Monday, January 19, 2015

Photographing for maximum resolution with the Nikon D810

Ever since the new World Trade Center was completed this past year, I have been re-photographing vistas of New York City that show the building. Many of these images will be used for large scale prints so I want to achieve the maximum resolution and image size. For the panorama below I took four images and stitched them together in Photoshop to end up with a final photograph of 250mb in an image that is almost 5' wide. The area covers southern Manhattan from the Flatiron District down to the Financial District and includes the Jersey City Financial District across the Hudson River on the right.

To maximize the image quality I took the normal precautions of mounting the camera on a sturdy tripod, using the lowest ISO setting, and shooting at the sweet spot of the lens at f/8. Bracketing the exposures and waiting for the perfect time when the bright sky and dark city would be in their closest light balance also kept the exposure comfortably within the dynamic range of this superb camera so there is still detail in the deepest shadow areas.

The farthest point on the right is where the sun had just set, and with the panoramic swing being so wide the exposure was brighter than what was required on the left side. I was able to balance this out with an easy darkening of the bright areas on the right along with a soft opening up of the sky on the left. I did this while working on the 16-bit RAW image in Adobe Camera Raw.

I am including a link to download a high resolution version of this scene by clicking here. This is not the full 250 version. That would have been too cumbersome to handle in a download. I did include a 50mb version with a slight jpg compression to provide a more manageable version that should be sufficient to illustrate the extreme quality level of the Nikon D810 36mp camera.

One of my favorite parts of this image is the tiny puffs of back-lit smoke rising up everywhere in the cold winter air. And, if you search for it, there is a tiny airplane in the distant sky flying towards the camera. The exposure was 1/25th of a second, but because the plane was flying towards the camera and not parallel to it its movement is not blurred.

My complete hands-on review of the Nikon D810 can be found here. For the lens I used the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 zoom with its excellent optics. That lens review can be found here.


  1. Wow! Did you use a a nodal slide with the 70-200 or is it neccessary at these distances?

  2. Good question, Aaron. I did not use a nodal slide with the 70-200 because the tripod ring on that lens is placed very close to where it needs to be to achieve no parallax. I decided to do a blog post on your question. Here is the link to it: