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nikon

Playing with Nikon’s Big Guns.

Gear Talk
Nikon D4

Nikon D4

Not so long ago, I did a post about Canon’s new “Big Guns”, the 600mm f/4 II and the 1Dx. We’re now waiting for Nikon’s newest super-tele, the 800mm f/5.6, to ship, but I thought I’d take the newest flagship camera from Nikon out for a spin with the venerable 600mm f/4 that they’ve had out for a while.

 

Nikon 600mm f/4

Nikon 600mm f/4

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Small Flash, Big Box: Using the LumoPro Flash Bracket

Gear Talk The LumoPro Flash Bracket

There’s no shortage of lighting modifiers for small flashes like the Nikon SB–910 on the market today. From the Apollo softboxes we rent, to grid kits, snoots, umbrellas, and beauty dishes, small flash has really come into its own, especially for photographers working on location.

Now there’s a new accessory for Strobist-style shooters that will let you use a much wider variety of softboxes with your existing small flashes, including the high-end modifiers from companies like Profoto. I used it with two Profoto softboxes a couple of weeks ago for a portrait, with excellent results.

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Blowing out the Background

Gear Talk Tips & Tricks
Ben on a greyish-blue background.

Ben on a greyish-blue background.

The image above was not shot on a white background. It has a minimal level of adjustment in Lightroom to it, mostly to clean up the edges, but that’s about it. It was taken in front of the greyish-blue wall in the lobby of the BorrowLenses.com offices in San Carlos.

The thing about a relatively light-colored background is that it lends itself to a surprisingly large number of options for photographers. Though grey backgrounds work best for this, you can with some tweaking, turn just about any light-colored background — grey, blue, beige — completely black, as I demonstrated in this article on how to kill your background completely.

In this article, I’ll show you how to blow out that background completely to make it look like you’re shooting in front of a white backdrop.

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The Best Nikon for Night Photography

Gear Talk

Want to know what the best Nikon camera is for night photography? David Kingham is a landscape photographer who focuses on the night sky. Kingham puts all of the major Nikon bodies to the test in this guest blog post.

BorrowLenses.com WPPI Recap: Pro Photographer Speakers, Prizes, and More

BL News

BorrowLenses had a great time at the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Conference last week in Las Vegas! We spoke with hundreds of people and gave away nearly a thousand dollars’ worth of prizes over the three-day event. Check out our pictures!

Cool Stuff – Week of March 17, 2013

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

  • There are a few photographers whose work we love so much, we’ll drop everything to watch them make toast. Or, as we see with a younger Annie Leibovitz here, to watch them talk about their work.
  • Ditto for Greg Heisler. There’s no question that we’d close up shop to watch this master talk about his work. As with Annie above, this one’s a flashback, both of them courtesy of our friends at PetaPixel.
  • Curious about who’s paying for photography these days? We are. Which is why we’re pleased as punch that someone’s talking about it (kinda) openly. Here’s “Who Pays Photographers.”
  • Look, don’t expect us to carry this in our inventory anytime soon, okay? Here’s a photographer using a Nikon 1200-1700mm lens to photograph the new pope. Why won’t we carry it? Because we like our shippers’ spinal columns too much.
  • Like them, love them, hate them, whatever. The guys at DxOMark aren’t afraid to be vocal about their choices, and they’ve started a new series of articles about the best lens choices for their top-ranking camera, the Nikon D800.

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. We hope you got a chance to see us at WPPI if you were out there! As always, questions and feedback are welcome in the comments below.

Shooting Fast Action with a D800E

Gear Talk

Nikon D800E

When you think of fast-action photography, the D800E isn’t exactly the first camera that comes to mind – and with good reason. At a top speed of 4 frames per second and a buffer that will fill up pretty quickly with those massive 36MP files, it’s not a camera that lends itself to that kind of photography easily.

If you’re in a pinch, however, and need to be able to use the D800E (or the D800) for a bit of fast-action work, there are a few things you can do to get a bit more performance out of this camera.

