Tag Archives: Nikon D300

A Different Camera Documents My Trip

The view from above on the way to Chicago.

The view from above on the way to Chicago.

When I plan one of my infrequent trips, I usually spend a lot of time assessing what’s most important to me: My photographic needs. I’m rarely without a camera in addition to the one on my iPhone.

On previous journeys to Chicago I’ve lugged either my Nikon D300 or D700 along with my Nikon 50mm lens (occasionally I’ll tote the Nikon 105mm macro, too).

A dripping tree outside my mom’s condo’s window

A dripping tree outside my mom’s condo’s window

But this time I wanted to go with a lightweight kit, because Chicago in winter can be . . . dare I say it? . . . ugly. Remember yesterday’s photo of the dirty snow? There’s no need to snap multiple pics of that with your best equipment.

So I opted for my newest camera, the Nikon 1 V1, which is mirrorless (virtually noiseless). Plus you can change lenses, and it’s small and light. The best part?

It was free! I “bought” it from Amazon with my Discover Card points. As you know, free is my favorite price!

The crazy lights in O'Hare

The crazy lights at O’Hare

As it turned out, I was glad I chose the V1 as my photo-traveling companion. Not only did it do a decent job with the subject matter (I only snapped about 45 pics), but I spent most of my four days moaning and groaning (when I wasn’t living on Advil), because I tripped over a curb (yes, once again!) outside of Bush Intercontinental Airport and fell, bruising my ribs.

Fluffy clouds populate the sky on the way home.

Fluffy clouds populate the sky on the way home.

I’m not sure what worried me more: The thought of carrying my heavier photo equipment while I was in pain or the possibility that I might have broken one of my beloved digital SLRs and/or lenses when I went splat on the hard concrete.

Now that really would have been cause for moaning and groaning!

Jupiter and the Moon

Jupiter looks tiny compared to the moon last night.

Jupiter looks miniscule compared to the moon last night.

Were you looking up at the sky last night? If it wasn’t cloudy, you should’ve seen a very bright dot in the darkness near the moon. Although it appeared tiny, what some might have mistaken for a star actually was big, old Jupiter!

My college roommate Jan commented about the event on Facebook yesterday along with a handy-dandy link for EarthSky. That website noted that last night the waxing gibbous moon would be at its closest to Jupiter, an event that won’t happen again until 2026.

I don’t have a crystal ball that can tell me what I may or may not be doing in 13 years. So I figured I’d better go outside last night and shoot. Fortunately, the temperature was in the 50s, so I didn’t have to suffer for my art.

I handheld my Nikon 300mm f/4 lens attached to my Nikon D300. Fortunately, I remembered the lesson I learned when I snapped pics of the supermoon last year: The key is to select spot metering to bring out the moon’s details. Otherwise it looks like a bright blob.

I hope if I get the opportunity in 2026, I haven’t forgotten how best to shoot the moon!

My Favorite Blog Photos, Part I

This double reflection looks like I used a sepia filter (but I didn’t).

This double reflection looks like I used a sepia filter (but I didn’t). (iPhone)

Obviously, I like sharing . . . or is that oversharing . . . photos. Such is the life of a blogger who also is a photographer. I’ve been looking through my 2012 pics the last week or so for a personal planner that I’m making through Blurb.com (hope I actually finish it before January ends!), and I thought I would share some of my favorites. Today’s post features January (which includes the above reflective photo—love those reflections!) through June. Enjoy!

Sidebar: Unless otherwise noted, photos were snapped with my Nikon D700.


My sons and Tanner enjoy watching their video.

My sons and Tanner enjoy watching their video.


An ibis enjoys the water along the shore. (Nikon S6200)

An ibis walks along the shore. (Nikon S6200)

That’s more like it!

My younger son smiles.


Thistle pollen covers the bee.

Thistle pollen covers a bee.

Loads of bluebonnets . . . love ’em!

Loads of bluebonnets . . . love ’em!


Purple is a popular color for wildflowers.

