What’s In My Bag: Thomas Stirr

What's in my bag?

Over the past few months I’ve had a number of readers contact me at my office or via email and inquire about the Nikon 1 gear that I use and why I selected various components. I thought that providing a list of my gear may be of interest and benefit to some readers so here is a “What’s in my bag” article as it pertains to my Nikon 1 gear.

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Photographing Hummingbirds in Flight Without Using Flash

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Most people who enjoy taking images of birds will attest to the fact that it can be especially challenging to photograph hummingbirds. These little ‘pocket rockets’ dart around constantly and very seldom stay in one place long enough for us to find them in our viewfinders, let alone actually get an image. If you’re like me even being able to capture a decent image of a hummingbird on a feeder with its wings spread is an uncommon feat.

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Photographing Cormorants in Flight with Nikon 1

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As part of the field work for my review of the Nikon 1 V3 I took some images of birds in flight under rather harsh winter conditions earlier this year. While I did have some success with the Nikon 1 CX 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 zoom lens I wasn’t satisfied that I had given the lens a good test with this subject matter as my goal for the article was more to demonstrate the capability of the V3. I really wanted to try photographing some cormorants but by the time I purchased my copy of the Nikon 1 CX 70-300 in late 2014 most of the cormorants had already migrated south so I missed a good testing opportunity last year.

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Crocodilia and more at Alligator Adventure

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There is something about crocodiles and their relatives that fascinates many people. Perhaps it’s the 85 million year history of this family of creatures. Or maybe when we look into their eyes, it is the realization that they may be looking back at us as a potential meal that gets our attention. If you are in the Myrtle Beach (South Carolina) area a trip to Alligator Adventure may be a great way to spend part of a day. The facility has a wide range of crocodilia from all over the globe, including rare albino alligators (Note: I pushed my Nikon 1 V2 to f/7.1, 1/20, ISO-6400 to capture the image below)

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Brookgreen Gardens: A Photo Essay

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My wife and I have been to the Myrtle Beach (South Carolina) area many times over the past 20 years but it wasn’t until 2015 that we finally visited Brookgreen Gardens. To say that we were shocked with what we discovered there would be an understatement. We simply had no idea how extensive the grounds are and how much there is to see. From a photography standpoint Brookgreen Gardens is a treasure chest of creative possibilities. From the extensive sculpture garden with hundreds of pieces on display, to the Lowcountry Trail, the zoo and plantation sites, the pontoon boat cruise, and many natural areas, the facility is brimming with image opportunities. Rather than try to explain the photography potential of visiting Brookgreen Gardens I thought I would share some images that I captured during a single morning that we spent at the facility. My wife and I have already decided that the next time we visit the Myrtle Beach area we’ll be spending at least 2 or 3 full days at Brookgreen Gardens.

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Tips for Photographing Small Lizards

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If you live in a warm sub-tropical or tropical climate, or holiday in one, you’ve likely seen many small lizards scurrying about and you may have tried to photograph them. Often times this is not as easy as it first appears as these small critters tend to be quite skittish and can disappear in a blink of an eye. In addition, they tend to be quite small so unless you can get close enough to them these lizards can end up as minor subjects in your overall image.

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Photographing Heron in Cuba

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I recently returned from a vacation in Cuba during which I had the opportunity to photograph a few different species of heron using my Nikon 1 V2 and Nikon 1 CX 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 telephoto zoom lens. I ended up photographing birds hand-held for about 7-8 hours every day and my Nikon 1 gear proved to be an ideal combination to take with me as it was very light and easy to handle, and I avoided the fatigue that can set in when using larger, heavier gear.

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Photographing Birds on the Niagara River with Nikon 1 70-300mm Lens

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As a brief follow up to my Photographing Tundra Swans with Tamron 150-600 article, this piece features a small selection of bird-in-flight images taken along the Niagara River with a Nikon 1 V2 with the Nikon 1 CX 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 lens.

It is important that I state up front that I really struggled deciding to even write this article as the image quality is not up to the standard that I prefer to show to readers. Unfortunately trying to shoot white birds on greyish backgrounds accentuated the Nikon 1 system weaknesses and the lack of dynamic range is very apparent. I finally decided that since the images represent what can be expected under these particular shooting conditions that the images (hopefully) would still be of value to readers. As I stated in my review of the Nikon 1 CX 70-300 lens shooting birds in flight can be a challenge with the Nikon 1 system. People buying a super telephoto lens with the express intent of shooting primarily birds-in-flight are likely to be better served by using a DSLR combination. [Read more…]