Europe with the Nikon D7100

Europe with the Nikon D7100 camera8 Europe with the Nikon D7100 camera6 Europe with the Nikon D7100 camera2 Europe with the Nikon D7100 camera4 Europe with the Nikon D7100 camera7
Europe With The Nikon D7100 by Jonathan Zaharek (Instagram):

This past March, my family and I had the privilege to go on vacation to 10 countries in Europe over a duration of 18 days and, if you know my family, you’ll understand that our traveling is very “play it by ear”. After this past trip, we need a vacation! The countries consisted of Spain, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, and Iceland in that order. The reason why our travels are so crazy is because all we do is plan our locations (the countries and sightseeing), then drive, and don’t book a place till a couple hours before we stop. Anyways, I am an 18 year-old, self taught, landscape photographer from Ohio, but currently living (going to college) in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. I have been doing photography like this for about 2 years now and have been able to travel to 44 out of the 50 states and 13 countries. I want to do this as a full time career, but I’m still waiting for that “sovereign spark”. I have 9 total pictures from this trip and would like to share them with you while telling you about them...So, let’s begin!

Europe with the Nikon D7100 camera1
35mm @1/1000th, f/5, ISO 125

It wasn't until halfway through the trip that I actually took my first “usable” photo. This is because every place before just wasn’t my “cup of tea”. One of my biggest inspirations is Ansel Adams. This is because I feel as though I relate to him in the way he wanted to convey an image. Also because I travel America very frequently and photograph very iconic locations, like he did. He also was a pianist like me as well, but that’s a different story. When processing a black and white image digitally, I could never just put on the B/W filter and let it be. I'll convert it to grayscale and adjust everything in the same way I would adjust a color image. This is one of my favorite black and whites ever. I stayed about 10 miles from this location at a little B&B 2000 ft up a mountain and we had to take a different route to get down but ended up having to take a detour because of some construction and ended up at the town of Loreglia, Italy overlooking the little village of Chesio. When I say barren, I mean, this place looks like no one has visited it in years. It was a scene right out of the 1600’s.

Europe with the Nikon D7100 camera2
35mm @15 sconds, f/4, ISO 500

This next location is one that I have wanted to visit ever since I was a little boy. You can clearly see in the image the famous Matterhorn mountain located in the Swiss Alps. This photo was also taken at night. I was able to capture all the detail of the mountains because of the moonlight. I also had my camera set on the incandescent 4 setting giving it a little bit of a purple hue while giving the town lights more contrast and color because of the opposite white balance (this is what I do on nearly all of my night photos). This place was definitely one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. Zermatt, Switzerland is a very exclusive town and can only be accessed by train or taxi transportation. And if you want to stay there for a week, well you better get your wallets ready because a Big Mac cheeseburger costs a whopping 11.70 in Swiss francs (12.26 USD).

Europe with the Nikon D7100 camera3
11mm @20 Seconds, f/7.1 ISO 250 with a 9 stop ND filter

Europe with the Nikon D7100 camera4
11mm @20 Seconds, f/9 ISO 250 with a 3 stop ND filter

These next two images where taken in none other than the Black Forest in Southwest Germany. I'll tell you one thing, it is really hard to find a beautiful, magical seen there. If you type in the Black Forest on Google images, you'll see all these beautiful mysterious images taken from the woods. I didn't even get what I was looking for in the first place but I think I was expecting too much. The time of year that I went to all these locations also wasn't really the best. Winter just ended and Spring just started. So, a lot of the colors are muted and everything is still dead because the flowers haven't come out yet. My parents and I actually drove all over the place to find that first image. We took several back roads in the middle of nowhere until we eventually came across this. We actually took it so far to the point that we ended up going on a unauthorized (we didn't know that) gravel backroad to the top of a mountain and ended up getting our rental car stuck in snow. We eventually backed it out, but I digress. If you're going to the Black Forest, I highly recommend going in the middle of May or late September with the fall colors. For the second photo, I was returning from Nürberg, Germany and saw these trees and just stopped on the side of the road. I never really liked taking forest photos like that but something about that last location just captivated me.

Europe with the Nikon D7100 camera5
70mm @ 5 seconds, f/7.1 ISO 100 with a 9 stop ND

Europe with the Nikon D7100 camera6
11mm @ 10 seconds, f/10 ISO 160 with 9 stop ND

Europe with the Nikon D7100 camera7
11mm @ 10 seconds, f/10 ISO 100, 9 stop ND

Europe with the Nikon D7100 camera8
11mm @ 10 seconds, f/10 ISO 100, 9 stop ND

Words can’t even begin to describe how beautiful Iceland is. Even though I think I went at the worst time of year, it was still gorgeous. I was able to have a 3 day layover for no extra charge and decided to go as far as east as I could one day and then back west as far as I could. I managed to go half way across in both directions, and sometimes I felt as though I was on a different planet, especially because of the weather changes. One moment it was 55 degrees fahrenheit, and then then 20 miles later it would be half a foot of snow and a blizzard.
The first black and white one was taken right outside of Vik. There was a small channel out to the ocean, but the view was blocked by some dense falling snow. That is why it looks foggy. I actually had to trudge off the highway in a foot of snow to get the point of view I needed. I love how the rocks go from large to smaller rocks as they wrap around.

The second image was taken at a not well known waterfall called Gluggafoss. The innkeeper of our previous lodging recommended we go to this waterfall. It was snowing too hard when we went to it but decided to go the next morning. If you saw me taking this image, you would've seen how awkward I looked. I was doing a split on two icy rocks while holding my tripod in my right hand and balancing it on another icy rock. I wasn't able to look at the viewfinder let alone the back of the camera. So I just aligned the image with my sight.
The last two pictures were on the opposite side of the island(west), north of Reykjavik about 20 miles. I was driving and glanced to my left, because we were passing over a bridge, and immediately pulled the car off to the side of the road and backed up. It was one of those moments where I instantaneously knew it was going to be a good take.

