Nikon Americas USA

121ArticlesRemaining

4.8 Rating
Professional Video Camera Equipment for Your HDSLR

Using third-party rigs, rail systems and other accessories

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.0 Rating
Camera Tips: Using the My Menu Feature of your Nikon DSLR

Sara Wood explains how she uses the My Menu feature on Nikon…

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.5 Rating
1 NIKKOR Technology: Retractable Lens Barrel

Retractable lens barrel technology offers ultra-compact lens design.

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.3 Rating
Boudoir Photography: Creating the Sensual Image

Trendy boudoir photography by CherieFoto.

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.1 Rating
Camera Support Tips for Shooting Steady Video

Five tips for steadying the camera when shooting video

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.7 Rating
3D Mode

Capture images in 3D for viewing on 3D compatible HDTVs and computers.

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.0 Rating
Getting Started: How to Hold Your D-SLR Camera

Getting sharper, more in-focus pictures can be as simple as learning how…

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.5 Rating
Easy Panorama Mode

The Easy Panorama Mode combines multiple shots into a seamless 180- or 360-degree panoramic picture.

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.6 Rating
A Photographic Expedition — Easter Island and Patagonia, Chile

Travel to Patagonia and Easter Island for a photographic…

NEW
Read
Viewing
5.0 Rating
Caring for your Nikon 1 AW1 Waterproof Camera

Care and maintence for the Nikon 1 AW1

NEW
Read
Viewing
5.0 Rating
Joel Sartore

Conservation photographer Joel Sartore is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography.

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.5 Rating
The DX and FX Formats

Understand the differences between the formats to determine which is the one for you.

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.9 Rating
Dedicated Time Release Movie Mode and Time Lapse Using the Built-in Interval Timer

Deciding which technique to use with…

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.5 Rating
Capturing or Freezing Motion in Photos

Learn how to freeze the motion in an action scene or capture a blur to show…

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
Taking Great Portraits with COOLPIX Cameras

See how COOLPIX technologies let you take great portraits

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.3 Rating
Which NIKKOR Lens Type is Right for Your DSLR?

Learn what the different types of NIKKOR lenses are and which ones will…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.3 Rating
Understanding Auto ISO

Auto ISO can simplify shooting under changing lighting conditions

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.9 Rating
The Importance of Quality Audio Capture

Simple tips for photographers shooting HD video with Nikon D-SLRs.

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
How to Take Pictures of Water Using Long Exposures

Getting that "silky" look when photographing moving water isn't…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.8 Rating
Nikon HD-SLR Video Tips

Video series of tips on shooting video with your HD-SLR camera

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
Taking Pictures in Cold Weather

Weldon Lee has some tips to keep you taking pictures—even in the cold and snow.

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.9 Rating
Top Tips for Capturing Time Lapse with a DSLR

Tips for creating Time Lapse videos

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.9 Rating
Corey Rich

Adventure photographer Corey Rich is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography and multimedia work.

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
How to Read Your Camera Manual

Your camera manual, it's not a novel, so don't try reading it cover to cover.

NEW
Read
Viewing

The Edge: Drum Circle

My Own Personal Crüe Fest

I started out shooting rock and roll from the audience, then worked my way to the front of the house, then the photographers’ pit and then onto the stage. What I learned at each access point was this: I could never get a good shot of the drummer. The angles are bad; he’s far back or on a riser; he’s behind a forest of cymbal stands and a fortress of drums—there may have even been a moat or two.

I first tried changing lenses. Instead of bringing a 70-200mm into the pit, I’d put on a 200-400mm with a 1.4 teleconverter, so if I had the right angle, I could zoom in close enough to wait for the drummer’s face to fall within an opening, and then maybe I’d get a lucky shot sometime during the three-song limit under which I worked. I’d accept a lucky shot, of course, but it wasn’t what I wanted. What I wanted were photographs that overcame the limitations; and, frankly, the kinds that musicians would like and respect. In other words, images that would get me greater access.

A few years back I had a breakthrough that came from a drummer’s question: “What do you want to do that’s special?” I tossed back, half-joking, “I’d like to throw a remote camera on your drum kit.” The drummer replied, “What’s a remote camera?” Once we sorted that out—”I lock a camera onto a stand, right up close to you, and fire it from offstage and we get unobstructed views that no one’s ever seen”—I got to work. The result of that shoot was an image that appeared in the Winter, 2010, issue of Nikon World, and in a lot of other places as well.

