Thursday, July 23, 2015

Not Quite Retired Yet

Not me - My Nikon D70. I purchased this camera back in 2004 for the purpose of shooting the Key West Fantasy Fest. Don't search my site for those photos. They are tucked away in a vault somewhere. I shot 4,000 photos that week. I only managed a few today as rain threatened.

I have this dream that I may like nature photography. Not to mention after shooting for 10 years, I may want to learn how to handle a camera. What better way than to purchase a very inexpensive, fully manual 500 MM lens for an ancient camera. By fully manual I mean focus, aperture, shutter speed, everything. I'm starting a new life by starting over. Hopefully doing it right this time. This is what I learned today.

For starters this lens needs a tripod. That should be obvious so to be consistent I brought my original, light weight tripod. Also the remote which I used more times today than the 10 years I've had it. I found that even the slight wind we had today was enough to shake the camera. Just firing it required a few seconds for the camera to settle. The next thing I learned is exposure times are hard. I've always been spoiled by the automatic settings of my cameras. I shot the above tree in about 3 minutes, full sun. What a dramatic difference a slight spin of the dial makes.

One item that really stood out is I was taking photos of things I could not even see. That fire plug is a bike ride away. The houses are on the other side of the golf course. I can't get closer than 40 feet and make a shot but 1,000 feet no problem.  

I normally shoot with both eyes open so I can see the action around me in case there is a better shot. With this set up - its all set up. No random shooting and the image in the eye piece requires full concentration to dial in the focus. Something I was unable to do in over half the shots. 

Once I got it figured out I was pretty happy with the results. Then came the rain. When I bought my D70 in 2004, I paid just about two grand for the camera and all the extras. A few years ago I got caught in a tremendous downpour in the Everglades and shorted the camera out. I got a replacement body on E-Bay - $75.00.

I have far better cameras in my inventory but it's skills I want to work on right now.  Next time out I will use the professional tripod and see if it makes a difference - Stay Tuned.


  1. That is quite the set-up, and those are quite the lenses! Neat to see the different shots. I am just barely working on learning "manual" on my Canon SX50, so what you're doing here is way beyond me!

  2. Definitely no point 'n shoot there, Bob. And that would be a great learning experience for all those used to having the camera do most of the work. Amazing how quickly things lose their (monetary) value.

  3. This camera is like a toy compared to my other two. I've done a great job buying but a poor job learning. I'm take this opportunity to reset and learn.