Reflections, Downtown Oakland

Mark and I wandered downtown Oakland with our cameras, and we were struck by these reflections in the curved glass of an office building on Broadway. They looked to me like something constructed by Gaudí, or maybe Dr. Seuss. I used a polarizing filter to amplify the clarity of the reflections.

Normally, I’d use a tripod to get a shot like this with sufficient clarity. But I’ve found very little noise with my new D300. So instead of stabilizing with my tripod, I boosted the ISO to 500 to get a fast enough shutter speed so the resulting photo would be sharp handheld.

Don’t get me wrong: I advocate using a tripod, and use one a great deal of the time. Still, it was nice to be able to find the right angle without having to worry about positioning my three-legged friend. And I think you’ll agree that there’s basically no noise in the final image.

One purpose of the Oakland exploration yesterday was to test my FindMeSpot. This is a personal GPS device that connects to a low-orbit satellite, and can be used to pinpoint my location. The idea is that I can send out an email or text message to designated recipients saying I’m OK, or that I need help. The email message includes a link to my coordinates, placed on a Google map. This device can also be used to call 911 for search and rescue.

Theoretically, this GPS device could be a life saver, for example, if I get lost in the desert at night again.

The device does need to be able to see the open sky to work. In my tests, an “I’m OK” email works fine, and makes it to the designated recipients with my position. But in downtown Oakland, and by the harbor, we were testing a tracking mode that is supposed to continuously record one’s position (and note it once every ten minutes). This “spot casting” mode (which costs extra) doesn’t seem to work very well, alas.

[Nikon D300, 18-200 VR Zoom lens at 120mm (180mm in 35mm equivalent terms), circular polarizer, 1/250 of a second at f/7.1 and ISO 500, handheld.]

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