Nikon D850 and D7500 Setup Guides

Posted November 8th, 2017 by   |  Photography  |  Permalink

I’ve just completed camera setup guides for the Nikon D850 and Nikon D7500 cameras. These are designed to help you configure the camera menus and settings for different scenarios such as:

Nature/Travel
Sports/Action
Portraits/Weddings
Point & Shoot

These guides represent my suggested settings based on my shooting style and experience. The cool thing about these cameras is their custom While you’re at it, check out the setup guides for the D500 and D5 cameras as well.

Download our free Nikon setup guide PDF downloads here:

Nikon D850 Menu Setup Guide

Nikon D7500 Menu Setup Guide

Nikon D500 Menu Setup Guide

Nikon D5 Menu Setup Guide

All Nikon Camera Setup Guides





Scott Kelby Guest Blog

Posted June 1st, 2017 by   |  Photography  |  Permalink

Scott Kelby and Brad Moore asked me to write an article for their guest blog this week. I chose to write on a different aspect of my professional photography business that most don’t know about.

Here’s the link –> Kelby Guest Blog by Mike Hagen

Guest blog

 





New Book – Nikon Autofocus System – 2nd Edition

Posted May 18th, 2017 by   |  Photography  |  Permalink

Nikon autofocus 2nd edition cover

RockyNook and I have been hard at work preparing the second edition of our top-selling Nikon Autofocus System book. This edition includes updates for the autofocus systems in the new Nikon D500 and Nikon D5 cameras. I’ve also added new imagery, fixed errors from the last book (thanks internet!) and updated quite a few sections. If you are a Nikon shooter wanting to get the most out of your autofocus system, then this book should be right up your alley.

The eBook is available now and the hard copy books will be available beginning June 19th, 2017.

Purchase Links:

eBook and Hard Copy –> RockyNook

eBook and Hard Copy –> Amazon.com

Author autographed copies –> VisAdventures.com

 

 





VertiZonical – A Simple Photo Composition Memory Aid

Posted March 11th, 2017 by   |  Photography, Travel  |  Permalink

Vertizonical

I received a phone call the other day from a previous workshop attendee named Craig Quartz. He called to tell me a quick story about his last Meetup Group in Portland, Oregon where he was asked to share his top-ten tips for photography. While presenting to the group, he listed off a number of tips on exposure, exposing for the highlights, focus, and composition.

After finishing his tips, everyone in the room room yelled out, “What about Vertizonical!?” For the last number of years, he’s been sharing his favorite tip called Vertizonical to anyone in the club who would listen, but he neglected to mention it to the Portland Meetup group that night, so they all yelled it out in unison! Craig first learned this made-up term from me a few years ago at one of my workshops and now he shares it with anyone who will listen. I was talking about photographic composition and I made up the term vertizonical on the spot during the class. Obviously, the term stuck around!

 

Galapagos Sunset

Galapagos sunset in horizontal composition. Nikon D800, 200-400mm f/4, handheld.

Galapagos sunset

Galapagos sunset in vertical composition. Nikon D800, 200-400mm f/4, handheld.

Vertizonical is simply an approach to help you remember to always take both vertical and horizontal images of each scene you photograph. This discipline of shooting vertical and horizontal allows you the most options when you are editing your images back home after your photo shoot. It is much easier to take another 30 seconds in the field to shoot a different orientation than it is to try and do some industrial Photoshop work on your computer to create a composition that you never produced.

Galapagos lava field vertical

Galapagos lava field in vertical orientation. Nikon D800, 14-24mm f/2.8, Gitzo CF tripod.

Galapagos lava horizontal

Galapagos lava field in horizontal orientation. Nikon D800, 14-24mm f/2.8, Gitzo CF tripod.

Look at these photo examples from Galapagos in this blog post. Many of the images from this volcanic landscape are austere and dramatic. I love the challenge of creating compelling landscapes in difficult locations. While on the location, I work hard to compose my imagery in the best way possible. Even so, I’ve found over the years that I’m hardly ever the best judge of my compositions while I’m on location because my emotion takes over and due to the thrill of just being there.

