Here’s a pretty standard shot of a Western Gull, which I captured a few weeks ago while leading my San Diego Birding photo safari. Gulls are relatively easy targets for practicing your bird shots, and while this shot isn’t remarkable by any means, my choice of gear still made a difference.
First, I was using the Nikon D850 DSLR. The outstanding dynamic range of this camera allowed me to capture the entire gamut of shadows and highlight details in a single exposure. Should I decide to print this image, I could go as large as 24×34 without any resampling.
Second, I used the versatile Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 VR zoom lens. For a “consumer” lens, it’s really hard to beat. But why this lens was perfect for this shot was because it was not only light enough to hand-hold, but also that it’s minimum focus distance of 7.2′ (2.19m) allowed me to get really close to my subject and create a really smooth out of focus background.
For my last two birding safaris, I’ve eschewed my heavy tripods for the flexibility of a monopod with tilt-head and shoulder-stock. The monopod is lightweight and mobile, but when combined with my Arca-Swiss shoulder stock, I get a very stable configuration in the field, with my legs replacing a tripod. This isn’t easy to do with a monopod alone; the shoulder-stock creates a solid contact point between my camera and my body.
Finally, because processing the final image is just as important to me as the capture itself, I used Adobe Lightroom Classic CC to fine-tune the exposure, tone, and detail in the RAW image. I leveraged Adobe’s Nikon Camera Neutral profile to open the shadows and protect highlights while giving me maximum control over global and local tone and color.
I’ve just returned from my final instructional photo safari of 2017, and things couldn’t have gone any better. My group of 8 photo enthusiasts spent several days shooting sunrises and sunsets at the gypsum dunes in White Sands National Monument. What a place! The simplicity of the landscape there is just perfect for working on improving compositional techniques. We also found out that having a full moon at dusk doesn’t hurt, either.
My hands-on, non-techincal, totally subjective review
I’ve had the Nikon D850 for about a month now, and I’ve been able to use it on two of my landscape photo safaris so far. I figured then it’s time for a Nikon D850 review! I want to briefly present my impressions with this camera based on my experience in the field. I’ve previously shot with both a Nikon D800E and Nikon D810. This is my subjective review of how the Nikon D850 DSLR camera has impacted my photography. I’m sure others will post detailed technical reviews of noise, dynamic range, etc. I’ll leave that to the technical geeks and instead focus on my personal experiences with this new camera. Continue reading Nikon D850 Hands-On Review→
Hi friends, sorry about the post hiatus there… I’m back from two safaris in the span of three weeks and I’m finally going through a few thousand images from my new camera!
Here’s a photo from my recent Oregon Coast Photo Safari that I captured alongside my clients in Bandon, Oregon. The tilting LCD on the new Nikon D850 made getting the low angle far easier than when I used the D810. The Nikon D850 is quite possibly the best all-around camera I’ve ever had the pleasure to use. More than the 45 megapixel sensor, it’s what surrounds that sensor that makes the D850 a must-have upgrade over the Nikon D800/e or D810 DSLRs.
The wide dynamic range of the D850, like the D810 before it, means that in the rare times where you find yourself needing an HDR bracket, you can often do the capture with just two frames; one metered for the highlights and a second frame exposed for the shadows.
I merged two images using Lightroom’s HDR feature and then processed the final image in Photoshop using my Luminosity mask actions. This process allowed me to saturate the midtones without overcooking the highlights around Face Rock in the background.