Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle 6

Birds At Acadia Beach in Vancouver, BC

Took a short walk with my dogs on Acadia Beach today.  The best time for birds, especially Great Blue Herons, seems to be on the rising tide early in the morning.  The Herons like to walk around in the shallow water and pick off smelt and other small fish who are too dumb to notice a three foot tall bird.

I didn't get any stellar shots today but did see a Bald Eagle, a few Great Blue Herons, Geese, and a few of the usual suspects as well.   Overall, a fun day and always nice when an eagle is around.  The birds were quite far away so these are crops from much bigger images shot with the Nikon D800 and 80-200 f/2.8D lens.  In cases like this, a longer lens would sure be nice.  If an updated 80-400mm VR becomes available I may be tempted to sell the current zoom and go for the bigger reach.  Teleconverters do not work with the 80-200.  There was also a strong backlight so I had to dial up the shadow recovery introducing some noise.

I definitely got some better shots when I went to Brackendale to shoot the Bald Eagles with a borrowed 400mm f/2.8.

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle 5

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle 4

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle 1

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle 3

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle 6

 

Impressive talons on this guy, wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of those.

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle 7

 

The geese didn't seem to care that a top predator was in the area.

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Geese

 

The heron also went about his business catching fish.

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Great Blue Heron
I even managed to catch a crow in flight.

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Crow Landing

 

The image above was rescued from a very underexposed shot.  The screenshot below shows the impressive dynamic range of the Nikon D800 which allowed me to recover the shadows and save the image, if only for web use.

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Nikon D800 Shadow Recovery In Lightroom 4

 


Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Jack Russel Terrier 4

Shelter Dogs June 27 2012

When needed, I try to help out at the local animal shelter (Vancouver Animal Control) by taking photos of their dogs available for adoption.  I believe the quality of the photos makes a difference in the dogs adoption so I'm happy to help out when I can.  It helps me and helps the dogs.  You can see the animals they have available at PetFinder.com (not just dogs but rabbits, lizards, and at times even more strange things).  You can also see previous shelter dogs I photographed here.

Another black lab, likely a mix.

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Black Lab

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Black Lab

 

A hyper but very cute little puppy.

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Crazy Puppy

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Puppy 1

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Puppy 2

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Puppy 3

 

This old guy really liked getting some attention.  Hopefully he finds a home.

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Old guy

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Old guy

 

A young and playful dog, likely pit/shepherd mix.

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Pittie Mix

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Pittie Mix 2

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Pittie Mix 3

 

More puppies! Awesome little dogs, friendly and playful.

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Puppies

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Puppies 2

 

They seemed to like my hat

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Puppies Hat

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Puppies Skunk Eye

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Puppies Feet

 

And a Jack Russel Terrier. Couldn't decide if she wanted to play or just get some rubs.

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Jack Russel Terrier 3

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Jack Russel Terrier

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Jack Russel Terrier 2

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Jack Russel Terrier 4


Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Beagle 1

Shelter Dogs June 23 2012

When needed, I try to help out at the local animal shelter (Vancouver Animal Control) by taking photos of their dogs available for adoption.  I believe the quality of the photos makes a difference in the dogs adoption so I'm happy to help out when I can.  It helps me and helps the dogs.  You can see the animals they have available at PetFinder.com (not just dogs but rabbits, lizards, and at times even more strange things).  You can also see previous shelter dogs I photographed here.

There were a few new faces on my most recent visit, some great dogs.  I started off with a cute beagle, very friendly and loves to play.  When he runs his ears flap around like he is trying to fly :)

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Beagle 1

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Beagle 3

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Beagle 2

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Beagle 4

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Beagle 5

 

Next up was this fluffy little Maltese who constantly tried to climb into my lap.

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Fluffy 2

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Fluffy 1

 

Then I met this young boxer.  He just vibrates with excitement when you play with him.  Awesome dog.

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Boxer (Ripple) 1

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Boxer (Ripple) 3

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Boxer (Ripple) 2

 

There were two puppies to play with too.Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Puppy 1

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Puppy 2

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Puppy 2 Tug

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Puppy Run

 

This young girl took some work, was more interested in the dogs around her than getting photos taken.

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Brownie

 

A black lab likely won't last long down there, always popular.

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Black Lab 1

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Black Lab 2

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Black Lab dog house
We put some of the dogs together, they had a great time.  The beagle has so much energy, can play for hours.