Europe with the Nikon D7100 camera9
11mm @ 20 seconds, f/2.8 ISO 2000

For those of you that have never seen the Auroras, I can tell you from experience that they are nearly everything pictures show them to be. When I say they left me breathless, I literally mean they left me breathless. At one moment, they got so bright that I was able to record the experience with my cellphone’s camera. During that moment, I had the settings on my camera as listed above, but the image overexposed and actually washed out everything! They were green and purple to the eye and jolting and dancing just like the videos. I took this photo at the famous location of Kirkjufellsfoss. Read these next few sentences carefully to understand how I took this photo.

I generally do this process in any astrophotograph. Because the D7100 isn’t a low light monster, there can be a lot of noise at ISO’s above 3200. Since the northern lights where out, I was able to lower mine because the lights added a lot of light already. I had my camera take a sequence of photos, all at the same setting for about 9 photos straight. I do this so I can reduce noise with the the smart objects filter in Photoshop “Stack Medium Filter”. I take two copies of the 9 photos, auto align one of the copies, convert it to smart objects, and apply the stack medium filter, reducing noise in the foreground while distorting the sky. Then I take the other 9 images and align the sky manually so when I apply the same process, this time it reduces noise in the sky and distorts the the foreground instead. Lastly, I merge the two stacks, blending the foreground and the sky together, making the image a lot less noisy. Then I apply my basic editing process, resulting in the image above.

While I wouldn’t recommend traveling like I did, getting any chance to travel overseas can be quite exciting. I would stay a week in each place if I could have, but if I did go back, I would spend the whole time in Iceland. It is a photographer’s playground. Considering that my photographic career is increasing, I plan this May to purchase a Nikon D750 and the all new Sigma 20mm F1.4. I can't even begin to imagine the astrophotos I'm gonna get with that. If you have any questions please feel free to email me at jzaharek@gmail.com.

If you have an interesting idea for a guest postyou can contact me here.

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  • L ee

    I like your 70mm stones. Well done!

    • Jonathan Zaharek

      Thank you!

    • Patrick O’Connor

      A lot of people liked those but I didn’t care for the composition. I’m guessing (of course I wasn’t there) a much better composition was waiting to be found.
      Jonathan, I can’t imagine trying to get decent photos on a trip like this. That’s not to criticize you in any way. In every situation, you have to decide if you’re there and going to take some photos or taking photos is why you’re there. In your case, I think it was the former. Nothing wrong with that. EVERYONE here has done the same thing, as someone else noted.
      Believe it or not, you got off easy. Several days ago, they burned a professional photographer at the stake!

      • L ee

        ha! here it is. if u mean the nikkor 500mm f4e case. that “professional” photographer burnt himself.

        he was caught by intentionally misleading people. Not smart, not professional, not decent. i bet this gentlemen himself does want to mention that again.

        Or you can bring that post back by providing the original link.

        • Patrick O’Connor

          Actually, I was referring to the Scotland Photography guest post. But any number of examples would suffice. 🙂

      • Jonathan Zaharek

        Yeah. It was very hard (hence the 9 photos in 18 days). It really was hard to find good photos. I can tell you for sure that I know how to really enjoy a place and to find photographs, It just was not really meant for the trip I took.

        • Patrick O’Connor

          One of the worst feelings is to come back from a trip that can’t be repeated only to look through your photos and think…

          • silmasan

            A trip that can’t be repeated?

            Is this a “you can’t step into the same river even once” reference?

            Or is Europe sinking soon?

            • Patrick O’Connor

              Not as zen as the first or dramatic as the second. 🙂

        • neversink

          Then you should have posted what you felt was your good work…. If you are in doubt about the photos, or unhappy with them, then toss them.

  • Clubber Lang

    Sweet work.
    Adirondacks…Keene Valley. The whol tea…Indian he’d trail….etc. One of the greatest places on the planet!

  • Clubber Lang

    Sweet work.
    And, Any mention of the Adirondacks makes me long for a nice hike on the Indian head trail etc.
    Keene Valley, one of the greatest areas on planet Earth!

    • Jonathan Zaharek

      Yes! I hiked them today!

  • mikeswitz

    Really nice work! I think your future is calling you.

    • Jonathan Zaharek

      Thank you!

  • Munchma Quchi

    Nice series.

    • Jonathan Zaharek

      Thank you

  • Wonderful work. The D7100 is my travel camera as well and I live working with it and the Sigma 10-20mm lens.

    • Jonathan Zaharek

      thank you

  • Kamal

    Great capture!! What lenses were used to capture these photos?

    • Jonathan Zaharek

      The 11mm shots where with a Tokina 11-16 f2.8 and the 70mm was with a Tamron 70-200 f2.8 and the 35mm was with a Nikkor 35mm 1.8.

  • Rick Carmichael

    I’m curious to know what you mean specifically by waiting for your “sovereign spark.” (I wonder if it’s a reference to some sovereign calling of God in your life.)

    Seeing your images in this post, I suspect that spark is actually staring you in the face. You are truly gifted as a photographer!

    Please allow me to encourage you: immerse yourself in this obvious passion of photography, until you receive a sovereign spark that redirects this passion to something else.

    • Jonathan Zaharek

      I responded to your email regarding this.

  • BG

    Great job! I agree with you on Iceland, it’s fantastic. However, there are other places to be seen – don’t discount northern Norway, for example (Lofoten, Senja & other islands in the region).

    • Jonathan Zaharek

      Absolutely. I have wanted to go to Lofoten for a while now.

