I’m back from a nice trip to New England and Canada, and while fall colors can be hit or miss, I did find some fun landscape subjects. We were driving along the Fundy Trail Parkway in New Brunswick, when we came across a trailhead to a waterfall. After a short walk down some trail stairs, we found ourselves on a viewing platform. Of course, I hadn’t brought my tripod, nor a set of ND filters on this trip.
I did, however, have a polarizer, and I was able to take advantage of the Live ND feature in the OM Systems (Olympus) OM-1 camera. Live ND is a computation feature that simulates a solid ND filter for extended exposure times without using a glass filter, up to 6-stops. This feature, combined with the tremendous image stabilization in the OM-1 allowed me to easily capture sharp shots hand-held at 1/2 second while not needing to stop down to f/22. I simply braced myself on the railing and captured images until I was happy.
The Live ND feature is so useful for casual long exposure shooting that I’ve taken the extra step to assign it to a function button on my camera for easy recall. Photography should be fun, and this situation certainly was.
Photographing sloths, birds, and more at an upscale eco lodge
I’m flying home to Colorado after my third visit to Isla Bastimentos on Panama’s northwest Caribbean coast, and it was a fantastic visit. My journey started out in Panama City, where I checked in to a modern hotel downtown. As a side trip, I took a short Uber ride to the Metropolitan Nature Park in Panama City. I figured it would be an easy place to explore, and where I could check all the settings on my camera gear.
On this trip my primary camera was the Nikon Z9 paired with the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 Nikkor Z lens, and the Nikon 1.4x Z teleconverter. This camera and lens combination provides a focal length range from 140-560mm and a maximum aperture of f/8. I was also able to use the Nikon Z9’s DX crop mode, which narrowed the angle of view to effectively 840mm. Because the Nikon Z9 is a mirrorless camera, using DX crop mode magnifies the viewfinder image and improves autofocus accuracy. This comes at the expense of resolution, which drops from 45 to 19 megapixels in DX crop mode.
At the Nature Park, I photographed several bird species, including kingbirds, tanagers, and a squirrel cuckoo. I also encountered red-eared sliders (turtles), basilisk lizards (the fabled “Jesus Christ” lizard), and even a three-toed sloth. Of course, this particular sloth was basically just a ball of fur hunkered down at the top of a tall tree; hardly photogenic (more on this in a moment).
The next day, I greeted my photography clients as they checked in to our downtown hotel. After a brief welcome session, we enjoyed dinner and drinks at the hotel restaurant before retiring for the evening; we had a full day planned for tomorrow and needed to be ready for our morning tour to Monkey Island and the Gamboa Sloth Sanctuary.
I’ve been down in New Mexico since Wednesday, leading a travel photography workshop with my Image Doctors podcast co-host, Rick Walker. We’ve had a great group of clients who are very enthusiastic about photography and learning new ways to approach subjects for their travelogues. Here’s some photos I’ve captured along the way…
I had a great time photographing the aerial performers at the Pikes Peak Regional Air Show in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I used my Nikon Z9 and 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 Nikkor Z lens for all of these shots. Be sure to tune in to this week’s episode of The Image Doctors podcast to hear about my gear and settings, and a little bit about how I processed these images. Click on an image to enlarge it.
I spent most of last week in San Diego, leading my annual Southern California birding & wildlife workshop. It was my first real test of the new Nikon Z9 and Nikon 100-400mm S lens. The camera and lens combo performed flawlessly, tracking the fast-moving royal terns along the coast as they circled the rocky shore, looking for a landing spot.
100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S Nikkor + Nikon Z teleconverter 1.4x