I AM NIKON Blog

Clark Little’s distinctive photography of waves breaking on the stunning beaches of Hawaii have established him as one of the foremost innovative photographers out there today.

Each of Clark’s intensive shooting sessions require more than just his intuitive eye for a striking image: whether it’s finding the best time of day, preparing for the demanding physical conditions or assembling the best kit, every iconic image is the result of a highly intricate process. Here is an excellent example of Clark’s ability to capture this perfect blend of time, location and a specific subject in one image.

Here, we get behind the scenes with Clark and discover the unique approaches he’s developed to make his images truly different.

Optimising settings and features

Clark’s ideal time for a shoot is in the early morning, when the Hawaiian light makes the surf and sand explode with colour.

Clark’s accessories are a key part of what makes him such a unique photographer, allowing him to experiment with a vast range of lights, colours and depth with every shot. Each session starts with a ritual that prioritises rigging up a flash (an SB910) with his Nikon D800, making sure the ports are made for 60mm fisheye lenses. Clark also licks the waterproof housing of each camera before he starts; an important preparation as saliva stops water droplets from the sea sticking to the lens.

The last thing he does before making those strides into the surf is to make sure all of his settings are correct and suitable for the conditions of the day. A key component of this is ensuring RAS is enabled to store images in black-and-white, gray-scale and colour to any pixel depth, rather than simply defaulting to JPEG. This allows Clark to experiment with a huge depth of colour, long before he sits down in his studio to edit the day’s work.

Although Clark has fine-tuned his approach with the benefit of years of experience, he makes a point of retaining the same go-to settings that he started with and sticking with them. When it comes to shooting dynamic wildlife like dolphins or whales, he starts experimenting a little more with the shutter speed and ISO levels to try to develop the scope further, and accessories, including a 10-inch waterproof dome surround and more, it’s all about staying ahead of himself and pushing the boundaries of his creativity.

When it comes to capturing the perfect wave, Clark gauges its speed as it builds up in order to capture as many frames as possible as it breaks; both he and the camera need to be primed and ready for the optimum moment that’s over in an instant. “You can see it and visualise it, but you are not sure if you got it on the camera, so, once you put the chip inside, download it, zoom in 100% and check it all, making sure there’s no water spots…. the feeling is insane [when it comes together],” he says. Take a look at this example of an image that was taken at the optimum moment in a physically gruelling setting, from Clark’s Instagram account.

Finding the perfect shot

Each shoot isn’t simply about having his equipment and settings aligned perfectly; it also comes down to an intuitive understanding of the gruelling, but beautiful environment he works in. “You’ve got to be in shape, you’ve got to be able to hold your breath, you need to know how to move your head out of the way in a split second without having your head taken off,” he says.

Working around this requires serious preparation, a process that Clark is constantly refreshing. The very nature of his subject is dynamic, but he’s always searching for the next change to make him different: looking for where the sun is going to drop, the changes in the water clarity, the backdrop of white sandy beaches – always looking for something new and fresh.

Interested in seeing more of Clark’s unique approaches to getting the perfect shot? Find out more about his work, kit and tips here.

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With little more than one cup of coffee at 5 am to fuel him, Clark Little dives into the Pacific Ocean day after day in search of the perfect wave- not to surf, but to capture on film.  For Clark, wave photography is more than just a profession; it’s his life.

His distinctive trademark photos of curling waves that wrap glassy limbs around the glowing sunrises and sunsets which shine over this corner of paradise twice a day have won him the admiration of fans all over the world, and the envy of anyone who dreams of living the good life on the north shore of Hawaii.

But it wasn’t always so.  Just eight years ago, when Clark was working at the Wahiawa Botanical Gardens, his wife brought home a picture of a shore break to hang on the wall of their home. Clark, then a seasoned surfer, knew that he could take the same caliber of photo, if not an even better one. He bought a Nikon D200 and waterproof casing, and hit the waves to capture his unique view of the world from inside the barrel of a wave.

And so a photography star was born.

sunrise, dawn, beach, shore, Hawaii, Clark Little, floodlight

‘Floodlight’ by Clark Little was taken at dawn right after the sun rises above the horizon. Photo © Clark Little.

