• Andrew JK Tan

Nikon D850 - FX Hand-Held experience at Hon Khoi Salt Fields


Photographing the Hon Khoi Salt Fields was an impromptu invitation from my fellow photographer friend. As usual I could never resist a photography invitation especially to a 1st time location and capturing 1st time photography subject matter.

It was a very short trip and we only spent two morning sessions photographing the activities. Getting to Nha Trang was relatively easy but we had to take 2 flights to reach Nha Trang (via Ho Chi Minh City).

I knew that we would be photographing Salt Field workers working which meant that subject motion would be the order of the day. Long exposures and very slow shutter speed was not my choice even though the workers were supposed to work between 4am where ambient light was very low to about 9am. We only had like 40 to 45 minutes from dawn to the point where the sun was high and the light was becoming too bright and harsh.

My strategy was to :

1. Shoot hand-held

2. Bracket appropriately at 9FPS setup to ensure the widest dynamic range when needed

3. Shoot in RAW

4. AF set to AF-C

5. Use a fast enough shutter-speed

Using a tripod would have been too slow due to the setup required. The "unfriendly" salt field environment and potential disruption to the Salt farming workers workflow were things that I wanted to avoid.

My FX Experience

1. The D850 superior response with a 9FPS setup was needed for my bracketing needs

2. Never had to worry about battery life , did not even bring my charger for this trip

3. Focusing was never an issue and accurate even at low light (dawn) levels

4. Highest ISO used was ISO1600 , shadow details recovery of RAW file were just superb

5. Hand-Holding my D850 allowed me to move & position fast without disrupting the workers

6. Overall IQ of the D850 was superb (see for yourself)

7. Noise & Details capture performance at ISO1600 was just superb (what noise ?)

8. Dynamic range of the D850 FX sensor allowed me to retrieve all the details & Colors cleanly

IMAGE HIGHLIGHTS (All images hand-held)

Environmental Portrait of a Salt Farm Worker

ISO100 , 1/400s , f6.3

50mm focal length

Click to enlarge

Wider view of a Salt Farming worker depositing her salt filled wicker baskets onto a Salt mound

ISO200 , 1/320s , f6.3

32mm focal length

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Collecting the harvested Salt / Filling their wicker baskets , ~ 10kg per basket

ISO200 , 1/400s , f6.3

31mm focal length

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Middle aged women make up 100% of the Salt Farming workers , they are the ones that fill up their baskets and carry the filled baskets all the way back to the salt mound where they will then deposit the salt onto the mound.

ISO200 , 1/640 , f8.0

52mm focal length

Click to enlarge

Workers start before dawn (as early as 4am) which of course makes for appealing images when the beautiful dawn colors appear

ISO1600 , 1/200s , f5.6

24mm focal length

Click to enlarge

Salt Farmers carrying their baskets filled with salt to be deposited onto a Salt Mound

ISO1600 , 1/160s , f7.1

24mm focal length

Click to enlarge

Salt Farmers carrying their baskets filled with salt to be deposited onto a Salt Mound

ISO1600 , 1/640s , f7.1

24mm focal length

Click to enlarge

Salt Farmers carrying their baskets filled with salt to be deposited onto a Salt Mound

ISO100 , 1/2500s , f6.3

24mm focal length

Click to enlarge

Salt Farmers carrying their baskets filled with salt to be deposited onto a Salt Mound

ISO100 , 1/3200s , f6.3

24mm focal length

Click to enlarge

Salt Farmers carrying their baskets filled with salt to be deposited onto a Salt Mound

ISO100 , 1/400s , f6.3

24mm focal length

Click to enlarge

Salt Farmers carrying their baskets filled with salt to be deposited onto a Salt Mound

ISO100 , 1/2000s , f7.1

24mm focal length

Click to enlarge

Salt Farmers deposting their salt load onto a Salt Mound

ISO100 , 1/2000s , f7.1

30mm focal length

Click to enlarge

Hope all of you viewing enjoyed the images shared. If you have any questions , feel free to drop me a message at andrewjktan@live.com

Till the next blog. Stay safe and enjoy your photography travels.

Cheers,

Andrew

#HonKhoi #SaltFields #NhaTrang #Vietnam #NikonD850 #FXExperience