Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘50mm

The Silent Photo Walk

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Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120 f/4 VR

Today’s post includes images from this past Sunday, when I went on a photo walk with a friend of mine who recently took up photography as a hobby. We started in San Francisco’s Mission Bay area. What’s up with the title of this blog entry? I’ll explain a little later in the post.

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120 f/4 VR

On this bright and sunny day in San Francisco, I decided to try something a little different and shoot the entire walk in JPEG (gasp!). I realized that since I shoot RAW almost exclusively, I’ve never really had a chance to test out my D700’s JPEG engine. I wanted to see, for example, how the camera’s D-Lighting handled high contrast situations and get a better feel for Nikon’s highly customizable picture control settings.

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120 f/4 VR

(My friend insisted we take Suki along. I take her everywhere anyway, so that wasn’t an issue) =)

There’s something kind of liberating about getting your shot processed in the camera and just being done with it. I did some cropping on a couple of these images after uploading them to my computer. I added a little vignetting here and there, and that was it. Easy peasy!

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120 f/4 VR

Since the camera was doing all the processing, I found myself thinking more carefully about what settings I was using, what my white balance should be, what saturation and contrast settings I should use to achieve a certain look.  Turned out to be a pretty interesting and enjoyable exercise.

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120 f/4 VR

Colors look great out of the camera. The D700 produces an excellent JPEG file, that’s for sure. It seems to handle really difficult high contrast scenes well too, doing a great job preventing highlight clipping while preserving shadow detail when the lighting gets ugly. Pretty impressive out-of-the-camera results.

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G

Besides my funky JPEG project for the day, our photo walk had another interesting twist: it was silent, as in no talking. Huh?! Well, it was silent by necessity. My new-to-photography friend is deaf, so all our joking, camera talk, and general conversation was done in ASL. I must say, teaching someone about photography in sign language is a very interesting challenge. We had a blast =)

On my recommendation, my buddy here recently picked up a 50mm prime lens for his Canon DSLR. Part of the reason for our photo walk was to help him put the new lens through its paces. In harmony with that (and to lighten up my camera so I could sign with one hand and shoot with the other if need be), I put my zoom lens away and mounted my own 50mm for the rest of the day.

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G

If you’re just starting out in photography like my friend is, do yourself a favor and pick up a 50mm fast prime to add to your kit. Both Canon and Nikon make 50mm 1.8 lenses that not only perform very well, especially for low-light photography, but are light-weight and very inexpensive. Nikon also makes a very inexpensive 35mm f/1.8 that’s really a must for every DX shooter.

So with our 50’s mounted, we chased Suki around at a local dog park for a while:

We also spent some time in San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza area. Great place for a photo walk:

After I took the following shot, I got a better understanding of how I must look when I’m taking photos of Suki. I usually get the camera even lower than he is here, so I must look really ridiculous!

Suki looks thrilled, doesn’t she?

Taking a break at Blue Bottle Coffee. You don’t think I headed out to the Ferry Building just to take pictures, do you? 😉

No coffee for you, Suki!

Heading back to the car after dinner. Photo walks…. gotta love ’em.

Nikon D700
Nikkor AFS 24-120mm f/4 VRII
Nikkor AFS 50mm f/1.4G

Written by Jonathan

February 25, 2011 at 8:29 pm

NYC at Night

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Just another post with images from my short trip to New York last month. We stopped by 30 Rock and paid too much to head to the top and photograph the view. Sure was breathtaking from up there!

We got there at around 6:15pm which was only minutes before sunset. All I had to work with was city light and a dusky sky. No tripods allowed meant really high ISO shooting up there.

From the bottom of the rock looking up, and boy is it a long way up!

After that we passed through Times Square on our way back to our hotel in Brooklyn Heights. Favorite lenses for that area were my 50mm 1.4 and 16mm fisheye. More wide aperture, high ISO action!

Bridget, always holding shopping bags. I’m sure there’s some camera equipment in that purse though. =)

The next morning it was coffee, camera, and walking the Brooklyn Bridge. I miss NY already! No exif data on these shots right now since I’m posting from work. =)


Camera Specs: Nikon D700 / Nikkor AFS 50mm f/1.4G / Nikkor AFS 16-35mm f/4 VRII / Nikkor 16mm f/2.8

Written by Jonathan

November 3, 2010 at 1:25 pm

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!


