Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘d300s

Wedding: Dennis and Anna

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I’m posting this from my seat on a flight from New York back to San Francisco right now. In-flight wifi is a beautiful thing! It was a short, crazy, whirlwind of a trip, and the first order of business was to head from the big city to Patterson, New York to photograph the wedding of a very good friend of mine and his new bride.

I haven’t started processing these photos just yet, but I wanted to post a few that I really liked from that day since I pretty much have 5 hours to kill here on the plane. Here goes!

Met with Dennis (top) and his lovely bride Anna in a small country home in upstate NY this past Saturday. The quiet, humble couple preferred to keep the “getting ready” shots to a bare minimum, so we instead focused on covering other moments in the house as they happened.

Just a quick plug for my second shooter. I worked this wedding with my cousin and best buddy, Josh Libatique. He’s a portrait and wedding photographer from New York, and his experience and skills were very welcome that day. Here he is, getting ready to go at the bride’s house:

Josh and I grew up together, and have always shared the same hobbies and interests, so go figure here. We had a blast shooting the wedding as a team!

Here’s Anna meeting Dennis for the first time in her wedding dress. Such a happy looking couple!

Anna’s parents are very sweet people. Took this shot as the couple exited the house on their way to take a few images before the early morning ceremony got started. There was so much emotion on the parents’ faces as we departed.

We only had around 20 minutes or so to get some formals of the couple at a nearby park, but I was able to get some fun images anyway:

Rush rush rush! After a very brief shoot in the park, off to the ceremony (which was also very brief), then the reception at a small but pretty italian restaurant. (Haven’t processed any of the ceremony images yet)

The reception was brief but fun. Great tasting food, and friends I haven’t seen in forever. It was like a big happy reunion!

It was never difficult getting an amazing smile from the bride!

Of course, watching image slideshows of the couple when they were dating always makes for fun expressions from the observers:

The bride and groom did a meet and greet with every table, of course:

Did the whole take-a-picture-of-each-table thing, but of course I’m not posting all of them! Dennis and Anna also paid a visit to our table:

Though our work ethic reflected otherwise, we were actually guests of the bride and groom, not just photographers. Since Dennis is such a close friend to me, my wife, and Josh, we shot the wedding as our gift to him. Here we are at the “photographer’s table,” Josh’s parents seated to the left, and mine to the right. Handed my main camera to Josh to get this one. Half the time, the table had more camera gear on it than food and decor. =)

Handed off my second body to Josh while I took the table meet-and-greet photos. Apparently he took a moment to catch me and Bridget in action!

Then, the dancing started:

Got some really fun images of friends really getting into it!

At the very end of the wedding, a bunch of us old friends got together for a final group shot. We’ve all been really close since childhood, and [almost] all of us are married now! I set up the shot and handed the camera to my uncle, whose sense of humor easily got us into a goofy mood for the shot.  =)

That’s all I got for now! It’s going to be a very busy week as I process the gazillions of other images I took from the day. Just wanted to get a few highlights out there.

Also, on my last post, I wrote about my first impressions of the new Nikkor 24-120 f/4 VR lens I just acquired. I used it extensively for this wedding as well as in the streets of New York in the days that followed, and I continue to be impressed by it. It certainly made an excellent wedding lens! Sharp and quick focusing. Love it.

www.jonathanflemingphotography.com

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Camera Specs:

Nikon D700, Nikon D300s // Nikkor 16mm f/2.8 FE // Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VR // Nikkor 24-120 f/4 VR
Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR // Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G // Lots of other stuff

Finding Good Light

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Photography has a lot to do with being in the right place at the right time. Sometimes good light finds you.  Once a photographer spots a scene where the light is dramatic and or beautiful, he or she will usually stop whatever they’re doing and capitalize on that light. This past Tuesday after work, we were taking Suki to the park to meet a fellow photographer buddy of mine. We parked, got out of the car, I saw the scene you see above.

The sunlight was low and golden in color. How could I NOT get the camera out? So we brought Suki to the grassy area and started firing away:

You’d be surprised how often Suki gets tangled up like this. When she’s on the retractable, bounding around, she often wraps around me a few times with the tether, a lot like the Battle of Hoth of in Empire Strikes Back. Little rebel!

Having the light cast over Suki from behind caused a beautiful rim light around her fur, and gave me an opportunity to add in some flash to control the entire exposure:

The background was pretty busy, with people, other dogs, and buildings cluttering up the frame. So I used a long focal length to make it all disappear.


