The SD-9 (impressive page) was introduced with the SB-900, but it wasn’t available until a few months back. I just now remembered to get one, wish I had remembered sooner. Nikon did an excellent job thinking this one through. Here’s what I mean.
The MP-7 was originally released two years ago and designed basically for owners of the 200VR, assorted lenses and flash. Since the only photographers who seem to fit this profile was Joe and myself, it was not the best of marketing plans. Despite that, it has been a real popular photopack. But its original design didn’t take into account the basic photographer who didn’t have a 200VR. So we’ve brought the MP-7 design in line with our other very poplar photopacks with the trademark three compartment design. It still works with the 200VR but now with the more common 70-200VR attached to the body. You can see all I pack in it here. They are now in stock and you can learn more and order them here.
What lens took this photo of the Thunderbirds screaming by? It is probably the last one you would think of, it is Nikon’s best kept secret…until now!
Why do we do these videos? Sometimes I ask myself that question when I read the silly things forum posters post. But the answer is really simple, to help those with open minds seeking help. I receive hundreds of emails each week, folks asking what I use, what I recommend and the only answer I can provide is those lenses I like (yeah, I like the lenses I’ve bought, go figure) and own. This advice is free and you all know what they say about free advice. I leave it up to you, the photographer to THINK it through what works for you and your photography and decide if the info here works for you or not. I know they work for me, they create the images that permit me ot making a living from my images, that’s why I own them.
As my bud Joe would say, “It’s my lot in life” to explain this stuff. The #8 email I receive is, “How do you pack your camera bag?” Well, here you go, this is how I do it. While I’m going to demonstrate how to pack the photopack I use, the MP-1 (because it fits in every overhead in the world), that really doesn’t matter to you. The logic on how you pack is what you need to pick up on to figure out how to pack your own bag.
The week is over already. Man, does time just fly. The blurry eyed folks have seen the participant show, drank their wine and said good bye. All the gear is packed and the staff is all heading off to their next job. We’re incredibly fortunate to be able to come together to share this thing called photography!
Our last shoot was at the Bodie Island Lighthouse. It was a great evening of literally just watching the light set. Whoever built the lighthouse was a real stickler for details as the building and lighthouse are all perfectly lined up in every aspect. It makes it possible to get this photo. Once the camera was set up. I just kep hitting the shutter to make an informal time laspe. It was the perfect finish to a great week. Thanks staff, friends and particpants for making it so great!
Photos captured by D3, 45PC-E on Lexar UDMA digital film
The Nikon 14-24AFS is a BIG favorite of mine. Great lens that really does so many different things and so well. I’ve been trying to get this shot for the last week but the wind was fierce. Actually stopped on the way to the airport yesterday and made this short. Hope it helps your photography!
I was trying to find the video I did for Dtown with a 14-24 tip but can’t find it so I’ll write it in here. When shooting with the 14-24, get in the habit of zooming the lens to 24mm when walking around or storing the lens. This recess the front element within the scalloped shade. You don’t want to scratch that front element.
Also, emails are coming in asking about filtration. You only option, and it’s not an option, is to tape gels to the rear element. You cannot use any front filtration.
I love printing, I have since the first click as a kid. It hasn’t changed with digital and in fact, probably increased. When the FedEx Freight truck pulled up in the drive today, I couldn’t wait for the door to open and see the new Epson 7900 inside (yeah, the printer comes on its own pallet). Luckily I have Jake home this week so the two of us unpackaged and carried the beast upstairs into the office. It was when I started to read the instructions we saw that Espon recommends 4 people for carrying the 7900. Guess that’s why my back’s tired tonight.
We set it up and removed all the tape in front of the slide files and the paradox made me want to take a snap. Looks like it was taken off the Star Trek set, man the photon torpedoes! It comes with enough ink to charge the system and a few prints, then you’ve got to buy a set, that ain’t cheap. But the first print came out and wow, didn’t know my images could look so good. The HDR technology really is outstanding. So now the challenge is to get this all figured out so I can teach our printing class at DLWS in May at Outer Banks. I guess I’d better order a second set of ink!
Ever since I was shown a prototype of the 200-400VR lens, I’ve owned one. The original 200-400 zoom was a monster in size, dealy sharp and very expensive. I’m glad the VR model only retains the two of the important aspects of the original, focal length and sharpness.
