Author Archives: jimfc

Triggertrap Mobile Review

Triggertrap Mobile

Triggertrap Mobile for Android and IOS devices

Rarely does a camera accessory come along that is not only very affordable, but is also extremely flexible.  The Triggertrap Mobile is just such a device!  The Triggertrap Mobile is the brainchild of Mr. Photocritic, Haje Jan Kamps when he was developing the Full Triggertrap module which was funded by photographers via Kickstarter.  He came up with the idea of using mobile phones to perform some of the same functions of the full Triggertrap device and even added some that are unique to the mobile system.  In addition, as of December of 2012, he decided to make the IOS and Android apps entirely free! Continue reading »

Posted in DSLR, Review Tagged , , , , , |

Lightroom Dynamic Range with LR/Enfuse

Bok Tower

Bok Tower processed with LR/Enfuse

  HDR without using HDR software?

Well, not exactly. HDR is the abbreviation for High Dynamic Range images.  True HDR images are 32 bit, floating point files that are ultimately scaled back to ‘normal’ 8 bit images that can be displayed on a standard video monitor or printed on  printing paper.  The photographer takes a series of bracketed exposures and specialized software is required in order to ‘tone map’ the high dynamic range 32 bit file by a nearly pixel by pixel basis which can be somewhat controlled by the photographer.  However, tonemapped HDR images have garnered a reputation, whether deserved or not, of being overly saturated, over-the-top photos.  Sometimes these images are really cool, and sometimes they are just, well… over-the-top! Continue reading »

Posted in HDR, Review, technique Tagged , , , , |

DIY Panorama L Bracket

L Bracket

Do it Yourself L bracket for Panoramas

Shortly I will be leaving for a photo workshop in Outer Mongolia. When I first travel to a destination I have never been to before, I spend time online checking out images from other photographers in order to get some idea what to expect and to be able to plan ahead for the images I wish to capture. The first thing that occurred to me is the vast open spaces of the Gobi Desert and the Mongolian Steppes. In my mind’s eye, I pictured wide vast panoramas of the distant mountains and isolated gers (tents). In order to properly capture such images, I knew from my research I would need some kind of ‘L’ bracket and offset on my ball head. Continue reading »

Posted in DIY, DSLR Tagged , , , , , , |

HDR – Bad?

The Music Lesson

The Music Lesson by Johannes Vermeer

Since I have been shooting HDR (High Dynamic Range) images, I constantly hear and read some rather nasty comments against this technique. Trey Ratcliff told me he takes the attitude just to ignore them, but I wonder just what it is that these individuals find so distasteful? Yes, I have seen some really over-the-top HDR images, but I have also seen a lot of over-the-top non-HDR images. It would be a very big stretch to conclude that all photography is bad just because one particular image isn’t the best. However, there are those who apply that logic to HDR! Continue reading »

Posted in General Photography, technique Tagged , , , , , |

Lightworks

Lightworks Open Source

Video capability for professional level DSLR cameras is here to stay, so anyone wishing to get the most of that new camera should have some knowledge and ability to shoot and edit video. However, that means more expensive software such as Adobe Premiere, Apple’s Final Cut Pro or even Avid. Until now, that is.

Editshare has just released their Academy and Emmy award-winning professional-grade editor, Lightworks, into open source. That means it is free!!! Just a simple download! Lightworks is no slouch, having cut hundreds of films such as Pulp Fiction, The Departed, Centurion and Shutter Island. It includes a full feature set of editorial tools and is being used by many top Hollywood professional editors. It even has stereoscopic support and realtime effects including multiple secondary colour correctors. Lightworks has an advanced effects pipeline, utilizing the power of your GPU. And with support for up to 2K workflows with realtime effects, it is the most advanced editing application available. It even accepts Premiere plug-ins.

Head on over to LIGHTWORKS to download and try it out for yourself. Currently it is only available for Windows 32 and 64 bit systems, but support for Linux and Mac OSX is coming later in 2011.

Posted in DSLR, General Photography, Review, Video Tagged , , , , , , , |

Want to become a better photographer?

I have been fortunate to be able to spend some time and talk with some outstanding photographers on my podcast (The Fotobug), and although their approach and interests may differ, the one thing that they all have in common is the fact they all get out there and make the magic happen! I really encourage reading photo magazines and photography books, but the only way you are really going to improve is to go grab your camera and use it. The more you use your camera, the more comfortable you will feel with it and before you know it, the camera becomes an extension of yourself and you are going to find that you will be able to spend more time concentrating on the image you see in your viewfinder and less time fumbling with camera controls and worry about shutter speeds, aperture settings, etc.

I also encourage you to consider workshops and seminars in order to interact with other photographers to learn new techniques and to help keep up your inspiration. C’mon, what are you doing sitting there reading this blog? Get out there and make some great images!! (Don’t forget to share!).

Posted in General Photography, technique

Sintel Video

Blender.org Sintel

Sintel Poster

Although, strictly speaking, this post doesn’t have a lot to do with general photography, but if you are interested in DSLR video then I believe you will find this most interesting. I was quite moved by this video, especially considering the film was put together with open source programs (Blender.org) and volunteers. This is the same software I use for my podcast at http://fotobug.podbean.com.
The 15 minute movie can be downloaded (in several formats and sizes) at Sintel.org. I recommend you check it out and please let me know what you think! This is their 3rd film and if you would like to try your hand at computer animation, a free version of Blender is available at Blender.org. Yes, I did say FREE – it is an open source program available for the Mac, PC and Linux platforms.

Posted in DSLR, Photographers to inspire, Podcast, Video

Black Rapid Camera Straps

RS 7 Black Rapid strap

Frequently I have been stopped by other photographers and asked about – my camera strap? Yes – the strap! I purchased my first Black Rapid Camera Strap RS7 a few months ago after researching for a comfortable, practical camera strap, I decided on the Black Rapid. In fact, I liked it so much, I purchased a second for my other camera.
These straps are comfortable, quick to attach and remove and keep the camera at a comfortable position by your side. Yet, you can quickly pull the camera up into shooting position. I also find that the two RS7 straps work great, even though Black Rapid makes a dual strap.
Check them out – highly recommended!

Posted in General Photography, Review Tagged , , , |

Quick Tip – Dust to Dust!

Dust in your DSLR getting you down? Me too! I find dust especially a problem if you are using your DSLR cameras for video. Perhaps it is because a smaller portion of the sensor is being used, but I tend to see dust on video that I don’t see on the still images.

I keep the body cap on my camera when I’m traveling and not shooting. When I put a lens on, I generally toss the body cap and end lens cap back into my camera bag. How about you? Bad idea! That is a great way to pick up dust. When the body cap is placed back on the camera, there is a good possibility there is dust lurking on it just waiting to jump onto that sensor! Of course, using an air bulb to blow off the dust first is a good idea, but I also recommend taking the rear-lens cap and the body cap and join them together! Just a simple twist and it not only keeps them from bouncing around in your bag (vest, pocket, whatever!), but will help keep dust out of the inside of the caps!

Posted in DSLR, General Photography, technique, Video Tagged , , , , , , , , |

PluralEyes Coming to a PC near you!

Taping training videos

Video guy – yeah, that

If you make videos, or use your DSLR to make videos, and use a separate device to record your audio, unless you are editing with Final Cut Pro on a Mac, you could go crazy trying to sync up your video and audio. I’ve been jealous of the Mac video editors for a long time, as they had some magic software called PluralEyes that would do all the syncing work for them. Continue reading »

Posted in Review, technique, Video Tagged , , , , , |