  • Guido

    Very nice! I recognised the Black Forest by instant. You’re right it’s hard to find a nice spot out there, it’s a big area with a lot of rough nature. Although, after 30 years I know a lot of nice spots out there and for landscape it’s a great area. Maybe not so unique as Iceland but still great.

  • Good stuff

  • neversink

    Sounds like an intense trip with lots of on-the-road time, but for me, that is just exhausting. I prefer to get to know one place.
    The b&w photo of the stones is the best. However, I would I would like to see a bit more detail in the shadows on the stones and perhaps even in the highlights on the snow. In fact it outshines all the other photos by a long shot. The next photo I like is the one of the trees – the composition is nice, although I might have preferred to get rid of some of the distortion. What annoys me about this photo is that it appears that only one of the trees is in focus. For a 20 second shot with a wide angle lens, the photo is disturbing, in the sense of technique. A lot of your photos appear soft to me and parts of them out of focus – which is fine if it works. Here it doesn’t for me. My least favorites are the first two of the alps.
    Many of the photos are poor examples of work we have seen by other photographers. It’s hard, but one needs to try to look at composing the familiar with an original eye. Perhaps if you are not spending all your time on a trip trying to take everything in, you might have time to concentrate more on photography. Thanks for sharing your photos.
    If you really want to take great pics of the northern lights, head up to Fairbanks, Alaska. The colors are unbelievable. And so are the temperatures.

    • BG

      I agree regarding the softness, though I’m not sure if it’s a shooting issue or a post-processing/presentation issue.

      I also feel that the settings (ISO, shutter, aperture) are a bit all over the place – sometimes I can’t figure out why these choices were made (same applies for the ND filter inside a forest).

      • neversink

        I had the same feelings, but I think it is a shooting issue as the last shot is crisp

        • Jonathan Zaharek

          To answer everything in a short manner. I had to export the photos no greater than 250kb for this posting (said admin). So I can tell you that the photos are perfectly sharp in the original. Secondly, the neutral density filter that I used causes a very unique vibe to photo. That is why I used it. It’s weird, I know. And also, the settings are all over the place becaus ever situation requires its own unique set up. For what I was photographing, I believe I used the perfect settings for the situations I was in.

          • neversink

            Please —–I would like to view your photos in a better venue for viewing photos where I can see the finished Image as you intended it to be.

          • BG

            Ok. I cannot judge that from my “armchair” position. Just a word of warning – ISO settings like 125, 160, or 250 can cause reduction of image quality (dynamic range in particular). It’s better to stick to 100, 200, 400, you know, the native ones. 😉 Good luck with your photographic journeys, I’m sure you’ll make the photographic career you aspire to if you decide to take the plunge.

            • ISO settings like 125, 160, or 250 can cause reduction of image quality (dynamic range in particular). It’s better to stick to 100, 200, 400, you know, the native ones.
              Can you please elaborate on this?

            • BG

              Posted a reply below, but because it contains a link admin has to approve it, it seems…

            • approved, it was pending aproval because of the link

            • BG

              Thanks.

            • neversink

              Yes, please elaborate. Who told you this? Let’s see _ I shot with film rated at 32, 64, 125, 160, 320 — never had any problem — nor have I had any IQ deterioration shooting at these ISO’s digitally

            • BG

              You do understand that film and a digital sensor work in fundamentally different ways, right? 😀 Anyway, you can go here: http://www.photonstophotos.net/Charts/PDR.htm
              Check e.g. the Nikon D5, you’ll see a wavy pattern with reduced DR at the non-native ISOs between 100 and 800. The D7X00 series the OP is using doesn’t seem to be affected by this, so looks like he’s safe.

            • BG

              The thing is this – for the intermediate ISOs, the sensor is exposed at one of the native ISOs (e.g. ISO 200 for an ISO 160 shot), and then adjusted after the fact. This can lead to lowered dynamic range headroom (if the exposure is pushed down) or increased noise (if the exposure is pushed up).

            • BG
            • neversink

              Sorry – not relevant…. He’s measuring the output from a Canon EOS 5D Mark 1, which is a lot different than a D800 or D4 and which has much more deviation than the cameras I am discussing.

            • BG

              The observations in the post above the one you replied to apply to all cameras. It’s just a fact about how sensors are read out…

            • neversink

              According to the DXO charts, there is a big difference between camera sensors….

            • See my reply above.

            • neversink

              It’s all very nit picky when dealing with low ISOs because you won’t be able to see the difference with the human eye. And it doesn’t really ooccur at higher ISO’s, at least with the cameras I am using. Personally, I would not worry about these slight deviations. I would continue to shoot in what ever manner one feels comfortable.

            • I had always felt it weird that even middle tier canons don’t use intermediate ISO. Now I know why.

            • neversink

              Of course I realize the film and digital ISOs work in different ways. DR is always lost once you hit a certain ISO and start shooting with higher and higher ISOs. more importantly, noise increases substantially as you start to shoot with higher and higher ISOs, once you hit a certain ISO number. Yes, there is IQ deterioration as one shoots with higher ISOs.

              The D4 has a steady progression downward of DR loss after a certain ISO 1st that is why I shoot with it. The D 800 9the other camera body I use) only wobbles slightly in the low ISOs where it is not noticeable by the human eye unless you blow it up by 300 percent.

              What is most interesting on that chart is what DXO considers a low ISO level where noise really kicks in. It’s ISO 4391 for the D4. Another interesting measure by D XO is the difference between the D 700 and the D3S, which supposedly had the same sensor, and just the values on both charts are quite different. However, when I shot with both the D700 and the D3S I could not see any difference.
              Maybe the difference has to do with the firmware in the camera. Or maybe the difference is because of the testing methods at DXO.

