Nikon Americas USA

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4.2 Rating
Walkabout

Take a photo walk with Nikon pro Lindsay Silverman.

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3.5 Rating
Photo Tips from Across America

Nikon training specialist, Kristine Bosworth, covers the country and sends photography…

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4.1 Rating
Image Overlay: Combining Images Together In-Camera

Image Overlay lets you combine multiple images together in-camera

Advanced

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4.4 Rating
My A of the Day Project

Mike Corrado on shooting a photograph a day with the COOLPIX A

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4.3 Rating
In a New York Minute: Images of a Long Weekend

Lindsay Silverman spends a weekend shooting with only one D-SLR and lens…

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4.8 Rating
One Shot: No Exit

Bill Durrence on ow a simple change can alter a photo’s feeling

Beginner

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4.0 Rating
Photograph Family and Friends During the Holidays

The holidays are prime picture-taking time. Get some great tips on…

Beginner

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4.6 Rating
One Shot: Crop Factor

Carol Freeman field tests the new AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens

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4.3 Rating
One Shot: See a Puddle, Make a Picture...or Two

Randy Ziegler on the importance of patience while out shooting

Beginner

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3.9 Rating
No Limits: For Better Photos, Think Like a Photojournalist

David Handschuh on thinking like a photojournalist

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5.0 Rating
Jody Dole Photographs Objects that Catch His Eye

See how commercial shooter Jody Dole uses anything and everything to…

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For Memorable Family Vacation Photos, Focus First on Family

Tamara Lackey on taking great photos during family vacations

Beginner

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4.3 Rating
Andrew Hancock

Sports photographer Andrew Hancock is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography.

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4.5 Rating
10 Tips for Shooting Autumn Foliage

Nature photographer Rod Planck offers tips for shooting colorful fall foliage

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4.9 Rating
Tips from a Model Turned Professional Photographer

See how photographer Nancy Brown turned a 20-year modeling career in…

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Active D-Lighting

Active D-Lighting optimizes high contrast images to restore the shadow and highlight details that are…

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3.7 Rating
CX Format Image Sensor

Nikon 1 digital cameras utilize the Nikon CX-format super high speed AF CMOS imaging sensor.

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4.4 Rating
Taking Better Photographs on the Water

Harbors, bays, oceans and rivers all have one thing in common—interesting and…

Beginner

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3.1 Rating
Taking Pictures at Dusk and at Night

How do I take pictures at dusk and at night?

Advanced

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3.8 Rating
Cat Photography: Capturing Cats in Pictures

With a little patience you too can make great pictures of your pet cat or…

Beginner

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4.6 Rating
5 Easy Composition Guidelines

Follow 5 easy tips for better photo compositions

Beginner

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3.7 Rating
Basics of Exposure and Camera Controls

Ideal class for those who want to go beyond point & shoot photography

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4.2 Rating
When You Explore All Angles, Better Pictures Happen

Tom Bol explains how changing perspective can make a better image.

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4.5 Rating
Moose Peterson: How to Photograph Winter Landscapes

Exposing so the Snow’s White and Six Other Tips for Great Winter…

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Walkabout

Hands On

Images for their own sake

I’m sure you’ve noticed that the subject matter of my columns plays off the specific features, capabilities and technologies of Nikon gear, most often new Nikon gear. As senior technical manager, part of my job is to highlight new products in terms of what makes them different, better or, in some cases, unique. And what better place to do that than in this magazine.

But not this time.

Frankly, I’m a little envious of the other photographers who are featured in Nikon World. Their taking-off point is photography, and their stories are driven by pictures—pictures from recent assignments or personal work or classic images, pictures that illustrate their techniques and reflect their ideas and vision. This time, that’s what I’m going to do. This is the picture-driven column, my chance to talk about photos I’m excited about that don’t necessarily have anything to do with a specific camera, lens, Speedlight, accessory or Nikon technology. No photo here was taken because I needed to illustrate, for instance, the advantages of Active D-Lighting or auto bracketing or focus tracking. I took these photos because here were subjects and situations that excited and attracted me.

