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Thread: D4s advice needed

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    D4s advice needed

    I've been offered a "like new" D4s with very low mileage for a nice price, and try to figure out what to do about it. It's obviously a much better camera than the D2Xs/D700 combo that it would replace for action and low light (D700 only) photography. The question is how much better it is than the D810 for low light/high ISO when the D810 files are reduced to 16MP.

    Are there anybody here who uses both the D4s and the D810 and can offer some experience on how they complement each other?

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    Re: D4s advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    I've been offered a "like new" D4s with very low mileage for a nice price, and try to figure out what to do about it. It's obviously a much better camera than the D2Xs/D700 combo that it would replace for action and low light (D700 only) photography. The question is how much better it is than the D810 for low light/high ISO when the D810 files are reduced to 16MP.

    Are there anybody here who uses both the D4s and the D810 and can offer some experience on how they complement each other?

    I feel it's alot better for low light. 2 stops, maybe. My D810 is about tops at 3200, unless it's dead of winter. This is with normal F 2.8 ranged glass, I am sure with a 1.4 lens, it would go a bit better.

    I use the D750 when I need higher iso, as it will outperform the D810 by a long shot. Useable 8K iso. The D4s, will be close to this or better.

    Plus, it's got a great body, just very well put together.

    Paul C

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: D4s advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    I've been offered a "like new" D4s with very low mileage for a nice price, and try to figure out what to do about it. It's obviously a much better camera than the D2Xs/D700 combo that it would replace for action and low light (D700 only) photography. The question is how much better it is than the D810 for low light/high ISO when the D810 files are reduced to 16MP.

    Are there anybody here who uses both the D4s and the D810 and can offer some experience on how they complement each other?
    The D4s is definitely the much better camera for sports and low light/high ISO compared to the D810 - this is a no brainer. Sure you can downrez the D810 files and win some quality for highISO, but this is a cumbersome process.

    If you can get a D4s for a good price and do not want/need to wait/invest in the coming D5, then I would go for it and just sell the D2Xs and D700 if you can get some money back by that sale.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: D4s advice needed

    D4s is a fantastic cam to be sure, and you can hardly go wrong if the price is right. But then I personally feel 16MP is somewhat limiting these days. If you need the 11 frames per second, and you need low light then go for it. If you can make 5.5 FPS work, then the Df has the same sensor and same great low light capability for arguably less money -- and don't you already own one? I do love the look off my Df, but honestly I hardly use it with the D810. In fact, if I could get a reasonable enough amount for it, I would sell it. Unfortunately they go for peanuts used and it still looks so cool, that I keep it just because.

    But that's me and so my .02 only.
    Jack
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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: D4s advice needed

    Thank you all for very useful information. Buying the D4s would mean selling the D700, D300 and the D2Xs. Still, it's quite an investment, even at 2/3 of the price of a new one, but the camera in question has only 3,500 clicks. I call that "New". The great body, battery and general ergonomics are clearly some of the main attractions. 11 fps is more than I really need though, and the D700 (and D300) does 8 fps with the D2Xs battery anyway, which is just fine.

    For events in general and sports in particular, the 36 MP of the D810 is far more than I want or need. Last weekend, I shot two days worth of motor sports, and even if I'm not very serious about it any longer, I did fire off some 3,500 frames. Multiply that with 36 million pixels, and we are looking at some rather astronomical figures and a serious amount of disk space. Same goes for family photos etc.

    The Df would actually be an interesting alternative, since it's also manageable as a backup camera for travel due to its small size and moderate weight. I have to check out the second hand prices of that one too. That might even allow me to keep the D700/D2Xs, which are still very usable cameras for sports.

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    Workshop Member Bryan Stephens's Avatar
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    Re: D4s advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    I've been offered a "like new" D4s with very low mileage for a nice price, and try to figure out what to do about it. It's obviously a much better camera than the D2Xs/D700 combo that it would replace for action and low light (D700 only) photography. The question is how much better it is than the D810 for low light/high ISO when the D810 files are reduced to 16MP.

