Camera and photographer making the once in a lifetime photo

Free event in New York City

Friday, July 29, 2011
People want to live in New York City. One reason is because there are a rich and diverse selection of cultural activities and events. In the summertime there are even a wide selection of high quality free things to do. On any night you can walk around this great city and find yourself being entertained by world class talent. Last night I was walking around Riverside Park and came across the Hudson Warehouse theater group performing The Seagull by Anton Chekhov.

Hudson Warehouse performing The Seagull by Anton Chekhov
Every Thursday through Sunday for the month of August you can find high quality performance art, for free, in Riverside Park. At West 89th Street, on the North side of the Solders' and Sailors' monument starting at 6:30pm. This is Hudson Warehouses 8th season and they will be performing The Taming of the Shrew for the final month.

Hudson Warehouse performing in New york City in Riverside Park

I am not much of a theater goer and have never seen The Seagull. But, it was performed so well I found myself drawn into the story and characters within minutes. There is something about seeing classic theater in an open air venue as opposed to a theater. It seems more organic, like this is the way performance was suppose to be, actors acting and being the character in a drama. I stayed until the end and want to go see it again before the run finishes at the end of the month. Luckily it is free, a fabulous free New York City event. Visit The Hudson Warehouse website for more information.

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Photos of Alice in Wonderland - Conservatory Water - Central Park Zoo

Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Central Park in New York City offers children the chance to explore, create and have fun being a child. The walk between East 76th Street down to the Central Park Zoo at East 64th Street is a magical children's adventure. Take a break from all the high intensity sight seeing and relax in Central Park with your children.

Starting with The Alice in Wonderland Sculpture, it is a favorite place for children to climb and see a storybook come to life. There are two very enjoyable sculptures and plenty of park benches to rest and relax.

 Alice in Wonderland Sculpture in New York City Central Park

Right next to the statue is Conservatory Water which is most famous for remote control sailboats which you can rent. You can also watch one of the resident NYC Red Tail Hawks through a telescope (seasonal) on the other side of the Water. In this photo a young child is looking at small fish swimming in Conservatory Water while sailboats sail around the water.

Taken With a Nikon D200 with a Nikon 70-200 2.8G ver. 1

A small walk from the Alice and Wonderland statue and the Conservatory Water, on the east side, is the Central Park Zoo. A long standing institution where children and parents of all ages will enjoy themselves.

 Central Park Zoo photo taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikon 180mm 2.8

I love the Central Park Zoo and have been going there since I was a small child. Walking from East 75th Street where the Statue is and down to East 64th Street is a really beautiful walk. Not to taxing for the children, with many great diversions in between such as puppet shows, musicians, playgrounds with sprinklers and performers making balloon animals. Children will really love this New York City walk and be amused, entertained and maybe even informed and the end of the day. Finish the walk at east 59th Street at Grand Army Plaza and you are ready to take a short walk over the F.A.O Schwarz. Well, that would be a child's storybook wonderland day. This is one day that that won't break the bank but will be relaxing, entertaining and educational.
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Keeping cool in New York City

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The New York City heat wave ... New Yorkers have some ways to stay cool even though we are in a concrete furnace. Water, water, water... that seems to be the trick. From Red Tailed Hawks catching a cool drink in a water fountain to people playing in Columbus Circle. The record setting 105 degree temperature of this heat wave is just an opportunity to play instead of something to hide from.

Keeping cool in the New York City heat wave of by D.Myles Stam.
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Red Tailed Hawk in New York City

Friday, July 22, 2011
I went out today to take photographs of people in New York City trying to beat the heat after a 103 degree day. When all of a sudden in the corner of my camera lens I noticed a Red Tailed Hawk in Riverside Park right outside the West 96th Street playground. I have seen Red Tailed Hawks flying around New York City, especially Central Park, but this one seemed to not mind a photographer taking his paparazzi shots. I was able walk right up to this hawk, snapping photos while standing 10 feet away.

It has been a long time since I did any wildlife photography. I mostly take photos of the urban jungle and it's occupants. I did have a Nikon 180mm 2.8 lens in my camera bag. But this experience reminded me that when birding, even such a large bird like a Red Tailed Hawk, does require at least a 300mm lens unless you want to crop half the photo.

10 feet away with a Nikon 180mm 2.8 lens set at f/3.2, 1/200 sec at ISO 400
Well, the Hawk flew away but tonight, 98th Street and Riverside Park was it's hunting ground. About 15 minutes later the Red Tailed Hawk returned looking for field mice, small birds and even squirrels.

