mandag 29. desember 2008

Nikon 50mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor

My brother helped financing this as a Christmas gift, thanks!

The Box.

Unpacked, oh no, another one of these pathetic white rear caps!


Mounted! Love the look, having proper scales on the lens brings back childhood memories of finding my fathers view finder camera and being fascinated by its scales. Of course the aperture ring will never be used...

Not a bad picture that last one given it is from my phone..., well that is thanks to Capture NX2.

Oh, yea, cost: 2725, bought at the local FotoVideo shop.

Tags photos taken with is Nikkor 50mm f14D AF on Flickr.

Interesting Blog

What seems like a very interesting blog found via this flickr group. Seems Capture NX2 centered, interesting, because pretty much decided going to with Capture NX2 for developing and color editing of RAW files.

lørdag 27. desember 2008

A Capture NX2 Guide

I am really starting to think NX2 is a great program, particular after bought and started reading this guide by Jason P. Odell. It put me back 27.95 USD. I got hooked initially on NX2 with what I kind of learned by just experimenting, but then started to get frustrated by Nikon's bad user manual for what looks like good software. I would say Jason seems to have fixed that.

tirsdag 23. desember 2008

Bag of Joy


Found me a neat gear bag to only 199 nok, it even is branded Nikon! Been throwing my stuff into my laptop backpack, but that got a bit crowded after the Sigma 10-20 arrived, so a solution was needed. Decided that could not go crazy in the Lowpro department yet since the sigma got to be enough spent on my self in these gift times... But pretty happy with this actual, got caught with it in some serious rain that it has kept out.

torsdag 18. desember 2008

Captured by Nikon???

So fare I have only been able to fiddle around with RAW files (Nikon NEF files) using the free ViewNX software. Which usual only has meant to fiddle with exposure control and produce a high quality JPEG file for further processing in GIMP (did I say I am a 'on a tight budget' kind of guy? Think I must have...). You can do color correction there to, but not with a level/curve tool that you find in GIMP that I have learned to like. Also it has a sharpener, but only a single slider, not the parameters of the unsharp mask I have started to get familiar with using GIMP.

Discovering a plugin to GIMP called UFRaw made me a bit excited: When installed then when you open a raw file in GIMP its user interface pop up with the image sporting among other stuff the curve tool to operate on the 12 bit raw data. When you are happy it convert your result to 8 bit to be open in GIMP.

Problem was I do not seem to be able to get my Nikon D40 images properly imported into the tool. Just importing using default color space mapping yield no good... Telling it about camera's color profil helps a lot, but not close... Then there is two parameters: linear and gamma. Playing around with those got me close, but no cigar... Small cigar smell perhaps?

So, I hit the NX2 trial button and have been using it for some days... Starting to like it... 57 days left of trial, plenty of time to start hating it ;-), will blog specifics probably soon.

There are reviews and then there are Reviews...

There are different types of reviews on photography equipment: Just like with anything else there is the good and the bad. Really great reviews goes into so much details that they have value beyond the pre buy phase. They kind of becomes an extra user manual for the camera or lens.

Such reviews of the later type on stuff I got goes into the 'Resources that relates to my stuff' link box in the right margin.

Two reliable sources of high quality reviews I currently know about:
  • Tom Hogan's site's Nikon section.
  • Digital Photography Review. Makes amazing detailed camera reviews! Has a database saying something about most(?) digital cameras ever made... Not done that many lens reviews, but when does, do it as thoroughly as camera reviews.
  • SLR Gear. Has great camera and lens reviews (lens reviews has interactive graphs, geeky!). Thanks moon-in-the-fridge for telling me about site!
  • Digit (in Norwegian), good camera reviews here, a few lens reviews here.
  • Bjørn Røslett is a very serious Norwegian photographer and Nikon user that does reviews.
  • Photozone seems like another place for good reviews.

tirsdag 16. desember 2008

Being terrible selfish...

My xmas present to myself this year (been pretty good) is the Sigma 10-20.

A pleasant surprise with this purchase was that the best price I could find was not on the net but at this chain's local camera shop five minute walk from where I live: 3499 NOK (500 USD).

Receiving pictures:

The box!


Out of the box!


Mounted! (Taken with my Nokia E51)


Ouch, suddenly I think my poor man's Nikon looks like actual mean business.... like eating that kit lens!

Picture I take with it is tagged Sigma 10 20.

mandag 15. desember 2008

Remote control

I have been taking some after dark long exposures on tripod. Been using the old trick of delayed release in order to minimize vibrations. That works fine except there is some fiddling in the dark to set delayed shutter release for each shot.

That can be helped by getting one of the least expensive Nikon DSLR extras: the ML-L3 remote:


It is delivered in regular mail, works as should and only set me back 179 NOK for the device and 39 NOK for delivery from Komplett.