    Are there anybody here who uses both the D4s and the D810 and can offer some experience on how they complement each other?
    Jorgen

    I have shot both the D810 (and before that the D800e and D800) and the D4s (and prior to that the D3s) and I primarily used my D4s for sports photography, shooting baseball, football, basketball and hockey. The camera excelled at night baseball and football games as well as for indoor basketball where the arena lighting was not up to par. I used the D810 for baseball mainly as my second camera but this was primarily due to the slower frame rate. Image wise the D810 was sharper but for low light the D4s was on par if not slightly better as the focus tracking was better in that camera.

    What I would normally do was have my primary zoom, say either the 300/2.8 or the 400/2.8 mounted on the D4s and then either the 70-200 or the 24-70 mounted on the D810 which I would use for more candid or wider shots. (The pick-off attempt at 1st or the tag on the runner trying to take 3rd).

    In honesty, I preferred shooting the D4s at the events also because the camera fit my hands better as I have large hands.

    For your racing photography, the D4s would be a perfect fit. the only camera that I have shot that had better focus tracking for fast moving subjects is the Canon 1Dx, and it is only marginally better.

    This is just my opinion. As you said, the D4s would be a major upgrade over your D2x.

    On a side note, with regards to you shooing 3500 photos at a recent event, I understand what that is like, as my sons travel baseball team played in a week-long tournament where I offered to be the official photographer (which I did for no charge as well). By the end of the week, I had shot over 8000 images that I had to pre-edit, then sort and then edit. Needless to say, it took up a ton of disk space as well as time, but in the end, there were 14 kids and their parents who were forever grateful to have these memories captured. In the end, a couple of the parents had purchased the photo option offered by the tournament and said that the stuff I provided them was better than the pictures they paid $150 for. That made it worth it for me.
    Bryan

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    Workshop Member Bryan Stephens's Avatar
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    Re: D4s advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    D4s is a fantastic cam to be sure, and you can hardly go wrong if the price is right. But then I personally feel 16MP is somewhat limiting these days. If you need the 11 frames per second, and you need low light then go for it. If you can make 5.5 FPS work, then the Df has the same sensor and same great low light capability for arguably less money -- and don't you already own one? I do love the look off my Df, but honestly I hardly use it with the D810. In fact, if I could get a reasonable enough amount for it, I would sell it. Unfortunately they go for peanuts used and it still looks so cool, that I keep it just because.

    But that's me and so my .02 only.
    I agree with you with regards to the sensor and the low light, but for fast action sometimes you do need those frames per second, and also the focus tracking, which in the D4s is very good.
    Bryan

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: D4s advice needed

    Agree re FPS, especially for sports -- or any other subject if you need them. Also there is robustness of build, D4s winds hands down. But if you don't *need* the speed or robust build, and moreover don't want the weight, then the Df may present a cheaper alternative -- that's all my point was.
    Jack
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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: D4s advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    Agree re FPS, especially for sports -- or any other subject if you need them. Also there is robustness of build, D4s winds hands down. But if you don't *need* the speed or robust build, and moreover don't want the weight, then the Df may present a cheaper alternative -- that's all my point was.
    The robust build is an important point. I'm just waiting for the day when the card door of one of my cameras will break off because I didn't notice that it opened during contact with another object. I've already broken off a battery door that opened by accident. I didn't notice, and it broke off when I put the camera down. That wouldn't happen with the Df I suppose, since it has a proper locking mechanism.

    There's also a great feeling using a tool where little has been compromised to save money or weight. This is one of the reasons why I still use the D2Xs, in addition to the excellent image quality it delivers.

    So I should have both then, a D4s and a Df? No way... I think

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: D4s advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    The robust build is an important point. I'm just waiting for the day when the card door of one of my cameras will break off because I didn't notice that it opened during contact with another object. I've already broken off a battery door that opened by accident. I didn't notice, and it broke off when I put the camera down. That wouldn't happen with the Df I suppose, since it has a proper locking mechanism.

