Lies, Damn Lies, and Photographs
NOTE: Images with an icon next to them have been artificially shrunk to better fit your screen; click the icon to restore them, in place, to their regular size.
Peaceful Solitude in Nature -- Shimogamo Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 50 mm — 1/640 sec, f/4.5, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos
Peaceful Solitude in Nature
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pan the camera down slightly
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Or Not -- Shimogamo Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 50 mm — 1/640 sec, f/4.5, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Or Not

I'm always fascinated at how one can lie with the camera, taking advantage of the fact that as far as the photo is concerned, if it's out of frame, it doesn't exist. I do it all the time, excluding utility wires, ugly urban visual blight, etc., when I'm out and about with the camera.

At the “Yabusame” mounted archery rite at the Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto, I was amazed, as I often am in these “oasis of nature within the city” situations, that even though we were in Kyoto city proper, the nature was engulfing. Kyoto has a lot of places like this, which is one of the reasons I love it so much.

Slightly Up -- Shimogamo Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 50 mm — 1/640 sec, f/9, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Slightly Up
Slightly Down What a Difference a Small Angle Makes -- Shimogamo Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 50 mm — 1/640 sec, f/9, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Slightly Down
What a Difference a Small Angle Makes

It was quite crowded at the mounted archery event, and people were vying for a vantage point. I had a considered advantage being a bit taller than average, but at the same time being tall has given me an exaggerated sense of “don't get in people's way” consideration, so it was a balancing act.

View From Our First Vantage Point -- Shimogamo Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 500 mm — 1/640 sec, f/6.3, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
View From Our First Vantage Point
Working the Crowd me with the “stabilizing weight” mentioned in the earlier post . ( photo by Fumie with her cell-phone camera ) -- Shimogamo Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Fumie Friedl
Working the Crowd
me with the “stabilizing weight” mentioned in the earlier post.
( photo by Fumie with her cell-phone camera )

Anyway, I needed to set up the scene to make it clear how crowded it was before I could do a real writeup on the event next week, to pre-excuse the lack of good photo coverage. I do, however, now have a large catalog of excellent illustrative photos if I ever decide to do an in-depth analysis on the back of random stranger's heads, so look forward to that.


All 6 comments so far, oldest first...

Just curious….what is the bag in the image with the “stabilizer”?

John

Phone, wallet, sun glasses, house keys, and GPS unit. Maybe a hat, too. —Jeffrey

— comment by John on May 9th, 2010 at 1:51am JST (7 years ago) comment permalink

Is there a special reason you always tend to shoot with a high ISO. I can understand if you are shooting in the woods like in the examples above but there are other pictures where ISO 100 or 125 should have been enough. Is it just to keep down the shutter time?

Mostly it’s because I use Nikon’s “Auto ISO” function, which allows me to set a maximum shutter duration, and it’ll push the ISO up to maintain that maximum shutter duration as needed. The problem is this Auto ISO feature is designed for use with prime lenses. Rather than a maximum shutter duration, it would be much more useful if Nikon were to allow the photographer to set a focal-length multiplier used to compute the maximum shutter duration (e.g. “2” would mean that a 50mm focal-length would result in a maximum duration of 1/100th of a second). This would be helpful for users who change lenses often, and super-duper helpful for users with a zoom lens. But since Nikon doesn’t have this common-sense feature, I have to pick a setting that will work with any focal length I might be using, which on this day was in the range of 50mm – 500mm. So, I likely set a maximum shutter duration of 1/500th and just went with it. Actually, if Nikon is listening, it’d be good to have two of these focal-length multipliers: one for VR, and one for non-VR. —Jeffrey

— comment by Michael Guntsche on May 9th, 2010 at 4:39pm JST (7 years ago) comment permalink

Thanks for the info, I was already thinking that this might be the case.
Canons Auto ISO mode (at least on the 50d) is almost what you (and I) need. Looking at the current focal lengh it is trying to always stay one stop above. The sad thing is you cannot configure how many stops you want. A firmware upgrade could handle this though, maybe someone from Canon is listening….

— comment by Michael Guntsche on May 10th, 2010 at 7:04pm JST (7 years ago) comment permalink

I always run into this same thing. I hate to “cheat” but sometimes it works. There is something to be said for finding places that truly “just work” though – without the need to frame out construction, people, modern day things, etc.

I just got back from prague and half of the old town square had green plastic and scaffolding around it for repairs. I framed photos to not include it. When I was in Japan last year, I had the same issue with some of the temples. It’s sometimes a real challenge to frame a shot that feels natural or intentional with so many distractions that can occur. That is one reason I enjoy street or urban photography so much (and why I loved Tokyo) – the distractions become the photo.

— comment by Jon Van Dalen on May 15th, 2010 at 7:48pm JST (7 years ago) comment permalink

I’m loving the writing you’ve done with the 50-500!! Some great shots just to look at for sharpness/etc that I couldn’t seem to find anywhere else. I highly respect your opinions on this lens, because they’re written in more of a “I’m an average consumer, not a reviewer” sort of tone.

I’ve been tied between this lens and the Canon 100-400 L lens for over a month now, as both are the same price here… As far as I can tell the Canon is just a tad sharper, but only just. I’m primarily a wildlife/nature photographer and I wanted something with nice reach, so the extra 100mm on the Sigma was interesting to me. I’m not sure if the opportunity is available to you, but if you ever get the chance to play with the Canon lens, I’d love to see what you had to say about it in comparison to this lens! 🙂

I write in a “I’m an average consumer, not a reviewer” style because, well, I’m an average consumer, not a reviewer. I know enough to know that I don’t have the technical knowledge to give a proper review, so I’ll stick to what I know (my own uninformed opinion). So I’m glad that it’s taken that way, with, I hope, the appropriate gain of salt. I’ve never used a Canon SLR, but have heard nothing but great things about their lenses, so I’d be surprised if the Canon wasn’t excellent… —Jeffrey

— comment by Scott Koch on September 11th, 2010 at 11:07am JST (6 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Re the 100-400L – it is a very very sharp lens – at least the one I have, which is an older one. Most pros had it until full frame sensor cams appeared, exceeding its resolving power. I can’t say about the 50-500, but common sense would dictate that it has to be engineered with more compromises, hence lesser IQ.

I am actually in a bind myself, having gotten into Nikon gear with the D700 mostly for its great high ISO performance; thought of selling my 5D, but it’s this particular 100-400L lens has me hesitating – at least until I find an appropriate replacement for it on the D700.

A couple data points, this is 1/4 of the frame of a magnolia shot at 400mm 1/400 F5.6 ISO 1000
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nycandre/3452707338/
And at the short end, 100mm at 1/200 F5.6 ISO 1600 (handheld!)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nycandre/5634034954/

— comment by Andre on December 17th, 2011 at 2:20am JST (5 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink
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