The right lens for the job

Back in 2003, I shot a pan of the city from the Marin Headlands, using the D2H and the 70-200VR. It's one of my favorite photos, and shows off the clean long exposures from the D2H and the image quality of the 70-200VR. Tuesday was a very clear day, so I decided to do a similar shot, using the D3 and 105mm DC.

Bad idea. After spending hours in the cold (to the point where I couldn't feel my fingers), I looked at the full size images, and discoverd lens decentering on the right side of my 105mm DC. I didn't know this, since I never used this lens for landscapes. I should have checked it first before I selected this lens for the job. I compounded the issue by shooting the city from Treasure Island, making two shoots ruined by picking the wrong tool. A case of wrong lens for the job.

Despite the failure, I did learn a few things. One, I hadn't set up a menu bank on the D3 for long exposure shots (long exposure noise reduction, exposure delay, 2sec self timer, etc.). Two, it can get really, really cold up in the headlands. Three, the iPod Touch flashlight program works nicely to light up the bubble levels on my tripod and quick release base in the dark. And finally, always, always, always check your settings before you shoot.

I'll have to go back after Christmas to do the shoot again (before they turn off the Christmas lights on the pyramid and Embarcadero Center). I think I'll use the 85mm f/1.4 this time around. I also want to shoot the pyramid from Chinatown/North Beach.


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