Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My new D3

Anybody who knows me, knows I'm a total gadget geek. So when I got my new D3 last week, I was like a kid with a new bike... a $5,000 bike, but a new bike nonetheless. My first two assignments I got to exploit the features that I was most excited about the camera.


The first assignment of the day was the "I Love America Parade" at Dyess Elementary School. It was a typical assignment, but the part I was excited about was I was able to exploit the full frame ability of my D3 and use my old 20mm lens, my favorite lens that I've had since college. I missed my old friend, using the 14mm lens on a digital camera just isn't the same, the 20mm has a lower profile and isn't as much of a "conversation piece." It looks just like any old lens.


Later that day... I went up to Snyder, about 80 miles northwest of Abilene for a baseball playoff game. It was a pretty boring game, a pitchers duel, the kind of game I love to watch as a fan and HATE to shoot as photojournalist. Well, after watching players from both teams do nothing the first two innings it was time to play around. The light was really pretty and this lack of action was wasting some really pretty light. So I went and sat behind home plate, I figured if it was going to be a pitchers duel, I better get a few shots of the pitcher to cover myself.

Well, after about three pitches, I had about all I need and then some of the pitcher. And since there were no baserunners and no one was hitting I figured I'd play around. Silhouetting the batter, catcher and umpire, with the picther in the background. Then I zone focussed hoping to catch the ball sharp and the pitcher in the background. The shot above was actually taken on the first pitch I tried this. Man 9 frames per second is sweet! I shot six or 7 more pitches and got a couple more with the ball in focus, but I liked this one the best b/c of the way the strings were and the pitchers form in the background. We didn't end up using it for the next day's paper. I liked the shot but didn't do much for telling the story.

The game went to extra innings and the lights at Moffett Field are well, high school baseball stadium lights (translation: awful). Luckily and probably one of the best features of the D3 is shooting at high ISO. So I cranked it up to 3200 ISO and kept going. On my D2Hs I would have had to shoot at 1600, with a slower shutter speed and no sure way of knowing I'll have a fast enough shutter to stop action. The D3 was able to let me shoot high enough to not have a worry and I could have even cranked up the ISO another stop if needed.

Another pleasant surprise about the camera is auto white balance actually works!! I was shocked by that. Normally auto WB looks like crap and is totally unusable. Now, even with cycling stadium light the auto WB has saved my ass from some serious need for post-processing to fix the color! Man, this thing really is turning out to be all it's cracked up to be!

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