              Perhaps I missed it, but I am not sure of which ISOs were tested in these charts until I pressed on the points on the DR chart. Notice that with each camera they are testing the sensor at weird ISOs, each different from other cameras.

              For instance, on the D4, they use some weird IISOs, as they do on other cameras. Do you really think that the slight wobbling deviation between ISO 50 and 251 makes any difference in quality of the image when the PDR for these settings are anywhere between 10.00 & 10.31. You won’t really be able to see much difference at all, if you can see any, which I doubt at these levels. If you were to worry about these minute differences in a low ISO, then you would never shoot is ISO 1600 after viewing the chart. However, I have taken many wonderful photos ISO 1600. Yes I prefer to use low ISO’s when ever possible. But it is foolish for someone to worry about the wobbly effect of DR in low ISOs. It will only inhibit your shooting. Check out the D4 chart:

              Low Light ISO Setting 4391
              ISO Setting PDR
              50 10.30
              63 10.31
              80 10.30
              100 10.31
              126 10.13
              159 10.00
              200 10.21
              251 10.11
              318 9.91
              400 9.67
              503 9.42
              636 9.13
              800 8.85
              1006 8.54
              1273 8.20
              1600 7.88
              2011 7.59
              2546 7.27
              3200 6.95
              4022 6.62
              5091 6.30
              6400 5.97
              8045 5.62
              10183 5.32
              12800 4.99
              16090 4.68
              20366 4.39
              25600 4.07
              51200 3.06
              102400 2.04
              204800 1.08

            • The issue described here is a well known characteristic that seems to apply to all Canons, but the results of other tests have indicated that it doesn’t apply to Nikons. When I searched around for info on this a while back, I also found a comment from someone within Sony (who makes the Nikon sensors) stating that their sensors are much more linear as far as iso and noise, in comparison to Canon sensors. So you can probably use auto-iso on your Nikon with little concern of sawtooth noise level weirdness.

              Reply by Ilias borg…….

              Yes, Nikon are not using this scheme, auto ISO is quite usable and does not suffer from this issue; but there is no guarantee that Nikon will never implement this intermediate multiplication stage. It is always better to check IMHO. Sony are not behind all Nikon sensors btw. Some sensors like those used in D2H, D3, D700, D3s, D4, Df are Nikon in-house design. Some sensors are coming from Aptina (Nikon 1 series). At least one sensor is Toshiba. The issue however is not with the sensor, and has little to do with linearity.

              It seems we are safe to use intermediate ISOs . At least for now.

            • neversink

              Exactly. Well said. And if you look at the DXO charts, for whatever they are worth, you can see the fluctuations. The D4 has a fairly straight forward linear chart, as do a number of Nikon cameras. Even the Nikon1 series is linear, although the EV starts off pretty low anyway, but not bad for that tiny sensor.

            • I just found these comments in the comments section of that article. According to them anybody can research and verify the characteristic graphs by using their rawdigger software with your camera.

            • Nor should it be relevant for digital.

      • neversink

        Oops – wrong spot for this post….

    • HF

      “My least favorites are the first two of the alps. Many of the photos are poor examples of work we have seen by other photographers.” My least favorite comment today. Compared to the specialists you can always find issues as everybody’s taste differs, but such an opinion is very subjective, or do you think your opinion matters more than that of others? Overall I found your comment very arrogant.

      • neversink

        Honest, not arrogant. I have spent nearly 40 years in professional photography. I also taught courses in photography in Seattle, NY and Maine and in Italy; and spent half a year at an art foundation in southern France. My opinion is not more important, but it does come from years working in the creative world.
        Objective and subjective criticism is part of any art. Editors and art directors will eat you alive if you present them with photos like this. My criticism was fair and to the point and not at all misleading. It was far from arrogant. Look up the word arrogant. My comment was not at all overbearing or insolently proud.

        • HF

          You may have a lot of experience and criticism is valid. I am the last one to deny this. However, I didn’t find your criticism expressed nicely, but it appeared arrogant to me in parts. Why? See my cited statement which I think to be a perfect example of this in my opinion. A simple added “in my opinion” would have unarmed your statement a bit, instead you formulated it in an absolute fashion. Nevertheless, if you didn’t intend it to be, I readily apologize.

          • neversink

            Apology accepted. I didn’t intend to be mean, obtuse or arrogant. I did say ‘for me’ in my critique. This is a tough business. I certainly did not mean to discourage him, just to make him look a little harder at his work. That’s all.

      • Captain Megaton

        I find this “precious snowflake” attitude reprehensible. There are good photos, great ones, and it is our duty to those photographers who are able to make such photos to find and raise them from the mediocrity.

        You can’t do this if you praise to what is undeserving of praise. Anyone who comes and posts their work on this site is painting a big target on their back, but they do it willingly because they are either deluded of their own greatness, or they want to know either way and understand that the criticism will make them better.

        False praise is far more damaging than honest criticism.

        • neversink

          Well said Captain.

  • dp

    The shot of the stones is nice, the rest are pretty common photos.

    • HF

      That’s the problem with people, you included: too many pictures causing over-saturation. Only the un-common image gets attention. So why then do photography at all if 99.9999% images end up to be common anyway? I find them to be beautiful pictures. I would like you to show whether you can do it better.

      • neversink

        I think the problem is that people are afraid of honest criticism. Is that the problem with you. Instead of accusing ‘dp’ of having problems, why don’t you intelligently criticize the photos. Maybe you know little about photography _- perhaps that’s your problem. Touché…. See — two can play this “you’ve got a problem” game.

        • HF

          Maybe be, maybe not. In a world flooded with images, over-saturation is, in my opinion, a big problem, and calling an image “common” points exactly to that. Oftentimes I see people dismissing a technically perfect and nice image, because they are used to a scene like this and want to see something special in every photo. But luckily we have people like you knowing a lot about photography. So it can’t be that other people like a photo, because someone like you said so, from experience and knowledge, that this can’t be.

