Tag Archives: Nikon UK

Disney Animal Kingdom – April 2016

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This is the third and final blog post about my trip to Orlando, you can read about Busch Gardens here and SeaWorld here. During our stay in Orlando we visited three of the Disney parks too: Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Whilst they all had great attractions there was one unifying factor, they were very busy all of the time. The Hollywood studios were a bit disappointing this year, there were a few rides closed and the fast pass selections were poor as well. However Epcot and Animal Kingdom, the subject of this post were very good.

One other common thing with other parks like Epcot and Animal Kingdom is their sheer size, it takes a lot of time to see everything; Epcot really needs 2 days to do it justice.

Onto the pictures:
There were a lot of birds around like this Metallic Starling, that red eye follows you were ever you go:
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Green Winged Dove:
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There were a lot of apes and chimpanzees around too, like the one at the top of this post. They also like to play with each other, there are two of them here:
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One of the most impressive (and dangerous) animals are the Hippopotamuses (yes that it the correct term for the plural of Hippopotamus). you get to see them swimming around and under water but this picture shows what you can see above water which isn’t much:
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Finally one of most endangered species around tofay a rhino:
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SeaWorld – April 2016

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This is the second of my blog posts about my trip to Orlando, you can read the previous one about Busch Gardens here.

This post shows some of my favorite pictures from both visits to SeaWorld; I used my DSLR camera on and off throughout the day on our first visit during the first week of our holiday and for the entire morning of the second trip (second week) whilst Louise, Simon and Jack visited Aquatica.

Pictures from the first visit (6th April)
After trying out the Manta ride (similar to what “Air” was in Alton Towers before it was changed into Galactica) a few times we ventured around the park to see an Animal show and tell.

The first was what looked like an Owl but isn’t called a Tawny Frogmouth, an unusual looked bird:
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The second animal was more obvious, a Common Green Iguana, he (she?) liked being the centre of attention:
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During the day we visited the Shark Encounter attraction, the highlight of which is walking through a translucent tunnel being surrounded by sharks. At one point there is a large set of Jaws form a great white shark, a perfect photo opportunity, Jack of course could not resist. Unfortunately I picked far too low a shutter speed so I have played with this a bit in Lightroom (not one of my best shots):
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Like we have black headed gulls in the UK, Florida has a lot of Snowy Egrets around, here is one of them:
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Here is one of my favourite shots of the holiday (already seen on Facebook), it’s Jack looking in awe at the Manta Rays – his favourite animal I think.
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And here he is a few minutes later trying to feed them with small (dead) fishes you can buy, after this we called him “fish-boy” due to the smell he picked up thanks to his tee-shirt getting soaked from that pool:
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Pictures from the second visit (12th April)
On the second day I was on my own for the morning so I managed to get around the park to photograph the animals at my own pace. In addition to going on the Sky Tower I took a lot of photographs and here are my favourites:

At some point of the day I noticed that there were many House Sparrows flying around, they all seemed to be nest building, here is one of them that paused flying allowing me to take this photo:
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A better (closer) photo of a Snowy Egret:
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In addition to the Snowy Egrets, there were also a number of Wood Storks too:
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And like the common sighting (even in the UK) of the sparrow above, there were also grey squirrels running about the area (can’t resist a squirrel picture):
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Like Busch Gardens,there are large numbers of birds in the park like this Hooded Merganser:
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My final picture of the (half) day was of this terrapin:
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Just after mid-day we all met up back at SeaWorld entrance and after a spot of lunch we did some more rides, saw a show or too, did the Sky Tower together and had a great day!

Busch Gardens – April 2016

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Back in April this year I was fortunate enough to go with my Sister, Brother-in-law and Nephew for 2 weeks to Florida. During our stay we visited most of the usual places in Orlando (Disney and Universal as well as SeaWorld), we also went to Busch Gardens twice.

