Posts Tagged Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR

Hollywood Cemetery and Richmond, VA Architecture

Hollywood Cemetery and Richmond, VA Architecture

Hollywood Cemetery angel

Hollywood Cemetery angel

Early this morning Donna and I traveled to Hollywood Cemetery to shoot some first-light images of grave markers for a self-assignment, prompted by an earlier shoot a few weeks earlier. The weather prediction showed it would be a perfect day to capture black & white images. It was.

Thursday I had called the cemetery office to see how early I would be permitted inside the gate. A nice lady said if the workers had the gate open I would be welcome inside. We got there about 7:15 am, and the gates were open. Sunrise was 7:37 am, and it was 47 degrees with no humidity, crystal clear sky, and strong side-light. We saw some amazing stone work and captured some nice images, all in a couple of hours.

Donna also wanted me to shoot some architectural images on Monument Avenue, so earlier in the week I used SunCalc to determine what time I should be  there for the best morning light. Deep blue sky, no wind, abundant parking on a Saturday(!), and a beautiful city in which to choose locations made my job easier.


It seems to me that photography is largely just a commodity, now. In this day of iPhone snaps and selfies I find myself falling back in love with black & while images. I think they are more difficult to capture than color. The light must be right, composition and contrast are very important, and vibrant color (without meaningful content) cannot carry you.

I love shooting the Sony a7r. I planned to WI-Fi tether to my iPhone or Android tablet to check exposure and composition, but neither was necessary, as shooting WYSIWYG with the Sony is outstanding (and too easy!). The images were captured with Nikon lenses, but I sure wish I had a macro and a 300mm! Anyway, below are some edits from Lightroom 5 and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. Enjoy!

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A SigEp Homecoming

 A SigEp Homecoming 2014

This past weekend I had the pleasure of again photographing for Sigma Phi Epsilon during their SigEp Homecoming weekend in Richmond. It was my introduction to Richmond (other than trips to the airport); we look forward to returning often.

I photographed events at Zollinger House (SigEp headquarters) and Hollywood Cemetery, where they offered a memorial service for “Uncle Billy”, one of the Founders. We traveled to Richmond University to see the Founders Walk and to hear President Edward Ayers, Ph.D share his thoughts on the competition for students’ energy and time. The Jefferson Hotel was the site for a donor function, and Wow! what lovely place to visit.

I received a much better grasp of SigEp’s history since its founding 113 years ago. Please enjoy the images!

I expect this was the last event I cover with my Nikon equipment. I am in process of switching to Sony for larger image sizes, better image quality, and a learning curve to conquer!

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MoneyWise Executive Portraits

MoneyWise Executive Portraits – two improvements in my location executive portraits

MoneyWise executive portrait

MoneyWise executive portrait

This post falls under “olde dog learns new trick(s)”.

Improvement 1:  Lighting equipment

For many years I have been photographing executives on location with Balcar lights but have always been frustrated that they are just too powerful. I prefer than an executive portrait subject’s eyes are sharply focused but that the tip of the nose and ears are soft (out of focus). This requires shooting around f4.0 or so. Even when I would power down the strobes, their color temperature would also warm (slightly yellower). (Of course, I could correct this in Lightroom, but why should I have to?) Then there are the small shooting locations, where it is difficult to reduce the strobe power enough, so I have to stop the lens aperture down more; losing my desired “look”, including the soft background bokeh.

So, I have been very interested in the Paul Buff Einstein strobes. Consistent color temperature, adjustable to very low power level, already uses all my Balcar accessories, and can be controlled remotely from the camera with the Cyber Commander!!! I bought a couple and used them on this job. More on the Einsteins in a future post.

Improvement 2:  Camera equipment

For the last 5 years much of my photography has been at corporate events. It requires shooting hundreds or thousands of image a day, standing on my feet all day, and really having my photography under-appreciated in this era of camera phones and selfies. Photography has become just a commodity, and good photography seems not to be as valued as it once was.

I am now making a conscious effort to move away from run-and-gun shooting (no pun intended) to a more deliberate style of photography. That involves simplifying equipment and lightning my load. My Nikons have served me well but will soon be up for sale (after a corporate shoot next weekend in Richmond). I have decided to move to the Sony mirror less E-mount Alpha system, specifically the Alpha/a 7r 36MB image sized camera.The “r” stands for resolution, and it lives up to it’s name. I am seeing things in these portraits I did not see in my Nikon D3s. Incredible detail! You should see the pores and eyelashes in these RAW images…stunning!

These are my first portraits, shot with only 2 Einstein strobes and the Sony a7r and Nikon 70-200 lens tethered wirelessly to a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014. The images were processed in Lightroom 5.6, Nik Silver Efex Pro 2, and PortraitPro Studio 12.

The camera system is not perfect, but when I get it figured out I think it will work really well.

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