Early Cameras

There are only a few film shots on the site, as my photographic skills were not very well developed in the film era. There are a small number of shots taken with the Nikon FM3A (shown here), but those are more recent pictures, taken as I have ventured back into that fascinating medium.

Nikon FM3A
Nikon FM3A Film Camera

Most of the earlier pictures on this site were shot with a Nikon D300, with a few taken on the Nikon D40X, which was my first DSLR.  There are no shots at all from my first digital camera, which was a Canon Digital IXUS, an evolution of the APS film version I used for some years. The D300 gave long service and I was loath to replace it, but eventually it was both battered and long in the tooth and I sought a new body.  After some unhappy experiences with an early D600, I moved to the Nikon Df, which I had a long and happy relationship with. I still love both the looks and the external controls of the Df.

Nikon Lenses

My favourite Nikon F-mount lenses are the f1.8 85mm, f2.8 105 mm macro and f1.8 20mm. I used to shoot with the 28-300mm zoom with the Df a lot (it’s the full frame equivalent of the 18-200 I used on the D300) but over time I’ve gradually migrated to primes.

The Next Generation

After a lot of thought, I’ve bought into the new Nikon mirrorless system with the Z7, which I am extremely impressed with.  I bought it with the 24-70mm kit lens (which is small and light) and the  FTZ converter for my F-mount lenses. That was quite an investment, but I traded in my less used F-mount lenses to help pay the bill at T4 Cameras in Witney, who gave me a very fair deal.  I have since acquired the 35mm f1.8 native lens, which is excellent.  Of my old F-mount lenses, I use the 85mm f1.8 most – it works works really well via the converter. This wasn’t my first mirrorless camera, as when I need to travel really light (which is quite often), I use the astonishing Leica Q, with its 28mm f1.7 prime lens. I’ve had it for a few years and it is incredibly tough and takes amazing pictures.

Equipment

I carry as little equipment as I can.  Typically all I carry is a spare battery, a mini blower, two spare memory cards and a high quality circular polarizer. For night and long exposure shots I use the ultra light weight Gitzo Traveler tripod.  I also use a ‘black glass’ ND filter for daytime long exposures.

Workflow

My workflow uses mostly obsolete software (Aperture and Silver Efex), but I will only replace them when I absolutely have to.  I shoot in raw format and use Apple Aperture as a library and for raw conversion.   Aperture won’t read the Z7’s raw files, so I have to convert them to DNG format first, which is somewhat of a pain. I use PhotoShop Elements with the Silver Efex Pro 2 plug in for creating the JPEG and for mono conversion.   I create layers of different Silver Efex renditions and make extensive use of colour filters and all the slider options that Silver Efex offers.  Noise reduction, where needed, is provided by Topaz DeNoise.

Mac and Software

My post processing workhorse is a 5K i7 based iMac with the fastest optional AMD Radeon GPU.  The GPU makes a big difference when running Silver Efex  for monochrome conversion – my old iMac used to really struggle with these, whilst the 5K just zips through them.  The raw files are backed up to to a cloud based web service as well as to a local Apple Time Machine drive.

The final processed JPEGS are stored on Flickr – I download slightly smaller renditions than the original from there for this website.   In case the hard drive fails I also create a bootable disk using Carbon Copy Cloner. Bootable disks get you going much more quickly in the event of a hard disk crash.  I have learnt that you can never have too many backups.

Web Site

I use WordPress for the site with the Master Slider plugin for the galleries and ShortPixel for image optimisation, amongst others.  WPEngine hosting and my WP template are by Elementary Digital