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Jazz on the Boardwalk with the Df

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by Ray Sachs, Jul 20, 2014.

  1. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I spent a day and an evening in Atlantic City on Thursday. This city is dying again, as gambling is allowed in more and more neighboring states and new casinos are cannibalizing the old (and in some cases, themselves). I've seen a distinct change in the last 3-4 years. Nonetheless, the place is a fascinating melting pot of old and young, rich and poor, with all races and religions seemingly well represented. And it all comes together on the boardwalk.

    I'd been going back and forth between the D610 and the Df for a couple of weeks and when it came time to commit to one or the other, it was a ridiculously close call. The D610 is a better camera in good light - the Df is a better camera in low light. BUT, the D610 is an excellent camera in low light too (same sensor as the RX1, which had been my favorite low light camera until I shot with the Df) and the Df is a plenty good camera in good light, which, let's face it, is easier to be than a good low light camera. I like some of the controls more on the D610 and some more on the Df. I prefer the feel of the D610 in the hand with larger lenses but I prefer the feel of the Df with smaller primes. In the final anaylsis, my brain said D610 but my gut kept saying Df. And I went with my gut because it usually ends up being smarter than my brain. I think if I did more landscapes and sunsets (which I've done a lot of this month at the shore, but don't do much of otherwise) I'd have gone with the D610, where the detail and dynamic range are hugely beneficial. But for the more general all around shooting I tend to do, and as much as I value low light capability, I kept coming back to the Df. So, the Df it is. BTW, the only connection either of these cameras have to Serious Compacts is that a) they're serious and, b) they're as compact as it gets for full frame DSLRs. And the Df, at least, seems to have a following around here...

    So, here are some shots from Atlantic City, a few daytime street shots (1 or 2 shown in the street thread already) done with 24 and 20mm "D" primes. And a bunch from a jazz performance on the Boardwalk in the evening. GREAT music (most enjoyable jazz show I've heard in years), great crowd, just a great atmosphere in general. I was able to move around the stage and shoot from different angles. These were all done with the 85mm f1.8, also a "D" lens, all of which are optically similar to their "G" counterparts, but have aperture rings and a bit slower AF. The lens bargains of the century - some are optically very good, some are optically good enough for me. But they're the right size and weight and price.

    First, this is the Revel Casino - a key catalyst to the current woes of the gambling industry in the city. The state poured a huge amount of money into the place and it's been a dismal failure, not only going broke itself (I think it's up for public auction in the next couple of months), but taking the Trump Plaza down with it, and probably a few more in the coming years. Pretty cool building to shoot though....

    14699180855_816fdfd1d0_h. AC DSLR-191-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    Some street shots from the boardwalk. I did more street work with the Coolpix A, but it was so easy to move between street and general settings on the Df, I used it for some as well when I was doing other stuff and a street opportunity presented itself...

    AC DSLR-300-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    14687559224_31c3865164_b. AC DSLR-273-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    AC DSLR-132-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    14709830093_fdbe26ccd4_h. AC DSLR-261-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    And from the jazz show - the Mike Pedicin Quartet, with a very good pianist and bass player and a FANTASTIC drummer and sax.

    14512600777_c3c71b3a0a_h. Jazz on the Boardwalk-104-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    14676031996_5b9371a497_h. Jazz on the Boardwalk-212-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    14695869201_b0f885d094_b. Jazz on the Boardwalk-90-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    14503268930_8817c72066_b. Jazz on the Boardwalk-147-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    14696648424_b6aa4b3a54_b. Jazz on the Boardwalk-110-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    14512393498_af5af60b1e_b. Jazz on the Boardwalk-204-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    Two spectators, one through the amps sitting on the back edge of the stage, and the other about the most into it I've ever seen - a true jazz lover. Really a great crowd and great vibe all night...

    14718918453_6494962f6e_b. Jazz on the Boardwalk-82-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    14696654034_6393b25591_b. Jazz on the Boardwalk-78-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    And finally, two more shots with the 85 f1.8 from the walk back after the show:

    14503267440_3ebcf6f968_h. Jazz on the Boardwalk-245-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    14718924433_a4e391f7d6_b. Jazz on the Boardwalk-257-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    Thanks for looking.

    -Ray
     
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  2. christilou

    christilou SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2010
    Sunny Frimley
    Excellent drumming pictures Ray :)
     
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  3. RT Panther

    RT Panther SC All-Pro

    Dec 25, 2012
    Ray,
    I thought you went to the Sony FF format?

    Anyways - great series!

    On a bit of personal note, I must say that since I got my Df upon release last year, I've never enjoyed photography so much!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. biglouis

    biglouis SC Veteran

    401
    Aug 4, 2013
    Lovely work!

    LouisB
     
  5. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I have an RX1, which I blame totally for this full frame direction I've gone. But I'm not gonna have any real interest in the A7 line until they release several more lenses and then maybe I'll re-assess. Or maybe not. But I love Nikon's interface and controls (not the Df specifically, although it has a few specific things I like too). And I love all of the budget lens options. And the revelation for me was that I didn't find these smaller full frame DSLR bodies too large or heavy at all, which I'd expected I would...

    -Ray
     
  6. RT Panther

    RT Panther SC All-Pro

    Dec 25, 2012
    This is precisely why I purchased my Dƒ! The controls make you the human, become more a part of the camera - in some ways, like the motorcyclist is part of the motorcycle. :cool:

    Now add to this the fact that I already had some "AF" an "D" lenses for my Nikon film bodies & the Df becomes the logical choice.