Years ago, I was so confident, that I just “knew” that a specific composition was perfect as soon as I saw it. Unfortunately, I’d get home from my shoot and wish I had more options to choose from. Now that I’m older and wiser and more disciplined, I take the time in the field to shoot almost all my scenes vertically and horizontally.

hermit crab horizontal

Galapagos hermit crab in horizontal composition. Nikon D7000, Nikon 200-400mm f/4, Gitzo CF tripod.

Galapagos hermit crab

Galapagos hermit crab in vertical composition. Nikon D7000, Nikon 200-400mm f/4, Gitzo CF tripod.

Since I’m a professional photographer, this approach pays off financially for me in various ways.

– My book publishers often need images in a specific orientation for layouts.

– A commercial client needs a specific orientation for their brochures.

– A portrait customer needs a specific orientation for a wall display.

Shooting both verticals and horizontals of all my subjects helps me make more sales and reduces the amount of work I have to do in post-processing.

So, the simple summary is to shoot vertical then shoot horizontal. Vertizonical!

Galapagos beach

Galapagos beach in vertical orientation. Nikon D800, 14-24mm f/2.8, Gitzo CF tripod.

Galapagos beach

Galapagos beach in horizontal orientation. Nikon D800, 14-24mm f/2.8, Gitzo CF tripod.

We are headed to the Galapagos again this year and we’d love to have you along on the adventure. Check out our workshop page for more details at Visual Adventures Workshops.





Nikon Firmware Updates for D7200, D500, D750, D810, and WT-7 Released

Posted March 7th, 2017 by   |  Photography, Software  |  Permalink

D500_16_80E_front34l.high

Nikon has released firmware updates for four of their cameras and for the WT-7 wireless transmitter. The updates fix a variety of issues related to wireless transmission of images, custom settings, distortion control, histogram displays, and some lingering software bugs.

Nikon D810 Firmware Version 1.12: Download Link

– The WT-7 wireless transmitter is now supported.

– Fixed the following issues:

Multiple exposures were not recorded correctly.

Incorrect histograms would be displayed for some images viewed in the RGB histogram display during playback.

If On was selected for Auto distortion control, distortion would appear at the edges of photos taken with NEF (RAW) + JPEG fine selected for Image quality and Medium selected for JPEG/TIFF recording > Image size.

Photos taken immediately after lenses were exchanged would not be recorded at the correct exposure.

The protect icon did not display correctly.

If On was selected for Auto distortion control, the camera would stop responding when the user attempted to take pictures with NEF (RAW) + JPEG fine selected for Image quality, Small selected for NEF (RAW) recording > Image size, and RAW primary – JPEG secondary selected for Secondary slot function.

Shutter speeds for the electronic front-curtain shutter would sometimes be faster than 1/2000 s.

Pictures would sometimes not be recorded.

D750 top

Here’s an overhead shot showing the articulated screen and the smaller LCD panel on the top of the camera.

Nikon D750 Firmware Version 1.11: Download Link

– The WT-7 wireless transmitter is now supported.

– Fixed the following issues:

Incorrect histograms would be displayed for some images viewed in the RGB histogram display during playback.

If On was selected for Auto distortion control, distortion would appear at the edges of photos taken with NEF (RAW) + JPEG fine selected for Image quality and Medium selected for Image size.

The option chosen for Custom Setting f5 (Customize command dials) > Change main/sub in CUSTOM SETTINGS MENU group f (Controls) would not be saved when Save settings was selected for Save/load settings in the SETUP MENU.

Pictures would sometimes not be recorded.

Nikon D500 Firmware Version 1.12: Download Link

– Fixed an issue that resulted in unreliable connections between the camera and the iOS 10.2 version of the SnapBridge app.

Nikon D7200 Firmware Version 1.02: Download Link

– The WT-7 wireless transmitter is now supported.

