Photographing Local History – Skansie Netshed

Posted March 25th, 2015 by   |  Photography, Travel  |  Permalink
Skansie Netshed

Skansie Netshed in Gig Harbor, WA.

Creating artistic photos of my home town of Gig Harbor, Washington is one of my favorite things to do. I love capturing the rich heritage of my town and finding different ways to represent its local icons.

One of the more important families in the history of Gig Harbor was the Skansie family. They were boat builders in the early 1900′s and produced over 100 commercial fishing vessels and ferries. Their original netshed still stands along the waterfront. A few years ago, the Gig Harbor Historical Society was able to secure funding to refurbish the Skansie Netshed and open it to the public. Their work helped beautify and preserve this classic building.

For this image, I waited for a day with puffy clouds in the sky, then took my Nikon D800 down to the waterfront with a single lens, the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8. I kept my kit light and decided to leave my tripod at home. I shot a few compositions of the building, then decided the best look for the given light was a tight crop with no other distracting elements such as buildings or boats. The D800 has an incredible dynamic range, so I exposed a single image to hold detail in the clouds. In Lightroom, I pulled out a bit of shadow detail then sent the file to Nik Silver Efex Pro to convert it to black and white. After the conversion, I brought it back to Lightroom to do the final crop.

Here’s some more information from the Harbor History Museum’s blog:

http://harborhistorymuseum.blogspot.com/2013/08/skansie-netshed.html

For more information on the remaining 17 netsheds in Gig Harbor, follow this link:

17 Netsheds Remaining in Gig Harbor

 





Best of Vancouver 2015 Award

Posted March 20th, 2015 by   |  Photography, Uncategorized  |  Permalink

My old business just won the 2015 Best of Vancouver Award for commercial photography. This is pretty cool, and I’ll take the accolades, but I haven’t lived or worked in Vancouver for over ten years now. It’s good to know that I’m the best in the business, even in places where I don’t work!

Here’s the link to the press release and a bit more about the award:

Best of Vancouver

Our new award trophy for the Best of Vancouver 2015 Award for Commercial Photography.

Best of Vancouver 2015 Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Out There Images Receives 2015 Best of Vancouver Award

Vancouver Award Program Honors the Achievement

VANCOUVER March 12, 2015 — Out There Images has been selected for the 2015 Best of Vancouver Award in the Commercial Photography category by the Vancouver Award Program.

Each year, the Vancouver Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Vancouver area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2015 Vancouver Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Vancouver Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Vancouver Award Program

The Vancouver Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Vancouver area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Vancouver Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Vancouver Award Program

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What is the Vancouver Award Program?

Each year, in and around the Vancouver area, the Vancouver Award Program chooses only the best local businesses. We focus on companies that have demonstrated their ability to use various marketing methods to grow their business in spite of difficult economic times. The companies chosen exemplify the best of small business; often leading through customer service and community involvement.

For most companies, this recognition is a result of your dedication and efforts as well as the work of others in your organization that have helped build your business. Your team is now a part of an exclusive group of small businesses that have achieved this selection.





Setting Up a Portable Location Studio

Posted March 16th, 2015 by   |  Flash Photography, Photography  |  Permalink

This week I’m shooting about 250 portraits for Harbor Covenant Church. I’ll share more of the results of the photo shoot in a future blog post, but in the meantime, I wanted to show how I set up the studio with this time-lapse video. My goal for the photo shoot is to produce a bright white background for each of the portraits. To do this, I used a white muslin backdrop and lit it with four slave flashes in umbrellas. These background flashes are set to produce about 1.0 to 1.5 stops more light than the Profoto D1 monolights I’m using for the people in the foreground.

 

I’m triggering everything optically, which is another way to say that all the flashes are set to fire when they see a flash pulse from the main camera. For the Profoto D1 monolights, I’ve set them to trigger using the IR mode. For the Nikon flashes, they are all set to trigger in SU-4 mode. On my Nikon D800 camera, I’m triggering everything with a Nikon SB-700 flash set to manual output so that when it fires, everything else fires. All slave flashes are set for manual output and I metered everything using my trusty old Sekonic L-358 (no longer sold).

Location studio portraits

Some of the early shots from the location studio. Nice white backgrounds and lots of happy people!

Here’s all the gear I used to create the location studio.

