D700 Returned

I was very happy last Friday to collect my D700, back from the camera doctor. Looks as good as new and the sensor is clean again – I don’t suppose that will last though. It feels so different from my old D50, lovely large, bright viewfinder, heavier of course, and having the ISO flexibility so useful.

I managed to get out on Sunday with the Christchurch Photographic Society on Onawe and Okains Bay on Banks Peninsula. An interesting trip and well attended. I had never been to either of these locations. At Onawe there are interesting rock formations, lots of colours, shapes and patterns, as long as you get there when the tide is out ūüôā




After Onawe we traveled to Okains Bay and spent some time at the Okains Bay Museum, including the Blacksmiths which was working.




Snow Days

The weather forecast turned out to be correct and we got snow; actually we got a lot of snow. The whole of New Zealand was hit by a blast of cold air from the Antarctic bringing ice and snow to most of the country. They even had snow in Auckland which is very unusual.

We awoke on Monday to a few inches of snow and heavy snow showers, I headed out early with my camera and got very cold and very white. I just about managed to keep the snow off my camera lens.


Early Morning Snow

My favourite image was taken about 20 minutes walk away in driving snow, I found a green patch in the snow…


A lot of the snow melted over the course of the day but we awoke on Tuesday to even more snow on the ground – I cleared about 6 inches from my driveway – but blue skies. Another photo walk was irresistible.




Kaiapoi Anglican Church (HDR)

Fortunately I remembered to use exposure compensation to control the exposure of the snow, although given the various types of processing used on my images it is not always obvious! The snow has pretty much all gone now, the kids had a great time, businesses less so with travelling difficult or impossible. Apparently this is a once in a lifetime event, which may happen again later in the month…


White Whites and Black Blacks

Since we have snow forecast for the beginning of next week (for the second time in two weeks) I thought maybe a quick tip on getting exposures correct for snow would be a good idea.

When a camera meters a scene it basically tries to make the scene a neutral grey colour, this means that if you take an image containing lots of (hopefully) white snow and you don’t make any adjustments you will end up with snow which is grey rather than white. Fortunately fixing this is easy, you just need to overexpose the image a little by adjusting the exposure compensation control. Add a little +ive exposure compensation will make the snow white again; usually between 1 and 2 stops is enough – just be careful to not blow out the highlights.

Don’t forget that the opposite adjustment is required for predominantly black scenes, a black cat in a coal mine had better be under exposed by dialing in a little -ive exposure compensation.


An a completely different topic, a couple of snapshots from a wet and cold visit to Ferrymead last weekend…


Ferrymead : From the Train


Ferrymead : Printing

Backup Camera

So I had a slight accident with my camera while away in Kaikoura. I was taking some images with my D700 and 80-200 lens on a tripod in a howling gale with snow coming down, I went to pick up my gloves while my fingers were still almost working and my camera came crashing down on the rocks. The good news was that the camera and lens still more or less worked, the lens would jam when focussing sometimes but no broken glass, the camera got a few dents and scratches but also still worked Рthank goodness as I really needed it last Friday.


I took both lens and camera in to Photo & Video International to get them fixed and have been using my previous Nikon D50m for the last week. This has actually been quite interesting, for me at least. The camera is much lighter and smaller but I found it very strange to use at first but I seem to have just about worked it out again. The interesting thing for me is that I am taking better images with it than I used to (at least I think so!) The low light performance is not great, it is only 6 megapixels but having taken over 20000 in the last 10 months with the D700 I really feel that the practise has improved my photography. It is nice to know that the theory works and that practise really does make you better.


My lens is apparently ready to collect, not too expensive but the camera will be another week or maybe two, the parts and labour add up quite quickly and all I can say is thank goodness for insurance!


Nikon D50