New ‘Used Gear’ Page

Used gear page screenshot

I found out today some of my colleagues are already creating their Christmas lists! If you are super organised too you should buy one of my Nikon lenses for your Nikon-using loved ones (this includes yourself – you know you want to)!

I’ve put all the details & photos on this page here: http://suzywalker.wordpress.com/selling-my-nikon-subal-gear/

These are all my own Nikon lenses. In perfect condition, the only reason they are for sale is that I’m swapping away from Nikon. I’m even selling my complete underwater housing, with Nikon D300 camera & lens.

So go on! See if there is anything from my list you’d like to get your hands on today!

Focus On: Underwater Macro Photography Part 2 – 105mm

Following on from Mondays 60mm macro underwater post, today I’d like to showcase some of the photos I’ve taken with the 105mm macro + Nikon D300 and highlight some key differences.

Equipment:

  • Nikon D300 + Subal Housing for D300 (£2000)
  • 105mm VR macro lens + Subal 105 port with manual focus knob (£925)
  • 2 Inon z240 strobes (not for sale)

As Vincent so rightly points out in his comment on my previous post, the 105mm takes a bit of getting used to. Its a wonderful lens but as with all camera gear it has its pros & cons. Pretty much the only con of consequence for me personally is the weight. Its a much heavier lens. If you too are struggling with this I’d recommend the StiX floats buoyancy collar that they developed to combat this issue. It encircles the port and balances it all out a little. Don’t forget to cable tie it on though as you may see it float off when you tip the lens upwards! There are quite a few pros, the main one being the extra working distance you get. Both the 60mm and the 105 are 1:1 lenses but to have the critter the same size in the frame you can back right off with the 105 giving more room for lighting and more distance for shy critters. And of course you can more easily get that nice blurred background (bokeh) which can help to lift your subject from it’s surroundings especially on messy backgrounds.

Here are a few shots I took in Bali at the end of last year (click images for larger)…

This tiny shrimp was difficult to see so having a nice clean background was essential for the shot. It is nice to have the second part of the coral blurred out in the  background for some context though.

This little toby was very small and very shy, I would not have been able to take a good shot with a 60 without him just swimming off.

Another very shy critter:

Its good fun and games trying to get shots of garden eels, when you approach they disappear into the sand. This is another shot which would have been almost impossible with a 60mm’s reduced working distance.

You have to be careful where you focus when the DOF is so shallow, getting only the tail in focus would have ruined this shot:

Pygmy seahorses are notoriously shy and they hate the light of the flash & spotting torch (it can stress them so much that they would die so responsible underwater photographers take the pygmy pledge – to only take a maximum number of 3 or 4 shots per seafan).

Dreamy bokeh can give a different atmosphere to a photograph than a straight on ID shot.

The lens can ‘hunt’ for focus if the subject is not contrasty enough, this little guy was quite contrasty but so close to the seabed (which is the background in this topdown shot) that the camera would constantly back focus. The manual focus knob on the port is worth its weight in gold in these situations.

I took this little guy’s photo back in 2009 on a night dive, you can understand how small he is by considering that the huge boulders he’s sitting on are sand granules!

I hope you liked my stroll down memory lane with my 105mm VR macro set up for the Nikon D300. As I said at the top of the post I’m currently selling that set up. Buy for only £2875 (camera, lens, housing and port)! Click here for more details & the full list of equipment for sale or email me at scubasuzy-sellingnikongear@yahoo.co.uk. Thanks for supporting my work!

Focus On: Underwater Macro Photography – 60mm

Following on with my theme of photo posts about the gear I’m selling. For the first of two posts on macro lenses underwater, today I’d like to showcase some of the photos I’ve taken with the 60mm macro + Nikon D300 and give you all some simple general macro tips.

60mm macro lens

60mm macro lens

Equipment:

  • Nikon D300 + Subal Housing for D300 (£2000)
  • 60mm macro lens + Subal flat port (£375)
  • 2 Inon z240 strobes (not for sale)

I still think that the crop sensor DX cameras make the best underwater cameras for macro. People who switch to full frame often struggle with what they found quite simple on DX. I know several professional underwater photographers who moved to full frame for their wide angle shots only and still use the Nikon D300 as their macro set up. And this 60mm is my favourite lens to use. The reason being is it is super fast at auto focus with much less of the “hunting” of some of the newer lenses I’ve used. This is essential when your tiny creature or fish is moving about and you are slightly moving too (we all have to breathe occasionally). The light weight of it is another plus for me personally. I dont have very strong wrists (too much computer work has given me RSI which is the reason I’m selling all this gear and finally moving back to a smaller camera).

Here are some photos from last year (some of these might look very familiar for regular readers of my blog) – click them for larger:

As you can see, you can get very close, in fact I think it would probably focus right on the front of the port (although it would be hard to light a subject that close)! The blue background in this image above is actually starfish skin. This little tiny shrimp lives on the starfish for a free ride.

I love blennies and the quick focus of this set up allowed me to capture this one yawning in 2011.

As well as the capacity for macro the 60mm lens is wide enough for portraits of bigger fish such as this batfish being cleaned:

The 60mm allowed me a closer working distance to this cardinal fish with eggs in his mouth. All the other cardinal fish were hanging around so close that had I tried to take this photo with the 105mm macro there would have been two or three fish between me and him for the same framing.