Profoto D1 Monolights

Tether Tools Aero Tether Table for 15″ MacBook Pro

Gitzo GT3542L Mountaineer Carbon Fiber Tripod

Manfrotto and Creative Light light stands

Creative Light Back Light Stand

Nikon SB-910

Nikon SB-900

Nikon SB-700

Impact Background Studio Stand

White muslin backdrop 10′x24′

Apple MacBook Pro 15.4″ Retina

Adobe Lightroom 5

Location studio

An overview of the on-location studio I set up at Harbor Covenant Church using six flashes to produce a white background.





Pantages Theater Vertical Panorama

Posted March 7th, 2015 by   |  Photography, Software, Travel  |  Permalink

Last week, my daughter participated in an adjudication for her flute quartet. After the adjudication, my wife and I took her to the Pantages Theater for a concert with the Tacoma Concert Band. As I always do, I brought a camera and found a great opportunity to take a vertical panorama of the interior before the show began. To get the shot, I found an open seat in the middle of the theater and took 10 photographs, starting with the stage, continuing towards the ceiling, and ending with the row of seating behind me.

Pantages pano

Vertical panorama of the Pantages Theater. 10 shots taken with Nikon D750, 24-70mm f/2.8. Processed in Lightroom, merged to panorama in Photoshop CC.

Back at the computer, I processed the images in Lightroom for proper white balance, shadows, and highlights. Then, I exported out the shots to Photoshop CC’s panorama merge utility. The result is a very interesting looking vertical panorama of the interior of Pantages Theater.

Here are a couple of other shots from the day.

Pantages theater

This is a horizontal panorama of the Pantages Theater. Nikon D750, 24-70mm f/2.8. Seven-shot sequence merged in Photoshop CC.

Flute quartet

My daughter’s flute quartet, just before their adjudication. They scored a 1 with the judges! (that’s the best rating)

 





Gig Harbor’s Painted Ladies

Posted March 4th, 2015 by   |  Photography, Travel  |  Permalink
Row houses

Row houses at Harbor Crossing. Nikon D750, 70-200mm f/2.8. Processed in Adobe Lightroom 5 and Nik Color Efex Pro 4.

A couple of days ago I was in Gig Harbor taking some photos for a new project I’m working on. While shooting in a local housing development, I came across a line of houses that reminded me of the famous row houses in San Francisco near Alamo Square. These famous Victorian houses were affectionately called The Painted Ladies because of their bright colors and beautiful architectural details. These San Francisco Painted Ladies are iconic and have been photographed millions of times by tourists and locals.

Houses and blue sky

High cirrus clouds, blue sky, and row houses make for a pretty composition. Nikon D750, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, Gitzo CF tripod. Image processed in Adobe Lightroom 5 and Nik Color Efex Pro 4.

When I saw the similar style of homes here in Gig Harbor, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to create my own local version of the Painted Ladies. To get these photos, I shot with my Nikon D750 and the Nikon Triple Crown of lenses. These included the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 and the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8.

Back at my office, I imported the shots into Lightroom 5 and added just a little bit of clarity and vibrance. Then, I opened them up in Nik Color Efex Pro 4 to further pull out a little bit of detail and add a polarization effect for the clouds in the sky.

Here are a few links for those wanting to photograph the San Francisco Painted Ladies or the Gig Harbor Row Houses at Harbor Crossing housing development.

San Francisco Travel Guide to Painted Ladies

Inside a Painted Lady

Painted Lady Wikipedia

Gig Harbor’s Painted Ladies

Inside_Painted_Lady

SFO_Tourism_Painted_Ladies





Nikon D7200 and ME-W1 Announced

Posted March 2nd, 2015 by   |  Photography, Software, video  |  Permalink
Nikon D7200

Image courtesy Nikon Corp.

Nikon today announced the D7200 digital SLR camera along with a new microphone and a new software package. The D7200 comes along

There are a few improvements to the camera over the D7100.
- Larger buffer capacity that will hold 18 RAW shots (14-bit)
- Improved 51-point AF system with -3 EV sensitivity (center point works at f/8)
- Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC
- Faster Expeed 4 processor
- Better battery life
- Improved 24 MP sensor
- No OLPF (optical low pass filter)
- Broader native ISO range (100 – 25,600)
- 6 fps frame rate (7 fps in crop mode)
- 150,000 cycle-rated shutter
- Full 1080p 60 video recording

In my opinion, the single most important thing Nikon did with the D7200 is add increased buffer capacity. Honestly, the most frustrating thing on the D7100 (and D750 for that matter) is the limited buffer capacity when shooting sports or wildlife. Now, with a decent buffer size of 18 14-bit RAW photos and a professional-level autofocus system, photographers have a real tool they can use for action photography. The buffer is also projected to hold 27 12-bit RAW or 100 JPEG photographs.