          • neversink

            He wants to join the professional photography world. He won’t do it with photos like this. Critiques are very important in the art world, especially when learning. I Gave him an honest critique. Instead of criticizing my critique, give him an open critique of his photos. (Of course over-saturation is a danger, but we are dealing with other issues in these photos – softness, out-of-focus, composition, camera shake?, color balance are some of the issues.

          • dp

            I would love to see something special in every photo, unfortunately the vast majority of photos displayed on the internet are ordinary and repetitive. Achieving a technically perfect, “nice” photo is very easy to do with digital systems; many, many people have already made technically perfect, “nice” photos of these same locations on their travels, myself included – most of those people are, and will remain, amateurs. Entering into a career in professional photography requires an awareness of what is already out there, and either improving on it or doing it differently somehow; these images do neither. Some may be “nice”, but there are millions of “nice” photos already – big deal. My “nice” photos serve as reminders of nice times traveling, and I’ll occasionally show them to friends and family who are interested.

            • HF

              And this is something, only very few achieve. But as it is easy to compare via the internet to the masters of the art, what to do with those not reaching this levels? Should only those become professionals being able to reach those artistry? But maybe landscape photography is one of the disciplines in photography, where it is easier to observe than in other fields?

  • santarock

    Really beautiful pictures. Could you please let me know which lenses did you use during your travel?

    • Jonathan Zaharek

      The 11mm shots where with a Tokina 11-16 f2.8 and the 70mm was with a Tamron 70-200 f2.8 and the 35mm was with a Nikkor 35mm 1.8.

      • santarock

        Thanks, at the moment I am planning to buy a wide angle lens for travel on my d5300 but am a bit confused between the Tokina 11-20 f 2.8 or the Tokina 12-28 f 4.0 what would you recommend?

  • kman

    Sorry but if those shots are the only shots from Iceland you wasted coming here completely. And over ten countries in 18 days? Pointless you experience nothing and spend the majority on a plane or a train.

  • Eno

    Nice work!

  • Jonathan Zaharek

    OK, so I just read all the comments below and some of them I’m thankful for and other ones I’m confused about. I’m not going to say which ones exactly but you might know who you are. Let me just get one thing straight. Every single one of these photos is crystal clear solid and sharp. Even though it might be basic or just another landscape photo, I would rather say it’s quite impressive for someone who’s only been doing this for two years and completely self-taught. Yes, I have a lot to learn. Some situations provide good photos others provide well, not so good photos. I choose what I want to do and what I want to post. Some might call these over saturated but I call it art. You see exactly what I want you to see. Everyone has a different taste of photography. It shouldn’t matter what I did to take a photo or even what I did to edit the photo. What matters is just a photo in of itself is beautiful. And also the way I travelled might look like I wasted a lot of my time, but I can tell you it’s the way I love to travel.

    • I upvoted you on this one but there is something in this that saddens me here. It is the resistance to taking criticism in a constructive way. No matter however harshly and negatively(and some of them are so) worded. Being self assured doesn’t mean ignoring genuine and honest truth. You said you are a novice and just starting on your journey, then why is it so difficult for you to accept that right now your images may be average and your way of expression, however you may like it may still be lacking in originality? If you actually wish to grow and be great like ansel adams, it will be better to accept criticism graciously and work on it instead of justifying your way of working. After all the prime reason you posted your pictures and article here is to learn more from the people reading it and not just to get praised. Isn’t it?

      • silmasan

        Or maybe not. I have not found any word where he explicitly expressed that “desire to be criticized”. Just these words “…would like to share”. Share, dammit. As for why he would prefer to share _here_ on NR, well, he’s getting the consequence anyway: NR commenters’ “wisdom”, whether he asked for it or not.

        And for the most part, it wasn’t asked for. I guess many netizens have forgotten this very simple ethic, and therefore, they get what they deserve as well. 😉

        As someone who knows how criticism can totally shut down one’s life (from the inside or outside, ultimately the same), I’ve come to a much deeper understanding of that simple ethic.

        • These SHARERS also should know the simple internet knowledge that sharing is not only just showing. It is essentially interacting and inviting comments. Alas they forget that here on sites like NR, it is understood that sharing is asking for opinions.
          What actually prompted me to write this comment was his point about him being a novice and following ansel adams. And of course the justification of his methods of shooting in comments.
          One shouldn’t show his works to experts(NR readers are good at photography I would say) if he doesn’t want honest critique of his work.

          • silmasan

            I have no objection to anything you wrote in the first paragraph, where you didn’t mention “critic”. This what I write here is as much an opinion as yours and everyone else’s.

            As for your last sentence about the “experts”. Well these “experts” must present themselves properly first, before the “novice” can see the worth of their words. Otherwise how can the “novice” even see the honest intention of the “experts”? The “experts” haven’t even introduced themselves properly! Why should then the “novice” submit?

            I think true mentors wouldn’t go around the street (or forum threads or what’s aptly called the “comment” sections) spewing out their ‘wisdom pieces’ without being asked first. An uninvited teacher is also a sad thing, in my view.

            • You are right in every word you wrote but the internet has changed the way people learn. Also any youngster who is adept at social media has(or supposed to have) a thick skin where criticism is concerned. As for as expertise is concerned, everyone has something to teach the other. And a self confessed novice surely has. Especially when he can check back on the credentials and images of those experts online.

            • silmasan

              Yes, I am a proponent of that “thick-skin”-ness. Funny you should mention that. 🙂

              “Novice” or “beginner” or “youngster” (a very b.s. kind of attitude to enter the world with, btw, Mr. Zaharek, if you read this — you get nothing by telling others that, as you’ve found out, y’know what I mean?), I would still stand up for myself. I wouldn’t submit to some random commenters on some geeky camera rumor site that occasionally feature a guest post with some photography on it, just because. IOW I wouldn’t ASSUME I’m dealing with “experts”, much less “artists”.

