Travel, Blog And Nikon D810

I must admit that traveling and blogging do not go together and specially if you are traveling into remote areas where Wi-Fi is not readily available. Last couple of months, I was traveling into different places (of Nepal) and realized that not having internet all the time or not updating your social media in every hour or even not having to worry about writing anything removes a lot of pressure from your shoulder and helps you to relax and be more creative. It was a good escape for a couple of months and enjoyed every moment of it. While traveling, few thoughts came into my mind about blogging and how I can incorporate those beautiful landscapes of the himalayan nation but later I chose to stay away from it and enjoy the free moment I had. Sometimes, writing a blog can put lots of pressure and specially when you are running out of the times and topics. First, you have to think about the blog post and then explain it nicely so that you can deliver the message you are trying to deliver to your readers. During the process, you might have to include some visuals (photos, graphs or videos) and that would be an extra work on top of the writing part as well. It's a fun thing to do but surely a time consuming process as well and, if you have another full time job, it becomes very difficult to manage time for the blog regularly. It sounds like an excuse for not being regular on blogging but this is the truth which I learned from my own experience; hard to do full time job and be regular on blogging. Please accept my sincere apology for not being as regular as I wanted to be.

If you were following my blog in last few months, I mentioned about upgrading my Nikon D700 to either D750 or D810. I also mentioned that I was leaning towards D810 for few reasons which I would tell once I get the camera. And the moment is here; I sold my D700 and got the Nikon D810 last month. The main reason I went with D810 and not D750 was same look, feel and control as my trusted D700 even though some believe that D750 has a better dynamic range being newer model than D810 which may be true but I am very happy with D810's capability on every aspect of photography so far. I loved my D700 and the only reason to upgrade was to get little more pixel for cropping and get better dynamic range with the Nikon's newer EXPEED 4 sensor.

SuperMoon (click the image to view full size)

It's been few weeks I am playing with the D810 and I am very happy with my upgrade decision so far. I will be uploading more pictures in coming days but here is the super-moon shot I tried on December 3, Sunday. Please stay tuned and keep guiding me through my mistakes. Happy Shooting!

Another Shot Of Baltimore Inner Harbor

Couple weeks ago, I shot the Baltimore Inner Harbor during blue hour and I was very happy with the result. If you have enjoyed doing landscape photography, you might also have realized that how fast natural light changes from the sunset to the blue hour to the darker hour. If you are not well prepared for the shot, it's very easy to miss the window for the proper light. Usually, when I plan to shoot for the blue hour, I complete the camera setup just before the sunset and then monitor the light very closely. Then after the sunset, I take few shots in 10-20 minutes interval until I get the result I am happy with. Last week after passing the blue hour, I stayed little bit longer and then captured the darker hour Inner Harbor as well. I think I took this photograph around 9:00 - 9:30 PM on the same day I shot the Harbor in a blue hour. You can see how much difference the changing light from the blue hour to the darker hour makes on the photograph. Even though these two photographs are not taken from the same spot, you can see the similar buildings on both photographs and the composition is also somewhat similar.

This shot was also taken in an Aperture Priority (A) mode with an aperture value of f/8 at 16mm focal length using ISO 200. The camera adjusted the shutter speed for me automatically.

Baltimore during darker hour (click the image to view full size)

Even though I love taking all kinds of photographs, landscapes and cityscapes are my favorites. This photograph was taken using Nikon D700 and the Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 lens without using any filter attached to it. I welcome any comments or critics you may have. Happy shooting!

Baltimore Inner Harbor - Blue Hour Photography

The blue hour is the period of twilight early in the dawn and late in the dusk when the Sun is well below horizon and the short blue wavelengths of sunlight illuminate the sky instead of the longer red wavelengths. During the "blue hour", red light passes straight into the space and the blue light is scattered in the atmosphere and reaches the earth's surface. Blue hour is very popular among landscape photographers who like to produce rich sky colors early in the morning or later in the evening mixed with the artificial light sources and other subjects, buildings for example. I also love shooting night cityscapes because of the rich colors and the mood it reflects. Last Friday after work, I drove to the Baltimore city to try some blue hour photography. Baltimore Inner Harbor is a familiar spot to me where I have shot before and I chose this location for the blue hour photography because I wanted to include the buildings and its reflection on the water mixed with the blue hour sky and create a contrasty and a high dynamic range picture. I reached there before the sunset and walked around the harbor to find a good composition. Once I found the right composition, I setup the camera on the tripod, adjusted the camera controls and waited for the blue hour to start after the sunset.

I set my camera into an aperture priority mode (A) with an aperture value of f/11 and ISO 200 while the camera adjusted the shutter speed for me automatically. Initially, I took few shots to test the colors and the composition and once I was happy with the result, I bracketed for the 5 shots with an EV value difference of 1 (-2EV, -1EV, 0, +1EV and +2EV). The shot below is an HDR version of those five bracketed shots merge into one using Adobe Lightroom.

Blue Hour Photography (click the image to view full size)

I used Nikon 16-35mm f/4 lens on Nikon D700 body and focused manually into infinity so that I can get the entire frame from the foreground to the background in focus. I also used the shutter release cable to minimize the camera shake which helps to produce the sharper image. If you have any question or comments about the photographs or the process of taking this photograph, please let me know in the comment section below. Happy Shooting!

This year's July 4th Fireworks

This is my third time shooting 4th of July fireworks in Washington DC. I reached there well ahead of time (4 hours earlier to be exact). Being very early at the location, I setup myself closer to where they were supposed to shoot the fireworks so that I could get a good vantage point and a open space in front of me. I setup the camera on the tripod, checked all the settings and took couple of test shots to get the composition right. This year my goal was to capture the fireworks on top of the Lincoln Memorial building but later realized that my calculation went wrong about the focal length to cover the wider area. Last month I wrote a blog post on how to shoot fireworks where I mentioned that shooting fireworks is a new experience every time and sometimes things won't turn out the way we want them to and that is exactly what happened to me this year. In the past, I had made some mistakes while shooting fireworks and learned from them but this time, the issue was something else. As George Bernard Shaw said it beautifully, "Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time". This year the issue was my distance to the fireworks and the choice of the lens I made. It would have been a perfect decision to bring 70-200 mm only if I were little farther from where I setup my gears but it was already too late to move when I realized it. And the lesson I learned is - I should have brought 16-35 mm with me as well to get the view I wanted. Even though I was not able to get the shot I envisioned I would get this time, I was able to get few shots that are crisp and clear and do justice with the camera settings at least. Being very close to the fireworks, most of the shots were taken using 70mm focal length (widest view I could possibly get unfortunately) at f/8-f/11 aperture with the shutter speed of 3 seconds. In my first shot when they just started firing, I was able to get the Lincoln Memorial and part of the fireworks but later when they started firing all over the places, I lost the composition. Here are some of the photographs from this year's July 4th fireworks.











Please let me know what do you think about these shots. I am always open to any critics or comments you may have.