Thursday
Feb
2012
09

Cliff Mautner on the Nikon D800

by Brad Moore  |  128 Comments

What a few days. It’s amazing how much interest a little piece of metal can produce. As a proud member of the team at Kelby Training, I wanted to share my experience with the D800. This project has been going on for many months. i was approached by my good friends at K&L in Tokyo- Nikon’s agency for decades- and was blown away that they asked me to participate with this project. My job was well defined: Use the D800 in a way that utilizes and highlights the latest features the D800 offers in real world wedding conditions that I’d face week in and week out. Simple, right? Hah. I lost sleep for weeks, literally.

Full Frame

100% Crop

Once the camera arrived back in June, the hardest part was not telling a soul about it. The first image I viewed on my ACD wowed me immediately.  Yes, the resolution was astounding. At 36 MP that was expected. However, I’d like to use this space on Scott’s blog to point out a few other features that are seriously being overlooked. The most glaring thing for me is how responsive it is. I didn’t think it was possible for them to improve on the D3S autofocus. However, they did. It as really obvious to me when I was able to focus my Nikkor 85 1.4 in the outer focal points within the viewfinder. These are not cross sensor points, and in the past were not as responsive as I’d have liked. However, they were really “snappy”. That’s the best way to put it. There was no hunting, and no wasted effort when I tried to focus. After the announcement came the other night, I was prepping to take the blog post live, and all of the traffic to my site crashed my server. I had confirmed with Network Solutions, and they assured me there would be no issues. Heh. Their server choked to death. May it rest in peace. I spent yesterday with my web designer, Brock Martin of Infinet Design, getting my site and blog up onto Hostnexus. Things seem to be holding so far. Brock is the best, BTW. So if you’re looking for a web designer….. back to the camera.

Full Frame

100% Crop

In speaking with Scott, after the announcement, I discussed a few of the concerns and comments people were having after looking at my images on the blog. It amazes me that some people actually thought I would post full rez files. At 36MP??? Anyway, I digress. Features that are overlooked- The face recognition for auto exposure. For someone like myself who uses backlight the way I do, it’s a godsend. I had no trouble compensating before using my exposure comp, but this feature actually uses the 91K pixel RGB sensor and identifies the face to where it attempts to expose for just that face. That’s remarkable, and it will help you obtain more accurate exposures… faster than ever before. I also need to add that the dynamic range increase was quite noticeable- especially in the most difficult lighting conditions. Detail in the veil, gown, face, and other areas under tough lighting conditions put this camera to the test. It passed with flying colors. Two different Auto white balances are also really cool. Auto 2 keeps a little more warmth, rather than cooling the image off. I love that. Speed… this camera, even though it’s fires and writes a boatload of information to the card/s, is quite fast. It’s faster than the D3X and it never held me back when firing multiple frames quickly. There are a slew of other little things that are major improvements. The specs are for real. Check them out.

800 ISO – Full Frame

800 ISO – 100% Crop

3200 ISO Full Frame

3200 ISO 100% Crop

6400 ISO Full Frame

6400 ISO 100% Crop

The pixel counters who left some blog comments need to understand that this camera is not gong to replace a D4. It’s it’s own beast. It does things the D4 wont do. The D4 will do things the D800 wont do. My camera of choice for capturing weddings will be a combination of the two new pieces of technology. The D4 will be the primary camera. It’s low lighting capabilities, responsiveness, and the overall nature of the camera is ideal for what I do. However, we now have old world, medium format image quality inside a phenomenal, incredibly responsive Nikon body. At 36 megapixels, the D800 produces unprecedented image quality and resolution within a body that boasts revolutionary technological advances. The 3D color matrix meter III, the improved auto focus with more cross sensors, additional dynamic range, and the improved AF performance in low light are just a few features that are glaring improvements. From a focus standpoint, I found it hard to believe there could be improvements to the D3S focus system. But, this camera does focus faster and will allow me to make pictures I couldn’t make before.  For those who want to focus on what they think the camera doesn’t do, perhaps you can take a moment and focus on what it CAN do until you have one in your hands, or at least wait until the camera is available. Buy one, or don’t buy one. I wont earn a dime off of the sales of this camera. However, I really believe that I can produce that I never made before with this new technology. Isn’t that what it’s all about? I hope you stop by my blog and see what I’ve done with this camera. I only had it a few short weeks. However, I have both new cameras on order with my buddy Jeff Snyder at Adorama. That’s right. I will be paying for both a D4, and the D800.

