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Exploring Again

by Tyler

Panniers full of food from a shopping spree yesterday, we cycled away from Patras under bright blue skies, lazily spinning our legs as we watched the coming and goings of everyday life in Greece. About 8km into our ride, Tara realized we'd left her passport at the hotel's reception desk. Whoops!

We barely batted an eye at the inconvenience, so enamored were we with our surroundings. A quick trip back through the outskirts of town to retrieve the important document and we were on our way again.

Ceramic Roof Tiles

Our ride this afternoon was reminiscent of our first days in Italy for me. As we left our noisy hotel for the second time, I was filled with a deep sense of contentedness. The combination of having a new country to explore and magnificent weather to do it under is exactly what I was dreaming of when I naïvely decided we should bicycle around the world more than two years ago.

Though there is surely more rain, wind, and cold before us, for some reason it felt to me as though a new chapter in our journey had begun today. Technically untrue maybe, but it feels as though winter is finally behind us!

Halfway into our euphoric ride, we reached a particularly beautiful spot overlooking the ocean and decided to stop for a snack break.

Bread, Butter & Honey

Continuing our ceaseless crusade to become better photographers, we've been reading articles by Ken Rockwell lately. Here are a links to a few that I like a lot: Simplicity, What Makes a Great Photo, and FART First for Fantastic Photos.

So, while we enjoyed our oranges and bread, we fooled around with the camera a bit too.


Here is Tara eating an orange and checking herself out in the camera lens as I work on getting closer to the subject of my photo.

Tara Eating an Orange Tara

Here is the view from our midday rest break:

Greek Oceanfront

…and one more of Tara with an itch :)


Nearing the end of our day the secondary road we'd be riding somehow managed to merge into the interstate without any obvious alternatives. Rather than turning back to hunt down the turnoff we must've missed, we decided to push on in the hopes we'd find a suitable exit nearby to pick up the winding coastal road again.

Not more than two kilometers down the freeway we spotted a perfect stealth camp high above us, accessible only by a rocky dirt path just behind the guardrail we were riding next to. We quickly agreed it was too good to pass up; it certainly looked more favorable than continuing down the shoulder!

With great effort, we heaved our 100+ lb bikes over the barrier and then worked together, pushing them one by one up the hill to a concrete slab overlooking the city below.

Once there, we set about our normal nightly routine. I made camp while Tara prepared dinner: a hearty salad full of carrots, onions, cheese, and slices of hard-boiled egg, topped off with carefully hand-roasted garlic croutons. A very tasty end to a truly excellent day!

Free Camp Over Freeway

One thing no amount of practice will help: our Nikon D60's lousy low light performance. Here is a shot I groggily took in the middle of the night after a bathroom break.

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Is that really ISO 100? I read that D60 is only half as sensitive to light as D40 because of the increased pixel count. But surly that can't be ISO 100?
Posted by Matias on February 7th, 2010 at 11:30 PM
It is! I put it on a ledge, set up the exposure manually and took the photo using the 10 second timer so that it wouldn't move when I hit the shutter release.

I tried taking several handheld shots @ ISO 1600 but they were very noisy, and even with the high ISO I couldn't hold still enough for the photo. I really need to learn how to use flash.

I'm not 100% sure about the technical accuracy of that statement about the D60 but I have read it as well. If I could start our trip over I would probably buy the D40 now that I understand a little more about digital photography. Oh well!
Posted by Tyler on February 8th, 2010 at 1:52 AM
Oh! We just started testing a 30 day trial of Digital Optics Pro and I did use it to adjust the exposure a bit.

DxO is really cool, but we take so many photos that we may just stick with Picasa in the end. We don't like to spend a lot of time post processing.

For the most part if a shot doesn't turn out well, we just delete it. The only exception being a desire to document something and having no good photos of it (case in point with the last one)
Posted by Tyler on February 8th, 2010 at 1:57 AM
I think you're getting a lot of digital noise from the long exposure. My D40x (I think it's pretty much the same machine as the D60)has the same problem with long exposure night shots.

Maybe try a middle ground of higher ISO and shorter exposure time? Do you have noise reduction turned on for those night shots?

In general, I really like your photos. And this one is cool even if it's grainy.
Posted by Dostoy320 on February 8th, 2010 at 11:34 AM
What about if you use the built-in flash of your camera and function "night-portrait"?
AV-priority: 11.0
ISO: 100
Shutter speed: automatically by camera
flash: on
tripod: yo
D-Lightning: active
picture stabilization: OFF while using a tripod
Posted by yvesthebiker on February 9th, 2010 at 11:17 AM

I don't think the noise is from a long exposure, it was only 10 or 15 seconds. I took the shot at 100, 400 and 800 ISO. They were all pretty crappy but the 100 responded the best to DxO trying to save it. I do not have NR on, and that would probably be a good idea to remember for night shots!


You're completely right. I need to stop being afraid of the flash and learn how to use it! I'll fool around with that next time there is a good night shot of our camp to be had :)
Posted by Tyler on February 9th, 2010 at 12:37 PM