Steel Wool Light Painting Can Be Bad For Your Lens

Bank Shot

One of the best ways to make interesting light painting is to get a piece of steel wool on a string and spin it around on a long exposure (see tutorial here).

While we always warn folks to be cautious and wear goggles and long sleeves while spinning a piece of burning metal we never actually talked about camera safety.

Photographer Jon Beard learned that the lens needs to be protected as well the hard way. One of the sparks from the spinning wool hit his $2,000 Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G glass and stuck on the front element. Hit the jump for more details and a lens close up. [Read more…]

Nasty In Vegas (A Post-PMA Post)

Nasty In Vegas (A Post-PMA Post)

Having the opportunity to visit the industry at PMA and CES this year was rad, but what was even radder was the chance to meet and have fun with a few of my personal industry heroes, Zeke of Nice Photo Mag, Matt of Nasty Clamps and James of Orbis. We spent some time talking gear and the industry but having spent too much time confined in the show rooms, Zeke and I need some venting. We took a Nasty Clamp a Canon s100 and an strobe and roamed the strip. Having limited gear, we wanted to see what we can come up with.

What started as a fun (yet cold) evening ended with security kicking us out of the boardwalk for taking professional photographs, but I am getting ahead of myself. [Read more…]

Use a DIY Super Clamp For Shooting in Confined Spaces

Use a DIY Super Clamp For Shooting in Confined Spaces

If you ever had to shoot in a confined space you know that getting your light in the place can be challenging .Limited space, cabinets and shelves all join hands in eliminating good lighting placements.

Photographer Allen Mowery put together a DIY Super Clamp that allows mounting your strobe on almost every semi-open door or shelf.

We have featured two similar products before, a DIY Clamp and the Nasty Clamps, each with its own merits. This design uses a controllable pressure clamp which I can see useful when the need to mount larger weights rises.

Here is a video describing the use of the clamp, followed by a link to the DIY guide on Allen’s blog. [Read more…]

Your Complete Guide For Photographing Maya In The Year Of Apocalypse

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve almost certainly heard that the ancient Maya long-count calendar rolls over in December this year. Along with spurring the release of a frenzy of apocalyptic books, this event is also helping spawn renewed tourist interest in Maya ruins. Not to miss out on the opportunity (and free publicity), Mesoamerican communities are hosting a number of special events to celebrate the historic occasion. And governments in what was once the Maya realm have funded a new wave of restoration projects at ruin sites.


So regardless of whether your driving interest is culture or history, art or archaeology, you may well be considering (if not yet planning) a photography trip to the Maya realm. If this is the case for you, please allow me to pass along a few pointers based on my experiences in the area. [Read more…]

Light Painting Is All About Cute Girls Throwing Beads

If you thought that the physics behind light painting involves photon accumulation, advanced sensor technology and high end buffer management, you have it all wrong.

New Life

The truth of the thing, as Destin explains, is that light painting is done by cute girls throwing beads at boxes. OK, it does not, but Destin and daughter (and Wes Whaley) do a terrific job and explaining all this stuff in a fun and super easy to understand way. (Plus you get to see some of the most unique pregnancy photoshoots ever). Hit the jump to see the full video. [Read more…]

Object Of Desire – 10.5mm Lens Cap

Having lost his Nikon 10.5mm lens cap, photographer Stu Carlson used the bottom end of a Dr. pepper bottle to cap his lens.

“The lens cap disappeared and I hate to have my lens unprotected.  So I cut off the end of a Dr. Pepper bottle to use till I could order the right lens cap for it.  Quite by accident I had picked a perfect fit for this lens and since a replacement cap is not cheap and this is and it works and fits so well, I have not bothered to order the replacement cap.

Object Of Desire - 10.5mm Lens Cap

While the bottle seems to provide some nice protection, I doubt that the 10.5mm tastes as good as the original content of the bottle. [Read more…]

China, Photography, Innovation And Us

China, Photography, Innovation And Us

A few days ago Jaron Schneider posted an interesting piece over at F stoppers projecting a pretty poor future for the American lighting industry. It’s a very interesting read and I encourage you to head over and check it out.

I am not going to repeat the entire post here, but his main point is that the industry has cut costs by moving manufacturing over to China. After moving manufacturing, the industry then moved the engineering overseas. In the end of this process, China no longer needs American brands to produce good lighting gear, and American lighting companies have found  themselves fighting their own creations. Jaron ends the post with the sad prediction that “there is no way out of this cycle of depression for most US companies.

Speaking as a small manufacturer , I think that while the points that Jaron raises are valid, they are only a small part of a bigger picture that’s not completely without hope. Here are some of the more encouraging points that come to mind. [Read more…]

[video] Build A Super Long TTL Cord Using Ethernet Cables

A while back we posted a guide that shows how to build a TTL cord extender using Cat 5e Ethernet cables and plugs.

YouTube member Matthewrichey made a short video describing the process which is worth checking out.

If you are more proficient with a credit card than a cable RJ45 plug crimper you can get a pretty long (10m) TTL cord for about $36 at your friendly online book store.

If any of you folks out there had a try, I would love to hear how long you got your cable before commands to the strobe stopped working.

Lastly, if you wondered why you would need a long TTL cord, check out Syl Areana’s super smart way of using a Canon TTL master strobe inside a softbox to control other Canon strobes OR David Hobby’s Strobe on a Rope self-assist way of off camera flashing.

[How to make a adjustable flash sync cord with cat5 cable via cheesycam] [Read more…]

Shooting The Three Ladies

It is not often that I see a picture and get my eye wet with nostalgia. However this one from David Sittig hit a soft spot for me (click here for lightbox view). Having a Kiev 88, a Seagull 4A and a Minolta SRT 101 in the same shot should be good enough on any given day, but David made the extra step of making it a TTV (Through The Viewfinder) photograph featuring the Minolta and Seagull in the Kiev’s viewfinder.(Final image, just in case you care for this kind of thing, was taken with a D90)

I asked David to share the process of taking this image with DIYP readers and much to my delight he said yes:

My three ladies [Read more…]