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Posts tagged ‘nikon’

Introduction: Sally Wood Photography

Today I have someone for you that I’ve wanted to Introduce to you for quite some time, but we haven’t been able to get ourselves sorted until now. Sally Wood Photography is a business, but what I am interested in is the other photography she does, Sally Wood Nature Photography. I love her birds and she inspires me to photograph them more.  Shall I show you what I mean?


How could I resist a small bird in the snow, it is so tiny. I can’t imagine how something that small would keep warm. I like how many of the birds that she photographs are so small. I find them so hard to do, but I am feeling very inspired to try more.

I asked Sally where in the world she is:

I live in the state of Virginia, in what is called Northern Virginia , just about 24 miles south of Washington DC.  I grew up in Minnesota but have lived here for the past 25 years.


It would be a mistake to think that her nature blog is all about birds, as there is more there. You can see landscapes, and some other animals as well.  I love the daffodils here because we will be seeing a lot of these ourselves soon.

I asked Sally how long she had been taking photos and why.

I got started in photography when my 2 sons were in school, taking photos of their sporting events.  Now I do baby, children, family, engagement and wedding photography, as well as nature photography.   I love to photograph flowers and birds.  Many and most of the bird photography is from my own backyard birds.


Sally also likes photographing flowers and there are lots of beautiful ones on her site. They are photographed well and look beautiful. I love flowers like this, they are light and full of life.

My last question was about her gear.

I use Nikon gear.  I have a D4 for my main body with a D700 as back up.  My two go to lenses are a 24-70mm2.8, and 70-200mm, 2.8.   I have a 2x teleconverter I use with the 70-200mm for many of the bird shots.

I also have  60mm and 200mm macro lenses, along with a 50mm and 85mm prime.    I utilize Lightroom for 95% of my editing, with a bit of Photoshop when I need it.

I would like to thank Sally for letting me show her work to you.  I am sure you will all go and take a look at her nature blog, Sally Wood Nature Photography. She also has another site for her other photography, Sally Wood Photography. I am going to put a selection of her images into a gallery for you now.  Please enjoy.

Quiet Thursday: Social Media Images

On Tuesday I mentioned what a busy week it is has been and it would seem that it isn’t slowing down. I’m away again this weekend and I have to get posts ready before I go. I also have articles to write and articles to read, as ones for the magazine start to come in. They are looking good.

I should have mentioned the other day that Merrell did agree to sponsor me for my trip to the US and a new pair of hiking shoes have arrived. I wore them to Bonnie Doon the other day and they were great. I love that they are waterproof and because it was so wet and foggy I really didn’t have worry about my feet getting wet in the long grass. It amazes me how my feet stay dry.

I have tried some other companies, Sandisk never got back to me. Three Legged Things, tripod company said no to me. I suspect I’m the wrong gender for them as all their tripods are named after men. They tried to tell me it wasn’t true, but they aren’t doing much to show that they support women’s photography. I also never heard back from Nikon, I’ve sent two emails now and got no response from either.

There is another company here too, CR Kennedy, they are distributors and I’ve dealt with them before. The first guy I dealt with there was fantastic, but the guy I have to deal with now is horrible. He is so dismissive of me. I really dislike it. He accused me of being unAustralian once, because I didn’t want to pay over inflated prices for what I was buying. That if I’m Australian I should support the local industry and pay double for everything, be happy about it. Silly really. Then when I asked if they would help me out on my trip he said they only support Print Media, like magazines. I asked why don’t they support blogs and he said they do, but he just said they didn’t. It was very confrontational and I really hate dealing with him. I don’t think I will deal with CR Kennedy again. I never know how I will be treated, oh I do know, like I’m a pain in the butt and not worth the effort. Thankfully other companies are much better to deal with, though I’m sure it is just this guy and not the company.

I just have Instagram photos and a couple from Facebook for you today all taken with my phone, I hope that is okay. I’ve been away a bit and here are some photos from some of my trips. I’ve been to the coast again, but some of these photos are from trips into the country, one of which, as I said, was to Bonnie Doon where it was a very foggy day. We took advantage of the fog and you will see some in the photos.