One more thing. Many people have been asking me about whether they should go for the D800 or the D800E. Many feel as though the “E” is somehow “better” because it doesn’t have the AA filter. However, unless you’re adept at eliminating moire in post production, you might want to order the D800 and not the “E”. Now, I’m not saying that it’s going to produce much moire. It’s not as if it’s particularly prone to it. When working with files that large, and shooting images that have . However, some people have somehow developed the mindset that the D800 somehow wont produce sharp images. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Just my 2 cents since this was a question many were asking. In closing, I hope people find this camera to be as groundbreaking as I think it will be. It’s a fun time to be a photographer, and the evolution of the tools are allowing us to make better images. Thank you, Scott, for sharing your blog and allowing me to give your readers a taste of what’s to come with this camera.

You can see more from Cliff on the Nikon D800 over at his blog.

Thursday
Feb
2012
09

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  104 Comments

Photoshop World DC – 9 Days Left for Early Bird Registration!
Photoshop World Washington DC is quickly approaching, and there are only 9 days left to save $100 on registration! Head on over to PhotoshopWorld.com to sign up, get hotel info, see the full schedule of classes from instructors like Jay Maisel, Joel Grimes, Lindsay Adler, Glyn Dewis, and a ton of other incredible people! And, there are only a few spots left in some of the pre-conference workshops like Lightpainting 101 with Dave Black, On Location DSLR Workshop with Rich Harrington, Real World Concert Photography with Alan Hess & Scott Diussa, and others.

Make sure you leave a comment for your chance to win a full-conference pass to this amazing event!

Free Bundle from KelbyTraining.com
Leave a comment if you want to be entered to win the random drawing for the Get Your Photography on the Web Bundle by RC Concepcion. This set is valued at $85.99 and yes, if you don’t win it, you can buy it. It’s even on sale in February as part of our Sweet Deals Sale ($14 off all bundles).

About the set: It’s the ultimate package for people looking to create slick, professional-looking websites for their photography without knowing an ounce of code or paying a fortune!

This bundle contains RC’s ground breaking new book, Get Your Photography on the Web: The Fastest, Easiest Way to Show and Sell Your Work, and his amazing 2 disc set, WordPress Basics for Photographers.

By following RC’s instructions, you can have a website to showcase your photography that looks like you paid a fortune for someone else to create, in only a matter of hours!

We’ll draw for winners on Wednesday & announce them on next Thursday’s edition of Free Stuff Thursday.

Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. Live!
We’re heading to Dallas and Phoenix this month on February 21 and 22! Head over to KelbyTraining.com to get all the details and register for these and other seminars.

OnOne Perfect Photo Suite 6 for $199.95
This week only, get the OnOne Perfect Photo Suite 6 for just $199.95! That’s $100 off the regular price of $299.95, which is already crazy cheap compared to buying each program individually. What are you waiting for? Go get it now!

Winner of The Photographer’s Legal Guide DVD
The winner of The Photographer’s Legal Guide DVD with Jack Reznicki and Ed Greenberg is… Erick Puentes! Congratulations Erick, we’ll be in touch soon :)

That’s it for this week’s Free Stuff Thursday. Make sure you leave a comment for your chance to win a full conference pass to Photoshop World DC or the bundle from RC Concepcion! Heck, I’ll even get RC to sign the book for ya ;)

Wednesday
Feb
2012
08

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Jake Peterson!

by Brad Moore  |  19 Comments

Making History Come to Life

Ten months ago I was attending Photoshop World in Orlando, FL. It was the second time I had been to Photoshop World, but after the blast of Vegas the previous September there was no way I was going to miss the one that Spring. One morning in the instructors’ lounge Jay Maisel, someone who I knew of but had never met, was sitting at a table. I introduced myself and we started to talk. Afterward Jay went up to my Dad and said, “You have failed as a parent if you let your kid go into photography as a career.” He smiled and my Dad just laughed; that’s Jay!

Growing up I understood the challenges of photography and the affect travel had on a family. When your Dad is B. Moose Peterson it’s hard not to pick up on what’s going on or notice when he was gone. That’s one of the truths to photography, travel is an inevitable reality. It was also a good thing, as often my parents brought my brother and me out into the field with them to work with biologists and other photographers. This of course fueled my passion to work with wildlife in their natural habitat. Back in 2007 I was given my first chance to truly put what skills I had to good use; alongside my Dad, as we started working with the Collared Pika.

