, and it's on our coffee table now. Here's the link if anyone is interested in buying it, or even just checking out the photos on-line (click here to preview). Good stuff.



It was a pleasure meeting those two... their enthusiasm for travel and adventure was infectious, but not so much so that they could convince Francine to gear back up and ride on to Engineer Creek, where there were reports of a mother Grizzly and two cubs seen frolicking in the stream. I discounted the report, but it gained some credibility when the waitress confirmed that the sighting was by the local preacher.

We were told that the showers were free (coin-op was broken), and the laundry was available. Add to that the weather was fine, there were campsites for a nominal fee, the only other campers looked to be a couple of ADV riders, and the bar was open. Eagle Plains was looking pretty good.
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Old 10-18-2010, 03:52 PM   #3609
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We set up our tent,



We put a load of laundry in, and chatted with the ADV riders who were setting up camp across the way. Tim, John, and John's wife Chi were from Canada (Ontario, I believe). They were headed in to the bar for a drink, and we followed them in when our tent was up.



The bar was an interesting place. Business was very slow since the Top of the World Highway was closed.



Tim and John had ridden their bikes up together, and Chi had flown up, rented a car, and met them in Dawson City where John stowed his KLR, and joined Chi in the car. Tim was riding a DR350. Tim and John were friends who worked together in airline maintenance.



Chi had a laptop, but the bar's wireless was a little spotty. We were all interested to see what the latest news was posted on the AK DOT website regarding the status of the road closures.

The five of us spent an enjoyable late afternoon swapping rounds of beer and stories of adventure.



Sort of like a campfire, but with comfy leather chairs, and no fire.
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Old 10-18-2010, 03:58 PM   #3610
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The sun seemed to be getting low

so we stepped out to deal with the laundry, and to take some photos.









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Old 10-18-2010, 04:05 PM   #3611
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Then...

well, there weren't that many options for evening activities... so...

Back to the bar!





Things got a little fuzzy from there...



but when we finally left the bar for good (closing time, 11pm ) we were greeted by the most sublime and surreal sunset:





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Old 10-18-2010, 04:09 PM   #3612
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Stats for the day:



Click image for a bigger view:



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Old 10-18-2010, 07:15 PM   #3613
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DR. Rock

Doc, How do you get the light from the sunset and the detail in the clouds and have light on the trees in the valley?

David
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Old 10-18-2010, 08:35 PM   #3614
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Full disclosure and no apologies

Quote:
Originally Posted by MTrider16
Doc, How do you get the light from the sunset and the detail in the clouds and have light on the trees in the valley?

David
The human eye + the bio-processor between your ears can render and perceive up to 24 stops of dynamic range. The best full-frame digital sensors available can record at most 14 stops. The only way to bring current digital technology up to speed with human evolution is to bracket several frames of the same scene at varying exposures and then combine them in post-processing.

In the photo referenced, I bracketed 5 RAW frames, exposed at -3, -1.5, properly exposed, +1.5, and +3 stops. Photomatics Pro synthesized the 5 images into one .tiff file some 100Mb large, to which I then cropped, and applied some minor tweaks in LightRoom, and then down-sampled it to a .jpeg. This is called High Dynamic Range photography. Some will argue that the resulting photo doesn't look "real" (and when taken to the extreme, I would agree). However, I would counter that we are conditioned to have expectations of what a "real" photograph looks like based on the historic limits of prior technology, (ie. film, scanning, printing, sensors, and monitors) and an HDR rendition doesn't meet our preconceived expectations.

I was there. That's what it looked like, and just to be sure, every time I collect a set of bracketed images, I bring the "properly" exposed middle image up on the camera's LCD screen, and hold it up to the scene in front of me, and it always looks horribly pale, dull, flat and lame compared to the dramatic scene I'm actually looking at in front of my eyes in real life.

What's really impressive is the incredible lighting rendered in Joanna and Laurent's photos of Patagonia. No HDR there, and the images still look pretty intense, which says to me that the reality was probably off the hook visually. I want to go and see it for myself now.

What's even more impressive, is that your eyes + brain bio-processor does HDR in panorama mode as high-def 3-D VIDEO. In real time. That's just nuts.

Anyway, all this image processing is why it's taking me a few days between each update. I'm just a hack, an amateur. But it's interesting, and I'm steep on the learning curve, and that's always fun.

The panorama, by the way, consists of 11 RAW images with a 35mm full-frame sensor, 50mm lens in portrait orientation stitched together (I use Hugin). The resulting .tiff file is 636Mb, and scrolling around on my dual-monitor set-up at work, the detail is just stunning. It brings me right back and I feel I could crawl right into the scene through the monitor.
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Old 10-18-2010, 09:12 PM   #3615
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Thanks for the long explination. The pic looks great. And the software is only $99. Hmmm... I wonder how fast I can get this to work. AR trip is two days away.

Wait, its an add on to photoshop.

David
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