    There's also a great feeling using a tool where little has been compromised to save money or weight. This is one of the reasons why I still use the D2Xs, in addition to the excellent image quality it delivers.

    So I should have both then, a D4s and a Df? No way... I think
    The Df is for sure a great camera and while you can shoot some action, it is not even close to a D4s. Alone the AF possibilities are so much better and advanced compared to the Df, let alone build and robustness. No - please do not compare Df with D4s, totally different machines, aiming at totally different goals!

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    Re: D4s advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    The Df is for sure a great camera and while you can shoot some action, it is not even close to a D4s. Alone the AF possibilities are so much better and advanced compared to the Df, let alone build and robustness. No - please do not compare Df with D4s, totally different machines, aiming at totally different goals!
    I'm joking, Peter, but they are both great cameras, each in its own way. The D4s would fill a void, making certain kinds of photos easier to get. That's why I'm considering buying this. Seen over a 10 year period, the price isn't so bad at less than $30 per month. My D2Xs is approaching 10 years, although I have only had it for four. It's still as good as it ever was, and if I gave it away today, it will have cost me $20 per month. Considering the fact that I make some money on this, there shouldn't be any doubt. Even as a hobby, only Ludo is cheaper.

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    Workshop Member Bryan Stephens's Avatar
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    Re: D4s advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    The robust build is an important point. I'm just waiting for the day when the card door of one of my cameras will break off because I didn't notice that it opened during contact with another object. I've already broken off a battery door that opened by accident. I didn't notice, and it broke off when I put the camera down. That wouldn't happen with the Df I suppose, since it has a proper locking mechanism.

    There's also a great feeling using a tool where little has been compromised to save money or weight. This is one of the reasons why I still use the D2Xs, in addition to the excellent image quality it delivers.

    So I should have both then, a D4s and a Df? No way... I think
    The one thing I like about the card door for the D4s is that it is a button release and not a slide release as it was on my D810 so it would "lock" closed and you couldn't accidentally open the door with your hand.
    Bryan

    “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” — Ansel Adams

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    Re: D4s advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan Stephens View Post
    The one thing I like about the card door for the D4s is that it is a button release and not a slide release as it was on my D810 so it would "lock" closed and you couldn't accidentally open the door with your hand.
    Exactly!

    Here's another good reason for the D4s, an event that unfortunately is before I will be able to make a decision on this, let alone pick the camera up:
    This weekend, there's a jetski world cup competition only ten minutes from where I live. The most interesting part, and the part that allows for the photos that will actually generate some income the coming year, is the freestyle competition. Unfortunately, freestyle is the last event, and after all kinds of delays, it will take place just as the sun starts to disappear into the sea behind the clouds that usually gather over the horizon towards the evening. To make matters worse, the competitors will perform between me and the disappearing sun. So there's a need for a camera that delivers bright, saturated colours at high ISO.

    Then of course, freestyle competitors are totally unpredictable, and just as I've burned off a long series of shots in a long burst, capturing the most unbelievable, acrobatic action, the guy will go directly into a new, even more unbelievable and even more acrobatic performance. And my buffer is full.

    Yup, there are good reasons why cameras like the D4s exists. Did I just say "cameras like the D4s"? It should have read "There are good reasons why the D4s exists". There is only one D4s, and no other camera that I know about can offer the combination of specs that I sometimes need... or think I need

    I'll have to find a spade and dig up some monies first

    Last years challenge:

    D2Xs with 80-200 AF-S @ 112mm and f/4... before the sun became uncooperative

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    Workshop Member Bryan Stephens's Avatar
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    Re: D4s advice needed

    The D4s would be perfectly suited for that task and the additional gram rate would make sure you caught the perfect moment
    Bryan

    “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” — Ansel Adams

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    Re: D4s advice needed

    Frame rate might or might not matter - depends on the subject matter. I have photographed Frisbee freestyle a great deal, I'm a player myself so I understand the sports and I understand what makes a captured image work. I have spent a great deal of time (decades) to get to know these freestylers' style, which is key to seeing predictability in what is largely artistic improvisation.