Purple is a popular color for wildflowers. Even flies like them.

A monarch looks for the perfect horsemint to land on.

A monarch looks for the perfect horsemint to land on.


It’s a bird . . . it’s a plane . . . it’s the super moon!

It’s a bird . . . it’s a plane . . . no, it’s the supermoon! (Nikon D300)

A green dragonfly tries to blend in with his surroundings.

A green dragonfly tries to blend in with his surroundings.


Love those thistles.

More bee-thistle action

I shot these strawflowers during my Chicago trip.

I shot these sensational strawflowers during my Chicago visit.

Look for part two Thursday!

One-Word Wednesday

Monarch caterpillar #2 has been transformed way up high on our house.


A closer look

The other monarch caterpillar’s chrysalis is imperfect.

Photographic Equipment Sidebar: The first photo was snapped with my Nikon D700 and Nikon 105mm lens; the other two with my Nikon D300 and Nikon 300mm (f/4) lens.

Beauty and the 105mm

Beautiful colors meld together at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

When I travel, I put just as much time into figuring out my photographic needs as I do what to wear. Probably more (as anyone who has seen my wardrobe can attest).

Columns of water barely hide some flowers.

I hate lamenting missed photo ops due to the lack of proper equipment. Those what-ifs can drive me crazy!

Blue delphinium mix with pinkish coneflowers.

I knew for last weekend’s Chicago trip that I’d take my Nikon 50mm lens to capture pics at my great-niece Maddie’s party. But what other lens (if any) needed to come along for the ride?

Love these strawflowers!

Why, my beloved Nikon 105mm macro lens, of course! My mom had mentioned the possibility of a trip to the lovely Chicago Botanic Garden, close to where she lives.

A bee enjoys a mystic spire.

Even though the 105 is heavy, it’s far superior to the nifty 50 for snapping close-ups of flowers and bees. I gently nestled it in my bag next to my Nikon D300 and hoped I would get the chance to use it.

A brilliant purple flower stands out among the lily pads.

As it turned out, I didn’t regret hauling the big guy along at all! Its heft is more than offset by its performance (kinda like the Babe Ruth of lenses).

An evening lady dahlia

I’ve been to the Chicago Botanic Garden several times, and it never fails to amaze me with its beauty and sense of peacefulness. Each time I visit, certain flowers really stand out.

A Zach Roberts dahlia

This time it was the delightful dahlias that intrigued me most. CBG featured several different varieties.

The heartthrob dahlia

My favorite was the heartthrob dahlia. I really like the contrast of colors . . . as well as the name.

Reminded me of my three heartthrobs waiting back home for me!

Are You Ready for Spring Football?

Jackson hands off to Hakeem.

There’s always time for football in Texas. Even during the spring when it should be baseball season.

Vic stiff-arms Kosi.

It’s very much this state’s favorite sport, with kids starting to play when they’re in first grade (flag football).

William and intended-receiver Josh miss the potential pick-catch.

I grew up in Illinois where both my high school and college football teams basically stunk. Basketball was the “real sport” up north.

The cheerleaders make their presence known.

But when in Texas you do what the natives do . . . and that meant watching my son’s high school’s spring scrimmage last week.

Max throws on the run.

Of course, most of my “watching” is through the lens of my Nikon D300 and Nikon 70-200mm lens. This was my first spring game, and it was fun to see the athletes already playing well. They seemed anxious for the season to start.

Charlie’s PAT is successful, thanks to Ian’s hold.

One thing’s for sure: Before we know it, we’ll be ready for some fall football!

Snapping Away at Cullinan Park

Dewberries look tasty.

My friend Jess has encouraged me to shoot at Cullinan Park here in Sugar Land for as long as I can remember.

This was one of the few wildflowers I spotted.

So last Saturday morning, I decided to finally check it out . . . with Jess as my guide.

A large, white flower absorbs the sunshine.

The two of us had a great time walking the trails, chatting away and listening to the birds chirping. I discovered that Cullinan Park is a local, natural treasure.

