New Firmware Updates Released for the Nikon D750 (1.01) and D810 (1.02)

Posted December 17th, 2014 by   |  Photography  |  Permalink

Nikon D750 firmware C:1.01

Nikon D750
USA – https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/19320
EU – https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/19320

1. When shooting with an optional Speedlight and Auto FP high-speed sync enabled with On selected for ISO sensitivity settings > Auto ISO sensitivity control in the photo shooting menu, images were sometimes over-exposed. This issue has been resolved. (Enabling auto FP high-speed sync: Select 1/200 s (Auto FP) or 1/250 s (Auto FP) for Custom Setting e1: Flash sync speed)

2. When menus were displayed with the camera connected to a 4K-compatible TV via HDMI, display in both the camera monitor and on the TV was not correct. This issue has been resolved.

3. Noise that could sometimes be heard when Custom Setting d1: Beep was set to any option other than Off has been reduced.

Nikon D810 firmware C:1.02

Nikon D810
USA – https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/19315
EU – https://nikoneurope-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/63058

1. When playback zoom was applied to an image displayed in the camera monitor (image display enlarged) while the memory card access lamp was still lit immediately after capture, the image was not correctly displayed. This issue has been resolved.

2. When menus were displayed with the camera connected to a 4K-compatible TV via HDMI, display in both the camera monitor and on the TV was not correct. This issue has been resolved.

3. Noise that could sometimes be heard when Custom Setting d1: Beep was set to any option other than Off has been reduced.





Canada Issues New Drone and UAV Rules

Posted December 2nd, 2014 by   |  Photography  |  Permalink

Transport Canada just released new rules regarding the use of small UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) like the DJI Phantom/Inspire in Canadian airspace. The ruling is surprisingly low on regulation and limits commercial licensing requirements to larger drones over 55 pounds. Basically, they are allowing operation of small radio controlled drones under 300′ elevation with no further regulatory requirements. This is great news and I hope the FAA in the USA follows suit with similar regulations.

AVweb article

Here’s an article from AVweb: Canada Issues Small UAS Rules

Here’s the link to the Transport Canada ruling: Advisory Circular (AC) No. 600-004





Pictures from 2014 Tanzania Photo Safari

Posted November 25th, 2014 by   |  Photography, Travel  |  Permalink

This year’s Tanzania Photo Safari was one of the best we’ve ever run. We photographed just about everything possible during our adventure and had a blast along the way.

My kit this year included the brand new Nikon D750 and I’m proud to report that it performed like a champ. This camera is a winner as far as I’m concerned and I kept commenting to my participants how much I enjoyed having it along on the adventure. Highly recommended.

Here are a few pics from the trip. Enjoy!

Lion in tree

Young female lioness in a tree. Tarangire NP, Tanzania. Nikon D750, Nikon 200-400mm f/4.

Hippo waking up from a nap. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Nikon D750, 200-400mm f/4.

Hippo waking up from a nap. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Nikon D750, 200-400mm f/4.

Lion cub

Lion cub in the morning light. Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania. Nikon D750, 200-400mm f/4.

night herons

Flock of black crowned night herons. Ngorongoro Crater. Nikon D750, Nikon 200-400mm f/4.

White rhinoceros

White rhinoceros in Ngorongoro Crater. Nikon D800, 200-400mm f/4.

Leopard cubs.

Baby leopard cubs at sunrise. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Nikon D800, Nikon 200-400mm f/4.

Lion at Sametu

Male lion at the Sametu Kopjes, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Nikon D750, 200-400mm f/4.

Drinking lions.

Pride of drinking lions at the Sametu Marsh, near the Sametu Kopjes in Serengeti National Park. Nikon D750, 200-400mm f/4.

Blue Monkey in tree

Blue monkey in tree. Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania. Nikon D800, Nikon 200-400mm f/4.

Maromboi tent

One of our luxury tents at Maromboi camp, Tanzania. Nikon D750, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Galapagos – South Plaza and North Seymour Islands

Posted October 28th, 2014 by   |  Photography, Travel, Uncategorized  |  Permalink
South Plaza and boat anchorage.

South Plaza and boat anchorage. Nikon D600, 14-24mm f/2.8.

South Plaza is a tiny .13 square kilometer island in the Galapagos that was formed by uplifted lava. It is covered by opuntia cactuses, a tree-like cactus endemic to Galapagos. There are two big draws to South Plaza, the large sea lion colony and the colorful yellow and red land iguana. When visiting the island, you can barely take a step without fear of treading on one of these animals and you have to be really alert while walking along the trail. The last thing you want to do is step on a resting bull sea lion and have him get angry at you.

Sea lion lounging on the rocks.

