Christmas Lights of Awesomeness

Gear, Photography Comment
EXIF Information
Camera: NIKON D810
Shutter speed: 1/60s
Aperture: ƒ/2.8
ISO: 6400
Exposure Mode: Manual
Metering Mode: Multi-segment
Focal Length: 48mm
Flash fired: No
Filesize: 16.5 MB
Dimensions: 6850×4232, 29 MP
GPS: 48.289439,-122.664767
Near Oak Harbor, Washington (48° 17′ 21.9804″  N, 122° 39′ 53.161199625117″  W)
City: Oak Harbor
State: Washington
Country: United States
Taken: Wed, Dec 24, 2014 18:10

It’s been a long while since I’ve done anything with this little photography blog/diary of mine, so let’s remedy that.

On the health front, my lung disease is still kicking my ass. It’s been asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, even pulmonary hypertension. Since they haven’t any ideas after lots of testing, they just toss me into the COPD pool. And to think I never smoked a cigarette, cigar, or pipe my entire life. Whatever. I’ll keep fighting the fight.

If you’ve read any of the previous nonsense of this blog — and I’m sure no one has — you’ll recall I “upgraded” from the Nikon D90 to the Nikon D7000 back in October 2012. Four more megapixels were okay, but I really wanted the low light capabilities of the D7000. And I was pretty happy with the D7000’s ability to shoot in low light. I took that camera a few places, and took some nice pictures of fireworks, a Ferris wheel at night, an air show, and a lighthouse. Coupled with the Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 lens, it did a great job.

Sadly, my unemployment problems forced me to sell my gear in August 2013 in order to survive. I hate selling things out of necessity, which I’ve only done a couple of times in my life. I’ve sold many things based on desire, but out of necessity is the worst feeling. It would be one long year before I would get a new camera.

In late August 2014, I bought the Nikon D810! A 36 megapixel full-frame (FX) body with all of Nikon’s latest advances. I also picked up one third of the so-called Holy Trinity of lenses — the Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G. I couldn’t be happier with my acquisition!

I took several test photos just to see the full size of 36 million pixels and the sharpness of the lens and camera combination! My health and other priorities kept me from going out to shoot anything worthwhile until Christmas, when I decided to see how well the camera did with holiday lighting.

I headed out to a specific house in town that historically is decorated with so many lights I think it can be seen from the International Space Station. Of course, when I got to that house, it was dark. Oh, the house was decorated, but the owner appeared to not be home in order to turn on his megawatt lighting display. Disappointed, I drove around looking for other houses in the area with nice displays. I found several around town, some of which made me tired just thinking about how much work it must be to throw so many lights about a house every 12 months… which says nothing of taking it all down each January!

I had the D810 configure to shoot RAW at ISO 6400, mainly with the aperture wide open in manual mode. Pixel peeping, I saw a bit of grain but Lightroom cleaned that up nicely. I shot 20 or so images, but only worked on a half dozen or so. The only problem I see is I’m going to need a lot more hard drive storage. The raw NEF files from the camera are roughly 70 to 80 MB each! I guess there are worse problems to have, huh?

Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.
–Matt Hardy
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