Africa Slideshow for Lighthouse Elementary School

A big thank you to Lighthouse Christian School and Ms. Frohlich’s 1st grade class for inviting me to present photos from my Tanzanian photography adventures.

The kids from Ms. Frohlich’s class sent me a bunch of thank you letters and they were very sweet. One of them read, “Thank you Mr. Hagen, from. Nathan. you HAD the best sho I sen yet! The anaml i Liked the best is the cheetah and leopard.” My favorite letter read, “I rily like your fotows I esPeshily liked the anemels.”

Aw shucks.

I am grateful for the school’s eagerness to see these images and it sure was fun to hear the oohs and ahhs from all the kids. Showing them the wonders of our incredible planet was joyful and I can’t wait to do it again.

I encourage all of the photographers reading this blog share your photos with others as often as possible. If you don’t share your imagery, then your beautiful pictures stay locked up in our disk drives for no one else to enjoy. Your craft and vision needs to see the light of day, so get out there and show it off.

Thank you notes from Mrs. Frohlich's 1st grade class.

Thank you notes from Mrs. Frohlich's 1st grade class.

The calm before the storm.

The calm before the show.

Who would have thought that a few hundred elementary school kids could make a man nervous? Tough crowd.

Who would have thought that a few hundred elementary school kids could make a man nervous? It was a tough crowd.

Mrs. Frohlich and her 1st grade class.

Mrs. Frohlich and her 1st grade class.

Mrs. Frohlich's class is in session!

Mrs. Frohlich's class is in session!

Nikon D800 and D4 Setup Guides Posted

I’ve posted PDF versions of our famous setup guides for the Nikon D800/D800E and the Nikon D4 cameras. The guides show my personal recommendations for setting up menus, buttons and dials in four configurations: Travel/Landscape, Portrait/Wedding, Sports/Action, and Point and Shoot.

Nikon D4 and D800 setup guides are posted at http://www.outthereimages.com/publishing.html

Nikon D4 and D800 setup guides are posted at http://www.outthereimages.com/publishing.html

The guides are free to download and print out for your own use. If you are interested, you can order laminated copies from us for $6.50. Order instructions are on the setup guide web page.

Here are the direct links:

Nikon D800/D800E Setup Guide Direct Link

Nikon D4 Setup Guide Direct Link

We also have setup guides for most of the other popular Nikon dSLR cameras including the D7000, D700, D300, D300s, D3s, D3, D3X, etc. Click this link to go to our Nikon camera setup guide page. Scroll down to the bottom for the camera setup guides.

nikon_d800_front

Nikon D800 and D800E setup guides at www.outthereimages.com/publishing.html

Nikon D4 setup guide at www.outthereimages.com/publishing.html

Nikon D4 setup guide at www.outthereimages.com/publishing.html

Four New Nikon D800 Features I Like

Here’s a quick video showing off four new Nikon D800 features that I like. Enjoy!

Four New Nikon D800 Features I Like from Mike Hagen on Vimeo.

New Profoto Studio Kit Test

Profoto asked us to test out their new Studio Kit, so I put it through its paces to see how it works in the real world. Read the whole article at the Nikonians.org website here:
Profoto D1 Air Studio Kit Review.

Also, be sure to check out the video on page 2 showing how the kit works.

Pic from the fundraiser where I field-tested the Profoto D1 Air Studio Kit

Pic from the fundraiser where I field-tested the Profoto D1 Air Studio Kit

Large Prints From the Nikon D800

I’ve been using the Nikon D800 for less than a week now and wanted to create some large prints from the camera to assess its overall quality. I sent off four different files to a large-format Epson inkjet printer and was very impressed with the resulting images. They are truly beautiful and are giving my best efforts from my other cameras a run for the money. The more I work with this camera, the more I feel it is truly a game-changer.

Here’s a short video I produced today showing off the prints and comparing some black & whites, color, and panoramas from the D800 and the D7000.

Nikon-D800-Prints from Mike Hagen on Vimeo.

How Much Detail from a Severely Underexposed D800 Photo?

More Nikon D800 fun. Just to see how far I could take a Nikon D800 image, I processed this black and white from a single dramatically underexposed shot. The processed photo is above and the unprocessed, underexposed shot below.

Nikon D800, 14-24mm f2.8. Processed in Adobe Camera Raw, then Nik Color Efex Pro 4 using Detail Extractor. Then, converted to Black and White in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.

Nikon D800, Nikon 14-24mm f2.8. Upper photo processed in Photoshop, Nik Color Efex Pro, and Nik Silver Efex Pro. Bottom image is the original underexposed shot.

Nikon D800, Nikon 14-24mm f2.8. Upper photo processed in Photoshop, Nik Color Efex Pro, and Nik Silver Efex Pro. Bottom image is the original underexposed shot.

Location: Purdy Bridge, Purdy, Washington, USA.

