I'd always had a passing interest and appreciation for photography. I had a point-and-shoot for years that I dragged out on occasion, but can't make any grand claims about how I was never seen without it. I never went on any photo shoots with it. I'd simply see it sitting there on my way out the door every once in a while and take it with me. All that changed in early 2009 when my dad gave me his D70 after deciding it was more camera than he had the time or interest to use. While I can't exactly say that I exploded onto the scene, the complexity and power of full manual operation of a "real" camera was more than just a little intriguing.
I'd always loved macro shots. I have very fond memories of looking at my dad's underwater photos and instantly falling in love with every single macro shot. I just couldn't get over the fine details that were far beyond anything perceivable with normal human vision. Combining super close up shooting with a super narrow depth of field and a high contrast subject to really bring out the depth of expression in a shot is my basic shooting philosophy. That obviously goes right out the door when shooting landscapes, but I'd categorize a vast majority of my shots as being macro.
After three solid years of service, I felt like I'd pushed the D70 as far as it could go. It took a lot of research to decide where to jump next, but it was definitely time for a new camera. The decision to jump up to an FX body didn't come lightly. The top of the line DX camera (D7000) cost $1,200 while the bottom of the line FX camera (D700) cost $2,700, and that was just for the body. The cost of FX lenses greatly exceeded that of DX lenses. The other problem I was tripping up against, was that the D700 was old (in technology years). It'd been out for three years and was over due for a replacement. The D800 was rumored to be right around the corner, but was (a) rumored to cost $4,000 and (b) had been rumored to be right around the corner for the better part of a year or so. $4,000 + all new lenses was a lot of cash. Since I didn't need
a new camera, I decided to wait.
The waiting paid off. The more I waited, the more research I did. I learned several metric tonnes about both, the technical aspects and artistic aspects of photography. It was during this research that I discovered the treasure trove of information contained on Ken Rockwell's
website. He talked about every aspect of photography there was to talk about (and a few more) as well as reviewed and detailed
every single camera and lens Nikon made. Reading his thoughts (and that's what they are, thoughts, since there are very few hard truths in photography) made me a better photographer. It caused me to think a lot more deeply about what I was doing when I had a camera in my hands.
The waiting paid off again on February 6th, 2012 when the D800 was announced for a full thousand dollars less than the rumors. Moments after the links went up, I had pre-ordered one from Amazon. With that purchase, I squarely entered the realm of professional grade photography. Unfortunately, due to "unprecedented demand" for the D800, it would be several months before I finally had mine in hand. Luckily, I was already accustomed to waiting. Now that I find myself, once again, with a camera and glass that exceeds my abilities, I look forward to more deeply studying the art and experiencing more exponential growth in ability.
Be sure to check the Chronicle
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to watch my progress!
For the gear-heads out there, here's my current setup:
|Memory Cards:||Lexar Professional 600x 32GB Compact Flash|
Lexar Professional 400x 128GB SDXC UHS-I Flash Memory Card
|Remote Shutter Release:||Nikon MC-36A|
|Tripod Legs:||Gitzo GT2531 Series 2 6X Carbon Fiber 3-Section Tripod|
|Tripod Head:||Markins Q-Ball Q3 Emille with Lever Release|
|Tripod Head Plate:||Markins L-Bracket LN-800|
Really Right Stuff BMBD12-L
|Lenses:||Nikon 16mm f/2.8D Fisheye|
Nikon 50mm f/1.4G
Nikon 105mm f/2.8G Micro
Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G