Early Morning Gig Harbor Panorama with Nikon D800

Posted April 25th, 2012 by   |  Photography  |  Permalink

Here’s a nice shot from Gig Harbor, WA yesterday morning. I was running a private workshop with a photographer from Reno, NV and we were photographing the bay during blue hour. I set my camera for Fluorescent WB, ISO 200, f/8 and a 30 second exposure. Beautiful!

Gig Harbor panorama. Nikon D800, 24-70mm f2.8. Gitzo CF tripod. 30 second exposure @ f/8.

Gig Harbor panorama. Nikon D800, 24-70mm f2.8. Gitzo CF tripod. 30 second exposure @ f/8.





Event Photography With Flash

Posted May 18th, 2011 by   |  Flash Photography, Photography  |  Permalink

Great questions today from a photographer (W. Kwan) who attended my recent workshops in Los Angeles. Here are his questions and my answers below.

Mike,

First off, I’d really like to take this opportunity to thank you for your hard work and dedication to the Nikonians community.  Your workshop was the best class/workshop I’ve ever been to including my undergraduate work.  I truly felt like I’ve learned a lot from your class and made me really want to experiment for with my flash.  I’ve been practicing greatly by just keeping my flash on my body.  I rarely try to take any pictures without my flash now.

I wanted to ask you for some advice since I’ve been asked to photograph someone’s graduation party inside a banquet hall by the beach with a patio overlooking the beach at sunset.  I’ll have my friend who will be helping throughout the banquet.  The gear that we own is (2) d7000s, (2) sb-600, 85mm 1.8, 35mm 1.8, 50mm 1.4, 11-20mm 2.8, 18-105mm 3.5-5.6, and two continuous soft boxes.  I have several questions and it would be greatly appreciated if you could help me out by answering some questions.

Question: I was wondering if our equipment is good enough for an event like this.  If not, what are some equipment I should rent.  I was thinking about renting a 24-70mm 2.8.

Answer: Yes. Your equipment is fine. Honestly, it is less important to have the “gear” than it is to have the “technique.” I strongly encourage you to practice shooting in a couple of scenarios before the big event. Try shooting at sunset. Try shooting in the dark inside a banquet hall. You’ll learn an incredible amount by doing this before hand.

I like your lenses, especially the 85mm, 35mm and 50mm. I don’t see any reason to rent the 24-70mm other than just having another backup.

Question: Also, it’s been difficult taking pictures with low light and flash because in the past I noticed in Aperture Priority mode, the shutter speed would be at 1/15 or 1/20 second making it too slow to shoot.  Also, my ISO would also be at like 1200.  In a situation like that, what are the different options I have?

Answer: The solution for long shutter speeds in low light with flash is … ISO and aperture. Don’t be afraid to bump up ISO to 1600 or 3200. The D7000 performs very well at these ISO values and I shoot up there all the time. For aperture, shooting at f2.8 or f1.8 will also help to bring in much more light. At these big apertures though, you’ll need to be careful about getting accurate focus since depth of field is so narrow.

Question: Any advice on shooting big group photos of like 10-20 people?

Answer: For big groups in a dark area, the key is to bounce the flash. If you aren’t careful, you’ll blast the front row with a lot of light and the back row will be dark. Therefore, using a bounce method to send the light up to the ceiling will be helpful. If this isn’t possible (i.e. ceiling is too high), then I recommend flattening the group and trying to keep them all about the same distance away from the camera. In other words, use two rows rather than 5 rows.





Under Tanzanian Skies

Posted April 11th, 2011 by   |  Photography, Software, Travel  |  Permalink

I love the sky in Tanzania.  The daily afternoon thunderstorms almost alway guarantee some type of dynamic light that begs to be captured by your camera. It is easy to point your camera towards the heavens, but the challenge is to find a way to juxtapose wildlife or an austere landscape underneath those dramatic skies. This combination of amazing sky and wildlife/landscape is one of my reoccurring photo goals each time I travel to Tanzania.

Here are some attempts from our last photo safari with the Nikonians Academy.

Zebra in Tarangire. Nikon D700, 24-70mm f2.8. Processed in Photoshop using Nik Silver Efex Pro 3.0 and Nik HDR Efex Pro.

Zebra in Tarangire. Nikon D700, 24-70mm f2.8. Processed in Photoshop CS5 using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.0 and Nik HDR Efex Pro.

Elephants and crepescular rays. Nikon D700, 24-70mm f2.8. Processed with Nik HDR Efex Pro and Nik Silver Efex Pro 3.0.

Elephants and crepescular rays. Nikon D700, 24-70mm f2.8. Processed in Photoshop CS5 with Nik HDR Efex Pro and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.0.

Elephant dwarfed by baobab tree. Tarangire NP. Nikon D700, 24-70mm f2.8. Processed in Photoshop using Nik Silver Efex Pro 3.0.

Elephant dwarfed by baobab tree. Tarangire NP. Nikon D700, 24-70mm f2.8. Processed in Photoshop CS5 using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.0.

Approaching storm and young male lion in Ngorongoro Crater. Nikon D90, 24-70mm f2.8. Processed in Photoshop CS5 using Nik Silver Efex Pro 3.0.

Approaching storm and young male lion in Ngorongoro Crater. Nikon D90, 24-70mm f2.8. Processed in Photoshop CS5 using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.0.

Acacia tree, rain storm and crepescular rays. Nikon D700, 24-70mm f2.8. Processed in Photoshop CS5 with Nik HDR Efex Pro and Nik Silver Efex Pro 3.0.

Acacia tree, rain storm and crepescular rays. Nikon D700, 24-70mm f2.8. Processed in Photoshop CS5 with Nik HDR Efex Pro and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.0.

Dead tree on the Serengeti. Nikon D300s, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8. Processed in Photoshop CS5 with Nik Silver Efex Pro 3.0.

Dead tree on the Serengeti. Nikon D300s, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8. Processed in Photoshop CS5 with Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.0.





Patterns Around the Condo

Posted December 11th, 2009 by   |  Photography, Travel  |  Permalink
Palm frond against the blue sky. Maui, Hawaii. Nikon D700, 24-70mm f2.8, handheld.

Palm frond against the blue sky. Maui, Hawaii. Nikon D700, 24-70mm f2.8, handheld.

Beach chair against the wall. Maui, Hawaii. Nikon D700, 24-70mm f2.8, handheld.

Beach chair against the wall. Maui, Hawaii. Nikon D700, 24-70mm f2.8, handheld.

Bar stool in a condo. Maui, Hawaii. Nikon D700, 24-70mm f2.8, handheld.

Bar stool in a condo. Maui, Hawaii. Nikon D700, 24-70mm f2.8, handheld.

The photographic opportunities in Maui aren’t always limited to beautiful beaches and verdant rain forests. They can also include relatively mundane subjects like condominiums.

We were staying at a condo in South Maui and I made it a point to try and capture some shapes, colors and graphical elements on the property. Here are some of the photos. Proof positive that interesting photos can be made just about anywhere.





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