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Chase 2

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Chase 1

 

But the tables were turned on the little guy when we put him in with the boxer.  Oh crap, I'm out of here!

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Chase 3

 

Make a move sucker...

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Chase 4

 

Oh crap, I guess that's the move.

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Chase 5
Better hide in here for a bit. (No beagles were harmed in the making of these photos :) )

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Hide

 

And some of the bunnies currently available.

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Bunny 1

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Bunny 3

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Bunny 2

 

And finally, when I got home I decided to get a few shots of my own dogs.  Jammie will always sit for the camera, a good and obedient dog.

Jammie mouth

 

Cedric is an old and grumpy guy, wanted no part of it.

Cedric does not care


Garden Bee: 2012-06-20 : Focus Stack with Zerene Stacker (105mm f/2.8 VR Micro)

Nikon D800 Macro and Focus Stack

When I was mowing the lawn, I came across a bee in the grass. I'm not sure what type of bee it is, but it could be one of the solitary ground dwelling types that can be found here. One of the wings was much shorter than the other and I don't think it could fly. I put the bee in a safe place and took a few shots. The shots were taken with a Nikon D800 and AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens. I have another set of photos shot with the 105mm here (lower light, hand-held).

Update: I found out this isn't a bee after all, but a hoverfly (Narcissus fly).  It mimics bees as a defense against predators.  Very cool.

This shot is a single image converted from RAW but cropped from a much bigger frame. ISO 360, 1/125 second shutter at f/9.
Garden Bee : 2012-06-20 : Single Image with 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro

I also took a few more images focus stacked them with Zerene Stacker, turned out better than I expected considering this is also a significant crop.

Garden Bee: 2012-06-20 : Focus Stack with Zerene Stacker (105mm f/2.8 VR Micro)

And a flower I shot shortly after, also a single image converted from RAW.

Flower : 2012-06-20 : Single Image with 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro

 

And an image I shot previously.  The detail when shooting the D800 with this lens is just great.

D800 Test Image - flowers


5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

The Fifth Annual East Van Show and Shine

My friend Eli and I attended the Fifth Annual East Van Show and Shine held at the Whip Restaurant.  It is a fundraiser that features live bands, a barbecue, local vendors, and vintage and classic cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Proceeds support the Canadian Cancer Society.  We have attended the event for the last few years and it's always fun.  There were a few new cars this year, including a late 60's Charger and a late 60's Camaro which are both near the top of my favorites list.

On our way out of the house, Eli noticed a rainbow around the sun.  More info about this in my previous post, but it was very cool and not a common sight.
Vancouver Sun Dog

 

And shots of the cars.
5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

Very cool old Volvo.
5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

The most popular attraction as not the cars, girls, band, or food.  It was a pug in a side car :)
5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

Everyone was stopping to take photos.
5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

There were some cool bikes down there too.
5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

 

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

Guard dog on duty.

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

Mr. Grumpy Pants.

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)


Vancouver Sun Dog

Vancouver Sun Halo

Yesterday, on my way to the East Van Show and Shine, my friend Eli pointed out a circular rainbow around the sun.  Not something you see every day, and since we both had our cameras we took some photos.  Someone suggested that this phenomenon is called a sun dog or sundog (Wikipedia), but I think it is actually a sun halo.  A sun dog is a 'mock sun', or a bright point of light similar to the sun.  I this case, it's a complete circular halo around the sun and looks like a rainbow. There are some references to these things here and here.

Vancouver Sun Dog

Update (May 29):  After posting on a forum, it turns out this phenomenon is called  a sun halo.  It is seen when thin cirrus clouds are present high in the atmosphere on a sunny day.  Light refracts off ice crystals and creates the effect.  More info here: 22° halo at Wikipedia, NASA.


Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Pit Bull

Shelter Dogs May 11 2012

Another trip to Vancouver Animal Control to photograph dogs.  Photos from previous visits can be seen here.  As always, you can see the animals available for adoption from this shelter by visiting their PetFinder page or just drop in at the shelter.

First up, this young pit bull who is a bit chunky but loves to play.

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Pit Bull

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Pit Bull

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Pit Bull

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Pit Bull

I had to visit the puppies again, they are great dogs and won't last long.  Previous photos of these little guys are here.