              P.S. Umeshrw, this is nothing personal. You’re a fair guy I know, but some others are just a PITA with their know-it-all attitude, and to top it all off, they’re totally anonymous, unlike you. Perhaps you’re assuming too much about the rest of NR readers?

            • Jonathan Zaharek

              I think it’s kind of funny to watch what people say in response to other people sometimes haha. I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t expecting any of this (because I’ve never really experienced this) and it’s a good thing! Some people have ignorant comments, some are fair, and some are blessings! This whole posting allows me to feel the real world better and to understand what it’s like to have your work seen by many people.

            • Maybe I am too fair minded just like you. But I also like the quotation from bible …. Harmless as a dove and wise as a serpent.

            • silmasan

              I am actually extremely subjective. And I am very aware of my subjectivity.

              And you quoted the bible! Sorry but I’m not a moslem rabbi. 😉

            • For that matter I am an extreme athiest. But a good quote is a good quote.

            • silmasan

              OK… 😀 I just haven’t found any succinct, unbiased interpretation of that quote which satisfied me, but I think I get the gist. Maybe I was looking in the wrong section of the library? Possible link to the Quetzalcoatl maybe? 🙂

            • The way I understand it is , Do not be wicked and harm others and don’t be naive and stupid either to let anybody wrong you. I may be wrong in interpretation there but it works for me.
              The quetzalcoatal reference is interesting. God of knoweledge.

            • neversink

              You are wrong in every word. Read my previous reply to one of your other condescending comments.

            • silmasan

              Thank you. May I ask why you felt that my comments are condescending?

            • neversink

              I was just having some fun turning your post — where you called people condescending — back on you. No harm. No worries. Let’s move on.

        • neversink

          If you come on here to share then you open yourself up to criticism., whether the critiicism is good or bad, constructive or condescending. When you open yourself up to the world you and showcase your work, critique are part of it. That’s real life.
          You put your work in a gallery. It gets reviewed and criticized.
          Every form of art gets criticized.
          Want to live in a bubble, don’t put your work on a public forum of any kind.
          Play the piano in public, the critics will come out. They said the most vile things about Stravinsky’s compositions. did that stop him? Nope.
          No artist has made it without critics, reviews and critiques – good and bad.

          • silmasan

            I’ve been to architecture school. I understand the formal critique process. That’s where the CONTEXT is perfect. Actually we, my professor and I, had a good discussion on the ethics on criticizing other people’s works when one is not being invited to.

            Again, however, you still miss my point that I re-phrased in my former reply to you, that while you, “neversink”, may be fit for that formal critique, not everyone else has the same kind of credence as you do.

    • kman

      In short: There are a ton of amazing places in Iceland for great shots, and you picked dull places nobody can even tell is Iceland except the Kirkjufell one which is not a good composition in my opinion, just google that mountain on flickr and you will get some great compositions. But I really like your processing.

      • Jonathan Zaharek

        Okay. A few things. 1st, I was only in Iceland for 2 FULL days (2 half days). I hadn’t mapped out any locations to go to except the falls. So basically, I only photographed what I found. 2nd, I went during one of the most disgusting times of the year, so the grass and dirt can only be so pretty.

        • kman

          Yes the dirt can only be so pretty but your missing the point. As i said above such short trips are pointless as you dont have time to find good spots. And disgusting time of the year? Never heard that before but i never said anything negative about the ground or how the grass looks.

        • neversink

          No excuses! You had a good experience and were courageous to post your photos here. Listen to some of the advice and be grateful for those willing to comment about your photos. No one, I believe, is trying to discourage you, just trying to guide you. Yes, some of the criticism may seem harsh, but look beyond that and see I f their is any merit to the critiques. The Internet can be a tough place, but the real world of professional photography is even tougher.
          Isn’t it better to receive honest criticism than just a bunch of meaningless comments that say your photos are lovely, without explaining why they are so wonderful?

    • neversink

      Rushing from country to country might be your preferred way to travel, but perhaps you were forced to rush with your photography?

      • Jonathan Zaharek

        I had no choice. Trust me. If I did, then I would of done just that but in Iceland.

        • neversink

          Perhaps you will one day. Keep working at this….. You will find your ‘voice.,’ or should I say your vision. Be open to all criticism. Accept that which makes you think differently. Watch out for cliches and beware of the mundane although shooting the mundane in a different “light’ will make the mundane stand out as something beautiful or unusual.

  • brtravel

    The D750 will certainly up your night game, or at least save you a lot of that tedious post-processing your describe. Be sure to read several reviews comparing the Sigma 20 to the Nikon 20/1.8 before you buy, the Sigma seems to have significant coma, making the Nikon better for photos with stars. The Nikon is also about 1/3 the weight, which I imagine will be helpful for travel!

    • Hardcore_Fanboy

      About sigma 20 f1.4 art – that is right – the worst of sigma art series till now (which do not states that this is bad lens, but art series raised the bar and this lens is definitely below that bar and below best competition also) … Requires to stop down more than full stop to get expected sharpness (ART- level of sharpness). Even wide zooms (like tamron 15-30 and nikkor 14-24) at 2.8 are better than this art stopped down for night photo… so even though it is f1.4 – it is worse than 2.8 zooms and definitely worse than nikkors 20 1.8G at all apertures and all scenarios.

      • Jonathan Zaharek

        Thank you both of you for those comments. I will definitely look into that!

      • silmasan

        I assume you mean “expected sharpness” in the corners? because the center performance is already excellent from wide open. I know landscape and night shooters are less likely to be impressed, which makes this lens even more of a niche (thinking of ultrawide shallow DoF portraits/people at close range). Very niche.

        • Hardcore_Fanboy

          20mm portraits… sure why not :D… yea I was talking about 20mm like landscapes and night skies – center sharpness is not everything at that flocal range… I correct my self a little – about 20mm ART as being bad – it is like stating that there is bad NBA player – yes some are better and some are bad, but they still are better than lower league players – so this lens is the same – it kicks ass nikkors D-series wide primes and cheaper third party wide primes… but as and ART expectations – it is a fail for me. Anyway – check out many reviews about this lens and judge your self… but if one would judge this lens by only his impression like: “wow, sigma ART must be good like other ART ones and it is f1.4” (by the way – it was my first tought too about this lens) – then it will be big disappointment for him.

          • silmasan

            I know… it’s a hard sell at 20mm 🙂 I personally would rather see a 28mm f/1.4 A, and maybe a 20mm f/2 optimized for outdoor (landscape & nightsky, minimum coma, flat field etc plus proper weather sealing). Not sure why they have to keep it all at f/1.4.

  • nwcs

    I admire the author for putting himself and his work out there, especially as a teen. I wish I had the time to travel as much. When I was his age my brother and I would swoop through places in Europe and breakneck speed to see as much as we could. Being older now I enjoy exploring one place more. There’s value to both approaches. The pictures are very good, much better than anything I could have done at his age although digital cameras weren’t a thing then.

    Good luck to the author and keep working hard. And one word of advice: listen to what other photographers say but keep it in perspective because you and your clients are the ones you have to please not other photographers.

    • Jonathan Zaharek

      Thank you very much!

  • IDPhotog

    If you are going to showcase images on a well known website like this, they should be worthy. The composition of these are OK, but they are way over processed. Why cant people just take natural landscape photos without moving the sliders all the way to the right these days. Gone are the days of having to wait for the good light. Now, people attempt to create the good light by moving a couple the sliders and call it good. It’s really sad. The most powerful imagery are the ones that are naturally beautiful, not artificiality illustrated like these. And no, the northern lights are not really like the way you have depicted in your photo. If they were that bright, you could read a book under them. There was an article on PetaPixel about how all photographers exaggerate the color and brightness of the northern lights. They showed both the raw and processed versions and they were miles apart, just like yours.

    • neversink

      Actually, northern lights can be rather bright and colorful. I lived in Fairbanks for four years and witnessed some incredible aurora ‘storms.’ They vary in intensity and color. They dance, they move about, they can spread throughout the whole sky. They undulate and the colors can be every hue imaginable.
      As for the rest of your comment, I agree with most of what you said except for the cell phone part. That was harsh and uncalled for. And not true. The photographer attempted to be creative. I wouldn’t berate him for trying. He did things you can’t do with a cell phone camera. I am sure he will make progress.
      Constructive criticism is very important in learning to see. You gave some good criticism, but were a bit harsh at the end……

      • IDPhotog

        OK, I agree, maybe harsh at the end of my rant. So apologies for that part.

    • Clubber Lang

      Photography is a weird art form. I think it differs from Painting. You just don’t see hundreds of people out plain air painting around town. why is that? Anyone can just go and get a camera and start their journey. it’s pretty hard to reach a point in any art form where you disregard everything else and walk down your own road. But, one has to walk somewhere, learning, exploring and figuring out things on their own. Here we have a young photographer doing just that. I have no problem with constructive criticism. It can be totally brutal and a means for one to learn etc. But, you really can’t just make such blanket statements regarding any art form.

      • There is a difference between constructive criticism, and just being plain old negative to bash other people. You only have to click on @IDphotog ‘s profile name and read his 11 comments to know you just disregard people like this.

        There is more than one market for buying pictures, and not everyone see’s or likes a picture in the same way that a “trained eye” does. Photogs, painters, sketchers etc have all spent time crafting their style, but at the end of the day the way to be successful financially (and this young man has said he wants to go pro) is to ensure your pictures target an audience who buy photos.

        If he takes his photo’s into college, friends and family and asked their opinions, I bet that less than 10% will have issues with the saturated colours. I know I’d rather appeal to 90% than the 10% if I want to sell the pictures.

    • neversink

      There is nothing wrong with sliders. You just have to know how to move them for the right previsualized effect. Subtlety is a key factor, whether you’re moving contrast, saturation, exposure, playing with curves, adjusting highlights and shadows, clarity, structure and sharpness…etc….

      Just like in a darkroom with film, one has to know how to digitally develop an image. We all manipulate reality when we photograph, beginning with how we frame our subject, and what we include in an image or decide to leave out of the image.

    • mikeswitz

      I’d love to see your work when you were 19. And what makes you the arbiter of “the most powerful imagery”? Because you read an article on Peta Pixal you decide on who should be showcasing on Nikon Rumors? Somehow I thought that would be Peter, but I guess you know better. Ain’t the internet grand, getting to hide behind anonymity to show everyone how smart you are.

      • Justtakethepicture

        I’d love to see his work now. I doubt he has anything to show.

    • mikeswitz

      Oh, those NASA people. If they just knew what they were doing, like you, think how much better the world of photography would be: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBJAR3-UvSQ&ab_channel=NASA

  • Captain Megaton

    Deep breath.

    The good one is the one with the stones. There’s a spark of originality there, even if I suppose the Zen inspiration did not require too much effort to come up with the aesthetic at least is well executed.

    The rest are are … generically pretty. Over-reliance on wide angle view, long exposure, slightly over-processed look for dramatic effect, rather than digging deeper into what’s actually being photographed and coming up with anything distinctive or interesting to say.

