Posts Tagged ‘D700’

The Night Drive

April 8th, 2010

It’s been a very long time since my last post.

I’ve been going through some stuff lately and ended up falling off the grid completely. It was remarkably easy to do, strangely enough. The crawling back is proving immeasurably harder to do. It’s not completely over, but I’m working on it. On that note, I’d like to apologise here to all my friends who’ve seen me drop off the map and who tried to raise me unsuccessfully.

The good news is that my lack of posts doesn’t mean that I’ve been idle photography-wise. That said, I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to return to the post-every-other-day routine for a while yet. This is due to a number of factors. The two main ones are: 1) I don’t have a steady internet connection; and 2) God willing, I may soon be embarking on a month-long trip over which I will – for certain – not have any internet access whatsoever. I’ll fill you in on the details of that soon enough.

Meanwhile, to celebrate the return of the not quite prodigal, I’ll leave you with a few pictures.

These were taken one night as I was driving back to Abu Dhabi from Al Ain. I set up my D700 on a tripod in between the front seats of my car and attached a cable release to it: Voila! Simple enough, I thought.

I took a test shot or two to get the settings I wanted (lens set to infinity, Aperture Priority mode, f/8, ISO 400), and off I went. The only problem was that on turns, the setup tended to lean dangerously, Tower of Pisa-style. It occasionally even threaten to topple, regardless how gently I took a turn. Next time I try this, I’m going to look to strapping the tripod legs to something…

I’m currently trying to find my way back … somewhere. So the images have taken on new meaning for me.

I hope you enjoy them.

More pictures soon!

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Double Exposure

December 14th, 2009

A few days ago I decided to experiment with multiple exposures.

I’d been meaning to try it for a while now and kept forgetting, until something reminded me of it recently.

A multiple exposure is a photographic technique in which a single image is created by making two or more exposures (photographs) on a single piece of film (or digital equivalent). A typical DSLR, like my Nikon D700, allows you to make such pictures manually.

There are also software programs out there (can anyone say Photoshop?) which can allow you to superimpose two or more pictures.

However, I wanted to try it in-camera. Besides, I don’t own or use Photoshop, so…

I decided to test it out by taking portraits of my father. I can never spend enough time with him, and I can never have enough pictures of him.

Below is one of the resulting pictures. The photograph is unaltered except to convert it to greyscale (black & white).

Seeing Double (D700, Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, f16, ISO 200, 1/320secs)

It came out pretty much as I envisaged it, though is not perfect by any count. I’ll be trying more double exposures in the future and hopefully you’ll see the difference of lessons learnt…

I shot at an aperture of f16 (a very small opening) as I didn’t want available light to affect the picture. I wanted only to have my lighting affect the picture.

I used a single flash to light, and just moved it to the other side when I changed position to take the other shot. The light in each case was directed at the far (i.e.: non-visible) side of my father’s face as I wanted both to have outline shots and to limit the light that hit the near side of his face. If I’d lit the camera-side profile I would have added detail to the side of his face and head for each shot – and meshed together things would just get messy and horrible.

I tried to have two different types of image and expression combined. And I managed to get him smiling in one, and asked him to turn his head very slightly towards me in the other.

I must say, my dad is so patient… He sat through the whole thing with a wry smile, watching me variously fiddle with the position of the flash, find the right angle to shoot from, or curse at my camera or at myself – the multiple exposure setting expires after each image made or if any other settings are touched. Which could be frustrating, and frequently was, as my fingers aren’t the most dexterous.

I always end up pressing some button I shouldn’t when trying to cradle camera, lightstand and flash and rearranging them on the other side after an exposure was made. I should have just used two pre-programmed flashes. But I was lazy and so ended up circling the armchair my father sat in more than I should have. (That said, that expiry thing is perfect – imaging forgetting to unselect multiple exposure once you’re done. You could end up shooting through a whole memory card’s worth before you realised…)

Hokay. So that wraps it up for today.

Yep. Just one picture.

Wha?

Oh alright. Here’s another. Also of my father. Taken a while back now. Also in black & white. I used a single flash to light him, and to get the light soft and lighting as I wanted I ended up putting the diffusion dome on the flash head and piling on layers of tissue paper (I was shooting TTL and hadn’t thought of shifting to manual mode…)

Da Profile

More pictures coming soon!

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Dibba in the Morning

October 7th, 2009

So, going on from my previous post, I mentioned that the plan was to make merry on the beach until dawn.

That mostly held true. Particularly for the others. For my part, I collapsed in my chair in the wee (and I mean wee) hours, shortly before dawn, while serenaded by 5 brilliant singing musicians (including Birthday Boy – and you should hear him play the piano). On the plus side, I awoke shortly thereafter in the middle of that magical hour – dawn – to find that everybody else (except for Birthday Boy) had collapsed and was snoring happily away.

So: Dawn + Awake + Amazing Place = Picture Time!

I hurriedly got up, grabbed my camera from the other end of the camp after fighting my way through the giant wasps that always seem to invade a camp-site in the morning, and the results are here for you to see.

