Still in the pursuit of my goal of catching up with posting past work—before I get into current projects (provided I have time!)—just a month ago I was the main photographer for the wedding of Chelsea and Jonathan Durbin in Louisville, KY. With mostly the same equipment as I used in my previous wedding, and the addition of the Rokinon 16mm f/2, I had my ducks in a row as far as gear preparation goes. In stark contrast to the rustic, small-scale wedding I shot prior, this catholic wedding with a large bridal party forced me to change techniques and styles around to keep up with the proceedings. Thankfully, I enlisted the help of Lisa Britton—another freelancer in the Cincinnati area—to help as backup and lighting assistant (Nikon d7000 with Tamron 24-70mm). As a larger wedding with more events to cover, this post contains significantly more photographs than my previous photo story, so make sure you have the time to peruse through the following. With that, let’s get to some shots! Continue Reading
Allow me to get some formalities out of the way before anything else. It’s been about three weeks since my last post. Thanks not only to student teaching, but also a commitment to a multi-night pit orchestra production, I haven’t had any time to write new posts, let alone make more photographs outside of my formal photographic assignments.
That’s the bad news.
The GOOD news, it’s officially summer on my end! This means an abundance of free time, or at least, more time I can set aside for photography, lens reviews, and other ramblings I may deem fit for the website. 😉 I’ve got lots of things in store for the next few months, so lets get right to it!
The “fast 85”. About every single lens manufacturer has a lens with a large aperture that covers the wide end of the typical portrait focal length. Canon has an 85mm f/1.2, Zeiss currently makes their own 85mm f/1.4, the m4/3 crowd will soon have a Panasonic 42.5mm f/1.2, and even the lowly Nikon 1 system has a 32mm f/1.2 on the way. All of these lenses, when used on their respective camera formats, give a semi-wide portrait field of view that begins to give telephoto compression to images—essential to maintaining natural perspectives on subjects. Combined with their fast f/1.2-f/1.4 apertures, extremely shallow depth-of-field control is possible for marked subject separation from any background.
So then, we have the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 AI-s, yet another hunk of metal and glass from Nikon’s film days. This lens has been superseded many times by AF-D and AF-S versions, both sporting fast f/1.4 and f/1.8 apertures. But there has to be an optical reason this lens still fetches a pretty penny online, besides for the allure of collectors, right? Let’s take a look! Continue Reading
Electronics, what with their extremely numerous and complex construction, have the potential to malfunction all the time nowadays. When hundreds of working parts are crammed into any one object, something is bound to eventually go wrong. Of those many parts, my NEX-7’s sensor cleaning function has stopped working properly recently. I decided to attempt a repair starting last week so I would a) Have it covered under my one-month-left warranty and b) Get a fully-functional camera ready for the majority of baseball/softball/lacrosse/tennis season.
So, being without my NEX-7 sucks, I won’t shy away from saying that. But, thanks to a generous father, I borrowed a Nikon d300 to still get the job(s) done this past week in photography. Some of my very early readers may know that I transitioned from a DSLR to a NEX. Due to the Thailand flooding that crippled Sony’s major factory, that transition was ANYTHING but smooth. In December of 2011, I was starting to really get into more advanced photography with my school paper’s Nikon d40. As an old, 6-megapixel CCD-sensor camera, it didn’t really do well in specialized situations (such as sports) where high shutter speeds were needed in relatively low-light. I pre-ordered the NEX-7 at this time. However, the athletic director was still interested in hiring me on–the shots I COULD get in ideal situations were good enough that he saw my potential. The problem? I wouldn’t get the NEX-7 until March of 2012!
So, enter the d300. A 12-megapixel CMOS-sensor beast of a DX-format DSLR. In its prime, it was the choice for event photographers who shot DX-format. Manageable noise even at ISO 3200, a fast 7 fps continuos shooting rate, more manual controls than a casual photographer could shake a stick at, and a rugged magnesium-alloy body wrapping up a professional package. In the right hands, it still is an extremely capable camera in almost all shooting scenarios, and DX-format photographers are clamoring for a successor (the d300s doesn’t count, and Nikon has stated the new d7100 isn’t the flagship DX model).
It has been about 10 months since the last time I heavily used this camera–the only subjects I’ve had to use it on are product shots of lenses attached to the NEX-7! This past week was a surefire struggle for me, as there are many advantages and features of the NEX-7 I have become accustomed to (which I may write an article on in the near-future). Using manual glass on a DSLR is an awful experience compared to on a NEX. Thankfully, for a lot of this past week’s shots, I used a nice autofocus 80-200 f/2.8 ED that I bought for my Dad on Father’s day.
But enough rambling, let’s get to some photographs! All the following captured with the Nikon d300 and 300mm f/2.8, 85mm f/1.4, and 80-200mm f/2.8 ED (which I may have to take an in-depth look at someday).
First up, Transylvania University has fielded their first-ever Lacrosse team this year, and I photographed their first home game (which ended in a win!). Conditions were pretty terrible though; low-light, rain/snow, high winds, and trying to focus my 300mm made every movement a challenge. It still didn’t stop me from coming back with some great action shots though. 😉
Only 5 short months ago, I started matthewdurrphotography.com. In that time I have posted 60 entries, focusing on my ever-growing list of lens reviews, photography walks, and multiple sports shootouts with my manual-focus gear. I never could have imagined my site would get 50,000 unique views, 200 likes on my posts, and 50 followers in such a small time-frame. All the support from this online community makes me feel what I have isn’t “just another photography blog”, which is the one label I have been trying to avoid from the get-go. I must definitely give all my readers a big “THANK YOU” for sticking it through with me and keeping up to date on all my happenings with photography. You all are the best. Period.
As of late I’m still working on the 36-72mm Series-E review, so I don’t really have too many pictures to post. What I DO have is a small time-lapse video I made back in March of this year (before I started the website) that I have been waiting to share until a time like this. This video is my first (and so far, only) time-lapse, taken with a Nikon d300 of two converging storm fronts; as such, I made a few rookie mistakes like over-exposing a tad, and allowing my anti-rain device (umbrella) to get into the frame a little bit. I greatly want to do more of these, but due to the size and weight of the camera, I rarely have the drive to just take it out and shoot. I have been what feels like lobbying Sony for a while now to get a simple firmware feature like this added into their NEX cameras, but no luck yet. Oh well. Without further adieu, below is the embedded video. Sit back and relax (preferably with headphones and in Fullscreen 720p HD if your connection allows):
Have a great day guys and gals, and please, stay as awesome as you already are. 😀