I've been away again for several weeks in Wyoming pursuing some personal work which included among other things photographing behind the scenes at the Cody Stampede Rodeo. I'm back home for a while and will be editing photos and making blog postings here with a more respectable regularity, but I wanted to make a quick technical note. Over the last two months I have been shooting almost exclusively with the Nikon D700 (I had a brief fling with a Hasselblad H3D, but that's a story for another day). The high ISO performance of the latest batch of Nikon cameras has been news for a while now, but while shooting evening action in dark conditions I came to realize what a huge game changer this is. To have the ability to capture useable images at ISO 1600 and higher completely transforms the way we can capture a sense of a place. In the past an artificially lit arena like a evening rodeo was a photo disaster waiting to happen. Now it is a blast—the dim ambient light begins to feel like a movie set.
The above image is shot at ISO 800 using only ambient light. It was shot with the wide end of a 24-70 f/2.8 zoom wide open. It has almost no visible noise at 100% and the raw image required almost no processing. For some applications I would like a little more resolution than the D700 provides, but in terms of color reproduction and ease of use I'm not sure how I could improve this camera.
If you would like to see more photos, I've posted a loose edit to our facebook page. You don't need to have a facebook membership to view the photos, but if you do, consider clicking the 'becoming a fan' link. I edit photos much more loosely there than I do for the portfolios here and you'll be notified when there is new stuff.
While digging though these images I found this shot taken at ISO 3200, which gave a quick enough shutter speed to catch the horse sliding to a stop while the rider jumped off.
Here's a 100% crop: