Posts tagged “Nikon

In the Here and Now

Right here, right now

Living in the moment: It is the basis of a many philosophical movements and embraced by almost every spiritual practice.  It is both simplistic and complex in concept; living in the moment is about just being. Being fully present in every situation, body, mind, and soul, so that you experience everything you do totally and absolutely. In those moments when you engage yourself completely, nothing in the future exists – and nothing in the past is holding you back. While it might be a challenge to always be present, you can start small. Be aware of your surroundings. Notice the color of flowers, the scent of rain, even a leaf on the sidewalk. Pay attention to what is happening at every moment, but don’t fight what is.  After all, there’s nothing you can do about it anyway. By simply accepting each moment as if you have chosen it, you’ll be surprised at what the day has to offer you.

Photographers tend to try to exercise this with every shot they take, watching the scene, gauging the light, composing the image,and most importantly slowing down and enjoying the moment. It is amazing what happens when you forcibly slow down the shooting process and take some time to breathe – sometimes using a tripod helps, even though you may not need one. One has to lug it around, set it up, make adjustments….and in the mean time, the vision for the shot formulates… slowly. The image today was taken at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California. This is the only beach where people can take their canine buddies to play in the sand and the surf. Using a 70-200mm f2.8 Nikkor lens and shooting wide open (full aperture) allowed us a discreet distance to our subject and her friend and at the same time gave a delicious blur to the background. Shooting wide open is fantastic for portraits or other subjects where you don’t want the main subject to be distracted by a busy background. There is a tranquility to this shot as the puppy watches the action on the beach from a safe spot.


Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world

Serenity means maintaining a sense of inner peace even in difficult situations. We gain serenity by accepting the things we cannot change and focusing our energy where we can make a difference. Fear, anger or desire can create a sense of urgency that triggers us to react impulsively. When this happens, we risk undermining our goals, damaging relationships–even violating our deepest values. By contrast, when we cultivate serenity, we don’t fear our emotions, but we do keep them in balance. We govern ourselves rather than being ruled by external circumstances and our feelings about them. Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. Every breath we take, every step we take, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment . 

This was shot mid-morning from The Embarcadero in San Fransisco. The Nikon D90 equipped with a wide-angle lens and polarizing filter was stabilized by hand against a sturdy post. Ordinarily a tri-pod would be used along with a remote shutter release and mirror lock-up to avoid camera shake. What struck me this morning was the calmness of the vista, smell of the ocean…and how quiet everything was. In the distance, the fog was burning off the bay which eventually exposed Alcatraz.

At the End of The Day

Redondo Beach, California

If you’re like me, at the end of the day you’re tired, not looking for a fight, but willing to stand your ground…just like with this modern and irritating verbal crutch.  It somehow indicates closure or synopsis,  and is used by people who are incapable of finishing a sentence without incorporating at least one tired cliché. It’s hard to escape it. You hear it in meetings, in dinner conversation and, of course, all over the radio and TV.

“And so, at the end of the day, when all was said and done, we wrapped things up and we were all happy campers” …Let’s look at the end of the day in a different manner and avoid tired, self-righteous catch phrases!
Finish each day and be done with it! You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense!  Remember, Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself!
This wonderful sunset was shot at Redondo Beach, California. The pier to the right is huge and has many fascinating shops, places to eat, and other gems to discover. As you may have noticed from previous posts, I am a sucker for objects in the foreground to give depth to the image – here we find a tangled pile of Kelp. Using a Nikon D90 mounted on a tripod and equipped with a Sigma 10-20mm wide-angle lens, the aperture was set to f/27 allowing a 1.5s shutter speed. The intention was to allow a bit of motion blur to the oncoming waves and some sense of motion to the sailboats which were moving at quite a clip.

“Swoosh” – Maui

Another day of the conference and one of the things that most love watching in Hawaii is how the waves “roll” over… they are quite beautiful, peaceful and you can honestly just sit & watch them all day long.  This shot was again taken in Maui by Erik,  and he used the trusty Nikon D7000 mounted on a sturdy Manfrotto Tripod. The silky texture of the in and outrush of the waves was achieved using a slow shutter speed. Although the light was quite harsh at the time, he screwed on a variable Neutral Density Filter to the lens which cut down on the available light to the sensor, allowing a slow shutter.   For me, I love the colors that are coming through –  just beautiful. Drop us a note if you would like to understand a bit more about neutral Density Filters and all the awesome things they allow your creative vision to attain.


