Shooting Nikon D5 at an event with ISOs of 66535, 51200, 28800 etc

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, Neewer TT850, Neewer Wireless 16 Channel Remote, ISO 51200, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

This week I was shooting for the first time at high ISO numbers that I would have never used before for an event.

The event was in a restaurant/bar where the lighting was quite dark. The lights were spot lights from above which meant many times the subjects faces were inadequately lighted. Once I used a flash to correct the background went extremely dark.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, Neewer TT850, Neewer Wireless 16 Channel Remote, ISO 66535, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

There were windows but that meant an even greater problem that only a flash could solve. So my assistant is holding a flash off to the side and I am triggering it wirelessly.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, Neewer TT850, Neewer Wireless 16 Channel Remote, ISO 28800, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

Here are the camera settings for the Nikon D5

  • Aperture priority [ƒ/4 or ƒ/5.6]
  • Auto ISO
    • 100 – 102400
    • 1/100
Now when I was using the Neewer TT850 flash it was too bright even at 1/128th power. To fix this I was using the MagMod light modifier system. I put two Neutral Density Gels over the flash to just wink a light in when I was shooting at those extreme high ISOs.
While it took me a couple minutes to figure out this system having done something similar in the past with lower ISO settings was helpful.
As you turn the ISO up your flash needs very little power to do the job. Just remember this if you try something similar.
Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, Neewer TT850, Neewer Wireless 16 Channel Remote, ISO 66535, ƒ/5.6, 1/100
The Nikon D5 is more than just a sports camera. It is a camera for every situation. 
Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, Neewer TT850, Neewer Wireless 16 Channel Remote, ISO 66535, ƒ/5.6, 1/100
I am thrilled with the quality of the high ISO of the Nikon D5. I now can do things not possible before with my Nikon D4.

How to give light to the darkness with volunteers working with NGOs

Nikon D5, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, ISO 400, ƒ/8, 1/100–Neewer TT850, Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel transmitter [Exposure Bias: -4/6 EV]

This morning I was shooting volunteers that were pulling nails out of 2’x4’s. We started early because is was actually sprinkling and a down pour was on it’s way. This was a nasty overcast day.

Now when people bend over and have on ball caps well this is the worst possible situation I can think of shooting where the natural light is actually working against you.

This morning I avoided getting this type of photo that I had at a football game. See how you cannot see their faces. The light is from above and when they are facing down you have total black under those helmets just like you have under the visor of a baseball cap.

My assistant took one of the Neewer TT850 flashes and I had the transmitter which controls the power on my camera. Sometimes I was at 1/8 power and other times only needed about 1/64 power to fill in those shadows of the people working.

My camera is pretty much on the ground so I can see their faces and so is the flash. I asked the assistant to try and stay 45º to 90º from me to create a triangle. I am one corner the subject is another and the flash is the 3rd corner of the triangle.

I am also slightly under exposing from 1/3 to 2/3 and even up to -1 stop under. The flash is kicking in and becomes the main light on the faces.

Nikon D5, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, ISO 180, ƒ/8, 1/100–Neewer TT850, Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel transmitter [Exposure Bias: -4/6 EV]

Had I used on camera flash I would have gotten much better results than without a flash, but by getting the flash off the camera I create more modeling of the skin and creating depth.

Just remember to always have a flash in case you need to do something similar to help the audience connect with the subject.

How to make your family photos more valuable

Nikon D750, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 200, ƒ/6.3, 1/160–Neewer T850, Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel Radio system

This past weekend our family flew down to Jupiter, Florida to surprise my wife’s oldest sister for her 80th birthday.

Some of the family my wife had never met and some of the family she hadn’t seen for more than 39 years.

After taking this photo I didn’t wait till I got home to work on it in the computer. I wanted to be sure to make this photo the most valuable asset it can be to our family going forward.

Here is a video to help you know how to do this in Adobe Lightroom:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45_zCZnqmqU]
After I had the photo in Adobe Lightroom editing software I used the Face Recognition technology to help identify each and every person in all the photos I took this weekend. Now the software while not perfect did a great job. I did have to force it to tag some of the faces.

