View 409: Sigma Sport Lens

Earlier this year, I purchased a Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sport Lens  to use for amateur field sports under less than optimum lighting conditions. Think high school football stadiums and you get the idea. I use it with a Nikon D500 dSLR camera which has a 1.5X crop giving the lens’ effective range from 180mm to 450mm.

The lens is heavy and needs to be used with a sturdy monopod and tripod head but it focuses fast and has excellent image quality. The f/2.8 aperture throughout the focal lengths allows me to shoot under the challenging lighting of the field sports I cover. Having said that, I decided to use this lens for ice hockey under the excellent LED lighting of an American Hockey League (AHL) arena.

Sigma Sport Lens One

Syracuse Crunch Cameron Gaunce (24) skating with the puck against as Binghamton Devils Kurtis Gabriel (39) gives chase in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton, New York on Friday, October 19, 2018. Syracuse won 4-0. Nikon D500/Sigma 120-300OS, 1/1000s, f/4, ISO 2200, EV +1.0, 240mm (360mm DX), Monopod.

Shooting from the media row inside the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton, New York to cover a recent AHL game between the Syracuse Crunch and Binghamton Devils, the lens worked flawlessly to capture the excitement and color of a professional hockey game.

Sigma Sport Lens Two

Syracuse Crunch goalie Connor Ingram (39) in net against the Binghamton Devils in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton, New York on Friday, October 19, 2018. Syracuse won 4-0. Nikon D500/Sigma 120-300OS, 1/1000s, f/4, ISO 3200, EV +1.3, 195mm (292mm DX), Monopod.

It was not all fun and games as the lens would often pull the monopod’s head mount suddenly downward. I missed a goal being scored when it happened during the second period. I really tightened down the lens for the third period and captured the goal you see below.

Sigma Sport Lens Three

Syracuse Crunch Andy Andreoff (15) redirects the puck past Binghamton Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood (29) for a Power Play Goal in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton, New York on Friday, October 19, 2018. Syracuse won 4-0. Nikon D500/Sigma 120-300OS, 1/1000s, f/4, ISO 2000, EV +1.3, 145mm (217mm DX), Monopod.

While this lens is not the easiest to use in the often close confines of hockey arenas, I shall use it from time to time to get a different prospective of game.

The lens comes in mounts for Nikon, Canon and SONY digital cameras. For more information, follow the link at the top of the article.

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Photography Show for Hospice of CNY VIII

I would like to invite one and all to this year’s Hospice of CNY Fine Art Photography Show. This is the eighth year I was asked to produce this show and, I think, it is the best one yet.

If you live around Syracuse, the FREE Artist Reception will be held on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 from 5:30pm to 7:00pm at the offices of Hospice of CNY (see banner below for the address. It is not far from the 7th North Street exits of Route 81). Refreshments and snacks (including seasonal favorites: apple cider, donuts and cookies!) will be provided free of charge. This is a great opportunity to see the works of some of the finest local photographers in our area.

Here is a preview of what you will see.

Hospice Photography Show 2018

This year I am accompanied by four outstanding Upstate New York Photographers which created an excellent selection of thirty photographs featuring autumn and winter subjects as well as a mix of each photographer’s favorites.

Hope to see you there!

NOTE: If you can not make the reception and would like to see the show, you may visit Hospice of CNY between the hours of 9am and 4pm, Monday thru Friday until the close of the show on January 2, 2018.

 

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View 408: Onondaga County War Memorial

The Onondaga County War Memorial opened in September of 1951. Over its existence, it has hosted an NBA Championship team in the Syracuse Nationals. Entertainers from Elvis to Kiss to Disney on Ice have performed there. Its been home to various professional ice hockey, indoor lacrosse and indoor soccer teams over its 67 year history. And has been through upgrades and renovations but none more transforming then the latest one completed just this month.

Onondaga County War Memorial Digital Marquee

Montgomery Street Entrance to the Onondaga County War Memorial Arena with the new digital marquee in Syracuse, New York on Saturday, October 13, 2018. Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/8, ISO 400, EV +0.3, 16mm Focal Length, Skylum Intensify CK.

