Armin Ausejo Photography Wed, 05 Aug 2015 06:08:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Formula DRIFT Seattle 2015 Wed, 05 Aug 2015 06:08:43 +0000 Formula DRIFT weekend at Evergreen Speedway is one of my favorite weekends of the year. Our coverage of this year’s event on is truly exceptional, but I wanted to share my own personal favorite photos here. I also rented the new Nikon 300mm f/4 PF VR lens for the weekend, which performed even better than I was expecting. Very light weight, but incredibly sharp, I’m definitely considering adding it to my collection of lenses. Most of my photos during the weekend were taken with this lens, but I also brought along my Sigma 35mm f/1.4 ART and Nikon 85mm f/1.4G as well. Here are links to all of my photos for both days:

Friday | Saturday

And my selection of favorites, ranging from tight freeze frames, 1/20 – 1/30 sec slow pans, and more pits and behind-the-scenes shots than I’ve taken in the past:

Smoke break while working on Chris Forsberg's 370Z

Warming up Forrest Wang's motor

Ken Gushi taking advice from his crew

Conrad Grunewald strapping up his helmet

The Grid in the Hot Pits

Low and not-so slow

Slow Rolling

Fredric Aasbo's look of determination

Charles Ng fill the track with smoke

Ryan Tuerck at full lock through the power alley

Conrad Grunewald three-wheeling

Matt Field at 1/30 sec

Hiro Sumida hitting the wall hard

Ken Gushi at 1/30 sec

Cameron Moore vs. Ian Fournier

Daigo Saito smoking out Charles Ng

Mad Mike providing a smoke show

Chris Forsberg maintaining proximity to Alec Hohnadell

Fredric Aasbo showing why he belongs at the top of the podium

Matt Coffman trying to get away

Hankook GirlsAftermath of the Tyler McQuarrie/Justin Pawlak incident

Ryan Tuerck with the steering angle

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Lee’s Ducati 1299 Panigale S Mon, 11 May 2015 02:56:08 +0000 My friend Lee picked up a new Ducati motorcycle, but when he contacted me to take some shots of it, I wasn’t prepared for the awesomeness that I would soon behold. I’m admittedly Jon Snow when it comes to motorcycles (as in, “You know nothing, Jon Snow”), so learning all the details about the bike completely blew me away. We spent a couple hours taking some photos on the busiest gravel road in Seattle city limits with his friend Zach and his KTM motorcycle, who helped contribute ideas for shoot as well. It also gave me the opportunity to break in my newly purchased Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G. Lee has a few mods to add to the bike in the coming months, so we’re definitely going to shoot again for some updated photos. Until then, here’s a link to all of the photos:

And a few of my personal favorites:

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The Quad 2015 Sun, 22 Mar 2015 19:13:05 +0000 It’s become a yearly tradition for me to go to the University of Washington’s Quad and take photos of the cherry blossoms just as Spring starts. Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t been the greatest lately, so my original plans to go as soon as they hit full bloom fell through. A week later, I finally made it out to UW at sunrise, but the cherry blossoms were already starting to fade away. Nevertheless, I was still able to get some great photos. This was actually the first time I went out without a single Nikkor lens: all photos were taken with either my Sigma 35mm f/1.4 ART, Tokina 17mm f/3.5, or the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX that I rented to test out. Here is a link to all 20 photos:

And of course a few of my personal favorites:

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2014 Year in Review Tue, 23 Dec 2014 03:20:30 +0000 What a year, 2014 was! I may not have taken as many photos as I had in previous years, but I’d say the quality is up there amongst the best in recent memory. Rather than taking photos of anything and everything, I ended up being a bit more selective for the most part this year, and really took my time. I also spent a good amount of time teaching and tutoring, which was a great experience. Here’s a look back at what made 2014 so great.

Just like last year, I’ve separated the year in two pages, with January to June on the first page and July to December on the second page. You can also see all of the photos I’ve compiled for this review here:


2014 started off with a bang, watching some fireworks at the Space Needle and starting off my mother’s food calendar, which she was already planning to give away as her Christmas gifts later in the year. I also had a spectacular shoot with James Craig’s S14, which was originally shot for Modified Magazine but eventually made it over to NWMotiv after Modified closed its doors.


Go Hawks! My beloved Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl, and I was happy to not just document the celebration at our favorite sports bar, but also join in the victory parade in the freezing cold temperatures. There was also more contributions to the food calendar taken this month.


Spring was back after a cold winter, and this time I made it a point to get to The Quad at the University of Washington bright and early to avoid the crowds. I also went on a nice weekend getaway to Cannon Beach and visited The Goonies house in Astoria.



With the weather slowly improving, April ended up being a very eventful month for photos. I started giving my first photo lessons of the year and had two back to back NWMotiv events with HondaFestNW and Nissan Fest.


More photo lessons with some street photography around Pike Place Market was the main highlight of May. It really ended up being the calm before the storm heading into Seattle’s summer months.


So much for summer: June overall was decent until the weekend of Forum Fest for NWMotiv (of course), where we once again had a crazy mix of sun and monsoon rains. It made for great photos even though many people couldn’t deal with the weather.

