Monday
Sep
2007
24

Fielding Your Questions on the Nikon D3

by Scott Kelby  |  8 Comments

I’ve had a number of posts and emails about my experience with the new Nikon D3 this past week, and to make sure I address the questions you want answered about the new camera, so I invite you to post questions here (in the comments section of this post), that you’d like me to take a shot at answering. I won’t have all the answers, but I want to address as many as I can, so thanks for your input, and check back tomorrow for some of the answers.

NOTE: I’ve posted some other shots below from the workshop, including a pano from one of my students.

Monday
Sep
2007
24

Another Stream Shot From Montana

by Scott Kelby  |  2 Comments

streampanosm.jpg

Here’s another from my Montana workshop (click on it for the larger version, which looks much better). I only had time to go through a few of the shots I’ve taken, because we had been going nonstop from dawn till late at night, but I took this one last night, as we returned to the stream where we shot earlier in the week, because it was another overcast night.

The shot isn’t really a pano; it’s just “pano cropped” (Bill Fortney gave the idea while I was processing the image in Lightroom (all the processing, sharpening, and cropping was done in Lightroom). I read a number of comments posted this week asking if I would share the camera settings for the shots I post, and I’m more than happy to (thanks for the suggestion):

SPECS: Taken with a Nikon D200 (Bill was shooting [read as: hogging] the D3, since we were shooting in really low light; I don’t blame him). I used a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens (racked out to 200mm), and I shot in Aperture Priority mode at f/22 (to keep the shutter open as long as possible to create the silky water effect), which gave me a nice long shutter speed of 30 seconds. I also used a Singh-Ray Vari-ND filter to make things even darker, so I’d get that really long shutter speed. The ISO was set to 100.

Monday
Sep
2007
24

Shooting After Dark

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

nightfallssm.jpg

SPECS: Taken using the same D200, and the same 70-200mm VR lens as the previous post, but I only pushed in to 130mm. I set the camera to Manual mode at f/22 with a 20 second exposure (which wasn’t enough. I should have stuck with 30 seconds). It was so dark outside by the time I took this shot, I had to take the Vari-ND filter off. In fact, it was so dark, my Auto Focus wouldn’t focus, so I switched the lens to manual focus, set the focus to Infinity, and crossed my fingers.

Dan, one of my students, offered to shine a flashlight on the falls to help my autofocus work. Even though it wasn’t bright enough for the auto focus to snap-to; it did light the falls just enough to help me make the moody picture you see above. I didn’t see it, but Dan says right after I took the shot, a large bat flew out from near the falls and made a beeline straight for me. I’m surprised I didn’t have a “Blurry Bird” in the shot.

Monday
Sep
2007
24

A Pano From One of my Students

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

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During my GAPW Workshop (with famous landscape photographer Bill Fortney) this past week out in Montana’s Glacier National Park, I showed my students how easy it is to shoot and stitch a panorama, thanks to Photoshop CS3′s incredible Photomerge feature (which incorporates the mind-blowing Auto Align and Auto Blend features). I gave my students the assignment of shooting a pano and stitching it in CS3 (only one student in the class had ever shot and stitched a pano before).

Well, after our dawn shoot at Swiftcurrent Lake, we went to breakfast at the “Many Glacier” hotel right on the water. After breakfast, one of my students, John Cureton, shot his first ever pano from the hotel lobby balcony, overlooking the lake. When we got back to the classroom, John used CS3′s Photomerge to stitch it together perfectly and we both were really tickled. John’s success started a “pano frenzy” in the class, and by that evening everybody was shooting and stitching panos. John was kind enough to let me share his wonderful pano above (click for a much larger version). Thanks to John for letting me share this with you.

In a semi-related note: John, and his buddy Wes, were both students in my class, and they were telling me about an Advanced Photoshop Course they’re enrolled in at a local college near their home in Knoxville, Tennessee. They were raving about their instructor, Steve Chastain, and they just couldn’t say enough great things about, noting his true passion for teaching, and genuine care and dedication to his students.

