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11 Feb 2012

New Nikon D4 and D800

Amazing New Cameras from Nikon

 

On Wednesday of this week, I was at an Nikon Professional Services event to launch the new D4. It is always worth attending these events as there is a camera clinic and you can have your camera checked and cleaned while you attend the presentation. I was really looking forward to seeing the new D4 which is an evolutionary rather than revolutionary upgrade to the beloved D3s that I use. The day before the trip to Edinburgh Nikon launched another camera the D800 to the world’s press in London and other places across the world. I knew it would be a talking point but I did not expect to see it one day after the release.  However it was very exciting that there was a D800 there so those at the workshop were among the first group of photographers in the world to handle this amazing new camera.

The ground breaking news is that the D800 has a full frame 36.3MP sensor. High resolution is usually delivered at the expense of high ISO performance but this new D800 can still perform amazingly at 3200 ISO or even 6400. It cannot compete with the 16MP flagship D4 in this area, as it can virtually "see in the dark" and goes to an insane 204 800 ISO but it does have twice the resolution. Most photographers are taking the view that the D800 will be the logical choice for the commercial, studio, and wedding photographer while the D4 with it’s ability to work in very low light and it’s speed (up to 11 frames per second (compared to 4or 6 of the D800) will be the natural choice of the press photographer. I would expect to see lots of D4’s at the Olympics. However I do not think we can make a decision until we try the cameras and see the files.

It was great to see and handle both cameras along with the full range of Nikkor lenses and I cannot wait to properly test them both.


This is me in Edinburgh on Wednesday with the D4 and D800

As the cameras were pre-production models, the memory card slots were taped up. However someone in our group (who will remain nameless for fear of repercussions) managed to sneak a memory card into the D800. Although I cannot open the raw file as Adobe are not supporting the new cameras yet, a jpeg shot with available light at 3200 ISO is below. The "male model" in the shot is Charlie Stewart of Royale Photographics.

A small file on a blog post cannot convey the resolution and quality of this jpeg straight from the camera but it certainly looks very impressive. However, Nikon has made a selection of sample images available for download on its official site for the new cameras. As always, these are compressed JPG files – we will wait to see what the RAW files of these cameras can produce before we can even begin to really judge the quality. Still, interesting nonetheless.

Nikon D800 Sample Images

I have not went into any detail on the specification or even mentioned video as there are hundreds of opinions, and detailed technical reviews on-line (I have probably read them all) and all the specifications can be obtained from Nikon or DP Review.

There is already huge debate over which is the best camera. However they are both fantastic tools and both will yield amazing results – it is a very exciting time to be a photographer.

10 Feb 2012

The Professional Photographer’s Compact Camera

The Fuji X100

I have been taking lots of images with this Fuji X100 compact camera and have been rediscovering taking photographs for fun. This small fixed lens compact has been the subject of lots of hype, and was one of the most anticipated cameras released in 2011. There is no point in repeating all the technical details and specification which can easily be found on-line.Visit the Fuji X100 website for details.

Some of the comments and reviews have been amazing

"Let me get this out of the way… The Fuji x100 is the greatest digital camera ever made and may just be the greatest camera I have ever owned……"

"Couple always-fantastic images with the world’s smallest real camera, and you can see why I love it so much….."

"The images I get from my Fuji X100 are nothing short of amazing. Photographing my fast-moving kids and family under every lighting condition from desert sun to dim restaurants to moonlight, my Fuji X100 makes skin tones look better than from any other camera. The X100’s ability to tame difficult light under unscripted real-world conditions automatically, which is what’s most often encountered everywhere except inside a studio, is amazing…."