I depend on this lens for so much of my photography, I have it with me no matter what it takes. It is wicked sharp at all focal lengths. It focuses down to within 6.6″ , incredibly well balanced for handholding and is just one sweet lens. Our first visit to photograph Kodiak Bears, I had the 200-400 with me and it was great. I was often walking around and getting in places that I could only handhold. The lens just rocks! Here’s a little more trivia for ya.
Photo captured by D2Xs, 200-400VR on Lexar digital film
I’ve been using a Tamrac 694 Roller forever for airline travel. I’m not using it for what it is designed to do by any stretch. Mine looks nothing like this photo. It has about 232,000 air miles and has been beaten within an inch of its life. The back handles smashed in, front pockets basically torn off, zippers still spinning on some baggage claim belt somewhere. Despite that, I’ve always trusted to it my most precious and fragile camera gear when I travel. It has never, never let me down!
Well my faithful companion on my last trip to FL had meet its final match, it appeared as if it had literally been ran over. All the contents were fine but the main zipper was blown out, one side broken down. It got me home but that was its last trip. It worked out to $.0002 an air mile so it was a no-brainer, I went out and bought a new one.
The old one was way out of warranty, used in ways it was not made for and it had been abused. But I thought, what the hey, I’ll send it to Tamrac and see if they can fix it, cool, if not they could dispose of it properly. Off it went with a letter saying how well it had served me, bought a new one and if they could help my old friend, I’d be grateful. We got back from HI DLWS, just 10 days after sending it out to find it here waiting for us. All rebuilt, new parts, pockets, wheels and zippers, good as new! That just floored me, that’s what I call service! And I’m just putting this out here because I don’t think enough good folks get a pat on the back when they do what is just simple ol good common customer service. Well done Tamrac!
My first one was the manual focus model, than progressed to the AF version and now I depend almost daily on the best of them all. The 200VR is simply one gorgeous lens. It’s exceptional sharpness, narrow DOF and compact design, it is if it were designed just for my style of photography. Coupled with the D3x and I’m in heaven The photo of this Mule Deer is a perfect example. Shot at f/2, the buck smacks you right between the eyes while its world surrounds it. It’s not for everyone, but it’s one you need to know about at the very least.
Photo captured by D3, 200VR on Lexar UDMA digital film
Nikon has celecrated its 50yr aniv of the F Mount. What’s the F Mount? That’s the system in which the lens is attached to the body, the chrome rings. It is the longest history among lens mounts for 35mm format SLRs. And that’s your Nikon Trivia for the day.
It’s packin time, on our way to our HI DLWS event. As I got the bags out from under the bed (no need to put them away away, just back from FL a week ago), it occurred to me I should be updating my webpage on traveling. Then it occurred to me I should just blog it because, well, it’s a whole lot faster to do. You can see the way I went.
What you see above is anything but traveling light. That photo is 600lbs of gear Sharon, Jake & I took in with us to McNeil River last summer. When I travel on a “normal” trip, I have four bags with me, carry-on is a photopack (MP-1, MP-3 or MP-7) and Swiss Army Wheeled Briefcase. Checked are the Eagle Creek Load Warrior and Tamrac 694. No, four bags isn’t traveling light but it is considering I’m shipping quite often another 100+ pounds of gear in a Pelican 1660. Man, that’s a lot of stuff!
You can follow the links to see the camera gear I’m carrying on. The briefcase carries the Dell m4400 and m6400 notebooks. My main external 500GB Buffalo drives are also in the briefcase with the backups in the photopack. The Tamrac has “camera gear” such as MooseCam, tripod heads, readers, cables, chargers and the like. The Load Warrior has the tripod (s), clothes, shoes and the like. Both check-in just skin under the 50lbs limit and yes, I pay for the extra bag (there is no option and it is work, gotta have it with me).
Going through security I rarely find any big deal. I’m prepared before I reach it to go through it. My “stuff” goes through the same order everytime. Shoes, notebooks, briefcase and photopack. My watch, iPhone go in the briefcase so I have one less thing to deal with on the otherside. Other than the occassional theft of really little items from my check-in (like multi-tools, screw driver kit), I don’t have problems. Oh yeah, the last thing I pack and take with me through security is a smile. In fact, I make it a challange to make those friendly TSA folks smile just a little more as I pass by. There’s a couple of links here, hope the trivia helps you on your next trip!
There is nothing finer, sweeter or more essential to my photography than the 600VR. Here’s the next in the Gear Series.
I’m am a little tardy on updating my Moose’s Camera Bag. Like the 70-300VR and 45PC are not posted there yet. Today I just added the Gitzo GT5560SGT which is a gorgeous tripod that reachs the top of the Statue of Liberty. It’s now the new support forthe 600VR. It’s extra size will be perfect for an upcoming project so I can wait to put it to work. Oh yeah, want more 600VR trivia, here you go.
