Monthly Archives: November 2010

Secrets of the Nikon D7000

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I’ve had my two D7000′s for a few days now (Yes, it’s true. As a real Nikon “insider” and host of the instructional video the company made about this camera, I only had to wait, what, about a month longer than anybody else who just bought the camera from Best Buy to get my hands on them:-)).

And boy, am I psyched. 

I don’t normally get too excited about gear upgrades anymore, but the new video function in this camera is bringing back the fanboy in me.

There are, however,  a couple of other features in the camera that might be confusing, even to longtime Nikon users.

First, is the new way you select AF modes (AFC, AFS, or AFA). They’ve added a little press in button on the AF/M button (see above illustration). You’ve got to hold that in and use the Command Dial to select the mode. That’s new and it’ll drive you nuts finding it (or at least, it did me).

d7000howto002_001.jpgAnother cool feature is that you assign the AEHold function (beloved by video shooters who use any of the Auto modes) to the Function Button. With the D90, you couldn’t assign this function to the Function button.

That was a hardship if you liked to use the AE-L, AF-L button on the back of the camera for AF On. On the D300s and more “pro” bodies, there are two buttons on the back, one for AF On, and one for AE-L, AF-L.  But the D90 and the D7000 have one.

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With only one button on the back, it’s nice to be able to assign AE Hold to the Function button, and AF On to the AE-L, AF-L button. 

I’m looking forward to working with these new cameras….and going to work on a small documentary video project for an inner city charter school with them next week!

In the meantime, as a coda to the lively discussion all of us Constitutional scholars were having in the comments section of my last post on airline security, I offer this from the New Yorker, which is featuring airport security cartoons from as far back as 1938!  Check this one out, from 1972 and tell me if the cartoonist, Ed Fisher, wasn’t clairvoyant!

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Have a great and safe holiday!

 

The 2011 Spirit of Place Calendar Is Here

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A pallet of my latest Spirit of Place calendar, a yearly promotional mailing I do for clients and donors to the Jonathan Krist Foundation, was delivered yesterday all safe and sound.

The 2011 edition features 14 pictures (that includes a cover and a bonus month!) taken in my travels in the previous year (or so). It’s an eclectic mix of shots, including probably the only two HDR-ish shots (each is made from only one frame, so it’s not true HDR) you’ll ever see from me (it’s not that I don’t like the look, it’s just that, um, I just don’t have that much fun pushing sliders up and down at the computer for hours on end!).

One of the most interesting situations is a lightpainting shot, below, of Carhenge done with a single SB 900 and multiple exposures. You can read about how it was done here.

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If you’d like to grab a copy (they make great gifts), head on over to the Jonathan Krist Foundation site and make a donation of $30 or more by hitting the “Want to Donate” box in the upper right corner. Then hit the “Contact Us” box to give us your address and bingo! 

You’ll not only be supporting programs to bring music to underserved schools and scholarships for deserving students, you’ll also be getting a tax deduction (we’ll send a receipt for your taxes).

It’s a win-win situation. And as they say on TV, “Offer good while supplies last!”

You Have the Right to Remain at Home

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I was on a short domestic trip last week and sure enough, at the security line just ahead of me, somebody started freaking out at a pat down and doing the “don’t invade my privacy” routine and my only thought was, “couldn’t you have anticipated this before you got in line and stayed home, because the rest of us have places to go and friggin’ things to do!”

Don’t get me wrong, what happened to my fellow Pixiq contributor George Lepp and his wife at a recent checkpoint is not right and in an ideal world, it wouldn’t happen. But it seems to me that when people are willing to stuff explosives in their skivvies and blow themselves up in an airplane full of people just to make their point, then we’re not in an ideal world…or even Kansas,Toto. We’re through the looking glass.

And yes, airport security is flawed, violates our rights, is basically political theater, and should be improved. And don’t even get me started on air cargo security.

But as any security expert will tell you, really improving security would mean profiling passengers (like El Al does) and, well, you know, that’s going to cause tons more outrage than botched body scans and people poking your privates.

So, we’re left with a flawed and imperfect system. But there are a few alternatives. Ones that I wish folks would consider before they get in the security line ahead of me.

1. Drive. These days, if a gig is 500 miles or closer, I drive. I can take more equipment, I can listen to a nice book on tape, and nobody fondles me (against my will, anyway!). I don’t like getting my body scanned any more than the next guy (although it’s not the thought of my naked X-ray being leaked that scares me, it’s what those X-rays are doing to my naked body!).

2. Charter your own jet, boat, or tourbus. If the situation at the airports is really that odious, put your travel dollars where your outrage is and go private….works for the super rich, why not us?

3.  Stay home.  Throughout the ages, travel has been fraught with danger and inconvenience. Highwaymen, bandits, grifters, pickpockets, and ne’er do wells have always been dedicated to fleecing the traveler….today’s scoundrels have raised the stakes because they literally want your hide.

But we’re a society that is used to getting our cake and eating it too. We want our privacy but we want our security too, we want more and better infrastructure but we don’t want it to raise our taxes, and we want to fly all over the place but we’re not happy with the process that may, just may find the lunatic with the C-4 in his boxer shorts who wants to bring our plane down way ahead of schedule.

You just can’t have it all. You can join organizations like Flyers Rights to press for better security measures at airports, you can write to your congresspersons, you can picket outside the airport (I think).

But please, don’t wait until you’re the person ahead of me at the evil scanning machine to make your stand.

Just stay home.

I, for one, could really use the extra space in the overhead….and don’t worry, I’ll bring back plenty of pictures so you can see what you’ve missed!

 

Mid-Atlantic Nature Photography Expo

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For anybody in the mid-Atlantic states with an interest in photography, Manassas, Virginia is the place to be this weekend for the Mid-Atlantic Photography Expo.

There’s lots of seminars, a couple of shoots (including a raptor shoot), manufacturers’ displays and yours truly as the keynote speaker Saturday night.

I’ll be sharing the behind the scenes aspects of travel photography—from how to shoot a story, to how to avoid being arrested in NYC (!), to designing multimedia pieces—-in a two hour talk with lots of pictures and hopefully more than a few laughs.

Hope to see you there!

 

Take back my US Airways miles….please!

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Here’s one to file under: Don’t Do Me Any Favors..

I got this email from US Airways a couple of days ago.  They’re  threatening to rescind my remaining frequent flier miles due to lack of activity. 

And I say: take them! 

When I first moved down to Eastern Pennsylvania from the suburban New York City, I switched from flying out of Newark on Continental to flying out of Philly on US Airways….

Big mistake.

I suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune with these guys for a couple of years before I realized that it was infinitely easier to drive back up to Newark. I’ve got nothing against the pilots and aircrew—they are professionals. But the management and luggage handlers? Carumba! 

And so, I bid a not-so-fond adieu to my miles, and all the suffering I had to undergo to earn them.  As they say, don’t let the door hit you…..

Traveling in coach with photo gear is enough of a hardship these days, and I don’t need to add insult to that injury!