Fun in bright sun

As photographers we often talk about light.,,the magic hour…mood. Some folks get up before dawn specifically to capture special moments created by light. Sometimes we are out and about with our cameras during mid-day and we forget that we can also have a lot of fun in bright sun.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 9mm, efov 25mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-160
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 9mm, efov 25mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-160

I was out today capturing a few images under mixed weather conditions. We had some heavy rains, quickly followed by bright patches of sun. This created quite interesting skies with low, heavy clouds and light, wispy clouds up higher. It occurred to me that many times we forget to allow the sky to be a hero in our images on bright, sunny days. So, I thought I would share a few, quick photographs in this short article.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 13m, efov 35mm, f/5.6, 1/800, ISO-160
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 13m, efov 35mm, f/5.6, 1/800, ISO-160

I love how clouds can give the sky its own unique texture. It can help add interest to mid-day images.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 7mm, efov 18mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-160
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 7mm, efov 18mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-160

Large, sweeping shapes in the sky have always appealed to me. Perhaps that comes from being born on the Canadian prairies.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-160
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-160

I like how storm clouds look after they have passed by and the sun lights them up, revealing all kinds of shades and shapes.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 7mm, efov 18mm, f/5.6, 1/000, ISO-160
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 7mm, efov 18mm, f/5.6, 1/000, ISO-160

Combining similar oval shapes or ‘puffiness’ in the sky and in trees can help integrate the two realms.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 7mm, efov 18mm, f/5.6, 1/1000, ISO-160
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 7mm, efov 18mm, f/5.6, 1/1000, ISO-160

Combinations of light wisps of clouds with more solid looking ones can create an interesting mix of textures. I used lawn mower tracks in the grass of the park as leading lines for the image above.

I’m certainly glad that I grabbed one of my Nikon 1 J5’s and a couple of lenses today when I noticed the interesting clouds. It made for quite a pleasant afternoon.

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7 thoughts on “Fun in bright sun”

  1. Have you ever side by sided the j5 and v2 in these lighting conditions. I’ve read all the dxo stuff etc. It would be great to see a comparison of color, highlight, shadow since this is where the j5 shines and to see how far off the v2 is. I own the v1 and v2. The j5 at base looks good on paper. Your real life samples of the j5 are nice. Just wondering if ponying up the cash for a j5 is justified for the differences in iq, so a few side by sides at some point would be a beautiful thing.

    As always I appreciate your efforts and passion for photography in general as well as the N1 system.

    Steve

    1. Hi Steve,

      I appreciate that type of 1-on-1 comparison would be useful for a lot of folks. I have a lot on my plate for the next little while but I’ll see what I can do to try to put something together. There’s about 2/5 of a stop difference between the J5’s and the V2’s measured ISO’s, i.e. at ISO-160 the J5 is actually shooting at ISO-92 where the V2 is actually shooting at ISO-122. At a stated ISO of 800 the V2 actually shoots at ISO-619 while the J5 shoots at ISO-459. I would likely have to use an Auto-ISO setting to let the cameras balance things out with the stated ISO, ie. by shooting in manual at a specific aperture and shutter speed. That way both cameras would arrive at the same exposure. Since the J5 actually shoots at a lower ISO at any given stated ISO it will always have a slight advantage over the V2 based on that alone.

      Tom

      1. No worries Tom.

        I know comparisons open up a can of worms too. I was really thinking an informal comparison at base ISO for each respective camera. It would be interesting to see an image go through your workflow including Prime and all to see highlights, color and shadow even though true ISO is lower on the j5. To be fair I am like you in I’m not afraid of higher ISOs and post processing if it means getting the image. My thought was, in best case in best light what can the j5 sensor do compared to the same best case v2 after passing both through post. It doesn’t need to be a fair fight between the two but what does the j5 do that the v2 can’t, and to see that in a visual comparison.

        If you are ever able to do something like that along with all the necessary disclaimers so the trolls don’t tear it apart, it would be very interesting.

        Thanks again for your reply as well.