Three Generations

While were preparing some of our gear for a Photoshoot, we broke out some our old Medium Format Film Cameras, blew off some dust and admired the quality of the construction and how great they feel in the hand. Lurking in the background is our trusty digital Nikon D7000 and in the front we have a Mamiya C3 and Mamiya 645. The C3 was from my Father’s early years as a Photographer in the 50s and 60s. He showed up one day with this baby and proudly showed it to my Mom. Even at this time, the C3 was not cheap and likely cost several weeks wages. Mom was not pleased and instituted a “Zone of Silence” which according to rumors lasted several weeks! Same thing when he brought home a 12 gauge shotgun, but that is a different story!

The Mamiya 645 is not the most expensive of their line, but a sturdy workhorse. There is nothing fancy about this camera, it does have an internal light meter, but there are no “Presets” or Automatic Settings. These types of cameras really teach you Manual Operation, and being film, you really have to think about what it is you are trying to achieve, have confidence in your mastery of light and perform a “first time right” shot. There is no instant preview which we are now used to with digital cameras. We almost always shoot digital in Manual Mode, just because of our training with gear such as this – take the plunge and put your camera on Manual and experiment. At least you won’t need to wait a week for the proofs to come back from The Lab!

If you have any questions, just drop us an email

Happy Shooting, Kathleen and Erik

Boudoir Part 8 : Complex Light

This behind the scenes shot demonstrates the gear involved with a shoot. Here we wanted to conserve the Rembrandt Light on our model and get High Key Back Light. The concept was to get a bit Hollywood into the shot – like Runway Photographers. The background flare comes from a bank of portable Speedlights. The main light is from a large soft box. To get the Rembrandt Lighting one only needs to direct the model’s nose position to look to or away from the light. Here is a shot of the setup.

Studio set ups do not need to be expensive or overly complex. One does not need to invest hundreds of dollars for Nikon or Cannon TTL Sppedlights – you can buy older models for a fraction of the price and not have to worry about when you drop them. We have broken several expensive Nikon SB600 Speedlights through incidental damage. An old Vivitar does the job just as well. The only other tools one needs is some light stands, perhaps a few light modifiers like umbrellas and most importantly, radio triggers to control the lights. If you shop around, all of this gear is really not that expensive.

The fun part is learning how all of this works with your camera, lots of trial and error and learning to see the light.

Thanks for the visit to our Blog – we really appreciate it!

Image of the Day: Fishermen, Redondo Beach, CA

At first I thought there was an antenna farm on the pier, but closer examination with a 200mm Nikkor, Fishermen! (Duh). Simple composition after the sun had set, liking the contrast with the pastel sky.

Fishing for Dinner

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Bonus Image of the Day: Rotorua, New Zealand

This was taken late afternoon in July, cool atmospheric temperatures were accentuating the steam coming from the Champagne Pool (previous blog image). The reflection of the steam in the water was magical.

Mirror Lake

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Image of the Day: Champagne Pool, New Zealand

We were the first ones in to the Rotorua cauldera region last July. It was cold, misty, steamy, spooky quiet. Lucky I didnt fall into this steaming cauldron as I was composing and taking the shots – apparently many people get cooked in these every year!

Lobster Pot for Overly Zealous Photographers

Image of the Day: Hor Frost in New Zealand

Getting ready for a trek up Mt. Aspiring, NZ in July, we found the staging area covered in Hor Frost. The entire valley below the mountain was enveloped in a mysterious blue haze making it even more magical. Image is of a turnbuckle in a fenceline – ice spiders at work I guess!

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July Hor Frost in New Zealand

Image of the Day: Cannery Row, Monterey, CA

This is another awesome view from Cannery Row over looking Monterey Bay. Once again a thick marine layer added to the smokey atmosphere. This is a must visit location – very charming and ripe with history!

Cannery Row, Monterey, California

… apparently some famous guy even wrote a book about this place way back! 😉

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Image of the Day: Wedding in Little Italy, San Diego

During the ceremony I was able to get some shots from the balcony at the very back of the Church. I was pleasantly surprised by the reach of the 100mm on the lovely couple.

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Little Italy, San Diego