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Nikon D810 Review Sun, 05 Oct 2014 18:49:22 +0000 Four years ago, I made the switch to full frame, upgrading from my trusty Nikon D300 to the Nikon D700. By the time I made the switch, the D700 was already available for  2 1/2 years, so its reputation and capabilities were already well-established. Full frame was like night and day after coming from a cropped sensor camera, and while some things definitely took some getting used to, it wasn’t long before the D700 became my rock solid companion for everything that I would shoot. However, as time went on, the 12 MP slowly began to be a bit of a limiting factor, especially when it came to commercial work. The Nikon D800 and D800E were released in 2012, and while the new 36 MP sensor was very attractive, it didn’t shoot fast enough to fully replace my D700 for my race track, action, and wedding needs. On top of that, my Macbook Pro at the time didn’t have enough RAM to really process such large files efficiently. Knowing that eventually I’d have to upgrade to something with more resolution soon, I made it a point to upgrade to a newer Macbook Pro late last year, and then I found myself waiting to see what Nikon would do to succeed the D700.

Enter the Nikon D810: with the faster processor and autofocus system from the mighty Nikon D4s, in one fell swoop Nikon “fixed” the things that stopped me from picking up the D800/E, and since my computer was now upgraded, I put in my pre-order as soon as I could. The camera then arrived in late July with some fanfare and celebration.


Behold the #Nikon #D810 is mine! #cameraporn #36MP #BAMF #Beethoven #OdeToJoy

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All joking aside, immediately I fell in love with this camera body. The autofocus is lightning quick and accurate. From my new Sigma 35mm f/1.4 ART to my old Nikon 50mm f/1.4D, the D810 nails the autofocus and rarely has to hunt, even in low light. Here’s one of my first photos with the D810, in mixed indoor lighting with the Sigma 35mm at f/2.5 and ISO 400:

The sharpness is definitely apparent right away, and I put it to the test even more with some family photos on my niece’s 16th birthday. I took this photo with my tried and true Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR2, which historically proves its sharpness no matter what body it’s on:

Both of the above were taken at ISO 400, which is definitely good, but the D810 introduced ISO 64 as its lowest base sensitivity. Fortunately, I was able to test it a bit with a 30-second night exposure, which did not display any of the white spot problems that prompted a recall of the first batches of D810s:

Friends and family photos are great and all, but I really wanted to see how well this camera would perform for actual work. The chance came soon enough as we ended up shooting photos for NWMotiv’s theKings series, which not only allowed me to test out the new ISO 64 in plenty of light, but also see how good this sensor truly is. Here’s a 100% crop as well as the full photo itself, shot with my Nikon 50mm f/1.4D at f/2:



The sharpness of this camera is quite amazing, especially given that this was taken at f/2. Here’s another 100% crop from a Lightroom screenshot, this time at f/8:


Impressive! The D810 also still performs great with my old Tokina 17mm f/3.5, which isn’t the sharpest lens toward the edges:

You can see more photos from this shoot in my EP3 Kings blog post. Soon thereafter, I was also able to try out some portraits using my Wescott IceLight, SB-700, and reflector during Alan and Krystal’s engagement photoshoot. The D810 showed off its dynamic range with the sunset photos, leaving the couple quite happy with the results:

While static, still shots such as these proved to be easy for the D810, how would it fare with motion and action shots? After all, the “slow” 4 fps of the D800/E is what prevented me from switching to that body previously, so I was definitely anxious to see how the claimed 5 fps with the new autofocus system would perform in a real-world environment. The test for this came soon enough with Dennis and Monica’s wedding, and the D810 once again lived up to its hype. The D810 nails the autofocus with the newlyweds walking toward me, and shows that the D810 and Sigma 35mm f/1.4 ART seem to be a lens-body match made in heaven:

Shooting a wedding is also a good time to test a camera body’s high ISO noise and dynamic range. You can see how mixed the lighting is on this photo, but I was able to recover a lot of detail that was either blown out or clipped in the dark areas. This is definitely a situation where the dynamic range of the D810 shines over my old D700:

As the wedding moved inside, I could definitely test the D810’s low light / high ISO capabilities. Overall, it’s definitely not as good as the big pro D3s/D4/D4s bodies that I’ve used, but it’s still very good, especially given that I’m able to work with 36 MP. ISO 800 here seems like it has no significant noise problems whatsoever:

You can see a little more noise at ISO 800 here with this action shot where I pushed the exposure a little higher in post, but it’s still quite good:

You can also still see plenty of sharpness and detail here at ISO 800 as well:

I didn’t have to push the camera into higher ISOs during this wedding, but nevertheless I’m quite happy with how well it performed. Together with my old D700 as a reliable second body, I definitely feel that I have an excellent wedding setup, and I’ll be anxious to try shooting with both bodies on the race track as well. I also haven’t had a chance to really test out the much-touted video capabilities of the D810, but I didn’t buy this camera for video anyway, so I’m not too worried about that at this point.

Overall, the D810 is rock solid and already performs like a champ. The ergonomics are excellent, the shutter is very quiet, and as you can see from the photos, the performance is exemplary. I have a feeling I’ll be keeping this camera body for a very long time, and while I might not always need 36 MP, it’s definitely good to know that I have it when necessary. I can’t wait to shoot some drifting with this new body, and I plan to test out the 1.2x crop mode that will get me up to 6 fps with a smaller 24 MP file. Until then, I’ll be enjoying everything that this camera body can do, and I definitely don’t regret jumping on this right away instead of waiting for the new Nikon D750.


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