I will be spending today trying to get more blog posts done. I hope you are planning some great photography trips.

Introductions: Walking with a Smacked Pentax

Everyday, I spend a lot of time looking at what people do. I look at blogs constantly, trying to find blogs I can show you, or trying to find what people are doing. It is important to keep up with what people are doing. Today’s Introduction is a blog I’ve been following for a long time and I don’t know why I didn’t think of introducing him earlier. I apologize James for not thinking of you before, but I love the photos you show on your blog Walking with a Smacked Pentax.


His work brings Catherine and Heathcliff to mind, or a 60’s cop on a motorbike. His subject matter has a wonderful air of romance and history. Perhaps I should go to my first question.

I asked James where in the world he was.

I live in a small market town in Yorkshire, England, near the famous Ilkley moor – about 12 miles from Haworth where the Bronte sisters lived and 30 miles from where James Herroit practiced.


There is something quintessentially English about the countryside that he is photographing. Country lanes, stone fences and a sparseness to the landscapes. I love them, and ever since reading Wuthering Heights in high school it is a place I’ve wanted to visit. I would be walking around calling out to Heathcliff.

The second question was how long he had been taking photos and why.

I started taking photos about 40 years ago. My friend was into photography and I was curious. I bought a Praktica slr and started photographing anything I saw. At that time I was living in a small flat but I converted the bathroom into a darkroom and even mixed up my own developer from some recipes I discovered in an old BJP magazine. I even progressed to developing colour using Cibachrome and C41. As I got better I started selling photos to magazines and newspapers and became a freelancer for the local rag. I had a couple of exhibitions and photographed the local bands and even the occasional wedding. It was a nice sideline and eventually I earned enough money to do it full time.

At that time I was living with a crazy woman, and one day she accused me of having an affair (I wasn’t) but in a jealous rage she poured boiling water all over my negatives and slides and destroyed all my work. I didn’t pick a camera up again for 20 years.

About 5 years ago a mate of mine rang me and asked if I wanted to buy his old camera – a Pentax K10D. I was uncomfortable with the idea but he persuaded me to try it and I have been hooked ever since.

Why do I take them?

For the 20 years that I didn’t have a camera I felt something was missing from my life – and I didn’t know what it was. Getting behind a camera again just opens your eyes, you see the world differently – clearer. The day I took the Pentax out changed me. It felt ‘right’ to be behind a camera again and I felt almost ‘healed’. It just felt so natural.


The colours and things he finds to photograph where he is are wonderful, there is a great sense of mood in his images. The clouds fit perfectly with how I think the Moors would be.

I asked about inspiration.

These days I take nothing but landscapes. I am surrounded by the moors. I love them, they are wild, bleak, beautiful and even haunted. They are very special and many of them contain traces of our prehistoric ancestors with strange rock carvings, stone circles and burial mounds. I love exploring and photographing these. I can spend a full day on the moors and not see a soul.


I think how James just described the Moors is far better than what I could say and when you look at his images you see the wild, the bleak, the beautiful and the haunted. Perfect description.

Then there is the question asking if there was anything special about the way he worked.

I have recently been asked to provide the photographs for a book on the Mythic landscape which a local author (and very good friend of mine) is writing.


What would an introduction be from me if I didn’t’ show some winter shots. You all know how much I love photos of snow. I don’t think I really realized that it would snow there and these images were a treat to find on his blog.

The last question, as always, concerned gear.

I have no interest in photographic gear one bit, and I don’t know one camera from another these day. I sold the Pentax a year ago as it was just too heavy (try lugging it on a 30 mile walk with 2 extra lenses and a backpack). I chose a Nikon D3200 as it is much smaller and lighter. I have a 70-300 but have never even taken it out of the box yet. I have a tripod but never use it, and I don’t use filters either. Everything is done with the kit lens – although I would like a super-wide angle – maybe a 12 – 16 mm.

