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Member Since 01 Oct 2013
Offline Last Active Sep 13 2019 10:53 AM

#44093 One week, one camera, one focal length week ending December 18

Posted by Thumper on 15 December 2016 - 02:08 PM

I'm loving this.   It's killing me though.  I could totally inundate you with questions.  "What's this?" or "What's that building?" or "Are the skylights always red or did they just do that for Christmas?" or "what's that over there?".   :lol:

#43993 Nikon D4s is not firing correctly

Posted by Thumper on 12 December 2016 - 03:28 PM

If you are using the "1st Gen" 70-200mm f/2.8 VR (as opposed to the VR II model), then you might have one that is getting stuck.   I have a 1st Gen 70-200mm f/2.8 VR, and mine suddenly stopped auto-focusing.  I figured out that it would get stuck when at one end of the focusing range.  When it is attempting to focus, it would go to one end of its range, then try to go back the other way, but it would get stuck when it would hit the stop on the end of the range.  Then it just would not focus in the other direction unless I reached up and moved the focus ring manually, thus "unsticking" it from its trapped position.  Then it would auto-focus just fine for a few shots, but if it hit that stop at the end of the range, it would stick again.  I am probably going to have to send it in to a Nikon service center to have it cleaned and serviced if I want it to return to normal functionality.  

#43982 Experiences and lessons........

Posted by Thumper on 12 December 2016 - 12:37 PM

So...I've got to know--did you tell Linda to go soak her head? (I want to tell her that and I don't even know her.) After your nice chat over a scotch--did it end there or did you end up doing what she and the new guy were asking? 


And deano is right--I nearly always find that the people who want things for free or discounted somehow seem to demand the most. I always have to wonder what the crap is wrong with people???

Oh, she got told where she stands with me, and she doesn't jump in the middle of my business anymore.  We give each other a wide berth, and that works well for both of us.


And no, after the nice scotch social time, I did not concede and go back and work on that project. I gave him the photos that I had already done in the state that I had originally submitted them to him.  He totally understood and agreed, and he was appreciative of what I had done. (But he liked the shots from the beginning).   The drink and good conversation was to make sure that there was nothing sore between either of us.  It was really nice.    


One difference between doing things like this for free and getting paid for it is that the contract spells out everything including either oversight during the shoot or full artistic freedom and deadlines etc. This turns the stress level down considerably for events and corporate shoots. 

That does make sense.  I assumed that a lot of professionals have to deal with that in some capacity.   I would think that portrait photographers and wedding photographers probably have it the worst of all.


Were you doing the work on your own time?


The worst I've had to do is tell a Minister that I was shooting a wedding as a present to the couple, all expenses paid by me. That changed his attitude. Don't know why, but it did. They could not afford a photographer, friends and family put together the reception.


I decided 40 years ago that photography was a great hobby, having a job that includes it is fun. Working on digital imagers and developing image processing algorithms throughout the 1980s helped. 35+ years looking back, think the decision was the correct one and photography is a still great hobby.

Yes, I was doing the work on my own time.  I didn't even use my office workstation.  I transferred all of the shots to my Macbook Pro at home and worked on it in the evenings.  


But come to think of it, I did do the directory shots and the "group" shot while I was at work.  (I am exempt/salary, not hourly though). 

#43959 A few from today's session

Posted by Thumper on 11 December 2016 - 04:07 PM

Everything you see is from the effect of the flash. Nothing added.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

You did a really nice job with that.   Looks fantastic. 

#43958 Experiences and lessons........

Posted by Thumper on 11 December 2016 - 04:05 PM

I have stated many times that I am a hobbyist photographer and that I do not aspire to do this professionally despite my obsession with it.  I do truly love photography, and I love looking at other people's photography.  


I have always had an admiration for people that do this for a living in any of the genres of photography.   I was always concerned that if I ever had to produce photographs for a living that I would lose my love for it.  It happened with computers. I used to build computers for fun back in the early to mid 90's, but once I started doing IT work professionally, computers weren't fun anymore.  I didn't want that to happen with my photography.  I shoot almost 100% for my own pleasure.  (I recently went to my granddaughter's High School graduation and took photos for my own collection, but I shared a couple, and one in particular that of the entire graduating class throwing their mortarboards into the air that was a real hit with the class and faculty.  That was fun). 


I would do favors for people here and there, and I might take a few shots of something for them, and it was usually portrait type stuff.  I always give my obligatory disclaimer that I am not a professional and that I don't do professional work and that what they get is what they get.  I am not going to spend a lot of time going back over and over to retouch or photoshop things to get what they want.  They can pay someone to do that.  