Now, eight years later, Clark has carved a name for himself as one of the world’s most distinctive photographers.

“It’s all about loving the water, loving the waves, and having a passion for photography,” he says. Check out his work here

Searching for something different in Clark’s world means waiting for mother nature to produce a sunset that is just the right shade of red, orange and yellow matched with the pull of the crystal clear water reaching up to the sky before it coils and rolls, crashing back down onto the white sandy beaches that decorate the island.

But it’s not as easy as floating on the surface and watching the sky transform.  Shooting in the midst of a 15ft wave is not for the faint-hearted.  Powerful rips and strong currents make Clark’s photography a dangerous exploit, with some waves chewing him up and spitting him out in 10 seconds, and others holding him underwater for up to 15 seconds.

'There's a thrill and little bit of fear. I'm knee deep, looking into this cave of water, trying to position my hand as steady and level as I can and then I'm hitting the trigger as the wave is getting close -sometimes 20, sometimes ten, sometimes five feet away, and I'm shooting from two to ten to 12 frames.' - Clark Little  Photo © Clark Little.

‘There’s a thrill and little bit of fear. I’m knee deep, looking into this cave of water, trying to position my hand as steady and level as I can and then I’m hitting the trigger as the wave is getting close -sometimes 20, sometimes ten, sometimes five feet away, and I’m shooting from two to ten to 12 frames.’ – Clark Little
Photo © Clark Little.

The rewards, however, are worth the effort.  “If you’re afraid, you’re not going to get that heavy shot,” he explains.  Fins, a long sleeve rash guard, and unfaltering bravery in the face of huge waves are mandatory ingredients for anyone chasing the prefect photo from within the spin cycle of nature’s washing machine.

Chasing the prefect wave also requires patience and persistence.  To capitalize on the ’10 minute golden hour’ that offers up the best conditions for shooting a sunrise or sunset, it is imperative that Clark has his kit in order and selects the optimum camera/lens combination for the shot he envisions. Listen to Clark as he talks to us about his work here

It goes without saying that waterproof housing is a must, but for other shots he packs the following:

Shot: A Big Shore Break

The Nikon D4 offers the speed Clark needs to keep up with the water cascading around him, and the 10-11 frames per second (versus, for instance, the Nikon D4s) allows him to capture as much action as possible before sneaking out of the back of the wave after it breaks.

The 10.5mm fisheye lens is his preferred lens for capturing breath-taking shore side images as it offers him the widest angle possible to snap a huge barrel, including the lip crashing, the sand sucking up the floor beneath him, and the backdrop of the mountains.

clark little, shorebreak, waves,  photography, nature

‘I have seen people break their arms, legs and even necks from the force of these shorebreak waves.’ – Clark Little. Photo © Clark Little.

Shot: Tumbling Ocean Swell 

To capture ocean swell and the exotic wildlife that Hawaii has to offer, the Nikon D800 is compact enough in size and light enough in weight to allow Clark to get super close to the turtles, dolphins, and sharks (yes, sharks!) that he shares his home with.

Back in the editing suite in his garage, the 38.3 megapixels that the Nikon D800 offers means that he can still crop his work and end up with very high image quality.

wave, photography, blue, clark little, Hawaii

‘A lot of people who’ve never surfed or even gone into the ocean love these photographs. I’m happy to be able to share my love and passion for the beauty I see.’ – Clark Little. Photo © Clark Little.

 

Shot: Nightshots

To shoot at night, Clark uses the Nikon SB-910 speedlight to illuminate the barrel of a wave from the inside, sending shockwaves of light through the glistening clear water like the luminous current in a jellyfish.  “It’s spooky,” he says, which is often the feeling reflected in the photos.

Above all else in Clark’s work, there is a real sense of dedication and passion in his portfolio.  Not content with simply being a professional photographer, Clark injects his life, his home, his enthusiasm, and his overriding sense of gratitude and respect for nature into every one of his images.  The combination of that perfect swelling wave coupled with a rich backdrop of buttery yellows and lively reds under an endless sky overlooking paradise makes Clark’s images almost seep out of the screen.