This amazing little critter, not much bigger than a tennis ball and just as bouncy, lives up in the mountains of Alaska where over the last fifty years the changing of the climate has forced an evolutionary change in the species. Working with a grad student, Hayley, and the head of the Mammalogy department from UAF, Dad and I chased these little guys around for days. Chased being a loose term here, for they live in talus slopes where the vegetation meets the rocks, once we found a burrow we basically sat and waited for one to come out. The Collared Pika is asocial, which means they don’t hibernate, so they spend their spring, summer and fall creating giant hay piles of grasses and shrubs in the rocks.

Due to the change in temperatures, the Collared Pika is moving up the slope in order to stay in the cool temperature range that they thrive in. Vegetation on the other hand is receding, so the critters have to move further and further away from their food source and winter survival nutrition. The evolutionary change was proven by Hayley, by comparing an early study done on all the known Collared Pika spots from Canada up to Alaska with a new study of the same locations, and what was found was that a bone in the skull of the mammal had gotten dramatically smaller. Fifty years is a very short time to make such a change.

The work Dad and I did was not only to benefit the Museum of the North, Hayley and those involved in the project but also to bring attention to a species that didn’t get much at the time. Photography was at the root of all of this.

We had the pleasure of working with Link Olson and another grad from UAF, Aren, on another project. Instead of chasing Pikas, we went after another local Alaska inhabitant, the Alaskan Marmot.

In 2010 we went to the Northern edge of the Brooks Range, Alaska to find what was just discovered as a “new” species. The Alaskan Marmot had for years been mistaken as a Hoary Marmot due to similarities in appearance. Genetics proved that they were different. Well it was also proven that they only live at a certain temperature range, if it’s too warm they go higher up the mountains where it’s cold enough to survive. Unfortunately they are at the peak of those mountains, any further and they go into arctic tundra.

Now I had some relative idea of what my Dad did in order to photograph a species preserving its history, but when I got up there I learned a whole new lesson. These guys don’t exactly live in civilization, so we had to drive out of Fairbanks to a place where there was nobody. No cell, no wireless, nothing; we camped the whole time under an oil pipe line. That was the start.

For two days we sat in the rain, on a mountain side waiting for one of those little buggers to come out. We would get up, climb a 700ft vertical climb with 600’s on our shoulders, in the rain and then sit on a burrow. Two days we waited and nothing. Finally on the third day, the rain stopped and they came out. Apparently they also liked the sunshine. It was a great few hours working with a species that people six hours away knew nothing about.

Photography made all of this happen and continues to make more happen. It’s not just about the capturing of the moment but also about the connection it can make for others. No matter what road you go down or what field you are most passionate about, the photographs are there to light people up.

During my first couple of years of college when I decided to go down this arduous journey, my focus was set on wildlife photography, funny though how in such a short period of time that focus can change.

Now if someone had said to me during that time that I would be working with planes over 70 years old along with the people that flew them, I would’ve said they were crazy. That’s not the case today. Although one of the most common questions I get is, “How did I switch from wildlife to aviation?” the answer is I didn’t switch. My passion is still there for the critters, I am just preserving the history of the planes.

In 2009 I started playing with aircraft and the ride since has been unbelievable! One trip to the Reno Air Races sealed my fate with these planes. My Dad said at the beginning, “If you get hooked, it’s not my fault.” Well I did get hooked, and I still blame him. But it’s all good.

It isn’t so much the machines themselves, although the more you work with them the more beautiful they get, it’s the people behind the machines that are amazing. Every plane has a unique story and capturing that story along with the people involved is a whole new set of challenges that makes for one awesome adventure.

This past July I was working a new venue, Oshkosh, WI for one of the world’s largest Airshows. Every plane imaginable that can still fly is possible to end up there. The place is packed beyond belief. It goes for a whole week but even that’s not enough time to photograph a third of the planes there.

One couple I worked with, The Bergens, had a Stinson L-5 Sentinel, a rather common and unimpressive looking plane when you walk by, but the history is unbelievable.