This post shows some of my favorite pictures from our first visit to Busch Gardens, on the second visit I didn’t take the DSLR with me as we wanted to concentrate on the rides; the Cheetah Hunt being our favourite one in the park and possibly the best ride anywhere. That said, Sheikra, also in Busch Gardens is a close second; its like the Oblivion x2 mixed with the Nemesis (both in Alton Towers) all in one. Kudos to both my nephew and sister for both conquering their fears and doing this ride.

My nephew pretending to his arm trapped in a tree trunk, good acting Jack:
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Typically it was hot both days of our visit, thankfully it wasn’t humid at all. Nevertheless, the animals are quite laid back and like all cats, this Lion was no exception:
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Every Zoo or animal sanctuary has Meerkats it seems and Busch Gardens is no exception. They are cute and the red-sand they were playing is reflected nicely on their coats:
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There were a lot of birds at Busch Gardens and whilst most were in captivity of some kind, there were the usual sighting of black-headed gulls everyewhere:
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This Parakeet was one of the many varieties of captive bird:
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As well as Lions and Cheetahs, there were also a large colony of Bengal Tigers there too:
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Towards the front of the park, there is a large pool full of Alligators and Terrapins and they seem to cohabit quite peacefully, I was surprised by this. Both species did like to sunbathe in the warm heat though:
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My final image is one of the many common lizards that are almost everywhere you go in Florida, less common in the UK. This photo was taken whilst waiting fit the Cheetahs to come closer to me in their run, it was just sunbathing on the rock next to me:
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LCE Photo and Optics Show 2015

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Two weeks on Wednesday is this year’s London Camera Exchange’s Photo and Optics show. I have been attending the show for the last few years now and it gets bigger and better every year, it’s a testament to the hard work that’s put into this by the LCE staff not only in Lincoln but further afield too.

This year looks to be no different, it looks like Olympus will have the biggest presence at the show which is good for me and Damian McGillicuddy is back again doing two events at the show; the events will also be better as the stage at the back of the hall is where they will be held. This was the only criticism I have from last year’s show, the event area wasn’t situated in the best place; I’m glad to see that my view were heard and acted upon – thanks Dave.

As well as Olympus we will have Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm, Panasonic, Lastolite and many many more, you can find more details about the show by clicking here. LCE will also have many show offers on for the day so bring your wallet and speak nicely to the bank manager.

I am really looking forward to the show and I hope to see you at the event 🙂

Nikon D810 Myths and Truths

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I’ve owned my Nikon D810 DSLR camera for just over a month now and although there are many reasons I changed back to a DSLR from the rather good (in fact better than I imagined) Olympus OM-D E-M1, the main two were the fact that I wanted a bigger sensor and much more resolution – 36MP. I was rather lucky to find a nearly new 810 from my local London Camera Exchange store with an extremely low shutter count in mint condition, boxed and at a very reasonable price. I was originally looking at a new Nikon D750 which is an excellent DSLR (and is doing very well for Nikon) but I wanted the pro body and the 36MP sensor. I also picked up a boxed mint condition 50mm f1.8 G lens at the same time this was also at a reasonable price.

It is the high resolution of the Nikon D810 as well as it’s previous versions the D800 and D800E that is the source of much FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt). The D810 gives me the ability to crop a lot when the subject is not full frame in the picture as well as a better high ISO capability and wider Dynamic Range; these were lacking in the OM-D. The fact that I can push the RAW files from the D810 so much more still astounds me as the OM-D files couldn’t be pushed as much.

So the popular consensus for getting the best out of the D810 (as well as the D800 and D800E) are the following:

  1. You must use good (read expensive) glass to get the best out of the sensor
  2. You have to lock the camera down on a tripod
  3. You must use good technique
  4. You need to have lots of storage and a fast computer to play with the massive RAW files that the camera produces

I’ll talk about these one at a time.