“If I woke up and this was my dream, I’d be like, wow that was cool, I wish it was real…but it is!” he remarks.  Chasing his dream and making his work and his passion part of his life are what has made Clark’s photography something truly different, and truly special.

Looking for more from Clark? Get the full scope of Clark’s work, kit and pick up tips while you’re at it here

 

 

 

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Every two years, Cologne goes photo crazy.

Photokina, one of the world’s largest events in photography takes place every two years at the Koelnmesse in Cologne. It’s an international event that brings together photographers and filmmakers in one glorious celebration of everything imaging based. Eight days of discovery, education, fun and great memories.

For Nikon, this year was fantastic, and we thoroughly enjoyed seeing so many people join us at the Nikon stand. Whether you were a professional trying out the latest D810, or a photography fan having fun with the Interactive Light Box, or a professional coming to get your cameras cleaned by our onsite team, or just interested in The Future of Imaging… Nikon had it all.

The five presenters for Nikon at Photokina 2014

The five Nikon professional photographers sharing their tips and best practices to fans at the Nikon stand at Photokina 2014

On stage, we had five of the world’s most inspirational professional photographers sharing their passion for photography with special talks and presentations. Athlete and action-addict Ray Demski, former snowboarder-turned-professional photographer Marcel Lämmerhirt, and adventure photographer Lucas Gilman, gave insights and tips on getting great action shots. Corey Rich made jaws drop as he spoke of his emotional and visually stunning journey behind The Making of Dedicated, while fine art and fashion photographer Miss Aniela added a touch of glamour to the occasion as she revealed the creative process, and hard work, involved in capturing some of her most striking portraits.

An example of the action shots Ray Demski is known for. At Photokina Ray gave Nikon fans the low-down on how he achieves his world acclaimed images.

An example of Ray Demski’s action shots. At Photokina, Ray gave Nikon fans the low-down on how to achieve these.

All the speakers spent time with fans after the presentations, answering questions and offering advice to photographers wishing to further develop their skills. And then it got serious. Corey and Lucas challenged each other to a Western-style shoot out during one of the breaks, putting their speed, agility and (to a lesser extent) photography skills to the test – who do you think won?

At the heart of the Nikon booth was the Interactive Light Box, where visitors could have their photo taken from above, with the image being projected onto a choice of backdrops. Whether they decided to ‘sit on a skyscraper’ or ‘climb the mast of a sailboat’ the image was projected across a ceiling canopy of LCD screens and could be downloaded from the Nikon Life website.

And, if you spotted a Facebook friend walking a tightrope across a waterfall, look again! We set up a vast optical illusion outside the Koelnmesse South Entrance to capture people striking a fun pose as they pretended to cross the waterfall. Naturally, all-round action hero Ray Demski took it to the extreme with a one-handed balancing act, while Marcel perched on the rocks to shoot his acrobatic display.

Action photographer Ray Demski shows us his daring handstand.

Action photographer Ray Demski shows us his daring handstand.

These were just a few of the many highlights from Cologne. We can’t wait until next time. Thank you to all of the Nikon fans who came and helped make it a truly great experience. If you missed out on this year’s spectacle, you can watch a selection of videos from the event on our Youtube channel or find us on Facebook.

See you in Cologne in 2016!

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Kim Pimmel’s Compressed 02 timelapse photography project reveals the beauty of bubbles and nature.

In his day job Kim Pimmel is a senior UX designer for Microsoft, outside of this he is also a photographer. A photographer who likes to experiment with colour, textures and light.

In one of his projects called Compressed, Kim investigates the photographic effects of liquids and bubbles. He challenges viewers to see something deeper in the ebb and flow of an intricate network of bubbles. His work explores and creates hypnotizing images, making bubbles a natural phenomena that feel far from real.

Kim Pimmel’s work embodies endless experimentation, fueled by a fascination for the organic flow of patterns, textures and nature’s prophecies. A subject matter reserved for the ever curious, Kim’s Compressed series is a concoction of the “mundane” with the strange.

