To Shift the Scene

To shift the scene is exactly what it describes: "to change the locality or the surroundings, as in a play or a story." This is what happens every time we take a picture. We are preserving moments in time that will never occur again. Though they can be staged and altered, photographs remain the most accurate record of history we have. This is true because there is no interpretation in a photograph, it is a visual record, as close to history as we can get.

About this Photo Blog

My name is Kevin Bertholf. I love photography and I created this website to give my hobby a medium I can share with others. Ever since I created this website my photography has been given drive and purpose. It is my hope that as I learn to improve my techniques and photos that I inspire others with my work to pursue this excellent hobby.

Photography Tools and Equipment

First the cameras:

The Nikon D40x is an entry-level Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera. I purchased my D40x off of ebay and it arrived October 1st 2009. Ever since it arrived I hardly put it down. This is an older camera, being replaced over a year before my purchase by Nikon when they released the D60, so I was able to pick it up cheap ($400). Although this is my secondary camera I try to take it with me wherever I go. Especially on the more mundane trips (lest I get caught without it at hand-- worst. feeling. ever.).

The Nikon D80 was also purchased used. I bought this camera as an upgrade to my D40x, but I haven't really worked with it enough to get used to its controls, as they are vastly different from the D40x and noticably different from the D90. Just the same, it is a very good camera and the more I use it, the more I like it.

The Nikon D90 is my workhorse and replaced the D80 in Nikon's catalog. I purchased this camera new from Amazon almost a year after I purchased my D40x. I have never regretted this purchase. This camera is now outdated (replaced by the D7000, THIS IS THE CAMERA TO GET!) but it is excellent if you can get it at a decent price used. It has a 12 megapixel sensor and a great many more focus points than the D40x. I have an extended battery pack for it which holds two typical batteries and lasts me thousands of photos before having to recharge.

Before I had any of these cameras I had (and still own) a 5 megapixel camera Canon Powershot S2IS. I used this camera exclusively for two years after purchasing it used from Amanda LaHanko. I really enjoy using this camera for its great optical zoom, its great megapixel sensor, and long-lasting battery life. I have not used any others in this series of cameras since then, but if they are anything like this camera I would recommend them in a heartbeat.

Now the lenses:

The kit lenses: I have three kit lenses (came packaged with the cameras) The Nikon 18-55mm, 18-105mm, and the 18-135mm. Of these three I seem to get the crispest and clearest images from the 18-105. Your results may vary, but this has been my experience.

The Nikon 55-200mm I purchased new as a telephoto lens and I have gotten some excellent portraits and bird shots with this lens. It's small, portable, and I get excellent results with it.

The Nikon 70-200mm I purchased used from a gentleman in New Paltz. This lens is made for sports and low-light photography and certainly looks impressive while attached to my camera. Downsides to it are its high price, and its weight. Other than this, it is a fantastic lens and it operates at 100% with all my camera bodies.

The Nikon 70-300mm was purchased new in a package with my D90. I have not used this lens all too much as it is prone to vibrations, but it is certainly useful due to its light weight and its cheap price.

The Nikon 10-24mm was purchased new and it is a fantastic ultra-wide angle lens. I love the distortion I get with the photos I take, but its use also has quite the learning curve. I still haven't mastered it and I've been using it for over a year.

Lastly I purchased the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 D which I bought cheap off of craigslist as a lowlight lens. The 50mm does not autofocus on the D40x, but it takes some nice shots otherwise. This lens is a prime lens, which means that it does not zoom. Prime lenses are fantastic as they produce extremely sharp results.

Other useful equipment:

I purchased a Nikon SB-400 Flash for my DSLR to replace the camera-integrated flash. The SB-400 is very useful for bouncing light and eliminating red-eye and unwanted silhouettes.

My Nikon SB-600 Flash is my workhorse now. It is more versitil than my SB-400, as I can direct the flash much easier and also control the amount of light it emits. The downsides are that it is slower to recharge than the 400 and it is certainly bulkier, but this is an excellent addition to any photographer's tool box.

I also own a Nikon 1.4x teleconveter. This is an attachment which connects between the camera body and my 70-200mm lens. Teleconverters magnify the zoom of your lenses, this particular one does this by 40%. My 70-200mm lens becomes a 98-280mm lens. The downside of this is that it is harder to get sharp photos. This is due to both the need of longer exposures (because of the smaller amount of light entering the lens) and as you zoom farther in, even the smallest vibration is more noticable.

As soon as you can, get one of these lens pens. They are portable and incredibly useful. Also get UV filters for all your lenses to protect them from bumps and bruises, this is ESSENTIAL.

Hat Tips and Hot Links

The website is a modified version of The World in 35mm theme for the Pixelpost photoblog application. Without this theme and engine this website would not be possible. So I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the developers of Pixelpost and its themes. Learn how to create your own photoblog at www.pixelpost.org.

For editing photos I use several types of software. My primary photo editing tool is Google Picasa. This program is very user-friendly and I would recommend it for novice and advanced photographers for a quick-and-dirty post-processing tool. For html website editing I use an advanced text editor called Notepad++.

Ken Rockwell, though I do not know him personally, has really opened up my eyes to photography technology and technique. I have spent hours scouring through the pages on his website and I always try to purchase my new toys through the ad links he places there. The wealth of information he has amassed is a wonderful tool for all aspiring artists. Check him out at Ken Rockwell Dot Com.

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