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Everything posted by Threshershark

  1. Hey Byron, I use a Pelican 1450 and replace the standard foam or dividers with a TrekPak system. On a related note, I've found one of the best things to do for a DSLR that you're worried about is simply to insure it. Call whatever company provides your car/homeowner/renter insurance and check into valuable item coverage. Eventually, even with solid protection, stuff takes a dip. If your gear would be financially painful to replace, insure it and ditch the worry. If you're doing work for publication you want your best tools on the water with you.
  2. Macro photography is a whole different paradigm but it's not too difficult to pick up. Here are a few things that will help a lot: 1) Use a tripod 2) Trigger the shutter with a remote, or using the timer. Your timer can be set in the camera's menu down to a 2-second delay and works well in a pinch - but a remote saves time. The focal plane is so thin at macro distances that the slightest bump of the camera by pressing the shutter release with your finger can effect sharpness. 3) Use a SMALL apterture. Again, you are already working with a very thin depth of field due to the distance from the lens to the subject. Unless I am trying to achieve an out of focus effect, I never shoot macros at anything less than f/16 and prefer f/22 or f/32. Shoot on Aperture Priority, and let the camera select a shutter speed. 4) Ideally you'd have a macro lens. If not, your kit lens will produce good results (although not 1:1 lifesize). 5) Lighting is key. There are all manner of ways to set up macro lighting. You can use an off-camera speedlight like the SB400, connected to a flash extension cord, build/buy a light box, or any number of other options. I've always gotten very good results with a DIY lightbox like this: http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/07/how-t...oto-studio.html Instead of using a strobe as shown, I just use a pair of desk lamps with NVision daylight bulbs. Of course if you have a speedlight, they are great. I use a SB400 diffused through a small softbox quite a bit too. 6) Turn off Auto-ISO. Your camera will have a tendency to increase ISO when using very small apertures indoors. Turn the auto function off and make sure your ISO is set to 200 or lower. For backgrounds just do whatever looks good to you. Posterboard or foam core is easy to handle and inexpensive, sheets of formica are nice too. You can also visit the local fabric store and find anything under the sun. The nice thing about toying with a speedlight is that the gear is portable and you can use the same techniques on real bugs that use at the vice. This image was taken using a SB400 speedlight on a flash extension cord, with a cheap Sto-Fen omnibounce diffuser. Those are the basics - it takes some experimentation to dial things in exactly the way you want them - but with the right fundamentals you can save yourself a bunch of time. Have fun with it.
  3. The D7000 is definitely a body to consider as a competitor to the D90. Camera companies and review sites love the marketing fluff and alphabet soup surrounding new features. You need to ask yourself if any of the new goodies actually translate to improved results that are worth paying for. I wouldn't pay a dime for ISO 100 over 200. Why? My paying customers can't tell the difference and are completely satisfied with the results I get at ISO 200. One of the big selling points of the D300/D300s over the D90 (and still over the D7000) is fast action photography. The D300's robust 51-point autofocus array and 8fps capability still trumps the 7000's, and will continue to do so. Would I pay for faster frame rate and better AF performance? Yes, because I shoot action and those features translate to actual additional utility that could mean the difference in capturing or missing the result I want. Will you wish that you had gone with the D300 down the road? Only if action photography is your thing. For everything else, the D90 or D7000 will fit the bill nicely. Photography is a huge business. Every year camera companies will come out with new stuff, and the marketing guys will tell you how much you need it. New models cause depreciation in the old models, and so goes the cycle. Anyone who is surprised or "screams" about the depreciation of computers, cameras, smart phones, or any other electronics product is an idiot. Buy what fits your current needs, and the needs you think you will have 1-3 years from now. Beyond that horizon, technology will have advanced and you will likely find yourself wanting the new hottness again.
