The Photoshop World precon was not only a great event, but provided a great field testing site for the D4. Starting with light that wasn’t great, I was able to see just what the D4 could do for me. The General was more then happy to be the guinea pig for my testing. I started off by getting past my own issues with photographing people. I’m simply not comfortable walking up to a stranger, talk to them and convince them they should let me photograph them. The General and I locked eyes and I took that as a opening to introduce myself and photograph him. Though the light was really nasty, under the tent flap it was very diffused and perfect. With the 50f1.4AFS attached, I shot at f1.4 and made some clicks. I actually like them too.
The General noticed the motordrive sound of the D4. It is distinct and when it’s rippin, you can’t miss it. He could pick me out of the crowd. I moved out of the scene so other could work with him and switched to the 70-200VR2 at f/5.6 and worked from a distance.
McNally did a really cool thing and brought in a giant sweep and set it up with a big Octie that folks could shoot with. The General moved in and I made my final clicks of him again with the 70-200VR2. This brings me to exposure and the D4. It’s not like exposure on the D3. How’s it different? I’m still running it though my brain pan but I do have a thought I will put forth in the near future. It is better but to talk advantage of it, I need to rethink how we make use of this new technology.
If you have a D4 and you’ve downloaded CS6 (and you SHOULD!) you might have noticed the ACR 7.0 does not recognize the D4 file. Trust me, Adobe is aware of this. Until they update ACR 7.0, you can use ACR 6.7 in CS5 to open and process D4 files.
Another incredible Photoshop World is now in the books so after the instructor party and since sleep has been scant for the last four days, why not just make it five. So after a great dinner, we headed down to the Lincoln Memorial with our friends Russell and Kevin to simply enjoy the Memorial at night. Since I’m still working with the new D4, of course I took it along.
My settings were the basics, of course. I was shooting on a small travel Gitzo tripod anywhere from 16sec to 1.2sec at ISO 100. The white balance was AWB and exp comp was -2. As far as I’m concerned, the D4 did a great job. All of these images are straight from the camera, nothing was done in post other then the conversion from Nef to PSD using ACR 6.7.
More importantly was the photographic process. In this series, I wanted the folks included in the photo. I looked for all blurred like the top frame to almost all blurred in the middle to just certain ones blurred in the bottom. Now this took a little time waiting for the right combination and grouping of folks to shutter speed to give them moving the ability to blur during the exposure. I really like the bottom one because the couple frozen in the middle were doing something really romantic like a wedding proposal or something. The one shot I wanted to get I saw but acted too slowly. A bus load of folks came in and all at once lifted up their cell phones to take a photo. I saw the photo and got into position to slowly. The D4 made the whole experience very enjoyable and along with the company, made for a great closure to our adventures to DC.
Those sparkling eyes, they get me every time! The lens to capture that sparkle, the 50f1.4AFS…check out why and how.
That DOF thing, I have come to really like shooting at f1.4 and thinking about the background in a new way in the story telling process. Humoring me in this quest are some really great friends, ones who understand (but don’t want to admit they do) what’s going on in my head. So the other day while cruising Central Park, they humored me as I saw backgrounds that interested me.
Great f/stop, great friends!
Photos captured by D3s, 28f1.4AF on Lexar UDMA digital film
It’s no secret, I love glass and my friends at Nikon know this all to well. Jon in the sport optics especially keeps my hunger fed with amazing glass, his latest offering is simply, gorgeous. I’ve used scopes for a LONG time, there is always one in my truck (which Jake adopted and now has in his truck). The new EDG 65mm that Jon sent me is the finest scope I’ve ever looked through, and I’ve observed through them all! It is so bright, so sharp, so easy on the eye, I can’t stop watching my neighbors through it (just kidding!).
What I find really cool is just how thought out the scope is. What do I mean by that? Let’s start with the simple things, the caps. Easy to get on and off while wearing gloves, that’s a biggie for me. They stay attached to the scope yet get out of the way, that’s cool. The focusing ring is huge and easy to turn with gloves on and even with gloves, the smooth focus is very precise. Probably the coolest thought out feature is the case that comes with the scope. The case fits the scope like a glove with snap pieces that go on and off easily to access features like the focusing ring. Very slick!