    Anytime I use CH speed to spray the scene I get worse results than when I make an effort to capture the decisive moment: Image below is from spraying, it's about 10-20 milliseconds too late - ideal time is just before hand touches Frisbee to grab it. Not sure how this reasoning applies to racing - perhaps there is less of a decisive moment? Or more?

    -Lars


    Cindy doing a scarecrow catch at North American Freestyle Championships, Portland August 2015. Nikon D700, 80-200 f/2.8D at f/2.8.
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    Workshop Member Bryan Stephens's Avatar
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    Re: D4s advice needed

    I guess it depends on the speed of the subject you are shooting. For baseball I use the higher FPS of CH to try to capture the exact moment that the ball makes contact with the bat, which is no easy feat when a 90mph fastball is connecting with a bat traveling at 80mph.

    With other sports such as football, basketball or hockey, I tend to turn the winder down to CL as I don't quite require the 11 fps and I shoot in short bursts of two or three images max. It is easier to predict the moment of capture in these for me, and I agree with you that familiarity with a given sport makes it easier to determine the moment you are looking to capture.

    For the freestyle event of jet skis I would say that depending on the action being performed it may be of some benefit, but you may not require the full 11 fps.

    Jorgen, that capture of the jet skier upside down is pretty amazing. Thats the kind of stuff I love to capture.
    Bryan

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    Re: D4s advice needed

    I rarely go beyond 5 fps myself. For motor racing pan shots, I usually do 4-6 frames at around 5 fps. Ironically, higher frame rates would be more useful at very slow shutter speeds, like 1/20s, since the hit rate is very low at those speeds, but for obvious reasons, that is not possible. Jet ski freestyle is a completely different matter, since it's extremely unpredictable. High frame rates, a deep buffer and excellent AF is an absolute necessity. Any "dirty" motor sports, like rally or motocross also require high frame rates. It's impossible to predict when vital parts of the subject will be hidden by dirt or mud.

    On the subject of AF; I often shoot pan shots with manual focus, particularly when using wide lenses at long shutter speeds. Head on shots with long lenses aren't very demanding on the AF, since the subject is far away and the movement in relation to the distance isn't really fast. The good, old 300mm f/4 AF has no problem following a car head on at 200 kph if it's 100 meters or more away, particularly not when using camera bodies like the D2Xs, and presumably the D4s, that have powerful AF motors.
    Last edited by Jorgen Udvang; 5th December 2015 at 01:18.
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    Senior Member Swissblad's Avatar
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    Re: D4s advice needed

    Personally I would go for it - if the price is right - it's a great cam - and 16MP is enough for most needs - and more than your trade in currently offers.

    BTW it will be a while before the D5 comes out - at a much higher price.

    So what are you waiting for.....

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: D4s advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Swissblad View Post
    Personally I would go for it - if the price is right - it's a great cam - and 16MP is enough for most needs - and more than your trade in currently offers.

    BTW it will be a while before the D5 comes out - at a much higher price.

    So what are you waiting for.....
    I'm waiting for the cash flow to look right, and it doesn't, particularly considering the fact that I need a new telephoto lens as well

    Still, the D2Xs/D700 combo doesn't do to bad, except for the fact that I've been running out of buffer space countless times today. When this guy performed, I could have kept the camera going continuously for more or less the whole three minute performance. But it stopped, and stopped again and again:

    D700 with 300mm f/4 AF @ f/5.6



    I did get a couple of thousand shots today though. Hopefully, there are a couple of keepers too
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    Senior Member Swissblad's Avatar
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    Re: D4s advice needed

    Jørgen, I'm in the same boat - still using my D700 with BP for action work - I really like the combo - but an increased buffer would be nice.