I only wish they had made it so it could live on my key ring, afraid this is something easy to loose, particular at night...

One of the first photos I used this to shoot: The Telegraph and Music Pavilion Night.

I tag images triggered by it with remote control on Flickr.

fredag 12. desember 2008

Watch Gimp TV!

The video casts on Gimp are very good! I am downloading them all and catching up now. Must for Gimp beginners for sure, but suspect a must for most users...

lørdag 6. desember 2008

The original 'Alphabet Tree' image



To get the main subject to stand out more prominent I made all but the red I liked bw and added bit more out of focus to the background.

Result is here.

fredag 28. november 2008

Workflow

The work flow that been established since took up photography from an analog (film) distant past:
  1. Pictures are taken in RAW.
  2. At a nice cafe or pub the disaster is reviewed on camera's lcd and many images are deleted and hopefully does not hunt me in nightmares.
  3. At some time later the pictures are transformed to a pc I got access to using Nikon transfer.
  4. Nikon's ViewNX is then used to screen images on the big screen, I feel a real joy when several rows are deleted with one delete button push.
  5. On an external hard disk I make directories for pictures I think I may want to do something with. The directory names tells subject and time and the last directories are one for RAW files and one JPEG files.
  6. RAW files are copied to the external hard drive.
  7. I use two functions if needed of ViewNX on RAW files before generating JPEGs to the external hard disk: Exposure compensation (lately I seem to do less of this, a good sign I hope) and the sharpness filter if I think sharpness applied to all of image is a good thing.
  8. Generates JPEGs on the external hard drive.
  9. Use GIMP on JPEGs for cropping, color editing and removal of things that should not be there.
  10. If anything decent get out of the pipeline it may go to flickr.
  11. The external hard disk is backed up on big unused empty hardisk at work using Microsoft's SynchToy.
This workflow will probably change as I may learn to do new stuff possible with new software. I would like to reduce the number of programs used and the manual labour of creating directories. The program I next mostly is likely to check out is Lightroom: It may help the orginazing part, replace ViewNX and do some of the stuff I now uses GIMP for.

But, I may stick to the above for a while, there are some lenses I rather would use money on then software (all the above mentioned are free).

torsdag 13. november 2008

About

Okey, I am addicted to flickr, there is where my pictures will go.

So, where does that leaves this blog then when I am not going to be posting pictures here?

It will not be a very frequently updated blog I think, what I will blog about is:
  • New purchases related to photography.
  • Put link to important/useful/interesting stuff on the web related to photography in the link boxes right to entries.
  • Any experience about capturing I would like to write down.
To get to my pictures just click on the flickr gadget showing miniatures of the images right to entries which takes you to a random picture in my stream (the one clicked on) or the link above it to go to my last image.

torsdag 6. november 2008

Found my old tripod!

That is good thing, because a tripod is an essential piece of equipment. Sure, it is not a modern carbon one with a ball head, but it will do for a long time, lenses has priority...

Being of aluminium it is not to heavy draging around. In flickr I tag pictures 'tripod' if taken on one.

fredag 17. oktober 2008

Frosty Lake

It starting to get cold in the mornings. Taken at small lake close at where I work. Some editing with GIMP. Actual, think this work as an black and white photo:

onsdag 15. oktober 2008

Pictures From the Garden

Autumn in the garden.

Passing the garden.

tirsdag 14. oktober 2008

First day - shooting ducks

After unpacking and charging I did go duck hunting in my lunch time. Lot of ducks 200-300 meter fro work. Did not try to compose great photos, mostly playing around with controls and settings. Of around 80 shots kept these. Thing about ducks s that they are rather colorful, must say first impression of D40 color reproduction is good!

Also, these 'normal quality' jpg images takes scaling wery well on the monitor, guess 6mp can deliver given decent environment...





First day - Receiving

Got me the cheapest Nikon digital SLR in production: the two year old consumer entry level DSLR 'only 6mp' D40 model. Well it got almost nothing but fine reviews then, so I figured it still can make nice pictures;-) AND since I now can get the body, 18-55 zoom and 55-200 zoom for 4000nok (650$) from here I could not resist the temptation of making this my first DSLR.

I documented the unpacking with my Nokia E51 in case needed to document got only smashed to pieces stuff, but all was fine:

The packet unopened!


The shelf box revealed AND I remembered to order a memory card...


The internal of the shelf box revealed...


First stuff dragged out of box.


The body is being found!


We got a body...


But as with any new cool gadget these days, you gotta charge a battery before any fun is to be had... Nikon said it would take 90 minutes, I timed it, and guess what, it took 90 minutes...


The lot, ready for action!