Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Nikon D300s

Jenny and Johnny, Live! @ the Great American Music Hall

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I adore Jenny Lewis. Been following her work for a while, from going to concerts here in SF to see her with Rilo Kiley, flying to Louisiana to see her at the House of Blues during her Acid Tongue tour, and last night, seeing her perform at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco…from the front row no less!

Bridget may be a big Jenny fan, but she’s small in the height department, so getting the front row is critical for viewing the show (and killing your ears…agh). I thought I was close to the stage at the House of Blues, but wow, this time I was REALLY close.  Close enough to set a drink down on the stage or even get a clear view of the set list. Awesome!

I’m never sure if cameras are allowed at venues that I have yet to visit, and this event was no exception.  I therefore decided  to limit myself to two of my smallest prime lenses to stay inconspicuous. Well, turns out photography was permitted without flash, so I was stuck to one shooting position in a sold out crowd with only two focal lengths at my disposal.

So it was either really really wide or moderate telephoto for the night. But hey, nothing sucks in light better than a fast prime, so I wasn’t complaining. =)

This is our “oh yeah, front row!” look.

The concert was a blast. Jenny was cute as ever, and her vocal talent and song writing is just amazing.  Come back to San Francisco soon, Jenny!

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Camera Specs: Nikon D300s + Nikkor AFS 50mm f/1.4G // Nikkor DX 10.5mm f/2.8

Being a Tourist in My Own City

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[ Canon S90 at 6mm f/3.2 1/30 second ISO160 ]

Wow, had such a great time this weekend! Two great friends from Japan visited our home and stayed for a few days. We took them on a tour of the city, heading to the usual “tourist spots” as well as places we locals like to visit. Running around with them made me realize that I can’t even remember the last time I drove around SF just to see the sights. It was pretty fun actually! Ready for a long post with tons of images spanning the course of 3 days? Ok, here we go!

Day One…

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Exploring Kyoto

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Something I found fascinating during my last stay in Japan was exploring little side streets and alleys wherever we happened to be. Tucked away in bustling neighborhoods and often times barely wide enough for single-file foot traffic, these paths offer peaceful exploration away from the busier main streets, and are full of interesting sights.

I suppose that after being completely overwhelmed by the extremely crowded streets of Tokyo, we wanted to try our best to find ways to explore Kyoto as “alone” as possible. Which is why we got up really early in the morning on the days we went touring the city. Exploring the Gion area as well as various parks, temples, and shrines in Kyoto starting at 7:00am proved to be a great idea. We seemed to have the city all to ourselves at such an early hour, which not only made sightseeing more enjoyable, but also made photographing the city much easier.

Head out too late, especially during Sakura season, and you’ll run into way too many people, which definitely takes the fun out of touring for me. I was fortunate to head out early enough, for instance, to the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine in Kyoto one morning. When we arrived, virtually no one was there, giving me the freedom to take many shots without anyone walking into the frame. By the time we left the shrine, so many tourists had showed up that getting a shot without gaijin standing in the way would have been next to impossible.

Moral of the story? Don’t sleep in when you travel!

Camera Specs:

Top Image: Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-150mm f/2.8 at 85mm f/2.8 ISO1250 1/200 Second
Second Image: Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 17mm f/4 ISO200 1/15 Second
Third Image: Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-150mm at 50mm f/3.5 ISO400 1/80 Second
Fourth Image: Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-150mm at 75mm f/7.1 ISO200 1/200 Second
Fifth Image: Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 45mm f/5.6 ISO360 1/8 Second (VC works!)

Thoughts on the Canon Powershot S90

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I realized, after posting the photo above to Flickr, that it’s very likely that Bridget was the one who actually took it! I was using my D300s with the Tokina 11-16 fitted when we arrived at this scene in the Maruyama area of Kyoto. She had the Canon S90 on her, and while I did ask her to hand it over a few times to get some shots in this area myself, I can’t remember for sure if I actually took this one. Oh well! This image was processed in-camera using the S90′s “Film” color mode, and I added a touch of vignette in Lightroom 3 beta. So Bridge, if you took this, good job!

Speaking of which, Bridget did take a lot of fantastic photos with the S90 during our trip. She really took to the camera because it’s such a joy to use. I would set up a white balance appropriate for the scene for her, set the camera to Program Auto (usually), and program the control ring around the S90′s barrel to adjust exposure compensation. Then I simply told her:

“If it’s too bright, twist the dial this way. If it’s too dark, twist it that way.”

That’s it!

With that awesome control ring allowing easy access to exposure comp adjustment, she was able to focus on composing, and the camera stayed out of her way (the control ring is that black bezel you see around the lens in the image above, and is the S90′s coolest feature). I often used the camera in the exact same way myself. The S90 tends to expose a little hotter than I prefer, so I’m usually dialing in at least -1/3 EV when I’m shooting with it (the above shot has a -4/3EV dialed in by either me or Bridget, can’t remember!). I also found that it was a lot of fun to use the S90 in full manual. The control ring around the lens would set aperture, and the control wheel on the back would set shutter speed. Wow! I felt like I was using a film camera again! The combination of seeing the live view preview, a live histogram, and a live EV read-out on the LCD while composing made it dead simple to nail the exposure I wanted every time. No compact camera has ever given me a control experience like this one!