  Deep crop. I stood about 12-15 feet away with my Nikon 180mm 2.8

I was able to walk up close to the rather large bird. Using my 180mm lens was good but a 300mm or 400mm lens would have compressed the background and increased my magnification to a much better level. A person cannot count on a bird being so use to people and photographers.

It was really dark and before the hunt was done, both my photography and the Red Tailed Hawks. Since I was hand holding a Nikon 180mm f/2.8 lens, I had to boost my ISO to 2000 in order to keep an adequate shutter speed. These are extreme crops, and I was really out of practice photographing critters that fly, scurry and scamper. I missed a shot of the Red Tailed Hawk pouncing on a squirrel right in front of me. And my shutter speed was never able to get over 1/200th of a second without increasing my ISO even higher so I missed the Hawks quick movements, flying right over my head and playing in the fountain. But I did remember how exhilarating it is to photograph wild nature.
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Easy UniWB tutorial for Nikon D700, D3, D300

Wednesday, July 20, 2011
This tutorial will show you the real steps to installing uniwb on your Nikon D700, D3, D300 What is Uni White Balance or uniwb for short? It is a way for the photographer to bypass the in-camera processing multiplier applied to the White Balance. Why would a photographer want to do this? In order to get the most accurate tonal reading during the capture photography phase.

UNIWB is only for RAW file shooters. When a photographer loos at the image on the built in camera screen or looks at the channels histogram they are looking at a JPG interpretation of the RAW data. The cameras processor multiplies the captured data of the red, green and blue channel by a certain number depending on which camera you use. As a RAW data shooter, we want to see the actual data, uninterpreted by the cameras internal programming. Using UniWB gives you this ability. It bypasses the computer interpretation of white balance (which is usually wrong) so you can set the best ETTR (exposse to the right) capture.

For a more technical elaboration on UNIWB you should  do a search search for Iliah Borg or uniwb. This tutorial is not about why to use UNIWB but how to load it on a Nikon D700.

I have loaded UNIWB on my D200 and D70. The Nikon D700 adds an extra step because you have to put the data onto a CF card via a card reader.

To download the Nikon  D3/D700 uniwb files goto... ... and unzip the folder.

To download the Nikon D300 uniwb files goto ... and unzip the folder

Step 1. Format your CF card in the Nikon D700
Step 2 take a photo
Step 3 goto shooting menu on your Nikon D700 and then manage picture control
Step 4 goto save edit -->> choose any picture control -->> hit ok -->> then save it with a name
Step 5 goto manage picture control again -->> load/save -->> copy to card and choose the picture control you just made to be put onto your CF card.

Now you have 2 folders on your CF card.... one Named Nikon and one where the photos are stored.

Step 6 Take the DSC_0001.NEF file (this is the UNIWB file) from the zip folder and rename it with the name of the photo you took after formatting your card. Now replace the photo file on your camera with the renamed UNIWB file.

Step 7 The other part of using UNIWB is to have a flat curve in your picture control file.The corresponding ncp file in the download is this flat curve. Take the piccon01.ncp file, in the NIKON folder from the zip file and replace the file in the Nikon folder on your CF card with it. Before doing this I would name it linear or something you will remember as associated with the uni white balance. - now put the CF card back into the camera.

Step 8 goto shooting menu on the camera -->> White Balance -->> preset manual -->> select a slot to put the white balance photo onto and click the pad -->> select image -->> and the camera will automatically go to the photo on your camera -->> then set with another click of the controller pad.

Step 9 goto shooting menu -->> manage picture control -->> load/save -->> copy to camera -->>and choose the picture control you put onto your CF card.

To use the UNIWB you need to choose the PRE White Balance assigned to the UNIWB setting and use the picture control Linear (which is what I named my UNIWB flat curve picture control).

*** if this tutorial helped you, please click on an add. It helps me eat so I can keep on writing helpful information***

Now you will have green photos but an accurate histogram portrayal of the data your camera captures. This is the main reason for using uniwb, accurate luminosity in all three color channels. But, I must also warn the photographer that uses uniwb; that you must shoot RAW and be an experienced post processor.

Post processing uniwb takes decision making. You have to decide what the true white balance of the photo actually is during post processing. Furthermore, since you are using a linear curve, you will have to make decisions about contrast, saturation, tone curves. Essentially, the camera does nothing but capture the binary 1,s and 0's of the digital language. Truly, unwb is all about being a lover of photography. It is an easy process but it adds another step to the process of making a pretty photo.

My next blog digital photography tutorial is about color correcting uniwb files.

Or learn about color correcting skin tones in this tutorial.

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