Perhaps some will connect Kim’s work with sci-fi overtones, a modern reflection of the fabled 2001, A Space Odyssey sequence. “Compressed 02”  harnesses the power of the unusual and unseen, and is equally unnerving in a manner that is hard to look away from. The music Kim composed lends its hands to this, exuding an atmosphere that is alien. Kim believes that building the soundtrack while editing allowed image and audio to come together in the strongest possible way.


Compressed 02 from Kim Pimmel on Vimeo

Not only does the series revolve around experimentation, the process of filming was a series of trial and errors. Kim was first forced to play around with the quality of bubbles before even introducing the chosen black liquid. “The black liquid in the film is ferrofluid, and this is essentially tiny metal particles suspended in fluid, so it is naturally attracted to magnets. The black sphere in the film is a small magnet, which pulls the ferrofluid towards itself. But not all the motion of the ferrofluid was done through magnetism – most of it was actually done using the natural capillary action of the bubbles.”

Shooting all the scenes using a macro lens was a must, however Kim didn’t have one to start with. He resorted to taping a medium lens backwards in front of a Nikon nifty fifty, a home-brew lens that “got the job done” but lacked aperture control. Finally, he decided to buy an AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D lens, which proved most effective. Yet even with the new lens, the difficulties of focusing on the moving object and the unpredictable nature of fluids movements was challenging. In total he captured 375,000 shots with his Nikon D90.

His DIY ingenuity didn’t end there: “With Compressed 02 I was still using stop motion techniques – shooting still frames and combining them on the computer. The advantage to this was that I got close to 4K resolution footage using only my D90. I also made my own intervalometer, which meant that I could capture scenes as close to real time as possible.”

These powerful and mesmerizing images that Kim creates do not only describe beauty in unpredictable interactions, but also in how the viewer reacts to such abstract imagery. Where one person finds comfort another may feel fear and urgency – and that is the power of nature, Kim says.

You can follow Kim Pimmel on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kpimmel
His photographic work is on Flickr: http://bit.ly/1tlWeQO
And his videos are available on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/kimpimmel

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Five Tips for Better Travel Photography with Nikon professional photographer Scott A. Woodward

As most will attest, making great photographs has little to do with owning the best and most expensive equipment. The real secret behind great photography  is in how you see a moment and interpret it in a still frame, regardless of what type of camera you are using.  

Are you able to make something ordinary appear extraordinary  by showing it differently?  Are you able to make the viewer feel an emotion when they see your photograph?   Are you able to transport someone to a moment with you simply by pressing the shutter?

I once read that a camera is a great excuse to delve into a place deeper than we otherwise would.  I like this description.  Searching for an interesting photograph forces us to look at our surroundings  differently, to explore a place further, to look beyond the obvious and hunt for something unique and special.  

SCOTT-A-WOODWARD_1SW1943

Scene from A Journey to Perfection: The New Nikon D4S when Nikon professional photographer Scott A. Woodward heads to Bhutan to test the Nikon D4S’s capbabilities.

 

 #1 –Be inspired

Research the destinations and locations your travels will take you ahead of time.  The more you know about where you will be shooting, the better prepared you can be.  Try to have some ideas for the types of photographs you want to create beforehand.  There is no shame in looking at other photographers’ interpretations of a location or scene.  Use others’ work – there is an endless stream of imagery from photographers across the globe on Instagram and Facebook and Flickr and Twitter – to be inspired and help get your creative juices flowing so you can create your own unique photography.

 

  #2 Add life to landscapes

Beautiful landscape shots can be breathtaking, but if you’ve ever been subjected to a friend of family member’s holiday snaps, you know how dull they can become after you’ve looked at dozens of them in a row.  Try adding people to your landscape photographs.  Even if they occupy just a little bit of space within your frame, a human touch helps make a more powerful photograph: it gives scale to an image, offers perspective and adds drama.