Dhow at Dawn (Moon Over Dibba (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/640 seconds)

I’ve realised that lately I’ve become much more partial to soft pastels, whereas before I had a strong penchant for strikingly vivid colours…

Take this picture for example:

Dhow with Fujeirah Mountiains Behind (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/100 seconds)

Or this one (in which you can see just how crystal-clear the water was):

Fujeirah at Dawn, seen from Dibba (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/100 seconds)

Ok, so this one is rather vivid, but still:

Sun Rising Over Dibba

I shot the picture below from some old ruined huts which are peppered along the foot of the mountain. When I went towards the huts, my aim was to make some good pictures in the soft light of morning. Unfortunately, nothing I saw really spoke to me, so instead I turned my attention to more interesting stuff – like our camp.

Below you can see Birthday Boy about to ready breakfast, tiptoeing over and around the party animals that lay sprawled all over the place, while in the background the mountains of Fujeirah rise up through the mist in the fragile light of dawn.

The Camp, seen from Ruins (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 85mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/125 seconds)

I probably could have gone off in search of different angles to shoot from, and different things to see, but to be honest – all I wanted to do was get in the water and snorkel (more on that in comping posts).

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Dibba by Night

October 5th, 2009

Last weekend was a great friend of mine’s birthday. To celebrate, the plan was for some 15-odd people to camp for a night by the beach at the foot of a mountain and to make merry until dawn.

So that’s exactly what transpired, and thus Camping Season was reopened after the too-long summer hiatus.

The location, you ask? Dibba!

Dibba is located on the coastal region at the northeastern tip of the UAE/Oman peninsula, on the Indian Ocean. Dibba is odd in that it is a town and region which is divided among three states. One part is ruled by the Emirate of Sharjah (Dibba Al Hosn), the other by the Emirate of Fujeirah (Dibba Al Fujeirah) and the third by Oman’s Governorate of Mussandam (Dibba Al Baya).

The camp was to be set up at the far end of the Omani side of Dibba, in a spot my friends and I know well and love. The last time we were there was at that same friend’s birthday exactly one year ago.

By the time I got there it was just after sunset and the full moon was out and was oh-so bright.

I don’t have many shots to share with you from then as I got engrossed in other things: the company of great people, the delicious food (including camp-fire roasted lamb which was so tender it would just melt in your mouth – did I mention Birthday Boy is a cordon bleu?), the camp-fire guitar-and-drum-accompanied songs, and moonlight snorkelling (yes, moonlight – the water was so clear and the moon so bright it was possible for us to see 7 to 8 meters down, but more on that later).

So here are two of the (pitifully few) pictures I took that night.

Lights of Dibba (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 34 seconds)

The arcs of light you see to the right of the picture above are from the light painting I did with my torch. I have another shot where the light painting spreads across the whole middle of the frame, but I prefer this one for some reason.

Moon Over Dibba (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 56mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 24 seconds)

I wanted to show how bright the moon was – so bright you didn’t need a fire to light your way around. Here you have the little lonely tree at the top of the mountain, with the bright flame of a camp fire midway up its flank, and the sloping sand of the beach before it.

More pictures coming very soon!

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Moi. A Portrait

October 1st, 2009

A while back I decided to fool around with some light. Just to see what combinations worked and how. A little experimentation, if you will.

So I made a self portrait.

Looking through the small collection of pictures I took that day again, I realised that I’m wearing the same suit and combination of shirt and tie. In the words of Dr. Horrible: What a crazy random happenstance!

(You absolutely MUST see Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. It is Joss Whedon at his very very best. It’s a short, hilarious tragicomedy musical – or rather: a “tragic-romantic-comedy-musical-satire” – that he made when bored during the 2007-2008 Writer’s Guild of America strike. It was shot over 6 days on a shoe-string budget and was after released for free on the Web. If you’re in the US, you can stream it from the Hulu plugin on the DHSAB website, else, you can view DHSAB in three Acts on YouTube here: Act I (Part I and Part II), Act II (Part I and Part II), Act III (Part I and Part II).)

Anyway, I digressed. Seeing as I’m wearing the same combination as I write this, I’ve decided to share with you a self-portrait from that shoot.

I set my D700 on a mini tripod very close to the floor, and set two flashes: one to camera left inside the doorway with a diffusion dome attached (white light), and the other to camera left, gelled warm with a full CTO and with a makeshift snoot so the light was directed only at my face (warm – as in: slightly orange – light).

So here it is.

Self Portrait

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Island Chilling

September 21st, 2009

Sunset Island

Eid Mubarak to one and all!

Well, Ramadan is over. And it’s back to a normal train of life. But meanwhile, there’s nothing like a boat trip to start off the Eid holiday on a good footing. I went out to one of the islands around Abu Dhabi (featured up top) with some friends. We snorkelled, walked among the mangroves, enjoyed the chattering of birds, the company of baby rays, went sea-shell hunting and stayed out rather late into the night, chatting by the fire, taking night swims and enjoying the fluorescence.

I took my camera with me, hoping to be able to capture something interesting.

Shooting from the speedboat while moving was difficult at best – too much shaking, and trying to zoom in/out through the ziplock bag I’d DIYed into a protective cover for the camera was an annoyance. To top it off, later when taking pictures of star trails I even managed to run out of juice, mid-picture. Dead battery. Should have checked it before hand. First time it happens to me – Nikon’s awesome batteries have tended to last and last and last… My bad.

Overall, fantastic day (and night) out in great company, but not a great picture-taking day.

That said, the two shots below made lugging the camera with me worthwhile.

The Mermaid

Sunset Olympics

All shots above were with a Nikon D700 with a Tamron 24mm-135mm F3.5-5.6 lens.

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