Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Shiba Ken

The Suki Wash

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It’s been quite a while since Suki had her last bath, and today was the day. Do you think Suki has any idea what she’s in for at today’s pet store visit?  My guess is no!

The Shiba Inu is a very fastidious and clean animal, so we don’t need to do this too often. I still remember when I gave Suki her very first bath. She was about 10 weeks old. Soon as the water hit her, she let out the famous Shiba Scream. Good night! You’d think I was pouring hot lava on her or something.

Nowadays, she still hates taking baths (or getting wet in general…what are you Suki, a cat?!), but nevertheless tolerates the process:

WASH!

We’re currently treating Suki’s “allergy eyes.” She gets them every spring for about a month at a a time. Poor itchy-eye’d Suki.

RINSE!

SPIN!

DRY!

There, good as new. Extra fluffy…and after a day, she still smells like mango. =)

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Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G

Written by Jonathan

February 13, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Team Suki

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A fellow photographer, and as I just discovered today, super-awesome illustrator sent me the image you see above this morning. Inspired by my work this year for 52 Weeks of Suki, the original hand-drawn artwork is on it’s way to me in the mail. What a cool gift! She included so many specific details that I bust out laughing every time I look at the drawing. Everything’s there, from Suki’s signature paw print collar and proud demeanor, Bridget’s white coat and scarf (and freckles), to my low and tight shooting technique. She’s even got Bridget flying much of that off-camera flash over Suki’s head, ensuring that there’s not too much spill heating up the lower portion of my frame. Brilliant! =)

A big thank you to my friend Cindy for this lovely work of art!

Written by Jonathan

December 10, 2010 at 1:24 pm

The North Peak

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This is exactly where I was standing when I took my week 45 photo of Suki last week, only in this image my camera is pointing south. We climbed to the very top of one of the Twin Peaks in San Francisco with Suki, and while we were trying to get her to stay put for a photo, I turned around and saw this beautiful sweeping scene, with a clear view of the other peak and a gorgeous sunset sky. Fired a few frames, got a weird shot of Suki for the project, and ended up with a bunch of mosquito bites in the process. Ouch!

The image up top is now available for purchase as a print or desktop background at the “City and Landscape” gallery of my website.

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Image Top: Nikon D700 + Nikkor AFS 16-35mm f/4G VRII at 16mm f/5.6, 1/30 second ISO200
Image Bottom: Nikon D700 + Nikkor AFS 16-35mm f/4G VRII at 16mm f/5.6, 1/160 second ISO200

Written by Jonathan

November 20, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Going Wide

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Nikon D700 + Nikkor AFS 16-35mm f/4G VRII at 20mm f/4, 1/80 second ISO3200

What a great time to be a Nikon shooter. The company has been releasing an exciting variety of new high-performance glass into its lineup, and I couldn’t help but be a part of the action! Just picked up the new Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VRII, and I’m in love.


Nikon D700 + Nikkor AFS 16-35mm f/4G VRII at 16mm f/4, 1/320 second ISO1600

Of course, with an optic this wide, you have to really push in tight for portraits. This is Suki’s “uh, get that big fat lens out of my face” look.


Nikon D700 + Nikkor AFS 16-35mm f/4G VRII at 16mm f/4, 1/100 second ISO400

This is Suki’s “I’m not feelin’ being on top of this garbage can and am certainly not going to pretend that I’m enjoying it, so don’t bother” look.


Nikon D700 + Nikkor AFS 16-35mm f/4G VRII at 16mm f/4, 1/100 second ISO400

…and this is Suki thinking “what’s with the crooked horizon line in this shot? You’re killin’ me!” Ok not really….


Nikon D700 + Nikkor AFS 16-35mm f/4G VRII at 16mm f/4, 1/60 second ISO800

See? Suki is not as easy to work with as you might think!


Nikon D700 + Nikkor AFS 16-35mm f/4G VRII at 16mm f/4, 1/10 second ISO800

Anyway, besides being a definite go-to lens for my Suki Project, this thing will have a special place in my bag for travel, as well as city and landscape photography….


Nikon D700 + Nikkor AFS 16-35mm f/4G VRII at 16mm f/4, 1/30 second ISO6400

….or environmental portraits. I was also thinking of the 14-24 f/2.8 from Nikon, a legendary ultra wide, but size, weight, and cost considerations put me off. No regrets =)

Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII: First Impression

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A year or so ago I was taking a look at a Canon 5D MkII with a 24-105 f/4L IS lens mounted. Loved the range, the constant aperture, the stabilization. I thought to myself, “why doesn’t Nikon make something like this? If they did, I’d SO buy it….” Well, they finally did.

