Turned my wife into a mother…

Decided it was time…. to get a dog!

Our New Dog

A really early morning resulted in my being able to suprise my wife with a new dog on mothers day.  It’s a brittany spaniel… same as the dog of my childhood.  We don’t yet have a name, but have narrowed it down to: Kona, Jax, Freckles, Pluto, Bingo or Cosmo.  Kona is in the lead because that’s where we honeymoon’d, but we’ll see…   Votes?

After 5-6 hours of getting used to his new home, he started to pep up.  Quite the runner, considering his legs are about 4 inches long.  Expect to see this blog inundated with dog pictures.  I’ll do my best to keep a reasonable balance; but don’t hold your breath… at least until puppy stage is over. ;0)


Sunday on Summit, Part 2

Rachel and Tom At the Cathedral in St Paul

There is this same image with more of the Cathedral (of St. Paul), but the sky was just so staggeringly beautiful on this day, with the capital hanging out in the background – this image captures the day a bit more for me.  When their wedding goes down in about a month, there will be plenty of ‘church’ shots to go around.  Let the sky have it’s day. ;0)

The happy couple

There Is a story behind this image… lets just leave it at that.

Rachel and Veil

Rachel’s veil reveal… everyone agreed, it’s a good’un.

 Tom - The Groom

Tom is a fun guy.  I do believe this might have been a Jump-out-of-the-car, see me, and scream, “hey take my picture” first-shot of the day.  But it actually captured his mood throughout the session quite well.  Good times.

Incidentally, this is the first of my new 750-pixel wide blog photos.  I’ve revamped the blog to hold them nicely.  Bigger image = Better.

Rachel and Tom

Just an impromptu shot of the happy couple after leaving their reception site.  It’s an old mansion on Summit ave in St. Paul, just a block down from the Cathedral.  It’s going to be a really good time.


Rachel and Tom

Rachel and Tom walking to their wedding site

Two of the rockin’est people in the world walking from their reception site to their ceremony site during a scouting trip we did Sunday.  There wedding is going to be a really good time.  Just a scouting session’ but still got some good images… Will post a few more over the next few days. .

MN Open Source Photo gathering…

A bunch of wedding photographers got together.  Talked shop, messed with equipment, look at styles, took photos of each other, etc.  It was very informative – but more than that, it was downright fun.  Minnesota is blessed with some rockin’ photographers who also happen to be great people.

Daniel Snow - Minnesota Wedding Photographer holding HIS flash that I popped off for a fun effect

This is Daniel Snow, a great guy and fellow Nikon shooter.  He also ran around shooting his Holga with his flash mounted on this stick.  I ‘stole’ his flash on this shot and popped it off with my camera to make for a fun effect.

Jen C - Wedding Photographer

This is a shot of Jenn C, of Minnesota Image.  Great, fun person who worked quite a bit as our ‘model’ – danke!

All around good time, and it was great to meet every one of you… 


The dog brings Wiiing

First, let me say that I love any word that can be correctly spelled with three of the same letter in a row.

I was gone for a while last night and Colleen got anxious about the dog and called some people over.  Crea brought DDR, Kyley and Christa brought Nate.  I made dinner while they all played games.  From square-dancing to rave music on a plastic mat, to beating up rabbits in Raymans Raving Rabbits… how can you not have fun.

Before Colleen told me I was being wierd, I made this image of Kyley. I love being able to crank the ISO without worry.  I could/should have gone further and gotten a little more DoF.

Portrait of Kyley



So, Colleen and I are dog-sitting this week.  I got home last night and was greeted by a super-friendly, super-nice little dog that goes by the name of Mini.  No barkin’ … which is always nice.

Photograph of Mini the Dog

 Colleen has never had a dog before so she’s not really sure what to do when “they just stare at you all the time”.  It’s pretty funny how a happy, teeny, well-mannered little dog can make a 24-year-old woman so uncomfortable and self-conscious.  This morning, as I was writing this post, Mini jumped up on Colleen’s lap… but Colleen didn’t immediately know to pet her and Mini decided to pout for half-a-second. 

Photograph of Mini the Dog pouting

I feel the ’emotion of the moment’ has been caught.  ;0).

First images from D3

Dusk was approaching (well, it had already arrived) but I managed to convince Colleen to head out back and let me take some pictures of her for 5 minutes.  I grabbed the 50mm and off we went… all shots were at ISO 800 f/1.4-f/1.8, shutter in the 1/40th range.

Colleen Photographed in Backyard

The colors worked out great – not Disneyland crazy, yet still saturated pleasantly.  Kicking up the saturation or shooting while the sun was out certainly would have brought the colors out further, but I kind of like this feel. Either way, it faithfully rendered the scene and didn’t take time in Photoshop to get looking good.

Photograph of Colleen, senior style, against fence

I’m digging the smooth clean file with great control of the DoF.  Went for a ‘senior portait’ style with this one. This is more-or-less untouched but I did experiment with the image in photoshop – the files from the D3 really handle ‘massaging’ well.  I’m going to have fun getting some wicked stuff with this tool.