One of the things that surprises me is that Nikon didn’t add an articulating screen like they did with the D750. I use this screen all the time on my D750 and have found it to be a fantastic tool to use in the field.

D7200 back

Image courtesy Nikon Corp

Over the last two years, I have recommended the D7100 to hundreds of photographers and now the D7200 will get my wholehearted recommendation. If you own a D7000 or a D90 and are looking to upgrade your camera, then buying the D7200 is a no-brainer. On the other hand, if you have a D7100 and mostly shoot landscapes/portraits then it doesn’t make sense to upgrade to the D7200. If you own a D7100 and need the extra buffer capacity for sports/action/wildlife, then the D7200 is a great camera for you.

Pricing for the D7200 will be $1,199,95 for the body only, and $1,699.95 with the 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR kit lens.

D7200 top

Image courtesy Nikon Corp.

Nikon also introduced two other products that should garner some interest among shooters: Nikon View NX-i and the Nikon ME-W1 wireless lavalier microphone.

View NX-i is a new image browsing program that looks like it will replace View NX. Nikon says that it will allow users to browse RAW files that were adjusted by Capture NX-D while also allowing easy upload of images to social networks. More information here: http://nikon.com/news/2015/0302_soft_02.htm

NX-i

ME-W1

ME-W1 wireless microphone runs on AAA batteries. Image courtesy Nikon Corp.

ME-W1 in rain

The ME-W1 is designed to operate in all weather conditions. Image courtesy Nikon Corp.

The ME-W1 wireless microphone is a lavalier mic designed to be used in the outdoors under any weather conditions. Most professional wireless microphones aren’t designed to withstand the elements, so the ME-W1 will surely fill a gap in some videographer’s camera bags. Pricing for the ME-W1 will be $249.95.

Here are pre-purchase links for the products listed in this article

Nikon D7200 B&H Adorama
Nikon D7200 with 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR B&H Adorama
Nikon ME-W1 B&H Adorama





Announcement: The Nikon Creative Lighting System, 3rd Edition

Posted February 24th, 2015 by   |  Flash Photography  |  Permalink

Cover Design 2312 U1 Hagen Nikon CLS 3 new

Great news. I’m now able to officially announce the release of the 3rd edition of our best-selling book, The Nikon Creative Lighting System, 3rd Edition: Using the SB-500, SB-600, SB-700, SB-800, SB-900, SB-910, and R1C1 Flashes.

There are lots of updates in this 3rd edition. Here are just a few:
- New chapter for the SB-500 flash
- Updated content
- Instructions for new Nikon camera bodies such as the D750, D4s, D810, D610, D7100, D5300, D3300, and more.
- Updated photographs, figures, and tables
- New how-to examples

The 3rd edition is slated to ship May 30th, 2015 and we are taking pre-orders on Amazon at this link:

The Nikon Creative Lighting System, 3rd Edition

NCLS_3rd_Edition_Amazon_tilt





Nikon D4s Dynamic Range

Posted February 20th, 2015 by   |  Photography, Software  |  Permalink
D4s dynamic range

Image after processing in Lightroom and Nik Color Efex Pro 4. Conclusion: The D4s has an excellent dynamic range and you can pull a tremendous amount of information from a RAW file.

I’ve been shooting with the Nikon D4s this week and wanted to see how its dynamic range holds up against the D800/D810. To do a quick test, I pointed the camera towards a high contrast scene that included dark forest, clearing fog and the bright sun.

D4s and lens

Nikon D4s with 24-70mm f/2.8

To process the image, I opened up the shadows and brought down the highlights in the Lightroom 5 develop module. Next I added a bit of clarity and vibrance to restore the contrast and color in the scene. My final step in Lightroom 5 was to fix the leaning trees using the Lens Correction panel. Finally, I sent the image out to Nik Color Efex Pro 4 to add a little bit of a polarization effect for the clouds.

Nikon D4s dynamic range

Here are my Lightroom slider settings for the file. The next step was to add a polarizing effect using Nik Color Efex Pro 4.

