What’s in my bag for my New York City trip in April?
What’s in my bag for my New York City trip in April?
I have an upcoming trip to New York City and know I will be getting a lot of use out of my Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 with all of the great architecture. But I also get something I don’t get a lot of here at home in Colorado – water! I know I want to do some glassy shots of NYC with foreground water. So I went on the hunt for a filter system for this great wide-angle lens as I already have filters for my 77mm lenses.
The 14-24mm isn’t designed for filters, so anything I found was going to be a bit of a monster. Turns out, there are a few options. Lee has had a filter system for this lens for a while now. But it’s $400 and only comes with a two stop soft edge gradient filter. I was wanting a lot more versatility, and specifically a 10 stop ND. Reviews of Lee’s filter showed a very strong color cast and it’s quite pricey. So I kept looking.
That’s where the Haida comes in. Haida’s 150mm 10 stop (3.0) ND filter reviews show very little color cast. And it’s considerably less expensive at $152. The Haida 150mm Filter System filter holder with adapter for the Nikon 14-24mm is a mere $132. (I did splurge and purchase the Formatt Hitech 150x170MM 3 Filter Neutral Density Graduate Hard Edge Kit (on sale for $161!) as well because you never know when you need a good set of grads to darken a sky or snowfield. But I digress.) I had never seen Haida’s name before, but the reviews of the filter were very good. There were NO reviews of the holder. But I figured I could test it out and send it back if dissatisfied.
To be perfectly clear, this is not a field review. I rarely have cause to use such a tool in Colorado (not never, just not often). So I just pointed it out my sliding glass door on a snowmageddon day and took a few test shots to test for color cast, quality, and vignetting as well as build quality.
The Haida build quality seems very sturdy. All pieces are aluminium with exception of the clips to hold the filters which are comparable to what you find on a Lee or Hitech system. There are three main pieces to the system, the collar that slides up from the bottom of the lens, the bracket that drops on the front of the lens (these two screw together tightly), and the actual filter holder, which attaches with a simple twist. There are nice markings as to how to line things up, and you won’t need instructions to figure it out. It comes with three sets of adhesive foam pads to apply to the filter holder to block light. My test shot was made while shining a flashlight at the back of the filter to see if I could cause a light leak. I couldn’t! The fit between the filter and holder/pads was very tight. Light won’t get in and your filters are secure.
In fact, even with the full bracket attached the lens cap will still stay on. So if you’re moving around a bit you can pop the lens cap back on and not worry about scratching up that beautiful, bulbous front element.
Unfortunately, there are only two slots for filters provided. I’ve emailed Haida about how to get more. There are times when a solid ND and one grad are simply not enough for the job at hand.
I’m no optical scientist. This is purely observational.
EXIF: Nikon D800, Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8, 15mm (oops!), 30 sec, f/8, ISO 50.
SOC LR shows the color is pretty close:
I’m very satisfied with this purchase. At $260 WITH the 10 stop ND it makes Lee look their robbing their customers!
Now to get near some water so I can really use this beauty!
All photos © 2015 Jared Youtsey
Pavel Kounine’s blog post about why wedding photography is so expensive really got me thinking. To sum up his blog post… “Because it’s a luxury.” You don’t NEED it. You can just have your friends-with-cameras (FWCs) take your photos. And honestly, this might be enough for you. You may be completely satisfied. Or you may have very talented and loving friends!
But I think Pavel misses some important, non-accountant, points. For example:
I think that Pavel’s article is right on, though. It is a luxury. When someone tells me I’m too expensive I don’t judge. You don’t need me. I hope you WANT me enough to pay for me. But I get it. Not everyone can do the big fancy wedding. And I’m a luxury.
But on a final note, I will quote Pavel:
“Consider the longevity of these expensive services. The alcohol, food, and cake get flushed down the drain (quite literally). The venue and accommodations will serve as faint backdrops to your memories. The flowers will wilt and decorations, tossed away. The entertainment will be a ringing in your ears the following morning. Your makeup will be washed away and the hair slept on. Your wedding dress will remain, but there will never again be a practical occasion to wear it (so donate your dress). Of all these unnecessary, impractical, and conspicuous expenses, the photo and video documents hold the most utility. Their value increases with time, having an inverse relationship to your recollection of the day.”
Karly came in as a quiet, sweet, 17 year old girl and left feeling like a $1,000,000! We strive to make each client feel comfortable, pampered and well cared for. For the younger set there is always non-alcoholic beverages, snacks, fun music, and a very relaxed feel. If you happen to be 21 then there will be wine as well!
Don’t underestimate the value of getting your makeup done by an artist! It’s like getting a facial and scalp massage! And your arms won’t tire out. Melody has a gentle touch and an excellent chair-side manner!
Call us for your appointment!
As a photographer I look at every client as a model. I work with them giving as much or as little direction as is necessary. So, since you are a model, you can really benefit but honing your craft. Here is a great article from Jen Brook, a model for many years, that give some good advice on posing, preparing, and getting the most out of your photos. In the end it falls to me as the photographer to give you the best direction possible so that you get the highest quality shots of you looking your best. But if you spend a little time beforehand becoming the best model you can be then my job will be easier, we’ll both have more fun, and the end result will be even better.
So, get modeling!
This past weekend I attended Denver Comic Con. It was 50,000 people at the Colorado Convention Center and it was filled with people of every imaginable variety. It was a real joy to interact with artists, vendors, cosplayers and attendees.
But I was also interested to see how people behaved and reacted in light of the great attention given to “Cosplay is not Consent” this year. I’ve seen women treated like trash at con’s before. It’s disgusting. And people are starting to stand up and let it be known that this is unacceptable conduct. DCC had a panel on cosplay and etiquette as well. And I’m happy to say that I didn’t see any of this kind of behavior even in a throng as large as this.
Well done, Colorado!
But then there is me. I’m a photographer, with a media access badge for the con. I’m here not only to document and report on what’s going on, but to get some great shots of the passionate work of cosplayers. They put a lot of time, money, passion and sweat into producing fine costumes, planning, makeup, etc… Many even work on their characters so that it is a bit more than a costume. So, how do you get really great cosplay portraits in an environment where conduct is being measured to a new standard?
Simple, actually. You see, it’s not a new standard. Treating people (especially women in this case) with respect is something that society did, and then forgot how to do. Simply think back to days when people always said “please” and “thank you”. When a man held a door for a woman to honor her and nothing more.
So, I got some great shots! I always asked “May I take your photo?” And every now and then, I got a “no”. “Okay, thank you!” Sincerely. And after taking it I judged whether or not the seemed to be in a hurry, or were a bit bothered by being stopped. Or how they reacted to some simple posing direction I gave. If they seemed open and unhurried and it their costume was obviously a work of love on their part, and they had cared about their hair and makeup, well, I’d ask again “Would you mind if I took a few portraits?” And I used the word “portrait”. Not photo or shots or pictures. Portraits implies something more personal. Not a picture of your costume, a picture of you.
Not one person turned me down. Not one.
Kindness. Courtesy. Please. Thank you. May I… Very nice! Beautiful!
Most cosplayers want to show off. They are great. But it’s your demeanor as a photographer that can make the difference in getting a great shot and getting a snapshot.
Next year, I’ll ask more often. I’ll prepare more. I’ll really think about the costumes I’m likely to see and how I would like to photograph them. I’ll think about how I can be a true gentleman and put complete strangers at ease. Because, in the end, that’s the shot I want.