Sunday, 25 March 2012

Getting Better All The Time


Day Two (Today) Beats Day One (Yesterday) Hands Down!

Well ok, it's probably a bit premature to say that, but at least my brand new Nikon & Me blog is already looking a bit healthier than yesterday, where my impatience drove me to publish and even publicise it after about half an hour's work on it. Professionalism personified, no?

Better than this? Can it be possible..?!
But those of  you that know me already will realise that I'm of the 'Ready-Fire!-Aim' mentality. I much prefer to get something out there, get reactions and then get working on making it better. I can't stand sitting around doing nothing, or even sitting around doing something if I don't think I'll be able to publish it, hopefully get some sort of reaction, and move on to the next thing. I think there's even a medical name for it, but I don't know you well enough to go there yet!

So, the reason d'ĂȘtre for this blog, as I mentioned yesterday, is multifold, but hopefully very clear.
  1. To talk about the wonderful world of street photography in all its grimy glory.

  2. To chat about the gear I use, which happens to be Nikon (and the odd cracked iPhone), in all its glory and occasional failings.
I've just written to Nikon, who have just invited me to go and see the new D800, D800E and of course the flagship D4.

I told them about this blog and asked them to do something nice for me for it - we'll see what they come up with! But I also told them that much as I love Nikon, it's the image that comes first, not the camera, and that this blog is an enthusiast's independent effort. Which means even if they gave me a free D800, I still wouldn't hesitate to say if I didn't think the build quality was up to scratch or whatever.

Well OK, hopefully it's a 'bit' better...
Actually, that was probably the biggest lie I've ever told, I'd kiss smelly old Bert from the warehouse's ass if they were going to give me a free D800, but that's another story ;~S

But seriously, what I do intend doing is providing great inspirational and sometimes educational street photos, as well as telling you about Nikon gear and anything else that comes to hand or mind.

In very visibly tying this blog to one manufacturer, you might think I've seriously limited my audience. But it's not like that at all. As I also said to my as yet nameless and faceless Nikon contact, this initiative isn't to mindlessly say that Nikon is by default the best, nor to criticise the other manufacturers. It's to celebrate street photography. But for me that's not enough. There are too many people doing that already; I needed a hook, a gimmick if you like, to set this blog apart from the rest. And to be honest, if I only ever get readers who are Nikon enthusiasts, I don't think I'll be doing too badly.

All the photographic principles I'll be discussing here, though, are equally valid for any photographer, so I hope you won't be scared away if you're not a Nikon user, in many cases that will be irrelevant. Maybe I'll get known as 'that Nikon street photo guy', which could be worse, but in the end I'm just a street photographer, doing my best to produce good, worthy images, and to a great extent I consider that the equipment should be almost invisible.

The starting point is an idea, or feeling you have as you walk around. And the end point is the picture that someone else can look at and hopefully admire. Where is the camera in the final assessment? Does the person who is enjoying your pictures needing to be touching the camera you use to take them? No. And very often that's the last thing they care about.

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We, as photographers, do care, and care a lot. We generally love our cameras. They are our babies. However. And it's a big 'however'. There are camera clubs or groups where people get together to talk about 'photography'. But what this often turns into is a kind of macho competition to see who's got the biggest zoom lens, or the most pixels or the fastest ISO. This is hilarious and I don't do it. Well, I try not to.

Of course, as a guy, I do actually want to have the biggest lens and the most pixels and the highest ISO, but I'm not going to shout about it and I'm certainly not going to spend evenings salivating over superlatives when I could be out shooting. For me, shooting is everything. And anyway, with my new D800, when it comes, I'll probably have twice as many pixels as all those 'small-pixel' guys down the camera club.

OK, just when you think you've got me sussed, let me possibly prove you wrong. A don't actually want one of those huge zoom monsters - it's a total disaster for the sort of street work I do, and more about that as the weeks and months go by down here on Nikon & Me.

Also, 36 million pixels? 36 million?! What the hell am I gonna do with 36 million friggin' pixels, for crying out loud? I barely need 36 thousand for some of my images, almost all of which are destined for the web or eBooks. I can't even remember the last time I printed out a picture. 36 million pixels, I ask you.

As for high ISO, now that I do like, and, guess what... hey, it's not that amazing on the new D800! Great. The one thing I do need for my night work isn't anywhere as good as it could be. Having said that, I believe Nikon are saying it's still pretty darn good, so I'll take their word for it and tell you when I have it in my hot sweaty hands.

That's enough for today. From tomorrow we'll get down to chatting about some D700 pics and, although I don't want to be negative, I'll tell you the one thing that really bugs me about it. What do you think that might be?! Indeed, let's have a bitch session: what don't you like about the otherwise god-like D700? The comments box is below. Oh, and a big thanks to the 200 or so of you who stopped by yesterday to see the piece of crap this blog was after 30 minutes (literally) of existence. Hopefully the title I chose for this piece is true! See you tomorrow.

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