The good thing is now inside the metadata of the image is everyone’s name that is in this photograph.

Metadata is “data that provides information about other data”. Two types of metadata exist: structural metadata and descriptive metadata. Structural metadata is data about the containers of data. Descriptive metadata uses individual instances of application data or the data content.

Metadata was traditionally in the card catalogs of libraries. As information has become increasingly digital, metadata is also used to describe digital data using metadata standards specific to a particular discipline. Describing the contents and context of data or data files increases their usefulness. For example, a web page may include metadata specifying what language the page is written in, what tools were used to create it, and where to find more information about the subject; this metadata can automatically improve the reader’s experience.

The main purpose of metadata is to facilitate in the discovery of relevant information, more often classified as resource discovery. Metadata also helps organize electronic resources, provide digital identification, and helps support archiving and preservation of the resource. Metadata assists in resource discovery by “allowing resources to be found by relevant criteria, identifying resources, bringing similar resources together, distinguishing dissimilar resources, and giving location information.”

This is one of my family photos from my dad’s side of the family. I know the man on the far left (even this is sketchy to me) is my great grandfather who owned the blacksmith. He is H. P. Sewell.

Who are the rest of the people? We don’t know.

Make your photos from your family more valuable. Take the time to identify who is in the photo.

Nikon D750, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/4, 1/200

This is the three sisters from the weekend and my wife’s great niece. Just imagine a few generations later where they are telling the stories to their children about who their ancestors were.

Now putting the names of the people on the back of the print as was done by many people in the past is the same as today embedding that information using metadata.

In PhotoShop just go to the menu item File>File Info…

Under the basic table in the description box put the people’s names in the photo. You can even put them in left to right and row 1, 2 and so on to help people in the future who will not know who anyone is in the photograph.

Now this is the Spotlight search on a Mac, but you can do a text search on a PC and get the same results. Because the names are embedded in a photo you can now search and find those people. Here I put the last name in for Teubner. I didn’t even have to finish spelling it before the photos started listing for me in the search box.

I setup two umbrellas with hotshoe flashes to make the group photos this past weekend. Once I had them setup we had one our family members to take a photo of our family, which rarely happens. Like the cobbler we have few photos of us as a family.

Nikon D750, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 180, ƒ/4, 1/250–fill flash

While we did setup and take some posed photos, we enjoy just as much those moments capturing the family having fun.

Nikon D4, Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM, ISO 1250, ƒ/2.8, 1/2000
Nikon D750, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/60

I feel great about this past weekend. I not only got to meet family members I didn’t know we had, but I can now look back at the photos and tell my family who is who and help them know what a wonderful family heritage we have.

Your feet are the secret to better photos

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 5000, ƒ/5.6, 1/100–Off camera flash Neewer TT850 triggered by the Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel radio remote set to 1/128th power and with gels and grid

I love it when you are able to get super close because the people forget about you. Here this boy is deep into his computer software and the teacher is helping him.

This takes time.
Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 6400, ƒ/5.6, 1/100–Off camera flash Neewer TT850 triggered by the Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel radio remote set to 1/128th power and with gels and grid
Now if I did this just once you might think it is luck, but trust me once you let people feel comfortable with you and you are non threatening you can get really close and get better photos.
Nikon D4, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, ISO 1100, ƒ/5, 1/100
This photo is shot with a 14-24mm and I am shooting zoomed as wide as it will go at 14mm. All of the photos in this blog I can just take my hand and reach and touch the main subject’s face. 
This is the key to your photos looking better–Get closer with your feet. You should be able to touch your subject because you are too close most of the time.
Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 1600, ƒ/5.6, 1/100
Notice the difference when you work this close from the 14mm to this photo at 28mm. Starts to look like a telephoto lens.
By getting close and using ultra wide-angle lenses you get a sense of place. You can see the other students and how they are working. I try to put the audience in the room with me.
Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 1600, ƒ/5.6, 1/100
Here I stepped just a little back and zoomed in to 42mm. Notice how distant you are in comparison?
You want you photos to look better then use your feet and get close enough you can touch your subject.
There are a few exceptions and wildlife is one of those exceptions. I like to use really long lenses like 500mm or 600mm so I live to have another day.