Over the summer, I agreed to bring my camera to a company BBQ and picnic and just shoot.  They just wanted random shots of the event and people enjoying each other.  I reluctantly agreed, and I gave my usual disclaimer along with a statement of no guarantee of a specific time that I might be done with the final photographs.  They seemed to be fine with it.  I took a lot of shots (around 200-250), and I had a blast doing it.  I produced a total of 83 photos, of which I gave them 75 of the photos.  I did it for free, and I told them to do with the photos what they wanted.  They ended up giving me a $100 gift card as a "thank you" gift.  I thought that was pretty cool of them.  


So a couple of months ago, the "marketing director" of our firm asked me to do a "few"shots for a staff directory that would include staff photos.  The staff had been asked to submit their own "favorite" photos of themselves, but there were a few that either didn't submit photos or said that they didn't have any to submit.   I agreed, again, for free, and I gave my usual speech.  (This would be for the same marketing director that I purchased a Nikon P&S camera for when she started with the firm a couple of years ago, but the camera hasn't been out of the box once since I bought it for her).  I took my umbrellas, stands, speedlights, and backdrops up to work and setup for a few shots.  I ended up with about 12 people that needed photos.  Not a big deal.  I took the shots, and started working on them in my spare time.  Apparently, the marketing idiot had waited until the last minute to get these done, so by the time that she had asked me to get involved, she was already being pushed to produce them.  So she starts nagging me about them. I told her that I would get them done as soon as I could, but that I didn't agree to a time line, and that if she had wanted that then she should have commissioned a professional photographer and setup a deadline.  Once I produced the photos, she didn't like several of them and asked me to redo them.  I told her that I would, but that I would get them to her when I could, and that probably wouldn't be anytime soon.  She didn't like that and started arguing about it that I needed to get on it immediately. I had to laugh a bit at that point.  I told her to forget it and just make due with what she had.  She wanted to continue to argue about it until I finally told her to get the hell out of my office and to never ask me to do any photo work for her in the future.  I  vowed that I would never again do something like that as a favor for anyone, and it reinforced my decision to never pursue photography professionally.


Well, I am stupid.  Because I did do it again, and right after that, as a matter of fact.  One of the attorneys that I really like had asked me last year to take a photo of him and 2 other attorneys for some group/committee that they all belong to.  It was to be published, but I did it for free.  It was quick and easy, and the shot turned out okay. Not amazing, but it was a decent shot, and all 3 liked it, and they all thanked me for doing it.  Fast forward to this year.  Same guy approaches me, and he asks if I will take another shot for this year's group, which had added an extra person.  Wow, I was still reeling from my last bad experience that had just happened about 2 weeks prior to his.  I agreed to do it because I really like this guy, and he has always been there for me when I have needed him at work.  We took the shots, and I worked up a couple of photos for them to choose from.  Then I get a group email from the new guy in the photo wanting things changed around.  Rather than go through all of the changes that he wanted, I offered to reshoot it.  Nope, he didn't want that.  Then I get a call from the same marketing gal telling me how to go about editing the shot!!  Before I could respond to that, I get another email from the new guy saying that he had brought "Linda" (yes, I changed her name) in on the project so she could advise me.  That was followed by an email to the entire group from Linda which was ordering me to make the changes  (which I am not subordinate to her in any capacity at work, let alone for a volunteer job), and berated me for my previous submissions and not consulting her first (when she wasn't involved in the project at all anyway).  I went to the attorney that had asked me to do this, and he started apologizing the second that I walked into his office before I could even say a word.  I just laughed, and I told him that I wasn't upset with him at all.  I told him about the staff directory project, and he just put his face in his palm.  He felt bad that it went sour so quickly.  I told him that it was no big deal, but that I was done with the project at that point, and they would just have to roll with what they had.  (We laughed, and he poured us both each a glass of Auchentoshen 18, and we had a nice chat over some really tasty scotch.  That alone was worth the hassle.  LOL).  But that was truly the final straw for me.  No more favors.   My photography will be 100% for my own pleasure from this point forward.  


