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Wednesday, 21 November 2012


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28mm at f2.8 and 1/15 second?

ƒ/4.5 @ 1/80th. I can't handhold 1/15th.


Damn you! I was HAPPY with my D5000.

> Taken this morning

Wiv wot?

"Wiv wot?"

The D800.


Haha... Mike, don't forget, that cameras should be used for taking pictures - possibly decent... Please, do not join the crowd of some 100 million pixel peepers ! (estimated number of DSLR owners across the globe...)

Mike, have you sought professional help for your tripodophobia?

Nice photo.

"have you sought professional help for your tripodophobia?"

Not yet, but I think I need to.



Mike replies: I wasn't going to the bathroom outside, I promise.

Well Mike, I pee outside...often.

[TMI, Laurence, TMI. --Mike]

What were you doing up so early?

The dragoon has inspired some of your wittiest phrases and revealed a passionate giddiness not seen before by me in my years of reading this blog and your prior gigs.

If it hasn't already been said- too much power for any one man...

Mike, it is obvious now to me that your interests in jazz, sports cars, audio equipment, photography books and sushi leave little time for actual daylight photography. You may need to prioritize and rearrange your schedule to allow image capturing activities to occur during the time the sun is above or near the horizon.

On a related note, now that I have used the "Big E" extensively, I am no longer happy with my D700 images. They just seem to now lack something.

I hope you have a meaningful Thanksgiving, my friend?


Hmmm ... trying to decide if I liked you better when you shot pedestrian cameras ;) OK, no, just the fact that you're posting more of your pics makes it worth the envy.

I'd love to see a print of that.

On another note, I'm guessing you read Roger Cicala's blog since you've linked to it before, but have you seen this yet ?

Happy Thanksgiving

- Dennis

Print offer please.

"ƒ/4.5 @ 1/80th. I can't handhold 1/15th."

Maybe you should turn on Shake Reduction?

Doh! ;)

I see an inner landscape, or maybe an inner consciousness, of someone who is approaching death, perhaps being kept alive through extraordinary artificial measures. Or maybe even the bleak awareness of someone who is in a coma--not dead, but not really alive either.

A very nice work of photographic art here, IMHO.

I'm going to actually stop reading your blog. You are what is called an enabler. First it was inexpensive photo books. That wasn't so bad. Now I want a D800. Neighbors already complain about me tinkling in the back yard, now I'll have a D800 with me. If I can't resist I'll buy it through your link. LOL Hope you enjoyed your Hiatal Hernia, er..... hiatus.

Nice indeed, but in similar circumstances the K-5 is plenty good enough to my eyes, and puts less strain on shoulder & wallet. Someone has to push envelopes, and the D800 does it well!

Why is this a nice photo again?

I am sure Mike was just testing to see what nothing would look like when you pointed a camera at it at 4am and 6400iso handheld.

The digital imaging device performed admirably considering the conditions. test was a success.

can we move on now please?

So this may be a dumb question, but how did you decide to go to -3?

"So this may be a dumb question, but how did you decide to go to -3?"

Not dumb at all, Mike, but the answer is unlikely to satisfy you...experience.



A tip o’ the hat to you; foggy days are one of my favorite times to be out with a camera:


Well done!

Best regards,

No, actually this is my real work. Of course it needs to print well before I know if it will make the keepers box; not a given with a file like this. But I will definitely try to print it.


As you probably know, Robert Frank did some nice work in the fog in London. Can be seen in his book "London/Wales."


And it's a shame that Brassai (Gyula Halasz) never gave proper credit to his fellow Hungarian, Andre Kertesz, for tutoring him early on in night photography. (But that didn't stop me from buying a copy of Paris de Nuit a few decades ago. A nice little book, worth a bit more now.)

"A nice little book, worth a bit more now"

Heh. Again, for those who don't know, a good first edition of "Paris de Nuit" can fetch from $4,000 to $6,500. Franklin Books is currently offering one for just under $5,000.


Oh great, now there will be guys with big honking cameras roaming our streets at 4:00 am all the time. If that isn't suspicious, I don't know what is. It'll give the night shift rent-a-cops something to do, I guess.

Seriously though, ain't this fun.

"handheld" is the new "no Photoshop".

