I AM NIKON Blog

Following our last blog on 360° Panoramic Photography – the first of the three photography trends we’re predicting in 2013, we’re excited to be revealing our next trend: Monochrome photography.

To talk us through this trend in more detail we caught up with Jeremy Walker, an award winning British photographer, specialising in high quality landscape and location photography from around the world.

Through his work he is exposed to a variety of photo trends, but with recent photography fashion relying on the application of filters and effects he believes we will respond by taking a back to basics approach – producing beautiful, classic and elegant black and white photography.

Can you talk us through what Monochrome photography is?

Black and white images take us back to where photography began. Creating monochrome images is photography in its simplest, raw form. They are uncluttered from the distractions of colour, focusing purely on the photo’s tone, texture, shape, drama, mood and crucially on its visual impact.

Slains Castle, Scotland.

Image © Jeremy Walker taken with a Nikon D3X at focal length 35mm, ISO 100, aperture f/8, exposure time 30sec

Why will we see more of it in 2013?

We live in a world of colour, widescreen televisions, iPads and smartphones – we are bombarded with bright images from every angle, every day. Black and white photography is the antidote to the modern world. It is imaging at its creative best that will stand out from the crowd. When done right, it can be visionary, a novelty. It is still considered to be cool and it is definitely art.

Monochrome images suit a broad spectrum of subject matter, from people and architecture to travel and landscapes. They work well in all lighting conditions and ‘poor’ light can become moody and dramatic – a photographer’s best friend.

Above all black and white imagery has simplicity and depth – qualities that in a colour world will stand out from the crowd and have impact.

Jeremy Walker 2_small

Image © Jeremy Walker taken with a Nikon D200 at 200 ISO with NIKKOR 70-200mm at focal length 200mm, shutter speed 1/250 secs, aperture f/2.8, hand held with vibration reduction on

Can you share with us any tips for getting the most out of beautiful black and white photography?

Give your image depth – Due to the lack of colour to lead the eye, look for foreground interest, middle distance subject matter and then ideally something in the background when framing your shot. If you choose to isolate one element instead, place it a third of the way into the frame – this is known as the ‘Rule of Thirds’, a technique photographers have been using successfully for years.

Consider all angles and viewpointsSearch for the quirky and different, avoid following the crowd. The lack of colour forces the viewer to concentrate much more on the composition, so be creative. The Nikon D5200’s vari-angle LCD monitor helps you take images from virtually any position.

Observe the natural direction of the lightMonitor how it changes during the day and with varying weather conditions. Identifying strong shadows, tones, textures and shapes will be integral to the monochrome image. Artificial light sources such as street lamps and torches can be useful as you will not have to worry about creating unwanted colour casts.

Experiment with different shutter speedsSlower shutter speeds will introduce blur, motion and a new dynamic to an image. By mounting your camera on a tripod you can use slow shutter speeds of seconds or even minutes to produce ghostly, ethereal black and white images. This works at its best when one part of the subject moves during the exposure and goes blurry (such as waves) and one element is stationary and will remain sharp (cliffs and rocks) – a perfect technique for coastal scenes, rivers and waterfalls.

Try moving the camera during the exposure Usually known as panning, choose a moving subject, such as a person running, a car or a train, point the camera at your subject and move in the same direction of travel. If you use a moderately slow shutter speed (such as a 15th of a second) your subject will be sharp but the background blurred, giving a sense of motion and direction. However, you will need to experiment with different speeds before you find the ideal setting.

If you’re inspired by Jeremy’s tips, will you be giving black and white photograph a try? Let us if there’s any tips you’d like to share with fans by commenting below!

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If you’re thinking of focusing a photography vacation around the colours of autumn, or just want to spend a day or two in pursuit of the season’s hues, we have some great tips from nature photographer Rod Planck. Read on…

Light

Not all things need be, or should be, photographed in bright sun. In autumn, sunlight is desirable only early and late, when it’s essentially sidelighting. “An overcast day is best—first, because you can shoot all day long, and second because the light is soft and even.” Why is this preferable? This season’s colours are saturated colours, and they contrast nicely with a grey day. But remember to avoid expanses of uninteresting white sky. What’s often best is cloud cover illuminated by sunlight.


