Tag Archives: Nikon 105 f/2.8 Micro

Just Like Starting Over

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Nikon D7100, 70-200 f/2.8, TC17eII

As I mentioned in the last post, I’m working with new software (Lightroom) and a new camera (Nikon D7100). Yesterday it occurred to me that I’m really working with three new cameras, because I’ve only had the Fujifilm X100s for slightly over a year, and the Nikon D610 for less than a year. I have not learned how to operate any of these cameras as comprehensively as I did my old Nikon D300, but I look forward to digging deeper.

Since the D7100 is newest and purpose-purchased for wildlife, I’ve taken it to Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve to learn how it works, and here is the main thing I have discovered: I need to start using a tripod or monopod, because 24 megapixels exaggerates my lack of steadiness when using the equivalent of a 510mm lens (200mm + 1.7x teleconverter on 1.5x cropped sensor = 510mm). I’ve gotten some sharp images, but a pretty low keeper rate so far. I’m not sure if I’m mis-focusing or shaking, but I’m working on it.

A Reddish Egret at Bolsa Chica. Also a very small part of the frame, because even 510mm equivalent is no replacement for actual proximity.

A Reddish Egret at Bolsa Chica. Also a very small part of the frame, because even 510mm equivalent is no replacement for actual proximity. This is when 24 megapixels really helps me.

Nikon D7100, 70-200 f/2.8, TC17eII.

Nikon D7100, 70-200 f/2.8, TC17eII.

Nikon D7100, 70-200 f/2.8, TC17eII.

Nikon D7100, 70-200 f/2.8, TC17eII.

High resolution really helps when I cannot get close.

High resolution really helps when I cannot get close.

Here is the full frame from which the above image was cropped.

Here is the full frame from which the above image was cropped.

Usually I fret that I have too much gear, but yesterday I had the opportunity to use all three cameras. I took a long walk with the FujiFilm X100s and got a couple of grab shots, used the D7100 for some backyard colors, and brought out the D610 when my son wanted a picture under a very complex lighting scenario.

I had set the X100s to full auto as a walk-around camera. When I stopped for a beer, I liked this scene and simply pressed the button. No muss, no fuss.

I had set the X100s to full auto as a walk-around camera. When I stopped for a beer, I liked this scene and simply pressed the button. No muss, no fuss. And yes, the X100s has been used more in bars than any other location. Since I haven’t been going out much, the X100s has gotten little use in recent months.

Here's the sort of serendipitous scene that reminds me to carry a camera. I fired the X100s from the hip while walking by.

Here’s the sort of serendipitous scene that reminds me to carry a camera. I fired the X100s from the hip while walking by. I love the fact that I can carry this lightweight, large sensor camera around my neck.

In the late afternoon, I stepped into the backyard with the D7100 and 105 f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor to see what I could see. What I saw were interesting colors...

In the late afternoon, I stepped into the backyard with the D7100 and 105 f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor to see what I could see. What I saw were interesting colors. This is surely one of my favorite lenses, and delivers beautiful results on both camera bodies.

The Dancers. Nikon D7100, 105 f/2.8 Micro.

The Dancers. Nikon D7100, 105 f/2.8 Micro.

John had read an article about how the metrosexual was not being replaced by the "Lumbersexual," and as he was working with a chainsaw in our front yard, he decided a photo was in order. The sun had gone down, so I grabbed the D610 and 85mm f/1.4. Even using the built-in flash with this backlit scene, the foreground was dark, but with lots of recovery latitude.

My son read an article about how the metrosexual was being supplanted by the “Lumbersexual,” and as he was working with a chainsaw in our front yard, he decided a photo was in order. The sun had gone down, so I grabbed the D610 and 85mm f/1.4. Even using the built-in flash with this backlit scene, the foreground was dark, but with lots of recovery latitude. All hail big sensors!

A lot of angst goes into each camera or software decision for me, but every piece of new gear also gets me to play and experiment like I did as a youngster, and that stimulates learning. I’m also somewhat amazed at how different my images look when processed through Lightroom rather than Aperture, which I used for years. I’m still not sure if the look is better, but it is very, very different. Guess I’ll just have to play more to learn more.

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Filed under Camera Gear, Nature Photography

Nikon D610 Resolution Surprise

A quick, front porch snapshot of Charman, the stray who recently adopted us.

A quick, front porch snapshot of Charman, the stray who recently adopted us.

I’ve been enjoying the Nikon 610 since December, but I was still surprised when I enlarged this quick snapshot to find this:

Wow. I did not expect this kind of detail in such a small portion of the frame.

That’s me sitting cross-legged on the front porch. The catchlight is an sb800. I did not expect this kind of detail in such a small portion of the frame.

Something tells me I can do a lot more with 24 megapixels than I have so far. Looks like it’s time to improve my shot discipline yet again!

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The Year of Square is Starting to Work, I Think

Everyone is sick of cat photos? Is everyone sick of people portraits? If I see something I like about the light, color, composition, or moment, I'm going to take the shot.

Everyone is sick of cat photos? Is everyone sick of people portraits? If I see something I like about the light, color, composition, or moment, I’m going to take the shot. This is another example of the “look” of the Fujifilm X100s; a look I’ve come to enjoy very much.