Colleen up close

I was messing around and got a bit close on this one (creating big nose syndrome) but her smile was so real I really dig on it. Again, no real time in photoshop. And even at 1.4, did I mention that this guy is sharp?  Take a look at a 100% crop of her eye:

100% crop of photo of eye

That’s at ISO 800, F1.4.  Take a look at the reflection of her eyelashes in her eyes.  I’m sold.

Colleen getting frustrated at being photographed

I pushed my luck a little far, American Idol was back on and she wanted in the house, like, yesterday! … not ‘after just one more shot’.  Sitting her on the ground and finding out it was wet was certainly the last straw. :-/

Good times, good times.  Thanks hunny!.

D3 – unearthed

Box as arrived from B&H Photo

There it was, lying, waiting for me.  It took all my power to hold myself back long enough to take pictures at all, so please excuse the flowery mattress (I’m storing it for a friend). 

I ordered from the photographic wonderland known as B&H Photo. Arrived 3 days after ordering.  I’ve been waiting since October to be able to call one of these mine… backorders on the most heavily in-demand photographic product in memory are rough.  I was certainly excited to tear into it.  Should a simple body upgrade make the this giddy?

Nikon D3 box

Opening the B&H box brought out a strange golden glow…it was if the angels had come down, oh wait, the box is a bit golden and my lamp was reflecting.  Oh, okay.

The D3 box is standard Nikon fare.  There is a large subtle embossed D3 and it’s also printed in black, a bit smaller.  A beautiful box if I do say so – but then again, I always think simple is powerful; Nikon’s body boxes are very simple. I was happy to see that B&H gave me some good air cushioning, but I must admit I was strangely confused – the box seemed oddly heavy considering all that was in there was airbags and a camera.

Nikon D3 box open

I pulled the box out and started digging through.  Standard warranty paperwork, a strap, quick-start guides and for some strange reason an ‘easy share’ CD was inside on the ‘first level’.

Various items in the D3 box 

This is everything from that level.  It certainly helped explain why the box was as heavy as it was.  There were two separate 472 page manuals (Spanish and English).  You can take a look at the manual here (but if you want to print, you have to have a D3 serial number).  I was happy to see that I had made it in during the promotional period and got a free full version of Capture NX – even though it’s slow, nothing produces better quality images shooting RAW and processing with NX.

Charger, cables, etc.

Continuing further into the box, you find the dual charger, battery (only one), and the various other cords and goodies.  The full list of things that are included can be found on page ‘i’ of the manual.  The charger seems big and powerful. The ability to put in two batteries and go to sleep knowing you’ll wake up to them both fully charged is great.  With battery life in the realm of 2-4,000 pictures per charge, we should be pretty set after getting some backups.   The battery is beefy and feels really solidly built.  I’d compare it to a deck of cards in weight.

Nikon D3

Then, down deep at the bottom was the treasure: the D3 itself.  As any self-respecting D3 owner would do, I immediately threw on a 1.4 lens, cranked the ISO to 25,600 and ran to the darkest room in my house at the time and took pictures.  It was fantastic.

But in all seriousness, everyone knows all the great points about the D3. A full-sized sensor the likes of which the world has never seen, dual CF slots for immediate backup, Nikon’s latest auto-focus module, the robust build, the amazingly clean files at high sensitivities, the blazing fast performance, the large buffer… I’d like to point out a few things that struck me as I played with it sans memory card. (the camera goes into ‘Demo’ mode without a memory card, allowing you to take and save pictures in the buffer… kinda slick, actually)

This thing is heavy. Like really heavy. It feels like it is hewn from a single piece of metal. (which, when you look under the skin, it kind of was) Put on a decent lens and a flash and you’re walking around with 6-8 pounds on your wrist, easy.  The mass might help get some low-light shots, but I really suspect I’m going to be sore after my first full day with this beast. I’ve started carrying it with me everywhere to get me used to it. Luckily I’m super powerful and strong. :0)

The screen is fantastic, more-so than I was expecting.  Auto Focus is ridiculously snappy, both with AF-S and screw-type lenses. These items blew away my already sky-high expectations. 

Everything else was pretty much as expected.  More buttons and knobs than you can shake a stick at, and loud enough that I’ll likely build a sound-deadening camera muzzle to make it dead silent for ceremony shots.

One minor point that I was slightly disappointed with was the shutter release button.  The ‘half-press’ is not very tactile, and the camera is so snappy that I many times found myself firing off 3-4 pictures when all I wanted to do was auto-focus.  I have since found a really novel way to work my focus – removing it from the shutter release button completely and moving it to the AF-ON button instead.  Taking a picture now takes 2 fingers (okay, finger and thumb… geez!), but I have AF-C and AF-S (focus and recompose) at my instant disposal.  This is going to work out fantastically for the dynamic, random action that happens in weddings.

This baby is gunna rock. Photos soon…