When I graduated from university in January 2012 I got a Nikon D5100 kit (with the 18-55mm f/3.5-f/5.6 VR lens) as a present from my parents. With this camera I started learning about photography and to discover the possibilities of a DSLR camera. With this camera I tried out a lot and it helped me to develop my technical knowledge of photography in general and to search for my photography style.
70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR
Very quickly I had the feeling that the kit lens (18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR) was limiting my possibilities, especially the zoom range, and I decided to buy an additional telephoto lens. I didn’t really consider other brands than Nikon and I eventually bought the Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR.
With the telephoto lens I took some photos of wildlife, the moon and my cats, but after a while I didn’t use the lens so often anymore so I ended up selling it.
Along the way of discovering my photography style, I felt that I wasn’t much of a wildlife photographer. I was more interested in architecture and landscapes, so I decided my next lens should be a wide angle lens. Also this time I thought I wanted to stay with Nikon, so I bought the Nikon 12-24mm f/4.0.With this lens I had a lot of fun. I photographed amazing landscapes, beautiful architecture and I also made some time lapse videos with it. Up till today this lens is one of my two favourite lenses.
Because my technical knowledge of photography in general was growing and I started to get a better feeling of what my photography style was, I decided to buy a premium piece of glass with a medium zoom range. After doing some research about what was available in that range, I bought the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8.
This lens is proven to be the best investment I have made in my photography hobby, as it is my number one favorite and the best all rounder lens I have. I use it to take nature photos when I go hiking, for events, for urbex photography and for portraits. Because this lens made the kit lens superfluous, I sold the kit lens as well.
Because I started traveling a bit more and also because of the fact that the 24-70mm f/2.8 is pretty heavy and bulky, I decided to buy the light and small 35mm f/1.8.
With this lens I took photos in London, Paris, Budapest and other European cities. Because it is a prime lens, it takes photography into a different dimension. As a photographer, you have to move around much more to frame the photos the way you would like them to be framed, which stimulates thinking about the photo more than when you use a zoom lens.
I was never a big fan of flashlight photography, but after doing a pre-wedding and wedding shoot, some portraits and some model photo shoots with a borrowed flashlight, I decided to buy a flashlight myself. I ended up buying the Nikon SB700.
With the flashlight, but also with flashlight photography in general, I am still gaining experience (also see my blog post on Rembrandt lighting).
After thinking of upgrading already for some time, I decided to buy a new camera body. Staying with Nikon and the DX sensor format to be able to use all of my lenses, I decided to go for the Nikon D7100.
This camera body has a much better auto-focus system than the Nikon D5100, it is weather sealed (and is therefore better suited for urbex photography) and it has a flash commander mode to work with my Nikon SB700.
Read about my first impression of the Nikon D7100 here.
16-80mm f/2.8-4.0 VR
Because I will go traveling to Indonesia and don’t want to take the heavy and bulky 24-70mm f/2.8, I was looking for a more lightweight alternative. While weather sealing and a fast aperture were also important criteria for the travel lens I selected the Nikon 16-80mm f/2.8-4.0 VR. This lens weighs half of the 24-70mm f/2.8 while offering weather sealing and a (unfortunately not the same over the entire range) fast aperture. Apart from that, the VR should offer a 4-stop improvement for handheld shooting, which is nice to have while traveling.
Generally, I don’t like overly edited photos. For me, photos are a way of documenting something I see or the way I see things. As editing photos can be taken to the level where it means that reality is altered or that (even worse) reality is created so that the photos meets a certain preconception, I try to keep the editing of my photos very balanced.
I normally adjust the white balance, lighting (highlights, shadows), contrast and color (saturation) so that the photos represent reality as much as possible while having a nice contrast and color to it. Depending on the ISO the photo has been shot with, I also perform noise reduction and sharpening.
For portraits and photo shoots I might tweak a photo a bit more. This means removing small imperfections in the model’s skin for example. I try to keep this to a minimum though.
For the post processing of my photos, I use both Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop (the Adobe Creative Cloud photography package).