Nikon D800’s Wonderful Ability to Crop

One of the things I’m loving about the Nikon D800 is the ability to frame the photo relatively loosely and then crop to what I need. I went out last evening to photograph the Tacoma Narrows Bridge at dusk. I shot the image at a wide-angle and then cropped it in Photoshop to a 12″ x 36″ panorama at 240ppi.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge 12"x36". Single shot from Nikon D800.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge 12"x36". Single shot from Nikon D800.

After this, I brought it into Nik Color Efex Pro 4 to add a graduated filter effect to the sky and then a filter called Monday Morning to give it a bit of an old-school effect.

Nikon D800 Initial Impressions from the Studio and Outdoors

The Nikon D800 has arrived and it is a beauty! I’ve been shooting with the camera today and thought I’d put together a quick video and some sample images showing some of today’s first pictures from the studio and the outdoors. Here’s a direct link to the video if it isn’t showing up in your browser: Mike Hagen’s Nikon D800 Initial Impressions

Nikon D800 Initial Impressions from Mike Hagen on Vimeo.

The 36MP sensor is truly incredible and the files are massive. Working with these D800 photos will require little bit of patience as well as some more RAM!

My initial impression of the images from the D800 is that they are rich and full of life. They are filled with more detail than I’ve ever seen from a Nikon camera and I am thoroughly impressed with everything I’ve seen. Below are some sample images with a few links to full-size jpgs for you to download and work with yourself. I processed each of the images for this blog post in Nikon Capture NX2 on a MacBook Pro with 16GB of RAM.

The first set of images below were taken with the Nikon D800 at ISO 200. Check out the 100% crop to assess the quality for yourself. At ISO 200, the Nikon D800 produces beautiful detail and amazing colors. As you would expect, the camera is flawless at this ISO setting. Click here for a full-resolution jpg.

Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, f/16, ISO 200.

Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, f/16, ISO 200.

100% crop of image at ISO 200 and f/16.

100% crop of image at ISO 200 and f/16.

Next, I increased the Nikon D800 ISO to 6400 in an attempt to see how well the camera performed at this sensitivity value. For this image, I turned off in-camera noise reduction to set the camera up for a worst-case scenario. As you can see in the cropped image, the colors are still saturated while still maintaining usable detail in the tulips. I’m exceedingly impressed with the camera at ISO 6400. Click here to download a full resolution ISO 6400 image to your computer.

Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, f/16, ISO 6400.

Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, f/16, ISO 6400.

100% crop of image at ISO 6400.

100% crop of image at ISO 6400.

As the next series of images below show, I cranked up the ISO to 12,800 and 25,600 to see how the D800 would perform at its highest ISO settings. Obviously, the image quality breaks down rapidly, but these files are imminently useable with some noise reduction in post processing. I wouldn’t be afraid to use these ISO values if I had to get photos in near darkness.

Click here to download the high resolution ISO 12,800 image.

Click here to download the high resolution ISO 25,600 image.

Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, F/16, ISO 12,800.

Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, F/16, ISO 12,800.

100% crop Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, F/16, ISO 12,800

100% crop Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, F/16, ISO 12,800

Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, F/16, ISO 25,600

Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, F/16, ISO 25,600

100% crop Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, F/16, ISO 25,600

100% crop Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, F/16, ISO 25,600

My next tests were to take the camera outdoors to see how it would do in the bright sunlight. One of my goals was to see how the camera would perform in a very high contrast situation on white cherry blossom flowers. I also wanted to see how well images might look after significant cropping. You can see the uncropped and cropped version directly below. The D800 does a great job of holding detail on the flower petals while also preserving detail in the shadows. With the D800’s 36 megapixel files, I was able to crop the image fairly tightly and still come away with a photo I could easily print at 8″x10″ or larger. Verdict? I’m impressed.

Cherry blossom in direct sun. Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, f5.6, ISO 100.

Cherry blossom in direct sun. Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, f5.6, ISO 100.

Here's a cropped version of the same cherry blossom photo. Cherry blossom in direct sun. Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, f5.6, ISO 100.

Here's a cropped version of the same cherry blossom photo. Cherry blossom in direct sun. Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, f5.6, ISO 100.

The next test was to work with my red barn to see how the camera would do with shadow and highlight detail on a physical building. The first image here was taken with no changes to the file. In other words, you see exactly what the camera recorded. The second image I added a bit of shadow/highlight recovery in Nikon Capture NX2. Again, the D800 does a wonderful job of preserving information in both the highlights and shadows.

Red barn in high contrast lighting. No post-processing. Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, f/18, 1/50s, ISO 200.

Red barn in high contrast lighting. No post-processing. Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, f/18, 1/50s, ISO 200.

Red barn in high contrast lighting with shadow/highlight fix in Capture NX2. Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, f/18, 1/50s, ISO 200.

Red barn in high contrast lighting with shadow/highlight fix in Capture NX2. Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, f/18, 1/50s, ISO 200.

