D800 in Switzerland

Following on from my previous post, I also apply the same approach for when I am away on holiday. It’s a great way to keep fresh in new surroundings – something that you are faced frequently with as a photographer depending on the job.

Here are a series of images with the Nikon D800 from a trip to Switzerland earlier in the year.

D800 in black and white

I love walking around town and shooting in my spare time. I find it’s a great way to capture interesting subject matter, but also an opportunity for me to continuously refine my skills, try out new ideas, and of course, test new and old equipment out.

It really is the time where I become accustomed and comfortable with my gear so that I can put everything I’ve learned into practice when it matters.

Here’s a series of casual images taken over the past few months from my Nikon D800, all in black and white, and from various places in and around London from the South Bank, to Alexandra Palace and in Islington.

Nikon D800

I’ve been in possession of the Nikon D800 for just over a week and it’s clear that this camera is going to create a lot of new possibilities for photographers with its incredible ability to capture detail at near medium format quality.

I can’t wait to put it properly through its paces, but for now, here are some shots I’ve taken with it over the past couple of days and it’s easy to see what it’s in such high demand.

“I don’t look so good in photos”

You know, lately I’ve been thinking about doing a little more head shots, cos people need ‘em!

I have so many friends who say to me that they’ve not got a single good photo of themselves, or that they don’t photo well, yadda, yadda, yadda…and I’m like…damn, are you sure? Really?

My buddy Paul is one of those guys, so I took his picture today using just ambient available light. No fancy flash or anything like that, and just sitting his desk at work, just to prove my point.

Take a look at this…come on, are you kidding me?

Honl 1/8 Speed Grid

I recently purchased a couple of Honl 1/8 Speed Grids, which is a modifier you can use on your strobes and really allows you to concentrate the beam of light from your flashgun and focus it in a specific way.

I plan to use these for some specific portrait shots soon for a particular assignment.

First shot with the Honl 1/8 Speed Grid

But for now, I used one of them in combination with my Nikon SB-900 Speedlight and here was my first go playing around with it, and using my photography buddy Okwaeze Otusi as my subject.

Leica M8

A few months ago, I decided to take the plunge and join the Leica camp and bought myself the wonderful Leica M8, which is my first rangefinder camera. It’s a beautiful lightweight machine, and I’ve loved using it since I got it.

These are enthusiast cameras, with a purist element to them. That’s not to say they are not capable of being used in a professional environment, but the price of them and the lenses often put them out of reach even for most professional’s! There are no auto focusing capabilities or automatic modes to use, it’s just you, your knowledge and the camera, so it will really test my skills and hopefully help me improve on them.

I love the look of the chrome version, but I opted for black, purely because of it’s stealthier look and for now have picked up the Voigtlander Cosina 28mm Ultron f/2 and the Voigtlander Cosina Nokton Classic 40mm f/1.4 SC lens to go with it. A couple of nice starter lenses until I explore that fabulous glass that Leica are renown for producing!

For now, I’m using the M8 for personal fun, and for when I don’t want to lug all of my gear around. It’s so small it just fits into my pocket, but that’s not to say I won’t use it for more serious work in the future.

Here’s a few I’ve taken since I got it.

Going back in time

It was people and emotion that first drew me to photography and this was one of the first moments I captured that gave me what I was looking for over five years ago.

The story behind it is simple. A sweet old Italian man and his middle aged son were awaiting one of the biggest games in their countries history – The World Cup Semi Final between Germany and Italy. Like me, they had arrived early and had proudly placed their Italian banner in a vacant spot.

But trouble soon erupted when a nasty Italian Ultra emerged out of nowhere and put his own banner there, ripping theirs down. At the time, he had looked around weighing up whose it might be before deciding he didn’t care. But no sooner had he done it, the sweet old man confronted him and tried to prevent him from removing their banner and then all hell broke loose with the Ultra being horrendously threatening.

I hesitated at the scene. The Ultra was very aggressive and intimidating and the situation that unfolded was extremely uncomfortable. I was sat in the row behind, with nobody else blocking my view. I was just enjoying soaking up the atmosphere at the time but I knew I wanted to capture this as it unfolded.

I was nervous as I rose my camera to my eye and waited. Had he looked in my direction, he may have got cross with me too, but I was willing to take my chances and as the confrontation progressed I realised he was completely in his zone and totally unaware of my presence. I knew then that I had my shot and I just waited for the right moment, exactly when the sweet old man’s son thought the Ultra was about to strike his Dad and begged for mercy.

Some stewards eventually realised there was a lot of tension and called for help and he intimidated them too, before they eventually collared him for not even having a match ticket for this area of the stadium. He was ejected from our area, but later found his way back to the same spot during the game.

Italy went on to knock Germany out of the World Cup Finals at the Semi Final stage and then went on to win the 2006 World Cup.

I was there for that too.

Master your Nikon i-TTL Wireless Flash, CLS workshop

Master your Nikon i-TTL Wireless Flash, CLS workshop

I was one of eight lucky people to attend the first ever “Master your Nikon i-TTL Wireless Flash Creative Lighting System” workshop held in Europe by the Nikonians Academy.

It was an all day event, starting at 8:30am and finishing at 6pm. The workshop was led by none other than John McDonald, who worked for Nikon for 13 years in roles such as New Business Development Manager and recently joined Nikonians Academy Europe as Regional Manager for UK & Ireland.

John took us through Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (known as CLS) and I learned plenty of other tips from him as well and I had a great time, meeting other professionals and hobbyists on the workshop too. Although the workshop was primarily focused around studio lighting set-ups, it’s still important to learn and understand techniques and concepts that can be applied in the field and I was particularly keen to see what I could take away from day and put into practice elsewhere.

The photo at the top was a test shot I took of Cumbrian based photographer David Barrett, who was another delegate on the workshop. l used my Nikon D700 with three different Nikon speedlight flashes (SB-900, SB-800 & SB-600).

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 AF-S

I recently decided to add the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens to my arsenal.

This lens plugs a gap in my inventory and will allow me terrific versatility out in the field. It’s wide enough to capture enough at short distances, but also long enough to keep me at a good distance from my subjects and allows me to shoot without invading their personal space.

First shot, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 AF-S

I can confirm it’s a real beauty too and here’s the first test shot I took using my Nikon D700 of Okwaeze Otusi, at Sports Interactive’s headquarters in London where Football Manager is made.