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Puppies

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Puppies

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Puppies

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Puppies

A playful and very cute Pomeranian.

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Pomeranian

Call of the wild

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Pomeranian

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Pomeranian

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Pomeranian

And a German Shepherd who was more interested in napping in the grass than having her photo taken.

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - German Shepherd

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - German Shepherd

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - German Shepherd

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - German Shepherd

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - German Shepherd

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - German Shepherd

 

 


Vancouver Aquarium - 2012-05-01

Another visit to the Vancouver Aquarium

I have had a membership at the Vancouver Aquarium for the last few years and I like to visit often.  It's a great place to just walk around and relax.  I almost always see something new and different.  I like to bring my camera, you never know what you will see.

Don't bug me, I'm crabby

Vancouver Aquarium - 2012-05-01

Best buds, Gus and Ollie, hyacinth macaws

Vancouver Aquarium - 2012-05-01

Vancouver Aquarium - 2012-05-01

Vancouver Aquarium - 2012-05-01

Vancouver Aquarium - 2012-05-01

Vancouver Aquarium - 2012-05-01

Vancouver Aquarium - 2012-05-01

Vancouver Aquarium - 2012-05-01

Vancouver Aquarium - 2012-05-01

Vancouver Aquarium - 2012-05-01


Dragon Boat Spring Sprint - Vancouver, BC - 2012-05-12

Dragon Boat Spring Sprint in Vancouver

What a great day for some dragon boat racing.  Since my wife is on a team, I went down to take some photos and enjoy the nice weather.  Spring Sprint is a warm up to the big Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival, which is in mid June.   The boats are smaller, only 10 paddlers instead of the usual 20 and the distance is substantially shorter as well.  Still fun to watch, especially when you can soak up the sun after the miserable April showers.

The races are held in False Creek with downtown Vancouver as the backdrop.  Hard to find a nicer venue than this.

Dragon Boat Spring Sprint - Vancouver, BC - 2012-05-12

The staging area is right beside Science World.

Dragon Boat Spring Sprint - Vancouver, BC - 2012-05-12

Some shots of the action.

Dragon Boat Spring Sprint - Vancouver, BC - 2012-05-12

 

 

Dragon Boat Spring Sprint - Vancouver, BC - 2012-05-12

Organized chaos.

Dragon Boat Spring Sprint - Vancouver, BC - 2012-05-12

Dragon Boat Spring Sprint - Vancouver, BC - 2012-05-12

Dragon Boat Spring Sprint - Vancouver, BC - 2012-05-12


Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

A Walk on Wreck Beach, Vancouver, BC

I don't always take my camera when I'm out walking the dogs, but since the D800 is new I decided to bring it along today. I was using the Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR lens, which I love. All shots hand held, so may not be critically sharp especially when shooting in the shady areas. It's still too early in the year, and too cold, for the nudies to be out so I had the beach to myself.

This is one of my dogs, Jammie.  She is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, small but thinks she is a big dog.

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

You see some interesting critters when you start getting close

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

I have also been playing around with black and white images more and more.  The D800 captures so much detail and has so much dynamic range you can really get great effects with b&w.

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

This was a bit random, looks like someone brought it to the beach and stuck it in the sand.  I didn't see these growing anywhere.

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

The horror! Actually they are rather cute, as long as they don't decide to set up shop in my back yard.

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

And the fern somewhat reminds me of the furry caterpillars.

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

 

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR


Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs May 5 2012

Another set of dogs from Vancouver Animal Control, you can see others here.  As always, you can see the animals available for adoption from this shelter by visiting their PetFinder page or just drop in at the shelter.

The three puppies on this page are very cute and friendly, they all tried to crawl into my lap as I was taking photos.  They have the most amazing crystal blue eyes I have ever seen!  But first, this young German Shepherd.  Playful and energetic, loves to play fetch.

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Now the puppies!

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

 

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control
For anyone curious, this was the fist time I shot dogs at the shelter with my Nikon D800. I used the Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 lens but I think next time I'll try a 50mm f/1.8 prime. Overall, I have some learning to do with the focus system of the D800 but it is producing great images.


Nikon D800 with 105mm f/2.8 VR lens - pollen popping flower

Poppin' Pollen

Yesterday I noticed what I thought was smoke in the kitchen but had no idea where it was coming from. As I was looking around, I saw that a flower on the counter was shooting out pollen. I have never seen anything like this, so I had to grab my camera and shoot a short video. I have never seen anything like this!

