Subscribe with Bloglines Greg's Photo Diary - the 365 project: October 2008

Monday, 13 October 2008

Sigma 120-400mm

Took a trip to London Zoo on Sunday. It is only my second trip to a zoo ever. I don't really like the fact that they have two types of big cat there. The asian Lion and Sumatra Tiger. I guess it is an opportunity for City folk who never make it out of the city to see these animals, but I don't think the quality of life for the animals is good enough. Anyway....

Here are a few shots I took that I liked. All take on the nikon D90 with a sigma 120-400mm os.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Pano - Take 2

Thought this one may be better.

A bit of Photoshop Magic

OK a little bit of cheating, but I wanted to give it a whirl.

This comes courtesy of Scott Kelby again.

Anyway, was going to go and take a slow shutter shot of the London Eye, but got side tracked by the football. At the end of the game, I looked out the window and saw a rather large 3/4 moon. Grabbed my trusty tripod - I think my next investment is going to be a decent one- and set up with my d90 and 18-105vr. Didn't bother to read Scott's directions properly and got horrific results.

Also found that I had to use my remote and that helped. Anyway, got the settings right and put my 120-400mm on and things improved. PLayed around with the iso setting and got some great results.

So there is the picture of the moon I took tonight, a picture of St Paul's taken last year and then a combination of the two. I followed a tutorial from Scott's website. Note the positioning of the moon to cover the dirt I had missed on my sensor.

Well, not bad for a first effort. Yes??

Creating Panoramas

In the past I have created a few panaoramas from the shots I have taken. I even purchased some software to do it. I had a copy of CS2 but had no idea how to use it. I recently upgraded from Tiger to Leopard OS on my mac - what a great operating system. The only two downside are, 1. Ical has a few changes which just suck and 2. CS2 is not supported. So managed to buy a copy of CS3 so am all set. Anyway my results in the past were quite disappointing. I thought it was me not having the skill with the software, but it really does come down to the skill with the camera. When you point there are always three fingers pointing back at you...:-)

Anyway, I recently bought a book - "The Digital Photography Book" by Scott Kelby. This book is not going to win the most Technical photography book of the year prize, but does give some simple and straightforward tips on how to take certain types of shots. It is written in the style of "if I was out on a shoot with Scott he would say, "dial it to this mode, set your shutter speed to this, take the shot, then do this and viola!!"

Anyway, followed his Pano instructions partially and this photo is the result...not bad.

The trick to getting the exposure and focus correct is to set up on a tripod, Take the first shot and then take the others in manual mode, so the focus and settings remain fixed. Scott has some more detailed instructions, which I will attempt at another time and post the results and the other instructions then.


Thursday, 9 October 2008

With the Sigma 120-400mm OS

I love this lens. It is a bit of a beast to carry around and you need to hit the gym to get some strength into those deltoids, but otherwise it is great. The range is good and the optical stabilisation is excellent and really works.

So two shots one at full stretch of the Paraglider (need to give that a whirl next year) and another of a glacier near chamonix, the name eludes me - answers on a postcard if you know which one.

I like the results and hope to get a few great shots on my trip the the Kruger in December. Keep an eye out for them in the new year.

All my picks on are on my Flickr site:

Some shots with the 18-105mm vr nikon

Ok, here are three shots from the D90 with the 18-105mm vr on it.

First up from the Southbank again. This was taken at about 20mm. The lens is quick and quite and I think gets some nice sharpness and great colour.

Next two are shots from a recent trip to Chamonix.

First video effort with the Nikon D90

This is the first video I attempted with the video function on the d90. It does not work with auto focus so had to get to grips with the manual very quickly! Also made the mistake of filming it in the smallest format. But here it is anyway. It is taken on the Southbank near the National Gallery. You will find a host of bikers and skaters there every weekend and spend enough time there you will get the opportunity to take a good shot or too.

The tricky bit with filming on the D90 is that you have to look at the LCD screen to see what you are filming. As some of you may know, everything looks in focus on the small screen, so filming in large format needs a tripod and you to have a good view of the screen. So don't use it in direct sunlight. The view finder is blocked off by the shutter, so no use in looking in there to get a closer view.

Hopefully my skills in this area will improve quickly.


Wednesday, 8 October 2008

I'm Back with my Nikon D90

Yes, back from a 12 month absence and have a lovely new toy in my had. The Nikon D90.

I have had it for 2 weeks now and am very happy with my new purchase. I got the lens package with a 18-105mm vr lens. I also went and splashed out on a Sigma 120-400mm os lens. I added two Hoya pro uv filters to the lenses and have 2 8gb class 6 sd cards. They all fit in snugly to a Lowepro 100w bag. I have also added a nikon sb600 flashgun, and a car window tripod and a new - budget - tripod.

So first impressions are very good. The Camera has a great weight to it and feels good. The lcd screen is excellent, the colours are vivid and is very clear. Controls are all easy to get to. The shutter has a nice feel and sound to it. On a side note got to use a Canon 40D on the weekend and it is no match to the D90. It feels less solid, has a more plastic feel and I just hated the sound of the shutter.

The in camera editing is handy and can save a few shots on the spot. The battery life is great. I bought a spare battery thinking the VR would drain the battery quickly, but my battery has preformed well.

I am really impressed with the optical stabilisation on the Sigma lens. It really does a great job. I haven't really noticed it kicking in on the nikon lens, but I am sure it will at some point.

Anyway, I have take some shot, not the greatest, but I am a bit rusty. I will be posting a few of them in a short while. Iphoto is just doing a flickr upgrade, so will chose a few and post them tomorrow.

So I will be posting some of my favorite shots on here and let you all know how I am getting on with the D90. Maybe even post some of the lessons I learned to take those shots. My camera is staying of auto and we are going to focus on using Aperture Priority mode.

If you want to see all my shots they will be on my flickr page here

See you tomorrow and your comments will be greatly appreciated