Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lunar Eclipse

I stayed up late last night to watch the lunar eclipse.

This was a new experience with the D7000, as I had to figure out a lot of settings manually.

This was a great time to test out setting up user modes (U1 and U2), since I knew that messing up with all the different settings will be next to impossible in the dark. so I set up shutter speed to 320, aperture to f9, ISO to Auto and stepped down the exposure by -5 initially. I adjusted exposure compensation a bit, but the result I got is decent considering this was my first time experimenting. The picture was taken with the 200mm zoom lens.

I did almost no post processing with this picture, except some cropping and some slight exposure adjustment.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The First Impressions

So... I've been shooting with D7000 for a few weeks now and the first impressions are nothing but positive.

First, it is a steep learning curve, mostly because D7000 has a multitude of controls and options. It is, however, true only if you want to use them, since Nikon makes it extremely easy to just pop the camera out of your bag and take extremely good pictures with either the full auto mode, or one of the "scenes".
The scenes are a nice add-on for someone who wants to add a bit of control to the way the camera sets up all the options, but for various reasons (experience, time, shooting conditions) does not, or can not be burdened by the multitude of controls. Some of the scenes seem to be very narrow in use (like the High Key and the Low Key), but in general they do a great job and can be a time-saver. I have tested a few of them, including Child, Portrait and Party/Indoor scene modes, and I was very pleased with the results.

Going to a fully "manual" mode, controlling all the aspects of the camera is a different beast altogether. Nikon D7000 has such a multitude of options, that it takes a while to master them all. I have to admit, I did not even begin to scratch the surface of all of them, but as time goes by, I'll give them all a try.

One of the things I started doing after switching from D40 to D7000 is the format. My D40 was set up to take JPGs only and I was always satisfied with the results. As I started using the D7000 I wanted to test out how good the in-camera processing is, as compared to the raw files. So I set the camera up for both NEF and JPG formats and downloaded them using Adobe Lightroom, with no pre-processing. After tweaking some of the settings manually, using a few build-in presets and one I got from a pro David Perl at David Perl Photography, I have to say, while I can generally live with the JPG format, it seems to me a bit too saturated (reds are way to red) and "dull" (contrast-wise). Most of my first steps were around people and portraits, so I still have a lot of testing for outdoor/landscapes, but I think the JPG format will be disabled on my camera soon.

More to come, as I'm getting ready for some extensive landscape photos.

Friday, December 10, 2010

New Light (Wicked)

I have been taking photos for many years, with various degrees of success. I started off back in Poland with a FED rangefinder camera (which I still have), moved up to a Nikon N2000, with a nice Kiron 28-210 zoom lens, which kept me happy for many years. I spend years taking pictures with a Nikon N6006, before diving into a digital world, first with a slightly-better-than-point-and-shoot Nikon 5700 and finally with a D40, which was my first digital SLR, because I could not justify higher investment, given my semi-amateur photo endeavors.
After a few years I maxed out the build in flash, and probably came close to the estimated lifespan of its shutter, so I decided to upgrade and luckily enough, Nikon came to the table again with its newest D7000, which I finally got just a few days ago (after excruciating wait).
As I start a new chapter of my photographic life, I think sharing some of my findings, experiences and just plain fun is in order, so this blog is just for that.
I hope it to be useful, if not entertaining, and it'll give me a place to vent and spill my guts when my pictures don't come out the way I really want.