I use Lightroom for cataloging and do almost no post-processing.

I would like to thank James for giving me permission to feature him and his work here on my blog. I would invite you all to go and take a look at Walking with a Smacked Pentax. I have put some of my favourite images from his blog into a gallery for you now, I’m sure you will find lots and lots more great one on his blog or his website, James Elkington Photography.

Weekend Wanderings: Night Skies Along the Coast

This last week there have been lots and lots of reports of the Aurora Australis, our version of the northern lights. Ours are red and greenl, though I wouldn’t know. I’ve never seen it regardless of two trips to the coast, it was too overcast. There was always clouds around the horizon.

First I wanted to show you some photos that were taken during my Astrophotography class. We went to Sorrento to do them. We have some cloud, but overall it wasn’t too bad. We certainly got to see the milky way. Here are the photos from that evening.

My first attempt at trying to get the Aurora was in Sorrento. We couldn’t see it but I still took some photos. I love how you can see everything and the photos look like they were taken during the day, but it was dark. You can see the stars in the sky.

I’m down at Jan Juc at the moment and the other night we went out to see if we could see the aurora, and still nothing, too many clouds. We even got up early the next morning, and nothing, again clouds. What is it with the clouds? We did go and take some photos, first at a beach here at Jan Juc, then Bells Beach and a bit further along to Southside Beach. Again, some great photos, I think, of the milky way.

It hasn’t been a total waste of a weekend, and I’ve certainly enjoyed it. Got lots of photos today and lots of exercise, we walked about eight kilometres, I blame Chris, from sv-takeiteasy, it was all her idea and now I’m really tired. I hope you have had a productive weekend.

Quiet Thursday’s: Very Quiet

It’s been a funny week.  I’ve been out taking photos a few times and I’m off to Sorrento for the weekend. Looking forward to spending a bit of time down there and taking photos around there.  I’m also teaching the Astrophotography class on Saturday night, so that should be good. The weather is looking okay, so hopefully we will get some good shots.

I wanted to give you a link as well today, Susan from The Insatiable Traveler asked me if I would give you the following link, The Elusive Desert-Adapted Lions of Namibia and the Man Who Loves Them, as she wants to bring some attention to the desert lions.  I know you will all go and take a look at it for her.

I only have a couple of photos for you today and they are both long exposures and taken on the weekend. The first one was of the Melbourne Star at Docklands.  I wanted to see if I could take a photo using the Firecrest 16 from Formatt Hitech and see what I could get with it.  I wanted to see how the wheel would look with a long exposure.

The second image is from Banyule Flats.  I went there the other morning to do a sunrise shoot.  Unfortunately there was too much cloud to really get a sunrise, but I did notice that the clouds were moving quite fast.  Just before I left I went to a different spot and put the Lee Big Stopper on. It wasn’t too bad, I think I got the clouds going in a good direction.  The time might have been a bit too long, but I’m starting to understand that more.  Trial and error, you have to love it.

I have my meeting today for my book, I’m a bit nervous about it, but I’m sure it will be fine.  I hope you have a productive day.  Take care.

Weekend Wanderings: Fungi Around Marysville

In the last few weeks I’ve been to Marysville three times with a friend. The first time it was raining so the only photos I took were with my phone.  The second time was lovely, but we think we might have got there too late in the day. We did find a lovely waterfall, but we also wanted to do some photographs of the mushrooms and the fungi, but it was too dark.  Then the last time we went I put the macro on the camera while we walking around and I took lots of photos.

It is incredible how many different types there are.  Then there are also other small things to take photos of. I had so much fun.  I had to delete a lot of photos as the lighting wasn’t great, but I am happy with the ones I got. It is something I would like to do more of. Rainforests are so interesting and there are things to take photos of everywhere you look, especially after all the rain we’ve had.

I am just going to put them all into a gallery for you today.  I don’t know what any of them are, I just think they look pretty. The weather is mixed here this weekend, I hope you fair better where you are and get to take some wonderful photos.

