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  • Six days, a tight brief & a new format: shooting a global campaign with Scott Woodward & the Nikon D7500


    A few weeks ago, we announced the all-new Nikon D7500, a nimble and fully connected camera that offers the same image quality as the D500, our flagship DX-format DSLR. Singapore-based photographer, Scott A. Woodward, was tasked with creating the images for the D7500’s advertising campaign, but the story behind this starts way back in 2016, long before the camera was announced.

    I have worked with Nikon Singapore for many years. The first work I did with Nikon in the region was in 2004, and I’ve been a Nikon Singapore Ambassador since 2009 including projects like I AM EYES OF NIKON, which showcased Nikon’s family of NIKKOR lenses in BaliMongolia and Australia. My team and I also shot the regional launch campaign in Bhutan for the D4s, but the D7500 was my first time working with Nikon on a global advertising campaign.


    Pro photography, photographer, Scott Woodward in Routeburn Canyon at Mount Aspiring National Park, north of Queenstown, New Zealand
    Scott Woodward in Routeburn Canyon at Mount Aspiring National Park, north of Queenstown, New Zealand.


    “It was a real honour,” said Scott, who was tapped to be the photographer for the campaign in November of 2016. “Nikon doesn’t launch that many cameras each year. As a photographer who has shot exclusively with Nikon for my entire career, to have the chance to represent the brand and create imagery to tell that story, what photographer wouldn’t be honoured to do that?


    Why New Zealand?


    Product launches are a lot different from editorial or advertising shoots, which I’m more accustomed to. For a product launch, it’s not enough for a photo to be beautiful or interesting, it also needs to showcase one or more unique features and capabilities of the camera.


    When Nikon is developing these cameras, they do a lot of research into how photographers will use it, and what their needs are. They then develop features around that understanding. Therefore, part of the brief was an extensive shot list designed to showcase each of the camera’s features. For example, the camera has a tilt screen, which allows you to more easily take photos at awkward angles. This was one of my favourite features of the D7500. To illustrate this, one of the photos on the shoot list was a pair of feet walking through a river.


    Red walking shoe on rock in running water, captured by Scott Woodward using a Nikon D7500
    Shots like the above allow Nikon to show photographers how different features of the camera function before they purchase it. NIKON D7500 + AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24MM F/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED | f/8 | 16mm | 1/5s | ISO 100 © Scott Woodward


    I knew the biggest challenge, for me and my team, would be to find a way to deliver on such a specific brief. Thinking through all the requirements of the shoot, I knew New Zealand was the perfect location.


    Woman in pink jumper running through green forest, capturing by Scott Woodward using a Nikon D7500
    The D7500 is capable of shooting 8 frames per second and has a versatile 51-point AF system that allows photographers to focus on erratically moving and low-contrast subjects. Scott took this photo to illustrate the speed and focusing capabilities of the camera. NIKON D7500 + AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR | f/10 | 20mm | 1/30s | ISO 200 © Scott Woodward


    Firstly, we wanted to capture both urban and natural scenes, and New Zealand is a place you can do that. It has both cities and unbelievable scenery, from mountains and rivers, to lakes, forests and the ocean.


    Urban landscape captured by Scott Woodward using Nikon D7500
    Not just for the wilderness! The D7500 is great for capturing urban landscapes as well, an New Zealand is the perfect place to capture both. NIKON D7500 + AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR | f/8 | 16mm | 1/1250s | ISO 200 © Scott Woodward


    New Zealand is a breath-taking country, but it also has fantastic light. Where I live in Singapore, we are near the equator and the light is very harsh. It is directly overhead, meaning the golden hours are short. New Zealand has long, drawn out golden hours with fantastic sunrises and sunsets. Since we only had six days to capture all the images and footage we needed, being able to count on good light was essential.


    Woman on wooden quay, captured by Scott Woodward using a Nikon D7500
    New Zealand has great light, enabling Scott to maximise each day of the shoot. Scott took the photo to demonstrate the camera’s built-in creative functions, like multiple exposures. NIKON D7500 + AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR | f/5.6 | 100mm | 1/250s | ISO 100© Scott Woodward


    Planning for success

    We spent about two months planning the trip. This was not a ‘show up and see what you get’ expedition, we had a tightly run 12 day schedule which included two travel days, six shoot days and four days for planning and location scouting. ­

    One of my favourite shoots was on the first day. We rose at 4:00am and set off for a mountain top where we intended to photograph the sunrise. We visited this mountain when we were scouting locations, so we knew where and when the sun would rise, and where we would position our model, but the drive was long – a bit longer than we had planned for.

    As we drove up the mountain, the sun started to rise, and it was beautiful. Ridiculously beautiful. It was probably the best sunrise of the entire trip. I was sat next to my producer in the car, and my assistant was in the back seat, and we were all freaking out and shouting because we thought we might miss it. When we reached the top of the mountain, the producer, the crew, the model and I were scrambling to get the equipment and everything out of the car. We just barely made it, but I think we got the perfect photograph. It was stressful, but it ended up being a lot of fun. It set the pace for the rest of the trip.


    Careful planning meant that Scott and his team knew exactly where to position the camera, and each shot that they wanted to achieve.


    Man silhouetted against red evening sky on top of rock, captured by Scott Woodward using a Nikon D7500
    The D7500 has a wide ISO range, from 100 to 51,200 (expandable to ISO 1,640,000) so you can achieve sharper low-light images with minimal noise. Scott and team were determined to get the perfect sunrise shot to illustrate this feature. NIKON D7500 + AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR | f/4.8 | 50mm | 1/15s | ISO 400 © Scott Woodward


    Favourite moments


    Another favourite experience from the trip was the canyoning shoot. If you don’t know what that is, it’s traveling down a canyon using rope work, technical climbing, swimming and much more. The water was 6 degrees Celsius, and I was in a full wetsuit. We had four prototype D7500s from Japan, which were in waterproof bags. It goes without saying that you’re not allowed to lose or break the prototypes, so this scenario made me very nervous.


    At one point, I was photographing one of the models jumping repeatedly from a waterfall. I had abseiled down into the canyon with my entire crew. As I’m shooting, lost in trying to capture the perfect moment, I stepped forward, straight into a deep pool of water. I was in over my head, fully submerged, but I managed to hold the camera up over me, just narrowly saving it from certain ruin. It was a stressful shoot again, but I think the results were amazing and it was a lot of fun.


    Scott and team abseiling
    Scott, seen here abseiling with his team, had never been canyoning before, but said it was “really exciting”. The resulting shots showcase the D7500’s 8fps continuous shooting for approximately 50 RAW images.


    Scott Woodward cannoning
    Scott took the photo to demonstrate the camera’s 8 frames a second continuous shooting capabilities. NIKON D7500 + AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR | f/5.6 | 70mm | 1/640s | ISO 100 © Scott Woodward


    All-in all, it was a tremendous experience. Both my crew and I had a fantastic time and we’re really proud of the results.


    Releif at the end of the shoot: Scott Woodward & his team!
    A sigh of relief! Selfie at the end of the shoot: Scott Woodward & his team!


    4K Video

    Did we mention that the D7500 also shoots 4k video? See more of Scott’s journey in this film “IN SEARCH OF WONDER” shot exclusively on the D7500.



    What’s in Scott’s Kitbag?


    Any questions about Scott’s expereince? Feel free to drop them in the comments below. You can see more of Scott’s work on his website, or  follow him on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.


    Scott A. Woodward. taken in Jimi Langtso Lake, Bhutan during on assignment for Nikon D4S shoot.
    Scott A. Woodward in Jimi Langtso Lake, Bhutan on assignment for Nikon D4S shoot.