  4. I'm not sure if this is in reference to my post Speyguy, but if so nothing in my commentary suggests that technical image quality is linked to frame rate. Image output is initially based on 1) the light transmitted to the sensor by the optics, and 2) the sensor's ability to capture that information and convert it to data. That being said, effectively capturing high-resolution images at high frame rates is related to much more than the lens and sensor. Digital cameras have computing components that interpret pixel data from the sensor and perform both image processing and data transfer. High-speed memory (buffer) is also required to manage the datastream while images are being recorded to slower speed memory cards. In order to capture images with high technical quality effectively at a high frame rate the camera body needs the whole package: Optics/sensor performance, a shutter which can cycle quickly enough, a procesing engine that interpret the pixel data, a buffer that has the capacity to handle the data stream in transit to the memory card - etc. In other words, my first bullet point. If quality fast action photography is a priority, the traditional SLR is the right choice. These are the cameras which have the necessary internals for the task. So, can a consumer-grade point & shoot produce "professional" results? What is a professional result? Is it an image you can print to 16x20 to the satisfaction of a paying portrait customer? Is it an image you can sell for publication in a national magazine? Is it product photography that a corporate client loves and uses for their annual catalog cover? I've done all of those things successfully with a $100 camera. I have also captured images with a professional SLR and $9,000 lens which I absolutely could not have obtained with anything less.
  5. The camera that will work best for you depends entirely on the type of photography you intend to do. In all reality, most digital cameras made in the last 3 years are entirely capable of producing professional results. I've had images published from a Canon SD700 that is probably worth less than $100 right now. What does a "professional" SLR body buy you, in real-world terms, that is applicable to your photography style? Only you can answer that. In my experience, there are a couple of key advantages to a traditional SLR. ●Frame Rate: For fast action and sports, it's hard to produce high quality images at a frame rate of 6fps or faster without the right body. If action isn't your thing, it's irrelevant. ●Interchangeable lenses: Nikon and Canon have a vast assortment of compatible, purpose-built lenses available. Used or off-brand lenses are easy to find which will meet your budget needs too. Sony has some quality glass, but is not in the same league as the market leaders in terms of sheer variety and quantity. ●Autofocus Speed & Sensor Array: Bodies like the Nikon D300 have 51-point sensor arrays and can focus quickly and precisely, especially using professional lenses with internal focus motors. These robust systems make it easier to track small or fast moving subjects and distinguish them from complicated backgrounds (like a bird flying in front of vegetation). ●Image Sensor: SLR sensors, in a general sense, have higher per-pixel quality than the smaller cameras. This is less of an issue for anyone who doesn't routinely sell images, because pretty much any digital camera made in the last 3 years will print to 16x20 with no problem at all. A camera like the NEX doesn't really seem like a good compromise to me. It's bigger than something like the outstanding Canon S90 or S95, but it doesn't have the lens selection to make it useful as an interchangeable lens body. I believe there are only 3 e-mount lenses. They do offer an adapter to give you access to A-mount lenses for an additional $200, but putting a big lens on the NEX body would kind of ruin the portability advantage. The advertised frame rate is 2.3 continuous fps, and they have something called "speed priority" which claims 7fps. I suspect on a body this size that "speed priority" is Sony's way of saying you can shoot faster by significantly degrading image quality. The 18-200mm e-mount lens has a maximum aperture of f/6.3 @ 200mm, which means it really can't stop fast action in most lighting conditions anyway. If portability is a key driver, I would take a serious look at the Canon S95. The image quality is excellent and it has a max aperture of f/2, making it great for low light work. It's not going to excel at fast action, but neither will the NEX series. If you want more zoom range than the S95, something like the Lumix DMC-FZ40, which is selling on Amazon for $365, would be my pick over the Sony. If the bullet points listed above are important to your photography, you'd probably be better served by a traditional SLR and learning to live with the added bulk.
  6. The comments are much appreciated Oatka, Lynn, Morten, Mokai, and Al. Mayflies are amazingly detailed little flying machines.
