Monochrome Photography Nikon Photography Photography - Nikon D600 San Francisco/California Street Photography

Double Vision – The Nikon D600 and Street Photography

Double Vision - San Francisco - 2013 by Scott Loftesness

Here’s an image I shot at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on Saturday morning as I was heading to the annual San Francisco St. Patrick’s Day parade. The whole Yerba Buena Center complex is a photographers delight – chock full of interesting people, some amazing textures, waterfalls, trees and lawn – you name it, it’s all here in a bit less than a city block!

For the last several years, my primary camera has been a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR. It’s a wonderful camera and has done an amazing job for me. I’ve got a collection of Canon prime and zoom lenses for that camera that work beautifully and have helped me capture some beautiful images. I have lots of wonderful memories of trips to venues around the west with my Canon! (Check out my Cool Tools page for details on my favorite gear!)

In January, Doug Kaye and I headed to Havana, Cuba to participate in a person-to-person cultural exchange program organized by the great folks at Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. Along with our workshop colleagues, we had an amazing week in Havana – and I had a blast getting into the world of street photography which was pretty much a new experience for me.

A few months before the Cuba trip, I bought a new Nikon D600 – shortly after this new camera body was introduced. In particular, I was interested because of the early reviews and reports about the D600’s Sony sensor – and its wider dynamic range. Dynamic range describes the range of the camera’s sensor in accurately capturing whites to blacks – and the D600 ranked very highly at being able to capture one of the widest dynamic ranges. For a lot of my kind of photography, that dynamic range is important – so I opted to get the D600. I was also stimulated by my friend Doug Kaye’s Nikon passion and the fact that on many of the photo shoots we do together he brings along his wide assortment of Nikon lenses!

For the Havana trip, I mostly shot with the D600 kit lens – Nikon’s 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 zoom lens – and it did a fabulous job. I mostly left the D600 on auto everything (ISO, Focus, P mode, etc.) and just shot away. I got some great shots – the camera did an wonderful job.

Recently, I decided to get the Nikon lens that seems to be everyone’s favorite for street photography on Nikon DSLR camera bodies – the Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens. On Saturday, I took this one lens up to San Francisco to shoot the annual San Francisco St. Patrick’s Day parade and, along the way, snapped this self-portrait image in the window at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. This is a great lens for street photography – the combination of its ability to go reasonably wide along with its ability to do a long zoom make for a near perfect lens for daytime street photography. Here’s another example of using the reach of this lens.

I’m still trying to master the autofocus options on my D600 – especially for street photography. The “double vision” in this image has nothing to do with those – it’s just the glass! – but I’m convinced that once I master those the D600 and this 28-300mm lens with be my ideal street photography rig. I’m anxious to do more exploring with it!

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