I’ve been testing a new lens this week (a Nikon 85mm f/1.4g, for those who may care), and this was one of the test shots. Each item has some memories attached to it – my old trumpet that I played in college and for many years afterwards, photos of Mom, Dad, and Grandma R., an Uncle Sam mechanical bank we once gave to Granddad Bourne for Christmas, one of a set of ceramic mariachi musicians Christina brought back to me from Mexico, and a “Lilies of the Field” print we bought from Michael Podesta when we met him at a craft show.
The image was processed in Lightroom 4 with some effects to give it more of an aged photo look.
Late August to early October or so is usually sunflower season in New Jersey, and there are often large fields of these huge flowers in the more rural areas of our county. This year, though, I noted with pleasure that one of the local farmers had planted sunflowers in a field normally used for raising sod grass, right on the road into Freehold, just in front of a former glass factory which is now used as a document storage and destruction facility. The owners of the field have planted a mix of sunflowers and various wildflowers, and the overall effect is spectacular.
Since I finally broke down two weeks ago and bought the Nikon D800 that I’ve been lusting after since February, I decided the sunflower field would make a great test subject. So I got myself out of bed before sunrise, and headed over to the field with the new camera with a couple of my lenses, just to see how each would perform on the D800. I was very pleased with the results, given that I don’t yet have enough experience to understand what lens to use when on this new tool, or whether I may yet need to purchase one or more additional new lenses to take full advantage of the 36 megapixel resolution (that’s three times the number of pixels of my D300, or about 80% higher resolution). I’m pretty sure the answer to that last question is “yes.” But since there have been so many Internet posts talking about how the D800 demands absolutely top-rated (i. e., expensive) glass, I was pleasantly surprised to see how well my 7-year old Tamron 17-35mm lens (probably worth about $250 on the used market) performs. Here’s an example from the morning shoot:
For those who care about such things, the image above was shot at f/7.1, 17mm, ISO 100, and 1/6 second, in Nikon’s raw NEF format, developed in Adobe Lightroom 4, and given some final touches in Photoshop 5.1.
I’ve been giving the D800, the Tamron, and a new lightweight “travel” lens (the Nikon 24-85 f/3.5-4.5 VR) a shakedown in Italy for about a week now, and will start posting photos from that series after I return home. But so far, I really love the new camera, and I’m really happy I went ahead and got it in time for this trip. And I’m delighted that I had these sunflowers available as my first subject.
I just finished reading a post on DPreview criticizing the engineering team who developed Lightroom 3, one of my primary photo post-processing tools. As a retired engineer, I thought I should try to help people understand engineers better, so here are a couple of takes passed along to me by another retired old-timer from Bell Labs:
Take 1: An optimist sees the glass as half full. A pessimist sees the glass as half empty. An engineer sees a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be.
Take 2: Lots of us believe, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Engineers believe “If it ain’t broke, it doesn’t have enough features yet.”
Back to the main topics tomorrow.