Tag Archives: photographer

Pinewood Derby Car with Camera

Pinewood Derby 2015-15

Pinewood Derby 2015-14As a Cub Scout, I recall my one year on the Pinewood Derby circuit.  Sure – that season was compressed to a single evening in the cafeteria of my elementary school – but it was a heck of a lot of fun watching my car take 2nd in all three heats that it bounced down the wooden swooped track.

So, imagine my joy when my daughter announced that she had a morning of Pinewood Derby racing on the calendar.

Of course, we worked on her car.  It was pink.  And, as it turns out, the fastest “legal” car of the day.  But for this project – we wanted the fastest car of the day.

I was looking for a bit of track level video and thought it would be fun to bolt one of the Contours to a car as an experiment.   Thankfully, by simply weighing more than twice the allowed limit of 5 oz – the extra weight helped get the car out in front of the pack.  And with the wide angle lenses on most POV cameras – your car won’t need to be much faster – maybe only a couple of car lengths.

This design is essentially a basic wedge Pinewood Derby kit and a Contour camera.  The weights?  Well, where they’re located on the image above – I don’t think they really helped.  A simple quarter-twenty bolt attached the camera.  The spacers you see were only added to take up some of the bolt length – as it was a bit long.

As for the track footage – I cleared it with the event organizers, got a race number for the car so that it would be integrated into the real-time racing matrix (this allowed for footage from all 4 lanes and a mix of cars) – and simply let it go.  For most cars on this day, it was fast enough.  This version of the camera car only ran in the high 2.5’s.  Next year – I’ve got some ideas to see if I can get it a bit faster.

If you decide to try this – or something similar – let us know!

Pinewood Derby 2015-6

#25 Jerome Kersey

2014 SOOR - 200px-237For folks that read this blog regularly, you know that my assignments typically don’t have me rubbing elbows with public figure types.  But one of the organizations that I’ve had the opportunity to work with the past few years is Oregon Special Olympics (SOOR).  And as a near life-time Trail Blazers fan (there – I said it  Smile  ) – I think it’s great that the Blazers have a strong relationship with SOOR.

2014 SOOR - 200px-255

This last summer while I was at the Oregon Summer Games, former Trail Blazer Jerome Kersey was in attendance, spoke at the awards ceremony, and was on hand to pose for photos.

Last week, Jerome Kersey passed away suddenly from a blood clot at the age of 52.  Those who knew him well, speak much of his warmth and his infectious personality.  Those who played with him speak of his tenacity and hard work.  I didn’t know him personally, but2014 SOOR - 200px-256 one thing that impressed me in my very few short minutes with Jerome was his genuineness with everybody around him.  Not once did he seem distracted or if there was somewhere else he’d rather be.  Heck, I’m not even sure if he ever stopped smiling.

Prior to the ceremony, I was asked if I could get a photo of Jerome with the Olympic torch.  So, after the ceremony, I introduced myself and we tried to cross the fifty feet from the stage, down the steps, and to the torch for a photo or two.  And as he was surrounded by athletes and coaches – Jerome stopped for every hug, handshake, high five, and photo that he possibly could.  By the time we made it to the torch, it was quickly evident that we weren’t going to the get the photo we’d set out to make.   Just a quick bit of eye contact, a smile and small shrug, and we got the photo below.  A quick nod of thanks (as the crowd rushed in – we weren’t going to get our parting handshake) and Jerome got back to the hugs and autographs.  Looking back – I’m glad that we missed on the initial photo idea.  I’m pretty sure this one is much better.

2014 SOOR - 200px-257

Top Photos from 2014

Is it too late for a “2014 Best of” post?  Hopefully this one is only arriving “casually late”.  Smile

That said, regardless of your photography experience, I think it’s a good practice to go through your photos periodically and choose a few that you consider to be among the best.  The transition from December to January provides, if nothing else, a convenient marker.

So, in no particular order, here are a few from my 2014 archive.

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10 for 2014-1

This is arguably my best Milky Way image.  More details here.

10 for 2014-2

From a quick trip up to Mt St Helens – here’s an image of the edge of the crater that I’d posted over on the Facebook page.