– Fixed the following issues:

If On was selected for Auto distortion control, distortion would appear at the edges of photos taken with NEF (RAW) + JPEG fine selected for Image quality and Medium selected for Image size.

Pictures would sometimes not be recorded.

Optimal exposure would sometimes not be achieved in photos taken in live view using a lens with electromagnetically controlled aperture (type E and PC-E lenses).

Nikon WT-7 Wireless Transmitter Firmware Version 1.1: Download Link

The D810, D810A, D750, and D7200 are now supported.

HTTP server mode is now available in Turkish.

Fixed an issue that prevented PASV mode connections to certain ftp servers.





Skepticism in Street Photography

Posted January 30th, 2017 by   |  Photography, Travel  |  Permalink

Skepticism vs. Luis The Wheelbarrow Poet

Trinidad street

Street in Trinidad, Cuba. Nikon D750, 24-70mm f/2.8.

I think a healthy dose of skepticism is good for everyone. Being skeptical prevents us from blindly following an ideology without researching details for ourselves. Skepticism often helps protect us from deals that are too good to be true.

In Cuba, I used a healthy dose of skepticism to stay away from street scams. For example, one of the most common scams is the guy who walks up to you and tells you that he has a bunch of Cohibas (high end Cuban cigars) in his pocket for sale at a special price. Right. I’m sure they’re legit.

Luis

My blurry grab shot of Luis on his wheelbarrow taxi. Nikon D750, 24-70mm f/2.8, handheld.

On the other hand, sometimes being skeptical gets in the way of creating great images. Case in point, I was walking through the streets of Trinidad Cuba one evening and noticed a gentleman sitting on a wooden wheelbarrow with sign that read Taxi. It was an obvious attempt at humor, but my first reaction was that this guy was trying to earn a buck from camera-toting tourists. So, I took a quick (blurry) grab shot, and kept on walking.

Before I got more than a few steps, the gentleman said, “Where are you from?” I thought to myself, “Oh great, here comes the sales pitch.” But, as I looked at him a bit closer, I could see he was genuinely interested. So, I told him I was from the USA.

He asked, “What state?”

“Washington,” I answered.

He then started telling me all kinds of facts about Washington. Details about the geography. Rivers. Proximity to Oregon and Canada. Information about Seattle, Tacoma, the state capital Olympia, the Puget Sound, the Pacific Ocean, conifer trees, giant forests, and lots more. I asked him if he’s been to Washington, and he said, “No, but I’ve written a poem about Washington.”

“Really?”

“Hold on,” he said. He held his index finger up in the air and began rifling through a box sitting on the cart with his other hand. He pulled out 20 notebooks filled with his hand-written prose. He leafed through multiple notebooks until he found his poem on Washington and the Northwest. Then, he proceeded to read me the poem in Spanish.

Luis

Luis’ poem of Washington State. Nikon D750, 24-70mm f/2.8, ISO 5000.

After he read me his poem, I asked if I could take a picture. He said, “Of course!” What a beautiful trade. He shared his art with me and I was able to use the opportunity to create a lasting memory with a fun picture.

My lesson in all this? Don’t let skepticism prevent you from participating in a beautiful moment. I’m happy I stayed to listen and engage with my new friend Luis, The Wheelbarrow Poet.

 

 





Implied Emotion in Wildlife Photography

Posted December 13th, 2016 by   |  Photography, Travel, Wildlife  |  Permalink

The next time you are out photographing wildlife, I encourage you to look for behaviors and poses that imply human emotion. We are naturally drawn to imagery that mirrors our own emotions. Sadness. Happiness. Shyness. Joy. Anger. If your photograph implies any of these, then viewers will respond very positively to your pictures.

Shy giraffe

Shy giraffe under an acacia tree. Tarangire National Park, Tanzania. Nikon D800, 200-400mm f/4.

In the example above, we arrived on scene to find a giraffe resting in the shade of an acacia tree. My first instinct was to position our vehicle to photograph the giraffe from the front so we could have a better view of its body. After thinking about the image for a minute, I realized that the giraffe was rubbing its head against the tree. This behavior made it appear as if it was shy or timid. Rather than snapping a standard full-length grab-shot of the giraffe, I worked a bit harder to find a way to show emotion.