Sea lion lounging on the rocks. Nikon D800, 200-400mm f/4.

galapagos land iguana

Land iguana posing on a lava rock. Nikon D800, 200-400mm f/4.

There are multiple sea lion colonies that call South Plaza their home. Each colony of 15-20 females is ruled by a bull male who is “king” for about three months. After his exhausting tenure is over, he returns to the bachelor herd and gives up the strenuous task of mating to another bull.

Some of the colony, resting on the soft green foliage. Nikon D600, 14-24mm f/2.8.

Some of the colony, resting on the soft green foliage. Nikon D600, 14-24mm f/2.8.

Nearby is North Seymour, a small island in the Galapagos that is also home to an amazing density of wildlife.  Photography is especially fun on this island with easy and direct access to all of the animals. The visitor trail around the 1.9 square kilometer island is a short 2 kilometer (1.4 mile) loop that takes you along cliffs, shoreline and interior regions teeming with wildlife.

Land iguana eating a cactus.

Land iguana eating a cactus. Nikon D800, 200-400mm f/4.

Land iguana waiting for the morning sunlight.

Land iguana waiting for the morning sunlight. Nikon D800, 200-400mm f/4.

One of the interesting stories about this island involves the land iguana. In the 1930s, Captain G. Allan Hancock noticed that the island didn’t have a population of Galapagos Land Iguanas. Thinking he was helping out the population, he brought over a small population of land iguanas from South Seymour. A few years later, some of the other islands in the Galapagos where the land iguana was native went through a drought and the population died off. North Seymour didn’t suffer through the same drought and the land iguanas thrived there. They were able to use the remnant population from North Seymour to repopulate the other islands in the Galapagos.

Mmm, cactus.

Mmm, cactus. Nikon D800, 200-400mm f/4.

These days, wildlife managers and resource managers are very careful about moving species of animals from one island to another because they understand that animals in the Galapagos have specialized to live on specific islands. In fact, specialization animals adapting to distinct environments is what makes the Galapagos quite unique. In the case of the land iguana though, Galapagos wildlife managers use the North Seymour’s iguanas for their captive breeding program throughout the island chain.

Opuntia cactus detail

Opuntia cactus detail. Nikon D600, 24-70mm f/2.8.

Dead land iguana.

Dead land iguana. Nikon D600, 14-24mm f/2.8.

Opuntia cactus

Opuntia cactus panorama. Nikon D600, 24-70mm f/2.8.

 





Nikon D750 Setup Guide Posted

Posted October 1st, 2014 by   |  Photography  |  Permalink

Nikon D750 Setup Guide

We’ve just posted the new Nikon D750 Setup Guide here: Nikon D750 Setup Guide.

After using the camera for a few days, I can honestly say that it is a winner. Truly, a great camera in almost every way. I’ll be writing more about it in the days and months to come.

Our Nikon camera setup guides are designed to help users setup their cameras for different shooting scenarios such as sports, action, landscapes, travel, portraits, weddings, and point & shoot. You can download a PDF for free, or order a laminated version for $6.50. These guides have been used by thousands of photographers across the world to help make sense of their camera systems.

Nikon D750

 





Blue-footed Booby as the Hunter

Posted September 24th, 2014 by   |  Photography, Travel  |  Permalink

The Galapagos Islands are known around the world for their diversity of wildlife and unique animals. One of the more unique birds in the area is the blue-footed booby. They are known for their bright blue webbed feet and funny mating dance where they sway from side to side, lifting their feet high into the air. Even though the blue-footed booby has a range extending from the Gulf of California down through Peru, the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador have capitalized on their presence and made the bird species famous.

blue-footed booby on rocks

The blue-footed booby is an impressive hunter. You’d never guess by their somewhat silly looks and their bright blue feet.

Watching a booby hunt is great fun because the entire process is very dramatic. Their hunting method is called plunge diving, which means the birds fly in circles above their fishing grounds, then suddenly turn and aggressively dive towards the water. Immediately before hitting the water, they fold their wings back and plunge into the sea with a loud thunk! They hit the water at speeds up to about 60 mph and can go to depths as far as 80 feet under the surface while chasing their prey of sardines, mackerel, flying fish and anchovies. They often eat their prey under water, then pop to the surface to continue hunting.

Photographing the sequence of a hunting blue footed booby is quite challenging. Since you never really know when they are going to turn and dive, you end up panning left to right with their movement for quite some time. Then, somewhat suddenly, they stop their forward flight and arc over to dive directly into the water below. Their flight pattern transitions from normal forward flight at 15 mph, to almost a full stop, then to rapid acceleration in a vertical dive at speeds of 60 mph. For the shots below, I configured my camera’s autofocus system in continuous servo, then work very hard to keep the main autofocus point directly on the flying bird. Obviously, it is extremely difficult to keep the AF sensor on the bird throughout the dive, so I like to use Dynamic AF (21 point) or Group AF for additional help from the camera’s intelligent AF sensors.