So I took the plunge. I’m the proud new owner of one of Nikon’s latest lens releases, the Nikkor AFS 24-120mm f/4G VRII. This nano-coated beauty arrived yesterday, and I’m excited to start putting it through its paces. As soon as the lens was announced I was immediately drawn to its appeal. Previous generations of the 24-120mm don’t exactly have the best reputation, but with a new optical design, better build, and constant f/4 aperture throughout its zoom range, I felt safe enough giving Nikon the benefit of the doubt.

Originally the 24-70 f/2.8 was on my hotlist, but  first off, I’m big on image stabilization for hand-held shots at very low shutter speeds, a feature the 24-70 lacks. This lens has a more flexible focal range as well, and is lighter and smaller. Sure, you lose a stop of light gathering with the smaller f/4 aperture, but I rarely shoot wide open anyway. I think this is the general purpose/travel/event lens I’ve been looking for.

It’s only slightly larger than my Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC, a much loved lens on my crop sensor body. Focus is much more snappy than my Tamron, and while the 24-120 is not an all-metal build, it feels solid and very well built. Coming from the Tamron, the Nikkor’s zoom ring placement is throwing me off! It’s going to take some getting used to.

Zooming out to 120mm extends the lens barrel, just about doubling the length of the lens.  Not a big deal.

So how does it perform? I’ll know for sure with this lens mounted on an FX body. Yesterday I had my D300s with me at work, so I picked Suki up in the afternoon and took a few shots of her with it last night. This is one of the first images I took with the new Nikkor:


Nikon D300s + Nikkor AFS 24-120 f/4 VR at 78mm f/5.6, 1/30 second ISO400

Did a quick test that same evening to test the effectiveness of the lens’ image stabilization:


Nikon D300s + Nikkor AFS 24-120 f/4 VR at 120mm f/4, 1/8 second ISO800

This is hand-held at a full frame equivalent of approximately 180mm, at 1/8 of a second. Guess the VR works! Well, that’s all I got for now. Will be taking this lens on a trip next week and hope to use it extensively for about a week. We’ll see how it does!
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UPDATE: Just shot a wedding over the weekend and used the 24-120 f/4 on a D700 for many of the images. Loved the result! Check out the post here.

Also, see some casual shots I took in NY with it here.

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UPDATE (11/9/10): Just read a killer review on the 24-120 f/4 by Todd Owyoung, an awesome concert photographer. Lots of sample images as well as pictures of the lens itself. He has a lot of great things to say about the lens. Check it out at this link!

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UPDATE (11/14/10): Used the 24-120mm f/4 today for some on-location portraiture. Check out my latest post!

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UPDATE (11/29/10):  Legendary wildlife photographer Moose Peterson loves his new 24-120 VRII, check out what he has to say about the lens at this link.

Lens Images: Nikon D40 + Nikkor AFS 50mm f/1.4G

Suki Meets Hana

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Every now and then we meet another Shiba on the street that Suki gets to interact with a little. It’s been a long time since she’s met another Shiba that she could spend the day with, however. A fellow flickr user and Shiba owner came to visit california this past weekend, and we were excited to get together with her and little Hana for an afternoon stroll along the coast.

scratch

This is Hana, not to be confused with Suki. Hana is a five year old female Shiba Inu, and she is rediculously adorable. While Suki is more of  a dog’s dog who loves interacting with others of her kind (often ignoring humans), Hana looooves people. As soon as I greeted her she gave me a bunch of doggie kisses. Suki never kisses me!

Above you can see Fox on the left, who had a chance to meet Suki briefly, but didn’t hang out with us for the rest of the day. I guess it was a “ladies” day out!

When Suki first met Hana, she wasn’t received very kindly. I was a little concerned that they wouldn’t get along, but was I wrong! As we walked along the coast in the late afternoon, they quickly became friends:

They walked together, climbed together, explored together, and took breaks together. It was hilariously cute:

Of course, we shadowed both doggies with our cameras the entire time:

I tried to take every advantage I could to get the two dogs together. They’re so adorable as a pair!

Suki: “Such a nice day, isn’t it Hana?”

Hana: “Sigh…yes, so beautiful”

Hana: “Psst! Suki! I think your dad is trying to take a picture.”

Suki: “Yeah, he’s always doing that…guess we should smile for the camera!”

I was cracking up behind the camera seeing them together like this. So funny!

At one point, we stopped in an area where a lot of people were gathered, watching the sun set over the water. We had our Shibas get on top of a higher platform for more photos:

Of course, with all those people around, it wasn’t long before the two dogs drew lots of attention:

What can I say? Shibas are irresistable!

We kept shooting and shooting until the sun went down. Had such a great time. Made me think…it’d be so nice to have a second Shiba around to keep Suki company. Suki and Hana did so well together, and seemed to feed off of one another’s personalities. It was really interesting watching them cooperate, navigate terrain together, and yes, pose for the camera =)

Until next time, little Hana!

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Images: Nikon D300s + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G // Nikkor 70-300 VR

Written by Jonathan

October 4, 2010 at 8:56 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