10 for 2014-3

And there I was standing on the Morrison Bridge (trying to get an image for the Bite of Oregon) when the bridge went up.  I also posted a number of images from that gig over on the Camera 47 Facebook page.

10 for 2014-4

From the Harrisburg Harvest Festival and Tractor Pull.  More images from that afternoon can be found here.

10 for 2014-5

Who would have thought that fisheye lenses and historic bombers were a great combination?  More images of this B-17 can be found here.

10 for 2014-6

2014 was the year that I learned about the IR72 filter + X100s.  More details can be found here.

10 for 2014-7

Happened to be in San Francisco for business and brought the X100s along.  This is a panorama cobbled together from a series of handheld images.

10 for 2014-8

Could I really have an annual list of photos and not have a rodeo image?

10 for 2014-9

Or two?  More images from this year’s Philomath Frolic and Rodeo can be found here and here.  If you’re looking for more rodeo – check out the Exposure story.

10 for 2014-10

Or some hot air balloon photos?

10 for 2014-11

Just playing.  This photo can also be found over on my Exposure.co site.

10 for 2014-14

Had a chance to shoot some Polar Plunges for Oregon Special Olympics. The Portland event had a group of Super Plungers that ran once an hour for 24 hours into the very chilly Columbia River.  I posted a number of photos from my time with the Super Plungers over on the Camera 47 Facebook page.

10 for 2014-15

Just a bit of flooding here in Corvallis.

10 for 2014-16

More Viking! At the Bend Polar Plunge.  More images from my trip to Bend can be found here.

10 for 2014-17

The debut of Saddle Shop over the summer.  You can see more from this gig over at Exposure.co.

top 10-21

Was looking for a vintage-feeling portrait for this one that connected the student, his school, and sport.

top 10-22

At the county fair for a dance performance and happened to have the X100s + IR72 filter with me.  Really dug the architecture + sun + colors on this one.  I thought the combination provided an unexpected industrial feel.

dog in shadow-1

Our dog was waiting for a bit of beef jerky in some pretty strong light with shadow.

Christmas morning-1

Christmas morning sunrise over Fish Lake just outside Leavenworth, WA.  Not sure what created all of the sparkles speckles.  I’m guessing it was a really dirty filter.  Then, again, it was Christmas morning.

Leavenworth for Christmas

Leavenworth - pan out of focus - 2000pxAs it turns out, we had the chance to sneak out of town and spend the Christmas holiday up north near Leavenworth, WA – a logging-town-turn-Bavarian-village nestled in the North Cascades .  While we rented a cabin about 30 minutes from town on Fish Lake (near Wenatchee Lake), we made it into town a couple of times over the week.

Though there was a bit of snow on the ground – there hadn’t been snow in a while, making for clear roads (thankfully).

First – here’s a couple from Leavenworth:

pan 3 - 2000px

This is just a handheld panorama of downtown Leavenworth dressed up for Christmas.  That said – I’m a bit partial to the (purposefully) out-of-focus panorama at the top of this post.   Smile

Leavenworth and Fish Lake-1

On this one – I just liked the interplay of the lights and shadows.

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And now a few from Fish Lake.

pan 7 - 2000px

A spectacular sunrise was on the way.

Leavenworth and Fish Lake-2

After that bit of red from the above image faded – the whole scene faded to gray.  I’ll be honest, I was tempted to pack up and head inside for some hot coffee.  But I waited (with no plan – and, really, no idea why I was waiting).  Then this happened.  I can’t tell you about all of the sparkles… it might be dust from the neutral density filter?

Leavenworth and Fish Lake-3

Just for fun – here’s one of our dog while she waits for a bit of jerky.  The light inside the cabin happened to be pretty bright – creating some pretty hard shadows.  A bit of post brought those shadows entirely to black.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas photos-3I just wanted to take a few minutes away from the hustle, bustle, food, and wrapping to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!

