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2 years, 6 months ago 9


I’ve now had my D800 for two weeks and have really worked it hard, and thus have come to some “initial” conclusions.  I say initial, because over time one’s feelings about a camera can change, but usually in subtle ways. So after a good workout, what are my thoughts?  Here goes;


1.  The D800 is the most “complete” camera I’ve ever held in my hands, and that takes into account that I’ve worked as a photographer for over 43 years!!!!  Complete?  It has he most gorgeous, rich, smooth gradations I’ve ever seen, period.  Images of any subject with a large range of tones, looks significantly different than with any other camera, made by anyone.  The D800 is so spectacular that it makes you not want to shoot with anything else, because you know you’re going to see the difference.  A good problem to have!


2.  The D800 is the right size.  It is very rugged and feels great in your hands, but it’s not burdensome.  It is, at least for me, the perfect compromise between a sledge hammer and something that doesn’t feel substantial enough. The weight and size are very close to the D700, though it feels a little thicker in your hands, which if you have large hands, feels just right.  It feels like a camera that will stand the test of time.


3.  My fears about the difficulty some may have getting it’s full potential have only partially been realized.  It has tremendous resolution and “does” require more care than anything else you’ve ever shot with.  However, it is very possible to get outstanding results even when hand holding.  My recommendation would be use a tripod whenever possible, when it is not possible crank up the ISO enough to give you a shutter speed that will assure sharpness.  the old rule at National Geographic used to be that your hand held shutter speed should be twice the focal length of the lens.  So if you were shooting with a 105 mm lens the closed shutter speed would be 1/125th of a second, they demanded that you go up one stop to 1/250th of  second.  I would suggest that the same rule apply to the D800. Each of us knows how steady we are, and how much VR helps us, but my “strong” suggestion is that with the D800 you should increase your shutter speed as much as you need to, to regain that sharpness!  The reward will be breathtaking images!  The big surprise has been that cranking up the ISO does not bring on disaster.  For me, and this will always be an individual determination, I think it is very usable with very low noise out to 3200, and can be used at 6400 with the post application of only moderate amounts of  noise reduction.  The big plus is that because of the extreme amount of sharpness, even applying noise reduction and reducing the sharpness, doesn’t really change things much, you have so much sharpness that the reduction of it by even 20% leaves you with an image that is still extremely sharp!


4.  O.K. not all is perfect.  The image files are large.  The computer will slow down in most normal operations, even saving files like jpeg fines. HDR crunching is two to three times as long.  Now, I’ve been using a laptop (3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Macbook Pro with 4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3 ram), the newer Quad Core machines with 8 gig of faster ram should improve that situation some.  My 27″ iMac at home has 8 gig of ram and I hope to see an improvement there.  But the fact is to get the sweet files this camera produces, expect things to slow down in the pipeline!  I have to admit, I am less irritated than I would otherwise be, because of how wonderful the resulting files look!  If the spinning beach ball drives you crazy, it’s your call!


5.  How does it perform with anything less than the best Nikon glass?  Can’t say, I’ve been on the road for almost three weeks and all I have with me are my prime zooms, 16-35 and 24-120, and with both of them it has been stellar.  I have shot a few images with my beloved 70-300 AFS – VR f 4.5-5.6 and fortunately the images have been razor sharp so at least that once feared, lost lens, is still very good.  When I get home next week I plan to shoot sample images with every lens in my arsenal (29) and will have a better idea then.  Based in my experience so far, I would tend to say that if a lens has been tack sharp for you in the past it will work well with this camera.  But, that is a guess at this point.  More testing to come….


6.  The Intangibles:  I am a gun owner and have found that I always shoot better with guns that I know are extremely accurate.  At first thought that would seem dead obvious, but I suspect that at least some of the great results comes from the point that I am “expecting” great results!  I believe the D800 has the same affect on me, I expect stellar performance and so I usually get it from this camera.  This camera makes you work like you were shooting a 4X5 film camera, you know what it can do, and work hard to get the most out of it!  One you’ve seen the images it produces, you don’t want anything less, and thankfully now you don’t have to settle for less!


