Project Directions

Woke up this morning to the sounds of rain, and a feeling of being sick. Bad combination for photoclub. The shoot this morning (a pumpkin patch) was cancelled and I was left with a lot of time on my hands.

I decided to finally embark on the light box project. I headed out to Michaels to get some foam board and white masking tape, and left the store without the tape (no white). I zipped to Canadian Tire and grabbed a couple clamp lights, and some bulbs. Then it was assembly time.

I didn’t really follow the directions that I originally read, and in retrospect I should have. There are a couple tips in there about the size, and cutouts for the light clamps. Those are easy to retrofit. Also, once I get some white tape, I can mask off the inside seams. The final one is that I need more light in it. It is a little dark. I may also try getting different bulbs. The ones I got are still quite yellow, and I had to set a custom white balance before shooting.

Here is another tip for would-be DIY’ers. When you cut foam board, make sure the knife you use is very sharp, otherwise the cut will not be smooth.

Here is my end result:

Not bad for a couple hours of time (shopping included).

So, being a rainy day, having a freshly made light box, and having a camera waiting to take some pictures, what is a photographer to do?

Read on to see the pics.

Of course it was after I got the pictures onto my computer I saw all the dust marks. I will fix that before my next shoot. For now I don’t feel like trying to edit those out.

The best part is that now I have a place to shoot when it isn’t so nice outside. This will be an insteresting creativity experiment too.

Ocean Sunrises

While in Nanaimo for Thanksgiving I happened to catch a wonderful sunrise. My mom had an amazing ocean view, and the sunrises can be spectacular. These shots were all taken within a few moments of one another. It always amazes me how quickly the light can change, and how that can affect a picture.

I wanted to take the pictures, but I was too lazy to go get my shoes and jacket on. It was quite nippy outside, and the deck was wet. Instead I stayed inside and shot through the glass. I can see a few artifacts of this (no polarizer either), but that is what I get for being lazy.

For this last shot I used the timer function to ensure I wasn’t in the shot.

Offloaded Erasing

:grr: Don’t you hate it when you format your camera’s card before realizing that the pics that were on it hadn’t been offloaded yet?

Don’t you also hate it when you realize this after you have already taken a bunch more pictures on the card forever permanently erasing the pictures in question?

I tried using Image Rescue 2 by Lexmark to recover what was on the card, but no luck. The pics are gone. I took enough pics to forever lose the accidentally erased ones.

Armour Wrong

Armour how I love thee. You have save my shins, knees, and elbows countless times while mountain biking.

Then I read about some camera armour on Gizmodo. My first reaction was cool, some weatherproofing for my camera. Then I followed the link to LetsGoDigital and read the following:

Camera Skins
Made offers gasketed polycarbonate LCD and viewfinder lenses that keep dust and fingerprints away while providing a shatterproof coverage. Each case is sized to be skin tight for the camera it protects, and allows the user to take photos and access all features, change batteries, memory cards, etc without removing the camera from the case. It is protection that never gets left behind.

Errm. No thanks, I will save my money. Adding extra gaskets, hatches, and doors to get at things like batteries and cards just increases the risk of something going wrong. I’d rather just have a weather proofing system.

There I just saved some big bucks today by not getting this nor the Zigview!

ZigView Solution

I love my camera a lot but I do miss the LCD preview of shots sometimes. Low-down shots, and overhead shots DSLR’s are a little finicky. My solution has always been to snap a few pics in the hopes that I will like one of them. With the LCD preview (and especially the swivel out LCD’s on many digi-cams), this is not a problem.

Well, ZigView has a solution to this. They have this gadget that snaps over the viewfinder and produces the LCD preview. I have read about two different models on Engadget (model 1 and model 2), and by all accounts it sounds like an interesting idea, but I definitely won’t be in the market for one.

My reasoning is simple. Most of my overhead shots, or low level shots, are impulsive, spur-of-the-moment shots. I couldn’t fathom this thing being attached to the camera permanently, so that means I would snap it on as needed, and this definitely doesn’t work for impulse shots. Also, how firmly attached is the ZigView? If it is firmly attached, then snapping it on an off is a problem, and if it is all loosey-goosey, why would I want it?

Another issue is in reality, is the tiny LCD going to be enough to give the user an accurate idea of exposure? That really is one benefit of an LCD on digital camera’s. The only way the ZigView could do that would be if it communicated with the camera. Not going to happen.

Admittedly, a comment I read somewhere said that the S2 version could be useful in some instances since it can be used remotely. The example this person gave (I can’t find where the comment was), was setting up a camera to watch a bird’s nest, and being able to take pictures using the remote. Interesting, but very niche.

