Photographing Birds-in-Flight with Nikon 1 J5

I’ve been quite busy with client work lately and I decided that I needed a break. So, today I headed out to photograph birds-in-flight with my Nikon 1 J5. As most folks know, this camera does not have a viewfinder, so I used four, thick elastic bands to attach my Zacuto Z-Finder to the rear of the J5. It ended up being reasonably snug against the back of the camera. While not particularly elegant looking, it did get the job done.

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A Local Car Show

Now no one’s ever going to accuse me of being a motorhead any more than they could accuse me of being a gearhead. Cars don’t provoke a tachycardic enthusiasm from me in the same way as other subjects do. But there happened to be a car show at a summer festival nearby yesterday so I ambled along with my camera to see the display. I was certainly tempted by the beautiful lines, form and colour of classic car anatomy.

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My Self-Imposed 23mm Challenge with a Fuji X100T

The past few months I have fallen victim to a creative slump, a rut, a lack of enthusiasm around my photography. Call it what you want, I felt uninspired. Although I love nature and bird photography, I found myself struggling to make time to get out and shoot. We live on the gulf coast of southern Mississippi. There is an abundance of wonderful birdlife, beautiful sunsets and unique cypress swamps full of wildlife begging to be photographed. When I did…

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Overcoming “No Viewfinder” Concerns

I can still remember buying my first camera, a Nikkormat, back in 1974. Since then every camera I ever owned had a viewfinder of some sort built into it. The prospect of ever owning a camera that didn’t have a viewfinder was so foreign to me that I simply dismissed buying the Nikon 1 J5 out-of-hand. Well, the combination of the delay in an updated V-Series body and the lure of improved image quality of the J5’s 20.8MP BSI sensor finally…

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Defeating The Slump

Not a very positive article to post from the perpetually optimistic Alpha Whiskey, or to pull me away from the exciting Euro soccer tournament (although this particularly pedestrian game will forgive me the distraction of writing this). But on a recent escapade a friend of mine seemed to be missing her photographic mojo. I’m not sure what happened but it had definitely vacated her previously enthusiastic demeanour. Perturbed to see my friend so forlorn I rationed a few brain cells (not having…

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Photographing the Humpback Whales of Tonga

Photographing the humpback whales of Tonga has been on my personal bucket list for a number of years and finally in 2015 I got to spend nearly three weeks in Neiafu, the main town in the Vavu’a island group in the north of the archipelago, where the majority of the whale watching takes place. The 170+ islands that make up the nation of Tonga are stretched out over a 800km long archipelago,  located about 1600 km north-east of New Zealand…

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A Look Back at the Intimate, Otherworldly Photography of Fan Ho

I am sad to say that the world of photography lost one of its true masters this past Sunday. Chinese photographer Fan Ho, known for his intimate street photographs of 1950’s Hong Kong, died of pneumonia at the age of 84. His photographs are more than simply beautiful; they show an understanding of light and composition is truly unparalleled. I cannot write anything that does justice to work like this, so I will leave with one of Fan Ho’s quotes…

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Image Blending: The Landscape Photography Revolution

The transition from film to digital was one of the most dramatic shifts in the history of photography, and countless new techniques arose along the way. Everything from exposing to the right to the ability to review photos on-the-fly dramatically changed the photographic world. Of all these changes, though, one has transformed landscape photography far more than any other: the advent of digital image blending.

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California Dreaming

We were in the Marina of Santa Barbara and I was looking for a cheap restaurant. Then I spotted On The Alley and rushed to the place. The song California Dreaming (a hit of The Mamas & The Papas) was playing and the attendants were dancing animatedly. When they saw me, they blushed. I just laughed and they immediately started serving me (and the service was excellent). I and my wife, Nina, enjoyed the food and left the place very…

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A Sad Tale of Photographing in Yellowstone

I just got back from a trip to Yellowstone National Park to test out the Nikon D500, Nikon D5 and Pentax K-1 DSLRs (reviews to be posted soon) and I wanted to share my experience, specifically my frustrations with visiting and photographing this amazing location, which has been my top spot for many years for photographing both wildlife and landscapes. I spent a week in Yellowstone and my original plan was to stay there for longer if needed, depending on…

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Flowers Up Close and Personal

My wife wanted to go out today to buy a few annuals for some of the flower gardens around the house. Naturally I thought this would be a great opportunity to capture some quick images of flowers and I volunteered to go with her. I know…I know…typical husband with an ulterior motive! I grabbed one of my Nikon 1 J5’s, popped on a 21mm MOVO extension tube and the 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 lens, and we headed out to a few of the area…

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Chasing the Light

More than any other fundamental aspect of photography, light is at the heart of every image you take. Without light, photography cannot exist; it is the foundation of every image, giving shape and meaning to each scene in your viewfinder. Personally, as a landscape photographer, my photographic decisions are shaped more than anything else by the lighting conditions that I encounter. From a soft mist to a dramatic sunset, whether at a mountain or a desert valley, my preferred approach…

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Giving in to GAS with the Nikon 1 J5

It’s been 9 months since I wrote my review of the Nikon 1 J5 and I finally gave in to a bout of GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) that has been lingering for some time, purchasing a J5 this week. I had resisted the temptation to buy this particular camera as I was waiting for the new 20.8MP BSI sensor to find its way into an updated Nikon 1 V-series camera. With the recent earthquakes in Japan delaying various Nikon products the timing seemed right…

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The Generation of the Self-Obsessed

Sometimes it is quite amusing to observe the impact of the social media world on our youth. With the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and Tumblr dominating the daily lives of people today, it seems like the younger generation is only concerned about getting more likes on their next “duck-face” photo, their thigh gaps, or a selfie in front of a major landmark. They know more about what the Kardashians wore for the Met Gala event than what the…

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Photographing the Narrows in Zion National Park

Perhaps the most famous sight in Utah’s Zion National Park is the Narrows, a slot canyon carved by the Virgin River. The dramatic patterns in these sandstone cliffs are some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country, making for incredible images. I had the opportunity to photograph this amazing sight last month, which was not a particularly easy endeavor. Some of the most beautiful parts of the Narrows are only accessible after hiking upstream through the river for several miles.

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Eclectic Images from a Morning Street Walk

From time to time I like to go out for a walk with a camera and create a small challenge for myself. This morning it was walking a few blocks up one side of a city street, then down the opposite side, while capturing a few images along the way. Unlike many photographers I never take images of people when I am out on a street walk as I am much more fascinated by what people create…and tend to leave…

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