Travel Photography Tip: When shooting people, frame them up with interesting local elements to add a sense of context to the shot. Photo Credit: Scott A. Woodward using the Nikon D4S Shutter Speed: 1/400” Aperture: F10

‘When shooting people, frame them up with interesting local elements to add a sense of context to the shot.’ Scott A. Woodward. Nikon D4S. Shutter Speed: 1/400, Aperture: F10 Photo ©  Scott A. Woodward

   

#3 Play with light

The most critical ingredient in all great photographs is the lighting.  The best images always make interesting and powerful use of light.  The angle of the sun significantly affects the warmth, contrast and texture of a photograph.  As often as possible, shoot in the warm “golden hours” of early morning and late afternoon (one hour after sunrise or one to two hours before sunset when the sun is low and the light is soft and yellow/orange).   Dramatic light can make even the most mundane subjects appear outstanding, so also be on the lookout for beams of light peeking through clouds, filtering through trees, or shining through windows.  Make use of long shadows cast during the golden hours, and try to use backlighting to silhouette your subjects.

 

Photography tip, light, travel photography, lighting

‘The most critical ingredient in all great photographs is the lighting. The best images always make interesting and powerful use of light.’ – Scott A. Woodward. Nikon D4S.

 #4 Experiment

Be on the lookout for creative and dynamic angles.  Shoot without looking through the viewfinder.  Shoot speeding traffic by moving the camera at the same speed as the vehicles.  Get on the ground and shoot up.  Climb a tree and shoot down.  Shoot without the flash.  Try long exposures.

Get close to your subjects.  And when you think you’re close, get even closer.  The more creative you get, the more you’ll learn about what works and what doesn’t work, and the better your photographs will be. Or maybe you’ll just get lucky and make a beautiful accident.

#5 – Be a tourist in your own city

To me, people don’t necessarily have to travel to make “travel photography”.  London is an exotic destination to someone who lives in Bangkok, just as Bangkok is an exotic destination to someone who lives in London.  There are fascinating places, characters and stories everywhere – even in our own backyards.  My advice is to be a tourist in your own city: explore your familiar surroundings with a keen eye and you will find wonderful photographic opportunities.  This practice and experimentation  will help you be better prepared when you do finally go on a big adventure.

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More about Scott …

When asked to describe his photography style, Scott said, ‘ I call my photography  style “Choose Your Own Adventure Photography”,  after the books I used to read as a child. Literally and creatively, I can go one direction and discover a remarkable photographic  opportunity; or I can go another direction and find something entirely different. It is this adventure that is the beauty of photography for me.’

When Scott was a young boy his father, an avid and accomplished  amateur photographer, taught him how to operate a manual camera, skilfully interpret light and imaginatively compose an image. But more importantly,  his dad instilled in him a sense of wonder and adventure .

Scott’s editorial work has appeared in publications  such as National Geographic Magazine, Condé Nast Traveller, Travel + Leisure, Departures, Monocle, Vogue, GQ, Esquire, The Financial Times and The New York Times and he has photographed  advertising campaigns for global brands like Google, MasterCard,  Adidas, Nokia, InterContinental Hotels, Johnnie Walker, Nestle, Standard Chartered Bank, Johnson & Johnson and Unilever.  Luerzer’s Archive honoured Scott as one of the “200 Best Ad Photographers  Worldwide”  and Nikon named him “One of Asia’s Finest Photographers”.

See how Scott captures his images in A Journey to Perfection: The New Nikon D4S

You can follow Scott on Instagram, Twitter, or learn more about him by checking out his blog and website 

 

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What’s it like to be a pro photographer covering a much anticipated and keenly followed worldwide event? Nikon UK Ambassador and 2012 Olympics Photographer of the Year 2012, Mark Pain, was in Brazil on the ground and has been keeping a diary for us! Here is part two of four.

The Opening Match & Ceremony Day – 1

FIFA WORLD CUP 2014, Arena De Sao Paolo, Brazil, Pro photographer, the pitch

My Football Diary, Brazil – Nikon UK Ambassador Mark Pain at the Arena De Sao Paolo. Photo © Mark Pain.

What a day. It started with a 5:20am landing at Sao Paulo airport, but I didn’t clear passport control until 9:15am!  Absolute carnage in the arrivals hall with thousands of fans from competing countries all arriving at the same time – the airport was totally unprepared for the level of traffic. It was all very good natured, though, with fans of all countries mixing well together as they waited for that precious Brazil stamp in their passport. It has to be said though that the English fans on my plane from London looked by far the grumpiest as we waited for hours to get out of the airport. The Costa Ricans were the most lively and upbeat with almost all of them travelling in their red team colours. Awesome supporters!

