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May 3, 2017

Are you ready for the USA blackout?


Here are some of the topics and news items we're tracking for our community this week. ---
USA members plan for August Eclipse, March contest congrats, sensor cleaning update, PLUS more....

1 -- Are you ready for the USA blackout?

Gold member Mark David (tpnaspen) from Illinois, USA reminds us the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse covering a large swath of the USA is coming in three months.

Mark asks:

This coming August I will be within 50 miles of 100% total solar eclipse. I would love to take some photos but concerned with my own safety and my camera. I shoot a Nikon D750.

Is there a particular lens I should use? Some helpful hints would be appreciated.

Our Astrophotography forum members are known for their attention to details, and we must commend Gold member Gerry Mulligan (Gerry M) from Arizona, USA for his response, which includes a treasure chest of significant links covering solar eclipses.

The 2017 eclipse will hit land in on August 21, in western Oregon (Lincoln Beach and Depoe Bay) at 10:15 a.m. local time then proceed across the USA until it exits land over South Carolina at a barrier reef (Cape Romain) just east of McClellanville at 2:49 p.m. local time.  The actual time (ignoring time zones) will be only about an hour and a half, covering 14 States.  

2 -- March Contest Congrats

Nikonians Contest Coordinator David Summers (dm1dave) has posted the results of the March contests. Congratulations to our winners!

Check our winning images legend below and scroll down for the names of the winners. Each photo title serves as a link, which will lead you to explanations behind some of the photographs and an overall look at the competition.

1. -- Wildlife - "In the Beautiful Light at Dusk or Dawn" theme winner Aart Louw (AartPapaya) from South Africa with his image titled Good Bad and Ugly.
2. -- Landscape -  "Dusk or Dawn -Sun Below the Horizon" theme winner Nick Randall (NRandall) from Victoria, Australia with his image titled Daybreak - Addiscott Beach - Great Ocean Road.
3. -- Macro - "Black and White Close-ups in Nature" theme winner Mark Thomas (Danygraig) from Wales, The United Kingdom with his image titled Sagartia anemone.
4. -- Travel  - "Traditional Sports and Pastimes" theme winner Steve Piccolo (pic) from Washington, USA with his image titled Tibetan Tug-of-War.
5. -- Digital Artistry  - " Animal or Plants" theme winner Roberta Davidson (birdied) from Louisiana, USA with her image titled The Swallowtail.
6. -- Online Assignments  - "Old" theme winner William McEwen (Wolfgang55) from Connecticut, USA   with his image titled Bus.

Interested in submitting your photos?
If you want to participate, please be sure to enter one of the monthly competitions listed in David Summers' contest guide.

The Online Photo Assignments category is coordinated by Rob Migliaccio (rmigliaccio) from Rhode Island, USA. You can check his recap of past assignments here.

The current (May) assignment is Street Photography.

Here is Rob's description:
My suggestion is to Google the term "Street Photography" to get a sense of this month's assignment. Wikipedia says, "street photography, also sometimes called candid photography, is photography conducted for art or enquiry that features unmediated chance encounters and random incidents within public places." What do you think street photography is? Post some images to prove your point!

3 -- What is your favorite photography vest?

Silver member Marion Pavan (pqtrths) from California, USA has a birthday coming up and he's thinking of gifting himself with a photographer's vest. Marion's search is uncovering some interesting suggestions.

Here's his list of requirements:

I been thinking about this beforehand to reduce my physical profile especially in tight locations, such as entering WWII bombers, or car shows - with my backpacks, I would first drop the pack and carry it between the cars - where a backpack is a tight fit; to evenly distribute the weight of the equipment; and to provide convenient access for my equipment.

My equipment is listed in my profile. Instead of me trying to carry nearly everything in my 7x backpack, I would use the 7x, and, maybe, the 6x as storage, and selecting from the backpacks what I'd probably need.

Also, I've been using my D3x only - I want to now use my D3x and my D200 again for its crop factor.

What would you suggest? The old Tamrac company had a number of vests that I remember I liked but they're long gone. The vest's build quality and longevity is important. New or lightly used is acceptable. The vest should have attachment rings and pockets, covered or enclosed, of varied size. A fisherman's vest would also work. Questions, comments, and recommendations are appreciated.

Ok folks, if you have a favorite vest that would meet Marion's needs, share your thoughts.

4 -- Lowest prices ever on Nikon D500, D750 & D810 plus free Nikon Battery Pack Grips

Berger Bros. Camera tells us they have never seen Nikon offer bigger Instant Savings.


Two lens kit - save $550

D500 - Body Only - Save $200
w/ kit lens - Save $670 
Plus Free MB-D17 Battery Pack

D750 - Body Only - Save $500
w/ kit lens - Save $1100
Plus Free MB-D16 Battery Pack

D810 Body Only - Save $500
D810 w/ kit lens - Save $1100
Plus Free MB-D12 Battery Pack

You can now pre-order the new D7500 Body at $1,249.99 or the D7500 w/kit lens at $1,749.99. Great Personal service: Brad Berger 516-816-4921 or Brad@Berger-Bros.com. or BradBerger@mac.com. 