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

An Unexpected Shiba Meet-Up

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This past weekend after our week 30 photo shoot, we relaxed at a nearby park with Suki, the camera, and my favorite coffee ever.  I mentioned this in my previous post, but the above image is a good example of how you can make your subject appear larger than they are in real life.  I shot this photo from a position much lower than Suki’s, and with my lens racked out to it’s longest 300mm focal length, which increases her prominence in the frame.

That morning we actually ran into two other Shibas! One was a red one like Suki. The other, named Akahi, was black with some sesame mixed in:

They were perfect for each other! At one point I couldn’t help but whip out my phone and get a clip of them playing:

This is HD video from the iphone 4 (change the resolution to 720p above for best results). If you look closely you can see that Suki is actually on leash when she takes off after Akahi. Towards the end of the clip you can see that my wife loses her grip on the leash and Suki just bounds away, dragging the leash along the grass. So funny =)

Written by Jonathan

August 4, 2010 at 8:44 am

Suki and Me… [and video on the D300s!]

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Some people who only know Suki from her photos tend to think that she’s a larger dog. I’ll admit that I try to use angles and perspectives that make her appear larger than she is, but Shiba Inus are definitely small dogs. Not lap dog small, but not big either. I say they’re perfectly sized! The image above should give you a clear view of Suki’s relative size. Suki and I were strolling through the city when this reflective glass caught my attention. I actually like how the dirty glass distorted the photo and made it hazy and low-contrast. Looks sort of “filmy.”

See? Suki is pretty little. This image is sort of an optical illusion, however, as the parking meter is a few feet closer to the camera than she is, making it appear much larger than her. The whole reason we were taking a stroll through town with my camera was, of course, to catch an image of her for week 30 of my 52 week project. We used the art we found on this wall here for the final image. Check it out here!

And now for more randomness. Got together with some good friends last night. When the dancing started, I decided to skip the stills and give video a try again on my D300s:

I’m obviously not much a videographer, but for casual clips, it’s great having video in my DSLR for the simple fact that I can use any of my lenses. Notice the shallow depth of field I achieved using my 50mm f/1.4 wide open for the video, which made focus very difficult but added a lot of depth to the recording (just make sure you switch the video to 720p resolution). Now I wish I had brought my fisheye to the party!


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

Written by Jonathan

August 2, 2010 at 11:59 am

Paisley’s Photo Shoot

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Spent this past Sunday afternoon with this adorable little girl and her family. Can someone be any more photogenic than this? My strategy for this shoot was: no strategy. Just follow little Paisley around and see what happens. The result was an amazing little adventure all around the house, climbing different surfaces, discovering her favorite toys, and capturing the cutest little expressions.

Paisley is just gushing with life, joy, intelligence, energy, and curiosity. She has the most wonderful spirit I have ever seen in a child. The first shot I took of her that day I immediately showed to her. She understood right away what the camera was all about, and every so often during our time together, she’d stop, walk towards me, and make me turn my camera around to show her the result. It’s like she was my model and my art director =)

Kept the gear simple, using one lens the entire time: The new Nikkor AFS 50mm f/1.4G that my wife just bought me this past week. Great timing, as it’s the perfect lens for the job. If you’re a crop sensor shooter that likes taking portraits, especially in available light, the 50mm is a must-have. Brought in a camera-mounted flash for fill at times, and that was it!

Please See more images of the shoot on my website here: Paisley’s Photo Shoot


Nikon D300s + Nikkor AFS 50mm f/1.4G

Written by Jonathan

July 26, 2010 at 10:47 am

My Anniversary Gift!

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This morning, while getting ready for work, I noticed that my wife left something behind with my name on it by the door. A shiny new Nikkor AFS 50mm f/1.4G. I wish I had the day off so I could spend more time with it, but for now I just quickly took a snap of Suki waiting patiently to be let out into the yard. Thank you Bridget! Happy anniversary =)

Nikon D300s+ Nikkor AFS 50mm f/1.4G at f/1.4, 1/160 second ISO200

Written by Jonathan

July 22, 2010 at 6:59 am