Preparing for Desert Photography Travel

Preparing for Desert Photography Travel

One environment that I never tire of photographing is the deserts of the southwest United States. While the desert may look drab and gray during daylight hours during the golden and blue hour the desert transforms into a colorful and often surreal landscape. Mix in a little bad weather and you can capture some amazing landscape photos. Since the desert is an extreme environment I prepare for my shoots there with more scrutiny. Over the years my approach to desert photography preparations have bled into my general landscape photo shoot prep.

Here are 10 tips to prepare for your next adventure in the desert including 4 very important steps to ensure your safety: [Read more…]

Create An Impact Safe Bouncy Camera Using Sugru

A while back I bought my daughter a Vtech Kidizoom, trying to hook her up on photography. Looking back at the experience, I can say that she is doing pretty well.

On the bright side, she enjoys taking pictures and does a darn fine job too. Of course, being able to come down to daddy’s studio with flashes set up does not hurt her fun one bit.

On the “dark” side, the image quality sucks! We thought we could handle it and that the grainy look would be “fun” and “Lomo”y, but even she is a bit annoyed with the noise of the photographs when viewed large.

I came across this video that shows how you can impact-proof a camera using moldable plastic called Sugru. It’s kinda like plasticine, only it hardens as rubber, and can take quite an impact. Not sure why they used an ancient Sony Cybershot for the video, but even that old camera will get better results than your standard “kids” cam.

[Read more…]

How To Make A Snoot From A Coca-Cola Bottle

I guess that snoots are one of those things that you can make out of almost any substance. As a kid, I used to listed to Dennis Leary and he had a similar notion on bongs (you can listed to this very NSFW, rude and strong languaged track here).

Of course being the shy and straighter than ruler guy that I am I would not even know a bong if I saw one, but I would recognize a good snoot idea.

How To Make A Snoot From A Coca-Cola Bottle

If you’re asking, “a snoot, what is it good for”? check out Strobist’s Ultra-Hard Light post. [Read more…]

Your Top 5 Picks Of 2011

2011 was a great year. It is always interesting to look back and see what were the favorite posts of the year. Both for learning what DIYP readers like, but also to catch some great posts if you’ve missed them during the year.

I bet there are a million ways to do this, from checking which post got the most likes or asking some social media tool. I kept it simple and just got the top 2011 most read posts from Analytics.

In reverse order, here are the top 5 tutorials of 2011: [Read more…]

Using A Seat Belt Pad As A Wind Blocking Deadcat

Chad Bredahl just sent in this smart tip about using a seat belt pad as a deadcat. (Deadcats protect microphones from wind, so if you are shooting video outdoors, it kills a lot of the wind noise).

Deadcats are not that expensive to begin with, but I guess auto part shops are easier to find if you are on a hurry and need a quick solution.

If you think this is crap, skip to 2:10 to see/hear the effect of the pad on wind noise, I was surprised on how nicely it works.

Thanks for the tip, Chad. [Read more…]

How To Build A Flash (With An Optical Slave)

How To Build An Optical Flash

Usually where danger is involved we simply say something like “please know what you’re doing” or “If you need to ask how this is done, this is not for you”, but for this particular piece, I thought a bigger warning should be in place. And I darn well mean it.

WARNING: This article involves dealing with High Voltage, up to 300v, which is stored in big capacitors. THIS VOLTAGE CAN KILL YOU. Never touch any of the components and always discharge the capacitor before working on it. Always keep in a well insulated project enclosure.


If you think this warning was not bold, big or strong enough, please read it again. (I do realize this may end up in a loop for folks who think this is as easy as a learn how to solder project. That’s the point)

This article will help you understand the basics of how a flash circuit is working, and the second part will show you how to build your own optical triggered portable flash rated at 50 watt/seconds! [Read more…]

Using Household Lights For Cinematic Lighting

A few days back we posted a video by The Underwater Realm that shows how to build and use an air cannon to create a false explosion.

It turns out that that though the folks at Realms are super busy making an Indie film, they manage to find the time to tip the indie film community (and photographers in general) with some awesome tips (see their undestructible LED strip for example).

This time around Eve Hazelton shares a great tutorial on how to use household lights to create some awesome lighting either for the big screen or for stills.

[Read more…]

Comparison Of DIY Macro Solutions

TeraPixel (Charly) is using a wide array of DIY solutions for his amazing macro photographs. Including reversed lenses (with electronics modified to allow metering and control), bellows and extension tubes, with new lenses like the Nikon 35mm/1.8, the Canon 50/1.8 and old ones like the Nikkor 35-70 and the Fujinon 50/1.4.

Charly recently compared four of the possible combinations of the lenses/setups, and reveled the big difference in quality they produce. (Click the photo for more info).

Macro Comparison [Read more…]