Experiencing Israel during Holy Week in Georgia

Nikon D4, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, ISO 180, ƒ/8, 1/200

This past week I had an assignment at the Explorations in Antiquity Center in LaGrange, Georgia. I was able to experience ancient biblical life and times without going to Israel.

This is one of the ways I learn best–Experiential Learning. Experiential learning is the process of learning through experience, and is more specifically defined as “learning through reflection on doing”. Experiential learning is distinct from rote or didactic learning, in which the learner plays a comparatively passive role.

The first photo here is a replica tomb of what Jesus Christ was placed into after his crucifixion.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/125–off-camera flash using the Neewer TT850 flash & Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel Flash Remote Trigger 

The docent, tour guide, helped us to see the cross that Christ most likely was crucified on rather than the Roman designed cross many wear today or that is in churches. They went into a great amount of detail to help you understand why this was such a horrible way to die.

Nikon D4, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, ISO 2500, ƒ/7.1, 1/100
They have authentic goat hair tent like the nomadic shepherds have lived in for thousands of years. Here you sit and listen as the docent helps explain what you are seeing and experiencing.
Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/160
This is a replica of the main gate to the city. Here you learn about the gate that Jesus would have come through on the donkey. What happened around this gate gives you perspective.
Nikon D4, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, ISO 220, ƒ/7.1, 1/200
Here the group is sitting in the Garden of Gethsemane replica learning about the Olive Tree and the Olive press.
Here is a great blog post explaining the symbolism of the olive tree and how Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane was like him being pressed. 
Nikon D4, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, ISO 400, ƒ/18, 1/200
They have the press that they first use when working with olives. It was good to see and have an expert in Biblical History speaking and helping us to see the significance of the Mount of Olives and the celebration of Holy Week.
Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, ISO 9000, ƒ/2.8, 1/100
You can experience a Jerusalem Biblical Meal, which would have been similar to the last supper. I recommend going to the center for a experiential learning experience. For photographers it makes for a fun location to shoot.

The Explorations in Antiquity Center is not related to any particular denominational tradition, so the conferences should be both meaningful and sensitive to people from many different backgrounds.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 2000, ƒ/4.8, 1/100–off-camera flash using the Neewer TT850 flash & Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel Flash Remote Trigger. The MagMod with grid is used to keep light off the screen.
Here is a explanation of the MagMod I used to keep the flash off the screen in the photo above.

Making tourist shots around The Big Island of Hawaii more interesting

Nikon D4, 14-24mm, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 30 sec

I just drove up tonight to Mauna Kea and took a few photos. Here is one where I used my cell phone’s LED light to light paint the branch in front of me.

Here it is without light painting.

There were four of us driving around the Island and I wanted a memento photo of the group. So I decided to pull out my Neewer TT850, and the Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel to light the group.

I used the MagMod system to hold a CTO +1 gel in front of the flash.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm, ISO 1250, ƒ/8, 1/4–Neewer TT850 & Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel
Hope to share some more photos during the week from The Big Island of Hawaii.

Storytelling?–I don’t think so

Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 7200, ƒ/5.6, 1/250

Storytelling?

I don’t think portraits tell stories, but are part of the story. For the most part most portraits are the nouns of a sentence. For a complete sentence you need a verb.

Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 280, ƒ/5.6, 1/250

Storytelling?

Yes this photo has a subject and a verb that makes it storytelling. However the one photo often lacks all the elements in a complete story. This is where caption can help make up the missing parts.

Most storytellers agree you need five elements for a story. The five main elements of a story: setting, plot, characters, conflict and theme.

Subject vs Author

Great storytelling is when you never notice the author/photographer. However today I would say too many people who think they are doing storytelling it is all about the author/photographer.

I love this photo of my wife and I with the founder of Chick-fil-A, Truett Cathy. I love telling the story of how Truett’s son Bubba asked me to give him my camera to take the photo.