    That said, I took some portraits this morning with the D700 and the clients or should I rather say, willing volunteers, were very impressed......

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    Re: D4s advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Swissblad View Post
    Jørgen, I'm in the same boat - still using my D700 with BP for action work - I really like the combo - but an increased buffer would be nice.

    That said, I took some portraits this morning with the D700 and the clients or should I rather say, willing volunteers, were very impressed......
    The D700 is still a very nice camera, and at today's prices, it's a real bargain for an assortment of jobs. From a money making point of view, the buffer is really my only serious problem with it. High ISO and DR are obviously a bit 2008, but it's better than the D2Xs
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    Re: D4s advice needed

    Dilemma avoided. Somebody bought it before I could make up my mind

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: D4s advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    Dilemma avoided. Somebody bought it before I could make up my mind
    It just might have been a blessing in disguise
    Jack
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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: D4s advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    It just might have been a blessing in disguise
    Impossible to say, Jack. I would have known after a few years. I'll spend some of what I saved one faster cards for the D700, increasing the buffer capacity and shortening the flush time of that camera, and probably the 200-500mm f/5.6. Short term, those are more useful, and more profitable, investments anyway.

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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: D4s advice needed

    BTW - Jorgen, you shoot JPEG only to maximize throughput, right? I've always shot Raw+Jpeg but switched off Raw on my D700 at the Frisbee competition in August - massive difference at 8 fps.

    Side note - if I switch off raw on my new little Lumix GM5 and shoot at 8 fps then it overheats the sensor and shuts down before buffer is full - about 60 frames. Size and compromise go hand in hand.
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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: D4s advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars View Post
    BTW - Jorgen, you shoot JPEG only to maximize throughput, right? I've always shot Raw+Jpeg but switched off Raw on my D700 at the Frisbee competition in August - massive difference at 8 fps.

    Side note - if I switch off raw on my new little Lumix GM5 and shoot at 8 fps then it overheats the sensor and shuts down before buffer is full - about 60 frames. Size and compromise go hand in hand.
    I shoot RAW only. I often shoot under difficult lighting conditions, and need all the leeway I can get, like with the jetskiers where the skier is sometimes 2 stops underexposed, while the background is a stop or more overexposed. Plus, my lenses are sometimes too short, and jpeg compressions sometimes kills the details I need when cropping and enlarging the part of the photo that I need.

    If I were shooting jpeg only, I wouldn't have a buffer problem at all.

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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: D4s advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    I shoot RAW only. I often shoot under difficult lighting conditions, and need all the leeway I can get, like with the jetskiers where the skier is sometimes 2 stops underexposed, while the background is a stop or more overexposed. Plus, my lenses are sometimes too short, and jpeg compressions sometimes kills the details I need when cropping and enlarging the part of the photo that I need.

    If I were shooting jpeg only, I wouldn't have a buffer problem at all.
    What, you're not a slide film shooter? don't like the fear of not nailing each exposure? Totally understandable.

    But maybe, just maybe you should (once again) consider not shooting raw in rare occasions that demand more buffer than DR. Just a thought, which I'm sure you have had from time to time.
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    Re: D4s advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars View Post
    What, you're not a slide film shooter? don't like the fear of not nailing each exposure? Totally understandable.

    But maybe, just maybe you should (once again) consider not shooting raw in rare occasions that demand more buffer than DR. Just a thought, which I'm sure you have had from time to time.
    The last time I shot jpeg with a DSLR was around ten years ago, when a few thousand people, some in yellow, some i sky blue and the rest in red, white and blue t-shirts, marched across a large, new motorway bridge over the river in Bangkok, a huge suspension bridge with 4 towers, a few weeks before the opening. It was a grand occasion and can never be repeated. The designer of the bridge is a friend of mine. The sun was shining from a perfect blue sky, and I shot the whole event at 3000 Kelvin
    Things I sell: https://www.shutterstock.com/g/epixx?language=en
    Thanks 1 Member(s) thanked for this post

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