Albuquerque Comic Con 2015

This year Comic Con grew so much, they moved from a hotel to the Albuquerque Convention Center. Comic Con began in 1970 when a collection of comic, movie, and science fiction fans came together to put on the first comic book convention in southern California. Annual conventions can now be found all over the USA and abroad. Along with comic book professionals, you might film and media stars, illustrators, actors, and artists. Like most comic-book conventions, the Albuquerque Comic-Con features a large floorspace for exhibitors. I was surprised by how big the event was and now understand why is spans three days. Three floors of the Convention Center was being used by exhibitors and the fans. And the best part of the convention is always THE FANS and mostly why I went in the first place. Check out Albuquerque Comic Con at their FB page or their website:

FB: Comic Con Website: Comic Con

My 2014

Hi all!

Its been a pretty amazing year for me and my photography. I’ve really enjoyed all of your kind comments, likes (on FB), and engagement with my photography. Thank you so much. These are a few of my favorite photos. I selected them because of the hard work, fun, growth in my photography, and/or the memories they represent.

Bio Wedding

This was one of the shortest weddings I’ve ever photographed (about 1.5 hours) and was one of the most enjoyable. The wedding was held at Albuquerque’s beautiful Bio Park after hours. The guest list was small, and the ceremony was short, relaxed, and simple. The quiet and private environment made it easy to shoot and grab some photos of the Bride and Groom enjoying the moment and the excitement of their big day. :)

 

 

The Badlands Pt. II

Some friends and I made another trip into the amazing Bisti or De-Na-Zin badlands in Northwest New Mexico. We backpacked in and spend the first night exploring the area. We had planned on taking more photos the second night but that was cancelled due to a good rain that stopped in making the entire place really wet and muddy. I’ll go back again soon. Aside from that, I put together my first time lapse and included it below. Its OK, but I’ll need to revisit my process in making the time lapse and joining the scenes, etc.

The area that includes the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness was once a riverine delta that lay just to the west of the shore of an ancient sea, the Western Interior Seaway, which covered much of New Mexico 70 million years ago. The motion of water through and around the ancient river built up layers of sediment. Swamps and the occasional pond bordering the stream left behind large buildups of organic material, in the form of what became beds of lignite. At some point, a volcano deposited a large amount of ash, and the river moved the ash from its original locations. As the water slowly receded, prehistoric animals survived on the lush foliage that grew along the many riverbanks. When the water disappeared it left behind a 1,400-foot (430 m) layer of jumbled sandstone, mudstone, shale, and coal that lay undisturbed for fifty million years. Sandstone layers were deposited above the ash and remains of the delta. The ancient sedimentary deposits were uplifted with the rest of the Colorado Plateau, starting about 25 million years ago. Six thousand years ago the last ice age receded, and the waters of the melting glaciers helped expose fossils and petrified wood, and eroded the rock into the hoodoos now visible. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisti/De-Na-Zin_Wilderness

 

2014 NM State Fair

The New Mexico State Fair has been around for about 76 years. For a good portion of those years its been held at the New Mexico State Fair grounds, now called Expo NM, in Albuquerque. There is so much to see and do, spending the day walking around taking it all in might not be enough. Some of the biggest attractions are the Midway Carnival, many exhibitors, food, arts, music, livestock and competitions. See http://exponm.com/ for more info.

The disappearing night sky

Better get out and photograph the night sky while you have a chance. The one bright spot of this read is that I live close to SE Utah, so I’ll always be able to get out and grab some shots of the Milky Way.

http://www.azcentral.com/longform/news/local/arizona/2014/09/07/arizona-dark-skies-disappearing/15158485/

Shooting on the cheap

Wanna make some great photos but don’t have or don’t want to spend a lot of money? A few days ago I posted photo of a Hummingbird on my Facebook page I took with a new Nikon D810 and a 85mm 1.8. I received a comment asking me “how much money do you spend on your equipment to get a shot like this?” Others comment from time to time that they’d love to get into photography but don’t have the money. So, I thought how close can I come to some of the shots I get with my Nikon D600 and the D810 with a really cheap used DSLR? Personal challenge begins.

