Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Farmer's Market - June 27, 2009

The only lens I used on this day was the new Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8. For many of the files, I simply drew upon the limited available light. Thankfully, the large aperture zoom and high-quality high ISO performance of the D40 did a wonderful job, many of these are shot at ISO 800. I take little credit when good equipment can make a difference.

Lunenburg County seems covered in fog and mist

I took these images a few days ago, finally getting around to blogging them. Two tricky situations with this kind of light - AF struggles (and usually fails) plus the exposure often needs to be adjusted by slightly overexposing.

I used both Nikon zooms on the D40 for this outing as I drove to work.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Moyle, the sign man

You certainly can meet some interesting people around here, this guy tops them all. He is a sign man for Dexter's Construction, he has been doing this forever. He had no problems whatsoever when I stopped at his sign and consented to being photographed. You just know he is a colorful character by looking at him. I can see one of these being an 8x10 and behind a frame, it might be a good entry for the upcoming South Shore Exhibition's photo displays.

Dummy old me could have had him in the sights of my D40 and Sigma 50-150mm zoom the other day, but I thought I could go back to the same spot in the morning, the light would be better, but he didn't show up. These people move around a lot, even within the same day. Anyway, I didn't let this opportunity slip by, I had the D40 and Sigma zoom sitting on the front seat of my Sentra.

I had to use the dinky built-in flash, worked perfectly, 1/320th second @ f/4, ISO 200. The new Sigma zoom is very sharp and has a nice out-of-focus background, focus has to be just bang-on. (photographers refer to this as bokeh)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Silliness and cuteness

We had a baptism after services, today, but there was a one-hour plus delay as we had to wait for an elder to drive from Kentville. Many stayed and waited patiently as we wanted to come and witness this special event, and make the new member feel welcome.

I was lucky enough to get this grabshot, it was well-composed with great subjects. The SB-600 works very well at ISO 400 and bounce mode.

Carding Mills falls

I never tire of shooting these falls, they seem a little different every time I drive by. D80 and AF-S 70-300mm VR, 1-second exposure. I added some extra-warmth for a change.

Owen and his tree lot

I was coming to work on Friday, I had anticipated shooting one of the road construction workers who had one of those crazy personalities, but, alas, they had moved on to another area. I was able to stumble upon Owen in Branch LaHave, sharing in one of his Christmas tree lots. He was more than happy to be the subject of my D40 and Sigma 50-150mm zoom, assisted with the occasional fill-flash of the SB-600.

Back where I started

I sort of got my files and blogs out of order. This shot was taken when first got back home on Thursday when we had the amazing sky, this was actually the starting point of my series of cloud formation shots. The shafting of sunlight adds to the drama. The 16-85mm VR is a faithful friend for sweeping landscapes.

The end of the day

It seems the other night's amazing cloud formations stayed with us right until sunset, it's a challenge to do my chores at home when the sky looks so incredible. With the longest days of the year upon us, I was able to take a few minutes and go shooting - the sun was already behind the clouds but there was a wonderful afterglow.

D80 and Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8

Neighbor's kitty

I was walking by the barber shop a few nights ago which is almost right across the road from my house, the lady of the home has a cat that perches on the window most of the time. I thought this might make for an interesting photo. I grabbed the D40 and Sigma 50-150mm, carefully framed the image shooting wide-open, and came away with something worthwhile.

More adventures with a fast zoom

I rather enjoy having f/2.8 in a zoom although I would argue it may not be as useful for scenics - you often want that depth in your images by utilizing small apertures. This means using a tripod or depending on Nikon's excellent VR system. However, when light is at a premium or when you want to fully isolate the subjct, there is no substitute for speed.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Moody sky at the crest of rain

I the summer, we often encounter those deep dark foreboding clouds and know a storm is brewing. If you can be at the right place at the right time (I have a knack for this sort of thing), you can catch the drama of combining the soon-to-disappear sun and clouds for a rather amazing effect.

Showing a neighbor what a fast lens can do

My next-door neighbor happens to own a Nikon D40, she is just learning how to get the most from it. I was walking by and happened to have my Sigma 50-150 attached to mine. I demonstrated the art of shooting available-light imaging by taking a photo of her 4-year-old daughter. This was done at ISO 1600, wide-open, about 1/30th second. It's barely sharp, but it shows that a fast lens can do this sort of thing and capture the mood.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX HSM zoom lens

It took a big leap in faith, perhaps, to buy a third-party lens for my Nikon DSLR system. It's been years since I have bought any type of non-OEM photograhic product, whether film or digital. Simply said, none of the camera makers actually have a lens in this range - this is a strictly-digital APS-C short-to-medium telephoto zoom. The result is a smaller optic than the traditional 70-200mm f/2.8's out there (this Sigma has an equivalent to a 75-225mm in terms of film mindset), and, of course, the very useful f/2.8 maximum aperture.

