Saturday, May 2, 2015

Madison (why I love my new Nikon)

I haven't been uploading recently, and there's a ton of new stuff waiting to come up to this blog. I hope I will get it pretty much in order, and anyway, it's better late than never.

So, going back to May 2015 I had flown to Wisconsin for a conference and some work with the collaboration I was part of. Like every trip abroad this is a chance to see and photograph new sceneries and people, and to act like a tourist and take pictures of absolutely everything.

This was my first chance to try out my new Nikon D610, which performed beautifully and, even though I still love my old D90, did let me do some new things I couldn't get away with using the old technology and crop sensor...

So just a small selection of images from the lovely Madison, WI. If you like this kind of thing, I will link to a few facebook albums with some more images.

So Madison, Wisconsin is home to the University of Wisconsin (UW) which is the primary institute for the collaboration I am part of (the ARA experiment, a spin-off of the IceCube neutrino observatory in the Antarctic - really cool stuff!). 

It has this iconic state capitol building that looks a lot like the one in Washington DC, and can be seen from almost anywhere in the city.

This was the first time I got to take my new Nikon (the full-frame D610) out for some serious shooting abroad. I had decided to take just three lenses: the mid-range 50mm prime (that suddenly got more useful on a full-frame sensor), my under-performing Nikkor 55-300 and my Tokina 11-16 ultra wide. Here is a sample of what you get at the widest zoom on this sensor...

The dark margins are due to the lens fitting a DX format and not a full frame
If you zoom in to 16mm the edges are almost gone, and with a tiny bit of clipping you can still get a focal length of around 18mm which is just huge on a full-frame. I tried to find things to photograph with this cool wide angle... 

Students relaxing in the cafes in front of the lake

This town has a whole bunch of lakes, and the city center is right between two large lakes. There's always something to see or do or just to hang out on the beach.

One of the first things I did when I arrived, after sleeping for a few hours, was to get up real early (jet-lag) and go take some photos along the area around my hotel.

I started to notice I was really getting enough field of view with my 50mm. I was starting to like this lens. The wider sensor also lets you enjoy a lot more of the softer out-of-focus background. 

Of course a big part of my stay there was devoted to eating the best stuff America has to offer... 

Clearly I was also there to do some science. This was taken on my visit to the IceCube lab.

On Saturdays people go to the farmer's market around the capitol building, or just relax on the lawn surrounding it on all sides. 

There are a lot of students on campus, which kinda just melts into the general city streets (I was never sure if I was actually inside the campus area or just close by to it). It all guarantees a great atmosphere when just walking around town. It's the people that make the city what it is.

I happened to get there in May, so I got to see what graduation week looks like...

Also I passed by a wedding party and really couldn't resist the color matching here...

I got some time on a Saturday when the weather was good enough to take a bike trip around one of the lakes...

Let's not forget the local brews that are necessary to keep all social interactions running smoothly.

I had several occasions to take my tripod out for some nightshots, but honestly in almost any urban settings the ISO on my new camera was good enough to shoot handheld without too much trouble (especially on a fast prime like the 50 1.8). 

And finally another perspective on a more rural America, from a drive out of town on a dramatic, cloudy day. Took from the passenger seat while driving.

So here is the short version of a two week stay at Madison, the city surrounded by lakes and lively with students. For more images on all these different aspects of my trip, use the links to see the full facebook albums for each subject... 

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