This juvenile was a part of a big herd. At one point it got separated from the parents and started going towards me, anxiously looking at what I was doing. Animals at Rocky Mountain National Park are not scared of people because nobody harms them.
Chipmunks are very common in Colorado. In fact, they are sometimes too common and completely unafraid of people. Unfortunately, chipmunks get fed by people in Colorado because they find them cute. This is a big problem, because many chipmunks now rely on this food source and most probably won’t be able to survive without it. Not only that, but sometimes they get too close, even trying to steal food from bags and picnic tables.
While this chipmunk was not as dramatic as this one, it was still darn cute. It was waiting for me to give some food, but I don’t feed wildlife, so I started approaching it with my camera. At one point I purposely moved the camera towards the chipmunk wanting it to go away, but it stood on the rock, waiting. So, I took a couple of pictures of it, filling the frame, then took off.
American Pika is a very cute animal that lives very high up in the mountains. It loves cold weather and cannot stand warm temperatures. Apparently, it dies within one hour if the outside temperature reaches above 23°C (75°F). I snapped the following pictures of American Pika in the Rocky Mountain National Park:
All neat features in digital photography start off in point and shoot (P&S) cameras as an experiment. Whoever comes up with the idea first, gets to sell more P&S cameras (which, by the way, largely outweigh DSLR sales) because people love more usable features. Once the feature is solid and becomes a standard, it then gets introduced into the semi-professional market, eventually becoming a standard feature in professional cameras.
Being able to record video or viewing the scene in “live view” mode is not anything new – it has been done for years by pretty much all semi-advanced P&S cameras. However, the story with SLR cameras has been different, since the light does not fall directly on the sensor – it gets mirrored into the viewfinder. Because of the way SLR cameras work, there were two major limitations: first, whatever comes through the lens needs to be on the sensor continuously and second, SLR sensors are much more sensitive to light. Once the challenge of keeping the shutter open and capturing the image in live view mode was overcome, most DSLR manufacturers started introducing it in their cameras. As of today, live view is now becoming a standard feature in most consumer, semi-professional and professional equipment.
On August 27, 2008, Nikon introduced the new Nikon D90 DSLR camera. Nikon was the first DSLR manufacturer that incorporated HD video recording into an amateur DSLR camera. This revolutionary move is going to trigger all other competitors to work on this feature, which in a couple of years will become a standard. The early version of video recording is very limited (time limits, no autofocus, mono sound), but wait 18-24 months and you will be amazed by the developments. I cannot wait for a moment when I can use a long lens and capture wildlife in action in full 1080p HD, wirelessly transmitting the video directly into my laptop and use ultra wide, fisheye and lensbabies types of lenses for cool video effects! I hope that within the next two to three years, besides all other new innovations, most DSLR cameras will be equipped with video capability, GPS and WiFi :)
I spent a full day with Sergey at the Rocky Mountain National Park and it was a very eventful day! I shot 600+ photos of beautiful landscapes, birds and other animals. The weather was perfect in the morning and it started raining at about 2 PM all the way until the end of the day. On our way to the park, I was telling Sergey that we must see at least one coyote, one fox and one bear to make the day. Well guess what, we saw a coyote and a bear! On our way back from the Bear Lake, we stopped to snap a couple of pictures of a blue jay and all of a sudden a coyote came out of nowhere and started hunting right in front of us. At first I thought it was a gray fox, but looking closer I realized it was an adult coyote, hunting small rodents. I started taking pictures of it and it did not mind me at all. I was joined by other wildlife photographers in a matter of seconds…
After about 200 photos of this coyote posing and hunting (unfortunately it did not catch anything), we headed off to the north, looking for other wildlife. On trail ridge road we encountered a fellow Nikonian, running around with a 300mm lens. I asked him what he was shooting and he pointed up the mountain. I looked and saw a black bear! My camera was out in seconds, mounted on top of a tripod (it was too dark and cloudy to shoot without good support). I snapped 10+ pictures before the bear disappeared in the woods.
Confirming the rumors, the new Nikon D700 is official as of today. Along with the FX body, Nikon announced SB-900 flash and two new perspective control lenses. Looks like we won’t be getting the updated versions of the old lenses (especially primes such as 50mm f/1.4) anytime soon, which is kind of sad. The D700 is released in response to the upcoming Canon 5D Mark II.
I’ve been watching PMA closely for all announcements from Nikon. To be honest, just like many other Nikonians out there, I’m disappointed. Many of us (users of Nikon gear) were expecting updates to the professional and prime line-up of lenses such as 50mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.4 that are very old and are long overdue for an update. All the latest Nikon gear is coming out with AF-S & N coated glass, so having primes with the above features is becoming a big necessity. Many people are waiting for these lenses impatiently and PMA 2008 was a big hope…but it turned out otherwise.
First of all, why D60? Nikon seized the production of D40 and D40x and invested time and money into a body that nobody needs. It might have a sensor cleaning system and an Expeed processor from D300, but almost all other specs are identical to D40x. So, the question is – who is this body for? Higher-end D80 costs $90 more (according to B&H) and can do a lot more. Price-wise, it’s definitely not an entry-level camera, so is Nikon expecting DSLR newbies to buy this camera?
Now regarding the newly-introduced lenses. Nikon presented a new consumer DX lens – 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR. Unless it performs much better than 18-200mm VR, there is really no market for this lens with its price tag of $650. True, 2mm does matter on the wide end, but how will this guy truly perform? If the performance is average throughout and poor on the wide end, nobody will buy it. If the performance is much better than 18-200mm VR, this will be an interesting lens to look at.
The new perspective-control lenses PC-E 24mm, 45mm and 85mm all sport ED glass and were a big surprise for everyone. Some people (those with deep pockets, who probably own all of Nikkor glasses) found these useful and interesting, while most didn’t really care. Yeah it can shift and tilt, but it’s freaking manual and is definitely not something I want to waste money on (the PC-E 24mm f/3.5 costs $2000 and doesn’t work on many Nikon bodies). I’m not ready for this type of photography.
The only good news is the 60mm f/2.8 AF-S Macro. The old 60mm macro needed an update and Nikon did just that. The new 60mm features an updated motor along with N coated glass, which should make it a very fine lens. But Nikon is already strong and much ahead of the competition on macro glass, so why continue updating it? The 105mm VR was already excellent…