It weighs about half of the brutish Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 VR and is half the cost, seems to weigh roughly the same as my AF-S 70-300mm VR.

My wish list is short - it would be nice to have some type of image stabilization on such a lens, and where is the AF/MF switch? The HSM (hypersonic motor) works as well as Nikon's own AF-S lens motor, it's absolutely necessary on the D40.

Having a very bright viewfinder is a joy to use (my Nikon zooms are slow and since viewing/metering is done at full aperture, you do take note of f2.8 vs f/5.6). Of course, what good is a fast lens if it doesn't have decent sharpness wide open? I have tested the lens enough in 36 hours, it works very well at f/2.8 and, naturally, is a little crisper stopped down.

It takes some getting used to such a thin depth of field, background out-of-focus (bokeh) highlights are pleasing as well.

These were recorded this morning on the D40, using ISO 200, 400 and 800 where necessary.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ba ba black sheep

I had the day off, spent a lot of it devoted to imaging - processing files, getting matts for show prints, getting enlargements made, etc. Whenever I drove home the Branch Road, I see these critters in a field near the Tompkin Road, the grass is as tall as they are. This sheep bared his teeth to me, I have no idea if he was being silly or was genuinely annoyed with me.

D40 and 70-300mm VR.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

More early-morning glory

I am definitely a creature of the early part of the day, it's not unusual to get up at 4am and get going, doing whatever - reading, surfing the Web, or a lot of picture-taking in June and July - it's all good.

I took the D80 and 70-300mm VR out or a short walk, this morning, took about 35 files and got these as keepers.

Freedom Car Wash

This business establishment is across the road from where I work, it's a pretty busy place. This worker seems to go all day washing cars, trucks, RV's, whatever comes his way, but doesn't mind occasional help from the customer. D40 and 70-300mm VR, .

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My co-workers, significant others (and me in the middle!)

Our annual golf tournie allowed us to let our hair down at Mahone Insurance Group (easier for some more than others!). I had the foresight to bring my tripod as I envisioned a group photo taken by Self Timer. I figured the horizon might be straight, I still had to doctor it as it was not so straight (and I don't drink).........I punched up the color to emphasize the interesting personalities at MIG.

Lunenburg Harbour from a different point of view

We had our annual golf tournament on Sunday over at the Bluenose Golf Club, this afforded me the chance to shoot the colourful harbour from a unique perspective. The 70-300mm VR was just enough, I was not permitted to get closer as people were playing. Oh well.

Mist and fog

I still continue to enjoy the early-morning hours, even if the sun comes up way too quickly at this time of year. I see these images all the time when I drive the Trunk 10 route.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A new perspective

For years, I struggled with trying to get decent aerial photographs with my dad's float plane using film. Along came the Nikon D80 digital SLR with its 10MP sensor, and things came much easier, with the help of a great telephoto zoom lens, the AF-S 70-300mm VR. Due to the overcast day, I needed to shoot at ISO 400, 1/640th sec @ f/7.1. I used to think sunny days were needed for this type of shooting, maybe this looks better.

I am of the opinion once could create quality 16x20's from the original NEF's. The best thing is I don't need to go out and rob a bank to get the AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 VR, the modest 70-300mm VR works fine.

I set the VR to the ACTIVE mode, when sticking it out of an airplane going 75 mph, there is a lot of vibration, but the image stayed pretty steady.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Today's farmer's market

Not a whole lot different from the one I visited a few weeks ago, a couple new vendors, I am always trying to find new images amongst the crowd. The new SB-600 seems to work very well, especially at ISO 400 which is more or less a standard for "snapshot" type of files. All recorded with the D40 and 16-85mm VR.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Best shot of the week

I banged out a lot of files with the D80, this week, even though I enjoy using the D40, this upscale and tank-like DSLR does have a better viewfinder and superior AF. As much as I enjoy nature and scenics, my heart is really catered towards people and photojournalism-style shooting.

The ideal lighting conditions existed this morning for me - fog, mist, and comfortable temperatures, and no flies. Due to the fact it was 7am, the marginal light required me to shoot at ISO 400 with the 70-300mm VR to get something workable. I shot this nearly wide-open (f/6.3)at 1/100th second on a "consumer" zoom, looks fine to me. In fact, I plan to print an 8x10 from a TIFF file I created, so it passes my critical testing.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Sunsets can be and are beautiful, but the after effects can be even more stunning. Many people put their cameras away right once the sun goes down, they should learn to wait a few minutes for the afterglow.

I shot these two nights ago as I as coming home, it was after 9pm, I won't be able to do this in a month's time as the days get shorter.

Thank the good Lord for Vibration Reduction and RAW files, I was able to squeeze a lot from almost nothing.

D80 and 16-85mm VR, ISO 100.