Image ©Rod Planck
D3S, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
1/250 second, f/16, ISO 560, aperture priority, Matrix metering

Exposure

Rod uses matrix metering for everything, regardless of sunshine or clouds, then checks the histogram to make sure no highlights are being clipped. “I’ll check the LCD to see what I’m getting and dial in some exposure compensation if I need to increase or decrease saturation.” Another exposure setting tip: “Cloud cover will give you less light, and because you’re photographing landscapes, generally you won’t want to sacrifice depth of field by opening up the aperture, so I suggest pushing the ISO to keep your depth of field at a good setting while maintaining a high shutter speed if you’re hand-holding the camera.”

Support

Rod recommends using a tripod. “I use a tripod for everything, so shutter speed isn’t usually an issue. If it’s calm weather, I’ll shoot at the lowest ISO setting and not really care how long the exposure is.”

Elevation

Height will give you a sense of the expanse of an area and the colour. Rod often seeks elevations that give him a straight-on view of the colour array, as in the photo below, for which he was up high enough to look straight into central portions of the trees. “I take advantage of anything I can—a stump, rocks, hills. I’ve stood in the back of a pickup truck.” Don’t forget to look down too. “Late in autumn, the forest floor is as colourful as the treetops were,” Rod says.

Water

Streams, creeks, ponds and rivers can become magical in the fall. When the leaves are turning, the spot you’d just pass by at any other time of the year becomes a great photo location as water gives you reflections, contrast and, with long exposures, texture.

Images ©Rod Planck Images ©Rod Planck
Images ©Rod Planck
Left image: D3S, AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4D IF-ED
1/10 second, f/16, ISO 400, aperture priority, Matrix metering.
Right image: D300, PC-E Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/2.8D
0.8 seconds, f/16, ISO 200, aperture priority, Matrix metering.

Lenses

Rod’s an advocate of the “power of longer lenses”. All the photos here were taken with PC-E Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/2.8D, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II and AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4D IF-ED.

Fog and Mist

They can soften and mute colours, but they add mood, atmosphere, even mystery. In the below image: “The trees were just starting to get some sunlight, and I focused the camera on the foreground reflections, which are still in the shade, so the mist is a different colour temperature, and the bottoms of the trees are still in shadow.”

Image ©Rod Planck
Image ©Rod Planck
D3S, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
1/6 second, f/16, ISO 400, aperture priority, Matrix metering.

Subtleties

Consider some close-ups that are related to autumn, but not to the season’s bright colours, like the image of mushrooms growing on the side of a tree, or the photo of a milkweed seed pod with seeds being dispersed by the wind.

Images ©Rod Planck Images ©Rod Planck
Images ©Rod Planck
Left image: D3S, PC-E Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/2.8D
1/2 second, f/22, ISO 280, aperture priority, Matrix metering.

Right image: D300, AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4D IF-ED
1/5 second, f/16, ISO 400, aperture priority, Matrix metering.

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Today we’re excited to be announcing the AF-S NIKKOR 70–200mm f/4G ED VR, a new FX-format zoom lens with versatile 70–200mm focal range and constant f/4 aperture. A welcome addition to our range of high-performance f/4 NIKKOR lenses, it’s the first NIKKOR lens to be equipped with Nikon’s next-generation Vibration Reduction system that allows for up to 5-stop compensation.

Well-suited to events, travel, wildlife and even sports, the combination of extended vibration reduction capability and high-grade Nikon optics make this the smart choice for enthusiast photographers and pros alike.

AF-S NIKKOR 70–200mm f/4G ED VRAF-S NIKKOR 70–200mm f/4G ED VR

We asked Zurab Kiknadze, our Product Manager for Lenses, Accessories & Software here at Nikon Europe, for his thoughts on the AF-S NIKKOR 70–200mm f/4G ED VR:

“This eagerly anticipated lens offers enthusiast and professional photographers who are on a budget the same uncompromising alternative that NIKKOR f/4 lenses typically offer in comparison to high-end professional lenses. No sacrifices have been made in terms of image quality, and it has the added benefit of the enhanced Vibration Reduction system.”

One stop further

The next-generation Vibration Reduction system incorporated in this lens allows for up to 5-stop compensation, enabling you to shoot at shutter speeds five stops slower than would otherwise be possible. This significant upgrade greatly minimizes the effects of camera shake and extends opportunities for low-light shooting.

