As the tile implies, I recently had the luck of watching a fantastic sunrise. The specific location, the cloud formations (just after rain) and the light were absolutely marvelous. The problem I faced was that it was almost impossible to get to a good shooting location before the sun was visible.
Now, I have written about zoom lenses repeatedly with not very good words. The readers of my blog know I love prime lenses, and almost never carry a zoom with me. Also, I almost never take my D800E on a trip, unless I have planned something that requires the power and speed of a DSLR. But that particular day, I packed the Nikon D800E and also grabbed the 28-300 lens. The large range of this lens made it possible for me to get some shots just in time, so I should be very more careful next time when I speak about zoom lenses !!!
Due to the very limited time I had (since I wanted to shoot at least from three different locations before the good light goes away), I didn’t use a tripod. That proved to be a huge mistake, since the 28-300 is a slow lens, and the ISO settings were at the 640-1600 range. The D800E can easily handle high ISO, but these are images that I would like to print at least 1 meter wide, so at this size the noise becomes very evident. A good telephoto lens like the 70-200 f/2.8 would provide me with 2 more at the long end, which would translate to ISO close to 400 (a huge difference in image quality). Or I could just shoot the way I am shooting my medium format cameras, which means setting up the tripod, meter carefully and bracket a couple of shots. Probably, I couldn’t manage to get all three locations, but I would have made one or two fantastic photos which I could print any size I wanted to. Anyway, these are great lessons learned in the field !!
A few words now about the D800E. It’s sensor is really state of the art. The dynamic range of the camera is beyond my expectations. The way shadows and highlights can be recovered never ceases to amaze me. Even with a mediocre lens like the 28-300, it produces wonderful images. When paired with lenses like my 24-70 f/2.8 or the 135mm f/2 DC, the results are awesome. During this sunrise, the 24-70 could not reach enough, that’s why I used the 28-300 (which by the way, when shooting RAW, Lightroom makes a very good job in correcting distortion). The D800E is truly a great camera for landscapes (and until today, I haven’t seen any moire, so I am very happy for choosing the E version).
After today, I am looking at a very different way to the D800E/28-300 combo. I will probably never take it on a hike or a long walk, but I could just put it in the trunk of my car, so that I can be able to capture sceneries that it would be very difficult to capture with my other cameras.
Enjoy the rest of the images.
(After shooting the photo with the house, I grabbed my Fuji GSW690 camera, loaded a Kodak Portra 160VC film and took a couple of shots on a tripod. It will be a very interesting comparison with the D800E image, when I get the film back from the lab).
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