    The only glass that I've purchased after the buying the Df are pre-AI and AI manual lenses....:biggrin:
     
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  7. Ghosthunter

    Ghosthunter boo!

    Sep 8, 2010
    London UK
    Andy
    Excellent set of images Ray!!
     
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  8. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Most of what I seem to like is Nikon's interface more than the Df specifically. The ONLY thing I prefer about the Df interface that isn't also on other Nikon DSLRs is that the exposure comp setting is visible on the top of the camera without looking through the finder. On the others, the little LCD window will tell you whether there's any exposure comp dialed in, but it doesn't give you any more information about it - you know, key stuff like in which direction and how much! I like external exposure comp dials. That said, I HATE that it's on the left side of the camera and that it's locked! I MUCH prefer the Sony and Fuji way of having an unlocked (or at least unlock-ABLE!) dial on the right side where I can work it with my thumb. And since I shoot 95% of the time or more in aperture priority with auto-ISO, the shutter speed and ISO dials are lost on me except in the very rare instance I want to switch to full manual controls or shutter priority. So most of what I like is just Nikon's internal logic and feature set. They've been working on this interface a LOOOOOONG time and I think they've got it right, at least for my purposes...

    -Ray
     
  9. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    Jun 10, 2013
    A great series, especially how you captured the atmosphere of the Jazz show. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the photos. I find #1 impressive as well. Must have required quick response!

    And I am in favor of including the Df in the Serious Compacts lineup!


    Unfortunately now my desire for the Df has increased again. ;-)


    Peter

    PS: Nothing wrong with trusting your gut. Often your inner voice that responds based on experience. Unfortunately it also responds to false perceptions/expectations. ;-)
     
  10. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    they are all VERY good, but those two of the drummer are easily my favorites. Beautiful captures and beautiful processing.

    btw, one of my customers was a photographer in the 60s and 70s (freelance and for newspapers) and one of his main bags was jazz photography (and some awesome civil rights photography). I just Googled him to see if his work was displayed anywhere. He has his best images on flickr here https://www.flickr.com/photos/sheardphotos/ ..... I think you'll enjoy them. I bought 15 BIG prints to display at my record shop years ago when he needed some dough.
     
  11. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Thanks Peter...

    The first one didn't require much other than luck. I took a series of this casino, going for different compositions of this structure (which I've shot every time I've been there since when it was still under construction). The bird just happened to fly into this shot while I was making it. If I'd have tried for this, it never would have happened. But there are a LOT of gulls along the boardwalk, so it's not terribly unusual to have them show up in your photographs. The lucky part is that it also happened to be my favorite of the shots of the structure, yet it probably would have been pretty imbalanced without the gull...

    In terms of trusting my gut, I find that as my gut gets older, I understand it's process better. First I have to torture my brain with all of the pros and cons and whys and why nots and during that whole time, my gut goes through wild mood swings. Being absolutely sure of one decision one day, and then another the next day. It's only when it starts to calm down and admit to utter confusion and uncertainty that I know it's closing in on something. That's usually about the time my brain stops working so hard and starts internalizing all of the information. And then, sometimes slowly, a gut feeling starts to emerge. Somewhat cautiously at first (because it knows what an idiot it looks like to my brains when it's swinging back and forth wildly), but then more and more surely. And eventually, I just know. I think the iterative process between my brain and gut tends to do a pretty good job of filtering out those false perceptions and expectations - nothing like actually USING a camera for a while that'll get you over your fantasies about what you'll be able to do with it...

    -Ray
     
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  12. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Wow, that guy had, among other things, some serious ACCESS! Is there anyone he didn't have a press pass to be able to shoot from right up close? That's an incredibly impressive lineup of subjects. If he or she mattered in the classic jazz era, he shot them. The exception is probably Charlie Parker, who just didn't stick around long enough to be properly photographed! And Sonny Rollins is a bit of an ommission, but I'm one of those people who feels if you've got Coltrane, you don't need anyone else to pick up a tenor. McCoy Tyner should have been there too since he had Elvin and Garrison... And he got Muddy and BB and the Wolf too!

    Great stuff - thanks for that. A lot of personal musical heros on that page... I actually saw several of them in the few years where my youth and their old age coincided.

    -Ray
     
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  13. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Speaking of shooting jazz, Gary Ayala used to show some BRILLIANT photos of jazz players, usually with a longer lens and in tighter than I was able to get - would have been a good night to have the Nikon equivalent of the Olympus 75, maybe the Nikon 135, f2... I haven't seen Gary around in quite a while - I miss that guy. This made me think of him... Anyone heard from him lately?

    -Ray
     
  14. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    I miss Gary, too.
     
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  15. retow

    retow SC All-Pro

    Jul 24, 2010
    Hobbies and related decisions should be gut driven:dance3:
     
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  16. Pim

    Pim SC Regular

    157
    Apr 21, 2012
    Eindhoven, The Netherlands
    Pim
    Great shots, very moody (in a good way). There is something about that FF looks that is amazing, and I would love to try my hand at something like the RX1 (or the Df of course), but till cameras like this start to come down in price I will stick with my GR...
     
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  17. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    Jun 10, 2013
    And when you're doing something else, you suddenly know what to do. ;-)

    I may follow up on this by renting a D810 an/ord a Df and see how I like it after a week or 2.


    Yes, he has published some great, great shots! Hopefully we'll "see" him soon.
     
  18. retow

    retow SC All-Pro

    Jul 24, 2010
    The Sony A7 is a bargain among the FF bodies with used ones in the USD 1200 range.
     
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