DIY Rugged Portable Strip Light

DIY Rugged Portable Strip Light

We have had our share of DIY strip lights over the years, but I feel that we never got the right mixture of stability, great light and parts availability.

One was too cardbordy, another with rare rail and a third was a bit of a dare. I think I now finally found the build I like most.

David from Go Light Your World came up with a simple build based on White Vinyl Gutter Downspout and some 3M reflective tape.

The entire construction is held in place with a piece of ruler attaching to an off the shelf swivel. If you want to see how to build one yourself, head over to David’s Light Saber post. [Read more…]

Shooting An Ode To While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Shooting An Ode To While My Guitar Gently Weeps

In 2006 the Beatles released a new album – Love. It was pretty weird considering John was long dead, but after some googlling I realized that it was a new reworked version of some of the songs made by the band’s original producer, Sir George Martin. It was based on the bands already exiting recordings, demo tracks and bits that never made it to any of their prior albums.

One of the songs (track #22) is an acoustic version of While my guitar gently weeps, written by George Harrison, where Eric Clapton joins the band (AFAIK the only time where anyone ever joined a recording by the Beatles). For me this song is even better than the original track (please no flame wars on this :). If you know the story of Harrison, Clapton and Patti Boyd you know how touching it is to hear those two guitar legends play together.

Back to now, I have 18 versions of this song. It is just one of these songs that everybody loves playing. I love it too. This is why I wanted to create an image for this song based on the immortal line “I look at the world and I notice it’s turning While my guitar gently weeps”.

The general idea was to shoot a Star Trail photograph with a guitar player in the foreground of the frame. This idea has been bouncing in my head till a sketch was entered into my sketch book. Well, it stayed in the book for a while till my exams were over, and then it was time to play. [Read more…]

Philosophy Friday: Color Perception

While this is not 100% related to DIY, it is something that I had given quite a lot of thought to over the years.

Philosophy Friday: Color Perception

I guess this is one of those “big” questions. How do we actually know that our internal feelings and perceptions match the feelings and perceptions of those we share ideas with. Particularly, how do we know that color is perceived similarly by different people. The short answer is that we don’t. Vsauce makes a great presentation of this idea. [Read more…]

Watching The Exposure Cycle In Slow Mo Reveals Some Impressive Engineering

Watching a camera shutter go in slow motion is both educating and amazing. The exposure cycle is well known:

  1. Mirror goes up
  2. front curtain moves down, exposing the CCD
  3. back curtain slides down blocking the CCD from further exposure
  4. front curtain moves back into upwards “ready” position
  5. mirror goes back down.

Actually there is a 1.5 step where the back curtain moves up, getting ready to go down later, but this step is hidden from us as it happens behind the (still closed) front curtain.

This cycle can go as fast as 1/8000 of a second on some of the more professional camera bodies.

Watch Your Camera Shutter In Slow Motion

I thought it would be fun to watch different cameras go at the shutter sequence in slow mo. Note that some of the clips were not taken with a pro camera but rather with the $450 Nikon V1. Personally I was surprised at the backlash the mirror goes through on the rerun step.

[Read more…]

Quick Tip: Using Photoshop Check Layers For Better Retouching

Here is a useful idea, using Photoshop’s adjustment layers for quickening and improving retouching.

Quick Tip: Using Photoshop Check Layers For Better Retouching

While usually adjustment layers are used for… how should I put it… adjusting, Calvin Hollywood shows a different way of using them. Rather than use adjustments layers to tweak the photo, he uses them as temporary ‘check layers’. Those layers are actually your ordinary adjustment layers, but taken to extreme to reveal otherwise hard to find flaws in retouching. [Read more…]

Create Smooth Shadows With A Reflect’O’Cone

A few days ago we shared a post about how to surgically open a strobe and bare-bulb its guts (and also explained why it should or should not be done).

Reader Janne Kaakinen shared an interesting device that will get as good results as any bare bulb, while minimizing the sacrificial light that the device actually absorbs as part of the diffusion action.

Best of all, it does not require you to open a strobe and perform a capacitor shocking operation.

Create Smooth Shadows With A Reflect'O'Cone

It was made with 4 small plastic parts (scavenged from a broken umbrella, but I guess wooden skewers would work just as nicely – just watch for the sharp tips), and some mirror contact paper.

He named it The Reflect’O’Cone, and compared it to an Omnibounce. [Read more…]

Taking Pictures On The Freezing Planet Of Hoth

When I saw Vesa Lehtimäki‘s photos depicting the life on the freezing planet of Hoth I was immediately drawn to it. Partly because I am a Star Wars fan boy and partly because they looked so darn good that I had to learn more about how they were taken.

The Derelict

I mean, just swap those little plastic characters with people and you could actually believe that this series is photojournalism at its best.

I contacted Vesa and asked him a bit about the process, the setups and the inspiration for the series. The answers I got were a solid proof that inspiration and motivation trump gear and budget. [Read more…]

A Striking Timelapse From One Of The Darkest Places On Earth

While traveling to Namibia is long and expensive it pays off in glorious nightscapes. The dry air and atmosphere conditions in Namibia earned it one of the dark sky reserve in 2012.

A Striking Timelapse From One Of The Darkest Places On Earth

So it is not surprising that Namibia can produce some of the most beautiful night-time time lapses.

Namibian Nights is the work of Marsel van Oosten – a photographer and a tour guide from Amsterdam. It showcase some of the most popular sites in Namibia, like the quiver trees and the misty trees in Deadvlei. [Read more…]