This is what I think our generation is over emphasizing as storytellers. The story becomes more about look at who I am with and what I am doing. Don’t you wish you were here?

Sure take these photos and even share them on your social media, but don’t let these replace storytelling where you tell the story of the subject.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm, ISO 10000, ƒ/5, 1/100

This young lady is peaking in and seeing does she want to be a part of this brand new Young Life club at the Rancho el Paraíso located in the Agalta Valley of Honduras. Inside the room Daniela Tereza Perez is talking to the other youth. HOI helped bring Young Life to their campus to help reach the youth in the area.

If I do my job just right I had you clicking on HOI to learn more. I am pulling you into the story.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm, ISO 450, ƒ/8, 1/250–off-camera flash using the Neewer TT850 flash & Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel Flash Remote Trigger

In my opinion–Don’t confuse a nice portrait with storytelling. It is a noun that needs help to make it a story.

Think of it this way–if you are telling a good story then everyone who sees it will take away the same story. They may be impacted differently, but they will be able to tell the story. Looking at a portrait of a person allows each person to make up what they think the story is all about. 

When to use flash and not to use flash

Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 160, ƒ/5, 1/250–off-camera flash using the Neewer TT850 flash & Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel Flash Remote Trigger

Available Light

I love to use available light–that is any light that is available to use. Here I was shooting Ubaldo demonstrating how to rope a calf. Ubaldo teaches this during the family missions team trip each year to the kids.

Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 250, ƒ/5.3, 1/250

When I first started shooting I noticed very quickly that Ubaldo’s skin was just dark enough that with the light calf he was getting lost in the photos. Also as you can see in this photo that I didn’t use the flash your eye goes to the background more than to Ubaldo and the calf, which was where I wanted you to focus.

Compare that to the first photo and this photo.

Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 200, ƒ/5, 1/250–off-camera flash using the Neewer TT850 flash & Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel Flash Remote Trigger

I always prefer not using a flash if the light is working for me. However, if I can improve the photo and draw you in using the flash I will use it.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm, ISO 450, ƒ/14, 1/250–off-camera flash using the Neewer TT850 flash & Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel Flash Remote Trigger

When photographing Francisca Padilla, the gardner, I wanted to show that she was in the Agalta Valley. I wanted you to see the mountains. Well the problem is where she needed to stand she was backlit.  I used the off camera flash being held by a person about 45º to my left and the subject’s right. This way I was able to slightly underexpose the scene which helped the mountains pop.

Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 4500, ƒ/6.3, 1/250

For the photo of the teacher I chose to not use a flash. There was large window on my left and smaller strip of windows on my right as well as overhead lights.

Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 9000, ƒ/6.3, 1/250

The photo of the girl at her desk is the same classroom as the teacher above. In my opinion I liked the light as it was and didn’t add the flash.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm, ISO 400, ƒ/4.5, 1/100—Off camera fill-flash using the Nikon SB-900 & SB800.  The Flash is on the Pocketwizard TT5 and being triggered by the Mini TT1 on the Camera with the AC3 to control the output of the flash.

When I was photographing this scene without flash the outside was blown out and the people were heavily backlit. I added the flashes to help light the room up and balance it to the outside light. I wanted the audience to see the location of the school.

When do you use the flash?

You have to know in each situation what you are trying to capture and why? Will the flash help you tell the story?

If you are looking for the simple formula or that always use the flash kind of an answer you will not hear that from me.

Mastering photography isn’t just learning exposure, lighting and composition. Mastering photography is mastering the craft so you can control it to help the camera capture your vision.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 500, ƒ/8, 1/500

Parting Shot–Moonrise over Rancho el Paraíso located in the Agalta Valley of Honduras.

Meet Honduran Chicken Coop Entrepreneur Claudio Cesar Aguirre

Nikon F4, 14-24mm, ISO 160, ƒ/8, 1/100

I met Claudio Cesar Aguirre, an entrepreneur, in Honduras. He was one of a few of the families that came together and with a small grant from some organizations, government agriculture department training and few other entities they started a chicken coop.