"I would go so far as to say that the X100 is the most enjoyable and satisfying camera I have ever used…"

So what makes it so special

  • beautiful retro styling reminiscent of a Leica
  • Great build quality
  • Traditional dials
  • Superb 23mm (35mm equivalent) lens
  • Amazing colour straight from the camera
  • An APS-C size sensor – nothing is more important in a digital camera than sensor size

It has been called the "Professionals compact" and this is because it has a great blend of size, quality, and traditional dials. It is certainly not perfect and some of the menu controls are badly thought out, the manual focus is useless, the start up time is slow, and after a DSLR, the focussing is slow. To master this camera takes some time. I bought from Amazon, the Photographer’s Guide to the Fujifilm FinePix X100 [Kindle Edition] and after reading it, I am completely comfortable with it now. There is great pleasure in using it that is hard to define. It feels great in your hand, the main controls – shutter, aperture, and exposure compensation are traditional dials that take me back almost 40 years when I first developed an interest in photography. I am enjoying the fixed lens as it forces me to think more about my shots and composition compared to having a bag of zoom lenses covering all focal lengths.

An evening shot taken hand held on the X100 and although I have been asked if HDR was used, this is a jpeg created from the raw with no localised adjustments.

An evening shot taken hand held on the X100 and although I have been asked if HDR was used, this is a jpeg created from the raw with no localised adjustments.

However despite the retro styling, it has all the features and more that you would expect from a modern digital camera – Raw files, 5 frames per second shooting, auto ISO, auto bracketing, auto dynamic range, amazing fill-flash, and the killer feature – the hybrid viewfinder. The Hybrid Viewfinder combines the window-type “bright frame” optical viewfinder found in high-end film cameras, such as 35mm or medium-format cameras, and the electronic viewfinder system incorporated in fixed single lens or mirrorless digital cameras. While traditionalists prefer the clear, sharp view of an ‘optical’ viewfinder, modern electronic displays, giving data like shutter speed, aperture, white balance, exposure correction and ISO can aid photographers tremendously. The new Hybrid Viewfinder on the FinePix X100 aims to give the ‘best of both worlds.’

Taken at Cove, this file is direct from the camera and highlights the great dynamic range and colour from the X100

Taken at Cove, this file is direct from the camera and highlights the great dynamic range and colour from the X100

One feature that I fully expected to ignore was "Motion Panorama" – a mode that lets you move the camera horizontally following a yellow line in the viewfinder while the camera takes several images and stitches them together to create 120 or 180 degree panorama jpegs. The example below was taken at Cove using this mode and apart from some level adjustments, this image is direct from the camera.

Taken at Cove, this 180 degree panorama was created in the camera.

Taken at Cove, this 180 degree panorama was created in the camera.

I am currently involved in giving training to beginners on how to get the best from their DSLR or mirrorless system cameras and it has been useful for me to go back to basics taking photographs with a new camera, learning it’s features, reading the manual, all things I am "preaching" to the course delegates. In the process I have had a lot of fun with the Fuji X100 and although much larger than my Canon S95 point and shoot (now replaced with the S100), I am taking it everywhere with me instead of the Canon. It is not for everyone and I would not recommend it over a DSLR or if you only have one camera but if you already have a DSLR and are an enthusiast, then I am sure you will love it as much as I do. Of course if you have £10 000 or more to spend, a Leica M9 and M lenses is still the ultimate and this week, I am getting to borrow an M9 and I am very excited about this and I will have a blog post on this next week.

9 Feb 2012

Jill and Pepe at Norwood Hall

Wedding on Sunday, 22nd January

 

Finally back to blogging and hopefuly in 2012, I will have much more regular posts. I am delighted that my first post for my first wedding in 2012 is for a friend's wedding. As well as being the photographer, Sandra and I were guests at the wedding of Jill and Pepe (Guiseppe) on Sunday 22nd January.

As a regular client of the Ciao Napoli in Bon Accord Crescent (the best Italian restaurant in Aberdeen), Pepe and Nino (Pepe's brother) have become close friends, and I was delighted to be the photographer at the wedding.

It was a nice sunny day but was very very cold. Everyone was very cooperative and braved the cold to let us get most of the shots taken outside in the nice winter sun. I was using a new Nikkor 180 f2.8 which has a fantastic bokeh and I am looking forward to using it this year. Pepe is a keen photographer and has some nice Canon equipment so he will appreciate the quality of this lens.