My top simple tips for macro:
  • Get down to eye level (if you can without damaging the reef), your images will be more full of ye contact and impact.
  • For any critters with eyes try to always make sure eyes are in focus.
  • To get the eyes and mouth in focus, for shallow DOF photos, focus between the eyes and the mouth. It will be in focus 1/3 in front of the focus point and 2/3 behind the focus point.
  • If you find your lens hunts for focus (this one does not but many macro lenses do) when don’t be afraid to switch the camera to manual focus and move the camera back & forth to focus).
  • If your camera allows (most camera these days are fairly customisable), try to have one button access to 100% zoom in on your photo. For example on the D300 I set the middle button (between the arrows) to toggle between 100% and zoomed out for quickly checking eye focus on macro shots with shallow DOF.
  • Check your LCD histogram rather than relying on LCD brightness to check for exposure.
  • Sometimes it’s hard to see the settings in the little screen on the top of a DSLR camera without flattening your subject, on the Nikon D300, the little info button (it looks like a key if I remember correctly) displays that whole screen on the LCD when in shooting mode.

This was one of the first underwater shots I took with my DLSR system in a swimming pool with Martin Edge!

I hope you liked my stroll down memory lane with my 60mm macro set up for the Nikon D300. As I said at the top of the post I’m currently selling that set up. Buy for only £2375 (camera, lens, housing and port)! Click here for more details & the full list of equipment for sale or email me at scubasuzy-sellingnikongear@yahoo.co.uk. Thanks for supporting my work!

Wildlife Safari Lens

Nikon 80-400mm VR

Wildlife Safari Lens! Today I want to feature photos taken with my 80-400mm VR Nikon Zoom lens. A list of lenses is stark and boring so I wanted to do a feature of photographs taken with some of the gear I’m selling. I’m not a commercial trader or anything like that so all the gear I have has personal reasons for buying it in the first place. In 2011 we went on an amazing trip to Namibia. I had nothing with enough reach in my lens collection at that time so I bought this one and didn’t regret it for a second. The VR is amazing, it has three settings, off (for use with a tripod), normal (for general walking about and hand holding) and active (for on the back of a moving safari truck)! Perfect for shots like these:

Hand Held walking about:

Cheetah Cub shot at 400mm on D300

Mamma shot at 400mm on D300:

Naughty Cheetah stole a camera bag shot at 220mm

Hand Held from the truck:

Backlit lion shot at 400mm on D300 (you can see the exif on pbase by clicking these images and then select “view exif” under the photo):

Mamma Lion shot at 400mm on D300:

Giraffes Kissing shot at 400mm on a D300:

Giraffe Harem shot at 200mm on D300:

Lion Play fight shot at 400mm on D300:

Zebra in the road shot at 240mm:

Elephant shot at 120mm

At the watering hole (on a tripod) shot at 46mm:

shot at 150mm:

Not going on an amazing Safari trip any time soon? No Problem there’s plenty of wildlife at home. When I first got the lens I went for a wander around a Dorset town and got this shot of cheeky gulls:

Just because I’ve personally only used this as a wildlife lens that doesn’t mean there is only one use for it. You could use it for Astronomy, Landscape, Wildlife, Portraits, Spying on your neighbours (joke) etc etc! The lens is in excellent condition for only £700 (basically new as I only used it for this one trip & a few test shots). There is not much call for such a zoomy lens in underwater photography. I hope you enjoyed my photos here. Either email me with your interest on: scubasuzy-sellingnikongear@yahoo.co.uk Or head over to the full list of gear for sale.

Nikon & Subal Gear for Sale

EDIT: this post is out of date, only showing what I’ve already sold – have moved the relevant bits to a new page

http://suzywalker.wordpress.com/selling-my-nikon-subal-gear/

· SOLD: Subal FE dome £470 + extention £100 + subal zoom gear £50
· SOLD: + tokina 10-17 FE lens £350
· SOLD: 105 port with focus knob £375
- SOLD: Nikon 105mm VR Macro lens (boxed with instructions and lens hood) £400
- SOLD:iPhone 4, Unlocked, 32GB, boxed £200
- SOLD: Nikon D300 body (boxed with 2 batteries & charger, & wired remote shutter) £300
- SOLD: Nikon D70 body & Nikon 18-70mm kit lens (unboxed with 1 battery & charger and lens hood) £200
- SOLD: Nikon 70-300mm (unboxed with lens hood) £50

- SOLD: Whole Nikon & Subal Macro underwater set up (you’d just need to acquire strobes): £2000

  • Subal Housing ND30 (Type 3) for D300
  • Nikon D300 body (boxed with leads etc, 2 batteries & charger )
  • 60mm (type 3) flat port with front & back covers
  • Nikon 60mm lens (boxed)

Photos of Gear (and I have to thank Mike for taking all these for me)!

White Wall

Have recently joined a flickr group of twitter phoptographers and the first project is white wall. I think this one will be my final take on it:

Photofriday – self portrait 2009

Ok, better post this quick before its not longer Friday ;) This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Self-Portrait 2009’

Click image to go to see alternate sizes.

Click here to see the rest of my ‘Raja Ampat Mangroves’ gallery.

See all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘Self-Portrait 2009’ here. Mine is number 64 :)