Earlier this year, the Onondaga County Legislature approved funding for $8.5 Million in arena upgrades to include replacing the old plastic lettering marquees with fully digital

Onondaga County War Memorial Arena HD Scoreboard

New high definition digital scoreboard inside the Onondaga Country War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York on Saturday, October 13, 2018. Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/8, ISO 1800, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length.

displays, renovation of all the bathrooms, construction of corporate suites and a VIP lounge, new arena lighting, ribbon lighting and, of most importance to the main tenant, the Syracuse Crunch Hockey Club, a new video scoreboard. The old scoreboard had been having issues including whole video panels malfunctioning for most of last season.

The new scoreboard is completely digital so all panels can be used to enhance the game experience and allow for more and flexible sponsor advertising and give all spectators a great view of the game in full high definition resolution on panels twice as big as the old ones. The War Memorial staff have only had a couple of weeks with the entire system installed. As they get to learn all about its capabilities, the more enjoyment it will bring to the fans who come to games and other events.

As I traveled with the Syracuse Crunch to other American Hockey League team arenas, they all had corporate suites. The rental of these suites help the home teams to field

Onondaga County War Memorial Suites

New suites in the Onondaga County War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York on Saturday, October 13, 2018. Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/60s, f/8, ISO 5600, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length.

competitive teams and keep the cost of arena tickets down for season ticket holders and fans who may only come to a few games a season.  It was a major want of the Syracuse Crunch management staff to have them and the Legislature agreed.

The north wall of the War Memorial Arena had six doorways installed leading out to the new suite seating areas. Behind each of the doors are kitchenette areas with a refrigerator, warming stove, cabinets, a couch, a table and chairs and a digital display showing the game so suite owners would not miss any of the action if they needed a beverage or a bite to eat. In keeping with the war memorial tradition, each suite is named for a U.S. military service branch.

On the night of the Syracuse Crunch’s 25th Anniversary Home Opener, all the pieces came together after four months of work by numerous contractors and hours of training for the War Memorial and Syracuse Crunch staffs to perfection. This is how the War Memorial Arena now looks for Crunch hockey games:

Onondaga County War Memorial Arena

Opening Night for the 25th Anniversary season for the Syracuse Crunch American Hockey League (AHL) team at the Onondaga County War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York on Saturday, October 13, 2018. Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/8, ISO 400, EV +0.3, 16mm Focal Length, Skylum Intensify CK.

It was also announced two days before Opening Night that the Syracuse Crunch had extended their lease for an additional six years (the link shows the arena before the upgrades) and will be calling Syracuse home, at least, through the 2029-2030 season. Ensuring the Crunch will be celebrating their 30th and 35th year inside the historic and now ready for the 21st Century War Memorial Arena.

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View 407: On The Origin of Species

On the Origin of Species Book Binder

An 1859 1st Edition On The Origin Of Species by Charles Darwin seen in the Reading Room of the Strozier Library Special Collections at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. Nikon D750/50mm, 1/60s, f/1.8, ISO 1100.

It is not often one gets to not only see but hold something historically and personally significant as I was able to do recently in Florida State University’s Robert Manning Strozier Library Special Collections and Archives Reading Room. One of the archivists brought out a 1st Edition of Charles Darwin’s landmark book titled On The Origin of Species. Written 100 years before I was born, Darwin’s work has been with me almost from my beginnings.

Charles Darwin Written Note

A signed note by Charles Darwin inside an 1859 1st Edition On The Origin Of Species seen in the Reading Room of the Strozier Library Special Collections at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. Nikon D750/50mm, 1/60s, f/1.8, ISO 220.

What made this book special was it was a gift from Darwin, himself, to a colleague in which he penned a signed note dated January 23, 1860. While separated by over a century of time, I touched this page and felt a connection.

