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  • Photography

    I've been playing around with photography for as long as I've been doing anything. Made the transition to digital a few years back starting with an inexpensive Sony DSLR look alike, 5 mp and a permanent lens, not interchangeable. That was just to see what it was like because it seemed pretty convenient. After deciding that digital gave far more control (extravagant software for image manipulation) at a lot less cost (no film, no darkroom, no print paper) I moved up to a Nikon D7000 and a couple of zoom lenses. As with all consumer goods, the 7000 was followed in short order by the 7100, and then the 7200. But as with SLRs of old, it's the lenses that matter.

    The only problem is I have to keep the manual handy because this thing has so many features it's crazy. Fortunately there is a way to reset default settings (page 151 of a 326 of a thick manual). Generally I just try to keep things as simple as possible. Of course it allows for over 1000 16 meg JPEGS per card and the camera carries two. which helps because only about 1 in 100 shots is good and it may be years between exceptional photographs, right place at the right time looking the right direction.

    I met a professional photographer once and asked him about one picture he had taken, he said it only took him six years of trying to get that particular shot. Wildlife doesn't cooperate well. But you get lucky once in awhile.

  • #2
    I shoot sports with a D700 and use a Sony RX1 as my usual travel camera. The RX1 is a mirrorless with a Zeiss prime and is set up for quick acquisition in the photojournalist vein. The AF speed has much to be desired when compared to a DSLR with tracking engaged but the colors are wonderful and full crop is very good in my book. It's also not an issue with regards to architecture. I'm waiting for the D900 that seems to be taking forever for Nikon to roll out. I skipped the 800 because I don't do video anyway.

    D700 Sapporo, Japan

    RX1 Kapadokya , Turkey


    • #3
      Jack - One thing I noticed about the Sony (cyber shot) was the colors were outstanding. At the time Sony had added a fourth color, emerald which supposedly allowed for better color discrimination. I always thought the colors looked very good, almost oversaturated.

      Unless there is some over-riding advancement I'll be sticking with the 7000 for awhile. I'm not a professional photographer and 16 meg Jpeg + raw seems to be enough for now. Well, that and I want a good long superzoom for wildlife first. I've gotten to like the utility of zooms, my 18-105 has become my go to lense. So I'm looking at lenses that would give me at least 500mm on an APSC body.


      • #4
        I think Nikon's vivid mode is outstanding as well. Here near the equator we're overcast for most of the year so that really helps out with the "gray" lighting. I totally agree with you with regards to the primacy of lenses over bodies.

        I've never had or used a lens over 300mm. At close to 200mm camera shake becomes an issue for me. I'd make a lousy sniper I'd need a really stable ball head for wildlife photography. Maybe a release remote too. Shaky hands are no fun.


        • #5
          I have a 300 zoom, with the APSC it makes it about a 400. Still not enough. A monopod helps a lot when traipsing around the fields and woods, when it isn't hanging up on something. A tripod if you're setting up in one location, but not one of those little cheap things found in a box store that's about as shaky as hand help. Find one the legs come up to about chin height when extended. That way you're not relying on cranking up that shaky post.

          A remote release is so useful in many circumstances that a serious hobbyist should have one.


          • #6
            What kind of wildlife do you shoot?


            • #7
              I usually go up to northern Minnesota in the summer to visit family. I try to photograph whatever is handy but one of my main targets is the local loons. Interesting birds. Their summer plumage is pure black and white and this only shows up properly with the sun at your back. They have red eyes which is difficult to catch. Cloudy days don't provide sufficient contrast for really good shots. A canoe or kayak is best to use as the lower to water the less they get nervous and behave more naturally. It is a slow process as any sudden actions alarm them and they dive and disappear. It is illegal to harass them, and only a jackass would harass them with chicks. The chicks when very small ride the backs of the adults.

              Believe it or not they are very curious. One summer I was snorkeling pulling some junk out of the lake, and a family of loons came up to watch the proceedings from as close as six feet. They were also enjoying the crayfish and small fish I disturbed. Naturally there was no camera present. They were actually following me around.

              The more illusive wildlife requires a lot more effort. For instance, I once located a ruffed grouse drumming log. Tried for a week, the darn thing would wait until I'd packed up and got about a hundred yards away and start drumming. Only managed to get a glimpse or two the whole time.

              Serious wildlife photography requires a serious investment in time. I've knew one guy when I was a kid who ended up being a serious professional photographer/film maker. He moved up to Alaska years ago so he could invest the amount of time it takes. Me, hobbyist.


              • #8
                Boy that sounds like some seriously challenging stuff!


                • #9
                  Not really. More a matter of knowing where to look. The loons mate for life and nest in the same place every year. At the lake I usually go to there are usually three nesting pair. They are territorial so they stick to their section of the lake. Until they are ready to migrate they stick to their territories, but gather and seem to socialize right before migration. Morning and evening are the best times of day.

                  The thing with wildlife is that every species has a pattern, a preferred time of day, a preferred feeding area, a preferred bedding down or nesting area, a preferred route of travel. Find one thing, it will lead to the others. Look around just about anywhere, there is wildlife. Doesn't need to be wilderness. Even in New York, Peregrine Falcons have been nesting on skyscrapers.