But not always at first glance. I walked right past the bike on my way to a Napa Valley, California, store. No interest; no photo. But on my way back, I saw that the sun was casting shadows of the bike’s wheel. That’s pretty cool, I thought, and I took a picture. On the LCD I saw a technically okay, pretty boring shot. There was a picture here, but I needed to do something else, something different. I decided to try a technique I’d heard about from Dave Black in which he sets his white balance for a cool blue tone and takes the shot using a Speedlight fitted with a warming gel. (Coincidentally, Dave writes about that technique in his Workshop column in this issue.) I set my white balance in the 3000 Kelvin range, snapped a warming gel on my SB-900 and then employed the VAL technique to get the shot. VAL? Voice Activated Lightstand—meaning I stop a passerby and ask, “Would you hold this flash for me while I take a few photos?” The VAL kindly worked with me as I took ten shots at different flash compensation settings to see how each would affect the photo.

My picture of the tutu and ballet shoes was also the result of taking a walk. I was on-site at a ballet studio in Boston as technical advisor for a Nikon Creative Lighting System DVD featuring Bob Krist and Joe McNally. On a break I walked into another room and saw the slippers and the tutu in the soft light streaming in through a window.

Even though I was on a break I was carrying my camera (I believe in the gospel according to Jay [Maisel]: “No chance you’re going to get the shot if you don’t have a camera with you”); good thing, because the light changed in less than a minute. The appeal of the scene was the mix of hard light and soft textures, shadows and colors. It’s an atmospheric, moody photo that suggests rather than states. Someone who saw it said it could be the cover of a ballet school brochure or a ballet program. I don’t know if I saw that possibility right away, but it’s interesting that perhaps unconsciously I composed it so there’d be room for text.

One technique I’ve been using a lot lately, and for which I actually seek out subjects, is HDR, High Dynamic Range, a process that makes it possible to capture a wide range of tones in a high-contrast scene. HDR involves taking a series of exposures, essentially a bracket of three or five or more images, and then using software to create a single image that depicts the scene’s tonal range. Maybe because I’m so interested in HDR, every time I go out to shoot I see something that suits the technique. The old truck, for instance, which I photographed in Goodsprings, Nevada. I saw a wide range of tones, a strong central subject, dark, massing clouds and dramatic colors. I moved around the truck, shooting five-stop brackets from a number of angles. The photo here is my favorite for the way it shows the power of the truck—and because it offered up a surprise. Because there was a slight breeze, the tree branches on the left moved during my five-shot bracket, giving me a blurred shadow that works very well with the image.

Speaking of shadows, they are the subject of the photo I took at the Santa Monica pier. It was about 7:00 p.m. and the low sun was casting long shadows, but they weren’t what I was looking for. I’d gone to the pier to photograph the merry-go-round that was featured in the movie The Sting. But the shadows, the light, the colors and the shapes stopped me. I took some shots, but something was missing. I waited. People came, and I realized I could use their shapes and the shadows as graphic elements in a photo that was a bit of a mystery. I like that this image is an example of what a lot of photographers have said in these pages: they’re on assignment with plans, ideas, even previsualized photos in mind, but often the best pictures they get come from spontaneous moments. And nope, I never did get to the merry-go-round.

On vacation with my family in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, we were walking around and, of course, I had my camera, and from a half block away I saw the blue wall. It was my intention to shoot it for color, texture and shape, but as I walked closer I saw the woman coming and realized she’d walk right by the building. I had time to frame up exactly what I wanted. I locked focus on a specific spot and waited for her to get there. I shot four or five frames. This is the one in which she’s in the best position—and there’s that slightly elevated foot. I didn’t see it happening as I took the photo, but it surely brings a sense of motion to the image.

So those are my purely image-driven contributions to the game. I took these pictures because I was inspired by elements like shape, color, light and texture; and by ideas and techniques. I hope you’ll be likewise inspired.

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