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March 30, 2008

Weekly News From The Nikonians Academy

Nikonians Academy Director Mike Hagen shares news of a last minute cancellation that opens opportunities to attend the Page, Arizona workshop and provides us with not one, but THREE Quick Tips from the Academy staff. The staff shows you how to use the Nikon D300 for outstanding Dynamic Range photography, adjusting your Nikon D3 for quick command of your metering functions and making sure your don't forget the all-important Printer Profile settings.

Due to a last minute cancellation, we now have two seats available for the Page, Arizona workshop next week from April 8th - 12th.
This workshop was sold out and now you have the opportunity to come along for a great adventure through the slot canyons of the American Southwest. We'll be photographing Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Glen Canyon and lots of other great scenes in this beautiful corner of the USA.

Also, we have opened up another American Southwest photo workshop to Moab this Fall. Join us September 15-18, 2008 for an adventure in Utah's slick rock country. Find more details at www.nikoniansacademy.com.

We are listening!
Your emails and comments don't fall on deaf ears. To the contrary! Your input is extremely important to us and we want you to know that we are working hard to respond to your photographic needs. There's so much interest out there on the D300 that we have started planning for an Advanced D300 workshop. It will be a number of months before we can fit it into our schedule, but we are already preparing the content. Also, for you D40, D60, D70 and D80 owners who have written "help me" letters, we have begun to plan for more of these workshops as well. Stay tuned for more to come.

Preparing for San Francisco
We still have seats available for our Advanced Digital Imaging Workflow series in the San Francisco Bay Area this April 10 - 13. Imagine four days of learning about software, hardware, printing and professional workflow from the Nikonians Image Doctors Jason Odell and Rick Walker and Academy Director Mike Hagen. It's going to be great.

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Quick Tips Bonanza!
We have Quick Tips for you on the Nikon D300 and the D3, and also for our inkjet printing Nikonians.

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Use your D300 to work with Dynamic Range photography
One of the main topics we cover in our Nikon D300 workshops is how to properly use the AE-L/AF-L button. What most people don't realize is that there are 14 ways to program this button! Like most things on the D300, the myriad of choices is often overwhelming and knowing which is "right" can be confusing. One of the ways I like to use this button is to lock the exposure for different elements of a photograph in order to get the proper tonality (exposure) on my subject.

AE-L-Steps.jpg

In this sequence of photographs, the dynamic range is too great for the sensor to capture in one photograph. So, I used the AE-L button to help me take two exposures of the same scene. One was exposed for the sky and the other was exposed for the building. For the first photo, I aimed the light meter at the sky and pressed the AE-L button to lock the exposure.
I then recomposed and took the photo. For the second photo, I metered off the building and pressed the AE-L button to lock exposure there. I then took the same composition as the first photo.

The final step of the process is to bring the photo into Photoshop and then copy the sky from one image and paste it to the second image. The result is a perfect, all around photo that couldn't be accomplished by just pointing and shooting with your D300.

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Using the D3 Custom Menu for Metering Solutions
This last week I've been using a Nikon D3 for all my photography and I'm really blown away by how impressive this camera is in low light situations. This morning, I was hand-holding the D3 with a 300mm lens in a room lit with one light bulb. I set the ISO to 6400 and was getting tack sharp photos of my daughter that looked incredible! This camera is amazing. Because the lighting was so low and contrasty, I wanted to get a great exposure for my daughter by just metering on her cheek.
Normally, I use 3D Matrix metering, but in this situation I wanted to nail the exposure, so I activated the spot meter. The slow way to activate the spot meter is to turn the meter switch on the outside of the camera.
d3-f4-Assign.jpg

The better way to activate it is to program your Function button so that the spot meter turns on when you press it. To do this, go to Custom menu f4 and set the "Function Button Press" value to spot metering. Now, simply press the function button and viola! the spot meter is active. This is just one way to customize this camera to respond even faster to your photographic needs.

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Choosing Printer Profiles is a critical step
NX_Preferences.jpg
In our Digital workflow and Inkjet Printing workshops, people have been blown away by how impressive the photos can be from our ink jet printers. The biggest obstacle most people have when trying to create wonderful prints is that they are using a non-calibrated computer monitor. During the class, we go through some great detail on how to properly calibrate monitors and that makes a big difference right away.

However, the next big step is to make sure that you have set the correct printer profile for your output. Many times, people forget to make this critical selection in their software. Additionally, if you buy a new type of paper, many people don't go through the trouble of downloading the profile from the paper company's website. It is easy to do and will save you tons of frustration.

As an example-- If you are using Nikon Capture NX for your printing (illustrated here), then choosing the paper profile is easy. Go to Edit > Preferences > Color Management.

Under the pull down menu for Printer Profile, choose the printer name and paper type. That's it. Done. Now prepare yourself for great looking prints!

Posted by flashdeadline at March 30, 2008 6:21 PM