As a writer and photographer I travel between my life in Toronto, my life in Antigua, and anywhere else my wanderings may take me ... writing my books and enjoying local arts and adventures along the way.

Purchase of Nikon D3

By this time in the blog the reader will have correctly discerned that I caved in and bought a Nikon digital SLR, the Nikon D3. The low light performance of this camera was a big factor in me choosing to purchase it over the D700. I’m still amazed at how rarely I use a flash and still I get tack-sharp photos free of the noise one would expect at low light levels. I love this because avoiding the use of flashes and using natural light is the Holy Grail for me in terms of taking a photograph that tells the story of the time, place, or event. We don’t see the world in the shock that flash bulbs induce. When a flash goes off, for that fraction of a second the world around us is bathed in an unnaturally narrow spectrum of light from an unnaturally narrow point of origin. The world is transformed by the flash into a stroboscopic ghost of what was there moments before and that we saw with our naked eyes. Instead of the peaceful fisherman amid the shadows of the sunset beach, with the flash we see the old man shocked by the glare of the flash. The miracle of technology allows us to compensate somewhat for the deficiencies of lighting from flashes. We can adjust the white balance of the photo for example so that what the camera captures is more like what the eye sees. But with all of our softboxes, umbrellas, and other tools for guiding and shaping unnatural light, when it is possible to do so my preferences lie strongly with tools for shaping the light that the scene has already provided. Reflectors for example can be used to tease the sun into creases and folds of skin where direct sunlight may cause harsh shadows. The sun itself can be diffused into a much softer light with transparent screens known as skylights. Product shots, some modeling photography and other situations demand that artificial lighting be used in order to create a “high key” image. My goal is less packaging such high key images for public consumption, and more depicting the truth of a story with photographs. In either case, the Nikon is a capable and efficient tool that always seems to make the shot I want attainable. I can’t say the same for some of the other cameras (such as the Kiev 88) that I’m still trying to justify my deep affections for.

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