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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