Title Page

Title page for an 1859 1st Edition On The Origin Of Species by Charles Darwin seen in the Reading Room of the Strozier Library Special Collections at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. Nikon D750/50mm, 1/60s, f/1.8, ISO 160.

As a naturalist and biologist, Charles Darwin observed the world around him and saw things others missed or had been taken at face value. Darwin noticed how similar species separated by distance or natural barriers varied and documented the differences. He found birds, mammals and plants surprisingly suited to their environment. Almost by design.

Chapter Page

Chapter page for an 1859 1st Edition On The Origin Of Species by Charles Darwin seen in the Reading Room of the Strozier Library Special Collections at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. Nikon D750/50mm, 1/60s, f/2.8, ISO 160.

While Darwin’s entire book was a scientific breakthrough, the chapter on Natural Selection was the most controversial. He theorized how animals were not designed but adopted over time and generations to find their environmental niches. External forces such as competition with their own kind for resources allowed the most fit to breed and improve. People took offense to think they had evolved from a lower form of animal. Yet, 159 years later, Darwin’s theories have stood the test of time and peer review despite many religious and legal challenges. I am referring to the famous Scopes Trial back in 1925 which put evolution on trial. I highly recommend you find a copy or digital streaming service to watch the cinematic account of the trial, Inherit the Wind. Though fictional, the movie brings out the arguments of both sides in an intelligent and entertaining way.

Upon learning of Darwin’s theories when still in grade school, I have always kept them in mind when observing nature in all forms. I ask and research how particular animals came to be and how they have evolved. Sadly, Man has accelerated changes all over the Earth and faster than any other time in its billions of years of existence. Changes like deforestation of the great rain forests, warming of oceans and human sprawl are causing a high rate of extinctions world wide some 1,000 to 10,000 times which should occur naturally. Eventually, these changes will even push humans past what they can adapt to.

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View 406: Four Days at Sea

Just got back from a Caribbean cruise on the Disney Cruise Line ship, the Disney Dream. The cruise was for four nights and two Ports of Call.  The first day we sailed from Port  Canaveral and partied, dined and slept to wake up the next morning in Nassau, The Bahamas.

Disney Dream Cruise Ship

The Disney Dream cruise ship docked at Nassau, Bahamas on Tuesday, September 25, 2018. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 110, EV -0.3, 28mm Focal Length.

Our cabin faced Downtown Nassau and the port. The yellow tower is the Port Tower which does the same job as an air traffic control tower at an airport except for the many cruise ships which come and go daily.

Nassau Cruise Port

Cruise port tower and buildings photographed from the Disney Dream docked at Nassau, The Bahamas on Tuesday, September 25, 2018. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 180, EV 0, 52mm Focal Length.

After shopping and exploring Nassau, we left port and sailed over to the Disney Cruise Line’s private island, Castaway Cay. Here families enjoyed a full day of activities, food and beaching. For adults, there is Serenity Bay for those 18 and over to enjoy a more quiet experience.

Family Beach

Family Beach on Disney’s Castaway Cay, Bahamas on Wednesday, September 26, 2018. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/250s, f/11, ISO 100, EV 0, 24mm Focal Length.

The last day of the cruise is at sea. The Captain made sure to keep the best weather over the Disney Dream while guests enjoyed the ship’s many amenities and attractions like the famous Palo Brunch.

Palo Brunch

Server scoops out a warm sticky bun during the Palo Brunch on the Disney Dream on Thursday, September 27, 2018. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 400, EV 0, 24mm Focal Length, Bounce Flash.

After eating for two and a half hours at the brunch, members of my party took the time to relax on deck or read a book. As for me, I took a nap!

The next day we returned to Port Canaveral and, after a last breakfast with our dining crew, disembarked. No worries, we will be back since we booked our next voyage while onboard.

If you are interested in more information on a Disney Cruise or Disney themepark vacation, contact my wife at merrie@dreamsunlimitedtravel.com 

(just click her email address above)

She has been booking and planning Disney trips for satisfied travelers exclusively for 18 years.

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