Heads up

After a few cloudy days the weather has warmed up, the sun makes an appearance and I take the opportunity to look for dragonflies at the local reserve. The last couple of years, warm days in September resulted in some decent dragonfly activity so I was quite hopeful.

Sure enough they were out and even with the breeze, fairly active. If you’ve ever tried to photograph dragonflies in flight you know how quick they move. Out of all my dragonfly shots I’ve only got two or three decent in flight captures. Today I went for the (slightly) easier resting poses.

I like to try and capture dragonflies at different angles if I can. While a decent head shot is nice the wings and body can also be quite interesting.

Talking of wings the shot below shows some detail. I found it covered in dew on top of a post. Don’t know what happened to the body.

 

More dragonflies and other insects appear in the macro gallery here.

 

All images taken with a Nikon 1 V1, 30-110mm lens and Raynox dcr250 adapter.

 

 

New toys II

Further to my new toys post – I was hoping the Fuji XE-3 would be the camera to reignite my interest in Fuji. It didn’t.

To me the value proposition isn’t worth it. I’m sure other people will think differently and that’s fine.

The Olympus OMD EM10 mkiii (they really need shorter names) won’t do anything for me either. A bit like the XE-3 it would appear to be a so so upgrade.

Apple did manage to release three phones. We had the iphone 8, 8 plus and the £999 iphone X. It will be interesting to see how these latest offerings fair. The flagship phones seem to be following cameras in gradually getting more expensive.

Now if only we had some idea what Nikon was planning with their mirrorless offering…

New toys

New toys  are being announced in the photography world.

First we have Nikon with their D850. Initial impressions suggest this will go down well.  Although there is slight annoyance at the asking price in different parts of the world. It seems the USA are getting the best deal at the expense of Europe and Australia. Other than that the D850 could well be a winner for Nikon.

In the Olympus world we have the pending announcement of the OMD EM 10 mk iii. This on the face of it, appears to be a somewhat lack lustre incremental upgrade to the mk ii. See, it isn’t just Nikon that gets criticism for so so upgrades 😀

I am intrigued to see what Fuji do with their upcoming XE-3. This might rekindle my interest in Fuji. I quite like the XE form factor, although I understand Fuji took some persuading to do the XE-3.  I  still think  Fuji ask a premium for their gear.

Speaking of overpriced, Apple might release not one, not two, but three new iPhones in September. There could be a new iPhone 7s, 7s plus and an iPhone 8. The 8 could be pushing the $1000 dollar mark.  Speculation on the UK pricing putting it it the same region as the Samsung Note 8, around £870 pound. That’s a lot of money for a phone, pushing £50 a month on contract. I thought phones were getting expensive when they hit £35-40 a month.

You up for anything?

I’m not in the market for the D850.

I was hoping the OMD EM 10 mk iii could be something I would look at, not sure at the moment though.

The XE-3? Perhaps, depending on connectivity ( Am I the only person who wants a dedicated GPS, from Fuji? ) but I can’t help thinking the price could put me off.

My better half might take a peek at the iPhone 7s. If they don’t do a purple version I can’t guarantee anything though 😉.

Whichever way you look at it there are some new toys coming, whatever your into, have fun.

 

Eyes Down gallery now open

Taking the shot

I’ve added a new gallery to the website and called it Eyes Down.

This gallery contains photos taken by son. Andrew is 21 years old has Down Syndrome and likes taking photos.

The images he creates mean something to him.

It’s both interesting and illuminating to have this small insight into his world.

You can find the Eyes Down gallery here.

Is the Nikon 1 series discontinued?

Is the Nikon 1 series discontinued? According to one German photography website it is, or more accurately Nikon have stopped production.

I wrote a post here in March 2016 about the potential demise of the Nikon 1 system. There is a similar one here six months later. Here we are again.

All Nikon 1 owners will now be waiting for an official announcement. Although given the total lack of interest displayed by Nikon recently regarding the 1 system it may not be a surprise.

I was reluctant to spend any more money on my 1 collection. Not knowing what was going to happen with a V4 kept my wallet firmly in my pocket. Probably did the same for other users as well.

