As a dedicated sports photographer, I look forward every year to fall. The American school year starts, plus horse polo season is just around the corner. So you can imagine my reaction when my wife announced that we would be taking a month long vacation in September; my heart damn near stopped. I looked sadly at my new D810, with the attached 70-200mm f/2.8G forlornly staring back at me. Football, Golf, Swimming and Volleyball seasons were just starting, and I would not be there. Instead I would be at the beach for the next month, with nary a chance to photograph any sports. So I packed up the D810, the D800E (with an attached 24-120 f/4), threw a 50 f/1.8 in the bag for good measure, grabbed a tripod, some memory cards, etc., and off to the beach we went. A felt like a fish out of water (or, since we would be at the beach, a bear chained to a stake). Just what would I take pictures of?
The first morning I woke up early, grabbed the D800E, and captured the above shot (among others). No action, just some other early morning risers enjoying sunrise at the beach. While not the kind of photo I normally take, I thought it was at least a good start to the vacation. Perhaps I would manage to capture a few shots.
The next day we visited the marina area of Fernandina Beach, Florida. This time I had the D810 with me. While there was not a lot of activity, there were a few birds flying around, so I took the opportunity to try out the Group Area AF on birds in flight. I managed to catch several BIF sequences, plus the shot below.
The next day we visited Egans Creek Greenway. The intricate web of this spider caught my eye:
Back at the beach, the D810 caught another nice sunrise, plus this little crab:
The D810 seemed to be working fine, but how well would it work at night? Another trip to the marina, in early evening, gave me the chance to catch this scene. Shot handheld, at 1/25th of a second, while leaning on a railing, with VR on. In the past I had never been able to catch such a scene handheld, but the D810 made shooting this scene easy.
By this point I was anxious every morning to get out and see what photographic opportunities I could find. The D800E was left to languish in the camera bag, while the D810 performed like a workhorse. It appeared that my decision to sell my D3S and replace it with the D810 had been fortuitous. As for sports, well, I caught a few pro and college football games on TV at night, but for the rest of the month, I was happily shooting away at different locations. While I will never be the high quality protog that Nasim is, my partial color-blindness being one of the limiting factors, I do believe I can at least capture some of the beauty of Mother Nature. Below are a few of the pictures I took. I hope you enjoy them also.
The trip ended up being quite enjoyable, and I managed to capture a number of shots that I, at least, consider good. It helped to remind me that photography is not just about sports (my preferred subject), and that perhaps we all need, at times, to step away from our accepted practices, and try our hands at different aspects of this hobby/profession, if for no other reason than to challenge ourselves as photographers. This proved to be a learning experience for me, and as they say at Faber College: “Knowledge is Good.”