This site has moved to another blog called, ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY. There will me no further posts to this site. The new site will continue so show my regular shooting progress, but will also contain other topics on photography, such as hands-on equipment and software reviews, historical information on photography, and much more.

When it was set up, the DAILY STOCK SHOT PROJECT was supposed to be a one year project. Last year I extended the project another year due to the popularity of the site, but now it is time to move on.

If you wish to continue following, please visit my new blog at ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY and save it as a new link.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

I am out in Palm Springs, California where they have a large wind turbine farm where I photographed this model jumping in the air.  Taken with the Nikon D4 and 24-70mm zoom.  The D4 with its 10fps motor drive and extremely accurate and speedy focusing makes shots like this a breeze -- no pun intended.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Things that go together.  These river stones are interesting for the similar patterns of the colorful lines passing through them.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Testing the Nikon D800 -- Sensor crop modes

I have begun putting the Nikon D800 through its paces and will be sharing some of my observances on it and the D4 on this blog, and more extensively on my other blog.

The D800 is a full-frame (FX in Nikon lingo) 36 megapixel sensor.  Until now a resolution that high had been reserved for medium format cameras.  For traditional stock shooters who only need to supply a 50mb file, 36mp with its 100mb file may seem like overkill.  However, there are a number of reasons why a camera like this makes a lot of sense.

We really need to think about it as a new breed of camera.  In many respects it is many cameras in one depending upon how you use it.  Nikon has built into its menu system the ability to select various crop modes.  There is the full-frame FX mode of 36x24mm, a slightly smaller mode of 30x20mm with 1.2x magnification and 25.1mp, a DX crop mode that corresponds to the size of an APS sensor with a 15.4mp resolution and 1.5x magnification, and a 5:4 (30x24mm) mode that renders a popular proportion at 30.2mp for photographers producing images for the proportions of the printed page.

What is interesting is that all of these crop modes still yield acceptably high megapixel ranges to produce traditional stock photographs.  Being able to switch from one mode to another is similar to adding a telextender to your camera.  Look at the photos below to see how the magnification increases with each crop size. 

By switching the camera into DX mode you can use DX lenses.  DX lenses are smaller and lighter, but they also provide some focal lengths that are not available in full frame -- the Sigma 8-16mm zoom comes immediately to mind. 

Another advantage of switching to cropped modes is that they speed up the camera because there is less information for it to process. If you add the auxilary battery pack and switch to DX mode you have a camera with a faster frame rate and a 1.5x lens magnification making it better for wildlife and sports.

I can tell you from experience that the resolution of this camera in any of its crop modes is exceptional.  I found that using the D800 in DX mode to be equally as good -- if not better -- than using an actual DX camera like the D7000. 

In later posts I will discuss the high ISO ranges of the D800, which are impressive and also lead me to say this is a new breed of camera, and may be the only one you ever need.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A group of items that go together is another popular stock theme.  In the photo above the herbs are treated simply on a plain white background, while below they are shown in more of an environment with the plate and cloth.  Both treatments are valid stock concepts.  When shooting something like this I always try to cover the subject both ways.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A good stock conceptual theme is illustrating a situation where one thing stands out from the crowd.

Monday, March 26, 2012

I began my cherry blossom tour at the Jefferson Memorial and spent some time photographing it before moving on to the cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin. 

Taken with a 16mm focal length from the entrance to the monument.  I use these extreme wide angle lenses to provide a sweeping vista.

Here the Nikon 70-200mm lens at 200mm juxtaposed the statue of Thomas Jefferson with the Ionic column in the background.

One of my favorite devices is to have the sun just peeking into a shot so that it forms a star burst.  Here I wanted to keep everything very light so I exposed for the interior and allowed the sky to wash out.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Photographing the Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC

This year I managed to hit the perfect day for peak bloom of the cherry blossoms in Washington D.C.   The past two years the weather did not cooperate, and I either didn't go or was too late for the best color. 

Here are a few of my favorite takes.  To see more images and find out how I took them visit my Learn Photography blog. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A couple of more shots for "Nature in the City".  Both were taken with the Nikon D4 and 70-300mm lens.

Blossoms with the Union Square arch softly out of focus behind.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Going out for the evening!  This studio shot was taken with a ring light flash and Nikon D3s with 70-200mm lens.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Here are some of my first tests with the new Nikon D4.  I took it out for a spin at dusk to see what it would do in low light.  The results were amazing.  This photo was taken hand-held with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom and camera set to ISO 3200, the one below at ISO 5000.  At 3200 ISO this camera isn't even breaking a sweat.

I'll have a full review later on my other blog once I have put the camera through its paces.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Another shot for my Nature in the City series.  This time it is a delicate pattern of pear tree blossoms juxtaposed against the harmonious color and grid-like arrangement of city apartment windows.  Taken with the Nikon D7000 and 70-300mm zoom.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Around mid-day the sun reflected off the Empire State Building.  I positioned myself to compose a shot where the flag flying above the entrance would be directly in front of the reflected sun and the light would pass through.  This is the result taken with the Fuji X-100.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Nature in the City

These images are for a new series I am doing called, "Nature in the City".  They were taken on an early morning bike ride along the Hudson River and around Battery Park at the bottom of Manhattan.