 

Overall, I’m very pleased with the D4s dynamic range. I was able to pull out a lot of detail from a single 14-bit NEF (RAW) file. However, as you can see above, the image isn’t perfect. There’s some CA (chromatic aberration) and some muddiness in the shadows. That said, considering the luminance values of the shadows were extremely low to begin with (i.e. 3% to 9%), I’m happy with the result.

DXO Mark rates the Nikon D4s dynamic range at 13.3 EV (DXO Mark D4s Test) compared to the D810 at 14.8 EV. 13.3 stops of dynamic range is still excellent and I wouldn’t be afraid to use the D4s for professional photographs in high contrast situations.

Here’s the before/after so you can see for yourself how much data is recoverable in a Nikon D4s RAW file.

Nikon D4s high contrast

Unprocessed Nikon D4s photo. Shot into the sun, just after the fog cleared.

D4s dynamic range

Image after processing in Lightroom and Nik Color Efex Pro 4. Conclusion: The D4s has an excellent dynamic range and you can pull a tremendous amount of information from a RAW file.

 

 





Nikon Lens and Camera Rebates are Back

Posted February 16th, 2015 by   |  Photography  |  Permalink
Nikon rebates

Nikon rebates are back for 2015, including all the current cameras and lots of excellent lenses.

Great news for those of you looking to buy some new camera gear this month. Nikon just announced their popular rebate program is back from now through February 28, 2015. Unlike previous rebate programs, this one includes lens-only rebates and lens + camera bundle rebates. Also, for the first time ever, the Nikon D4s is a part of the Nikon rebate program. While you’re clicking around on the shopping pages, be sure to check out the great prices on the D3300, D5500, D7100, D610, D750, D810, and Df cameras.

I included links to both Adorama and B&H Photo. Pay attention when you buy, as some of the products offer an additional 4% in awards and additional accessories, FREE!

Rebate Links
B&H Photo Camera-Lens Bundles

B&H Photo Lens Only Rebates

Adorama Nikon Rebates

Hurry, these expire 2/28/15.





Nikon D810A, Canon 5DS and Canon 5DS R

Posted February 10th, 2015 by   |  Photography, Uncategorized  |  Permalink
Canon and Nikon announced new cameras to their lineups with the Canon 5DS/5DS R and the Nikon D810A.

Canon and Nikon announced new cameras to their lineups with the Canon 5DS/5DS R and the Nikon D810A.

With the 2015 CP+ trade show just around the corner, both Canon and Nikon have been busy with new camera announcements. Read on for details and sample photos from both cameras.

Canon 5DS and 5DS R

5DS R

Canon 5DS R. Image Courtesy Canon USA, Inc.

Canon has the bigger news this month with an absolutely incredible new camera duo, the 50 megapixel Canon 5DS and 5DS R bodies. These two camera bodies are being targeted towards studio photographers, landscape photographers and fine art photographers because of their incredibly high resolution. The 5DS has a typical low-pass anti-aliasing filter found in most other dSLR cameras, while the 5DS R has a filter design that cancels the effect of the optical low-pass filter, resulting in even higher sharpness.

Up until this point, Nikon and Sony held the title of most pixels in a dSLR with the 36 MP Nikon D810 and Sony a7R. A few years back when Nikon came out with the D800, I was skeptical about the need for more pixels. Up until that point, I had been shooting with 12 MP and 18 MP cameras and felt they offered all that I needed from a resolution standpoint. However, once I began shooting with the D800, I was immediately enamored with the higher resolution and found the stunning clarity changed the way I thought about my photography. Having that many pixels meant that I could frame my composition a bit looser, which ended up giving me more options in post production for cropping or lens corrections. I use the super high resolution as another tool, just like I would use a tripod, lens, or flash.

This higher resolution is exactly why I’m excited about the Canon 5DS and 5DS R cameras. 50 megapixels will be a fantastic tool that we’ll be able to use in our kits to achieve great images. These new Canon cameras are slated to begin shipping in June 2015. Prices should be around $3,700 for the 5DS and $3,900 for the 5DS R. Here are links to more information:

Canon USA Information Page
Canon 5DS
Canon 5DS R

Pre-order at B&H Photo
Canon 5DS
Canon 5DS R

5DS R

Canon 5DS R top view. Image Courtesy Canon USA, Inc

 

Canon 5DS back view. Image Courtesy Canon USA, Inc.

