Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 8 - My First Self Portrait

So I have officially completed my first week of Project 365. I almost slipped up a few times, but I am glad that I was able to push myself to go out and shoot.

My MB-D10 and EN-EL4a battery came yesterday so naturally I made the obligatory portrait. I really like the grip so far, it feels very solid on the D700 and gives the body a bit of extra balance (although mass as well). The EN-EL4a is the Nikon rechargable battery that allows me to use the camera at 8fps, which is SUPER FAST by the way! I can't wait to take sports shots with this beast.

One thing that I have noticed with my project is that I need to resist the urge to take the easy way out. It has been eight days and I already have two photos of the kittens. Although they are great subjects and have constantly changing poses, I want to make sure I don't end up with 1/3 of the project being photos of the cats. I guess the desire to shoot will come and go in waves?

Anyways, its Wednesday, the week is almost over and I am ready for another adventure-filled weekend!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Day 1 - Franklin the Cat

Day 1 - Franklin the Cat, originally uploaded by Daniel Bott.

I have always been interesed in the "Project 365" movement. For those unfamiliar with the project, it is an attempt by a photographer to take a photo everyday for 365 days....and I am going to try and do just that.

I should have some very unique experiences within the next 365 days and hope to capture the memories through photos. This is going to be a pretty had undertaking for me, and I will have to really keep it as one of my top priorities (right along with brushing my teeth).

The reason I decided to start this project came with the arrival of my D700. I have been waiting a few years to finally upgrade from my D50 and decided to "go big, or go home." Having a camera like this is going to take a lot of getting used to, but I think the Project 365 should really help with that.

You can track my progress by checking out my Project 365 album here. Rather than clutter the blog with daily posts, I will do my best to blog about some of the more interesting shots that I take throughout the project. If you want more information about the shots, I am going to do my best to add a short description or story with each photo that I upload on Flickr.

Here's to me not forgetting to shoot!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Gear!

Dan and I just ordered some new gear. Sweet! Recently my Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 somehow became severely damaged while sitting in the bag and now the aperture blades are completely loose and just flopping around. I really loved the images from the lens, but obviously, I'm a bit concerned about build quality since it was never dropped and I just bought it in May. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be selling my Nikon 17-35 f/2.8, so for a nice fast prime, I bought the Nikkor 105mm f/2 DC lens. This thing is built like a tank so I'm hoping it lasts longer than 2 months and I'm excited to play with the defocus control feature. Another option is of course the Nikkor 135mm f/2 DC, but no one has them in stock and they rarely show up used. I was able to get the 105mm at Adorama, so I can return it if I don't like it and if I do, it has the Nikon USA 5 year warranty.

Dan just picked up a used Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens for a really great deal. The sample pictures we found online (Flickr, dpreview, Fred Miranda, etc.) were unbelievable. The image quality seems to be very, very close to at least the Nikkor 28-70mm and probably even the newer 24-70mm. He is thinking about moving from DX to FX (I'm pushing him toward FX) and this lens is a great way to get into the game without breaking the bank.

We will be sure to post reviews of both lenses in the near future.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Montreal, Quebec 2009

I just returned from a great trip to Montreal, Quebec for the 30th annual JazzFest. Montreal is a beautiful, clean city that reminded me a lot of Boston, where I lived for four years. It was a great place to photograph in as it has historic sections, a lot of avant-garde 1970s architecture for the 1976 Olympic games, and some incredible parks. Perhaps best of all, you can walk around at any time of day or night and not feel the least bit threatened. Anyway, on to some shots from the trip.

This is the border crossing on I-87, which becomes Autoroute 15 in Quebec. Nikon D700, 1/640s, f/5, ISO 200, 28mm.

The incredible Basilique de Notre Dame in Vieux Montreal. Nikon D700, 1/15s, f/4, ISO2500, 22mm.

Offerings inside Notre Dame. Nikon D700, 1/30s, f/3.2, ISO800, 56mm.

Sunset at the Mont-Royal park overlook. Nikon D700, 1/60s, f/8, ISO2200, 24mm, Formatt 1.2 Grad ND.

View of downtown Montreal from the Belvedere overlook in Mont-Royal. Nikon D700, 2.5s, f/8, ISO200, 58mm.

The Biosphere. Nikon D700, 1/640s, f/4, ISO200, 24mm, Formatt 1.2 Grad ND.

Olympic Stadium. The world's tallest leaning tower, it actually wasn't completed until 12 years after the games ended. The Montreal Expos played here from 1977 - 2004 before relocating to Washington DC. The track and field complex was actually converted into a Biodome. Nikon D700, 1/320s, f/8, ISO200, 32mm.

Street in Vieux Montreal. French is the official language by law in Quebec and you'll find very few signs in French and English (although it seems 99% of people in Montreal speak flawless English). Nikon D700, 1/160s, f/6.3, ISO1400, 195mm.

This is the main square for the Montreal Jazz Fest. There are a ton of street vendors and a number of open-air venues with free shows that basically go on all day and all night. Nikon D700, 1/80s, f/4, ISO2500, 36mm.

This is the main indoor concert hall. I saw Jeff Beck perform here. The show was incredible and the venue was the best large concert hall I've ever been to. Nikon D700, 1/80s, f/3.2, ISO3200, 24mm.

That's it for now. If you're looking for a great place to go on vacation that's both unique and affordable, head to Montreal. I would also highly recommend the Embassy Suites on Saint-Antoine. It's essentially brand new, immaculately maintained, the suites are huge, you get a kitchen with stainless steel appliances, and there's an enormous bathroom, all for $135 a night.

For all the shots, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Rumors from the Nikon Camp...

So I've been waiting like a child on Christmas Eve for a new release from Nikon. I am still shooting with my trusty d50, and don't get me wrong, it can produce...but I feel as though I am in need of change. After shooting with Mak's d300 and later d700 I knew that it was time.

I have had my eyes on the d300 for a while, but now with the impending rumors of a d300s and a d700x, I have decided that I can hold out a while longer.

Herein lies my problem...the d300s is a DX body and will use all of my glass. It should also include HD video which would be a cool feature to have (but not imperative). The d700/d700x are FX cameras which would require me to buy new lenses....PLUS! apparently Nikon's release schedule has been leaked as well!

If I put any trust in that, a d400 will be released in Q2 2010...I would hate to get a d300s and have a d400 released shortly after....

I guess I will get a used d300 for the time being and flip it for an upgrade when I feel it is appropriate....

Whatever happens, I will still enjoy shooting...that's for sure!