There are two VR modes available: Normal for everyday shooting and Active to minimize the high-frequency camera shake experienced when shooting from a moving vehicle. Both modes offer a stable viewfinder image, which ultimately makes focus-point acquisition and framing far more comfortable and precise.

No compromises

Despite its lightweight build, this lens doesn’t cut any corners when it comes to performance. Crafted to deliver outstanding resolution and contrast in diverse conditions, the optical construction boasts 20 elements in 14 groups, and Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coat is employed to combat flare and ghosting.

Well-balanced

Well-balanced in terms of size, weight, price, and image quality, this lens also has a dedicated tripod collar ring – the RT-1. This optional accessory helps improve tripod balance and allows quick, smooth transition between vertical and horizontal orientation when shooting in either portrait or landscape format.

This lens complements the range of recently released AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4 ED VR and AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR lenses.

Check out our Flickr stream at this link http://bit.ly/TJPLZX to see  pictures taken with the AF-S NIKKOR 70–200mm f/4G ED VR lens.

Have you had the chance to take any events travel, wildlife or sports photography recently? Do you use any of our other high-performance f/4 NIKKOR lenses? Let us know by using the comments box below!

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We’re adding two fantastic new lenses to our SLR line up! Both are excellent options for photographers looking for high-performance, versatile, FX and DX format lenses.

First up we‘re introducing the new AF-S NIKKOR 24–85MM F/3.5–4.5G ED VR lens. This new FX-format zoom lens has a broad 24-85mm focal range, compact build and Vibration Reduction. With a versatile reach from wide-angle up to telephoto and a lightweight body, it’s a smart choice for FX camera users looking for a multi-purpose lens that doesn’t cut any corners when it comes to image quality.


Image © Nikon / I Am Nikon – AF-S NIKKOR 24–85MM F/3.5–4.5G ED VR LENS

We asked Zurab Kiknadze, Product Manager (Lenses) at Nikon Europe for his thoughts on the development of the AF-S NIKKOR 24–85MM F/3.5–4.5G ED VR lens:

“The idea behind this lens was to combine a useful focal range with a compact yet sturdy build, but without sacrificing the image quality modern Nikon D-SLRs require. It strengthens Nikon’s range of affordable and versatile FX-format zoom NIKKOR lenses, and is a smart choice for Nikon shooters looking for a practical way to cover a variety of situations.”

Multi-tasker

As Zurab says, the AF-S NIKKOR 24–85MM F/3.5–4.5G ED VR lens is a great choice for those of you looking to multi-task with a walkabout lens that offers the freedom to shoot a wide variety of day-to-day moments and subjects. From landscapes to portraits, you can go fairly wide or zoom into distant objects without needing to change lenses.

See below for a selection of photographs taken using the AF-S NIKKOR 24–85MM F/3.5–4.5G ED VR lens:

Following this, if you’re looking for the perfect all-round DX format lens, say hello to the new AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300MM F/3.5-5.6G ED VR , our new high-powered DX-format zoom lens with wide-angle to super-telephoto reach and Vibration Reduction. Boasting an ultra-high 16.7x zoom ratio and incredibly wide 18-300mm focal range, this new lens is a great all-rounder for photographers with a broad range of interests.


Image © Nikon / I Am Nikon – AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300MM F/3.5-5.6G ED VR LENS

All in One

With its versatile wide-angle to super-telephoto reach, this 16.7x zoom lens is perfect for travel or for times when you only want to take one lens out with you. The remarkable 18-300mm focal range (FX-format/35mm equivalent: 27 to 450mm) easily covers most commonly used focal lengths, going further than many comparable lenses by offering 300mm reach and a maximum aperture of f/5.6 at the telephoto end of the range. From wide landscapes to tight portraits and action photography, this lens will capture it all.

In Focus

Like the AF-S NIKKOR 24–85MM F/3.5–4.5G ED VR, the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300MM F/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens is fully equipped with our second generation Vibration Reduction technology (VRII). This allows substantially sharper handheld images across the zoom range and dramatically reduces image blur, especially when shooting towards the telephoto end of the range. VRII also enables you to shoot using shutter speeds up to four stops slower, enabling you to capture images more effectively when shooting in low light.