Canon 5DS back view. Image Courtesy Canon USA, Inc.

Sample Images from 5DS

5dS Portrait

Image 1 [Portrait]
File Name: 01.jpg
Shooting Mode: Manual exposure
Tv (Shutter Speed): 1/125 sec
Av (Aperture Value): f/8.0
ISO Speed: ISO100
Lens: EF70-200mm F2.8L IS II USM
White Balance: Color temp.(5200K)
Picture Style: Fine Detail

http://canon-premium.webcdn.stream.ne.jp/www09/canon-premium/eosd/samples/eos5ds/downloads/01.jpg

5DS Tokyo Sky

Image 2 [The Tokyo sky]
File Name: 02.jpg
Shooting Mode: Manual exposure
Tv (Shutter Speed): 1/125 sec
Av (Aperture Value): f/4.0
ISO Speed: ISO800
Lens: EF24-70mm F4L IS USM
White Balance: Auto (Ambience priority)
Picture Style: Fine Detail

http://canon-premium.webcdn.stream.ne.jp/www09/canon-premium/eosd/samples/eos5ds/downloads/02.jpg

5DS_Bird

Image 4 [Wild bird]
File Name: 04.jpg
Shooting Mode: Aperture-priority AE
Tv (Shutter Speed): 1/100 sec
Av (Aperture Value): f/4.0
ISO Speed: ISO200
Lens: EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x
White Balance: Auto (Ambience priority)
Picture Style: Fine Detail

http://canon-premium.webcdn.stream.ne.jp/www09/canon-premium/eosd/samples/eos5ds/downloads/04.jpg

5DSr_Fantasy

Image 1 [Fantasy]
File Name: 01.jpg
Shooting Mode: Manual exposure
Tv (Shutter Speed): 1/15 sec
Av (Aperture Value): f/11.0
ISO Speed: ISO400
Lens: EF24-70mm F2.8L II USM
White Balance: Color temp.(5200K)
Picture Style: Fine Detail

http://canon-premium.webcdn.stream.ne.jp/www09/canon-premium/eosd/samples/eos5dsr/downloads/01.jpg

5DSR_Hippopotamus

Image 3 [Hippopotamus]
File Name: 03.jpg
Shooting Mode: Manual exposure
Tv (Shutter Speed): 1/3200 sec
Av (Aperture Value): f/4.0
ISO Speed: ISO400
Lens: EF500mm F4L IS II USM
White Balance: Auto (Ambience priority)
Picture Style: Fine Detail

http://canon-premium.webcdn.stream.ne.jp/www09/canon-premium/eosd/samples/eos5dsr/downloads/03.jpg

Nikon D810A

Nikon D810a. Image courtesy Nikon, Inc.

Nikon D810a. Image courtesy Nikon, Inc.

The Nikon D810A is the world’s first dSLR camera specifically designed for astro-photography. The camera retains it’s tremendous 36 MP sensor, but adds in a new IR filter set specifically designed to optimize sensitivity to H-alpha red tones. This new filter results in four times greater sensitivity to the 656 nm wavelength over a standard DSLR.

The camera introduces an electronic front curtain shutter which helps eliminate internal vibrations. The camera also has a new series of shutter speeds to help photographers optimize their long-exposure photographs. These new long exposure options are available in mode M and provide selectable shutter speeds from 4 seconds to 900 seconds (15 minutes). In other Nikon cameras, you would normally have to use bulb mode to expose for longer than 30 seconds, now these shutter speeds are built into the camera’s exposure system.

The new D810A also has a new live view mode that allows framing the composition in darkness. The mode is called virtual exposure preview and will be a great tool for actually seeing the stars and landscapes when ambient light is almost nonexistent. All other features of the camera remain virtually unchanged from the Nikon D810. Expext the D810A to be available beginning in May, 2015. Price should be around $3,800.

Here’s a link for more information: Nikon USA D810a

Purchase your own: Nikon D810a at B&H

Top view D810a

Nikon D810a top view. Image courtesy Nikon, Inc.

D810a right view

Nikon D810a. Image courtesy Nikon, Inc.

 

Sample Images from D810a

Comparison between the Nikon D810a and D810.

Comparison between the Nikon D810a and D810.

D810a sample

Nikon D810a astro photography sample.

D810a sample

Nikon D810a astro photography sample.

 

 

 

 





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