The D3 or the D3x, is that the question? It really shouldn’t be. The D3x is a serious camera producing very serious files. How serious is your file needs, how seriously do you need all that detail? Can you photography (and computer) handle all the seriousness?
My first impressions of the D3x were wrong. I wasn’t wrong about image quality, oh no, it’s stunning. Rather, I was wrong about the tool. Shooting now for a couple of weeks with the D3x (Thanks Mike!) and pushing it hard, really hard, I have learned alot (and about my own photography) which is good. It started with our first day of shooting in FL with the Snowy Egret and I saw the detail in and around the eye. Since then I’ve been trying to bring to life this mega detail (here and here) on this miniature stage. My goal is not to convince you that you need to buy a D3x or justify its price. I just want you to see the detail I see.
Here are a couple of side by side photos taken with the D3x and D3 using the 70-180macro. The orchard images were taken at f/38 and the stamps at f/11, manually focused, 14bit raw. The files are straight from the cameras other than the Zoomify which have to be switched to 8bit (all are now Jpegs, conversions by the programs).
- D3x – D3 Orchard
- D3x – D3 Stamps
- D3x Orchard Zoomify
- D3 Orchard Zoomify
- D3x Stamps Zoomify
- D3 Stamps Zoomify
You make the call, but you might not see the difference in the narrow band the web offers (not sure I can now that it’s posted). And the reality is the vast majority of you are not likely to be a future D3x owner. Am I? Yeap! Though the original client desiring the files of the D3x has had to pull back with current events, I love where the D3x has pushed me and my photography. It’s a good thing for me. Want to understand what that is, well, it just so happens to be in the upcoming BT Journal. Because I am now convinced a web based review of the D3x just doesn’t work, only print will show the detail.
Take what you have, camera, computer and passion and push it to their limits. Like Cheryl Crow says, “It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you have.”
Photo capture by D3x, 14-243AFS on Lexar UDMA digital film
Nikon quietly put out the D3 Pro Technical Guide pdf. It’s kinda of a IB made easy or as some have called it, D3 for Dummies. It does help clarify the AF system and provides ideas on its use as well as exposure. It’s free and might help you make the most of this great machine.
On another note, I’ve been shooting the new D3 firmware since it was posted and I did see better AF performance photographing dark subjects and in lower light levels. I didn’t see any increase in overall AF speed, but being able to use the 1.7e in over cast light with all AF sensors was a treat. I wasn’t able to do that before the firmware update.
For the last week or so, I’ve received a whole lot of email asking me what I’m wearing. I doubt I’m a fashion statement, hardly! More, there’s an interest in staying warm while shooting in a cold climate. I’m not really the best person what to wear to stay warm since I don’t get cold easily. The main this is to wear layers, more layers than what I wear. What I depend on to stay warm is my Nomar Jacket, Carhart Flannel lined pants, REI gloves and Ice King boots. This might be a starting point for you, but you might need more depending on your cold threshold.
In the blink of an eye, the warm temps give was to zero degrees and the magic appears. We woke to hoar frost covering the Madison River corridor, steam from the geyser sucking up the sunrise, with the silence of the moment only interrupted by the sounds of our motordrives, it was one of those special mornings.
The range of light because of the depth of the corridor required light compression techniques. Some used exposure comp, others split grads, I went with my multi image bracket set to make these top two images. I’ve always wanted to get a star burst through a tree with deep shadows shot. This was my first attempt using my technique. Not too bad, there is room for improvement though. That fact you can’t see the star burst with this smaller image is the first thing I need to fix.
This last image didn’t really need to be captured using this process, the range of light was just a tad beyond five stops. I wanted though more detail in what was available, capture that glow from the hoar frost crystals.. After processing, the image was run through Nikn Color Efex Pro Dark/lighten Circle to finish.
Photos captured by D3, 14-24AFS / 45PC-E on Lexar UDMA digital film
The new picture in the dictionary for very sharp, flat field lens is going to be the 45PC-E micro. I was shooting with it for a couple of hours when I looked at the lens barrel and noticed and was reminded it was a micro lens. This little pine cone, about the diameter of a quarter was a great test for the lens. Tack sharp! You’re probably wondering if I tried any “minatures” with the 45PC-E. Oh yeah baby, will post shortly.
Photos captured by D3, 45PC-E on Lexar UDMA digital film