Overall, I think this is interesting, but not too useful for me. If I were given one to review I would try to put it through it’s paces, but I certainly won’t be shelling out cash for one.

Next up, camera armour?

Eye Experience

I signed up for something else this week too. I enrolled in another course at Camosun that starts later this month. It is another photography course, but is not technical in nature. This course is titled Creative Photography: Developing Your Eye

Now that you know how to use your camera, how do you take great pictures? Taught by an acclaimed professional photographer, this course will teach you not only the fundamentals of light, space, and line, but also how to explore feeling, seeing, and thinking exceptional images. Optional weekly assignments will assist you to develop or enhance your personal style for whatever your photographic goals may be. This course is open to all levels of experience. Bring your camera and a desire to learn how to capture your world.

Sounds like it could be a very interesting course. I hop it works out better than the 100 Ways to Sell Your Photography course I took. Starts in September.

Snowbirds Intruded

Yesterday the Snowbirds were in town for a show for the Oak Bay Centennial. The day was very nice out, and I had high hopes to get some good shots. Last time they were here, I was extremely happy with my shots, and now I have a better camera.

The show started off with an RCMP Helicopter show. It was a little strange seeing a helicopter with a siren flying around. When that show ended, I expected to see the Snowbirds right away. Instead there was a very long pause of close to half an hour. Waiting in the hot sun was no fun, but the show was spectacular.

The show was off Willows Beach. We saw it was extremely crowded, and ended up at this small park next to the Oak Bay Marina. It was lovely. We camped out under this huge oak tree, picniced, and watched the planes. Quite a few times they flew right over us on their way to a stunt. Very cool.

Pics are here.

One odd thing though was some old lady that rudely intruded on our spot. We got there early enough that we were able to claim a bench. We had our things on it, and the nursing moms that were with us (3 of them) used the bench quite a bit. After nursing, one mom got up, and a couple minutes later this lady sat down in amongst our things. :wtf: Very rude, and very weird. If she had asked us to move some things it would not have been a problem, but to just sit down?

It was a great performance, and I had a great time yesterday. Maybe the next time they come to town Sprout will be old enough to appreciate the show 🙂 As with last show, I am extremely happy with the resulting pictures.

Pirates Bust

What a weekend. Hot is the word.

My mom came down on Friday to visit Sprout. This meant Sox and I got time for a date. We headed out to see Pirates of the Caribbean. Fun movie with good action and decent effects. Long though. It was very nice to sit in pretty confortable seats in the air conditioned theatre. When we stepped outside the theatre after the movie we were greeted with the pleasantly warm evening air. Still a little humid, but very soothing and pleasing.

Saturday night we headed out for dinner (with Sprout this time). 6 adults and 3 babes = 1 very fun time. Excellent food and good conversation. It was hard to leave but Mr Sprout was up past his bedtime and was getting more than a little cranky.

After returning home I had planned to head out to Luminara to take some pictures. I wasn’t realy feeling into it, and really just wanted to stay home instead. I forced myself to pack my gear and get out there. As soon as I got close to Beacon Hill park, I was regretting going. Traffic was bad, people were streaming out of the park, and I was hot, tired, and cranky. As I was preparing to turn around and go home, I spotted a parking spot. On a whim I took it and headed in. It was a bust. Too many people, no inspiration, and it definitely wasn’t as cool as I remembered it. I took a few shots but just wasn’t into it. Also, lots of others were there taking pics too, and many of them were using their flash. This caused my pics to look like crap. *sigh* it just wasn’t meant to be. I quickly packed up and headed home.

Tonight we have another BBQ, then tomorrow some family arrives for a few days. Next weekend we are away. Busy times 🙂

Midway Blur

Last night I finally did something I have wanted to do for a very long time. I went out for a night shoot to a fair. Buccaneer Days has a Midway complete with twirly rides, cotton candy, games of chance, and lights. Lots and lots lights. Fun.

I had to wait until it was pretty dark before I headed out shooting, but it was worth it. It was too light when I first left, so I headed down to a lookout and shot some pics of the harbour, and the cruise ships docked at Ogden Point.

Digital is the way to go for night photography though. Easy to see and correct for exposure mistakes.

The key is to try and imagine what you are trying to accomplish, and develop a plan to make that image. Some of the pictures I took were up to 10 second exposures. With time like this, you can easily miss out on chances to reshoot.

Do you want to stop the motion? Get a slight blur of the lights? Create arcs of light? Can you even achieve what you want with the equipment you have on hand?

The prize at the end of the shoot is the images you have created. Definitely a good investiment of time and effort.

Pics are here.