Ebay has about 4500 Nikon D40’s and about 7000 Nikon 18-55’s listed. There are so many listed that the prices are really low. If you search a bit and you bid at the right time, you can get some really nice cheap equipment. I also started thinking about a good “do most everything” lens. A lens that could take some really nice portraits, macros, has some length on it, with really nice bokeh, fast (f/2.8), and cheap. I opted for the Tamron 90mm macro. I’m sure there are other choices that some would consider better, but I went with this to fit my needs. Because the Tamron is a full frame lens, it has an equivalent focal length on the Nikon D40 of 135mm. Shopping was completed with a used Yongnou Strobe and a few other items. Shopping list (all off e-bay):

Nikon D40 (included free 2 gig memory card): $109
Nikon 18-55 $59
Used Tamron 90mm Macro:$209
Used Yongnuo YN-560 flash: $59
Used tripod: $10
Cowboy Studio Triggers: $18
Used Nikon Remote: $2.30
Used Lightstand and Umbrella: $30
Photoshop: $10/Month

Total: $506.30

In contrast, my setup for the Nikon D810 is about $7000+ with lenses, strobes, and just what I normally shoot with. I specifically picked up all of the above items so I could compare some of my favorite types of photography: Macro, Portraits and Long Exposures. I also wanted to limited myself to two lenses for the D40. I shot all photos on Auto White Balance. I tried to use similar focal lengths where I could. Finally, I broke down the cost for each shot and included the shot details. Keep in mind this is not a direct side by side comparison of a Nikon D810 and a Nikon D40. I’m just interested in making really a few great photos with used, old equipment VS a new modern brand new DSLR. Lets get into it. If you want to see a bigger resolution, right click on the photo and select view.

Long Exposures – I adjusted color on the D40 to bring the blue out in the night sky. When I setup long exposures with the D810, the Samyang has a hard stop to infinity. So its easy to focus to infinity. The Nikon 18-55 does not. I had to focus on the Moon or something else far away and was amazed at that the Nikon D40 with the 18-55 did this so easily in the dark. After the D40 was focused to infinity, I set the auto focus switch on the side of the lens to off. Both shot on M mode or manual.
Left photo: Nikon D810, Samyang 14mm f/2.8: F/2.8, ISO200, 20 Seconds
Cam, Lens, Tripod, Photoshop Cost: $3810
Right Photo: Nikon D40, Nikon 18-55 f/3.5-5.6: f/3.5 ISO200, 20 Seconds
Cam, Lens, Tripod, Photoshop Cost: $190

Long Exposures – I added just a bit of noise reduction on the D40 photo in Photoshop. Otherwise the photos are pretty much straight out of the camera. Both shot on M mode or manual.
Left photo: Nikon D810, Samyang 14mm f/2.8: f/3.5, ISO400, 20 Seconds
Cam, Lens, Tripod, Photoshop Cost: $3810
Right Photo: Nikon D40, Nikon 18-55 f/3.5-5.6: f/3.5 ISO400, 20 Seconds
Cam, Lens, Tripod, Photoshop Cost: $190

Macros – These photos look virtually identical to me. I shot both on Aperture Priority at f/10 to increase the depth of field. I adjusted the saturation on the D40 photo a bit because I shot it on the vivid color setting and wanted it to match the color of the D810 a bit more. I also cropped both photos quite a bit to fill the frame with the flower. Of course the D810 did produce a lot more detail when zoomed in very close. However, the D40 photo clarity and detail is pretty impressive.
Left photo: Nikon D810, Tamron f/2.8: f/10, ISO200,  1/500th of a second.
Cam, Lens, Tripod, Photoshop Cost: $3789
Right Photo: Nikon D40, Tamron f/2.8: f/10 ISO200, 1/640th of a second.
Cam, Lens, Tripod, Photoshop Cost: $338