See below for a selection of photographs taken using the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300MM F/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens:

70 million NIKKOR lenses

You may remember when we announced on the blog last year that we’d just made our 60 millionth lens. Well today, we’re announcing that our production of NIKKOR Lenses for Nikon interchangeable lens cameras has now reached 70 million! Moreover, total production of AF-S lenses equipped with the Silent Wave Motor (SWM), the autofocus motor developed by Nikon, has reached 30 million.

Since we hit the 65 million milestone, we’ve released four 1 NIKKOR lenses in various colours for the compact and lightweight Nikon 1 J1 and Nikon 1 V1 cameras. We’ve also launched new FX-format compatible NIKKOR lenses that maximize the potential of high-performance cameras such as our flagship D-SLR camera the D4, and the 36.3 million pixel D800 and D800E D-SLRs, over the past two years.

What do you think of these new lenses? Will you be making space for either in your photography kit bag? Why not let us know by commenting below.

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This month, we’re introducing an awesome new wide angle lens to fill the gap between our 24mm and 35mm NIKKOR lenses. A welcome addition to our range of FX-format prime lenses, the AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G boasts a new optical design that makes it a perfect match for today’s high-resolution D-SLRs.

We think it’s the perfect lens for any wide-angle enthusiast – and here’s why:

Wide appeal

The AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G has a large (f/1.8) aperture to deliver sharper shots in low light and enables wonderfully smooth bokeh (the aesthetic quality of the blur in out-of-focus areas of an image). The 28mm focal length lets you put subjects in a wide, pronounced perspective – ideal for shooting in confined spaces, capturing stunning vistas or photographing cityscapes and street scenes – while the improved optical construction controls unwanted distortion.

An image of the AF-S NIKKOR 28MM F/1.8G lens
Image © Nikon / I Am Nikon

Broad advantage

Equipped with a brand new optical design, the AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G supports the increasing resolution of modern D-SLRs with sharp, beautifully rendered stills and movies. Two aspherical lens elements effectively minimise aberrations and correct the distortion that can occur with a wide angle of view. Our exclusive Nano Crystal Coat reduces ghost and flare, and Silent Wave Motor (SWM) gives you discreet, but accurate autofocus.

Compact and durable

With a weather sealed mount and weighing just 330g, the AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G is a solid yet lightweight and compact option that fits easily into your kit bag. Compatible with Nikon FX-format D-SLRs, it offers a 42 mm (equivalent) focal length (when used with Nikon DX-format D-SLRs) and is fully compatible with entry-level models that do not have a built-in autofocus motor.

You can see some photographs taken using the AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G in our Flickr photostream below.

What are your tips for manipulating out of focus points of light? Have you taken any great images recently using shallow focus techniques? Does the AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G sound like the lens for you? Let us know by using the comments box below.

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It’s summer time in Europe and you may find you are taking more photos of water landscapes: vast oceans, calm bays, lazy rivers or maybe busy harbours. Water can look brilliant in photos, but it can also be tricky to shoot, with each scenario presenting its own challenges. With that in mind, here we have some great tips from Lindsay Silverman of Nikon USA on how to get some varied and different kinds of water images.

Boats, with their many interesting angles, shapes and accessories, make great subjects. With boats bobbing gently in their slips, capturing beautiful shots is easy. Just be sure to time it right. As with any photograph you take, the better the light, the better the image. Take advantage of the reflective quality of water. Try shooting in more than one direction, paying particular attention to the position of the sun. When you shoot early in the morning or late in the day, long shadows cast by boats and other objects can add to the interest in your photographs. You can also use the lighting to your advantage to get great reflections, as well as silhouettes.



Image © Lindsay Silverman

This lake and trees with its reflection make for a great photograph. It is also an example of breaking a rule. Most of the time you don’t want to place the horizon line in the centre of the photo, but it works well in this instance, since it is not in the exact centre of the frame.

You can use the light as a tool to make a photograph that appears monochromatic. Monochrome usually refers to black and white but it can also refer to an image that features only one colour. For example, if you shoot a silhouette of a lone sailboat in the middle of the water and both the sky and water are shades of blue, you’ve made a monochromatic image with blue tones. Photographing at sunset can offer up warm monochromes with shades of only oranges, yellows or reds.