7.  Who is it for?  First let me tell you who it is not for.  If you shoot sports and need frame rate in the 8 to 11 fps range it’s not for you.  If you want a camera that is the absolute example of ruggedness and you might be tempted to drive a nail with it, it’s not for you, though it is a pretty tough character.  If you shoot for the web, or newspaper print or conventional magazine stock, it has more resolution than you need.  If you want a bigger, heavier camera, it’s not for you, though you can add a battery pack to make it feel bigger.  It is for you if;  you want all the resolution and gradation possible, if you don’t mind buying some larger memory cards (32-64), and if you don’t mind adding some ram to your computer (I think 8 gigs of ram, is going to be minimum).  It’s for you, if you want to make enormous prints (think feet instead of inches).  It’s for you if you get a real kick out of looking at images at 100% and have your breath taken away!  It’s for you if making the best possible image you can make is all you will accept!   That’s why it is definitely for me!


8.  The price.  Nikon has made two cameras in the recent past that have prices I find hard to believe.  The D7000 at around $1,195. and the D800 at $2,999. are both simply, screaming bargains!


The “last slice” of Humble Pie.   I’m not going to admit to my overly aggressive reservations, ever again!  I now have seen the light, the D800 is everything I hoped it would be, and more, and lot less trouble than I had feared.  The 36.3 mega-pixels have a great deal more impact on my photography than I would have ever guessed!  Save some new revelation, which I’m not expecting, I feel certain, I’ve found the camera that will be my constant companion for years to come, naturally, someday, the next model will come and we will see what we think then……..



the pilgrim



Cropped image from above, gotta love it!






2 years, 6 months ago 2


This morning I had a conversation with a very well respected, killer shooter, for a major golf magazine.  In his profession he is a star, but you would never know it, he never projects it!   It’s a conversation I’ve had before, actually many times before.  Why do some people allow their heads to get blown our of proportion?!  This morning the subject was a pro golfer, on other occasions the conversation has been about a photographer, a celebrity, or even doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs!  The point of the verbal exercise is to obsess about why some people come to the conclusion that they are far better than everyone around them?  I can imagine that if you are a pro athlete, actor, or singer, and you get tons of attention, actually have fans that worship you, you can soon come to accept that as your reality!  Then again, how could you come to that conclusion??!!  Let’s assume that everyone started the same way, just another baby, not to your parents, of course, but certainly to the world. You were a child, like all children, you grew up an started to become the person you are today, somewhere along the way something changed, you were seen “differently by others”!  But does that mean you are different, or that people perceive you as different.  I know it is said that perception is reality, but is it?


My contention is that it is not, in all cases.  Because some people treat you as special or better than others does not actually mean you are better than others!  I once interviewed Roger Staubach, quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, he was a big star in football at that time, but he didn’t act like he was.  He was very approachable, sincere, attentive, and treated his fans with respect and as equals. Why, because he knew the “big” secret!  We are all, more or less, the same.  We are equals.  Yes some of us make more money, and some of us are more recognized in public, but we are all impacted by the same things.  You can be famous and have a marriage break up, you can be famous and be in a accident, or get a fatal disease.  When the doctor says you have cancer, it won’t matter how famous you are, you will still face the same battle as anyone else.  You can be wealthy and loose it all.  You can be famous and respected, and become disrespected and much less famous.  So where am I going with all this??


Life is not about what you have, who you are, or what others think of you.  Life is about how much you love, and are loved, and who you love and trust.  If you trust the world, money, power, and the acceptance of others it can all be taken from you.  If you trust God, it can never be taken from you! Not a novel concept, but well worth repeating!


The world says we should desire all the things that are fragile and can disappear in and instant, how wise it to follow the instruction of the world?  God says, I love you, I will never forsake you, and I will meet your needs, and if you follow me, will give you even the desires of your heart. You tell me which is the better deal?!!   God gives peace which is not dependent on the world, the world gives happiness which is completely at the whim of the world, and your circumstances!  Which do you want?!


John 14:27

New Living Translation (NLT)

27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”


What I love about this profession is that over the last few days I’ve visited with a half dozen of the best sports photographers in the world.  You’ve seen their images grace the covers of every major sports magazine, many times.  Every single one of them are as nice, and down to earth as you could ever imagine.  Given the choice, and I do have a choice, these are the kinds of people I want to be around!


the pilgrim


Photo Note: D7000, 24-120 AFS-VR, F11 @0.6 shutter speed,  85mm focal length, ISO 400   processed with Nik Color Efex 3.0 – Glamour Glow software filter.

2 years, 6 months ago 5





When I was a young man, my father and mother drilled courtesy into me.  If I ever failed to show appreciation for a kind act, failed to say thank you, I was in big trouble!!!!  Coming onto the Masters this morning I stopped a couple of times top let a car cross our lane of traffic, because traffic is horrendous around Augusta National this week!!  One man, (a man maybe my age), threw his hand up,  acknowledging his appreciation, that after a long wait, someone considered him!  The other driver, (a very young man),  shot across the lane as if he thought I might change my mind, and never acknowledged anything.  I mentioned to Brien that if I had done that a spanking would have been on the way.  I know that there are young people that are polite, but I think the kind of training I was subjected to is much less common today.  So what’s the big deal?!   Actually, as a believer, I think it’s avery big deal.  While the action of a thank you or a please are important, it’s more about the attitude.


