This article is the answer to my “How was this picture made?” post from a couple weeks ago. First, an apology – I intended to have this article published several days ago, but my winter classes already have taken their toll on my spare time (and sleep). That said, I hope the answer is worth the wait!
In my photography classes I often get asked, “What is a long exposure?” Many beginning photographers want me to give them a definitive shutter speed with my explanation. However, long exposures are not only subject driven, they are largely based on the artistic vision you have for your photograph. Panning, light painting and night photography all make use of long exposures. However, these techniques are subjects of a future article. Today I would like to discuss “really” long exposures, exposures in excess of several minutes. These types of exposures create surreal, dreamlike images. They use neutral density filters (think sunglasses for your lens) to extend exposure times far in excess of what could be achieved by simply decreasing ISO and stopping down your aperture.
I love Death Valley. Despite its name, it is one of the most stunning places on this planet to visit, enjoy and photograph. While I have been to many areas of the park, every time I visit, I find something new to explore. Since my first visit to Death Valley back in 2009, one place that really got me hooked was Zabriskie Point. Thanks to its vivid colors, delicate shapes and beautiful contours, it is truly a magical place to be. However, in spite of my continuous attempts to capture the place in its grande beauty, I have been constantly treated with bland blue skies, overcast days and whenever I got even a hint of color, it would always seem to be taking place elsewhere – not in the direction where my camera was pointed at. By now, I lost count of how many times I have attempted to photograph Zabriskie Point at sunrise (my guess is over 20), it really has been a place of zero luck for me, my archenemy.
So while new gear is released and debated and salivated over this month I humbly submit that it may be worth a reminder as to why it means anything to us at all. Something to do with taking photos, I think, I’m not really sure. But while a newer sensor or greater ISO range or more AF points gets your hearts racing again as when the world was new, at some point we’ll need to remember to take some photos. This is in no way to diminish the enthusiasm people have for new equipment but perhaps I can be a small counterpoint to the frenzied gear fetish and dwell on some images.
No matter what you photograph, there is one thing you should realize about light. Not all light is created equal. I’m not talking about the quality of light, but rather the color of light. What you might see as white light from different sources can actually have different colors, or what are referred to as color temperatures. Direct sunlight at noon (which I’ll just refer to as sunlight) is considered to be a “normal” color temperature, so all light sources are compared to this as the standard. For example, light from an incandescent light bulb appears to be more orange than sunlight. On the opposite side of the spectrum, shady areas appear to be more blue than sunlight. In photography, we refer to these differences as being “warmer” (or more orange) and “cooler” (or more blue) than our neutral sunlight reference point. In this article, we will go over the basics of white balance and color temperature, topics that can be a bit intimidating for beginners to understand.
Without a doubt, the Nikon D5 and D500 DSLR announcements have been the center of attention in the photography world this week, probably similar to the impact the Nikon D3 and D300 had back in 2007. The Nikon D5, in particular, is certainly something many sports and wildlife photographers have been waiting for. Thanks to the brand new autofocus system with a whopping 153 focus points, better focusing capabilities in low light, expanded native ISO range, brand new 180,000 pixel metering sensor, faster processor, 12 fps continuous shooting speed and many other tweaks and updates, the Nikon D5 was definitely worth the wait. For many, it will surely be a serious tool to consider moving up to. Let’s take a look at how the Nikon D5 fares against the Nikon D4s and see what advantages it brings in comparison. More details on the camera will be provided in our upcoming Nikon D5 review.
Before the D500 announcement, Nikon’s best DX camera for sports and wildlife photography has been the D7200. While the D7200 is a superb camera on its own, one might be wondering how and where exactly it differs when compared directly to the new Nikon D500. The quick answer to that question is enthusiast-level DSLR vs professional-level DSLR, but there is obviously a bit more than that to talk about. Let’s take a look at both cameras and see how they differ when it comes to ergonomics and specifications.
I am currently in Death Valley NP, shooting with a bunch of new gear including the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E VR, so I wanted to provide my early thoughts on this lens. Some of our readers sent me concerned emails, asking what I think about the 24-70mm f/2.8E VR, since apparently some others were quite unimpressed with this lens, even putting it into the category of “one of the worst lens releases of 2015”. I am not sure where these statements come from (sadly, my Internet connection here is really bad), but based on two samples of the Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8E VR that I currently have access to, the new updated version seems to be an absolute gem. Based on my limited time pixel-peeping some of the images I have captured so far, it seems like Nikon has optimized the new 24-70mm differently when compared to its predecessor.
If you are interested in purchasing the newly announced Nikon D500, D5 or the SB-5000 speedlight, you can support Photography Life by purchasing through the below links. Please note that these are hot products, so the pre-order line is probably going to get huge pretty fast!
The new Nikon D500 surely looks amazing and very promising – much more exciting than the new Nikon D5 in my opinion, which is surely impressive, especially for those who need such a high-end tool. While we have written about the standard specifications of the D500 and its amazing features, like its 153 point AF system and its practically unlimited buffer, there are a few other hidden features that come in the Nikon D500, which are certainly worth looking into. Let’s take a look at these in more detail.