Best Travel Lens For Nikon DX Format DSLRs

If you have to carry only one lens, which lens would you choose? After purchasing a DSLR, it can be an overwhelming experience to select the right lens for the camera, specially if it is your first time purchase. There are so many camera brands to select from and they all have their own set of lenses. My first DSLR, Nikon D60, came with the kit lenses (18-55mm and 55-200mm) which removed my confusion on lens selection. Since then, I have owned two DX format DSLRs, two FX format DSLRs and various lenses from Nikon. Even though my first lenses were not my choice, it worked pretty well for me in all kinds of shooting scenarios. Later, when I upgraded my camera to D90, I bought it in a combo package which came with a 18-200mm lens along with other accessories including the memory card and the cleaning kit. Later, I sold all of my lenses and purchased a 18-300mm lens. All of these lenses are designed for different purposes and different shooting environments. Some of them are designed for all purpose shooting, some of them are for indoor shooting only and others are designed to reach long distance subjects. Some of the lenses are heavier and hard to carry around all day and some of them are light weight and made for traveling purposes. It’s hard to cover all of them in one blog post, but today, I am going to discuss one particular lens that might be an ideal for traveling purpose and specially if you want to carry only one lens that covers the variety of ranges.

When I purchased 18-300mm, I got AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED VR lens which seems to be discontinued now and replaced by the newer model, AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 G ED VR, which I am going to discuss in today’s post. Let me briefly summarize the technical details and then we can go to the practical aspects of the lens.

Read More

Cherry Blossom Festival 2019, Washington DC

Being a local, I can vouch that spring is the best time to visit Washington DC. Just when locals bid goodbye to the long brutal winter, tourists pour into the city from all around the world to see the arrival of spring in the nation’s capital. Approximately 3,000 cherry trees around the tidal basin area go to their full bloom during this time of the year. These trees were presented as a gift from the Mayor of Tokyo to the city of Washington DC in 1912 as a symbol to celebrate the friendship between Japan and America. In DC metro area, the arrival of spring is celebrated with the Cherry Blossom Festival which is a month long program that involves various outdoor activities including the marching band parades, music, showmanship and many other events. These pink and white cherry blooms look so amazingly beautiful, they leave the viewers wonderstruck. Above all, this festival is a stunning opportunity for photography enthusiasts from across the country and all around the world.

During the peak bloom period, it can be a real struggle to find a good spot to photograph without getting tourists or other fellow photographers in the frame. Last year, I reached the tidal basin area at around 6:30 AM and quickly realized that I was late. Because of the crowd, I was not able to take a single photo the way I had imagined. On the good side, I was able to put aside my camera and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the cherry blossoms. Learning from my past experience, I decided to go little earlier this year but still bumped into few tourists and a couple of photographers who came to photograph the sunrise. While people were waiting for the sunrise, I was setting up the camera on the tripod and getting ready for the blue hour shots. It was a cold and a windy morning, and taking a long exposure shot for the blue hour was a challenging task without getting part of the image blurred. After finding a proper composition, I took a few shots but it all came out blurry because of the swinging tree branches. I patiently waited for the wind to stop and managed to get one good shot. The picture below was taken at aperture value of f/11, exposure time of 25 seconds, ISO 64 and focal length of 22mm using the Nikon D810 body and the Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G lens.

Read More

Few Tips And Tricks For Panning Photography

Panning is the technique which shows the motion of the subject, if done correctly. It involves the movement of the camera along with the moving subject either in horizontal or vertical direction. When we think of horizontal panning, we can think of situations like traffic on the road, racing games, sprinters or cyclists, whereas panning to capture the motion of a diver is an example of vertical panning. Theoretically, panning is a simple technique which requires you to use the slower shutter speed, maintain the focus on the subject, continuously pan with the subject and then take the shot. But getting a perfect panning shot is not as simple as it sounds. It needs precise focusing on the subject, good timing on releasing the shutter, balancing your distance with the subject and keep practicing with the different shutter speed until you get the balanced result.

Panning is an interesting concept where the motion is shown by freezing the movement of the subject while making the background blurry at the same time. We all know that freezing the moving subject requires faster shutter speed, but to make the part of the image blurry, we need to shoot with the slower shutter speed. If that is the case, you can possibly argue that how can we achieve the desired shot without combining multiple images, right? And that is the secret of this technique. You don’t have to edit the picture or combine shots in order to get the motion effect in a single picture. You would get it by properly applying the techniques, and timing the shot from the proper distance so that you could include the background in the frame, which is very important to get the motion effect. Now let’s get into the details of these techniques and see how can we master the panning shots.

Read More

My Camera Settings For Nikon D810

I primarily shoot landscape and cityscape which requires me to take a long exposure and bracketed shots. Even though there is no hard-and-fast rule, there are few generally accepted practices among the photography communities for the camera controls and the settings, camera and the lens types and the list of accessories one should have to get better results. Usually, combining a full frame (FX-Format) camera with the wide angle lens gives you the best possible frame for the landscape or the cityscape shots. If you shoot with a higher resolution DSLR, you can crop the images, change the composition during the post-processing and still have enough pixels left in them to print in a larger size. If you are more interested in shooting buildings and architectures, you would get better results by using the tilt-shift lens which allows you to move (tilt and shift) the part of the lens in relation to the image sensor in a wide range of directions and gives you the better and more natural perspective of the structure.

Since I stepped into the photography world in 2009, Nikon D810 is my fourth DSLR but second full frame camera after D700. The decision to upgrade D700 to D810 was influenced by the need for a moderately higher resolution camera which was designed and marketed for landscape photography. Over the last 10 years, I have tried and shot in different camera settings and lighting environments. I have traveled to many places to get a good shot and also made countless mistakes repeatedly. I have learned the most from my own mistakes which gave me some invaluable lessons about what to do and what not to do during the shooting process. All these years of mistakes and countless teaching moments gave me my own set of camera controls and the settings to follow. Today, I want to share that information with you and get your feedback if you have any.

Read More