        Steve

        1. Hi Steve,

          I’ll see if I can put something together over the next few weeks or so. I’m not the least bit worried about ‘trolls’ when I post an article on my photography blog. As outlined in my ‘respect’ article I don’t tolerate abusive behaviour on my site at all. My goal is to create and maintain a respectful site where readers can visit and comment without worrying about getting subjected to unsavoury behaviour.

          Tom

  2. Dear Thom,

    The landscapes shot “fun in bright sun” with the J5 hit the bullseye. I noticed that the landscapes were shot with aperture 5.6, 800-1000 shutter speed and base 160 ISO (for acuity). The use of the 18-35 wide angle lens was spot-on! I’ve noticed that many of your other landscapes in different galleries, i.e., Elora, were often shot with an f.8 aperture. I have two questions as a student of your photography: what is the equivalent of a 5.6 or 8.0 in a CX sensor (J5, etc.) compared to a DX and FX sensor? When do you choose between a f/5.6 or f/8 shooting landscapes or locales at infinity? Do you select any other apertures when shooting to maximize depth of fields, such as for landscapes, etc.?

    1. Hi David,

      Always great to hear from you! I will do my best to answer your questions.

      I typically shoot my Nikon 1 gear at f/5.6 as this tends to be a good aperture to use in terms of image sharpness. At f/8 some slight diffraction can be noticeable but it is usually not of significant concern to me for the work I do. At f/11 diffraction becomes more noticeable and I tend to avoid shooting at anything over f/8 with landscapes.

      In terms of when I choose f/5.6 or f/8 for landscape photography it really depends on the focal length of the lens used and how the image is composed. As is the case with any camera, the wider the angle of the lens used, the greater the depth of field will be at any given f/stop.

      I’ll try to illustrate this for you will a couple of rough examples with some approximations in them.

      Let’s say I’m using the 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm lens. I know that if I shoot at the long end of that lens, i.e. 13mm, if I focus on something about 2.6 meters (~8.5 feet) away at f/5.6 everything from about 1.3 meters (~4.25 feet) to infinity will be in focus. But if I focus on something closer to me that is say 2 to 2.5 meters away I will lose infinity focus using f/5.6. If I switch to f/8 with that same focusing distance I will then regain infinity focusing.

      So, when I’m using my 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm I know that my aperture focus break-point at f/5.6 is 2.75 meters at 13mm. As long as I am focusing on something 2.75 meters away or further with that zoom lens at any focal length, I can use f/5.6 and achieve infinity focus. Focusing on something closer than that (e.g. 2 to 2.5 meters away) means I will be inside my aperture focus breakpoint at f/5.6 and I will need to change to f/8 to get infinity focus at a focal length of 13mm. Of course shooting at the wider end of that lens will give me more depth of field.

      Let’s look at another common 1 Nikon lens…the 10-30mm. If I shoot at the long end of that lens at f/5.6 I know I can achieve infinity focus as long as I am focusing on something about 14 meters (~46 feet) away from me. If I focus on something closer than that I will need to stop that lens down to f/8. When shooting at f/8 I will be able to achieve infinity focus as long as my focusing point is no closer than about 10 meters. If it is closer than 10 meters then I would again lose infinity focusing and I would need to go to f/11. Since I want to avoid f/11 due to diffraction, I would need to rethink how I am planning on capturing the image. Perhaps I would move physically closer to my focusing point if possible, and/or use a wider angle lens setting.

      Regardless of the camera gear someone owns the key is to understand the minimum focusing distances at various focal lengths and f/stops that are needed to achieve infinity focus. Some folks use an app on their cell phone. I have a small card that I created for myself that shows me minimum focusing distances for focal lengths from 7mm to 40mm at both f/5.6 and f/8.

      Other factors enter into things as well. Sometimes we are under time pressures and we’ll choose an aperture to be ‘safe’, or sometimes the end use of the image is not super critical (e.g. web postings) and we’ll just use an educated guess. And, being human we’ll simply forget to change an aperture setting back.

      Hope this helped…

      Tom

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