Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Competition Winner!

Thanks to the folks over at Digital Photography School for choosing me as 2nd place winner of their photography tip contest.

I wrote an article about getting over trying to learn the technical side of photography from a computer and going out and putting things into practice instead.

Head on over to DPS to give it a read here!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

New Website

I've been working on my new website for some while. It's almost in its final stages, and I just need to add photos to the rest of the galleries and we should be good to go!

If you have any comments or suggestions for the new site, let me know!


Been shooting just a little bit with my new D700, but I'm really loving it. It surely is at least a five-year body. Not much can be improved from this baby.

School work's been piling up, so I'm sorry that I haven't been posting frequently. I will try and be better about it. At least 2-3 posts per week. WITH PICTURES!

In other news, I booked my next wedding today. Scheduled for Sept 26, 2009 in Champaign, IL. Thanks to Kirstin Phelps for the referral!

Here they are: Alix and Byron

ISO 6400 f/2 1/80

I think the direction of this blog will also shift just a bit. Instead of just technical photo jargon, I will also use it as a typical blog for my personal use. More on that later.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


My D700 arrived yesterday. The Nikon D700 is one of Nikon's top pro bodies available. It's a change from the D90 in terms of size and weight, but I've been working out to carry the beast :). I received it at a good price with the MB-D10 grip, and a Kirk L-Bracket. I put 8 AA's into the grip to boost the body up to 8fps and this baby RIPS. It can shoot highly usable files at ISO 6400 with minimal post processing. These files are beautiful. It is also a full-frame camera (36x24) sensor. Meaning that my lenses are now what they were supposed to be. No more crop factor or DX. Image quality has gone up significantly and my images feel more quality than what I got out of the D90. I'm looking forward to future shoots with the body and can't wait until it's a little bit warmer outside. Without further adieu, I present to you my baby D700 along with some Hi-ISO test shots (of course!).

130mm 1/80 f/3.5 ISO 6400

200mm 1/25 f/2.8 ISO 6400

85mm 1/320 f/1.4 ISO 6400 (underexposed, but still noiseless)

85mm 1/640 f/1.4 ISO 6400

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Ordered my D700 at the end of last week. Should be getting it Wednesday. More updates as they come!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Nailing the Exposure (3 of 3)

Sorry it's been so long since I've last blogged. Winter break was a blur and I'm back on campus now.

Our last component of exposure is shutter speed, or the time it takes for the mirror to go up and down and the image to be captured.

This is the last variable that I change while shooting and is my most often changed variable. So to recap: I set my ISO depending on the environment - base ISO (typically 100 or 200) for outdoors in sun and 800-1600 for dimly lit, interiors. I then set my aperture for the depth of field that I want. f/1.4 - f/2.8 for shallow depth of field, and f/3.5 and up if I need more depth of field. Remembering that the lower the number, the more light that enters. Lastly I set my shutter speed.

Shutter speed, as mentioned before, determines how fast your shutter *clicks*. This determines how long light can enter the camera and how long the shutter is recording for. A slower shutter speed lets more light in and a faster shutter speed lets in less light. Therefore, typically you will need a slower shutter speed in darker settings and a faster one in bright settings.

Shutter speeds are typically stated as a fraction of a second. If your camera reads "8000", it means that your shutter speed is 1/8000th of a second. 40 => 1/40th of a second and so forth. If your camera reads 1", 2", 3", etc. it means 1 second, 2 seconds, 3 seconds, and so forth.

Fast shutter speeds have these perks:
Help eliminate lens blur due to camera shake
"Freeze" action

The general "rule of thumb" for shutter speed was that you want to have at least 1/focal length as your shutter speed in order to prevent camera shake.
e.g. A 50mm lens should be shot at a shutter speed of at least 1/50. 105mm lens at 1/100, etc.

So why use slower shutter speeds? It seems like they do nothing! Wrong! Here are a few perks:
Let more light in allowing you to get a better exposure
Allow you to purposely "blur" images via panning
With a combination of flash and rear curtain sync, a slow shutter can show motion while freezing motion
Make awesome light trails, light graffiti, and star trails!
The one caveat is that you most likely want to have a good tripod support system to shoot with slower shutter speeds in order to eliminate camera shake (blurry images!)

I'll end with a few sample images and explain how shutter speed was used to make the image.

A slow shutter speed (1/30) was used for this image along with a panning motion to have a sharp car with blurred background

A long shutter speed (30") was used for this image to capture streaks of cars as they passed by.

A long shutter (1/8) with rear curtain sync and flash used

A fast shutter (1/1000) used to freeze the action of the race