I just wanted to take a moment to recognize Steve for his work, and for being such a great teacher that his students would be singing his praises even when they’re thousands of miles away. Way to go Steve–keep up the great work! :-)

Friday
Sep
2007
21

A Nikon D3 Shot from Glacier

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

 gstreamsm.jpg

Here’s one from last night’s shoot at Glacier (click for a larger version). It was raining pretty steadily last night, so our sunset shoot was out, but when it rains it’s the perfect time to shoot streams (you can get that silky water from long exposures, and the rocks are wet, too). Unfortunately, this is shot at 100 ISO, so it doesn’t take advantage of the D3′s incredibly low noise, but I thought I’d at least throw one up. I’ve learned more cool things about the D3, and I’ll share more next week.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about the D300, but unfortunately there’s not one here for me to shoot, so at this point, I have no idea how it compares to the D3, but as soon as I get to field test one; you’ll be the first to know.

I got a couple of shots this morning at our dawn shoot, and I’ve another shoot late this afternoon (it’s still cold, but not as cold, and it’s a bright beautiful day. I’m lovin’ it!). Have a great weekend everybody, and I’ll see you on Monday.

-Scott

Friday
Sep
2007
21

Sunrise shoot at Glacier Nat’l Park

by Scott Kelby  |  1 Comments

glaciersm.jpg

Here’s a shot from this morning’s dawn shoot (click for a larger version). We only had that light for about 10 minutes (at best), and then the sun tucked behind a cloud bank never to return (it started raining shortly thereafter for the rest of the day. You can’t tell from the photo shown above (taken with a Nikon D200), but it was freezing cold (so cold I could barely concentrate on shooting). But, even as cold as it was, I had a blast shooting alongside my workshop class, and the world class Bill Fortney.

We spent the rest of the day in the classroom, learning Lightroom, and that went really great (almost everyone in the workshop was already using Lightroom to some extent, and two of the students had even been to my Lightroom Live Tour).

Although I didn’t get a chance to shoot with the Nikon D3 during the morning shoot, I spent hours with it tonight at our dusk shoot, and I have to say; not only does it live up to it’s hype, I’d have to say it actually exceeds it. There are a lot of things to love about the D3, but the lack of noise is far beyond what I had ever imagined (and I had heard stories of people raving about the low noise, but you’ve really got to see it in person to believe it).

I haven’t done any lab research on this, just some field shooting yesterday and today, but when I look at images shot at 1600 ISO on the D3, they look like images taken on my D2x at 400 ISO. You just can’t believe what you’re seeing. Bill did a demo for the class last night, and even showed images shot at 6400 ISO and there were literally gasps in the room at the low levels of noise. You’ve gotta understand; this isn’t just an improvement in the noise and detail—this is way beyond that. Without sounding corny (though it still will), this is like a new dawn in the digital camera era, and now I can see where noise will soon be a non-issue. I was fully expecting to be impressed with the D3′s low noise, but I honestly wasn’t prepared for this. I was blown away. We all were.

Some other things I quickly fell in love with was (of course), the huge 3″ LCD panel, which is the crispest and brightest I’ve never seen (even the menus looked great), and the full frame View Finder is just fantastic. During the day I kept uncovering new features, and everybody was ooohh and ahhhing over it, and the more I shot it, the more I fell in love. It’s got more slick, well-thought out features, than you can imagine, and I know I’m gushing, but….I’m just gushing!!! Bravo to Nikon for making a camera that is just a joy to shoot (the feel of the shutter is amazing), that is smart (it holds two memory cards at once; and has a double battery charger as well), and takes some amazingly sharp, crisp, low noise photos.

As for the rest fo the day, really—who cares—I was playing with a D3!!!! :-) Actually, we had a really great day; I’ve met some just wonderful people, and we’ve had a blast getting to know each other, learning, shooting, and sitting around a roaring fire tonight at the Lodge. Life is good. :)

Hopefully I’ll be able to post some D3 images soon (there’s no way to decode the Raw photos yet, since it hasn’t been released yet, so I shot Raw + JPEG and I got a quick glance at a few of my JPEGs, and the quality is just off the charts).

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