Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fort Santo Domingo and Old British Consulate

I took my 24-70mm lens and D700 to photograph this location.  I should have a tripod with me to get highest quality images possible.  I did not thus I had to tweak the prospective of each image in Photoshop a bit.  However, I was already lucky enough to have so few tourists in the photograph.  The whole exercise was more on waiting for the brief moment when suddenly all the tourists just walk off from the image frame.  I had to act quite quickly and tripod was not an option.

24-70mm is such a good lens, can you tell the image just seems a bit better than those taken with the consumer zoom lens, such as 28-300mm.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Two Remote Flashes Photography

This photo was taken using one SB-800 flash on the subject's upper left side and one SB-910 on the upper right side with D700 and 105mm/2.8 VR Micro lens.  Both flash unites had diffusion dome mounted on the flash head which pointed upward toward the ceiling.  SB-800 was set at "REMOTE", Channel 1, Group B; SB-9210 was set at "REMOTE", Channel 1, Group A.  The flash on the D700 was set at Commander mode (Custom Setting Menu: e3).  Built-in flash: "--" (Mode); Gorup A: TTL (Mode), -3 (Comp.); Group B: TTL (Mode), 0 (Comp.).

The camera exposure mode was set at Manual: ISO 640, 1/250s - f/3, -1.0EV.  Since the output of both flashes were controlled automatically using iTTL.  It was way too confusing to use automatic exposure for the camera also.  When using the iTTL flash, the camera is almost always set at manual.

Setting the Built-in flash Mode at "--" let the Built-in flash only used as a trigger for the other two remote flashes.  But in reality, the amount of light coming out from the Built-in flash can still influence the lighting.  Nikon makes a small gadget SG-31R that blocked the white light from the Built-in flash completely and only let the infrared light out to trigger the remote flashes.  A nice gadget to have, should buy it next time when I will be in the US.

I can see all three flashes worked as they reflected as three spots on each of the two round balls.  The left side flash is brighter than the right side flash.  The built-in flash that used to trigger the two remote flashes can also be seen.   I removed the three spots on each of ball using Photoshop.  An umbrella for each of the flash should solve the problem.  Over all, a nice exercise!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Huntley Meadows

I was reading Jim Brandenburg's experience of Nikon D800, he mentioned that for his landscape photography, one of the lens most often used is 70-200mm 2.8.  He discussed how Nikon demanded that he should not use Photoshop for any touch up of his image and can only open up the RAW file with Nikon's software (NX2).  This gave me the inspiration of trying to get the sharpest image using the equipment that I have (D700, 70-200 2.8 VRII) and the technique that I could master.

Huntley Meadows was not too far away from my daughter's home at Falls Church, VA.  I went to this place earlier with my D700 and 28-300mm lens and got some descent images.  The Spring was just starting with all the colorful new leafs coming out.  The second time I went, I was fully equipped.  I have Gitzo GT2541 tripod, RRS BH-40 LR ballhead, Nikon MC-30 trigger release, HOYA CIR-PL polarizer, D700 and Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII lens.  The images were taken either with mirror-up or Lv.

Photographing with Lv was some inspiring experience.  During the focusing process, I enlarged the focusing area on the LCD screen and could see the detail of the area that the camera was focusing and the camera movement, only till the focusing is 100% sure and the camera movement is completely steady then I released the trigger.

I took three photographs to compose the above panorama image.  I did not pay too much attention to the nodal point of the lens.  The foot of 70-200mm is probably very close its nodal point already and at 70mm or above, I usually have very little distortion when stitching the images together in Photoshop for panorama.

The only processing that I did to the RAW image is to use the "Landscape" setting of Picture Control in NX2.  The sharpening is at default of "4", which is more than enough for the image.  I used to set the sharping at 7 and even use Unsharp Mask to further sharpening the image.  A good lens and proper technique produced sharper original image.

The panorama image at 300 dpi is 9 x 32 inch in size and the TIF file is 144.2 MB.  I printed it out by a local photofinishing shop near Washington, DC using Fuji Frontier printer on 10x30 paper.  Very nice, and worth all the effort!  The photographs that were taken during the previous occasion using 28-300mm lens offhand have no comparison.

However, panorama image does not show too well on the web.  Here is another image at standard 4x6 portrait format, hope the quality of the image can be better experienced.


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