  7. Thanks Devin. Every rose has its callibaetis I suppose.
  8. There's been a flurry of mayfly love in the air this past week. I'm hoping the trend continues through this weekend.
  9. I've shot on all the bodies you mention and a few others. It really depends on what features are most important to you. The D90 has many of the same features as its big brothers in the consumer-grade plastic body. The price point is nice, it's light, and would make a good long-term choice for general purpose photography. What type of imagery do you shoot the most often? Here are a few observations based on my experience: ●The D300 shoots 6fps "naked" and 8fps with a battery grip. If you like action sports, birds in flight, and that sort of thing, FPS is king. It is worth the price of admission to get a more robust shutter and higher frame rates. The magnesium body is built like a tank and has better weather sealing than any of the plastic bodies. The 51-point AF system is excellent and is a significant upgrade for tracking moving objects over the D90's 11-point system. ●The D700 is full-frame and offers significant advantages for landscape, portrait, or low-light photography. The obvious downside is the cost of the body and the FX lenses. The D700 produces useable images up to ISO 3600, where the D300 starts to get pretty grainy at ISO 800. ●The D200 is a bargain right now. It has the same magnesium body as the D300 with electronics from the previous generation of Nikon cameras. The main things you lose out on are the fantastic LCD screen upgrade of the D300 and a few of the processing improvements like what Nikon calls Active D-Lighting. This is really a vastly improved dynamic range technology that improves exposure in areas of high contrast, and it works VERY well. The D90, D300, D700, etc. have this feature. Battery life in the D300 is probably 200% or 300% better as well. I shot on the D200 for quite a while and it really is a great body for the current prices. I'm using the D300 right now and will probably stick with it for a long time. I have no use for the gimmick SLR video features of the D300s, and don't get enough utility from full-frame to justify the costs. The D90 would be just as useful if I didn't need the higher frame rates for birds in flight. In terms of the lightweight class like the D5000 and that whole lineup, one of the critical omissions (for me) is the lack of a mechancial focus drive. There are so many great lenses that I use frequently with mechanical focus that I would not buy a body lacking the drive screw. If you don't have any such lenses, it's no big deal.
  10. NJ - the attached image shows a size of 57kb, which isn't really enough data to work with. If you have a version that is 3MB or larger and has enough detail in the shadows to work with I might be able to clean it up a bit. Feel free to e-mail me in the event you have a high resolution copy. threshershrk (at) gmail (dot) com.
  11. Cool perspective Smallie. Looks like an 8-spotted skimmer - I like the wing detail.
  12. The footing looks uncomfortable, but you can't argue the color match.
  13. Nice work, I especially like that first shot with the colors and directionality.
  14. The Nikon 105 is a great lens, but there are other top notch options out there for less money. Keep in mind that VR is a completely useless technology at macro distances, so you are paying a nice chunk of change for the stabilization module with the current 105. As a side note, lots of people use these for portrait lenses too because they have great bokeh, and VR would be useful for that purpose. At 1:1 ratios where DoF is already very shallow, all VR does is add a bunch of dollars to the price tag. I don't think the D5000 has a mechanical focus screw, so lots of non-AFS alternatives won't autofocus on that body. Personally, I always manually focus macro lenses anyway, so that shouldn't be much of an issue for you. Options: ● Definitely consider trying to find a used Nikon 105mm AF Micro. They are outstanding and often sell for half the cost of the new VR version. ● The Tokina 100mm macro is second to none in terms of optical quality. It retails for $399 and can be found cheaper used. They can be hard to find because they are so incredibly good. Here's a hand-held shot off the Tokina: ● The Tamron 180mm macro is a gem. It goes for about $650, and gives you a lot more working distance for bugs. For the kind of things you mention specifically, the Nikon 60mm macro would be a good choice too (for things that don't spook easily). I think the 100mm zone is a very good compromise between weight, size, and working distance though.
  15. I saw the 2-lb bass thread and it was right up my alley. I don't chase them very often, but the last couple of weekends I've been flipping the Sage Smallmouth and have loved it. Is anyone throwing these or other stump pullers like the TFO Minimag for bass? As a side note, these rods roll cast with a lot of power. I used this bass rod to roll cast big slip indicators from shore on a stillwater chironomid rig, and was really surprised at the distance a stout 7'11" stick will produce. This is a really fun series of rods. I've seen people using the bigger Largemouth rod for big pike, muskie, snook, and smaller tarpon in the mangroves. Lots of leverage and pulling power for anything that swims near structure.