The plane flew in World War II as an observation and ground attack plane. Three bazookas would be mounted under each wing for strafing runs on ground troops. Hard to imagine since this plane’s max speed is 145mph. It has two giant lights, one under each wing for search missions. Well this particular plane was part of the VMO-4 Squadron. They flew during the invasion of the island of Iwo Jima, and watched the battle from air as it happened on the land. Well if it isn’t amazing enough the plane survived, considering it had 11 bullet holes in one wing, but one of the pilots that flew the plane, a man named Tom, was at Oshkosh with his whole family, a fellow friend of the Bergens.

Tom is 89 years old, sharp as a tack, and still in charge. He was there with his plane, which he hadn’t seen in decades, and his family came out to support him. It was only fitting to do a photo shoot, with Tom’s blessing of course. This is the power of photography. Forty-two family members and a WWII veteran captured in time with the plane that Grandpa flew. No big studio production, no pre planning, just being there and talking with the people made history come to life yet again. For Tom it was a kick, and as I’m told the prints are hanging on his wall.

The next day we did what’s called an Air to Air shoot. Dad and I were in an A36 Bonanza shooting out of the plane as the L5 flew for us over Wisconsin.

The challenge of working with these planes lies not only behind the camera but also in the processing work afterward. Now I inherited the discipline to do nothing to my wildlife work in post, but that same rule doesn’t apply to aviation. With planes it’s all about bringing back that lost romance that surrounded aircraft. There was a time when flying was nothing but a dream. Kids would look up at the sky and wonder what was out there. Now everyone looks down at their phones to see what will happen next.

In order to bring back some of that romance, a lot of work has to be done in CS5 and Adobe Camera Raw, especially with static aircraft. If you’ve ever been to an airport, then you know it’s surrounded by houses, hangars, poles, telephone wires and a whole bunch of other junk. Not real attractive. Back in the heyday of these planes, that stuff wasn’t there. A lot of time goes into removing whatever is necessary and then really making the planes just jump out of the photograph!

It doesn’t really matter what the subject is, the goal is always to make it come to life. Whether it’s working with a B17G Flying Fortress with an escort of “little buddies,”


Or a rare trainer P-40 parked outside of its hangar waiting to fly again,


The challenge will always be to capture not only the moment but also to share it with others.

Even now, writing for Scott Kelby’s blog, it amazes me the power a camera can have and the good it can do for a community. For this is a community, and believe it or not the aviation world is an even smaller community than photography. Making anything happen is never a solo project and that goes for everything. Without the biologists there would have never been a request to go sit on a hillside and watch marmots. Without the Bergens, there wouldn’t have been a plane to do an air to air with, and with no plane, Tom wouldn’t have been there. It’s a team effort and no matter what else you learn in this business that’s one of the most essential things.

Despite the amount of time, the fun, and the great stories I have working with aircraft; the desire to be out shooting critters grows ever stronger. Looking over me in my office is this guy, Dusty.

This now nine year old male Grizzly Bear is a constant reminder of what lies out there waiting to be discovered. We photographed him back in 2008 at McNeil River Wildlife Sanctuary, Alaska. He didn’t do much except eat fish and sleep. It’s a tough life.

Writing this now only further inspires me to push harder in every aspect, as I hope it is an inspiration for those reading to push harder with your own passions. Following your passion never fails nor leads you down the wrong road. A hard road maybe, as is common for all photographers but never wrong. The stories along the way are ones that are cherished forever.

My thanks go out to those at NAPP for what they have done for the photographic community, and special Thanks to Scott for giving me this chance to share a bit of my passion.

You can see more of Jake’s work at JakePeterson.org, follow him on Google+ and Facebook.

Tuesday
Feb
2012
07

Jumping the gun on the Nikon D800

by Scott Kelby  |  82 Comments

Since my post last night here on Google+ (http://www.scottgplus.com), and here on my blog earlier today, I’ve seen a lot of comments flowing in pro and con about this camera, and I just want to say a quick few things about the comments I’ve been reading thus far:

(1) The D800 was apparently created for a very specific type of photographer 
There is no law that every camera introduced by a camera company has to be designed to fit your personal needs. If you read that it has 36.3 megapixels and you’re like “36.3 megapixels is overkill!!!” then obviously this camera isn’t for you, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t photographers out there who read that spec and cheered! (Me being on of them). It looks like this was designed for commercial photographers, and wedding and landscape shooters that want to be using a camera with Medium-Format type resolution without the medium-format price. If that’s not you, that’s OK. Nikon makes other camera models for you.