1) You must use good (read expensive) lenses to get the best out of the sensor:
Nikon recommends that you use good lenses to get the best out of this sensor in fact they produce a list of recommended glass to use with the D800E as follows:

  • AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
  • AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED
  • AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
  • AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
  • AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II
  • AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED
  • AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G
  • AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G
  • AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G
  • AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G
  • AF-S NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G
  • AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G
  • AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G
  • AF-S NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II
  • AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II
  • AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR
  • AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED
  • AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED
  • PC-E NIKKOR 24mm f/3.5D ED
  • PC-E Micro NIKKOR 45mm f/2.8D ED
  • PC-E Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/2.8D

There are a few lenses on this list that are surprising, first the only 50mm lens is the f1.8G version and not the more expensive f1.4G. Also, all of the new f1.8G prime lenses that Nikon has been releasing over the last couple of years are on the list (28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm) I suspect that the 20mm f1.8G lens would make this list too. The other big surprise is the 24-85mm variable aperture VR zoom lens. These are all easily affordable lenses – although this may be relative as what I consider as affordable may be expensive to the next person, who ever said photography is a cheap hobby?

So even though all of the very expensive f1.4 primes, f2.8 and f4 zoom lenses as well as the extreme telephoto prime lenses all make the list there are a number of affordable primes and zooms that are good enough (from Nikon’s point of view) to be used with the D800E (and I suppose if updated the D810 too).

The only lens that I own that is not on the list is the Nikkor 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 VR Zoom lens. This lens is one of the most underrated ones out there, there are a number of Pro photographers who recommend this lens as it is an optic gem (even Moose Peterson recommends this lens). I have to agree as I cannot find anything wrong with the results I get, yes it’s a bit slow at the 300mm end but if you have the light you get excellent results. From my point if view this “optically” matches the 150mm end of the Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm f2.8 lens that I used to own.

So far I have the 50mm f1.8G, 85mm f1.8G and 70-300mm Nikon lenses and the next two Nikon lenses on my list are the 35mm f1.8G and the 24-85mm f3.5-4.5G VR – both are around £400 each which in the grand scheme of things are far from expensive. So the fact of the matter is you don’t need expensive glass to get the best out of the sensor.

That said, there are some cheap lenses that are real stinkers and should be avoided, putting a really cheap lens on the D810 would produce inferior results. I remember being present in one of the LCE stores here in Lincoln when a guy who had just got himself a Nikon D800 camera went in and asked for the cheapest lens that they sold; what a waste! I suspect that this guy no longer has the D800.

I know partly why this is the case and it has to do with Pixel Density. Nikon currently have 3 ranges of “cropped” or DX sensor bodies in the market – the 3xxx series, the 5xxx series and the 7xxx series. All of them now have 24MP sensors and whilst cheap crappy glass isn’t recommended, Nikon do not produce a list of recommended lenses either. If you were to create a full-frame (35mm) sensor with the same pixel density of these cameras you would have a sensor of around 50MP; strangely this is the resolution of Canon’s new 5DS/5DSR cameras. So the pixel density of the Nikon D810 is less than the Nikon consumer DX bodies!

2) You have to lock the camera down on a tripod

Yeah I know it's a Canon!

Yeah I know it’s a Canon!


My favourite kind of photography is wildlife, followed by events, family and then portraits. Whilst I own and use a tripod most of the time for wildlife I don’t always and don’t for the other types of photography. I have never felt that my shots aren’t sharp because I don’t always use a tripod. Yes, I occasionally get blurry shots but this is usually down to me not being steady and using too low a shutter speed.

However, this may be partly because I use a Nikon D810 and not a D800/D800E. One of the improvements of the D810 over the D800/D800E were the dampened mirror mechanism of the D810 so this will play a part.

3) You must use good technique
I won’t argue with this one – great technique is always needed with any camera to get the best out of it – as is learning as much about the camera as possible to make the best use of its feature set for your kind of photography.

4) You better have lots of storage and a fast computer to play with the massive RAW files that the D810 produces
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The RAW files from the D810 are bigger than the OM-D; a typical RAW file for the OM-D E-M1 is around a 16MB, whilst the RAW file from the D810 is about 56MB. More storage is needed, whilst taking pictures and later when storing them; I did have to purchase larger 32GB compact-flash cards. This is something to bear in mind.

