Thursday, September 3, 2009

Nikon D3x....

With a headline like that what kind of introduction do I need? Except of course to state that NO; I did not buy this Rolls Royce of a camera. I was very graciously loaned this camera from Jeff Penn and NPS at Nikon. Special thanks to them at least one more time. As mentioned before, this blog is going to be filled with pictures and Nerd speak though, so be fore-warned now. The Nikon D3x is 24.5 Megapixels of amazing that is well worth the $7400 price tag (which is probably significantly less now that I've even just touched it). I however, need to sell a lot more pictures, or either one of my kidneys if I'm going to ever own one. That's all fine and good though, as I've definitely had my fun with it before I've got to give it back in the morning....

(Nikon D3x, 500ISO, Nikon 60mm F2.8 AF-S Nano Macro @F3.5, 1/25thsec. Nikon SB-900 set to TTL to camera left pointed straight up with the bounce card set to -2EV. Nikon SB-900 to behind the ball camera right pointed straight up set to TTL at -3EV. Both Speedlights were fired by an SU-800 Commander module from on top of the camera.)

The shot above has no particular purpose in life, other than the fact that I thought it might look cool. Some people do self assignments with models, others do it with landscapes, and where as maybe I do enjoy lighting things on fire; I very rarely dedicate a shoot just to fire but I do tend to like lighting things on fire.... Maybe I'm onto something here. I wanted to do a Mad Men style shoot with my friend Heather, but she ended up getting sick so I had to suffice for lighting golfballs on fire. I figured that with the extreme resolution of the D3x I'd be able to make some obscene prints or crops with the image. Honestly though, The image above looks good to me AS-IS. Not to say I couldn't crop it down even down to the dimples, I just don't really want to. Also though, as requested by a few different people, the next shot is a behind the scenes shot with the light setup for the above shot. Sometimes all it takes is a little imagination, a little initiative, and some hand sanitizer...

Yup, you guessed it: I shot the golf ball on my coffee table; just with the lights off. Seemed like a good idea at the time. The shot turned out pretty good as far as I'm concerned too. The golf ball was lit using every day hand sanitizer that you could find in walgreens made by purell. Turns out the stuff is 60%-70% alcohol, and burns very cleanly. Mix it with a little lighter fluid to give it some color and shaZam! Burning golf ball. If you do attempt something like this later on your own, make sure you ventilate the room fairy well, surlyn covers of golf balls are somewhat toxic when they burn.

Anyway, I digress. D3x = Awesome. I want one, can't afford one, will dream of them holding my pillow to my face while I sleep pretending to take photos until I wake up having trouble breathing because well.....I'm holding a pillow to my face. Yea no good. Anyway, I've been shooting as much as I can with the darn thing to see what it can do, and I must say I am very impressed.

(Nikon D3x, ISO 160, Nikon 28-70mmF2.8@70mm, 1/125th@F11. Dynalight 400JR to camera left set to Full power triggered by pocket wizard shot through a white fabrick 12'x12' wall. Dynalight 400JR to camera right triggered by Pocket Wizard set to one click under Full power shot through a 12'x12' white fabric wall.)

The shot above was for Ultrasun USA. That is a shot for the USA website, as well as any promotional media the USA division might want/need it for. Our current project is currently in the Beta stage and it's very exciting. I can't say yet what it is exactly but I made a video of the last shoot that I did (with this bed) that will make it on the blog later that will show you a little more what we are working on. With Ultrasun I have been using 12 Megapixel files for a long time, and they astounded at the detail that the D3x provided. It produced a file very similar in size to the Medium Format shots that they produce at the factory every time a new bed comes off the line in Holland. Of course I did use the D3x for more than just product and personal things.

(Nikon D3x, 200ISO, Nikon 18-35mm F3.5-4.5@24mm, 1/50th @F7.1. One SB-900 on a stand set to TTL +1 pointed into the ceiling tiles zoomed to 105mm, One SB-900 set to TTL-2 on the floor bare bulb shot at the chairs zoomed to 17mm. Speedlights both fired by an SU-800 TTL Commander module from on camera.)

This shot is for the Indianapolis Star's Green Indy publication. The company that the shot above is for is named Synergy, and they design Green Office environments. The carpet in the photo is recycled, the table is made of wood, there are big windows to let in natural light AND the lights above are LED lights, meaning that they use very little energy. Cool place; Tough shoot. As far as I can tell the Client was happy, and the Custom Pubs team was happy, which says WIN to me. Not that I couldn't have shot the shot with my D3, or a Canon body even, but I wanted to see how the D3x handled in the field in an On Location environment. It was Perfect.

On top of shooting things for the paper, for my own commercial clients and just for kicks and giggles I also shot a few artistic style shots which is something that I have gotten out of the habit of doing lately. My buddy Brad is playing sponge and trying to soak up every bit of photography that he can. Of which if I call him and want to go do something photo wise he's usually knocking on my front door before I can hang up the phone. He likes to assist at shoots and not only that he's right good at it too. His theory is that a good assistant knows where to find the vending machines. Really this mentality has come in handy on a few occasions too, so I can't complain in the least. Especially since he really seems to get a kick out of seeing how different light setups affect the way people look; turning really beautiful girls, into posters for horror movies because they are poorly lit. With the right light, even a dungeon is inviting. It's either that or I've just been lieing to myself all this time because I spent a lot of time in the dungeon. Either way.

(Nikon D3x, 100ISO, Nikon 18-35mm F3.5-4.5@18mm. 51seconds@F22. Camera was held by a Bogen Manfroto Tripod and fired with an MC-36 Digital Remote Release Cable)

That is the Chase building in downtown Indianapolis. I loved the colors, and thought it might be a nice shot to have while I was out playing around. Of all the shots I took over that few hours wandering the downtown, that is one of my favorites. Maybe someone from Chase will stumble onto my blog and want it. Or maybe it'll just go into the abyss terabytes worth of hard drives that I have on my network at home, hoping someday to be stumbled upon to someday see the light of print. We'll see I say. We'll see. The D3x thought performed flawlessly with long exposures, just as it did with the shorter ones in a studio environment and in the field. All in all, I was very pleased. The only conclusion that I can make is that if I printed very consistently at larger than 24"x36" I would not only NEED to own this Cadillac of cameras, but I could afford it as well. I can't say that I am done with this camera, I can't say that I won't own one at some point, and I can't say that these are the only things that I shot with it over the last week. I can say that you haven't seen the last of the shots that I did take though. Keep your eyes peeled, because I did shoot a few things which will take complete and full advantage of the resolution this camera provided. Possibly even for a Calendar coming up.... Until then though; back to the grind. More soon.


  1. A calendar, ehy? Those are some amazing shots, you pyro!! lol!

  2. As always the golf ball setup and everything was fun, windows def. should be open... for all of those who are brain, insane or just have the time to want to test this out and take some photos themselves.

    Another fine post Marc, very technical which is nice for those of us who like to know how photos were taken so that one day we can inspire to be at least 1/3 as good.