MGIC Headquarters Building

 

Designed by Fitzhug Scott-Architects, Inc. of Milwaukee and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill of Chicago, and completed in 1973, the four story MGIC headquarters building is constructed in a unique inverted pyramid design, with each floor extending fifteen feet out from the floor beneath. It is one of several buildings on the MGIC Plaza overlooking Red Arrow park in downtown Milwaukee. 

This photograph was a single ten second exposure, taken on a Nikon D850 at ISO 100, 24mm PC-E tilt shift lens at f/8, and processed in Capture One Pro 11 and Adobe Photoshop (removed a security camera near the roof). Using the color editor in Capture One I was able to tone down the yellow cast in the building from the lights.

Gear and software mentioned (some affiliate links):

Camera: Nikon D850
Lens: PC-E NIKKOR 24mm F3.5D ED
Tripod: 3 Legged Thing Winston
Software: Phase One Capture One Pro

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Wauwatosa, WI.
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Wauwatosa, WI.

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Wauwatosa, WI. The church was designed by Wright in 1956, and finished in 1961, about two years after Wright’s death. While departing from the traditional Byzantine architecture common in Greek Orthodox churches, Wright incorporated the domed structure and traditional colors into his design.

More information about the church is available on their website, http://www.annunciationwi.org/.

This photograph was taken well into nautical twilight, about 45 minutes after the sun set. It was taken with a Nikon D850 at ISO 100, a 24mm PC-E lens at f/5.6,  on a 3 Legged Thing Winston tripod. It is 3 exposures, 1.6, 6, and 25 seconds, and processed with Aurora HDR 2018.

Gear and software mentioned (some affiliate links):

Camera: Nikon D850
Lens: PC-E NIKKOR 24mm F3.5D ED
Tripod: 3 Legged Thing Winston
Software: Aurora HDR 2018

Tips to Clean Your Own Sensor

Few things are scarier to the average photographer than the idea of cleaning your own DSLR sensor, but if you are careful it is not difficult to do safely and successfully. That said, it is possible to damage your camera, so be slow and careful, and I am not responsible for any damage that you do to your equipment. Read any instructions on cleaning supplies and tools, and follow them over this post.
Sensors need to be cleaned when dust, oil, or other residue is left on in. It is natural for this to occur, and needing to clean the sensor occasionally should not be considered a malfunction. Junk on your sensor is most visible against even backgrounds, like a blue sky, and at higher apertures, although in some cases it will be visible even against busier backgrounds.
dust spots on an image.
A sensor that needs a cleaning.
If you see dust spots on your images, it is time to clean your sensor. If you can see the spots in your viewfinder, the problem isn’t in your sensor, it is ether in the viewfinder or the lens.

Continue reading “Tips to Clean Your Own Sensor”

D850 Early Review

I stopped in to the local camera shop over the weekend to put my name on the list for a Nikon D850 (affiliate link), but they actually had one in stock, so I got to take it home immediately. I am normally not on the constant need for the latest and greatest bandwagon, but there were a lot of improvements compared to my D610, and I felt it was worth the upgrade. So far that has definitely been the case.
The headline is the 45.7 megapixel images, but there are a lot of features beyond that to make this a compelling camera.

Continue reading “D850 Early Review”

3 Legged Thing Winston Review

As much as I like a tripod to be small and easily portable, sometimes you want a more stable tripod, especially for things like panoramas, shooting at night, and long exposure photography.

I recently picked up a 3 Legged Thing Winston (buy at Amazon or Adorama, affiliate links), their largest tripod. I picked the 3 Legged Thing for a few reasons, I have one of their Punks Travis  (buy at Amazon or Adorama, affiliate links) tripods, and like it. I use the monopod leg often enough that it is a definite added value. The head also comes with a pano clamp on the QR part of the head, so it can be leveled independent of the tripod, critical for panoramas on uneven terrain. Continue reading “3 Legged Thing Winston Review”

Nikon 70-300 AF-P Preview

Update: The lens is out, but I haven’t picked one up, saving up for a D850 instead. Looks like the optical performance should be better than the AF-S, but I have not had a chance to shoot them both.

Available at Amazon.com (affiliate) or your favorite camera retailer.

I don’t usually do sight unseen reviews, but this lens hit at a time I was interested in it, and I found out some interesting things that would be valuable to anyone else looking at it. I have one of the original AF lenses, and was thinking about upgrading to the AF-S until this came out. So, looking at the lenses, should you wait and pay the extra for the AF-P?

Continue reading “Nikon 70-300 AF-P Preview”

A Dangerous Question

The other day on Quora, someone asked “What are the best reasons to switch from a Nikon D610 to a Nikon D750?” (Amazon affiliate links) It may be a little unfair, but I read this as “What is the best excuse to buy a new camera.”

My answer was simple: Because the D610 doesn’t do something specific you need, and the D750 does. And that feature is worth $2000 to you. If you can’t answer what that benefit is, there is no reason to buy replace a fully functional piece of equipment. If I were looking to buy a new camera, the WiFi and tilting screen might be worth the $300 difference, but it isn’t worth $2000, or even the $1000 if I could get $1000 for the D610 body. Add to that the time to buy the new camera, sell the old camera, and learning a new camera, and it becomes even more expensive to switch. Are there benefits big enough to justify that cost? If not, better to keep your money, or all too often your credit card, in your pocket.

Another way to look at that money is as hours of your freedom. For a median US income of $56,000, a $2000 camera represents over 70 hours of work. Factor in that about a third of your income goes in taxes, and it’s over 100 hours. Pay for it on credit that isn’t paid immediately, and it could be many times that.

Of course, there are times where it is worth upgrading, but make sure that you are spending money intelligently, not just chasing the latest and greatest just because it’s new.

A question I like to ask when I am looking at new equipment is “what pictures, that I want to take, can I not take without this?” The part about “that I want to take” is important. A D5 could double the frame rate of my D610, but almost nothing I shoot would benefit from that. I could get the perfect portrait lens, and almost never use it, because that’s not the work I do. Make sure that the features you are buying create benefits you actually need.

If you really have an extra $2000 burning a hole, you will often get better results out of a trip, some training, or a workshop. The benefits of those will last long beyond the release of the next camera upgrade you will have to have.