Why did I pause and let the other drivers pull through my lane?  My father has been in Heaven for a long time, so I know he wasn’t watching, or at least I certainly hope he has better things to do there!   No, I think it has to do with your approach to life.   Do other people matter?  Is life all about you?  Do you really care about any of the other thousands of people that you will interact with over your lifetime?  Would Jesus take a moment in traffic to let someone through?  Would Jesus look someone in the eye and say “Good morning”?  Would Jesus say, “thank you” when someone handed him a cup of water?  The scripture doesn’t say a lot about this kind of dialog, but it does tell us about his talking to the woman at the well, and stopping to touch and heal the sick, the lame, and the blind.  If Jesus touched the lepers, who no one touched, he smiled and greeted people warmly!


If you desire to witness to others about your faith, you have to start by doing something that people are not expecting, kindness, consideration, warmth. At the Masters the countless hundreds of security people, cart drivers, and door greeters, meet you with warm words and kind wishes, it reminds me of how i think things should be everywhere.  How much does it cost to be courteous?  The more important question, if you are a disciple of Jesus Christ, how much does it cost your witness to not show that concern?


Have a wonderful day!


the pilgrim


Yes I’m at the Masters, and speaking of nice guys!


Photo Note:  Nikon D800, 70-200 AFS-VR f 28 lens at f 2.8 @ 1/125th of a second.  ISO 1600.  Hand Held.


After I wrote this mornings blog, I got the email below, it is a testament to how a little kindness, can affect someone else’s life!


I had participated in the photo contest at Sun N Fun last weekend. I wanted to write you and thank you again for your kind comments regarding my photography. I have met a number of “professionals” shooting photos at air shows in the past year or two that I have been pursuing photography semi-professionally. From the people I have met, I have encountered some really great folks, and a couple of others who really look down on me as just another kid with a camera. I even had a fellow tell me once “Your photos probably aren’t good enough for a magazine.” Since then I’ve somewhat taken it upon myself to prove him wrong, but it does make me more grateful for people like yourself who would seek to offer positive and constructive comments. I have been shooting photos for a large portion of my life, and have my roots in plastic 110mm film cameras. I just got my first DSLR a couple of years ago (D90) and I am still using it even though I did take a short detour with an Olympus om2 and a dark room, so I guess you could say that I would be one of the “purists” who still embraces 35mm negatives and dark room chemicals. I feel like I am actually pretty well rounded for just being another kid with a camera.
On my way out of the door following the presentation of awards after the photo contest you had mentioned to stay in touch, and I take that comment with a great sense of honor coming from someone of your merit. I would look forward to the day where our paths might cross again. Thank you again.

2 years, 6 months ago 6

As we approach Easter, this morning’s devotional from In Touch is all the  more meaningful…..

Colossians 2:13-15

New Living Translation (NLT)

13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.


What does the cross mean to you? Many people in the world today view it as a symbol of Christianity, but stop and think about what it represented in Christ’s day. Nobody wore a miniature cross around the neck or displayed one in a place of worship. The cross was a torturous means of execution, and the mere thought of it was repulsive.


Yet believers throughout the ages have chosen this as the sign of their faith. In fact, to remove the cross from our teaching and theology would leave nothing but an empty, powerless religion. The subjects of death, blood, and sacrifice have become unpopular in many churches because they’re unpleasant and uncomfortable topics. We’d prefer to hear about the love of God, not the suffering of Jesus.


But let me ask you this: How could anyone be saved if Christ had not been crucified? Some people think all you have to do to receive God’s forgiveness is ask Him for it. But a sinner’s request can never be the basis for His forgiveness. He would cease to be holy and just if no penalty was imposed for sin. According to Scripture, there can be no forgiveness without the shedding of blood (Heb. 9:22). Christ had to bear the punishment for our sin in order for God to grant us forgiveness.


Every time you see a cross, remember what it really was–an instrument of execution. Then thank Jesus that He was willing to be crucified so the Father could forgive you of sin. Though the scene of your redemption was horrendous, Christ turned the cross into a place of great triumph.


I wear a cross not to tell the world who I am, but to remind myself, Who I serve.


the pilgrim