|Message from Gary Irwin
Welcome to my humble photo gallery! I've enjoyed nature throughout my life but only started getting more seriously into digital photography in 2007 when I picked up a Nikon D50 as an Xmas present for myself! Digital photography is wonderful since it allows me to make a lot of mistakes at no additional cost! ;~) I would not have had the patience to do this in the old film days.
My family and I live in London, Ontario, Canada and most of my photo's are from the Southwestern Ontario area. Although my wife is not a photographer she enjoys the outdoors even more than I do and often accompanies my on my birding expeditions and I'm grateful for the extra set of eyes and ears!
My current camera of choice is a Nikon D810 and for years my most used lens was the the Nikon AF-S 500 f/4G VR which has now been replaced with the Nikon AF-S 600 f/4E FL VR, which I often use with the TC14EIII teleconverter. I also rely on the Nikon AF-S 80-400G lens for mid-distance shooting and butterflies and the Nikon AF-S 24-120/4 for miscellaneous shooting.
I chose the D810 because the high-resolution full-frame sensor provides lots of cropping options; e.g. I can crop tighter for a portrait shot and still get good resolution for feather detail or "back off" for a "birdscape" if desired -- and sometimes do both with the same image. Although DX sensors provide sufficient "reach" for birding, all of them have lower in pixel counts than the D810 and can to suffer from higher ISO noise and lower overall image quality.
My Post Processing:
I'm currently using a Retina iMac for processing equipped with a second 24" Apple Cinema display for proofing images using standard resolution.
I shoot exclusively in RAW (NEF) format because it provides the most flexibility when post processing.
When post processing, I start by copying the images from the CF card to the computer then use Lyn (Mac photo viewer) to batch rename, view and cull images. I import the best images into Capture One Pro where I perform global edits/contrast adjustments and convert the images to 8-bit TIFF (good enough for web posting). Then I move to Capture NX2 for cropping/final edits and output the image for uploading to my pbase site.
I use Capture One Pro because I think it does the best job of doing raw conversions. I still use the no-longer-supported Capture NX2 for final edits because I like the controls, especially the integrated NIK technology.
Shooting Style & Technique:
I typically shoot everything in high-speed AF-C, aperture priority w/matrix metering and rely on the AF-ON button for focusing.
I tend to be an opportunity shooter and prefer to stalk birds in habitat and rarely use setups. This can be challenging since you can never entirely control the situation and you'll rarely get a "text book perfect" shot like you might see in books or magazines and on many birding web sites, but it's what I prefer. I often include a good amount of environment with the subject even if it's negative space. Good quality high resolution environmental shots are my most prized but I will accept tighter "portrait" shots when the opportunity presents itself if the image is of exceptional quality.
I don't care for flash as it's very tricky to use correctly. Too much flash "flattens" the image and even a small amount introduces an artificial quality to the image. Since I often prefer low-key images anyway, the flash unit inevitably sits in my bag unused.
Thanks for visiting!
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