Nikon F4, 14-24mm, ISO 220, ƒ/8, 1/100

What is the big deal with a chicken coop, didn’t everyone have chickens? Before they started their business there were no other chicken coops in the area. Either a family had enough chickens to get eggs, but most families did not have enough chickens to count on eggs.

This actually is about solving a problem of more than just having some eggs around. It is a nutrition issue. Most kids going to school in the area would go off without protein and just some tortilla, beans and/or rice at the most.

Nikon F4, 14-24mm, ISO 10000, ƒ/8, 1/250

Just imagine your household, you buy the eggs at the grocery store and have them in the refrigerator. Imagine being so far away from grocery stores there were no eggs to buy.

Nikon F4, 14-24mm, ISO 1600, ƒ/8, 1/100

Here you see Claudio’s wife, Blanca Aparicio gathering the eggs from the chicken coop. They live in the small community Santa Anna, Olancho, Honduras.

Nikon F4, 28-300mm, ISO 3200, ƒ/5, 1/250

Claudio is part of a community development committee and they brainstormed many ideas considering the resources they had in their community and what they didn’t have for starting businesses.

Nikon F4, 14-24mm, ISO 560, ƒ/8, 1/100

Now with enough eggs everyday from the chickens the development committee is now thinking of a new startup business that the community could use. Now they thinking a bakery would be great.

It only takes a pebble dropped into the water to affect the entire pond. The ripples seem to sustain themselves for a while from that first drop.

Nikon F4, 14-24mm, ISO 12800, ƒ/8, 1/160—Off Camera Neewer TT850 using the Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel to control the flash

Dr. German Jimenez works for Honduras Outreach and says that prevention like good nutrition is making a huge difference. Celebrating 25 years in Honduras, HOI is being honored next month by the President for their service. The President believes that HOI embodies his purpose of a “Better Tomorrow.”

Honduran Dentist prefers education to pulling teeth

Nikon D4, 14-24mm, ISO 12800, ƒ/16, 1/125, -1.0 EV—Off Camera Neewer TT850 using the Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel to control the flash

Dr. Natalia Velásquez Alonzo is a dentist in the rural Agalta Valley of Honduras. Here she is at her main office at Rancho el Paraíso of Honduras Outreach.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 800, ƒ/7.1, 1/500

I went with her and the rest of the mobile medical team to a small village El Pedrero two hours north of the ranch on these dirt roads. I felt like a bobble head bouncing around for those two hours. About half way there the electricity to the area stopped.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm, ISO 100, ƒ/3.5, 1/1000

When HOI started going to this community they stopped before they crossed the river and would cross over in canoes. Today they have a bridge to get to the village. When they first started going this was what most of the village people lived in.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm, ISO 8000, ƒ/5.6, 1/250

The inside of their houses were dirt floors and walls they let the wind and rain through.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm, ISO 500, ƒ/3.8, 1/100

Dr. Natalia Alonzo worked for the government as a dentist before coming to HOI some five months ago. She went into the schools and taught as she is doing now for HOI.  Here she is teaching the students about dental hygiene in El Pedrero. She prefers doing this as to having to pull teeth.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm, ISO 1000, ƒ/8, 1/250

Many of the government dentists do not have enough supplies and so many of the patients have many teeth pulled with just one shot or none at all. Dr. Alonzo really likes working with HOI where she has enough supplies to use what would be normal procedures to those in the United States due to the giving that supports the medical team.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm, ISO 100, ƒ/5, 1/1250

This is the medical clinic in the village El Pedrero. The Toyota Land Cruiser is their mobile medical truck. North Point ministries helped with other groups to buy this vehicle through their “Be Rich” campaign. The idea started at North Point Ministries five years ago and caught on quickly. The message from the pulpit was very simple–you have it, they don’t.

Teams are going regularly from the US to help transform Honduras through HOI. The work they have done over the past twenty five years has gotten the attention of the government. Next month the President Juan Orlando Hernández and First Lady Ana García Carías of Honduras are coming to Atlanta to present HOI with an award for outstanding service to their country.