Gaining Experience–Kicking It Up a Notch or Two

From my last musings on getting better, a few things have changed.  Actually,  a lot of things of changed Smile  Considering I’m not working, I sure am busy!  I’ve been networking, of course, but lately, I’ve been backing off a bit and only networking where it really counts.  Anyway… that’s another post in another blog…..

The experience I gain, the more I find that my needs are changing.  Just today, I picked up a Nikon D7200 body.  The reason – have two bodies in the same model range.  I’m actually glad I picked up the body first.  I ALMOST got a lens instead.  I potentially saved some cash, though testing will be the proof of the pudding.  What I was initially after was the ability to shoot in lower light conditions with no flash.  The option I was looking at was simply getting a faster lens – actually, I wanted the D7200 body too Smile  BUT, it turns out that the D7200 has better low light performance so I may still wait on the lens for a bit.  

In being out of work, but looking at options, one of the things I have been doing, is taking more photos.  A LOT more photos.  Earlier this year, I did the Linkedin photos for a job conference and recently I went to a Linkedin photo shoot that had a pro shooting.  It was actually set up so anyone with a camera could come, but in reality, you could use the existing backdrops but not the strobes or light modifiers.  I initially hadn’t planned on taking any  photos but ended up taking more than a few.  I used my flash and LightSphere.  This was actually my first time that I used the LightSphere in a studio setting – I normally use my strobes.  More important – I had my SB700 on my camera – nothing cute and fancy.  I was actually pretty pleased with what I got, though I should have set up in manual instead of Programmed Auto.  The LightSphere, though, is designed to be used in Programmed Auto Mode.  Didn’t matter – the results were awesome!!!

My primary focus (no pun intended), has been more in the area of close-ups and portraits as opportunity presents itself.  Most plants on the close up side of things. I’ve been looking at stock or micro stock type photos and in doing so, wanted to accumulate some “inventory”.  I do want to do some landscapes as well and that’s going to happen very soon, believe me. 

Photography is one of the options I’ve been looking at as an alternate to the IT space where I consult.  There isn’t a lot of work there and being out of work for a long time is only proving that out.  Also real estate.  To make things more complicated, I’m on a course building meetup, and more recently, started to revive a past hobby in woodworking.  I have revenue properties and do a lot of that, so woodworking was an easy jump – I did some before properties anyway.  This time around, though, it was to help a close friend with some furniture needs.  I thought I had it tough – WOW!!  My troubles are nothing compared to hers!!  I help every chance I get.  Another friend needed to prep her house to sell (same reason as me – needed to sell to survive) and that took a fair amount of time.  I really didn’t realize how much the technology space constrained me, now that I’ve been away from it. 

I’ve also added some studio gear, but I’m going to need to get more if I do more in this direction.  The D7200 purchase, for the moment is fine, though I would like to obtain the SB910 flash.  We’ll wait on that though.  Sooo.. is the D7200 better than the D7100?  Based on specs – yes.  I got it because there would be a short learning curve – like literally zero, though, I did learn a few new tricks.  Now to back those into my D7100 Smile  Constantly learning…..

I’ve also been studying the market a bit – trying to figure out where I fit in or could fit in.  The flowers look promising – actually, stock photos.  IF and this is a BIG IF, I do find work, this may be a way to drive a bit spare income.  Real estate looks good, but it’s going slower than I initially thought and there some uncertainty about how much cash I will need to survive until a steady stream of income shows up, so I do have to be careful with my cash.  The D7200 was my “treat” for selling one of my properties. 

Onward…  So far, I’m noticing that the colors seem ever so slightly richer than the D7100 despite the same settings -  I need to study this a bit more.  Might be a setting – might be the newer engine.  Anyway – I like what I see!!!!  I’m currently shooting in 12 bit RAW  but may switch to 14 Bit RAW to see if there’s a difference.  So far, the 12 bit RAW has served me well, but……..   And then there were lens considerations……

I was initially looking for an “event” lens – Nikon has one – the new AFS-DX 16-80 f2.8-4.0  I initially was looing very hard a this lens and then thought about the the Sigma equivalent, but once I got the D7200 body and started to figure it out, the higher performance of the D7100 may have offset that.  Mind you, I still need to test that theory too Smile  Should I be adding more?   Dunno – I’m going to ponder and experiment more here.  Onward….

The other thing I’ve been running into over the last couple of months anyway, has been SD cards.  For my D7100, I was using 32 GB ones and shooting just enough that I was starting to get them pretty full.  Not that I don’t have spares, but I’m the type that likes to keep things safe.  I do shoo both RAW and JPEG’s but at 32 GB, it gives me about 575 pics, and I’ve been hitting anywhere from 300-400 pics per session.  Not that I don’t have a but of “fudge” there, but for me, cutting it a little close.  I recently came off a shoot where I did hit about 450 shots in one session and that’s what got me thinking a bit.  With the D7200 now going to be my primary unit and the D7100 being my backup or secondary, I figured I should “up the ante” and got 64GB cards.  That gets me 1000+ shots – a little safer by also a little riskier.  Oh – and I found out something I wasn’t counting on.  With the two card slots, they need to both be the same capacity!!! 

And then there’s learning curve Smile  I THOUGHT I had my D7100 pretty well figured out and it should have been pretty simple setting up the D7200 to match.  Well…… I ran into a few features I didn’t know about (NO – I don’t read manuals – only to reference when I need to figure out stuff) and go figure, they were on the D7100 as well!  AND they were nice shortcuts for certain things. 

Onward….