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2 years, 3 months ago 0

Years ago when I was running the GAPW, (Great American Photography Weekends), one of our star speakers, John Shaw, used to love to say he was waiting for  Nikon to make the 14-600 mm zoom that was an f 1.4!!!   Well it was a joke because everyone knew that such a lens was virtually impossible and if it could be made the front element would have be six feet across!  He also would say that if he had such a lens he would have to own two, just in case he dropped and destroyed one and lost his entire lens system!  Even though that was 25 years ago, it still actually holds a little truth.  First, such a lens will likely never be made, Secondly, having all your eggs in one basket is dangerous.   Fast forward to today.  The optical engineers are doing things we never dreamed they could do and super zooms are becoming a reality.  Nikon makes two zooms that have created a lot of interest, the 28-300 FX lens and the 18-300 DX lens.   This mini test is on the 18-300 DX Super Zoom.  When placed on a DX sensor camera this lens give the equivalent image size of a  28mm to 450mm lens, an astounding range.   This is cool on in itself, but it would mean little if the lens was not sharp.  The lens is not a f 1.4 but at f 3.5 to f 5.6 and given the great high ISO performance of current cameras, it’s very reasonable speed indeed.  Below I’ve shown two series of shots with the lens on a D800 in Crop Mode yielding a 15 mega pixel image. The camera is tripod mounted and the images were shot at ISO 400 on a very bright day to assure a fast shutter speed to aid in getting sharp images.  Having done all of that the sharpness is pretty much up to the glass in the zoom!!!


The  first series is of the tower at Oshkosh Air Show, the settings are from first to last; 18mm  -   50mm   –   200mm  -  300mm




The next shot is of an airplane zooming in on the panel, same zoom range as above.



Summery of what I think so far.  This lens is a kick to use, it is tack sharp, and works beautifully.  It is still an entire lens system in one lens, so I still have that fear of destroying it on an important trip, but then in 43 years of photography that has never happened, (to me), so maybe I’m being too paranoid??!!  I just watched Scott Kelby’s class last night on Travel Photography, which I highly recommend, and he says his standard system for travel now is a FX sensor body (D700) and the big brother to this lens the FX 28-300.  Hard to argue with Scott, and I do agree that your photography will be better the less you carry!


The less you think about gear and the more you think about the subject and the light, the better the images get!  For that reason  alone this is a killer solution for people using DX cameras!  I have to call on some clients in East Tennessee for the next couple of days so i will take just the new Nikon D3200 camera and this lens and see how it works on a trip with a variety of imaging possibilities!   For now, dang it, I’ve got one more lens I feel like I have to own!


the pilgrim



2 years, 4 months ago 2


Finally off the road after two months of almost non-stop travel.  Will be good to be closer to home in August! The best shot for Nikon from the air show was the one I led with for this post, Susan Scharenberg’s shot of one of the shooting towers at Oshkosh!  The first few days at Oshkosh were miserable with temps in the high 90′s and 100% humidity, later int he week some thunderstorms cleared the air and dropped the temps to the mid to high 80′s, bearable!  It was great to hang out with Tyson Reninger, a great aviation shooter, and Francis Yeh our wonderful repair tech!   We were also joined by Bill Kotar, Scott Diussa, and David Lee for part of the week, it was great to see all the gang again!


I did not shoot nearly as much as usual.this being our first year at Oshkosh and there was a lo9t to do to get organized for future events with them.  I did test the new 18-300 DX super Zooma and will post about that tomorrow, but I shot very little on this trip, I did get a few shots leaving Sunday and on the way home, hope you enjoy them!!


the pilgrim



A tractor on the side of the road in tall Wisconsin grass!



……..and finally a good looking pilot in the gift shop!



Photo Note:  All images, except for Susan’s Banner shot, with high end Coolpix type cameras.







2 years, 4 months ago 1

I had a wonderful opportunity this morning to learn about a fantastic medical team that flies all over the world to help restore sight to the blind, and train doctors world wide how to continue to perform these sight giving surgeries.  The organization is called Orbis and since 1982 it has been the world’s only Flying Eye Hospital!  Every year volunteers donate their time to sharing and exchanging skills with eye care teams in developing countries who desperately need the further training to meet the community’s eye care needs.  This onboard training restores sight, returns prospects and give people back their lives!!


Volunteer Pilots, leading Opthalmologists, Anaesthetists, Opthalmic nurses and Biomedical engineers make the operation possible. These highly trained, professionals sacrifice their own potential earnings to reach out to a world in need!


The team travels in a DC-10 aircraft that is being replaced with a new MD-10 later this year that has been graciously donated by FedEx. With the support of contributions from around the world the new airplane will be converted to a  flying hospital even more advance than the current plane illustrated in the images below.


The current Orbis DC10.    * Image provided by Orbis.



I photographed the teaching theatre on the DC10, this is where doctors watch real time as operations are performed on the plane.



This is the post-op area on the DC10



This is the fully equipped operating room.


And finally the HDR shot of the cockpit.



I made a small contribution to the effort and encourage everyone to be a part of this wonderful sight giving effort.  I also want to commend the  incredible pilots, and medical professionals that give their talents to the same ends.  The world would be a better place if more of us gave so freely, it’s already a better place because they have…….


the pilgrim


You can reach Orbis @:

Orbis International

520 Eighth Ave.  11th Floor

New York, NY    10018-6507



Skype:  orbis_flavia_dragnus



Wonderful before and after teddy bears!!















P.S. Yes I did do an airplane shot this morning, a classic B17!!


2 years, 4 months ago 2

Applying human standards of behavior to God’s ways is dangerous, but I do think I have an analogy that might work.  I had an interesting conversation early this morning with two photographer friends about the level of a photographers skill being directly proportional to his or her commitment to the craft!  When you get married in a traditional ceremony you pledge your commitment to your partner.  Under your pledge you are “obligated”, but if there is not a desire to keep that commitment it will be of very little value. Our relationship with God is the same, it is only our deep desire to keep our commitments that have lasting value.  When we are obliged we may develop the attitude that we are being forced, almost against our will, to a behavior, not of our choosing.  Commitment is when we want deeply to “stay the course”.  In my own marriage, I’m not obligated to love and honor my wife, it is my hearts desire.  Much of the credit for that goes to her, she is the kind of wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and love that makes it impossible for me to feel otherwise.  So it should be in our relationship with our Heavenly Father!  The love that He show us when he sacrificed His Only Son for us, makes it impossible to have any other kind of relationship with Him.


My desire is to keep my commitment to Him fresh and alive.  When you consider all He has done for us, that’s not hard to do.


the pilgrim