On arriving at Arena De Sao Paolo it was obvious that the stadium was nowhere near ready to host the opening game. I feared the worst for the photographers’ working conditions too. Whilst the collection of accreditation was simple and quick, the structure and the condition of the stadium itself was shocking. Nothing was finished, from the Media Centre to the VIP areas I managed to walk through during Brazil’s training session. It was all a complete shambles. However it looked great on TV, and that’s all they care about really. But the fact is this was the most unfinished stadium I have ever worked in. I managed to shoot some exclusive pictures of workmen finishing the temporary stand at one end of the ground during Brazil’s final training session and bizarrely all the workers downed tools to watch their heroes practice.

 

A construction worker at the Arena De Sao Paolo takes time out to watch Brazil's final training session before tomorrow first game of the 2014 World Cup Brazil World Cup 2014 - Arena de Sao Paolo Picture : Mark Pain   11/6/2014

My Football Diary, Brazil – A construction worker at the Arena De Sao Paolo takes time out to watch Brazil’s final training session before tomorrow’s first game. Photo © Mark Pain.

During the session I was able to walk freely into the VIP areas of the ground which were still being put together, partition walls being created, loose electrical cables dangling from ceilings being hidden, men with saws all over the place, pot plants being carried and drinks vending machines being delivered in a panic on trolleys. All on the day before the opening game. Madness really.

Opening Match – Brazil v Croatia – Sao Paolo

Brazil v Croatia photo match ticket  Arena De Sao Paolo

My Football Diary, Brazil – My Brazil v. Croatia match ticket! Arena de Sao Paolo. Photo © Mark Pain.

Well the day finally arrived, after all that planning. What kit to bring? How to carry it around? Where to stay? Where in the stadium should I shoot the game from? And how good exactly is the new Nikon 400mm 2.8 and can I get my hands on one?

All these questions and a thousand more had gone through my mind in the last six months. Some questions you can try to find answers to way before your trip, but there is only so much you can plan. You have to be fully prepared to be able to work at your absolute best in the surroundings around you, and many questions can only be answered fully once you set foot in the stadium. Especially when it’s your first game at a new tournament, in a new country.

How big are the advertising boards on the pitch going to be? Will I be able to see easily over them to shoot the game? Having shot Brazil’s training session in the stadium the day before I was able to get a good idea of how it would work out.

The first photographers briefing at a big football tournament is always an interesting event. Have they learnt any lessons from the previous tournament? Have the photographers’ comments been taken on board? Sao Paulo was no different; organised chaos really.

Photographers brief sport photography Brazil World Cup 2014 behind the scenes

My Football Diary, Brazil – The usual chaos during the photographer’s briefing. Photo © Mark Pain.

Photography agency pre-allocation planning pitch Brazil World Cup 2014

My Football Diary, Brazil – Photography agency pre-allocation plan around the pitch. Photo © Mark Pain.

As you can see from the map of the available positions (above) all of the big international wire agencies (Reuters, Getty, AP, AFP and EPA) have pre-allocated positions on the pitch, mainly in the four corners. The other positions are decided on a priority basis, with each photographer allocated a priority of 1, 2, 3 or 4 for each match. The priorities are:

1) Photographers from the two competing teams
2) Brazilian Photographers
3) Photographers from other countries whose national teams are qualifiers
4) Photographers from other countries

Within those priorities you can choose your position on the pitch on a first come first served basis; those who get to the Media Centre earliest on the day of the game have first choice of where to sit within their priority category.

Each photographer gets an individually numbered seat to sit on which has both power and an Ethernet cable running to it. There is also media WiFi in the stadiums but a cabled internet connection is always preferable as the WiFi tends to go down when 50,000 plus spectators are in the stadium.