  16. Thanks ChuckingFluff. For the light box product shots w/ white background I use a ghetto lighting setup. It's a cardboard box with the sides cut out, and I tape architectural vellum paper over the holes. The paper diffuses 2 N:Vision 100 watt "daylight" bulbs which are sitting in the generic dish reflectors you can get at Home Depot. The box is only about 24" x 24" so when I need a larger venue such as with the carbine image there is more staging involved. For that shot I used a pair of 800w strobes, diffused through soft boxes. Camera choice doesn't matter much as long as you can stop down to at least f/16 or so. I used either a Tokina 100mm macro or Nikon 35mm f/2 for this series.
  17. Thanks for the kind words Steve. Yes, that's an Aimpoint red dot and the hardware is mine. Oatka - those are known as "bullethead" flies and they can be fairly effective. This outfit is what comes recommended for fishing the Baghdad section of the Euphrates. For anyone that might prefer lighter tackle, there's also this option:
  18. Thanks Steve. I will be really interested to see how the Vanquish does in both large and small sizes. From a mechanical and engineering perspective, they are ballistic. The Hard Alox finish is probably the toughest in the industry, but it does lack that sexy appeal or swiss watch type of appearance that you see from companies that excel at smooth anodization (Abel, Nautilus, etc.). The Vanquish looks good in the same visceral sense as an M4 carbine. It means business, but it's no supermodel.
  19. Thanks guys - I think it's a very good looking reel from a company that has always put function over form. On price - from what I understand Lamson is looking at the Vanquish line as a limited production model. It sounds to me like they don't intend to compete volume-wise with some of the other higher end manufacturers. Their goal is to make no compromises, and the amount of machining on this thing showcases that it's not easy to make. I've heard the 4/5 model will land around $550, with the 5/6 at $599 and the 7/8 at $699.
  20. Lamson is shipping the first runs of Vanquish reels for lighter rods if anyone is interested in a sneak peek.
  21. Cool idea for a thread. Here are a few I think are close enough, shot this month:
  22. Over the last few years I've shot on a Nikon D70, D200, and Canon SD700. These days just about anything takes great pictures when used within the limitations of the gear. At the moment: Nikon D300 Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR Nikon 400mm f/2.8 VRII Nikon 50mm f/1.4 Nikon 35mm f/2 Tokina 100mm Macro Tokina 12-24mm Wide I have done a huge amount of my fly fishing photography during the last year on the 35mm f/2. There is an updated DX version that sells for $199, the Nikon 35mm f/1.8, which I would get if buying today. Tack sharp, fast, and very light so as to shoot one-handed. The Tokina 12-24mm is the other lens I use quite a bit for fishing subject matter. The macro goes on for insects and product photography, and the telephotos are used mostly for birds.
  23. Photographic Composition by Grill & Scanlon.
  24. Welcome to the photo section! As an initial thought, for some reason most people getting into photography think that the camera matters. The truth is that 80% of creating a successful image is photographic composition, another 10% is knowing how to use the 5 or 6 important controls, and most of what is left over involves creativity. Somewhere in the mix the camera fits in. Fly fishermen understand this concept. Everyone knows the guy who wants to start tying and gets a Renzetti Master, or picks up a Sage TCX for his first day on the water. Technique and experience are the real drivers of results. Talented tiers or fly casters can be effective with any tool, with the understanding that the best equipment can save time or provide an edge under certain circumstances. Digital cameras made by all the major companies over the last 5 years are all excellent. Entry level gear today is better than what pros were shooting and paying thousands of dollars for back in 2005. With SLRs, Nikon and Canon are the best choices simply because they have been the market leaders in film SLRs for decades and offer the largest array of lens options. I think the Nikon D40 is the best value SLR on the market. There are professionals that use it today, including Richard Shute (2009 Motorsports Photographer of the Year). The 18-55mm lens that comes with most D40 kits is top notch, and will be a very good portrait and landscape lens. If fly photography is high on your list of priorities, you will want to add a 60mm or 100mm macro lens to your collection. My advice is to avoid putting too much thought into the gear choice, and focus on the skills that allow the camera to be effective. Compostion and Exposure. Photographic Composition by Grill & Scanlon and Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson are great books to start with. Enjoy!
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