Portrait #1 – I used an Alien Bee B800 (maybe 1/16th power) with the 8″ reflector on a light stand and Pixel King wireless triggers on the D810. I used the Yongnuo YN-560 flash (maybe 1/4th or 1/2 power) with the white shoot through umbrella and the Cowboy Studio wireless triggers on the D40. On the D40 photo I reduced the saturation and adjusted light. On the D810 photo I adjusted contrast and light. I cropped both photos to fill the frame with the model. Both shot on M mode or manual. I shot the D810 photo at 200mm and the D40 at 90mm – 135mm equivalent.
Left photo: Nikon D810, Sigma 70-200 f/2.8: f/2.8, ISO100, 1/160th of a sec
Cam, Lens, umbrella, strobe and wireless triggers, Photoshop Cost:$ 5210
Right Photo: Nikon D40, Tamron 90mm  f/2.8: f/3.2 ISO200, 1/400th of a sec
Cam, Lens, umbrella, strobe and wireless triggers, Photoshop Cost:$ 445

Portraits – Natural Light – I brought both photos into Photoshop and adjusted light, contrast and warmth.
Left photo: Nikon D40, Tamron 90mm f/2.8: f/2.8, ISO200, 1/100th of a sec
Cam, Lens, Photoshop Cost:$ 328
Right Photo: Nikon D810, Nikon 85mm f/1.8: f/1.8, ISO400, 1/800th of a sec
Cam, Lens, Photoshop Cost:$ 3860

Portraits – Natural Light – I brought both photos into Photoshop and adjusted light, contrast and warmth.
Left photo: Nikon D810, Nikon 85mm f/1.8: f/1.8, ISO400, 1/800th of a sec
Cam, Lens, Photoshop Cost:$ 3860
Right Photo: Nikon D40, Tamron 90mm f/2.8: f/2.8, ISO200, 1/100th of a sec
Cam, Lens, Photoshop Cost:$ 328

Landscape/Lightning – I brought both photos into Photoshop, adjusted contrast, reduced noise and adjusted color. But not much – very little. Both are shot with the same focal length with respect to the sensor size. I pre-focused to infinity and turned off auto focus. I shot both at f/22 to slow the shutter which gives me a better chance at capturing the lightning. Both cams were on a tripod and I just kept hitting the shutter button. I took about 75 photos before both cams captured the same bolt.
Left photo: Nikon D810, Tamron 24-70 /2.8: f/22 ISO200 1/10th of a sec
Cam, Lens, Tripod, Photoshop Cost:$ 3910
Right Photo: Nikon D40, Nikon 18-55 f/3.5-5.6: f/22 ISO200 1/15th of a sec
Cam, Lens, Tripod, Photoshop Cost:$ 190

The Hummingbird shot – The only editing I did was some noise reduction on the D40 shot using Photoshop. I shot the D40 photo with a bit more daylight then with the D810 photo.
Left photo: Nikon D810, Nikon 85mm f/1.8: Manual f/6.3, ISO800, 1/250th of a sec
Two strobes, wireless triggers, Cam, Lens, Tripod, remote, Photoshop Cost:$ 4690.00
Right Photo: Nikon D40, Tamron 90mm f/2.8: Manual f/7.1 ISO200, 1/500th of a sec
One strobe, wireless triggers, Cam, Lens, Tripod, remote, Photoshop Cost:$ 423.30

That’s it! What do you think? Is this a commentary on “the camera doesn’t matter?” No, not really. The take away is you can make some amazing photos in most any situation without spending a lot of money – if you stay at ISO400 or below. The D40 becomes really noisy at ISO800 and above. So its not really good for handheld low light photography. Finally, after all this shooting, editing, and looking and photos from both cams I realized its not about the money or equipment, its about getting out. It takes a lot of time to hike, drive setup, etc to take photos. I think that’s where the challenge is. Just getting out and/or finding the time. Hope you guys enjoyed.

Aaron Marie and Zak’s Country Wedding

At a country bed and breakfast set in New Mexico’s high desert among the Pinons and Junipers, they were married. I met Aaron Marie and Zak through a mutual friend years ago. Aaron has an infectious and fun personality. Zak is relaxed and welcoming and they fit together perfectly. When they asked me to photograph their wedding I was excited at the opportunity because Aaron Marie is an artist and I knew the entire event would be crafted and beautiful in every detail.