You might be wondering though why there’s a photo of the moon in this posting. Yeah, the scope does a sweet job when star gazing, but the photo you see here was actually taken with the scope with a D3x attached. The FSA-L2 DSLR adapter is slick! The eyepiece and adapter both work on the F Bayonet mount so you click the FSA-L2 into place and then attach your camera and you’re shooting. You are working at f/13 and there is no AF, but you have matrix metering and a zoom lens from 500-1750 (DX, less zoom on FX). The photo of the moon was taken in this way. It goes way beyond digiscoping but is not a replacement for a 600VR since the scope is a fixed f/13. I wouldn’t hesitate though if scoping something to attach the camera and shoot especially if there wasn’t time to get the 600VR set up. For those of you who bird, or spy on your neighbors, this is the scope for you! And Jake, you won’t be adopting this one any time soon.
Yeap, I went and did it. With the 24PC-E & 45PC-E in the bag, finally added the 85PC-E. I got it for some ultra wide panos I’m planning to take in the coming months. I’m returning to a number of locales where the 24PC-E was just too short to make the pano and now that I’ve been shooting with the 45PC-E for a while think it will be too short as well. So, in for an ounce in for a pound. The panos the D3x produces with these wicked sharp lenses is really fun to produce so looking forward to some 85PC-E panos.
The 85PC-E is wicked sharp with a pretty narrow depth of field. Trying a miniature to two while in ME is floating around in my mind. Also thinking about doing some portraits and macros with the lens. It does it all making it a rather multi functional lens. When I picked up the 24PC-E, I never thought I would have the other two PC-E lenses but the ultra wide panos have taken on a life of their own. Who knows, may be some day they’ll be a book.
The 85PC-E has all the movements of the 24 and 45 of Tilt and Shift. When the aperture is in the L mode, you can adjust the aperture just like any other lens via the camera body. One thing I was taken aback by was the lens shade, it’s a big thing. I also really like the macro capabilities focusing down to about 7″. I had a brief encounter with the original 85PC which was a nice lens, so far I think this version is a little sweeter. Looking forward to more camera time with it.
When I’m on the road, making sure the images are protected and get home safe is top priority! That’s why I have relied on the Epson image safes since they first came out. Here you see Sharon with her Epson P5000 and I with the P7000 (Sharon has the hand me down) sitting by the fire in the lodge looking at our images we just copied from the evening shoot.As you can see, we found a bear or two to photograph our first night at the falls.
When on the road, I COPY my cards to the P7000 before I upload them to the notebook. I don’t edit the image in the P7000, rather it’s a safe that gets all of my images back to the office and it works like a charm, saving my butt twice in the past. With the amazing battery life of the P7000 (can upload 8-9 16GB cards on 1 battery), I can load and look at all my images on its large, gorgeous screen. I have 3 spare batteries which I know will take care of 10 days of shooting. My only question is, will the P7000′s harddrive hold all the image from the week from the D3x (yeah, you can view D3x raw files on the P7000). Time will tell.
Just when I thought I had this series done, I had a number of request for a video on a discontinued Nikon lens, the 28f1.4 AF.
There are two other “pods” that I use in my photography, the Really Right Stuff Ground Pod and the Visual Echoe’s Panning Plate. When getting down with the big lens matters, these might just be perfect for you.
da Tripod, no more important tool can you buy for your photography. Selecting, using and quick tips is what you’ll find in this last video on Moose’s Camera Bag. I’ve used only one brand of tripod since the first day of my photography, Gitzo. Here’s why.
The bottomline, the two tripods I use and recommend are the Gitzo 3540XLS and 5560SGT. Are there others in the Gitzo line? Heck yeah. Does Moose know them? Heck no. I spent the money once on a tripod and don’t replace them unless something new like G Lock comes along. You want expert Gitzo help, contact my bud Jeff Snyder at Adorama, he’ll set you up with the best Gitzo for your photography. I still have my original carbon fiber Gitzos I got in 1995 and they work perfectly!