 

 

The slideshow above is a nice way to view a selection of images and we often create this and give them to clients for their iPads, Smart phones, and laptops, but there are also images to view.

 

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Norwood is an excellent venue and it was a great wedding. I took the formal groups and bridal portraits and David took over and photographed during the speeches and dancing, while I joined the party. Pepe is a big music lover and he had booked a fantastic Soul band from Glasgow  – A-Side Soul. Visit their website to hear how good they are.

© aberdeenphoto.com

It was a great day and an excellent way to start 2012, which is already guaranteed to be a busy year.

20 Sep 2011

Blog catch up

Latest weddings

After a long absence from the blog, I am finally about to start posting again. The absence started with being off ill and in hospital part of April and May. We then were very busy over the summer and had a great season photographing some amazing weddings.

I was on holiday in July and got some great shots in Sardinia and Italy which there will eventually be a blog entry about. July also saw my daughter, Natasha graduate with a first class honours degree in Accounts.

August was another eventful month with Natasha getting married, my friends, Alan and Jill also getting married, a trip on the Orient Express, and lots of interesting commercial assignments.

September saw far has also been a very busy and eventful month starting with Offshore Europe, then Sandra and I getting married in Edinburgh on my birthday on the 6th September, my daughter Brittany’s 18th on the 8th, and lots of great weddings and other assignments. I have spent a lot of time this month on a new on-line ordering system which we are very excited about. We are currently beta testing with 8 Bride’s to get their feedback. There will be a post about this very soon and the most recent wedding on Friday is on-line using the new system.

Our new website is being created at the moment and will feature some fantastic new wedding and portrait products.

On the technology front, we have been upgrading to Apple’s new operating system, and I am using the latest Macbook Air (the best Mac I have ever owned) so there ill also be some posts about this for anyone interested in how we utilise technology.

This is only a brief summary of what has been happening at aberdeenphoto.com since April while the blog has been neglected. Therefore there is no shortage of content for the blog and I just need to make time to try and post at least once a week.

I am very encouraged by how many people read my blog and have been surprised how many emails I have had asking when it was going to be resumed. To be honest, I was using the blog to create posts to use as links in emails to give information relevant when quoting or emailing and did not realise how many people were reading it.

I realise now from the number of emails that I have a lot of people following my blog and viewing our wedding photography from the blog links and therefore I have listed all our weddings here as well as on our website.

Look out over the next few weeks for lots of "catch up blog posts"
 

April 2011 weddings

April 29th – Alana and Don at the Town House and the Marriot (Formal)

April 30th – Debra and Andrew at Pittodrie House (Formal)

April 30th – May and Derek at Norwood Hall :: FormalInformal

 
 

May 2011 weddings

May 1st – Michelle and Gavin at Craigiebuckler Church :: Formal, Informal

May 7th – Deborah and David at Drum Castle (Formal)

May 14th – Katie and Steven at Gerard St. Baptist :: Formal, Informal

May 28th – Fiona and Brian at The Old Mill Inn :: Formal, Informal

May 28th – Claire and Luke at St. Palladius Church :: FormalInformal

 
 

June 2011 weddings

June 3rd – Anna and John at the Old Mill Inn :: Formal, Informal

June 3rd – Sian and Scott at Palm Court Hotel (Formal)

June 4th – Lucy and Rudy at The Douglas Hotel (Formal)

June 11th – Natalie and Allan at Maryculter House (Formal)

June 11th – Jeanette and Eddie at The Old Mill Inn (Formal)

June 11th – Alison and Alex at Craigieburn House :: Formal, Informal

June 11th – Donna and Lee at Northern Hotel :: Formal, Informal

June 24th – Louise and Gary at The Old Mill Inn (Formal)

June 25th – Joanne and Stuart at Pittodrie House Hotel :: Formal, Informal, Speeches and dancing

June 25th – Gwen and Steven at The Maryculter Church (Formal)

 
 

July 2011 weddings:

July 9th – Sarah and Gavin at the Marcliffe :: Formal, Informal

July 11th – Darlene and Drummond at Drum Castle and Norwood Hotel :: Formal, Informal