What have I learned since my New Year’s Day post? I have learned that all else being equal, I’d rather be out photographing birds. Since the first, I’ve been working long hours during the week, and attending to some personal projects on the weekends, and I expect that will be the case for some time.

The Year of Square project provides an opportunity for technical exercises. Here I was testing depth-of-field fall off, off-camera flash placement, and my own patience, as I struggled to keep the focus point in place without a tripod.

The Year of Square project provides an opportunity for technical exercises. Here I was testing depth-of-field fall off, off-camera flash placement, and my own patience, as I struggled to keep the focus point in place without a tripod.

The Year of Square project is keeping me sane during this image drought. When I started the project, I didn’t want to come home from work in the evenings and then have to come up with a photo. But now, I see that as precisely what I need. I spend all day at work sitting in front of a computer, so having a photo assignment every evening prevents me from coming home and spending the REST of the day sitting at a computer.

Desperation to produce a square image every day also means that any interesting shape or shadow becomes fair game for a shoot.

Desperation to produce a square image every day also means that any interesting shape or shadow becomes fair game for a shoot.

 

Instead of grabshots, I’m now forcing myself to take time and use the considerable resources available (lenses, flashes, etc.) to make images that have a reason to exist. Sometimes I get it right. Sometimes I do not. But I think the key is to keep shooting, so when I do have more time, I’ll have been practicing.

If the pressure to produce an image every day does nothing more than get me to try different lighting scenarios, I will learn a lot over the course of the year.

If the pressure to produce an image every day does nothing more than get me to try different lighting scenarios, I will learn a lot over the course of the year. Here we see how broad lighting can make a subject look ten pounds heavier. 😉

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Filed under Composition, Lighting, Motivation

Non-Photographic Vacation: Day 5

Very slow wi-fi here at the Bryce Canyon Lodge, which can be forgiven because everything else is exquisite. We started the day at Capitol Reef National Park, then meandered along Route 12 (an awesome motorcycle road, but pretty nice in a car too) to make our way to Bryce. Tomorrow we go exploring, weather permitting (we arrived during an impressive thunder storm).

Turn in any direction in any part of Capitol Reef National Park for a beautiful view.

Turn in any direction in any part of Capitol Reef National Park for a beautiful view.

When he was a little boy, this behavior drove me crazy. Now it's kind of amusing.

When he was a little boy, his need to climb everything drove me crazy. Now it’s kind of amusing.

Making friends everywhere we go.

Making friends everywhere we go.

Bidding farewell to Capitol Reef.

Bidding farewell to Capitol Reef.

Taking a break on Route 12, which took us through deserts, forests, mountains, canyons, and all the way to Bryce.

Taking a break on Route 12, which took us through deserts, forests, mountains, canyons, and all the way to Bryce.

The view right outside our cabin at Bryce Canyon Lodge. Tomorrow we explore!

The view right outside our cabin at Bryce Canyon Lodge. Tomorrow we explore!

At the Kiva Koffeehouse outside Escalante. After we return I'll blog about the many photographic lessons I've learned on this non-photographic vacation, but the most important lesson so far is this: I thought that I was taking this trip for John, so he could see this part of the country that I love so much. But I realized today that he is also taking this trip for me.

At the Kiva Koffeehouse outside Escalante. After we return I’ll blog about the many photographic lessons I’ve learned on this non-photographic vacation, but the most important lesson so far is this: I thought that I was taking this trip for John, so he could see this part of the country that I love so much. But I realized today that he is also taking this trip for me.

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Filed under Just for FUN, Nature Photography, Travel and Vacation, Uncategorized

Non-Photographic Vacation, Day 2

Today we visited the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert, and then did reconnaissance at Canyon de Chelly. Tomorrow we plan to walk into the canyon, weather permitting. Today I also learned that I should bring all of my gear on car trips, because I wanted longer lenses and bigger flashes at various times, and I learned that I have dozens of nasty dust spots on my sensor, which I won’t be able to deal with until we get home.

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Petrified wood, shot with the 11-16 Tokina. You know, one of the lenses I wasn’t going to bring on the trip.

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Driving along, John asked when we would get to the painted desert, and all of sudden we came around a curve and both said, “Oh!”

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While we were admiring the Painted Desert, two ravens showed up and hung out with us. I’d like to believe that they were our spirit animals, but I’m pretty sure they simply noticed we were carrying a cooler. They followed us around and got very close.

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John decided that they were caretakers of the area, welcoming us.

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John makes friends wherever he goes. Here, he and one of the ravens compare and contrast the music of Dead Prez and People Under the Stairs.

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I snapped this image of John, but then remembered that I should keep a subject’s head and shoulders above the horizon…

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I got his head and shoulders above the horizon, but somehow misfocused. Good thing this is not a photographic vacation, because I’m making lots of photographic errors.

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We got to Canyon de Chelly late in the day, and the light was getting good.

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While we were at another overlook, it rained at this one. By the time we arrived, the ground was wet but the rain was gone, leaving this.

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The clouds were very helpful, although the rolling thunder was terrifying for those of us up on the overlooks.

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Canyon de Chelly is a pretty good looking part of the world.

From a mural at the Petrified Forest visitor's center.

From a mural at the Petrified Forest visitor’s center.

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Filed under Nature Photography, Travel and Vacation