Because the bird moves so fast, I like to frame the images slightly loose in the camera, then crop them later in post processing. In the case of this sequence (below), I shot these with my Nikon D800, Nikon 200-400mm f/4 and Nikon 1.4x TC. I handheld the camera so I could respond quicker to the bird’s movements. I also used a fast shutter speed of 1/3200 second in order to freeze the motion for the sharpest picture possible.

hagen_140908-324

Here, the blue-footed booby has identified its prey below and is preparing to dive.

blue-footed booby arc

Here, the blue-footed booby has arced over and started its dive towards the fish below

blue-footed booby

The dive begins. At this point, the blue-footed booby is flying about 15 mph.

blue-footed booby

At this point in the dive, the blue-footed booby is flying about 45 mph and is still targeting the fish underwater.

blue-footed booby tuck

Just prior to hitting the water, the booby tucks its wings. When it does hit, the wings are fully swept back and the bird looks just like a torpedo. It hits the water at 60 mph with a loud thunk.

blue-footed booby splash

The final image is the perfectly circular splash as the booby disappears under the surface in pursuit of its prey.

 

 

 

 





Profoto B1 AirTTL for Nikon

Posted September 3rd, 2014 by   |  Flash Photography, Photography  |  Permalink
ProFoto B1 AirTTL

Soccer player taken with Profoto B1 500 AirTTL location kit. These are battery powered 500 Ws flashes that work under TTL control with Nikon dSLR cameras.

Profoto just sent me a prototype lighting kit to test called the Profoto B1 AirTTL. This is a brand-new wireless battery-powered off-camera flash that is designed to work with the Nikon camera system under full TTL control. Previously, Profoto released a TTL B1 kit for Canon, so this is exciting news for Nikon shooters.

ProFoto AirTTL Backpack

The B1 500 AirTTL Location Kit comes with 2 flashes, 2 batteries, chargers and a high-end backpack for easy transport.

I already own a set of Profoto D1 Air studio lights that are powered by traditional A/C electricity. I love the power (energy) and quality of light I get from my Profoto gear, so being able to take a battery-operated off-camera Profoto B1 flash into the field is very cool. Profoto designed the B1 AirTTL lights so that all their light shaping tools work seamlessly, including softboxes, Octas, reflectors, beauty dishes and snoots.

AirTTL in the field

Setting up the AirTTL system on location is easy. Here, I’m using two heads with a Profoto softbox and a ProFoto umbrella.

The specific kit they sent me to test was the B1 500 AirTTL Location Kit. The Location Kit is designed to be a portable lighting system that you can take to a remote location and achieve studio-quality light. The kit contains:
2 x B1 off-camera flashes
2 x batteries
1 x Fast Charger
1 x Car Charger
1 x Tailor-made backpack with room to fit additional gear

Since I’m in-between international trips, I had just a short period of time to learn the B1 AirTTL operation and take some sample shots before having to send the prototype kit back to Profoto HQ. After opening the box and unpacked the gear. I mounted the Air Remote TTL-N control unit on the top of my Nikon D800 and turned on the B1 flashes. Setting up the proper channel and groups for operation was a piece of cake and I started taking photographs immediately.

ProFoto soccer shoot

For this shot, I used two Profoto 500 AirTTL flashes in TTL mode. My camera was the Nikon D800 with a Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8. I set up the exposure for 1/250 second at f/8.0.

If you have used the Nikon iTTL Wireless Flash system, then adapting to the Profoto AirTTL system will be a piece of cake. There are a few hidden menu items that you’ll find by reading the manual, but overall, the system is ingeniously simple to operate.

Here’s a four-minute video giving a quick overview of the B1 AirTTL system. The video shows how to adjust flash settings and how to use the kit with your Nikon camera.

 

The flash heads I tested were the 500Ws units. They are adjustable in 1/10 f-stop increments over a 9-stop power range. These AirTTL units will operate in full manual mode or in full TTL mode. In manual mode operation, you have access to the full 9-stop power range from full power (10) to minimum power (2). In TTL mode, you can adjust the flashes from -2.0 EV to +2.0 EV.

AirTTL Control Unit

Two ProFoto 500 AirTTL flash heads shown with a Nikon D800 and the Profoto Air Remote TTL-N control unit.

The TTL system allows remote setting and independent control of three different groups A, B, and C. Profoto has programmed up to 8 channels, so you can share the room with seven other photographers shooting the same system and each can have independent control of three groups of flashes.