Here are a couple sample photos that show how great the JPEGs produced straight from the camera look from the Canon S90 (neither of these were adjusted in post):

I finally feel like I have a true compact camera with the control and feature set that can be utilized and appreciated by both a beginner and a more advanced photographer. Good job Canon!

So anyway, we were heading up to this huge temple in Maruyama-cho. To get to it, you had to scale these ridiculously steep stairs. The first image was the view from the bottom. Here’s what it looks like from the top:

I’m not sure this image really tells you just how steep these stairs were, but they were STEEP. Worth the climb, however. =)

Top Image: Canon S90
Second Image: Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC
Third and Forth Image: Canon S90
Fifth Image: Nikon D300s + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8

A Rainy Day in Kyoto

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Bridget and I spent the entire day in the Gion area of Kyoto today. Here’s bridget taking a break with a can off coffee when….

Oh my goodness! Is that a Maiko!?

Wow, a very pretty sight indeed. It was a beautiful day in Kyoto today. Rainy but warm, with overcast skies, which is PERFECT for photography. I’m excited about the many photos I still have to process (maybe I’ll get started on the looooong plane ride back to SF this weekend, ugh). One more day in Kyoto! Tomorrow we’ll try to get an early start again…

Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8

A Red, Furry Blur

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Yeah, She’s Fast – 4/52, originally uploaded by kaoni701.

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That’s what Suki would have looked like in this image if I didn’t use a fast enough shutter speed. She rarely runs as fast as she can, but one of the few occasions she’ll go full throttle (besides chasing my cousin’s poor rabbit in the backyard), is at the dog park. Suki is FAST. When she really goes flat out, her strides become huge, and all four paws come way off the ground and she surges forward.

She’ll often leap over other dogs much larger than her too, just for the fun of it. It’s quite a sight to see, and really makes me want to find the time to get her into agility training. Every time I see a dog doing agility, I think to myself “boy, Suki would trash that course and not even break a sweat!”.

I was happy to see this photo reach the 2nd page of Flickr’s explore page today. It was also featured on Flickr’s interestingness page!

Camera Specs: Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8 at 135mm f/2.8, ISO320 1/1000 Second

Written by Jonathan

January 28, 2010 at 1:56 pm

My First Photoshop CS4 Experience

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Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 50mm f/5.6 ISO200 1/30 Second, Post in LR3 Beta and Photoshop CS4

Until today (literally), I’ve tried my hardest to stay away from using Photoshop to edit my photographs. I’d open up the program and think “Oh man, what in the world do I do with all these tools….what’s this layer thingo? Agh, forget it,” and that’s as far as I’d get.

Today I had a lot of time on my hands. I’ve got a fever and sore throat that kept me away from work, so between naps and copious amounts of tea, I’ve begun studying how to use Photoshop CS4. The result is the image you see above. This one of Bridget’s favorite close-ups from our little impromptu shoot on Saturday evening (being out in the cold that evening is probably what made me sick!).  Most of the editing and retouch was actually done in Lightroom 3 Beta, including brightening the eyes and spot removing blemishes, as well as minor adjustments to color.

In Photoshop CS4, I quickly fell in love with the stamp tool, which allowed me to very easily remove lines on her face, particularly under her eyes, and bring out a little more detail in her hair. Here’s the shot straight out of the camera for reference:

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC, same settings as above, SOOC

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC, same settings as above, SOOC

Huge difference here! (Bridget still looks very lovely of course). This image was a great catalyst for my beginnings in the world of Photoshop. In all, the entire process took only about 10-15 minutes from start to finish, showing how a little touch-up work can go a long way in portraiture. What really impressed me is how seamlessly Lightroom works with Photoshop. Once I was done with initial editing in Lightroom 3 Beta, a Command + E keystroke (Mac) opened the image in CS4. When I finished with CS4, I simply saved the image and closed the window, which brought me right back to Lightroom 3 Beta with the CS4 edits applied. Doesn’t get any easier than that!

Her nose is a little red from the cold, but I’m sure that’ll be fixed as WordPress seems to desaturate my photos! What gives, WordPress?! They look how I want them too while I’m editing the HTML, but as soon as I publish the post, the colors look off. Different browsers seem to render the colors differently as well, so I’m really not sure what you’re seeing if you’re reading this! Oh well….

And so, with my fear of Photoshop gone, I’m going to hit the books and see if I can’t really see what this program can do. I’m excited!

*Cough Cough*

Written by Jonathan

November 24, 2009 at 6:55 am