July 14th – Kathryn and Alex at Norwood Hall (Formal)

July 15th – Emily and Scott at Kings College and Dunecht Estate (Formal)

July 16th – Angela and David at the Old Mill Inn :: Formal, Informal

July 16th – Gillian and Mark at Belhevie Church :: Formal, Informal

July 17th – Elizabeth and Andrew at the Winter Gardens (Formal)

July 22nd – Karen and Ian at The Old Mill Inn (Formal)

July 23rd – Emma and Mathew at the Holiday Inn West :: Formal, Informal

 

August 2011 weddings

August 5th – Nicola and Neil at Winter Gardens :: Formal, Informal

August 6th – Jacquie and Steve at the Old Mill Inn (Formal)

August 6th – Emma and Kevin at Pittodrie House Hotel :: Formal, Informal

August 11th – Natasha and Jason at The Marcliffe (Formal)

August 13th – Jackie and Mike at the Northern Hotel (Formal)

August 13th – Laura and Keith at Cults Parish Church and Marcliffe (Formal)

August 18th – Debbie and Graham at Winter Gardens :: Formal, Speeches and Dancing

August 19th – Jill and Alan at The Marcliffe :: FormalInformal

August 20th – Stacey and Norman at the Marcliffe :: Formal, Informal

August 20th – Kim and Gary at the Old Mill Inn (Formal)

August 20th – Joanne and Lau at The Pittodrie House :: Formal, Informal

August 21st – Jill and Alan at Maryculter House Hotel :: Formal, Informal

August 26th – Vanessa and Jeff at Palm Court (Formal)

August 27th – Pauline and Scott at the Hliton Double Tree (Formal)

 

17 Jun 2011

Colin Montgomerie at Deeside Golf Club

Ryder Cup Celebration at Deeside Golf Club

After the great success of last year’s event at Deeside Golf Club to raise funds for the Maggie’s appeal, the event was staged again at the beautiful setting of Deeside Golf Club. To find out about this very worthy cause, see the blog post from last year by clicking here.

 

The event kicked off with the clinics at the driving range where Colin’s relaxed style and interesting anecdotes make it a very popular part of the day. Even I picked up a few useful tips. We were very lucky to have a beautiful day, probably one of the best days of sunshine this year.

 

Colin brought the Ryder Cup with him this year so not only did the teams get photographed with Colin, they also got to handle the famous trophy. For most teams, the individual players also got taken with the trophy. It was not there for the start of the event so unfortunately the first few teams at the 14th tee did not get the Ryder cup in their photographs. The strong sunshine meant I had to use a lot of flash and i was very grateful to have my Quantum lighting with me. I drained 3 high capacity batteries with the amount of flash required (for those interested in photography, the exposure was 250s at f10 – f18 so it was mainly full power flash.

 

The only disappointing thing for me was that I was feeling very ill and the day after was at the Doctor, and then was in hospital so it was a challenge working all day and then at the dinner at Stewart Milne’s house at night.

All the photographs taken during the day can be viewed here and the shots from the dinner and prize presentation here (separate blog post to follow)

17 Jun 2011

AECC tower

Sponsorship of AECC by Internet for Business

Internet for Business, Managing Director, Graeme Gordon (I photographed Graeme and Susan’s wedding many years ago) contacted me to take photographs of the tower at the AECC to show their branding and logo. I took a range of shots, some of which can be seen below, or the complete set can be see by clicking here. The lighting was reasonable and most of the shots only needed minor adjustment in Photoshop but one or two of the images were created using several exposures so that I could get a beautiful sky but still keep detail in the building.

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6 Jun 2011

Karly and Ally at the Holiday Inn

Karly and Ally at the Holiday inn, Westhill

The last wedding I photographed before being off ill was Karly and Ally's. I photographed Karly's Mum and Dad's wedding over 24 years ago when Karly was three and cried the whole day. This time round Karly looked beautiful and was very easy to photograph. We took the photographs at the park across from the hotel and were fortunate that the weather forecast was so accurate. The forecast was for rain at 4.00pm which was when we had scheduled to complete the photography outside. We had just finished and were back under the canopy (for the confetti photograph) at 4.00pm when the rain started.

