Build An Amazing Super Versatile DIY Time Lapse Dolly

I was literally screaming with joy when Derek Mellott (you know Derek, he likes Barbeque and time lapse movies) showed me his latest Time Lapse Slider Dolly. Then, I literally fell from my chair when he suggested to share the build with DIYP readers.

Now, every once in a while we have a “dare” tutorial, one that will kill an entire month of weekends (and then some). Those are not for the faint of heart, but the results and satisfaction from completing one of those projects in unbelievable. (see the battlefield pinhole camera for example). It is the same with this project – it is not an easy task, it takes woodmenship, electronics know-how, and plenty of time, but the results are stunning.

(But hey, you know what, even if you just pick up one of the ideas in this post, it would rock. For example, building the collapsible rails idea to be used with the cheapo motor slider puller)

The movie comes first – this should get you motivated – then the instructions. Embrace yourselves.

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Use A Texture Projector to Cheaply Create Interesting Backgrounds

Use A Texture Projector to Cheaply Create Interesting BackgroundsInteresting subjects make for great photographs, so are interesting backgrounds. Photographer Karl Zemlin has a great DIY for projecting strobe light to create interesting backgrounds. (He also has a nifty DIY section on his site)

All you would need is a box, a few Fresnel lenses and some textured glass. The main idea is that you could get the texture of the glass projected on a seamless white (or any other smooth) background.

What makes this design really rock is the little tripod socket at the bottom, so you can simply place this behind your subject on a light stand and have a symmetrical background. [Read more...]

Credit Card iPhone Holder

Credit Card iPhone Table TripodHere is a little hack that will save you money, help you not to spend another dime and make it easy for you to view pictures on your iPhone during eating your cereals.

It is the Credit Card iPhone Holder. TADA! A while back I saw this great hack from Flickr user TheCase. It was about abusing a credit card and converting it into a mini tripod thingy. Think Glif, only flatter. [Read more...]

Automating Your Slider for About 20 Bucks

Automating Your Slider for About 20 BucksA while back we featured a nifty way to slide your camera while taking time lapse movies. At the core of that system there was a BBQ rotisserie motor. It is a very common item, but hell to carry on location.

If you own a slider rail or a dolly (or if you hacked one yourself, or if you own a skateboard), you can take the concept of sliding with you on location.

Norwegian photographer Joakim Fjeldli takes the concept of motorizing a slider, an Igus DryLin in his case, and adds portability. [Read more...]

DIY Compositon Frame

DiY Composition FrameThis one’s is just a fun little trick, that you may find useful when you don’t have your camera around but still want to play photographer, or better yet, director.

It’s a DIY 35mm Cropper. that you can use to frame or to wear around tour neck to prove yourself as a true photo geek.

You could buy a fancy version over at ETSY, which is all nice and dandy and copper made, but you can make one your own using an old slide frame.

First, get some old positive slide. Those are getting more and more scarce, so you better hurry. [Read more...]

Quick Tip: Make Your Strobe Shine With Toothpaste

Old & DirtyHere is a quick one, that I think has not been around the yet.

After using your strobe for a while, the plastic top will get oxidized a bit, maybe get some stains. You know, it just aint looking as it used to any more. The shine that your old relations used to have is gone.

Luckily there is a quick way to fix that. Using sulfuric acid toothpaste. It is an old trick used to clean beat up headlights, and it worked wonders for my strobe.

Here is how you do it in three quick steps. [Read more...]

Light Painting: People On Magical Fire

Thermodynamic EngineeringHere’s a light painting trick you can do on the cheap that yields a neat result. And besides…Who doesn’t want to look like a super hero?

If you aren’t familiar with Light Painting, check out the light painting primer or the tools of the trade posts here on the blog.

If you are familiar with Light Painting, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to pull an image with this technique.

Start by picking up a few of these electric glow sticks. You can find them in the outdoors section in department stores, or on Amazon right here. [Read more...]

Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques – A Book Review

MikaI’ll be the first to admit, Photoshop and I don’t get along as well as I wish we had. And it’s not because I’m a purist or anything. If possible, I’d try to get the good stuff SOOC (Strait Out Of Camera), but the truth is, almost all my pictures go through some level of retouching. Near the end of the post you can see how this portrait of Mika looked before applying some retouching. (Click for larger view)

Recently I got a copy of Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques (long name, I know). And While I don’t usually review books, let alone Photoshop books, the book helped me make a huge jump in my post-processing, I hope that by sharing my thoughts on it can help others too. [Read more...]

Use A Cheapo Inflatable Wheel To Create Wonderful Camera Tossing Pictures

cyclotronWe all love a good camera toss. Yes we do. What we don’t love is broken cameras. On the floor crushed to smithereens.

You can avoid the crush in several ways. My favorite being an hydraulic system pistons with two shock absorbing cushions on each direction. Of course that system is not invented yet, and even if it was, it would probably cost a small fortune. You know hydraulic pistons are sooooo expensive.

Lucky flickr user Robert Couse came up with a cheaper alternative. I, of course, strongly recommends against using it, unless you have an old canon lying around ;)

Enter Gaffers tape, cardboard and an inflatable device. The image is self explanatory. [Read more...]

Built Your Photography Travel Dream Case

Built Your Photography Travel Dream CaseI just love this project by Joris van den Heuvel. It is an exemplary project of following a larger skeleton for making just about any travel flight case.

Strobes, cameras and lenses can definitely fit in, but all the lighting modifiers would go in a different bag – a bass case :)

Most of my photo shoots take place in a local music venue. I have great fun shooting various metal bands, using two camera bodies, 4 fast lenses and a remote flash gun, with a replacement value of around €3500 nowadays. Carrying all that stuff into a place with no real safe place to put it is a considerable risk. And I’m not even talking about taking everything to the stage; I usually put my stuff in an area that’s off limits to visitors, and take only what I need to the stage. Still, putting it in bags, however sturdy they are, might not be safe enough to prevent someone stepping on it when I’m not around – Shrug….!

I used to be a performing musician for twelve years, and I kept my equipment and bass guitar in flightcases I built myself. Those cases have been around the country – even beyond, and held up extremely well. So it’s only logical to put my photo equipment in a flightcase as well. Luckily DSLRs, lenses and flashes aren’t as big and heavy as bass guitars, amplifiers and speaker cabinets smiley.

This article is just a showcase. Head over to Fuzzcratfs for a considerably more in-depth article on how to build a flightcase. You’ll see this case as an example project with much more technical details about the tools and materials used. [Read more...]