Or the new "I'm too lazy to drag the tripod out to the front porch." :-)


Robert, I've been dragging a big honking camera around between 12 and 4AM five nights a week for almost three years at this point. My interactions with the public at large and the police have been cordial and rare.

In fact, of the dozen or so interactions I've had with the police in that time, all except two were initiated by me either calling 911 or flagging down a police car.

A dreamy picture taken with the camera that makes us all dream.
Not all back yard photos are keepers...but this front porch one seems to be one of them.

And it's all lots of fun.

Never mind the technique, it's a beautiful photograph!

It deserves to be viewed a lot bigger. I think you should make your blog post content wider. Your whole page body seems to be now 900px. "Today, most visitors have a screen resolution higher than 1024x768 pixels". http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_display.asp

Very nice. Made me think of this one that I shot at Oslo Airport, 5 AM in February, 2008:


I used another kind of FF camera: Nikon F, Nikkor 50/1.4 wide open and Neopan 1600. No details in light bulbs here, though :-)

Sorry if it's a dumb question but why not use lower ISO instead of -3EV?

One trick about being in an "odd place" doing something "odd" (like urban birding or night photography) and not attecting unwanted attention is to appear either "eccentric" (e.g. the street photogs who wear a bright Hawaiian shirt or an odd hat) or to blend in (look like a tourist or a worker).

I've found the ubiquitious "Hi Vis" reflective and fluorescent yellow or orange vest (or jacket) to be excellent urban camoflauge. When you wear it you look like you want to be seen. People will easily dismiss you as "a worker".

It helps people not run you down too when you stray into the street when you get distracted by an owl call or a potential great shot.

@Manish: Because it keeps the shutter speed up so Mike can handhold the camera. If you drop the ISO three stops then the shutter speed will be decreased by three stops too. In this case out of the range of "handholdability". Adding negative 3EV of exposure correction will increase the shutter speed by three stops over "normal" exposure.

Actually, at the raw, pixel level, ISO800 and higher, the D800/E has the second worst DR out of all FX cameras Nikon has ever produced (after the D3X), so I'm not so sure that highlight recovery above is that special. What you get with the 36mp of details is when resized (to some appropriate dimensions) you get less noise and therefore more DR at the lower end, shadow area, of the scale. Someone prove me wrong please.

[Just because I'm not going to prove it doesn't mean you're not wrong. --Mike]

I didn't think it was a dumb question, Manish - and I learned something from the reply, Kevin.

Thanks both!


I find that when people notice me and ask "what are you taking a photo of?" it means I've found my stride; I've accomplished what I set out to do-- be different.

I actually enjoy the looks I get when pointing my camera skyward in the wee hours of the morning as thousands of commuters stream out of the train stations, walking around me, looking and wondering.

I remember one incident in particular; it was very early one Chicago Winter morning. I left my office with my camera to photograph ice on the Chicago River. While hanging over a bridge on Van Buren Street I notice one of Chicago's Finest watching me from a police cruiser. Some do-gooder must have alerted the authorities that someone was attempting suicide. Why else would a person be hanging over a bridge on a sub-zero morning!


Best regards,

Can't wait until its snows up there and you get to replicate that wonderful picture you shot at night with that? street lamp you post a couple of years ago. to compare the shadow detail.....


It deserves to be viewed a lot bigger. I think you should make your blog post content wider. Your whole page body seems to be now 900px. "Today, most visitors have a screen resolution higher than 1024x768 pixels".

While a move to 1024 wide would be a perfect fit for iPad viewers, what would really make this site shine is HiDPI (Retina) support for the images.

[Just because I'm not going to prove it doesn't mean you're not wrong. --Mike]

On the raw level, I'm afraid you can't, Mike (nor anybody else). I may wrong about how DR gets better when resized though. That's why I asked if someone could come up with the correct information.

Heavy fog tonight in San Diego. ISO 2500 (that's the max I can get) on M9, f/2.8 with Summicron 35mm ASPH, exposure compensation -3, 1/2 sec (handheld). I could not recover any further detail on the lamp, but that might be my ineptitude. https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/103410661482884341150/albums/5814298497861972369

>> "Wiv wot?"
> The D800.

Thanks. Very nice result.


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