I chose this image here for week 39 of my 52 week project. These are all JPEGs straight from the camera, which was an accident since I usually shoot RAW. Didn’t realize this until I got home and uploaded the images. Good thing I took the time to get everything right at the camera! I think it’s best to solve any problems with a photographic solution anyway, rather than always resorting to “fixing” exposure or color issues in post. Of course, whatever your workflow looks like, what matters is the final image, right?

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Images: Nikon D300s + Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR

Written by Jonathan

October 1, 2010 at 9:24 am

Sky Scrapin’ with Suki

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With a packed schedule all week, getting this week’s shot of Suki for the project was extremely difficult. We were able to block out about an hour and a half for a quick shot of her before meeting some friends for dinner, and I had no clue what kind of shot I wanted. So we stuck to the same routine this week: head out, find a good spot, make it work somehow.

As the late afternoon sun was casting some wonderful side lighting across the San Francisco skyline as we headed into the city’s downtown area. As soon as I saw what the skyline looked like, I exited the freeway and looked for a high spot. I wanted to use that skyline as a backdrop for Suki. We found a great location:

I can tell you from experience that the kind of dog photography I do is extremely difficult to execute alone and requires a lot of patience. In this case and in many others, Bridget provided me with much needed assistance. Even with TWO people, it still requires patience, on our part and on Suki’s. Many people think that Suki is always on her best behavior on our little photo shoots. Well, it may LOOK that way, but she can be a little uncooperative diva sometimes. We still love her to pieces. =)

Here’s the photo we picked for week 37 of the project. This awesome light you see here hitting Suki and popping her off the background lasted only minutes as the sun broke in and out of cloud cover. Once the sun light was gone, we started working in some off-camera flash. I love to get shots of Suki in action, so we took a few frames of her running, and that was it! All we had time for.

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All Images: Nikon D300s + Nikkor AFS 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR

Written by Jonathan

September 19, 2010 at 11:36 pm

A Dream Within a Dream

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There are still 17 weeks, 17 images left in the year for my 52 week project, and I feel like I’m completely out of concepts for images of Suki. Photo projects can be a huge drain on your creativity! This week, I had no concept in mind. We simply took a walk with Suki downtown for a few hours and when something struck me, we’d start shooting.

I actually like it more this way, this method of searching for good light, composition, and fleeting, interesting moments.  A quest for a shot of Suki turns into a photo walk, and good exercise for all of us at the same time.

This past Sunday, during our walk, I loved the light pouring through the spaces between buildings in down town San Francisco. Couldn’t help but point the camera skyward and create some images. It was calm and serene that day downtown, and the resulting images sort of remind me of the film Inception (go see it if you haven’t!).

Ok, got some cool shots.  Now throw Suki into the mix!

Score! This photo didn’t actually make it into the project (this one did), but I liked it anyway. A very cinematic shot of Suki, looking like quite the hero among the sky scrapers.

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Images: Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135 f/2.8

Jonathan Fleming Photography

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One camera and one 50mm lens is all I had this past weekend. I always bring something that takes pictures with me at all times, because hey, you never know.  Drove three hours out of town on Saturday to attend the wedding of a young couple. Both the bride and groom are beautiful people, inside and out.

The bride is a very close friend of Bridget that she hasn’t seen in years. Many in attendance were old friends that the wife used to know back in her years of living in LA, so this wedding was a really big reunion for her. It’s actually been a while since I’ve been to a wedding that’s so full of energy and excitement. The event helped me reflect an awful lot about how special my own wife is to me. So I followed her around and started taking pictures of her instead of the bride and groom. Hey, wasn’t my gig!

The reception was held on a farm. Literally, a farm. Driving out to the location, I thought we’d gotten lost. But in amongst the miles of farmland was a small, magical place set up for a perfect wedding reception. Stole the wife away during sunset and we walked together down a lonely road, surrounded by acres of farmland in every direction.

Another thing I that weighed on my mind after the wedding… It’s been a long time coming for me, but for a photographer, it’s inevitable that at some point people who know you start asking if they can make use of your skills.  A portrait session, class photos, a wedding etc. I often get asked “do you shoot weddings? Can you shoot some photos of my toddler?”

Yes.

