nikon

Re-gripping a Nikon D700 DSLR

The Nikon D700 holds a special place in my heart. I started getting serious about photography right around the time digital SLR cameras (DSLRs) were overtaking film cameras in terms of quality and sales quantity. My first non-snapshot camera was a manual-focus Minolta X-700, and I'm sad I sold it years ago. The D700 was the first 'semi-pro' level DSLR I used; though I never owned one until recently.

Nikon D700 60mm 2.8 Macro lens Hero image

I rented and borrowed the Nikon D3, D3s, and D700 a number of times when they were the state of the art, and I still love the way the D700 renders images. The fact that it shoots at 12 megapixels means it's more forgiving with handheld photography at slower shutter speeds (since motion blur gets much worse as resolution increases). It doesn't do video at all... but as a photographer's camera, besides maybe the Nikon Df, there isn't a DSLR that I've enjoyed using as much for as long.

Photos from 2019 Priesthood Ordination Mass for the Archdiocese of St. Louis

Earlier today, I was honored to be able to join in the celebration of the ordination of seven new priests for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. I was asked by the class to photograph their special event, and as I have done for many years, I gladly accepted and used the occasion to rent some new photography gear—this year I supplemented my Nikon D750 and F-mount lenses with a:

  • Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera
  • Nikon 35mm f/1.8 S lens (Z-mount)
  • Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art lens (F-mount)

This was also the first year I kept my two workhorse zoom lenses (24-70 2.8 and 70-200 2.8) in the bag, and shot exclusively with prime lenses. I've often considered doing this, but only recently realized there was a good prime between 105mm and 200mm that I could rely on for the shots where the Archbishop interacts with the ordinands, for example, the Laying on of Hands:

Laying on of Hands - Archbishop Carlson

Review: Night soccer with the Nikon 300mm f/2.8 VR II

There are a few events every year which I'm privileged to be asked to photograph, and one of them is the annual Souls and Goals soccer cup, a soccer match between priests and seminarians in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

This soccer match is held on a (usually very cold) night in November, at a stadium with less-than-stellar lighting. For last year's game, I rented a Nikon D500 (D500 review here, and used it with my Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens (roughly 300mm equivalent on the D500 body). It was very nice, and the focus system on the D500 (borrowed from the penultimate sports DSLR, the D5) is second-to-none.

But I wasn't thrilled with the low-light performance on the D500. And I wanted to try something new this year. So I rented monster lens—the Nikon 300mm f/2.8 VR II:

How to focus stack a set of images in Photoshop

I recently rented a Nikon 105mm VR Macro lens for a weekend, and wanted to experiment with different types of macro photography.

One of the things I was most interested in was focus stacking. See, there's a problem with macro photography in that you're dealing with a depth of field measured in millimeters when reproducing images at a 1:1 ratio, even stopped down to f/8 or f/11. And, wanting to avoid diffraction at higher apertures, there's no way to take a straight-out-of-camera picture of a 3D object that's sharp from front to back.

One frequent subject of my close-up photography is the Raspberry Pi single board computer. You can see the problem when taking just one photo:

Photographing the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

Last year, when I first learned that my house was in the path of totality for this year's eclipse, I immediately logged into BorrowLenses and rented a Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 VR lens (for photography—it's now on my wishlist) and then purchased a set of eclipse glasses for my family, and materials to build a solar filter for the lens.

I've learned from Reddit's DIY community that people like the end result first... then an explanation, so:

2017 Total Solar Eclipse composite by Jeff Geerling
See the full-size image of the Eclipse composite on Flickr.

Photography Weekend Part 1 - Packing My Gear

This weekend I'm heading to Steubenville St. Louis to photograph the weekend's events. There will be a wide variety of photo opportunities, from band shots/stage lighting, to outdoor portraits, to group shots and environmental shots. Thus, I will be needing almost all my gear to make sure I can have the versatility I need to get the pictures people want to see.

I'm going to try to document the whole process—packing up/readying my gear (in this post), getting outfitted with the equipment I need (once on location), processing photos, and then cleaning things up.

Nikon Roadtrip Gear
(Click on the photo to view a TON more detail about all the gear)

As you can see from the picture above, I pack relatively heavy. At least, for a solo photographer who doesn't do much commercial work :)

Camera and Lens Rentals in St. Louis, MO

For the past few years, when shooting large events in indoor spaces (such as the 2010 Priesthood Ordination Mass), I've rented camera bodies and lenses from BorrowLenses.com, a great online rental store, with pretty much any lens or camera body you'd ever want to use (especially if you're like me and could never justify the cost of purchase!). I highly recommend BorrowLenses (though I have also used and liked LensRentals.com and RentGlass.com).

This year, however, I decided to look into whether it might be more advantageous to use a local camera shop. I found that both Schiller's and Creve Coeur Camera offer camera and lens rentals, but both have more limited selections. However, the lens and camera body I need are usually available at Schiller's, I don't have to pay shipping (pick-up only, but the store is nearby), and I can pay a one-day rental rate for a weekend (most of the events I use the cameras for are on Saturdays).

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