I’ve parlayed that hero shot into access elsewhere, most recently a performance by Mötley Crüe at Nikon at Jones Beach in September last year. For that show, not only did I have extraordinary cooperation from drummer Tommy Lee, his drum techs and the band, I had exactly what I’m always looking for when I make pictures: something different. I’d have remote-camera access to Tommy’s unique roller coaster setup (though, to me, it’s more Ferris wheel than roller coaster), plus the attraction of his look, style, intensity and place in rock and roll history.

I’d shot Mötley Crüe before, but the wheel was new to me, so I started with online research to get a feel for what it was all about. Okay, a circular track, and at some point he plays completely upside down. Now, let me deal with that opportunity.

I’d shot Mötley Crüe before, but the wheel was new to me, so I started with online research to get a feel for what it was all about. Okay, a circular track, and at some point he plays completely upside down. Now, let me deal with that opportunity.

I made a mental shot list: I’d need an establishing shot; I’d need details and drama and color and mood; I’d need a clean, cool image of Tommy; and for the hero shot, Tommy and the audience—the one stopper that clearly shows that the drummer is upside down. So not only do I have to secure remote cameras to his drum kit, I have to really secure them for the ride around the circle. Right away I’m thinking double safety cables and everything locked tighter than tight.

For the remote shooting I decided on three D3S cameras fitted with AF Fisheye-NIKKOR 16mm f/2.8D lenses and fired via PocketWizard remotes. Two cameras would be on the drum platform and would go with him on the ride, with one aimed to capture clean, cool images, essentially portrait shots, and the other secured to the bottom of the drum kit, aimed up to show how big the wheel was and to get a picture of Tommy upside down. The third camera would be on the wheel itself. I’d be shooting from the front of the house, at the soundboard, with a fourth camera, a D4 with an AF-S NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II and an AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II.

I could have fired the remotes using a transmitter on the hot shoe of my camera, but with so much to keep track of, I enlisted my colleague, Nikon senior technical manager Steve Heiner, to stand at the side of the stage and fire the drum kit and wheel remotes. Steve knows the band, and he’s got a terrific feel for performance photography. My only instruction to him: shoot, shoot, shoot; shoot some more; don’t stop shooting.

Each remote camera was set for ISO 3200, f/8, aperture priority, -2/3 stop exposure compensation (you’re always afraid of blown-out images) and center-weighted metering. With the 16mm lenses, I was expecting depth of field to Arizona.

Tommy played most of the set with the drum kit’s platform at the six o’clock position, saving the rotations around the wheel for his drum solo and a ride-along when the winner of a local radio station’s contest was strapped into a separate seat and went around the circle with him.

The moment I started breathing normally was at the end of the performance when Steve and I pulled the cameras off the rig, pushed the playback buttons and saw that everything had worked the way it was supposed to. We had pictures, 11,000 of them, and the edit revealed that 90 percent were acceptable and many were downright terrific.

We’d met the challenge of getting great shots of a great drummer, but the challenge is only part of the attraction. Music means a lot to me—it’s truly an important part of my life—and it’s the drummer who sets the tempo. The faster the beat, the faster our hearts race as the adrenalin kicks in; the slower, the more we settle in and relax into the music. So to me the drummer is the star of the show; he’s the heartbeat, and the way he plays keys the emotion of the moment. And we got a great drummer in some dazzling photographs. What could be better?

Only one thing: I could have won the ride-along contest.

Welcome to
Nikon Learn & Explore

We've made it easy to find all the videos, tutorials &
stories you care about, get tips and advice from pros,
learn new shooting techniques, discover classes and
workshops—in short, help you find new inspiration
every time you visit. (And we hope you visit often.)

Get the Learn & Explore iPhone App

Access all the photography techniques, advice and inspiration of Nikon's Learn & Explore anytime, anywhere with the free app for iPhone®, iPod touch® and iPad®.
photo of two iPhones with the Nikon L&E app on the screens

Take Today's Poll

Make your opinion count and check back often to participate in new polls.

Attend Nikon School

Take your photographic knowledge to the next level; get a working understanding of your camera's features; learn how to create DSLR videos; discover how to edit your images using Capture NX2 software and more.

Nikon School logo and Brian Skerry underwater photo of fish on a reef

Subscribe to the
L&E e-Newsletter

And get great tips and techniques to try next time you go shooting!

L&E e-newsletter examples graphic

Learn photo & video terms!

Learn & Explore features an expansive glossary of over 800 photographic terms. Visit the L&E glossary to learn about specific Nikon camera features or more general photographic or video terms and definitions. Browse the glossary by letter, number or icon.
glossary graphic