Image © Lindsay Silverman

You can make great photographs any time of day or night. This image of a sailboat at sunset shows how colour images can sometimes seem almost monochrome.

And don’t forget about black and white. Changing your image from colour to black and white can really highlight the subject and give your photograph a more artistic feel. You can set your camera to the B&W or monochromatic setting, or convert your colour image to B&W with software once you’re back at your computer.

Zoom in on details…
The waterfront is a great place to make some attention-grabbing close-ups. See how close your lens can focus. If you have one, use a Micro-NIKKOR (macro) lens to fill the frame with your subject. Some of the things that make for great macro photos are buildings or boats with chipped or peeling paint; the texture of aged wood or rusted metal; brightly coloured objects such as buoys and floats, and unique signage.

A visit to a busy harbour filled with boats may seem chaotic at first, but when you take a closer look, you’ll see there is actually some organisation. Boats lined up in their slips or moored off-shore can provide you with repeating patterns that can be captured with a wide-angle lens. Don’t just shoot the obvious or the first thing that catches your eye. Look for patterns in the ropes or other gear that may be laid out on a dock or boat’s deck. If the tide is low enough and there is a safe area of beach beneath a pier, you can make great photographs using the shape of the pilings and shadows falling on the sand. You can also make interesting photos of the texture and shapes of shells, seaweed, driftwood, rocky shorelines or sand dunes.

Creative compositions…
Different angles can make your photos more interesting. Try shooting down from the pier or dock, capturing small boats with only the water as a background. Use a wide-angle lens to capture fishing gear or lobster traps for example, and the harbour, all in one view. Some of the boats you might encounter when shooting on the water include commercial fishing trollers, speedboats, sailboats, multi-sail vessels, kayaks, rowboats, and even cruise ships.


Image © Lindsay Silverman

Seaside towns offer an abundance of wonderful subjects to photograph. Here a fishing boat passes an old building on the waterfront as it returns from a day at sea. Note the juxtaposition of the new boat and peeling paint of the building.

The Rule of Thirds is a photography technique that says you should place your main subject in one of four intersecting areas that occur if you were to view a scene with a grid of two horizontal lines and two vertical lines (like a tic-tac-toe board) over the scene. The main subject should be placed where the lines intersect. Remember too, that if the subject is facing to one side, you will want to have it facing into the photograph—otherwise it may add tension to the picture, because it will seem like it’s going to fall out of the frame.


Image © Lindsay Silverman

It may seem like a vertical subject should be photographed vertically, but here’s a great horizontal view of a lighthouse. By composing the photo so the lighthouse is off-centre, with a lot of open, airy space, it gives the viewer a more interesting photograph to see.

Photograph the people and wildlife too…
And while there are plenty of good shots to be made of all the gear that goes into boating, don’t forget the people there, too. A human figure, silhouetted against the water or sky, adds a personal touch. Take pictures of your kids or other family members walking along the shoreline. Ask them to not look directly at the camera, but to act naturally. These candid photos are likely to be your favourites of the day. A weather worn fisherman hard at work fixing or organising gear might make an interesting photograph. Ask first, if he wouldn’t mind if you take his photo. Most folks will gladly let you take their picture, and some might even pose for the camera.


Image © Lindsay Silverman

This photo is a great example of how you can utilise special effects modes, or Perspective Control (PC-E) lenses to create a unique image, with the perspective of a miniature scene. The Miniature Effect is available in select Nikon cameras as a shooting mode and in others in the retouch menu.

Don’t forget to look for wildlife! Depending upon where you are, you might see seagulls and other birds such as puffins, ospreys, herons, sandpipers or even eagles. Many areas along the ocean coastline will be teeming with such creatures as dolphins, whales, sea lions or turtles. If you’re shooting with a Nikon D-SLR, use a telephoto lens – if you’re using a COOLPIX, zoom in – and you should be able to capture these animals in their own environments. Try zooming in and isolating one animal, or zoom out for a picture that shows multiple animals at play.

Hopefully you’ll find these tips helpful – thanks to Lindsay for supplying them. We’d love to see your photographs of water so feel free to upload them to our Flickr page. If you’re still on the lookout for some more inspiration you can see some more of Lindsay’s great water shots on our Flickr Photostream.

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