A low mist hung over the city early this morning as you can see in this shot of the top of the new Freedom Tower as it disappears into the haze.

In the following images I concentrated on finding scenes that illustrated the rebirth of spring.  These are some of the first buds to come out.  All of them were very, very small.

For the close-up of all these buds I used a Nikon D7000 and 80mm macro lens with a wide open aperture that maximized the out-of-focus background.

This guy accommodated me by posing next to a green bud.  I managed to get just this one shot of him with a quick switch to the 70-300mm Nikkor zoom on the D7000.

I liked the way this sparrow's mouth was opened as it chirped against a backdrop of all the delicate buds sprouting from the nearby branches.  The sky was hazy but bright and lent a delicate white background to most of the scenes.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Whenever I find wine corks with specific names of regions or wine types I photograph them for design uses within the wine industry.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

It's not always fun and games

When shooting lifestyle scenes with models who can emote it is often a good idea to add in some situations that show the tougher side of a relationship.  These are always good for editorial usage.  Here are a few we did in the studio just yesterday.

Friday, March 16, 2012

First buds of spring

Yesterday while walking into our studio I noticed that some spring buds were just beginning to sprout on the trees outside our building.  This morning the tiny buds had come alive, and some had already blossomed.  I always photograph the first spring buds I see so I went to the studio and grabbed a Nikon D3s with a 105mm macro lens on it.  Here are two of the many shots I did.

I wanted the delicate colors of the plants to dominate the shots so I positioned myself to have out-of-focus neutral gray tones created in the background by the wide open aperture of the lens.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


This one is a bit bizarre.  I had just finished shooting a scene with this model when I spotted a clear blue bottle of window cleaner on a table.  Grabbing it, I asked the model to pose for a few seconds, then, placing the bottle in front of the left side of the lens I took this photo.  It helped that I had the 135mm Nikkor defocus lens on my camera.  Set at f/2 this lens produces the best bokeh of any lenses I've ever used. I also love the twin streaks coming in from the upper left and converging to complete a powerful compositional line of direction taking your eye to the model's hand, which tells the story or here attitude.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Getting in super close

Most macro lenses can go as close as a 1:1x reproduction, meaning that the image on the sensor is the same size as the object being photographed.  Canon, however, makes a 65mm macro lens that begins at 1x reproduction and goes to 5x. Such extreme magnification is more akin to photographing with a low powered microscope.  While I do not shoot with Canon cameras professionally anymore, I do have this lens and keep a T2i Canon around to use with it.  Because it has an APS-C sensor, this camera actually increases the magnification beyond the rated 5x.  Here are some photos I just took with this camera/lens combo of a CPU chip, and details of a computer motherboard.  In general, these images represent about a 3x magnification.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Another Random Stuff still life.  This time I gathered up miscellaneous objects I found on the street and brought them back to do a still life composition.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Random Stuff

This still life is comprised of completely random items I found around the house and assembled into a composition for this photo.  It is interesting to me how the mind tries to organize the items and make a story out of them that tells us about the person they represent.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Often on weekends I work on some of my favorite personal projects.  One I started a few years ago is photographing many of the older, beautiful buildings in New York City.  This has resulted in a web site and more recently in a new blog called Discover Old New York.  Here are a few images I just took of an old Italian Renaissance style firehouse on 18th Street.  I find this amazing.  A firehouse in my neighborhood -- a place where I had walked many times, but had never really stopped to look up at it to see the beauty.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

More close-ups with the 40mm macro lens on the D7000.  I added some post-processing technique of muting, toning, and vignette to give them more of a nostalgic feel.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Today we had some fun in the studio.  One model reeled through a bunch of situations.  Just so you don't think I do this alone, I have an incredible crew who prep the day by finding the models, prepare the script, gather together the props and wardrobe for all the planned shots, and move the lights and change scenes effortlessly to maximize the number of unique image we can accomplish in a just a few hours.

 Here are a just a few from today's shoot:

For this shot I had two assistants tossing water from cups from both sides of the models face. The whole thing was lit with Nikon SB-900 flash units because their stopping power for action is much better than studio strobes.

This shot was taken with a Profoto ringlight and Nikon D3s with 70-200mm lens.  I  usually use this lens with the ringlight flash because it is a zoom and I do not have to change the distance to the subject as I frame and cropn the image.  This maintains the distance, which means that the exposure stays the same so I have fewer changes to make.

I took this shot between takes.  We had just finished one scene and the model was on her way to wardrobe to prep for the next shot when I noticed her profile against the window light.  I asked her to stop, turn her face in profile, and then slowly turn towards me with her eyes.  This is the result.  I liked the inquiring look in her eyes.  A total grab shot done back lit by a window with no fill.

We have just gone through a period of academy awards. globe awards, etc., etc., and I thought it might be a good idea to do a some "red carpet" stock shots.  Here is one we did with the model today.  The entire lighting is from the six Nikon SB-900 flash units, the five you see in the background.  The front was filled with two, large gold/silver reflectors on either side of the model.