I currently use an iMac 27″ to edit my files using Lightroom CC and it is evident that the D810 files take just a fraction longer to load over the OM-D files, the effect is most pronounced when you are working at 100%. I usually get a non-sharp photo followed by a sharper one once the RAW file is fully loaded. I suspect that this is more to do with the fact that I only have 8GB RAM though. I will have to add another 16GB to take me to 24GB.

If you have a much older computer, you may have more need for an upgrade or a new computer.

Conclusion
So I was a bit worried about using a D810 but as I have shown here, it isn’t the daunting prospect that it is made out to be. I am also having a different experience with the camera than other users on various forums from Facebook to DPReview and I’m not sure why.

With all that is said you have to remember that all cameras are tools and it is the photographer not the camera that takes a great photo – a good photographer knows how to use light and composition.

Hartsholme Park – Early June

I try to visit Hartsholme Park at least once a fortnight during this time of year as there is a lot of activity, you can read about my previous visit here. Unfortunately, Richard was unable to join me due to family matters so I was alone like last time, although I prefer taking photographs with a friend it did allow me to go much earlier than normal. I arrived there at 07:45; which was fortunate as I had a lot to do on Sunday. I also had plenty of time to walk around the lake and get more photographs than normal.

Rather than provide a running commentry in chronological order of what I saw I have tried a different tact in this post. I have collated all of my favourite photographs by species and will provide an introductory piece to each one. Hopefully this will make them easier to write and hence get this post out much earlier than I would have – hopefully you’ll be reading this Monday morning. Please let me know if you prefer this style or would rather me revert back to the older way of writing.

Enjoy 🙂

Grey Herons:
During my last visit I thought that the Herons had vacated the central island of Hartsholme Lake but it was clear that there were still a few nests in use as evidenced by my first photo below. There were also a number of solitary Herons dotted around the island like in the second photo. One photo that isn’t here is the one that got away, whilst I was checking the time on my phone, one landed only a few feet from me and before I could put the phone away and take a shot it flew off!

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Greylag Geese:
The Greylag geese were their usual vocal selves on Sunday and did a lot of flying, honking and not much else. I have seen Greylag Geese goslings on Hartsholme Lake in early May this year but not for some time , I wonder where they are?
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Common Coot:
In my previous post I pointed out that there was a Common Coots nest which had the female on the nest and the male bringing twigs and other items to shore up the nest. Since then the eggs have hatched and think that there are now 4 or 5 chicks. They aren’t the prettiest things and look like minature plucked chickens at the moment but they will soon grow and become the back and white-beaked Common coot that is (as its namesake suggests) is very Common on water ways in the UK.

The female was still on the nest trying to keep all of the chicks together and the male was going off and fetching food for them, in a few days the adults will split the young in to two groups and each one look after one of the groups. These birds can fly after 55 days. I apologise for the large number of photos but it was a joty to watch the two birds and the young chicks in action.
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Magpie:
Not far from the Coots nest, this magpie landed and was moving about quite a bit so I decided to take a few photos of him/her as I don’t have many magpie photographs at all. In totals I saw 5 or 6 of them so that’s Silver or Gold!
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Great Crested Grebe:
There are still a large number of Great Crested Grebes on the lake and I am still trying to capture the illusive chick (or chicks) on a mother’s back – no such luck. However this one was relatively close and I do like the action shot of him/her as it plunged out of the water.
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Mute Swan:
Like most waterways there are a pair of Mute Swans on the lake, these were luckier than the St.Marks swan in that they have 3 cygnets (which is still very low), I don’t think that this can be a good year for Mute Swans.
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Canada Geese:
These are the first Canada Geese goslings I have seen this year.
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Mallard Ducks:
And at last I have seen some young ducks although I wouldn’t call them ducklings any more
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I had a good time at Hartsholme Park today but I must watch the ISO a lot more; some of the shots I took are unusable as they are very noisy thanks to the very high ISO setting. to help combat this in the future I have adjusted my auto ISO setting so that it doesn’t go quite as high.