Air Remote TTL-N

Here’s the user interface for the Air Remote TTL-N unit. Operation is very simple with button controls for just about everything. Here, I have group A set for +0.8, group B set for -1.3 and group C set for +0.2. The system is set for TTL mode and front curtain sync. The exclamation point means that this is a beta test unit.

Beta test unit

Since this was a beta test unit, the final product might have different or additional features and capabilities when it is released.

I really only had a few hours available for a test shoot, so I photographed a soccer player on a wet asphalt driveway immediately after a rainstorm. The sky was rapidly changing between sunny and cloudy, so shooting the flashes in TTL mode made it incredibly easy to just shoot and go. I used a Profoto 2′x3′ softbox for the key light and a Profoto umbrella for the rim light behind the soccer player.

I had the soccer player pose, run, jump for about 45 minutes. My guess is that I took about 200 shots during testing and real-world shooting. Each B1 battery still had a bit more than 1/3 charge remaining before I called it a day. I’m happy with that performance, considering the battery pack is fairly small and the B1 heads produce up to 500 Ws of energy per pop.

Location soccer portrait

Outdoor location portraits are easy to pull off with the Profoto AirTTL lights. Set ‘em up and shoot!

Profoto has created a high quality, powerful and easy to use location lighting system that I’d take anywhere. The B1 AirTTL flashes were truly a joy to use and I highly recommend them for any pro shooter who wants the best.

You’ll soon be able to purchase your own kit for Nikon at photo retailers everywhere. Here’s a link to the Profoto B1 AirTTL kits at B&H, they should have the Nikon TTL kit available soon:
Profoto AirTTL Lighting Kits at B&H Photo

Here’s a link to the ProFoto Website for more information on the AirTTL system:
Profoto 500 AirTTL Product Information

Serious soccer shot

One final shot for the road.





Traveling to East Africa? Don’t Fear Ebola

Posted August 27th, 2014 by   |  Travel  |  Permalink

Here’s an excellent article from NBC News regarding the ebola virus. It should help rest some fears for those of you considering travel to East Africa for a photo safari. The most important points of the article are related to how the ebola virus spreads and that it is not easy to transmit.

Here’s a direct link to the article: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ebola-virus-outbreak/why-are-americans-so-scared-ebola-n188806

Ebola_Article





Packing for Iceland

Posted August 8th, 2014 by   |  Photography  |  Permalink

I’m packing up for a ten-day photo adventure trip to Iceland with a group of intrepid photographers. Our photographic goals are birds and landscapes, and we’ll be shooting like crazy from sun up to sun down – which is a really long time in the Icelandic summer! Each day will bring puffins, glaciers, icebergs, whales, gannets, skua, volcanoes, sheep and gorgeous light. Can’t wait.

Iceland photo gear

Here’s all the photo and digital gear I’m packing for a ten-day trip to Iceland. Cameras, lenses, tripods and computer.

Here’s the gear I’m bringing for this trip:

Gura Gear Bataflae 32L

Nikon 200-400mm f/4

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8

Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8

Nikon 50mm f/1.8

Nikon TC-14E II

Extension Tubes

Nikon SB-910

Nikon TTL Cable

Nikon MC-30 release cable

Nikon D800

Nikon D600

Peak Design Capture Clip Pro and Leash system (use code mhagen for 10% off)

Gitzo Mountaineer Carbon Fiber Tripod

B+W 10 stop ND filter

Canon Vixia HDV Video Camera

Olympus sound recorder

Dead cat (wind muff)

MacBook Pro Retina 15″

Buffalo Thunderbolt 1TB backup drives

Manfrotto 128RC compact video head

Lens pen

Gaffer tape

Protein bars

Plugs and adapters

This year’s trip is sold out, but I have two Iceland photo adventures planned for 2015, one in Winter and the other in Summer. Check them out on our workshops page if you are interested.

 





Free Adobe Guide to Move from Aperture to Lightroom

Posted August 6th, 2014 by   |  Photography, Software  |  Permalink

Adobe guide

In June 2014, Apple announced that they would be ceasing future development and support of their Aperture software program. Many current users of Apple Aperture have started moving their libraries to Adobe Lightroom, so Adobe just produced a guide to help photographers who want to make the switch.

The guide, available for free, helps current Aperture users make the transition by defining terms, helping with folder exporting, and helping users understand what will/won’t transfer across. It is interesting to note that in the document Adobe states that they are creating a migration tool at some point in the future. The six page step-by-step guide takes readers through backing up their library, exporting images (originals and versions), and importing into Lightroom.

Click here for the free guide.





© 2014 Visual Adventures | Site Policies | Web by Works Development