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And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”  [Luke 2:8-14]

Round Up: The 2014 Big List of Holiday Photography Gift Lists

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve tried to gather up just about every photo-centric holiday gift list that I’ve found but if there’s a list you think should be added here – just let us know in the comments. 

So, without further delay and in no particular order – here’s The 2014 Big List of Holiday Photography Gift Lists!

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And, in case you missed it – our very own:

So, there you go – 23 holiday gift guides for your favorite photographer. Hope that helps!

My Pre-Thanksgiving Post

Yes, I’ve posted this before.  In fact, for a few of the earliest years of this blog, I posted this each Thanksgiving.  I almost consider it a public service announcement… Smile

Enjoy – and have a great Thanksgiving!

How to Carve a Thanksgiving Turkey.

2014 Holiday List of 40 Photography Gifts Under $100

holiday photos-21Somehow I missed this post last year – but hopefully I can make it up to you this year by doubling the list and making it not 20 items – but 40 great photography gifts.  I think it’s ambitious – but let’s give it a shot.

The rules are simple:  photography-centric gifts under $100 that I think are super useful or fun (or both) for the photographer on your Christmas list.

So, in no particular order – here it is – the 2014 Holiday List of 40 Photography Gifts Under $100:

  1. Triggertrap.  This tool triggers a camera by way of a smartphone.  Available for over 300 cameras and for both the Android and iOS systems.
  2. IR72 filter for their favorite wide angle lens (especially good if your photographer is shooting one of the newer Fuji’s (like the X100s or X-T1).  Just make sure to get the right size for their lens.  I talk a bit about the IR72 + X100s combo here.
  3. Magma Sketchbook for idea generation and everyday note taking.  This is a surprising little notebook.  Highly recommended.
  4. GoLite sweater.
  5. Manfrotto clamp.  Super handy.
  6. Decisive Moment byHenri Cartier-Bresson.  This classic has just been re-released.
  7. Photo booth props.
  8. OneLight 2.0 by Zack Arias.  Highly recommended.
  9. Not sure what to get them?  There’s always the Photojojo gift card.
  10. The Camalapse.  Lightweight and great for time lapses.
  11. Road to Seeing by Dan Winters.  Christmas photos-12
  12. Camera gear can get a bit heavy on the trail – so lighten their overall load with this awesome stove from Snow Peak.
  13. Lensbaby Spark.  Fun and a great catalyst for creative photography.  All for under $100.  Comes in both Canon and Nikon mount.
  14. Blackrapid Cross Shot.  I made something like this using Blackrapid hardware over a year ago for my X100s (before this strap was launched).  Lighter weight straps are great – especially for mirrorless cameras.
  15. Lensbaby Sweet Spot Lens for smart phones.
  16. Not specifically photography – but great if your photographer travels – the Kinivo speaker for their MP3 player.  It’s small, inexpensive, portable, and sounds reasonable while stuck in a hotel room or tent.
  17. Induro AT114.  Yes, it’s a bit more than the $100 price limit.  But it’s possibly one of the best values in tripods out there.  If they also need an all-purpose ball head, check out the Joby Ballhead X.
  18. Pro account to Exposure.  Why?  Cuz it’s possibly the best story telling tool on the web for photographers.
  19. Chalkboard Speech Bubble.  Another fun spark for those photo booth / portrait sessions.
  20. Craft & Vision.  Depending on your photographer’s interest – there’s a lot to choose from here.
  21. Again, not specifically photo gear – but could prove to be useful: VSSL Gear.  Hopefully they’ll be shipping soon.
  22. Is your photographer interested in all of this drone / UAV stuff?  Well – there is a way to jump in without spending a huge amount of cash.  This one even includes a tiny camera.
  23. Humans of New York.  If your photographer hasn’t yet read this – this is a great read.
  24. The Polaroid Cube.  A couple of years ago I bought into the action camera market with a clearance priced Contour (as it turns out, I bought two just in case one broke).  They were a great for trying new project ideas.
  25. Timbuk 2.  Small.  Awesome.  My favorite camera bag.
  26. An insert to make their favorite bag into a camera bag.  Christmas photos-11
  27. VSCO Presets.  These are a lot of fun.  Just a bit over the $100 price point – but once a customer, additional packs are at a discount.
  28. REI Clip Mug.  I have an earlier version of this mug and it’s been flawless.  The best part?  When done drinking the hot beverage – simply clip the mug to a bag and forget about it.
  29. Gregory Heisler: 50 Portraits: Stories and Techniques from a Photographer’s Photographer.  The title pretty much says it all.
  30. LP180 LumoPro flash.  Yes, it’s more than $100.  But it’s an awesome manual flash.  This is the first flash I pull from my bag.
  31. MAKE Magazine.  Now offered 6 times / year.  It’s creative fun that will occasionally have photography hacks.
  32. Ultra small LED headlamp.  I mention these in my 7 not so obvious items in my bag post.  This one also includes a red bulb to help preserve night vision.
  33. All the parts to build their own great slider.  I talk about my build here.
  34. Leatherman Squirt PS4.  Yes – this has been on the list before.  Yes – it’s still a great gift for the photographer on your list.
  35. Gerber Outrigger Knife.  Sometimes a knife just works better than a multi-tool.  This one is lightweight and has a rubber coated handle.
  36. After watching Zack’s OneLight 2.o – it’s possible they’ll want a 12×36 softbox.  And here’s the grid, too.
  37. Is your photographer thinking of trying video?  Three resources that I’ve been learning from lately: How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck, DSLR Cinema, and Shut Up and Shoot Documentary Guide.
  38. The latest in Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography series.  That said, if they don’t have any in the series yet – consider the whole set.
  39. Raspberry Pi + Camera Module.  If your photographer like to tinker with electronics – here’s a great project.
  40. Overland Journal.  Inspiration can come from any number of places.

