Nikon D800: Initial Thoughts

The new D800

*Click for full resolution, but the image is a bit soft due to shooting wide open into a mirror.

My Nikon D800 came in about two days ago. To say I was giddy as a school girl on prom night might be putting it mildly. This camera really is a dream come true in a lot of respects. The only two things that ever really irked me about the D700 was that sometimes I just wanted a bit more resolution to work with for large prints, and it didn’t have a video mode. My D5100 filled the video gap, but only just barely. Its manual controls for video were shoddy at best, and I ran into a lot of issues, especially trying to get a specific shutter speed in fluorescent lighting to minimize rolling shutter or banding.

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Camera purchasing advice

Sony NEX-7I recently made a fairly extensive post on facebook answering the question “Can anyone recommend a good but fairly inexpensive DSLR?” Since it was really detailed, I figured I’d repost this to share this wisdom with the rest of you. Note that this is published mid-2012, so if you’re reading this a year from now, don’t expect it to still be relevant. Also note that these are just cameras that have piqued my interest for various reasons, and I don’t receive any endorsements from them or give endorsements. Also, the quality of your photos relies on your own photographic technique. Ansel Adams once said that the most important part of a camera is the six inches behind the viewfinder.

For reference, my current camera setup (once I have it in my hands in a few days) is a Nikon D800 with about $16k in lenses, so to me, everything below is pretty cheap. This is, of course, all relative. With that, here’s the post: Continue reading

The story behind the DADT photo

DADT repealed

It’s a common misconception that photos just fall from the sky. It’s not that people believe in some magic photo fairy (no pun intended), just that few people really think about how the photo happened. When you see a terrifying photo of war or other dangers, rarely would you think “oh yeah, someone had to be on the other end of that camera pushing the shutter release.” As bad as the people in a photo have it, there was a photographer experiencing the same thing, only with 20 pounds of photo gear on their back. Continue reading

The Camera Kit

From left to right, Nikon’s AF-S 24mm f/1.4, AF-S 50mm f/1.4, AF-S 85mm f/1.4 and AF 135mm f/2 DC. Photo by Samuel Morse

So, I’ve had several times where people ask me what camera gear I have and why I use it. I had to compile this list for the Air Force Public Affairs Agency to recommend equipment for their pre-assembled kits they send out to the field, so here’s more of that information. All gear is Nikon brand unless otherwise specified. Feel free to ask me about any of this gear. I’ve also included my shooting combos I most frequently use, so you can see how I assemble my kit to go on a shoot.

You can see additional camera purchasing advice here. Continue reading