Maybe the image of the giraffe’s head poking out from behind a tree implies a game of peek-a-boo with a young child. Or, perhaps it implies an adult looking around the corner to see who might be there before coming out into the open. Either way, it is a much stronger image.

 

 





CreativeLive Classes

Posted December 12th, 2016 by   |  Computers, Flash Photography, Photography, Workshops  |  Permalink

Over the last year, I’ve been working with CreativeLive to teach a wide variety of classes aimed at helping photographers become proficient shooters. The topics range from panoramas to studio photography to Nikon wireless flash and autofocus. CreativeLive is one of the premiere educational platforms available today and I’m proud to be a part of their team of high-caliber professional educators.

Here are links to the current classes posted at CreativeLive.com. Be sure to check out classes from their other instructors as well!

CreativeLive Mike Hagen

Here are the classes and links.

All Classes – www.creativelive.com/instructor/mike-hagen

Build DIY studio

Build a DIY Home Studio

Nikon flash workshop

Nikon Wireless Flash for Creative Photography

Nikon autofocus class

Using the Nikon Autofocus System

photographing panoramas

Photographing Panoramas for Large Prints

Creating panoramas

Creating Panoramas in Photoshop and Lightroom

 

 





Creating Connections

Posted December 5th, 2016 by   |  Photography, Travel, Wildlife  |  Permalink
Connections

For better photographs, create connections between your subject. Here, the connection between the mother and baby zebra is obvious. Nikon D800, 200-400mm f/4. Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania.

One of the best ways to create better images is to work harder at finding connections. In this image, the connection between the mother zebra and her baby is real. This image goes much beyond a shot that records the existence of the zebra and shows a mother’s bond with her newborn baby.

When taking images on your next adventure, try to find ways that connect the main subjects in a meaningful way. Show a bird in context with its nest. Show a boat in context with the harbor. Show a can in context with the curvy road.





Patience and Diligence

Posted October 17th, 2016 by   |  Photography, Wildlife  |  Permalink
Squirrel

Douglas squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii). Nikon D750, 70-200mm f/2.8

A few weeks ago I was shooting a how-to video at a local park and came across this young squirrel on a branch. As quickly as I could, I pulled out my D750 and 70-200mm f/2.8 to try and grab a shot of the cute guy, but it took off behind a tree. Mildly disappointed, I lowered my camera and started to hike back to the trailhead. Before I made it five feet, a little voice in my head chided me that a “real” photographer would stick around and try harder. Since the light was soft and the squirrel was super cute, I decided to stick around and at least attempt to get a nice image of the critter.

Squirrel

Douglas squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii). Nikon D750, 70-200mm f/2.8

While scoping out the scene to find a spot to wait, I spotted a large pile of pinecone scales at the base of a tree. These scales were a tell-tale that this tree served as one of the squirrel’s favorite spots for feeding. In fact, upon closer inspection, I noticed a small branch above the pile of scales must be where the squirrel perched when feeding. So, I set up my camera gear at that location and waited.

pinecone scale

Pile of pinecone scales.

After a couple of minutes, the young squirrel poked its head around the side of the tree to see if the area was safe. I stood motionless with my camera at the ready and the squirrel slowly made his way over the the branch. It picked up right where it left off, munching away on seeds while allowing me to photograph it to my heart’s content. Over the course of the next 45 minutes, scampered about, but always returned to the spot to check on me before consuming more seeds. What fun! I’m very happy I stuck around and committed to making the image.

Photography is like that. Whether you photograph wildlife or children or buildings, you have to operate with equal amounts patience and diligence. Patience to be able to wait for the right moment. Diligence to not give up when the situation doesn’t initially go your way

Squirrel

Douglas squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii). Nikon D750, 70-200mm f/2.8.

Squirrel

Douglas squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii). Nikon D750, 70-200mm f/2.8.





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