When you get accredited to cover such a huge event you then have to apply for individual games that you want to cover and tell them where you want to shoot it from. You have a choice of shooting it from the normal pitch positions or you can shoot it from the stands which is called a “tribune” position. These positions are high up in the stands and can work really well for big matches – often providing the iconic images we all remember and this is where I had chosen to shoot from months ago. The position also works very well for the Opening Ceremony as the elevation gives you a great overall view of the show from high above the pitch. It’s also a great position for shooting a 360 degree picture which I needed to do for the Daily Mail Plus App.

If you shoot from the tribune, you are allocated to a specifically numbered seat for the whole game. This can be a bit of a lottery as you have no control of where it will be in relation to the pitch. It is invariably on the front row half way up the main stands that run along the length of the pitch. Sometimes you are towards one end overlooking a penalty area but my seat was almost bang on the half way line – ideal for the opening ceremony and most of the action on the pitch.

Nikon provide all accredited photographers with full technical support throughout the football tournament. They have a dedicated service area inside the Media Centre at every match in every venue. They not only clean and repair your equipment (within reason) free of charge, but they also have an excellent loan facility. You can literally borrow anything you want for the match if they’ve got it – and they had a lot of kit in Brazil.

Nikon Service Centre FIFA WORLD CUP 2014 pro-photographer sports Arena De Sao Paolo

My Football Diary, Brazil – Dedicated Nikon Service Centre. Spot the new recently announced Nikon 400mm 2.8 lenses in the front? Photo © Mark Pain.

I had been trying to get my hands on one of the new recently announced Nikon 400mm 2.8 lenses for the opening match, but they were so new that Nikon themselves weren’t actually sure how many samples of the lenses they would have in Brazil and in what venues. It turns out they only had one lens in São Paulo and I was given exclusive use of it for the game along with the new 1.4 converter. This was a worldwide first professional test of the lens at a big sports event. I was given a full debrief of the new 400mm 2.8 and had all the big differences pointed out to me. Then off to the tribune position for the first game!

New Nikon 400mm 2.8 pitchside Arena De Sao Paolo FIFA WORLD CUP 2014

My Football Diary, Brazil – There she is! The recently announced AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8G ED VR. Photo © Mark Pain.

FIFA WORLD CUP 2014 kickoff Brazil vs. Croatia dove Arena De Sao Paolo the pitch

My Football Diary, Brazil – The kickoff: Brazil vs. Croatia in the Arena De Sao Paolo. Photo © Mark Pain.

The game itself ended in a 3-1 victory for Brazil, Neymar scored and the party in Brazil had started. Neymar-mania had taken off!  If only they knew what was to come. There were signs even in that first game that not all was right with the Brazilian team – they won 3-1 but the Croatians had given them a real test.

First impressions were that the new 400mm is super-sharp, beautifully balanced and much more flexible to use now that it is 0.85Kg lighter that the lens it replaces.

2014 World Cup Brazil World Cup Brazil v Croatia Neymar celebrates Brazil vs. Croatia Arena De Sao Paolo

My Football Diary, Brazil – Neymar celebrates Brazil vs. Croatia Arena De Sao Paolo. Photo © Mark Pain.

The lens has been completely redesigned and uses two large fluorite glass elements at the front of the lens that help to reduce the weight. The lens also now has a completely new electronic motorised aperture diaphragm which they have been able to move further towards the middle of the lens. The combination of the reduction in weight and the improved balance make for excellent handling it feels so much more usable in the field. I still used it on a monopod but I reckon at a stretch you could hand hold it for a while, something you could never do with the old 400mm. It now has a one piece hood which is actually longer than the old two piece hood when they’re combined together for use. So the lens with the hood on is longer. It comes with a new lightweight lens case who is SO much lighter – out goes the old heavyweight lens box. However the guys at Nikon say that the new case is stronger.

This was part two of four of Mark Pain’s diary. Make sure to check back later for the rest of the story. In part three, Mark continues his football tournament adventure in Manaus in the Amazon Rainforest.

For more insight into the life of a pro-sports photographer, visit blog.markpain.com and see more of Mark’s award winning images at www.markpain.com

Mark Pain is the current 2012 Olympics Photographer Of The Year and has twice been named as the Sports Photographer Of The Year in the UK.

 

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