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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Stroll Down Memory Lane - My Wildlife Photography Influence - "Auntie" Augusta Martin

If there is one person who had to be the biggest influence in my being a wildlife photographer today, it's Augusta Martin whom we lovingly called "Auntie Martin". Being a member of the Vancouver Nature History Society before it finally became Nature Vancouver, Mrs. Martin used to send me letters all the time with little clippings and including VNHS newsletters where I learned all about the nature around me. Being a school kid and not all that interested in nature, I used to wonder why "Auntie" was sending me all these nature things. It seemed, looking back on this with hindsight, she knew me better than I knew myself.

It is sad that she never lived long enough to see me realize the achievement of being a nature/wildlife photographer, but her influence stands to this day. And every time I see a bird or wild creature, I always acknowledge that "Auntie" was an influence in who I am as a person.

So "Auntie Martin"...this one's for you.

I certainly hope that Augusta Martin's family knows just how much of an influence their mother/grandmother/aunt had on me today. I don't know where the little bits of nature articles she sent me are now, but a part of them and of her, I carry with me every time I pick up my camera and my 600mm lens and go out to find birds and other animals...and I'm sure she smiles when she realizes just what it is that I'm doing now.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Nikon Announces New DSLR - Still No D400.

Once again, Nikon ignores the fact that they have not replaced the D300s in any suitable form. Towards the end of October 2013 they releaased a new camera called the Nikon Df. This seems to be a retro-look DSLR (looks like a film camera circa 1960s - but is a DSLR) with a 16.2 MP sensor. While I'm sure that this will satisfy the retro-Nikon fans or hipsters who prefer technology - this doesn't do anything for me. If I want to go completely retro, I'd just pick up a Nikon FE2 and shoot 35mm film.

My question again is: is Nikon purposefully ignoring the fact that there are sports shooters and wildlife photographers who opt to not go full-frame in the hopes that they'll make the $5000 upgrade to a Nikon D4? Because I can wait this out - all it entails is purchasing a used D300s as a backup and then making sure that I have a couple hundred dollars for a shutter replacement. I don't believe that they've made significant design changes to the shutter mechanism.

As I've stated before, I want my continuous high at least 7fps which the D7100 doesn't give me. As I said, I'm not enamored of the idiot dial. When my butt is parked watching a flock of wood ducks (probably the most skittish ducks I've ever seen on the face of the planet) I don't want to have to be looking in my camera's system menu trying to find controls. After 3 years of dealing with the pro setup on the left hand side of my D300s, I feel more in tune with that. Every time I pick up my D50, I'm have to think for a couple of seconds trying to find my ISO, WB and QUAL since they're on the back of my camera and not instinctive like dealing with my D300s. I'm not "up"grading to an anemic buffer where the D300s curbstomps the D7100. The D7100 at full DX mode turns around and goes at about 5fps of which the buffer takes 2 fps off while pausing for a half-a-second to let it play catch-up as seen on this Youtube video by YouTube user Mandrake Cigars.

As a wildlife photographer, I need to have my camera bodies able to run a 6fps without pause on full DX mode. I don't want to go an additional 1.3x crop factor because that takes pixels away from my image. If I'm going to buy a full 24.1 MP camera, I want a full 24.1 MP camera at 7fps (at least at the very minimum 6fps).

As far as I can tell - as of right now; I have two choices:

  • I can upgrade to the Nikon D4 (go pro-body completely and go to full-frame which will necessitate purchasing the requisite 1.4x and 1.7x teleconverters) or

  • forget upgrading for now, opt to play a "wait and see" game by purchasing another D300s body (lightly used) and utilizing both bodies as needed - the cheaper way to go and probably makes the most sense.

  • Either way I will have the requisite two bodies necessary as primary and backup. I'll have to make a decision soon as shooting my son's hockey games has made me see that I need a second body (one for the telephoto lens - my 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII and one for a wide-angle (my 18-70mm DX f/3.5-4.5)) when shooting sports and perhaps also while shooting wildlife as well.

    I may be picky, but I know what I want in my camera if I'm going to upgrade to another DX camera and so far what Nikon has given me just isn't it. I'd sooner upgrade directly to a D4 (with the requisite 10fps - 11fps on DX crop) than go to a D7100.