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Kill the Background: How to Turn a Background Black with Speedlights

Tips & Tricks
Chiaroscuro Portraits by Alex Huff

Chiaroscuro Portraits by Alex Huff

I was recently inspired by a recent series of portraits by our very own Alex Huff. Titled “Chiaroscuro Portraiture,” it features these gorgeous close-up portraits of the men and women in her life, each one of which is a study in how to render the interplay between light and shadow.

Alex takes these images in front of a grey background, and through a combination of getting in close to her subjects and using one light, sends what little you might see of that grey to almost pitch black. I began to think of what I could do if I didn’t have a backdrop to shoot against, if I needed to make a portrait in a relatively brightly-lit area. In theory, it could be done; a basic understanding of the Inverse-Square Law reveals that much.

But what if all you had was a basic modifier and a couple of speedlights, not a big studio strobe? Could you still do it? I had to give it a try. (more…)

Cool Stuff – Week of Feb 10, 2013

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

 And now, for the BorrowLenses.com Roundup!

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. As always, questions and feedback are welcome in the comments below.

Cool Stuff, Week of February 1, 2013

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

  • We love it when one of our own gets a nod from someone we admire. Our very own Alex Huff was mentioned in this week’s episode of Photography Tips and Tricks, by none other than R.C. Concepcion. Have a look at the end of the video below.
  • The Sony RX1 has become a favorite around these parts; check out this Russian-made turret universal optical viewfinder that seems to work perfectly with it.
  • Any time Philip Bloom does a gear review, we tend to drop everything and listen. Here, he breaks down the Canon 1DC for you. As usual, it’s a thorough, full-featured review.
  • This one’s for the retouchers among you. The guys at PhotoShelter have established a reputation not just for being a great photo hosting service, but also for bringing you some fantastic original content via their blog. In this webinar, they talk to veteran retoucher Amy Dresser about her process and technique – and it’s worth watching every second.
  • And finally, from the “If he opens his mouth to talk, you should be quiet and listen department,” the Phillipines’ 24/7 cable news network, ANC, sat down with Joe McNally for a really good interview.

 And now, for the BorrowLenses.com Roundup!

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. As always, questions and feedback are welcome in the comments below.

Shooting On the Go With the Olympus OM-D

Gear Talk

Not too long ago, I switched to the Nikon D800E with a series of prime lenses for all of my primary photography. I love the Nikon, and it’s proved to be a fantastic system, capably handling just about everything I’ve thrown at it.

The downside is that it is, truly, a system. A big, heavy system. I quickly found myself looking for a smaller, carry-around camera for some of my more photojournalistic endeavors, and immediately turned to the family of mirrorless cameras out there for an answer.

Of these, there is no shortage. You have the awesome Sony NEX-6, which I’ve raved about in the past. There’s also the Sony RX-1, the Panasonic GF3C, the Fuji X-Pro1, and the subject of this article, the Olympus OM-D E-M5.

Olympus OM-D

Olympus OM-D

I’ve had the Olympus OM-D E-M5 for the past few weeks now, and have been using it as my primary “take everywhere” camera. It’s small size, lens selection, and great image quality combine to provide a system that’s flat-out my favorite in this category. In this article, I’ll present my experience shooting with this little thing, rather than a full-on technical review.

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Reviewing the Sigma 15mm f/2.8 and Nikon 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye Lenses for Night Sky Landscape Photography

BL News

David Kingham is a lanscape photographer who focuses on the night sky. He field-tested some of our fisheye lenses to see which one is most suitable for this kind of work.

The Canon MP-E 65mm Macro Puts the Microscopic Within Reach

Gear Talk Tips & Tricks

The Canon MP-E 65mm Macro Lens is more than a lens–it is like a portable microscope with the ability to fill an entire 35mm frame with the texture of something as small as a grain of rice. Learn more about one of BorrowLenses.com’s most unique lenses!

Easy Holiday Photo Booth

Gear Talk Tips & Tricks

Holiday events have a way of filling a room. Being tasked with running a party photo booth for friends and family can be daunting, especially if your budget isn’t big and your space isn’t, either. We put together a simple, fun photo booth using portable items that you can rent from BorrowLenses.com.