    They are all soulless, remote, boring compositions. The one of the Swiss village bears an unfortunate resemblance to a the work of the late Thomas Kinkade.

    What possibly could have made you imagine anyone wanted to see yet another version of “the generic long exposure bubbling forest brook” ™. Do you yourself get any deep enjoyment from looking at your own photos even, or is it just to impress people? I ask in full sincerity.

    I mean honestly, a vacation most of us can only dream of and all you bring home is an utterly uninteresting photo of some forest stream which could have been taken by anyone, _anywhere_?

    My advice is to not bring your tripod next time, get closer to your subjects and try to bring some spontaneity, joy, and life to your photos.

    • neversink

      Harsh, but true, Captain. That means having to slow down and not travel to more than 10 countries in 19 days. I would say go to one region in one country for 19 days instead. Get to know an area — its people, its environment, its human landscape, its natural landscape. And by all means get close up.
      And perhaps, at your age, you should take some art and/or photography courses – just for the benefit of the critique. It might help you see differently.

  • Jonathan Zaharek

    For everyone: Thank you for all the comments. I have learned a lot from this posting, from you. For those that have only seen my work on this page, I highly encourage all to visit my Instagram to get a little better taste (Link up top) And yes,I know I should start to work on a website so people could see my full resolution images 😀 Like I said, I’m 18 and a work in progress.

  • ZZ

    Hey Jonathan, thanks for sharing SOME of your generic, boring, technically flawed, unoriginal, uninspiring, over-processed, lame pathetic excuse for photos. How dare you visit so many countries in so little time like nibbling at the buffet table and not give each place and country proper due and photographic reverence … you suck, your techniques are puzzling and makes no sense to the zen masters of photography … I know, you are only 18 BUT that’s NO excuse … did I say you suck? Oh yeah, I did … thank goodness you are not aspiring to be a brain surgeon or rocket scientist, we’d all be in deep sh!t …

    I for one like to take in your photos in context of who you are, your age, where you are as a budding photographer, and just as important as the images themselves are your personal journey, the priceless moments you shared with your family. Your images, however technically and artistically flawed they may be to the trained eye, are a testament to your vision and potential as an artist. I laud your maturity and courage to post your pics on the public forum. I enjoyed your story and the photos, keep up the good work.

    • Jonathan Zaharek

      Thank you and and tank you for understanding!

  • Reilly Diefenbach

    Good to see a young person passionate about landscape photography, we have a surplus of geezers. Some good compositions and locations, but overprocessed for sure. We’ve all done it, especially when HDR came out about five years ago. If potential buyers like it, so much the better, but most of us on these blogs are tired of it, as well as the horribly overused silky water effect. Keep shooting, you’ve got the fire, the rest will sort itself out in time.

    • Jonathan Zaharek

      You know I completely agree with that. I will say that a lot of the photos I do take a lot of people have seen already. I clearly have many years ahead of me to learn and develop this artistic ability. I’m sure in the years to come my artistic abilities will change and the way I envision things will change. I need to be able to have more photographic opportunities so I can develop it. It’s one of my problems. I might travel a lot but I’m very restricted to where I’m living.

      • neversink

        You do not have to travel. Look around your area Jonathan. There is so much waiting to be discovered and photographed, no matter where you live. Look closely ar everything. If you can’t photograph where you live ~ the people, the landscapes, the architecture – then please put down your camera and take up another pastime.

        Bring your camera with you wherever you go. Photograph everything and everyone right where you are. Try shooting completely manually and play with different settings. Use a hand held light meter for some shots. Be honest with your abilities. Try to turn the mundane into something exciting. Eliminate the unnecessary. Good luck.

  • silmasan

    “Yes, good criticism is good, and if I wanted _your_ critic specifically, I would have asked you personally, or come to your class.” is what I would have said myself. 😉

    • neversink

      You don’t come on a site like rhis and show your work, and not understand that there many good photographers here who will not mince words. If you want saacharine, stay on Instagram. The advice and critiques are free. Listen to them or don’t.

      • silmasan

        Saccharine? You missed my point.

        You wannabe a Terence Fletcher? Fine, be as harsh as you want, but wait until I come to your class, Professor. If I see value in your works and in your words, I’d gladly pay for the tuition fee.

        Now for a moment put yourself on this young man’s shoes: ‘How am I supposed to discern between the genuine ones and the crap ones here?’

        You see what I mean?

        AND, I have little patience for those who so readily turn art, creativity, and personal expression into some kind of a battlefield. It’s as if every piece of art must be made to cater to the needs of the millions of crits and nothing to do with the inherent desire of the creator itself.

  • Justtakethepicture

    My God, the number of patronising ‘experts’ here trying to give you the benefit of their ‘wisdom’.

    Do what you love and love what you do.

    • neversink

      No one is patronizing… Many are speaking from years of experience.if you can’t handle the criticism, you certainly will not be able to handle a career in professional photography

      • mikeswitz

        The tone, for the most part (not necessarily you) has been extremely patronizing. The most patronizing come from people who seem to have very little understanding of photography or art as a personal expression of craft. And the patronizers rarely show or link to their own work. I give you IDphotograph as a perfect example.

        • neversink

          That is true. There have been a few very insulting people here. But there always are those few. I have been thankfully so busy these days with assignments that this is the first post that I have actually had time to pay any real attention to and post more than passing comments.
          I personally think that the author, Jonathan will grow with his art if he seeks the right help by studying the masters, reading right technical books, photographing what is around him where he lives, and perhaps taking a course or two — and maybe working as a photographer’s assistant. He has the passion, and hopefully this passion will lead him to search for his vision. I hope he is successful.

        • silmasan

          “Art as a personal expression” … I wish I ever had a genuine art teacher who really understood these words when I was younger. Though now that I have found the teacher within, I have nothing to complain about.

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