5 -- Does size matter?

Silver member Larry Mannino (Larry E30) from Oregon, USA is wondering if camera size (as opposed to functionality) is important to our members.

He asks:
I have had a lot of DSLR's (I especially like the jumbo Olympus E-3 with 18-180mm) but I find after using these SMALLER cameras .... I don't want to go back to FULL SIZE - for what I do.

I guess it depends on your needs - I don't have any.

What do you think is important?

Responses so far show preferences based on needs, more than size:

• I'll say what's important is that the camera/lens combo does what I need it to do. I probably shoot almost as many photos with my iPhone as I do with my Nikons but when I go out to Yellowstone I'll take a D5, D500 and a half-ton of glass.

•  I find that my DSLR brick is staying on the shelf more and my smaller camera is going outside more. I am not ready to ditch the brick. When I go out specifically to engage in photography, I will take the brick.

• Depends on the situation for me. In addition to my (all DX) DSLRs, I have an Olympus E-M5 that I use a lot when traveling, and when I want a smaller camera.

• I love large size cameras because to me it feels rock solid to hold a large size camera.

Do you prefer a "hefty feel" while shooting?

6 -- When is a portrait not a portrait? 

Gold member Geoff Baylis (GBaylis) from England, The United Kingdom started a "food for thought" discussion that has evoked a large measure of carefully analysis, and even the Queen of England.

Warning: Don't start reading the discussion until you are in a quiet room with a soothing beverage at your side.

In response to Geoff's observations on a recent photo contest our members said:

• I would agree that the dominant part of a portrait photograph should be the face/expression.

However, I don't know if there is an enforceable international definition that supports my feelings.

But then if portraits can be anything, why have the word portrait?

• Your definition of "portrait" doesn't seem to include any of the painted portraits of the past 800 years or more that include the entire body - not just the head and shoulders - and the floor, chair, bench, stool or throne on which the subject is sitting or standing.

• A portrait, whether close-up or environmental, is a portrait or it is not. Just like a cat is not a horse.

• For my money, as long as an image contains enough detail, particularly facial detail, to enable this sort of "character reading" I can accept and enjoy it as a portrait. Studio close up or street scene, it's the humanity that fascinates.

The above is just the tip of the iceberg on this topic. Join the discussion and give us your thoughts on portraiture.

7 -- Are you cleaning your sensors?

Nikonians Academy Director Eric Bowles (ericbowles) has posted a link to a very informative article regarding a shift in sensor cleaning based on chemistry. If you have been using the Eclipse system, perhaps you need to consider Aero-clipse.

Eric explains:

Essentially some of the newer sensors have replaced glass covers with coated sensor covers to repel dust on the sensor. These coatings are increasingly vulnerable to the formulation of cleaning fluids, so original Eclipse has gone through several iterations. The latest - Aero-clipse - is driven by the coatings on the Sony sensor but will likely be useful for other sensors.

The difference is a reduction in the amount of pure methanol, and the addition of ethanol and isopropanol alcohol to provide gentler cleaning but potentially slower evaporation.

Some of the Sony sensors have had the coatings that specifically require the newer fluids. I don't know if Nikon is using those coatings, but there is little risk of using a less aggressive cleaning product. This also suggests using a light touch with cleaning fluid since evaporation may be slower. Using excess fluid remains a problem that can lead to streaking.

If you have experience cleaning sensors, we invite you to share your opinion.

8 -- Back to the good old days?

Moderating Team member Holger Wahl (Holger) from Switzerland is on a roll -- roll of film that is. Yes, he's gone back to film for a while, and so far, he's liking the results.

Here is a part of his story:

 I started a project now: analog for 6 months (except official tasks), with FM2n (b/w) and F3 (Ektar/Portra), 28mm f/2.8 AIS, 50mm f/1.2 AIS (NEW!!!), 200mm f/4 and a 100-300mm zoom. Plus, some MF and LF gear, once I got started and will have time to spare (optimist....).

Hope it works, the first (very old) Velia I found in a drawer is on the way back from the lab, two HP5 Plus are waiting for me to spare some time in the bathroom, and more good old films are sitting cool and dark in the basement, waiting to get used over the weeks and months to come.

Sure, scanning and de-dusting will take more time than "producing" thousands of digital pictures in LR, but it's like working on an old wooden boat: it's not about quantity, it's about reflection, concentration, creation of unique pictures, not about technical perfection, but about vision and manual work.

Anyone tried to step back, relax and find out about himself (or herself), about the origins of film-based photography, the smell of film when you open the little plastic can, the limitation to 36 or less pictures?

So far, so good. Holger has posted some images and he's getting support from others who have not given up on film.


That's it for this week. Make sure you grab your favorite camera and capture some images to share with family and friends (especially us at Nikonians). -- Tom Boné (flashdeadline)

Posted by flashdeadline at May 3, 2017 9:01 PM

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