I finally received the WG-AS1 (Water Guard – Accessory Shoe 1) for the Sb-900 & D3. My man Jeff Snyder snagged me 3, 2 in place and 1 spare. I’m heading off to AK and I know it’s going to rain so I thought since Nikon thought to make this thing, I should get ‘em.
It’ a pretty custom fit, fitting just the SB-900 (the AS-1 is for D3, AS-2 is for D300, AS-3 is for D700) foot where it attaches to the camera’s hot shoe. The unit is half plastic and half rubber. The upper half is the hard plastic. When you slip the WG-AS1 over the SB-900 foot, you push it forward. There are “fixing nails” in the WG-AS1 which locks into the foot of the SB-900. It takes some pushing, a little scary the first time you attach it. But once done and in place, it ain’t falling off. Attaching the SB-900 with the WG-AS1 attached to the hot shoe or SC-28 takes a little bit of doing. Again, the first time you slide it on, it’s a bit, tight and takes force which seems almost uncomfortable to exert. Once on, you can flip the locking lever and plug in the SD-9 with no problem.
Now is this thing “water tight?” I’m trying to figure out a test to determine just how much moisture it can handle. Of course, if I should find out the maximum, the answer might cost a flash and that’s not covered under warranty. Stay tuned for a report.
A very common and good question is “what do you take in the field?” When I say a 2nd body on my shoulder, I often get a funny look as if to ask why lug another body in the field. We are an amazingly fortunate group, us photographers. We are able to venture out and see things that many can’t imagine exist. This is especially true for wildlife photographers. And while we focus on the critter in the viewfinder, I often, sometimes to the detremint of the critter I’m chasing, miss that photo just enjoying the world around me. That’s why I have the 2nd body on my shoulder. A dabble of light strikes the landscape for only so long and then moves on. It’s those moments that are special and the 2nd body is very much apart of the gear that goes in the field with me.
Photo captured by D3x, 24-70AFS on Lexar UDMA digital film
I’m heading off to AK shortly and will be camping. More than likely we’ll be out in the rain and away from shelter when shooting. At the same time I’ve also been looking for a means of quieting the sound of the D3x when shooting so it’s not being picked up by the video camera. I found the answer to both problems in one product, LensCoat’s BodyGuard (they come in colors other than black).
I’ve written about these before, but Scott has improved it by making it with a clear back cover, finger holes on the sides and a flap on the top for using a flash or off camera flash cord. As you can see, it’s easy to see the back of the camera and the D3x was attached to the 600VR when the this photo was taken. Tripping through the AK forest (and that could be a literal trip), it will be nice to know the D3x has the BodyGuard on and is being protected along with the lenses which also wear LensCoats.
While at the Reno Air Race PRS, I ran into a problem that I needed to find a solution to. The problem, sunblock ALL over the LCD creating an oil slick that should be reported to the EPA. Cleaning it became a pain because it just kept smearing and smearing, not really getting clean. After the fact I remembered something Hoodman has sent me, the Hoodman Hoodcap. It’s like retro digital man, the days of the D1 but oh, does it solve the problem! How do I know? I smeared sunblock on my face and took the LCD cover for a test greasing. The Hoodcap got greasy and it was then easily degreased. I now have a couple in my photopack for just such occassions.
I got a number of emails asking if I really used a video camera on top of the D3 with a 500VR attached and if I had a photo of it all. Well, here you go. Not only can you see the rig but this photo by Richard catches me shooting with the iPhone for my Tweeter posting. It’s all in the wrist
What can I say, I’m a sucker for a sexy lens and the 105VR is not only sexy, but wicked sharp. After I move past that, I’ve gotta field test to see it to see if a lens works for not only my style of photography but working capitol as well. If a good friend didn’t have the lens and put in my hand, I doubt I would own it now. But I’m so glad I do! This intimate portrait of a DLWS participant’s cute little girl is a perfect example of how I like to use the 105VR. Here are some other thoughts on this vital piece of the Moose’s Camera Bag.