Category: Photography

50 Photos – Waterfall

50 Photos – Waterfall

This is a bit of a cheat to get started, on a recent trip to Aberdeen for a friends wedding we had a few hours spare and went for a walk at a nearby nature reserve. The highlight of the walk was a small waterfall at the top of the valley but unfortunately with limited time I didn’t have the tripod or filters so the images are not what they could have been.

20150411-0002Sony Alpha 77 16mm 1.o sec @ f/22 ISO100

50 Photo Projects

50 Photo Projects

I recently bought a “Magbook”, (a loose cross between a magazine & book) featuring 50 photo projects to attempt.

50 Photo Projects Magbook

So a very brief post now to introduce the project but I will try to update as I complete each one.

Arduino Camera Remote

Arduino Camera Remote

I’ve had Sony compact system and DSLR for a few years now and they have all featured Infrared remote receivers, I used the DSLRBot and NEXRemote apps for the iPhone to control them. This works well, someone else put the work in to develop the app and the best part is they are free, however if you want a timelapse or long exposure not only do you set up £1000 of camera for the shot you need £500 of iPhone sat next to it.

A couple of years ago I prototyped (basic breadboard) a simple button controlled remote to fire the shutter using the Arduino and an IR LED. This worked but seemed overkill compared to a £2.99 ebay remote. I’ve finally got round to pulling together various other projects, online tutorials and library’s for a full featured menu controlled (multi-camera? coming soon Ed. Probably not!) IR remote with shutter, delayed, timelapse and long exposure modes.

The Arduino is quite capable of performing these functions, the problem has been my time commitment to write the code, inparticular relating to the LCD display and menu function (wow thats overly complex) but hopefully this year I will get back to it and maybe even get it completed and assembled in a useful package.

Chinook Display Team PDA

Chinook Display Team PDA

Wednesday 13th May 2015 was the date set for the RAF Chinook display teams Public Display Approval (PDA) an assessment of the teams ability to complete the display programme for the season ahead. Thankfully the team are very open on Twitter and not only announced the date but also kept us informed of the timings so I was able to finish early and drive the few minutes to RAF Odiham to join the 5-6 other fans for an almost personal display. 

Its impressive to see a small aircraft thrown around the sky by a talented pilot but an aircraft the size of the Chinook defies belief.


With the tail open and clear sky visible through the fuselage Iove this image.

 This final shot was taken after they  completed the display and flew across the field above the few spectators waving as they passed.

Thanks guys and best of luck in 2015

All Backed Up

All Backed Up

As our library of photos and videos has out grown the internal drive on my iMac they have been moved onto 2 external 2TB Western Digital My Passport Studio drives (FireWire 800). This gives me 2 concerns firstly is a physical security issue, what if they get stolen or damaged? The second concern is a electronic or mechanical failure of the drive itself.
The first step is a local backup, for this I’ve used a couple of 2TB Seagate Goflex Desk (USB2) and Carbon Copy Cloner, this is set to incrementally backup the WD drives each night. This gives me 2 local copies and in the event of drive failure I should loose 1 day at the most. This doesn’t offer any kind of contingency for theft or fire so a third copy is needed.
The final step is a subscription to BackBlaze, this is an online backup system offering unlimited storage for just $5 per month. It works via a small app that you download and install, this uploads all files from the local drive plus any external drives connected at least once every 30 days. This is pretty slow initially (it’s been running 3 days and still has over 2TB to upload) but once the initial backup is complete it should be quicker. The restoration comes with 2 options either downloading, this is fine for individual files or small groups but for a catastrophic failure and restore they offer either a memory stick or hard drive postal service for an additional charge. The link above (and here!) is to for a refer a friend it will give you a month free if you use it.

Ultimately I’d like to replace the plethora of external drives with either a local or networked RAID array to offer a mirrored local backup but maintain the BackBlaze subscription for offsite backups.

Thule Perspektiv Backpack – First Impression

Thule Perspektiv Backpack – First Impression

With the arrival of the Alpha camera came the need to upgrade it’s storage, the old Lowepro Pro Runner 200 is a good bag and has withstood 4 years of abuse but proved just too small for the bigger body.

As with any purchase the internet became a wealth of information and advice and from the various reviews and opinions shared (yep, that’s what I’m doing now), as well as my own experience a few key features stood out.
– Rear / body side opening – this give 2 benefits, first it means that it can’t be opened whilst on your back, if travelling to destinations where security is an issue this could be very useful. Secondly, and personally more significantly, if you lay it on the ground to open it, the side against your back doesn’t get wet and muddy. A big benefit in the always sunny British isles.
– ‘Cloudburst’ Construction – The outer shell is made with a water repellent material and all the seams are taped for water resistance. On top of this it also features a separate pullout rain cover for further protection.
– ‘Safezone’ Technology – essentially a rigid shell and inner padding around the main compartment keep everything secure from knocks and drops.
Oh yes sand it’s huge, I didn’t realise quite how big until it arrived but with my basic kit it’s barely half full. Maybe I need to buy a few more lenses to help full it…

IMG_1933

NEX out – Alpha in

NEX out – Alpha in

About 5 years ago I made the leap to a digital interchangeable lens, it took much debate having had film SLR cameras in the past but moved to compacts with the digital revolution. The NEX range has many benefits, they share the same APS-C sensors as many DSLR models but without the mirror offering a much more compact form factor. The draw back I found with this design was that the smaller form factor left little room for the multitude of button and dials that, as my photography has developed, have become more important to give control over the camera and images taken.
20140806-202430-73470344Sony Alpha 77

So it was with again much consideration that I have abandoned the NEX series in favour of its big brother the Sony Alpha range and in particular the A77 model. This shares the same APS-C sensor size be it with a higher pixel count, beyond that just about everything else is different. New lens mount and new lenses, new hotshoe offering flashgun attachment and a size and weight that makes you know you are holding it. However the greatest benefit is the electronic viewfinder and the increased buttons and controls. These 2 things combined give far greater control over the settings and adjustments and more importantly my ability to see them.

Going Pro

Going Pro

Having visited many customers who now stock the GoPro camera range and spoken to friends who have various versions I decided that although great performers they are ugly units that lack the aesthetic values of many modern gadgets.
Well that was until this week when I caved to my gadget hoarding urges and bought a GoPro Hero3 Black Edition.
Having bought the unit with great confidence as to its versatility and expectations as to the various applications I could put it to use in. I hadn’t appreciated that the GoPro was in many ways the iPhone of its industry sucking you in to a world of proprietary accessories and mounts for every surface. LCD screen, extended battery, suction mount, tripod mount, handle bar mount and that is so far. Oh and the 4Gb memory card I had at home stored a massive 11minutes of video, so I’ll need a couple of bigger versions.

Now this could sound like I’m complaining about my latest acquisition. I’m not, it’s a great product. The video is stunning, the time lapse is simple and the images look great even if zoomed to produce those cool panolapse videos (I’ll talk about those some other time) and the appearance of the unit is even growing on me.

I confess I love it, I can think of so many times I’ll use it and so many cool video or time lapse I can create with it.

Watch this space for more reviews and some actions shots.