Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘night

First Clicks With the Nikon D800

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  Nikon D800 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G | 6 sec, f/8, ISO 100

Bridget and I made a brief drive out to one of our favorite spots to view the Golden Gate after work tonight. Well, she drove. I was busy unboxing the D800 I received only a couple hours earlier. I set it up the best I could in the car, and as soon as we arrived, took a few frames of the bridge during dusk. Hoo boy does this thing bring on the pixels.

More impressions to come…

Written by Jonathan

March 26, 2012 at 9:40 pm

The Joys of Night Photography

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Fuji X100 | 1/8 sec, f/2, ISO 3200 [hand-held]

You gotta love the daylight savings time shift that happens in fall over here. Setting our clocks back an hour means the sun is already well below the horizon by the time I get out of the office. So during my evening walks with Suki, instead of that beautiful light cast by a setting sun that I love for photographs, I now have only the dim, oddly colored light cast by city street lamps to work with. Sigh.


Fuji X100 | 1/50 sec, f/2, ISO 3200

Not much else to do besides crank up the ISO and pin my camera at its widest aperture. Or lug a tripod around, which is not very practical on an outing with the dog.

Instead, I try to manage low shutter speeds at night by working on my hand-holding technique. The x100 has a relatively wide lens on it, which makes hand-holding a bit easier than it would be with a longer lens. Bracing myself on something solid helps, as does paying attention to my breathing. I find that taking a shot during the natural pause between exhalation and inhalation works wonders in getting sharp shots at low-shutter speeds.

As far as high ISO performance, the x100 is pretty good. All the images in this post were taken at either ISO3200 or ISO6400, and all are out of camera JPEGs.


Fuji X100 | 1/55 sec, f/2, ISO 3200

Files at these sensitivities seem just as clean to me as the ones I get from my D700, though I’d say the D700 still has the edge in detail retention at high ISO. Can’t tell the difference when you’re posting to a blog though, that’s for sure.

Focus is tricky when the light is this dim, especially with a contrast detect system like the one in the x100. Not entirely impossible though, and the electronic viewfinder makes framing in low light super easy.

Coming to the dog park in the dark sure feels strange now. At this time during the summer, there’d still be plenty of sunlight out.


Fuji X100 |  1/30 sec, f/2, ISO 6400


Fuji X100 |  1/70 sec, f/2, ISO 3200

You know what’s depressing? I go to work early enough to miss the morning sunrise as well. What gives with that!? Oh well. I’m totally looking forward to the weekend.

Written by Jonathan

November 11, 2011 at 6:32 pm

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Blue Hour Photographs

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Fuji X100 | 9 sec, f/11, ISO 200 (JPEG output: Astia)

On the way to meet friends for dinner in downtown SF last night, I stopped by the pier to grab some night shots with the X100. It was a surprisingly warm evening. Perfect for a relaxing stroll with the camera.


Left: Fuji X100 | 1/10 sec, f/2, ISO 200 (hand-held) ||  Right: Fuji X100 | 2sec, f/11, ISO 200

At this point the light was falling fast. After a couple of hand-held snaps, I brought out my trusty gorillapod for some long expsosures:


Fuji X100 | 7 sec, f/11, ISO 200 (JPEG output: Astia)

I would normally shoot RAW when doing night photography, but out of curiosity I recorded RAW and JPEG files simultaneously. To put it simply, the X100 puts out a fantastic JPEG file.


Fuji X100 | 30 sec, f/16, ISO 200 (RAW: Processed in LR3)

The built in 3-stop neutral density filter came in handy for giving the water a more glassy look and smoothing out the clouds, though I do prefer the more dramatic sky that resulted from the 7 second exposure over the 30 second exposure above.

I continue to be amazed that such a relatively small camera packs such a serious image quality punch. I feel like such a ninja with the X100. Silent, extremely portable, and incredibly quick to deploy:


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G AFS |  1/125 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600

Tonight I wanted to get a couple frames of the Golden Gate during blue hour. Arrived on site, jumped out of the car, climbed down on the rocks, plopped the small rig down and fired away. I was happy that the fog stayed high enough in the sky to be a sweet element in the photo without completely shrouding the bridge, which is often the case in this very foggy city.


Fuji X100 | 30 sec, f/11, ISO 200 (RAW: Processed in LR3/CS5)

Click on the image above to see a larger version on my City and Landscape gallery.

Written by Jonathan

August 19, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Smitten!

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Fuji X100 | 1/80 sec, f/2, ISO 800

After a pretty late dinner this evening, I headed with some friends to Smitten Ice Cream in San Francisco. Now, there are lots of places to get a pretty good scoop of ice cream in this town, but Smitten is really quite special.


Fuji X100 | 1/125 sec, f/2, ISO 800

Each cup of Smitten’s awesome ice cream is made to order and served out of a small kiosk in Hayes Valley. The kiosk itself was constructed out of a recycled shipping container. How cool is that? And yes, I said the ice cream is made to order, as in they make the actual ice cream when you order it. They use these interesting-looking, liquid nitrogen packing machines that steam like a crazy science experiment while they churn a fresh batch of ice cream for you in about a minute.


Fuji X100 | 1/60 sec, f/2, ISO 1000

The folks at Smitten claim that using something as crazy cold as liquid nitrogen (-320 degrees F!!!) results in smaller ice crystals and therefore a creamier consistency.  They must know what they’re talking about, because the Salted Caramel ice cream I had tonight was hands down the creamiest ice cream I’ve ever had.


Fuji X100 | 1/60 sec, f/2, ISO 2500

The wife had malted vanilla with cookie crumbles on top. Yummmm. Smitten always has Vanilla and Chocolate flavors on hand, and provides other flavors as rotating weekly specials. Reason enough to keep coming back.

Check out www.smittenicecream.com!

Written by Jonathan

July 2, 2011 at 9:47 pm