© aberdeenphoto.com

The park at Westhill does not have a lot of features but we got some nice shots. May favourite shot of the day was the walking shot above. I set Karly and Ally up on a path with and asked them to walk towards me and had them looking towards me and at each other. The 70-200 lens and a shallow depth of field work well but it is the great expressions that make this my favourite.

 

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As we were booked to stay until the dancing, I also photographed Karly and Ally at dusk as  they had seen dusk shots, I had taken of the hotel for their website which we designed and produced for them (click here to see the website). They had Chinese Lanterns for this which you can see in the shots above.

While waiting to do this shot, I prepared a small selection of shots as a slideshow on my laptop which I showed to the top table and some of the guests. You can view all my images from the wedding here, and the link to David's set here.

I got very nice emails from Karly and both Mum's – see below

"Hi Neil
Huge thank you to both you & David for the fantastic photos to both took (formal & informal) and also for putting every one at ease. It will be really hard to choose, there is not one bad one.
Yes!!!! Neil bet you never thought 24 years after you took our wedding photos you would be taking our daughter Karly,s. That says something in its self.
Thanks again. Fiona & Graham King"

"Hi Neil,
I am Allys mum Janis from the Holiday Inn on Sat, the pictures are amazing, is it possible to have an album made up for myself? …..
Many thanks, Janis

"Hi Neil
Just catching up on all my emails now as back from our honeymoon.
The picture all look great, we are really pleased with them. We both had a fantastic day and couldn't have wished for a better day.
Kind regards, Karly"

31 May 2011

Long absence from the blog

I am finally getting back up to date after being off work for nearly three weeks. This is only the third time I have been off in over 30 years. I had to go to hospital but I got no warning or chance to prepare for my absence. However David, Lukas,David C, and Andy, all did a great job covering my commitments including weddings on the 29th and 30th April, 1st, 7th, and 14th May. Most of my commercial clients were very patient and waited for me to be back to work.

I took ill while photographing the Colin Montgomerie golf day at Deeside Golf Club and a post about this great fund raising event and the dinner at Stewart Milne’s amazing home will follow.

I have a lot of blog posts to add and a list is below, and my aim is to have a new blog post every day until I catch up. The blog posts planned are:

23rd April   Karly and Ally’s wedding

28th April   Colin Montgomerie golf day and dinner

29th April   Alana and Don on the same day as William and Kate

30th April   Debra and Andrew at Pittodrie House

30th April   May and Derek at Norwood Hall

1st May     Michelle and Gavin at Craigiebuckler and Norwood Hall

7th May     Deborah and David at Drum Castle and Ardoe House

14th May   Katie and Steven at Gerard Street Baptist Church

28th May  Fiona and Brian at The Old Mill Inn

28th May  Claire and Luke at Drumtochty Castle

I have also several interesting commercial jobs to post about

Active renewables

Lochter, Oldmeldrum (including video)

Nu-Style

Triple Kirks marketing

and several other interesting jobs.

Can I first thank all the people who have been kind enough to send me cards and wish me well while I was off. I would also like to apologise for any delays in responding to emails while I was off.

 

 

31 May 2011

Adobe CS 5.5 Show – Terry White in Warsaw, 19th May 2011

Terry White – a Photoshop Guru and Evangelist teaching at a big Adobe CS 5.5 event.

19th of May 2011 was a special day to me (Lukas). Adobe hosted an event in Warsaw, Poland, promoting the new Creative Suite 5.5.

To do that  they have invited one of the greatest Evangelists and Teachers of all Adobe programs – Terry White !

Warsaw was one of the stops at the Adobe Evolution Tour CS 5.5. The event happened in a cinema, with a huge crowd of people, all hungry for the knowledge that Adobe Evangelists have to spread.

Who is Terry ?