Why not? Time for this camera here to start paying for itself, right? So, with the goal of working with others to capture life’s memories, I’ve set up a new photography page on Facebook. Check it out! And don’t forget to click “like.” =)

I’ve also made updates to my website at www.jonathanflemingphotography.com to include a pricing and contact page. A typical photo session with me will set you back $129. What?! You can’t afford NOT to hire me!

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Images: Nikon D300s + Nikkor AFS 50mm f/1.4G

Written by Jonathan

September 7, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Best iPad Case Ever

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After about 2 weeks of waiting, my Dodo case for iPad has finally arrived. Until this time I’ve been using the Apple case, which is overpriced and not nearly as beautiful and sophisticated as this one. Such beauty was begging to be photographed:

Each Dodo case is made in my hometown here in San Francisco, California. Guess that explains why I got it the same day I received a shipping notification. These things sell like crazy, so much so that I was expecting to wait up to six weeks for mine. I’m thrilled that it came in only two.

The bamboo frame smells and feels like it was just milled today. As I took the case out of its packaging, I noticed that there were still small bamboo fragments inside from cutting the bamboo. I’m sure they can’t make these things fast enough!

Fit and finish?  Absolutely perfect with the iPad.

I love how the design mimics a Moleskin notebook. At first glance you’d think it was one, with its black textured cover and elastic strap.  This is the coolest iPad case I’ve ever seen. Seriously.

Suki doesn’t care =)

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Images: Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8VC

Written by Jonathan

September 1, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Party Photography

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—-Nikon D300s + Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8 at f/5.6, 1/80 sec ISO800

One question I’m often asked is something like : “How do I get sharp photos when taking pictures of my friends dancing indoors? What lens should I get for this purpose?”

Well, in most cases, the answer has less to do with your lens and more to do with whether or not you’re using flash. Just so happened to have hosted a dance party last night at my house, so I took the opportunity to demonstrate what I mean, using a variety of lenses and shutter speeds, and of course, my hot shoe flashes. The dancing took place in my living room at night, which means no daylight pouring through the window to give me f-stoppage. The room is lit by two floor lamps, providing, I dunno, just about f/0.1 inside. Seriously though, even using my fastest lens, I ‘d probably squeeze out a shutter speed of about 1/80th shooting wide open at f/1.4 at ISO3200 in this room. Ouch…not nearly fast enough to stop action under these conditions.


—-Nikon D300s + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 at 11mm f/5.6, 1/125 sec ISO800

Freezing motion in bright day light out doors is relatively simple, right? You can easily hit say 1/640 or 1/1000 and higher, even stopped down, effectively freezing motion. Can’t really do that in a room like this. There’s simply not enough ambient. Using flash lets you shoot at lower shutter speeds and still freeze action.

Wait a minute! How is it that you can freeze motion with low shutter speeds when you use your flash? Another question I get asked a lot. They key, again, is in the pop of light you’re throwing at your subject. The shutter may be going at say 1/80 or even 1/15, but that flash is hitting your subject at like 1/1500th, fast enough to freeze them in their tracks. If you want to imply motion in your dancing shots, you can drag the shutter at around 1/10 to 1/15 (make sure you camera is set to rear curtain sync):


—-Nikon D300s + Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8 at f/5.6, 1/15 sec ISO800

Or select higher shutter speeds to freeze them completely:


—–Nikon D300s + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 at 14mm f/5.6, 1/80 ISO800

Another note: you gotta go manual exposure in scenes like this. Throw your camera into aperture priority, for instance, and it will select what it thinks is an appropriate shutter speed to expose the scene. Well, you’re pointing your camera at darkness, which means it’ll select shutter speeds that are far too low. Use shutter priority and you camera will open up your lens to its maximum, limiting your depth of field options. For the entire night, I dictated the shutter speed and aperture and let the camera’s intelligent flash system work its magic. Worked well in this case too because in such a small, dimly lit room, almost all of the light is coming from my flash units.

Another question I get asked: “My lens doesn’t have VC/VR/IS. Can I still get sharp shots with it?” Yes! None of the lenses I used last night are stabilized:


—-Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135 f/2.8 at 95mm f/5.6, 1/80 sec ISO800


—-Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135 f/2.8


—-Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135 f/2.8


—-Nikon D300s + Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8

It’s important to remember that neither lens nor sensor based image stabilization systems help freeze subject motion. They only help reduce blur induced by small movements caused by the photographer hand-holding the camera. They key, again, is the flash.

Of course, when people are standing still, it’s even easier. =)

Written by Jonathan

August 30, 2010 at 9:03 pm