LCE Lincoln Photo Week

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Starting on Monday 8th June both of the Lincoln London Camera Exchanges will be hosting their annual Photo Week. Each store is hosting different events on each day from Monday to Saturday. Unlike last year most companies will only present their company’s products at a single Store.

Details for the LCE website are as below:

Silver Street Store:
Welcome to the 2nd annual Lincoln Photo Week, where we bring you special offers and expert advice direct from the manufacturer across both our Lincoln stores. Here at Silver St we will be focusing on Canon, Olympus and Lowepro with teams from all three brands instore during the week offering hands on demos, expert advice and the chance to try out the latest kit such as the EOS 5Ds and OMD EM5 MKII. We will have special offers running on all the brands throughout the week and great part exchange deals too…..why not bring your old kit to upgrade! Along with our special Photo Week offers there will also be a range of cashback, finance and bundle offers from Canon and Olympus to take advantage of making Lincoln Photo Week the perfect time to buy your next piece of kit. Keep up to date with the latest Photo Week news on our facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/LCELincolnPro you can also find us on Twitter and Instagram too.

High Street Store:
Here at the London Camera Exchange High Street branch we’re dedicating an ENTIRE WEEK to all things photographic. From Monday to Saturday we will be having EXCLUSIVE on the day deals with some of the leading manufacturers in the Photographic & Optics fields.

Monday:
Vortex – One of the leading brands in Optics. Will be showcasing the latest ranges of binoculars, field scopes and accessories.
Newpro – Quality optics and photographic accessories. Straps, scope adapters and much more.
** FREE RAFFLE TO WIN AN 8×25 MONOCULAR**

Tuesday:
Fujifilm – Multi-award winning compact system and pro compact cameras. A chance to see the X-T1, X-E2 & X-PRO1 Series along with the range of lenses. Also a chance to see the X30 & X100T Compacts.
Intro2020 – Tamron lenses, Cokin & Hoya filters, Kenko adapters, Velbon tripods camera straps and cleaning kits.

Wednesday:
Intro are back! But they’ll be focusing on their NEW LYTRO ILLUM. A camera that allows you to change the image AFTER you’ve taken the shot! Come along for a demonstration and a chat.

** ALL WEEK WE’RE RUNNING A HAWKE PROMOTION – Come in store to demo anything from the Hawke range and be entered in to a prize draw for a FREE PAIR OF BINOCULARS **

Thursday:
Sony – One of the photographic industries largest companies. A chance to demo the exciting A7 Full Frame compacts, as well as a range on A, E & FE mount lenses. There will also be a chance to try their multi-award winning compact range including the RX100 series, RX10 & HX compact range.
Manfrotto & Lastolite – Manfrotto will be bringing their excellent range of tripods, bags & accessories as well as a range of the Lastolite items like studio kit, lights and backgrounds.

Friday:
Panasonic – With fantastic class-leading cameras such as the GH4, LX100 & the FXZ1000, Panasonic are one of the most exciting brands out there. Offering fantastic performance, cutting edge technologies AND 4K video today is a day you should really come down with an open mind and try something different!

Saturday:
Nikon – “Saving the best ‘til last! a lot of you might say. Nikon are without a doubt one of the big guns of the photography world. And it’s a chance to come see the pro range of the D810, D750 & D610 as well as the BRAND NEW D7200 and don’t forget the brilliant D5500 and D3300. Also a great range or lenses and accessories are available for you to try.

We will also be running DAILY DRAWS to win GOODIES BAGS.

I have to say that I’m interested in trying out some Tamron lenses on my Nikon D810 on Tuesday and again on Saturday when Nikon themselves turn up.

It’s worth visiting one or both of the stores this week as you can bag yourself a bargain – just make sure you get the right store on the right day!