The 1 series never really knew where it was going, or who it was for. I think there was a lot of potential but for Nikon it was too little, too late. Did the project team move to the DL? Has put the lights out in the CX division and left it? Or moved it to the basement and forgot about it 🙂

I’ll carry on using my equipment for as long as I can however I definitely won’t be spending any more on it. Hopefully it will last long enough for the dust to settle and to figure out where I should go next. In terms of size and weight the m43 systems have got to be contenders. There is a good range of body styles and lenses to choose from. And more than one manufacturer.

While we could have a rant about what Nikon should have done with the 1 series, there doesn’t seem much point. Officially discontinued or not, I can’t see anyone looking seriously at the system. Unless it fills a specific niche you have.

So for now until Nikon confirm either way, we are in the same place.

Limbo. Still.

Please Nikon, put us out of our misery.

Nikon 1 RIP? Maybe, maybe not

 

 

It’s not just about gear or photos

It’s not just about gear or photos. Make it about the subject or the experience of just going out. I recently met some interesting and friendly people during my outdoor photo sessions.

 

A couple who had just moved to the area were paying their first visit to the local nature reserve. We were talking about the lack of dragonflies around the haunt amongst other things. Funnily enough, at another reserve a few miles away the dragonflies were quite active.

Another couple were enjoying a day out. They were on holiday.

One chap was talking to me about how the local wildlife had changed over the years. He also showed me a book he had some photos published in. Interestingly he didn’t shoot digital.

You can pick up a lot of information from people who know the local area and wildlife better than you do.

These conversations had a couple of things in common. It was obvious that people were more passionate being out and about than stuck behind a computer screen. Discussing different aspects of photography ‘out in the wild’ is always more enjoyable. Especially when it’s a gloriously warm and sunny day. There was a free and welcome exchange of ideas and information. No one upmanship here, being helpful was the order of the day.

Gear didn’t really come into it. Apart from a ‘see your shooting digital, im shooting film’. How refreshing!

Sometimes as photographers we forget that cameras are just tools to enable the taking of pictures. Without the knowledge of where to take photos, the tools become less useful.

Talking to people when out is part and parcel of the photographic journey. Sometimes I help people out, sometimes I’m learning from people with more specific knowledge on a locale or subject.

Most of the time though it not just about the gear…

Macro with the Nikon 1 V1

Not many people do macro with a Nikon 1 V1. Not many people have or like the Nikon 1 series full stop. I ‘m a bit odd ( as my  wife will testify), in that I quite like the V1. It’s a shame Nikon messed the 1 series around so much. With the right marketing they could have achieved so much more. It didn’t help that Nikon couldn’t decide what body style the V series should take. Three very different body versions was the last thing the V series needed.

Anyway, I tend to take my V1 all over the place. I get a body and the equivalent focal range of 27 -300mm in my pockets quite easily.

I’ve mentioned before I use a Raynox close up adapter. Fit this onto a 30-110mm Nikon 1 series lens and you have a nice little macro capable setup.

The day I captured the images on this page I was actually looking for dragonflies. Although the weather was warm with no wind, the dragonflies weren’t cooperating.

 

Instead I turned the camera to these more accommodating chaps.

 

Just for good measure here is a third one:

 

All these were taken with the Nikon 1 30-110mm lens and the Raynox 250 adapter:

 

The image above shows the Nikon 1 V1 with 30-110mm lens. I removed the Raynox adapter from its normal adjustable holder. Fitting a 40.5 to 43mm step up ring instead. The whole setup measures about 6″ or 150mm in new money.

Not too shabby for a kit lens and relatively cheap (compared to a dedicated macro lens) adapter.

 

 

(This post has sparked my interest in  flies. If you can positively identify these would you be kind enough to  email me here. 

Many Thanks.)

Do we need creative constraints?

With everything else we have to contend with, do we really need creative constraints as well?

Leading on from my losing your creative mojo post, I thought it would be good to have a look at whether we should impose creative constraints on ourselves.

