I picked up my Nikon D4s at the weekend after being strong and not heading for the camera store when they called me on Thursday. Took it out for a test drive attached to my 800mm to photograph hummingbirds (most shots where taken with the TC 1.25 converter attached). Although this lens gives you lots of working distance, the problem is the minimum focus distance, and finding the hummingbird with the small angle of view (something that you get used to). Conditions where overcast in the morning, brightening up in the afternoon (although the breeze kicked up which meant the birds where swinging to and fro on branches). The attached photo of a Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) was shot at ISO6400, 1000mm, f8 at 1/1250sec , which was the ISO I shot with for most of the morning. The image is straight out of the camera (with sharpening applied when I exported the jpeg). I like what I see so far.
My wife won a ‘Commended’ in the prestigious International BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012 competition. This was for her “Ice Birds” photo in the Animals in their Environment category. Here’s her blog post
We’ll be doing the Santa Cruz Open Studios again this year, so mark the following dates in your calendars: Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 October. More details to follow!
I rehosted the website and there was some teething problems getting it back online. It’s finally up and I hope to get some new posts up in the near future!
We’ll be giving a talk to the Golden Gate Audubon Society on Thursday July 15. The presentation is entitled “Midway Atoll: 60 people and 2 Million Birds”. The synopsis of the talk is:
“Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge has opened to small groups of visitors again. This nature lover’s paradise supports 17 seabird species, including the largest Laysan Albatross colony in the world. Dave Hartley and Jeanine Lovett’s presentation is based on a trip they took to the atoll in 2009. Through photographs, they will show life in the Albatross colony—including Laysan, Black-footed, and Short-tailed Albatrosses—along with Red-tailed Tropicbirds, Red-footed Boobies, Great Frigatebirds, White Terns, and Laysan Ducks. They will also discuss the environmental issues affecting the atoll.”
This will take place on Thursday July 15; 7pm refreshments, 7:30pm program.
The talk will be in the First Unitarian Universalist Church and Center located at 1187 Franklin street (at Geary), San Francisco.
I’m pleased to announce that I was one of the winners in the 2009 Nature’s Best Ocean Views competition. The winning photograph was of a Weddell Seal. Here’s the story behind the :
“We hiked about a mile across six feet of ice in Admiralty Sound with the intention of photographing a small Adelie penguin rookery. Close by was a small group of Weddell seals, sleeping near to their breathing hole.
True to form, the seals noisely slept on their sides. Eventually, one woke up, lifted its head and peered over at me curiously. I fired off a few frames thinking he would go back to sleep. But instead, he lifted his head and hind flippers high off the ground in a long graceful stretch, before finally rolling over and falling back asleep.”
I uploaded an initial batch of photographs from my recent trip to Midway Atoll. You can access them through my Galleries page or directly via this link.
Here is a YouTube link to two Laysan Albatross doing their dance on Midway Atoll.
Here is a YouTube link to a whole field of Laysan Albatross on Midway Atoll.
Here is a YouTube link to two Black-footed Albatross doing their dance on Midway Atoll.
The Ten-pin remote and flash sync terminals on the Nikon D3/D3x have rubber caps that are attached to the camera. This is a big improvement over the small screw caps that were on previous models. However, I found that the rubber caps would sometimes get in the way when attaching remote cords. The other day, I was attaching a remote, and had a moment of clarity. The rubber caps actually rotate, so you can move them out of the way. This is shown in the photo. It’s only taken me a 18 months of using the camera to find this neat feature!
I recently spent a week at Midway Atoll; this is located about 3200 miles west of my home town of San Francisco. To say that this is an incredible location to photograph birds is an understatement. It is the equivalent of St. Andrews Bay on South Georgia, with endless opportunities. Both locations allow you to use your range of focal lengths, from long to really wide. The s on the left show the possibilities. I was photographing the pair of Black-footed Albatross with a 14-24mm. Joe Van Os asked me to hold the pose whilst he photographed me with a 500mm lens with the Albatross in the foreground. Whilst “modeling”, I snapped a few s of him, showing the picture from my perspective. Everybody has a favorite lens, but you should remember to shoot with various focal lenses so that your s show different points of view.
Sometimes when traveling via air, it’s necessary to put your equipment in checked luggage. This all depends on which airline you are traveling with and their carry on restrictions. One of the most trusted storage options are Pelican cases. Choosing which case is suitable for your needs is often a hard choice. One of the best options is to take your equipment down to your local camera store and try them out. It’s amazing how a case which on paper seems large suddenly shrinks in size when you start putting your gear in. I find the padded dividers work best for me as it allows me to reconfigure the case as needed.
One of the key things to consider is the internal height of the case. This is especially important if you have one of the “pro” bodies that have an integrated vertical grip. A large number of cases that on paper look fine will not work when you try to put a Nikon D3/D3x in them. The reason being is their interior height is much too short, making it impossible to shut the case lid! The photo shows a Pelican 1550 case with a D3 on the left and a D2x on the right; this case has an interior height of 7.62″. You can see that this case is the minimum height that allows you to store the camera upright. Cases such as the 1450 and 1500 do not have sufficient interior height (6″ and 6.93″ respectively). You would have to lay the camera down flat with these cases, hence consuming precious space.