My final shot of this initial is of some green leafs with morning dew. I could see some fine detail on the stems of the leaves and wanted to see how the D800 would render these small hairs. The first image here is the uncropped image and the second is a 100% crop. Looking at the cropped image, it is truly amazing to see how much information the D800 collects. We’ve entered a new world of photography with the Nikon D800 and I can’t wait to see what other fantastic images I’ll create with this camera. In fact, I can’t wait to do some black and white landscape work as well as some studio portraiture to really see what this camera has to offer.

Leaves and water drops. Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, f/16, 1s, ISO 200.

Leaves and water drops. Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, f/16, 1s, ISO 200.

100% crop of leaves and water drops. Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, f/16, 1s, ISO 200.

100% crop of leaves and water drops. Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, f/16, 1s, ISO 200.

One final note: DxOMark just published the results from the Nikon D800 and they gave it the the best rating for any camera they’ve ever tested. How’s that for image quality! Click this for a direct link the DxOMark stats. Quoting from DxOMark’s website:

Friday March 23 2012

The Nikon D4 spent only a few days in the top spot for DxOMark sensor results before being dethroned by the Nikon D800, which is a complete success in every sensor-related respect:

  • Overall score: 1st (95)
    With its 4-point lead, the Nikon D800 has become the new sensor of reference — and with an unmatched quality-to-price ratio to boot: among the 8 top cameras, it is by far the least expensive (with an announced price of less than 3000 $).
  • Studio: tied for 3rd (25.3 bits)
    These results are living up to our expectations. Certain people openly wondered if the D800’s results would be comparable to those for medium-format cameras, and this certainly doesn’t contradict this idea.
  • Landscape: 1st (14.4 EV)
    Here also we expected the D800 to do well, and once again we were not disappointed. (This really wasn’t a surprise, given the results for the Nikon D7000.)
  • Sport (Low-Light ISO): 3rd (2853)
    Despite its smaller pixels, the D800 comes up with the same score as the D4, whereas the D3x lost several precious points with respect to the D3s.

The Photographer’s Guide to the Nikon 1 V1/J1

Jason Odell’s newest PDF eBook, The Photographer’s Guide to the Nikon 1 V1/J1 is now available for download from Luminescence of Nature Press. I recently read the book while on a photo trip and must say that Jason has done a great job of covering all aspects of the Nikon 1 camera system. Jason’s writing style is easy to understand and explains things in simple english. One of the things I applaud him for is peppering the book with his specific camera settings for getting the most out of the camera. He goes beyond just telling you what to do by taking it a step further and telling you why.

Photographer's Guide to the Nikon 1 V1/J1

Photographer's Guide to the Nikon 1 V1/J1

The eBook reads very well on the iPad, and is also readable on any device that has a PDF viewer such as your computer or other tablet devices. All titles and chapters are hot-linked so navigation through the book is a breeze.

The Photographer’s Guide to the Nikon 1 V1/J1 has thorough chapters on camera operation, still photography, video, imaging workflow, Motion Snapshots, and flash photography. Jason also included an additional chapter on accessories for the Nikon 1 series cameras that goes through details on lenses, flashes, GPS, microphones, F-mount adapter, grips remote shutter releases and more. This chapter is very helpful for those of you wanting to get the most out of your Nikon 1.

As with any new technology, there are always going to be problems, and Jason helps users solve problems with the V1 and J1 with a full chapter dedicated to just troubleshooting. He has detailed information on troubleshooting issues with lenses, batteries, hot pixels, exposure, focus, memory cards, etc.

If you are a Nikon 1 owner, then I recommend Jason’s book. It is definitely what you need to get yourself over the learning curve so you’ll be able to capture amazing images. Nikon’s new breed of mirrorless cameras are sophisticated and capable systems and Jason’s book is just what the doctor ordered. Even though I used the Nikon 1 V1 for over a month while testing it in Africa, I learned even more by reading this eBook.

I recommend the Nikon 1 V1 with 10-30mm and 30-110mm lenses.

I recommend the Nikon 1 V1 with 10-30mm and 30-110mm lenses.

By the way, I get a lot of questions from readers about the Nikon 1 series cameras. I highly recommend the V1 model over the J1 because of it’s additional features. Here are links to the cameras and accessories at B&H Photo.

Nikon 1 V1 with 10-30mm and 30-110mm
Nikon 1 J1 with 10-30mm
Nikon 1 10-100mm lens
Nikon SB-N5 Flash for Nikon 1
Nikon GP-N100 GPS Unit

Thousands of Images, Now What? Shipping

Our brand new book Thousands of Images, Now What? is shipping. We’ve just received our preliminary copies of the book and will be sending out autographed copies to all of you who pre-ordered. The book looks great and I’m very happy with the final product. You can order autographed copies at our website for Out There Images Books. Or, you can order from Amazon at this link: Thousands of Images at Amazon.com.

Order your copy today of Thousands of Images, Now What? Painlessly Organize, Save, and Back Up Your Digital Photos.

Order your copy today of Thousands of Images, Now What? Painlessly Organize, Save, and Back Up Your Digital Photos.