Darn D200 Ding
© 2006 John Lehet
My friend John Lehet, who lives in Vermont, is a gifted artist who went from large format to digital in the mid-'90s. I heard from him when he recently returned from an extended photographic expedition, the lucky salt. He does great work when he's seasick. —MJ
I'm back from three weeks of travel and 2300 images with the Nikon D200, and also a lot of infrared work done mostly with my Nikon 7900. Luckily I got my Nikkor VR 18–200mm lens a few weeks before the trip, so I had enough time to figure out that it's very soft at the corners when wide open but pretty sharp if stopped down just a bit. The 3-D softness graph at SLR Gear was very helpful in visualizing how to use the lens—knowing its characteristics really helped. The vibration reduction enabled me to catch the shot shown above from a vibrating, heaving boat, while seasick.
I brought my whole camera bag along on the trip and didn't settle for just the vacation lens. That was a good decision; however, the lens changing meant that I got some crud on my sensor that shows up in over 100 shots. Lucky I'm good with photoshop. Lucky I found a decent camera store in a remote place to get a blower-brush, and lucky the crud blew off. I had a brand new Copperhill sensor cleaning kit sitting at home on my desk at the time too. Lesson: that goes in the suitcase. Mike's tripod head talk a few weeks ago inspired me to go ahead and get a very light traveling tripod, a Velbon. I used that a lot for the infrared and other work, and it was an absolute joy. It fit in my daypack, so I always had it with me.
The infrared work is slowly getting refined and online. Not-yet-very-refined versions of a bit of it is up now on my flickr page. I'm also finding that Lightroom is absolutely the best, absolutely the best, way to process infrared images. I'm working with it intensively now that I'm home. It's slow, though, even on the big computer.
The D200 is an amazing workhorse. I'm totally thrilled with it. I was really grateful for the metal body when it tumbled out of my bag onto some asphalt and only suffered a tiny ding.
Posted by JOHN LEHET