Feb 19 2014 Lens Essentials-My AF-S Nikkor 85mm 1.4G

As I gear up for WPPI, I've been refreshing my presentations with new imagery for my keynotes. A few weeks back, I posted a blog entry about my essential lenses in my gear bag. Now, I take EIGHT lenses with me to each and every wedding I shoot. My reasons are vast, but the bottom line is that I believe the lenses are an extension of my mind's eye.  
One of the most frequently asked questions from photographers is "what's your favorite lens". My normal answer is "that's like asking me which one of my daughters is my favorite".... or something dumb like that. Truth be told, if I had to truly pick one favorite, it'd have to be the AF-S Nikkor 85mm 1.4G. I was very privileged to be one of the very first people to shoot this lens, and I gave it a whirl while shooting a global ad campaign for Nikkor. The 85 D was also a favorite, and I had wondered what they could have done to improve this lens. Well, how about everything. It's four years old now, but it's still a lens that I simply can't do without.  
I begin each wedding day with this lens on one of my D4's without fail. It allows me to create a look and feel that I simply can't obtain with any other lens. Oh, and I nearly always shoot it wide open at 1.4. My goal is to capture and isolate moments. There are times we work in places with distracting backgrounds, and this lens lets me extinguish those distractions with a shallow depth of field that I can't achieve with other lenses.  
The other element is it's speed. The speed of focus, and it's aperture value allow me to keep this lens on for nearly any situation, and there's hardly ever an environment I'm in where I can't produce an image. All I need is a tiny bit of light, and when coupled with my D4, or my Df, it's a very, very powerful combination.  
Perhaps the most important reason- I don't miss moments with this lens. I have complete confidence that I can produce razor sharp images in nearly any condition I face. From the prep stages, to the portraits of my brides, to the ceremony, and through various spontaneous situations throughout the day, this lens allows me capture images I simply wouldn't create without it.  
If you're going to WPPI, try and catch me at the Nikon Theatre where I'll be shooting live with this lens, and giving some information on how make our brides look their best! 
Here's a few with the AF-S Nikkor 85mm 1.4G


Feb 16 2014 Stella and Tenno-Ashford Estate Wedding-Allentown NJ

One of my all time favorite photographers, Elliott Erwitt once said "you can find good pictures anywhere, you can even find good pictures in New Jersey". These images were shot at the beautiful Ashford Estate in Allentown NJ- practically smack in the middle of the state. I'm writing this blog post during one of the most miserable winters on record in the Philadelphia area, and I never got around to blogging this summer wedding with this terrific people. So, in the spirit of warmth, here's a few from Stella and Tenno's wedding back in July!


Feb 15 2014 Lauren and Jacob-Philadelphia Wedding-Philadelphia PA

This wedding was a blast. I'd had the pleasure of meeting Lauren and Jacob last year at another terrific wedding. We began the day at the Westin Philadelphia , and then on to Peche at Sherman Mills in Philadelphia for the Reception. My buddy Henry and his Urban Guerilla Orchestra provided some killer entertainment, Jamie Rothstein created the beautiful decor, and Peachtree and Ward did their exquisite job catering. I also had a blast working with my old friend Lance from Video Coverage. Here's a few from Lauren and Jacob's day! 


Feb 10 2014 Welcoming Carter-Family Portraits with the Nikon Df-Philadelphia PA

When I first held the Nikon Df, it absolutely took me back in time a bit to when I shot with an FE. I'll spare anyone reading this post my attempts at waxing poetic about my film days.... We've been there. As a Nikon Ambassador to the United States, I'm NOT going to attempt a "review" of this camera. I'll leave that to the tech pundits. I'll just talk about how I'm going to use it. There's plenty of review's about this camera on the web, and the files have spoken loudly.... with very little noise.... pun intended.  
I wasn't really expecting to love this camera. I'm a "flagship" kind of guy. I love the responsive nature and ergonomics of my D4, and the flagship cameras that date back 30 years. I first played with the Df a few weeks back in New York while hanging with a few friends. It took me a bit of time to get used to thinking about fundamentals. There's a few wheels and dials that I needed to get used to. It's not a camera I'm going to shoot the bulk of a wedding with. But, it's a camera that I can carry on my shoulder the entire day with ease- never missing a moment in front of me. That, right there, is why I love it.  
Paired with a fast prime, this camera is a serious tool in my bag that is stealthy, light, and packs a punch with files that rival my D4. I really don't care about the whole retro thing. If I really want retro, I'll bring out my old FE. Hell, these days, my D3 will feel "retro" soon. I do like how it looks. But, I care more about what it does. It's light as a feather, I'll wear it all day, and the arthritis in my neck and shoulder can stop bitching at me. I'll be ready for nearly any moment that comes along.  
Now, it's not exactly prime wedding season here in the Philadelphia PA, USA area, so I haven't had the chance to shoot a wedding with it yet. It will, however, be paired with my Nikkor 35mm 1.4G, or my old Nikkor 28mm 1.4D. It's light as a feather, and extremely quiet. During this portrait session below, I had my D4 with my 85 1.4G on one shoulder, and the Df with my 35 1.4G on the other. I shot more images with the Df, and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed shooting it. It's not going to replace my D4. But it's a supplement that I'll be using quite a bit this upcoming season.  
About the portrait session below. I'm proud to say that I photographed Courtney and Joel back in 2004. I absolutely love this couple. We've stayed in touch over the years, and I was fortunate enough to capture they're first son, Landon, as a baby. Two weeks ago, I spent a few hours with them on a frigid day inside their Philadelphia home 3 weeks after Carter was born. 
For the geeks, ALL but one image were shot with the Nikon Df and the Nikkor 35mm 1.4G.