My First RAW Photos

The following are the first photos I’ve edited in RAW on a Linux machine. These aren’t the first photos I’ve taken in RAW, mind you (that would be this photo I took last year of the same subject and edited in Adobe Photoshop on a Mac), but these are the first RAW photos I’ve edited in a Linux environment. I used the program Corel AfterShot Pro 3 (notable for being Linux software that costs money) — an application I decided to purchase after comparing it with free, open-source Linux RAW photo editors (namely darktable and RawTherapee). The other two programs I mentioned are also probably great applications, but I just liked the features of AfterShot Pro 3 more, especially the auto commands.

I was having trouble installing the application, which I believe was caused by trying to download and install the file AfterShotPro3.deb instead of AfterShotPro3-system-Qt.deb on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. While I was waiting for responses to my forum post in Ubuntu Forums, I decided to take some RAW photos near my house at the National Weather Service’s forecast office in Chanhassen, Minnesota. That way, I’d have some photos to edit after receiving help on how to install the application.

Here are three photos I took at the forecast office today and briefly edited in AfterShot Pro 3. I am just learning how to edit RAW photos, having only done so a few times, so my first attempts may not be that great. But I think they still show significant improvements over the original files, especially because of the way it eliminated blown-out highlights.

Doppler radar at the National Weather Service’s forecast office in Chanhassen, Minnesota
Close-up of the Doppler radar
A tree stands against the backdrop of a moody sky

Back to School Time

With Labor Day looming on the calendar like finals week, it could only mean one thing: It’s time to go back to school. I’m a student at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities (yes, still an undergraduate), and today I visited the U for the first time in a few months.

I started out this journey by taking a bus that looks like a cable car to the next city over to get on a real bus, which then makes its way through downtown Minneapolis and eventually the UMN campus. Even the bus driver admitted the cable car shuttles are annoying, but they sure do look cool!

SouthWest Transit cable car bus in Chanhassen, Minnesota
Interior of the cable car bus

I got off the bus at the student union, Coffman Memorial Union, and took some photos inside and outside.

UMN’s main bookstore and a Starbucks
A chair sitting on the campus’s lawn (I wish they left these out for more than a couple weeks)
Coffman Memorial Union

I’m Selling My Old Nikon DSLR Lenses

By the end of this year, I’m upgrading to a new Nikon camera system: the Z Series Mirrorless Camera System. This morning, I listed four Nikon DSLR lenses on eBay that I’d accumulated over the last 13 years.

You see, DSLRs are about to become obsolete because of newer mirrorless cameras, which offer numerous advantages. In the words of photographer and former engineer Ken Rockwell, “This is [a] huge milestone for Nikon that happens only once every couple of decades… This is the biggest thing Nikon’s done in this millennium.”

Well, I was basically sold after I read that. The camera I pre-ordered was the Nikon Z6, the cheaper of the two mirrorless cameras Nikon introduced just last week. My only wish is that I had visited Ken Rockwell’s site or Digital Photography Review before yesterday. I did at least place my pre-order through Adorama shortly after reading Ken Rockwell’s updates yesterday, meaning I was just four days late. The Nikon Z6 won’t ship until late November at the soonest. According to the person I spoke with over the phone from Adorama, more than 300 people had already placed pre-orders for the Nikon Z6 kit with Nikon 24-70mm f/4 S lens. I’ll be lucky if I get the camera and lens in 2018, but many more will be waiting until at least 2020 because demand will be sky-high.

I did, however, decide to keep my Nikon D3300 DSLR (I also have a Nikon D50 and D90) and 18-200mm VR lens, so I will still be able to take photos until I get the new camera.

Below are the four lenses I listed on eBay today. They were taken in poor lighting so they’re a bit grainy.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G
Nikon AF Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D
Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D
Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED

Attendance Record Set for First Day of Minnesota State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair, also known as “The Great Minnesota Get-Together,” is the most popular state fair by daily attendance in the United States. The State Fair of Texas has a larger total annual attendance, but that’s only because it lasts much longer.

I was there for the opening day this year in St. Paul, hoping that it would set a new first-day attendance record, and it did. On Thursday, August, 23, 2018, a new record of 122,695 attendees was set. The previous record of 119,145 was set in 2010. But the all-time daily attendance for the fair is 260,374, set on the final Saturday in 2016.

You might notice I’m posting this update two days after this record-setting date, on Saturday instead of Thursday. That’s because I upgraded to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS from 16.04 LTS last week. But the update (which I did within Software Updater in the OS) did not work when I wanted to upload the photo on Thursday, and I ended up having to do a clean install this morning (which only took a little over an hour). I did end up losing the original JPEGs of all my photos that I started putting on this computer earlier this year, but that doesn’t matter all that much because I keep large versions of the best files on this site. At least now I know that whenever I upgrade Ubuntu, I should back up everything and then do a clean install of the OS.

Here’s a crowd shot I took on Thursday.

A new first-day attendance record was set at the Minnesota State Fair on August 23, 2018

Parley Lake Winery’s 4th Annual Grape Stomp

Today, I visited Parley Lake Winery in Waconia, Minnesota, for their 4th Annual Grape Stomp.

Three competitors trying to stomp the most grape juice
Spectators watching the grape stompers
A competitor’s feet right after stomping on grapes
Grapes, ready to get stomped on