A heron takes off across Oyster Creek.

As I prepared to leave for the park, I had one main thought: What camera equipment will help me best document this adventure? How will I be able to shoot both near (macro) and far (telephoto)?

Sidebar: My second thought? Don’t forget the bug spray!

A butterfly enjoys the local cuisine.

I opted for a two-camera approach. On my Nikon D700 was my trusty Nikon 105mm macro lens for closeups. Attached to my monopodded Nikon D300 was my Nikon 70-200mm lens for long-range photo ops. I used both and was glad I had brought everything along.

A large dragonfly just hangs around.

Although the park isn’t very big, it’s filled with interesting sights and sounds. I was hoping to see some dragonflies, and I wasn’t disappointed.

A green dragonfly tries to blend in with his surroundings.

We spotted a few of the flyers in the woods among the butterflies.

A blue dragonfly rests on the lake’s plant life.

But we scored big at the park’s lake. D-flies were buzzing about, enjoying the water and plants.

A green dragonfly is happy to pose.

Although I was sad that there were no alligators to shoot, just watching the dragonflies flit about made me smile.

Is this curious caterpillar hungry?

After our adventure, Jess and I sat on benches, resting and talking. This little critter shared where I was sitting, so, of course, I snapped some pix with my macro lens.

I wonder what he’ll be the next time I stop by Cullinan Park. Which I’m sure will be sooner than later.


It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! No, It’s the Supermoon!

My first attempt at shooting the moon.

The moon closed in on the Earth Saturday night. When I finally remembered to look at it, the time was 10:40 p.m., and the orb was pretty high in the sky, glowing brightly. So I ran inside, grabbed my Nikon D300 and Nikon 300mm (f/4) lens, and did my best to document it.

The supermoon was so luminous that my shutter speed was fast enough for handholding. At first I opted for that wide-open f/4 setting (ISO 320), which meant I had to go to –4 with exposure compensation to bring out the moon’s features.

Then I went into the house, looked at my results in Photoshop (as seen above), and felt satisfied. Until I read an article about the proper way to shoot the supermoon. The advice was to use at the very least f/8 and spot meter to adjust for the brightness.

My second try using f/8 and spot metering—it looks more detailed.

Outside I went once again with the same equipment and changed the settings (ISO 200, exposure compensation –.3). How did I feel about the results?

Over the moon!

Damselfly Visit

Here’s looking at you, kid!

The other day as I was walking to my Honda Pilot, which was parked in the driveway, a flash of blue along the walkway’s stones caught my eye.

It was a damselfly!

Showing off a side view

I immediately ran back into the house and grabbed my Nikon D300, which always has a Nikon 300mm lens (f/4) attached. I lamented the lack of dragonflies last summer after a plethora of the winged visitors the previous year. This wasn’t a d-fly, but it’s the next best thing!

Ugly in a cute way from any angle

I’ve never seen a damselfly this color before. What was especially nice was that it insisted on posing for me. It would fly up off the stones, hover, and then settle back down, well within reach of my camera lens.

This definitely was not a damsel(fly) in distress!

The Bird is the Word

An egret rests on a sinking canoe. (Nikon S6200)

Photo life isn’t just about bluebonnets and azaleas, you know.

An ibis enjoys the water along the shore. (Nikon S6200)

There are plenty of birds in our area to also compete for my photographic attention. The first two pix were snapped with my Nikon S6200, the point-and-shoot digicam I carry when I’m walking or jogging.

I’m really glad I had it when I saw the egret on the canoe last Sunday morning. When I returned later that day with my Nikon dSLRs to take photos of the flora, the bird, of course, had flown the coop boat.

Ibises hunt for food across the lake. (Nikon D300)

That’s the problem with shooting wildlife vs. wildflowers—the former moves, sometimes very quickly. One minute you’ve barely got them in range . . . .

Soaring above the lake (Nikon D300)

And the next minute? See ya later, ibis-gator!