(2) The D800 doesn’t appear to be designed for sports or action photographers (like the D700 was)
In fact, it looks like the D800 is an entirely different camera intended for an entirely different market, which is why it only shoots 4/fps (which for a camera with that high a resolution is actually very fast. If you’ve ever shot a medium-format camera, this is blazing!!!).

(3) The D700 was kind of a stripped down version of the D3…
but the D800 doesn’t seem to be a stripped down D4 on any level (even though the name D800 alone would make us think otherwise). I wish Nikon had given it a different name just to make a more obvious break with the D700 line, and I really hope Nikon does introduce a stripped down version of the D4, because I always thought the D700 had an important place in their product line that a lot of people really benefitted from (I have a D700 myself).

(4) This is the most important one: the camera isn’t shipping yet
…and there are only literally a handful of people in the entire world that have even taken one single frame with this camera. Instead of rushing to judge this camera and exclaim why it’s not for you, instead why don’t we wait until we actually see one with our own eyes, hold one in our hands, and in person see a print from it and what it can do? I know, that sounds crazy but why don’t we actually use one before we decide anything?

I know that from the specs alone, and from what I’ve read, and a personal account from one of the few people that did shoot one —- I want one, and I’m pre-ordering mine from B&H Photo this morning (they’re taking pre-orders here: http://bhpho.to/zJsYDU — just saw that Adorama is taking pre-orders as well: ). But just this once, why don’t we actually see, hold, and experience the product for at least 60-seconds before we tell the world why it’s not for us. You never know, this type of “try it before you trash it” thing might actually catch on. ;-)

Tuesday
Feb
2012
07

Nikon Announces The D800 And Baby Does It Look Sweet!!!!

by Scott Kelby  |  55 Comments

36.3 megapixels (wow!) with a full frame sensor. Full HD video with stereo sound (yay) built in HDR (sweet) and it looks like its aimed at the commercial, wedding and landscape markets (photographers who shoot medium format digital backs. I mean who used to shoot digital backs). ;-)

I haven’t seen one, held one, etc., but it sounds amazing and I want one. Bad!!!! (And yes, sometimes you need 36.3 megapixels). Two words: Whoo Hoo!

Read the full scoop at Nikon USA: http://bit.ly/wVaU77

Monday
Feb
2012
06

Lightroom 4 and Leaving The Past Behind

by Scott Kelby  |  146 Comments

Yesterday I was in Cincinnati, Ohio teaching a mini-version of my “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it” workshop at the ProPhoto Expo (a really excellent event by the way, put together with the help and vision of none other than David Ziser himself), and during one of the breaks between sessions a very nice woman came up and told me how upset she was that Lightroom 4 wouldn’t run on Windows XP, and that she feared when Photoshop CS6 ships it won’t support XP either.

Here’s basically what I told her: It’s 2012. Windows XP came out in October of 2001 (more than 10 years ago—see the press release from Microsoft’s site above). It’s time to freakin’ upgrade! Then she said “But XP doesn’t have any bugs!” That alone was a sad statement — not for her, but for Microsoft as a company, and that she is so afraid of the problems that upgrading to a newer version of Windows will bring her, that she is mentally stuck using an OS from 11 years ago (but that’s an entirely different subject for another day).

Do you know how long 11 years is in technology terms?
This it what 2001 technology looks like and this is what we were using back then (below):

I doubt she’s still shooting a Nikon Coolpix 995, or using an old Nokia cell phone (that one shown above was the bestselling cell phone of 2001), or that she has a white antique iPod the size of a toaster, but yet….she’s still running Windows XP.

Microsoft doesn’t even support XP any more
So why do we think Adobe would or even should? I know there are pockets of people out there who are upset that Lightroom 4 won’t run on XP (when I did my last post about Lightroom 4, I heard from a number of them), just like I’m sure it’s very hard to find replacement parts for that DVIX player that someone still is using out there, but at some point these folks are going to have to leave the past behind, and upgrade their computer and OS, or they are literally going to be left behind by technology like Lightroom 4.

I would imagine that the woman I talked to has gotten more than her money’s worth out of her investment in Windows XP and a computer still old enough to run it, but at some point it’s decision time, and if I were her I wouldn’t wait another day. For everybody else still clinging to 2001 technology —- it’s time to freakin’ upgrade (and it’s time to upgrade that Nintendo Game Boy Color while you’re at it, too!):-)

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