I must say, I have always admired people that do this sort of thing for a living, but every once and a while, something happens that reminds me how much admire them.  LOL.  You pro's must have the patience of saints.  I know that the stress is a lot different for freelance journalistic and sports photographers since the whole process is so much different (and I won't even get into how competitive that is), but having to do that for a means of income would be a nightmare for me.  I do so enjoy the freedom of just being able to take shots of whatever I want, being able to take whatever time that I want to produce something (if at all), and how it turns out is entirely up to me.  I do love that. I am forever the student (my Sensei would always say that to me. "Senpai, be ever the student.  At all things.") I can learn this at my own rate/pace, and I can make my mistakes and learn and it won't affect my livelihood. It affords me the luxury of experimenting at my leisure.   But I do respect and truly admire those of you who do this full time, and even part time, as professionals.  I know that you are doing something that you love for a living and a career, and there are few things that are quite as rewarding as that.  But I know that I would probably be in jail right now for beating someone half to death with a lens if I had to put up with that kind of crap all the time.  LOL!!

#43956 One week, one camera, one focal length week ending December 18

Posted by Thumper on 11 December 2016 - 03:13 PM

Okay, I'll do my best to participate in this one.  I will go with my 10.5mm fisheye.  (Consider me inspired). Not sure that I'll get a shot per day, but I will do my best.  I'll snap on the 10.5 and leave it there for the week. 

#43951 Macro options

Posted by Thumper on 11 December 2016 - 11:20 AM

The 105mm VR is a bit pricey.  When I bought mine, I didn't look outside of the Nikon line, and I probably should have.  On a recommendation from a friend, I rented one from BorrowLenses.com and took it to the local zoo and a local arboretum/botanical garden for the day.  (I only used that lens for the whole day).  I can tell you that it isn't a lens that you can just throw on and use well with no prior experience with it.  You have to figure out how it works best.  It is not a forgiving lens, so to speak.  Don't get me wrong, I love the lens, and I still use it a lot, but it took me the better part of the day (and some after that) to really get to where I could shoot with it.  (And as with everything else with my photography, I am still learning with that lens).  


Peter and Darryl are far more experienced and much better photographers than I (as are most of the members on this site), and I can tell you that you should really heed their advice on the lenses they have recommended.  I really should have done that myself when I bought my 105mm VR.  I am very happy with my lens, and I am not getting rid of it, but it is expensive, and there are better macros out there for the money.  Were I to do it over again, I would probably go rent the lenses they recommended as well as the 105mm VR and do a comparison as to which one worked the best for me and which one worked the best with my budget.  (The 105 most certainly did NOT work well with my budget at the time.  In fact, it delayed me getting any other photography equipment for a while as it cratered my wallet.  LOL ). 

#43902 D5500 and rain...

Posted by Thumper on 09 December 2016 - 05:01 PM

I agree with the comments...I think you got lucky...Take a look at the OpTech Rain Sleeves - they are cheap and made to be disposable even though you can use them a few times if you treat them kindly...they could save you a good amount of repair money!  Of course, if you intend to shoot often in the rain, there are some excellent high quality rain sleeves out there depending on the body and lens you are using...

On Tbonz's advice a couple of years ago, I bought a couple of the OpTech Rain sleeves, and I am glad that I did!  I keep them in my bag, and I have used them a couple of times now.  Excellent product.  

#43674 New guy

Posted by Thumper on 02 December 2016 - 10:18 AM

I really enjoyed the 24-120 and wish I still had it some times.  I needed f2.8 so switched over to the 24-70.  In part it depends on whether or not you prefer primes or zooms.  There are a few folks on here with the 150-600 and it looks like a great lens.  One I am also considering when the time is right.  Excellent advise on the primes that Thumper and Merco suggested.  That said, my only prime right now is the 105 Micro.  I primarily shoot sports and find the zooms work best for me there even though I hope to get a long f2.8 at some point in the future!


What part of Virginia?  Moved down to North Carolina 2 years ago after having lived there my entire life.  

That is easily my most used lens.  It stays on my camera most of the time.  I carry my 70-200mm in the bag all of the time, and it gets used quite a bit, but my 24-70mm is my all purpose/general use lens.   If I could only have/was limited to only one lens (in some bizarro universe), I would choose the 24-70mm. 

#43659 New guy

Posted by Thumper on 01 December 2016 - 08:36 PM

Welcome to the Nikon Forums!!


Congrats on the (upcoming) score of a really nice Nikon body.  What is your lens budget?  


Fast 50mm's are not very expensive, in my opinion, so much so that it's hard not to have one.  You can do a LOT with a 50mm.  


The 810 is an FX (full frame) format body, which opens some doors as far as the lens selections available, but FX lenses can be a little bit more expensive than their DX counterparts.  

#43657 New Tripod!