Terry White – Worldwide Creative Suite Design Evangelist for Adobe Systems, Inc. Terry has been with Adobe for over a decade and has extensive knowledge of Adobe’s Creative Professional product line. To read more about Terry, please visit his blog: Terry White Blog.

Terry is one of my Photoshop idols, a man who knows how to use it well – after all, he participated in its creation. He showed many cool things about Photoshop, and In-design. I knew all the features he presented ( after all I am a Adobe Certified Expert ),but it was nice to see how he runs the show, and how in a very short time he was able to present all the fantastic features of the Adobe Suite. His enthusiasm and knowledge made the presentation very enjoyable.

Adobe Evolution Tour CS 5.5.

The show was about the new features in the refreshed Creative Suite. It was not another product show where people tell you how good it is. At this Event the software was shown live, with examples. Everything was done in a relaxing and funny way – almost like a rock concert.

Terry showed how to use iPad apps alongside Photoshop. He took his iPad, lunched Adobe Eazel app, and created a basic "artistic" background in a very intuitive multi touch interface. Then he wirelessly transferred the image to Photoshop, and used it to change the background of a photograph of a model. Terry’s demo  has encouraged me to use the iPad alongside my iMac when using Photoshop. I can have all my favourite tools on the iPad and only the image on the 27inch screen, which is a very good way to work.

I was able to see how a Flash app on an Android phone could control 3 devices at the same time, then Motorola Xoom, and Black Berry tablet. A simple game was presented. Paul Trani was playing canoe game, where a canoeist was swimming from one screen to another – the canoe was disappearing from the screen of one device, and was seamlessly appearing on the screen of a second device. The canoe was swimming from screen to screen.

I was really impressed about all the cool things that can be done in Flash CS 5.5. I see a lot of potential in using it.

The part about video editing was also interesting. I didn’t know that such movie magic can be done on a home computer. After Effects program looks very difficult, but results out of it are very professional and almost Hollywood. I learned that one whole season of House was completely recorded wth DSLR cameras, and then edited fully on Adobe software.

My impression about Terry White.

It was really nice to see Terry live, after so many ears following him on his blog, and watching his video classes. On a coffee break, I got a chance to approach Terry to be photographed with him, and talked to him a little bit – what a great and humble guy he is.

At one point he gave me his own Nikon D7000 camera, and asked me to take a photograph  of him and one other evangelist, Michael O’Neil. I was very happy to see the photograph I had taken for Terry on his blog ! He used it on his post about the whole event.

I was also happy, when Terry asked me to take a photograph of him with a big Adobe logo in behind on a cinema screen. He asked me to send it to his e-mail address – so I did, hoping that he will get it.

Also Terry was kind enough to sign my iPad in the  Adobe Ideas app:

Summarising.

It was a great day for a Photoshop geek like me. It was the best show I have been at for years. Meeting Terry White will stay in my memory for ever, hoping that one day I will be as good in Photoshop as he is !

More…

To see more photographs I taken from this event, please visit our Facebook gallery: Terry White – Adobe Guru & Evangelist in Warsaw, 19th May 2011

To read a short reportage from that day, tweeted live at the event, please visit my Twitter account: @morbiusz

To check out how Terry White described the event, please visit his post about the event on his blog.

You can also follow Terry White on Twitter, and Facebook.

One last thing…

During the Question and Answer session, one of the attendants asked Terry White, why iPad doesn’t support Flash. His reply was instant and very short: "Ask Steve Jobs".

23 Apr 2011

Milton of Crathes

Beautiful food at The Milton

Last week, I was photographing food from the new menu at the highly regarded Milton Restaurant.  These shots will be used in their new website. The food looked great, and having dined there several times, I am sure it will taste as good as it looked.

I took some exterior and interior shots of this charming restaurant. You can see all the proofs by clicking here

I was commissioned by Jay Emmerson, the restaurant manager, who I had worked with at the Albyn last year when I photographed their food.

I also took a few shots of the view across the River Dee for apart from the beautiful food, part of the attraction and charm of The Milton, is the beautiful setting.

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To view all the images, click here.

 

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