Whew! We did it.  But to be honest, it feels a bit odd not having something from Joe McNally on the list.  So, if you’re photographer really needs a Joe fix – check out his latest: The Light and the Life: Field Notes from a Photographer.

And if your photographer wants none of it (or already has all of it) – get ‘em a color changing mug from Formosa Treasure! (this particular scene is from Jiufen).

 

For more ideas – check out the lists from year’s past: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

 

Photo 101: Where to Print?

Looking for printing services?  Here’s a few to consider that may not be on your list:

  • Bay Photo.  If you buy photos from my portfolio site – they’ll likely be printed at Bay Photo.  They’re great!
  • WHCC.  Another awesome place to print.
  • There’s also mpix.
  • Sometimes you just need a print fast that doesn’t cost a lot with reasonable quality.  At those times, don’t hesitate to send the files to Costco.
  • Want some huge inexpensive B&W prints?  Try the engineering prints at Staples.
  • Looking for something more boutique?  Check out Artifact Uprising
  • Business printing?  Business cards, postcards, more?  Check out Moo.com.

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(This is Photo 101: Introducing Photo Concepts in 101 Words or Less. If there’s a photo topic that you’d like to see here on Camera 47 – drop it in the comments below or contact me by ways of the About page. 

And if you want to catch all of the posts in the Photo 101 series – and the rest of those on Camera 47 – simply subscribe to have them delivered direct to the your inbox.  Thanks!)

Photo 101: Histograms

In-camera, histograms can help you get the best exposure possible  and see quickly if information is lost from over or under exposure.  In post, they can help you fine-tune the image.

Here’s a simple example of what correct, over, and under exposure could look like on a histogram.

Here it’s balanced.

histogram - just right

Here the image is underexposed and the histogram is pushed to the left.

histogram - too dark

Here – over exposed and it’s to the right.

histogram - too light

That said, there are times when your histogram may not look balanced – e.g. nightscapes or snowfield + tree. Regardless, knowing the rules will help you recognize when they don’t apply.

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(This is Photo 101: Introducing Photo Concepts in 101 Words or Less. If there’s a photo topic that you’d like to see here on Camera 47 – drop it in the comments below or contact me by ways of the About page. 

And if you want to catch all of the posts in the Photo 101 series – and the rest of those on Camera 47 – simply subscribe to have them delivered direct to the your inbox.  Thanks!)