Posted by Thumper on 01 December 2016 - 08:16 PM

Good ideas from Merco and Thumper.  And, that is why I switched to carbon fiber Thumper :)!  I guess I'm just too old to haul heavy stuff (that isn't a camera or a lens) around!  

I totally agree.  I have the 4 section 055 in carbon fiber.  It weighs 4.6 pounds (without the head), and its 4 section aluminum counterpart weighs in at 7.7 pounds.  5 pounds may not sound like much, but when you strap that thing to the side of a bag, it changes the game a lot.  (Plus its size makes it kind of cumbersome, and then there are the lenses ).  The 8 pounder would really be more than I would want to tote around like that.  I don't mind it much with the tripod case, even over my shoulder, but I sure wouldn't want to pack that sucker around all day if I was out on a photo walk or on vacation/holiday. 


But that tripod is just so solid, and for the price, it is really impressive. 

#43614 New Tripod!

Posted by Thumper on 30 November 2016 - 10:04 AM

They are heavy.  I used a sling camera bag/backpack that has tripod staps, and I discovered quickly that the 055's are just too heavy to attach to a bag.  I got one of these for mine (there are various sizes depending on the model/size of tripod that you have), and I use it to transport mine.  It makes it much easier to carry, and it helps protect the tripod, but the downside is that it is another bag to keep up with once you are setup (unless you just keep it on your person as it does have a strap).  I usually just carry mine in my hand, but if I do sling it, I just wear it right along with my sling camera bag.  But I only take that tripod if I know that I am going to be needing a tripod.  If I am just out on a photo romp and I don't know if I might run into a situation that would require a tripod, I have a travel/mini version of the 055 that is more easily carried and can be attached to my bag.  It isn't even close to the same stability, but it is very stable for light travel tripod.  (I always reference my friend's advice to me on tripods.  There are 3 things to consider in getting a tripod.  Price, weight, and stability.  Pick two and run with it.  So far, I haven't found that advice inaccurate). 


I normally keep a few of those urethane bags (like what you get your purchases in at grocery stores or Walmart) in my camera bag just in case I might have an odd need for one.  A few of those and some rubber bands might make for some nice booties for your tripod legs when you are in conditions that might see your tripod legs in weird substances.  (Think waders for your tripod).  

#43304 Editing exercise, week ending Nov. 13 2016

Posted by Thumper on 14 November 2016 - 10:54 AM

Wow, y'all did some amazing work with an absolutely terrible shot.  I had an awful time trying to shoot this because at the time of the event, there was someone involved with the event that was intentionally standing in front of all of my shots so that I couldn't get shots of the band.  I finally went back up to the floor that my office is on in this building, and shot down from the 3rd floor.  (Once she saw me up there, she started doing her little routine of trying to obstruct my shots).  So I ended up taking the shot from an odd vantage point farther away than I would have preferred.  But I did give y'all a terrible shot to work with.  


The original shot was taken with my D4 with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens. 



ISO 1600


I loaded the .NEF file into Lightroom:

Reduced the Highlights and Shadows to reduce the contrast without reducing the Contrast (which affects things much more overtly).

Popped the Sharpening up a bit to give a little detail and a bit of grain (but not too much).


Then I exported the file and loaded it into Photoshop.

I cropped it down to what I felt was a little more usable, but I ended up making it a bit cramped, and I lost parts of the musical instruments.

I applied Silver Efex Pro 2, and I chose the High Structure (Smooth) template.

I increased the Brightness.

I increased the Contrast.

I increased the Structure.

I was pretty much done with it at that point, but then I noticed that the event staff member behind the bass player was really bothering me, so I made him disappear.  I should have done that before I had done anything in Silver Efex Pro 2 because I lost my continuity of the effect at that point, and I couldn't salvage it at that point without starting all over again (which I, admittedly, should have done).  


But what I wanted was a bit of a Tri-X Pan look, and I think I got that, for the most part.






And y'all were far too kind in your descriptions of my raw file submission.  It was an awful shot.  

#42645 New Tripod!

Posted by Thumper on 12 October 2016 - 10:09 AM

I have one as well, and as Thumper says, solid as a rock.  A bit heavy though.

Very true.  I have the 4-section carbon fiber model with the pan/video head, and it is not light.  Very solid though.  No vibration (unless you trip over it or something).   I got the padded carry case for mine as well. It makes it a lot easier to transport, and it protects the tripod and head. 



I am looking forward to TKC_TX's review of his.

#42639 New Tripod!

Posted by Thumper on 11 October 2016 - 04:09 PM

Nice tripod!!  I have an 055, and I love it.  Solid as a rock.