I'm assuming this is not a common sight, otherwise I would have seen it myself before (we have a lot of plants) or I would have seen it somewhere online. Regardless, I had to capture it on video so others would not think I'm crazy :)

Shot with the Nikon D800, 1080p, 105mm f/2.8 VR lens.  View the HD video on Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahIrYtJjMpU

 


iPhone 4S shot of D90 and D800 WB adjustment to paper

D800 LCD Green Colour Cast Test

There have been numerous reports of a slight colour cast to the D800 rear LCD screen. The colour does not seem to affect the files but can create some issues when shooting. I'm not really sure how to test this, but I attempted to set up my D800 to take a shot of a white piece of paper. I tried comparing the LCD to my D90 screen, and took a shot with my iPhone of the two LCD screens side by side. Maybe this will be useful to some.

First, a shot with the iphone unadjusted for white balance showing the D90 LCD screen (left) and the D800. Both in live view mode, not displaying a captured frame. They look different but I'm not really sure if the D90 is cooler than expected or the D800 is warmer.
iPhone 4S shot of D90 and D800 no WB adjustment

Next, I used the custom WB adjustment in Lightroom 4 and selected the white of the paper as the target neutral.
iPhone 4S shot of D90 and D800 WB adjustment to paper

Finally, a shot taken with the D90 showing the paper and LCD screen of the D800. White balance adjusted in Lightroom using the paper as target neutral.
D90 shot of D800 LCD screen to test for hue

To my eyes, there doesn't seem to be an objectionable colour cast to the D800 LCD. I'm not sure if this is common to all D800 models or only some (early run?). I could do more testing, but not sure how or what else to look at. If anyone has suggestions, please let me know.


Jammie: Nikon D800 @ ISO 3200

Nikon D800 High ISO Test

This isn't meant to be a critical test, it was just a shot I tried with my new D800. I shot hand held in poor light to see how the camera would do. Compared to my Nikon D90, where the image started to fall apart at ISO 800, the D800 is still going strong at ISO 3200.

Details:
Nikon D800
Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR
Aperture: f/4
Shutter: 1/80"
ISO 3200
High ISO noise reduction: normal

Processed from 14-bit lossless compressed raw in Lightroom 4, than ran through Noiseware to clean it up a bit. Overall, very happy with the image, completely usable shot of my dog, Jammie. The room was quite dark, Lightroom brought back the shadows and exposure, there is lots of dynamic range available to play with. (Click for bigger version).

Jammie: Nikon D800 @ ISO 3200


D800 Test Image - flowers

My first images with the Nikon D800

My D800 finally arrived, charged the batteries and headed out with my dogs the next morning. Resisted the urge to photography my keyboard, floor, ceiling, and anything else boring just to play with it. Tried to make the first frame count!

I want to mention that I'm not that happy with the grip of the D800. I have big hands, XL gloves, and it seems small to me. I may just need to get used to it, but it is smaller than I expected.  It's not comfortable in the hands, especially with a bigger lens on the body.  I may have to buy the grip, which is not something I wanted as I like the size of the body as it is.   I'm going to shoot it without the grip for a while, see if I get used to it.

Some people have posted on various forums that their D800 came with a few hundred shutter actuations.  I checked the shutter count on my first frame, it was showing "2". Maybe they do a test shot at the factory?

This is the first frame from my camera.  I didn't set all of the settings I should have, but it is what it is.  Shot using the Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8, auto ISO, aperture priority mode.  Processed from 14-bit lossless compressed raw in lightroom. Not the best, but I'm happy with things so far.  My dog Cedric, who is always an unwilling participant since there are more interesting things to do at the beach than sit around.  And yes, I can see my reflection in his eye.

First photo taken with my Nikon D800, my dog Cedric

Any my second shot, same settings.  This time of my dog Jammie.

Second photo taken with my Nikon D800, my dog Jammie

Flower shots below are shot on a sturdy tripod, Nikkor 105 f/2.8 VR, 2 second timer, 3 second exposure delay, live view focus. Processed from 14-bit lossless compressed raw in lightroom.  Better, happy with the first samples as I know they will get better from here.

D800 Test Image - Apple blossom

D800 Test Image - flowers

The full resolution jpeg (18MB) can be seen here.  The detail captured by the camera is amazing.