UfD: Why that Camera

From time to time I get asked what camera I use.  I also get asked to give advice on what camera people should buy and then there is always the question of what brand.  So today I thought I might discuss with you why I ended up with the camera that I have.

The First Camera

It is sort of a long story and really started about 15 years ago.  If you’ve read my about page you know my first SLR camera was a Pentax K1000. It was all manual and I really had to learn how to take photos and quickly. It was a big learning curve, but as I learned more and more I started to realize I wanted a more sophisticated camera, something with auto focus.

Looking for a New Camera

The research begun.  I was in a camera club at the time and got to see what cameras other people had, which cameras people found easy to use, and which ones were hard to work out. It was great place to look. Of course the internet wasn’t really around and I couldn’t do the research that we do now.  I also spent time looking through magazines.

Nikon_F90xThe big decision for me was whether to go Nikon or Canon.  There was a woman at the club at that time that had bought a Canon EOS camera, I don’t know which one, but what I remember the most is that she had so much trouble working it out. The aperture seemed to work in a strange way and she kept bringing it to the camera club to get help.

I looked at the Nikon cameras and to me they were all logical to use. I didn’t have any trouble working out what was what. The aperture was done on the lens, so no hassles with that. It was a no brainer in the end, it had to be a Nikon.

In the end I went for the Nikon F90X. It was in the middle of the range SLRs, but the thing I liked, at that time was that it took AA batteries.  There was a lot of talk about rechargeable batteries and their reliability wasn’t always great, so having normal batteries seemed like a good idea. I have to say it was, the batteries lasted a long time and it was never much of a problem.

I used that camera for a long time. I still have it, though because it uses film I use it more to demonstrate how a camera works.

Going Digital

Nikon_D300s_-_Front_Mk2_editWhen I decided that I needed a digital SLR, or DSLR it seemed sensible to stick with Nikon. Money was going to be an issue, so I had to work within a tighter budget than before.  I was fairly certain that the D300s would take my old lenses, though I wasn’t sure the autofocus would work, I had tried one of my old lenses on a D200, and aperture and things like that worked but not autofocus.  So being able to use my older lenses meant I could keep the costs down.  One of the things that was also appealing about the D300s was that it was fast, it did 6 or 7 frames a second, and that was appealing because I knew what I would be photographing the most at that time was sports, cycling and netball. When it arrived I was so happy to discover that when I put my old lenses on it the autofocus worked, major relief.

Funny too because what I paid for the D300s was almost the same as what I paid for the F90X.

Moving Up

A couple of years ago Nikon came out with the D800 and I think it is safe to say I wanted it. It was full frame, and I wasn’t doing sport anymore so it would be fine for the type of work that I wanted to do. My husband wasn’t convinced that I needed it, though he never thinks I need anything. In the end I got a job that was going to pay me quite a bit of money, and I was worried that the ISO with the D300s wouldn’t be good enough for the job. It was very noisy, and you didn’t have to go up the ISO 91Xo7IJcj3L._SL1500_very much to encounter that. My husband could see that it made sense to get the better camera for the job.  So the D800 was ordered.

I’ve had that for just over 18  months and it is such a beautiful camera.  I love using it. I’m trying to think if there was anything I would change about it if Nikon were to ask me, and right now I can’t think of anything.  I’m sure there are things, but can’t think of them now.  It is so versatile and there isn’t much I can’t do with it. I love it so much I wouldn’t mind a second one, well maybe the D810, but I suspect I might have a tougher battle on my hands to justify that to my husband.

In the End

After teaching people to use their cameras I am always happier when people have a Nikon camera. I find them so much easier to work out, and there are a lot of similarities between the models, so it doesn’t take much to work out how to do something on one and then work it out for another one.

So why did you buy the camera that you have? Are you really happy with it? If you could have any camera that you wanted, what would you get?

I have a selection of photos for you and I will put underneath each one what camera was used to take them. I should point out that all the images taken with the F90X were film and I’ve scanned the negatives.



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