Why do we want to make things harder, isn’t life hard enough already? Well, yes you could say that. But what if we changed the wording slightly. How about a creative challenge? There, that sounds better doesn’t?

Ok – that does sound better

Great! Now let’s think about how we could creatively challenge ourselves in photography. The obvious one is through which gear we use. Or don’t use:

Try shooting with one lens. Pick a lens from your collection and try shooting with only that for say a month. Could be a wide angle, macro, standard, telephoto or perhaps something more exotic. The wide angle and standard lenses are probably the easiest to shoot with. The macro depends on the length. That could be anywhere between 40 and 200mm. The telephoto could prove interesting. Ever tried telephoto landscapes? Instead of trying to fit everything in, a telephoto can be useful for isolating landscape features such as a small group of trees, windmill, castle or other buildings. It also changes your perspective.

While we are on gear how about shooting with a body you don’t normally use. This could be a larger or smaller format than your use too. Or maybe film?

Once you decide on the gear, think about the subject. Ever shot just one genre for a week or a month? Something out of the comfort zone? If you do landscapes have you tried shooting street instead? Or the other way around? I don’t do portraits, so that’s something I could consider.

How about combining a gear and genre challenge together?

Or shoot subjects based on colour. I’d probably go for blue. My favourite youngest would go for red. The wife likes purple. Golds in autumn or even the rest of the year.

As an extension of your photography and to showcase your work you could challenge yourself to setting up your own website. If you haven’t done a website before there are plenty of resources available. There are also ways of doing it for next to nothing. Think of it as your very own digital gallery, open to anyone with internet access. Admit it, you always wanted your own gallery didn’t you 🙂

Well that’s food for thought

Think of the process of photography as you would a subject. More along the lines of not what can be added but what can be taken away.

A challenge could lead to the beginning of a project. This could be short or long term. I have an ongoing project with my 12 Pics series. How long will that last? Honestly I don’t know. I might keep it going or move on to something else.

But that is where you decide what you want to do. Don’t feel like an additional challenge or having creative constraints? No problem.

We may not need a challenge currently in our photographic lives. Sometimes though, as in our daily lives we could end up going in a direction we never thought of before.

Highlands, Scotland
Sometimes a new direction can be a good thing.

If our photography  becomes a chore maybe we are doing something wrong, in which case taking a new path could be an adventure…

 

Photobombed

A few days ago I got photobombed.

It was a nice warm sunny day ( yes we do get those in Wales), so I decided to see if the dragonflies were taking advantage of the weather.

I have a couple of places I go locally so I picked one to see if anything was around. I enjoyed a good few hours out in the sun doing my ‘photography thing’. Now if you read this blog regularly, you will know for me, it’s more about taking photos than the gear. Getting a keeper at the end of the day is the icing on the cake.

However this particular day I got photobombed…

by a damselfly…

Nikon mirrorless

Nikon are going to release a mirrorless camera an official announcement claims. Although rather vague we could speculate exactly what that means. We could also take a stab at a timescale. It might be clever marketing to delay those thinking about jumping ship. But there is a more important issue than the time scale or body style.

Will Nikon stick to their F mount or go mirrorless with a totally new one? If they stick with what they have, the bodies won’t be much smaller.

Most people will look at mirrorless as primarily giving them a weight and size advantage. That won’t happen with F mount lenses. Then you have the issue of DX and FX.

If Nikon release a FX body to compete with Sony, will the DX crowd feel put out? Or vice versa? Could we see a new mirrorless model in DX and FX? Will they stand up against the already established mirrorless offerings from other manufacturers?

Nikon 1 V1

That’s a lot of questions and we haven’t really scratched the surface yet.

I did a recent post about legacy lenses and personally think it wouldn’t be the end of the world if Nikon moved away from the F mount. Provided there were clear advantages in doing so and not just milking their customers for more cash.

We can see it won’t be any easy decisions for Nikon. Unfortunately their track record with the 1 series and then cancelling the DL series doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

Whatever Nikon decide to do, it could be an opportunity to regain a bit of trust with their customers. How?

Publish a road map.