Featured Photo – Tibetan Uprising Day, 10 March 2012

Tibetan Uprising Day

Tibetan Uprising Day:  a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles for human rights in Tibet.  This photo was taken in 10 March 2012 with a Nikon D90, 50mm f/1.4 at f/1.4 at ISO 1600 at 1/160.

Tibetan Uprising Day March in Los Angeles, CA, 10 March 2012. Tibetan Uprising Day, observed on March 10, commemorates the 1959 Tibetan uprising against the presence of the People’s Republic of China in Tibet. The failure of the armed rebellion ultimately resulted in a violent crackdown on Tibetan independence movements, causing the Dalai Lama and his cohorts to bail in the middle of the night, fleeing across the Himalayas to India where he still lives today.

I was here as a member of three groups: Tibet Connection (I edit the English radio show about Tibetan culture, news, and events), Los Angeles Friends of Tibet, and the L.A. Street Photography Meetup group (I invited members of this group to show up!). The Tibetan Association of Southern California was also there, of course.

Self-immolations In the past year, about 25 Tibetans have set themselves ablaze to protest the lack of freedom and human rights that exists in their country at the hands of the Chinese. China invaded Tibet in the 1950s and has brutally repressed the Himalayan country. The military occupation and brutality was cranked up in light of the 2008 Beijing protests and has not abated. No outside press has been allowed inside Tibet since then. Thankfully, no one set themselves ablaze during our Los Angeles march.

During our march, many of us held signs asking, “Why are Tibetans setting themselves on Fire? The self-immolations were on everyone’s mind. During the candlelight vigil, Tibetan children read the names of those who had set fire to themselves in the name of freedom. The people ranged from nuns and monks to laypeople of all walks of life, and was an emotionally moving vigil.

Photographing the march Photographing the march presents interesting challenges.  The light was very bright by the Staples Center, with lots of contrasting shade, but the sun disappeared quickly by the time we got to the Chinese Consulate, resulting in very dark light. For these two featured photos, I kicked up the ISO so I could capture the natural light without resorting to an off-camera (wireless) flash.  While I did take a few flash photos, I ended up preferring the natural light. By the time I took the photo below, it was almost completely dark.

For most of the march, until we got to the Chinese Consulate, I had been using the 18-200mm lens, which is quite flexible.  However, at f/3.5-5.6, it ain’t the fastest lens.  I switched to the 50mm f/1.4 and then kept moving.  This is the same lens I use for concert photography as well.

Candlelight Vigil for Tibetan Uprising Day

Candlelight Vigil for Tibetan Uprising Day in front of the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles.  This photo was very dark, so I used an ISO of 2000 (the other photo is 1600), 1/160s shutter speed, and an aperture of f/1.4.  The same equipment was used.  I wanted natural light because I thought it was beautiful, so I didn’t use my wireless off-camera flash here despite the very dark light.

Equipment:  Nikon D90 12.3MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only, Nikon 50mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras


Photo Link: Nikon D4’s Amazing Low Light Capabilities And Other Features

I’ve been receiving some information about the new flagship Nikon camera, the D4. here’s a link to the manufacturer’s website.  Every once in a while, I’ll link to something that may be of interest, and today, that’s the D4.

King of Low Light
One of the specs I’m most interested in is its low-light capability, with an ISO Range  of100-12,800 (extendable from 50 – 204,800).  I’m going to repeat that again.  204,800.  One can only hope that light sensitivity like this will eventually filter its way down to more affordable cameras for the rest of us.  In my opinion, this is one area where Nikon shines.  I think Canon offers more “bang for the buck”, but when Nikon is offering low light sensitivity like this, it’s difficult to look elsewhere for this price range.

Additionally, the D4 offers HDR, combining multiple images in-camera to produce images with increased dynamic range.  Obviously, other cameras that are considerably cheaper do this too, but something tells me that this’ll do it really darn well.

The D4 also has a giant new higher-resolution 16.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, but has also added a 91,000 pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix metering sensor that senses brightness and color, and supposedly interprets this with increased accuracy in color reproduction and balanced exposure.  And it adds face recognition, an appealing feature that is on many consumer cameras, but has often been left off cameras designed for professional use.

1080p HD Video
Probably the biggest, most obvious change is that Nikon has no doubt been noticing how well the  5D Mark II has been doing in the professional video market and wants to step it up.  Coupled with its fantastic low-light capabilities, The D4 captures HD 1080p video at various frame rates, easily suitable for broadcast quality video, and is capable of streaming the video out its HDMI port.

Field Monitor and Remote Capable Through iPad
Of some interest as well is that Nikon reports that the D4 is also iPhone/iPad compatible.  But what does this mean?  You can control the D4 via a web browser through your iPhone or iPad.  Nikon uses an HTTP protocol, meaning that with a Wifi or other internet connection, you can control the D4 remotely.  This could be handy for photographers or filmmakers who, say, have the camera attached to the top of a basketball backboard for sporting events, attached to a moving vehicle, or perched on top of a tree or crane.

The Sucky Part
I’ve seen on several reviews that due to the increased functionality of the camera, the battery life is lower.  However, Nikon has said that they are coming out with a new battery that promises better battery life.

Overall, this sure makes me wish I had US$6000.

Equipment:  I currently use a Nikon D90, 18-200mm VR Nikkor lens, and a 50mm f/1.4 lens.

Featured Photo: My Eyes Have Seen You, Let Them Photograph Your Soul

"Jim Morrison" with Break On Through, 17 December 2011

“Jim Morrison” with Break On Through, an amazing Doors tribute band, 17 December 2011. Nikon D90 with a 50mm Nikkor f1.8 lens, 1/100, f/2, 1250 ISO.

Break On Through to the Faster Side
There’s nothing like a nice fast lens.  I like shooting concert photos with natural light most of the time, and a fast lens always helps.  I’m using the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4, which at $300, is a pretty good bargain.  There’s another 50mm lens, the f/1.8, for scarcely more than $100, which is a steal.  Dark light?  With a big aperture, I can still shoot at 1/100 and “freeze” the action without getting too much noise (grain).

I like to wander.  I took the above photo of “Jim Morrison”, singer of the Doors tribute band Break On Through”, while standing next to the drummer on stage.  I really like the look of someone who is backlit.

The Legendary Pharoah Sanders

Who is the Pharoah Of Them All? The legendary Pharoah Sanders at the Catalina, this one taken with the same Nikon D90, but with a much slower lens, an 18-200mm VR, shot with a rather “low tech” method of minimizing camera shake! 😀

Take It As It Comes
Sometimes, you don’t always have what you need.  Here at this gig with the legendary Pharoah Sanders at the Catalina, I didn’t own the faster lens, and had considerably slower 18-200mm VR Nikkor zoom lens.  I got away with less movement by using the VR (Vibration Reduction) technology AND by squeezing the camera tight against one of the posts to minimize camera shake while shooting.  I still picked up a bunch of noise from having to bump my ISO quite high, so I had to spend a little time in Photoshop cleaning that up.  But my philosophy is that I’d rather get the shot with a little noise than not get the shot at all.  And this photo has been one of my most popular concert photos, and something I personally treasure.

Equipment:  Nikon D90,  50mm f1/4 (first photo); 18-200mm VR Nikkor lens (2nd photo)