Monday, December 19, 2011

Step into the time machine

A routine trip to the store to collect a few Christmas presents for my nephews lead me to a time machine.
Time machine?  I know, a Star Wars X-wing fighter was not a time machine in the movies.  But for me
it was as close as a you can get. 1977, summer of, BOOM I was there, and all it took was a four dollar
Lego toy.  So, after purchasing some "yegos" as my youngest nephew refers to them, I slipped a small
toy into the cart for myself.  Fire up the time machine.  The day after my brother and I
saw Star Wars in 1977, I could not stop thinking about the dog fighting space ships.  Lucas Films 
had yet to become the marketing juggernaut that it is now, so I had to settle for a t-shirt and a poster.
If I wanted an X-wing fighter of my own I had to build it, out of Legos.
It was the ugliest multicolored X-wing ever but I had one.

I shot a time lapse of the assembly with a GoPro Hero2, the video is silent but I
would recommend humming the Star Wars theme as you watch.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Inside the new Dali Museum

Last Monday we finally found a quiet day to go see the new Dali museum.
When it first opened we cued up to have a look, but the crowds were too huge.
I blogged about it then, read here, and shot a timelapse of the exterior.
I do not like seeing museums in a crowd, Monday morning was perfect.
The new design is excellent, modest yet dramatic.  The new building is a piece of art.
We were happy to see that there were many new Dali paintings on display that I had not seen before, specifically some of his early oils from his teenage years.  The galleries are well laid out and it's nice to know that they are three stories up and can become sealed vaults if we get a category 5 hurricane.
No photography is allowed in the galleries, but don't forget your camera the new building is
worth a few snapshots. If you come to the Tampa area, make the short drive to St Petersburg
and check out the Dali it's worth it.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

DIY - Refridgerator Photo Magnets


Need some help with a little Christmas gift stocking stuffer?
How about home-made refrigerator photo magnets?
Its cheap and fairly easy, a little stinky but the results are cool.
Find some wood scraps, the more interesting the better.
I used some slats from a broken pallet I found at work.

Be careful of old rusty nails.

Cut down to say 3 by 4 inches. Sand smooth.

Print out the most memorable photo you can find, say
three nephews and a niece all smiling at once.

Glue the photos to the wood squares and let dry.

Apply several coats of lacquer, I use Deft.
  Make sure you do this in a well ventilated area.

Let the lacquer dry until it is hard, do not touch.


Glue one or two magnets to the center of the piece and you are done.
It's a great little gift that will clutter you friends and relatives refridgerators
for years to come.  Of course, I come from the "you can never have enough refrigerator art"
school of thinking.  Like a spartan fridge?  Buy everyone fruitcake!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Last splash of colour

This week my plumeria made their last bold statement
before sleep.  Pinks, purples a little orange, white.
I am amazed it happened at all.
Last winter, for the second year in a row, it got so
cold here that my poor plumeria flowers were killed
down to the ground.
It took all summer but they managed to muster one
defiant burst of color.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A moment with pika

As I write this, pika sleep.  Probably under a couple feet of snow.  We captured, or I should say my wife captured this video of pika quickly finishing summer's business.  See, pika only live in alpine environments.  These pika are residents of Rocky Mountain National Park, so visiting hours are over for this year.  Come summer you can see these cute varmints up close right on the side of Trail Ridge Road at a place they call "Rock Cut".  You can see them all over the place above the tree line, but if your touring, this is one of the easiest places to take in the show.  Another advantage of "Rock Cut", parking and porta-lets.
If you don't see them right off the bat, don't give up they have great camouflage.  You have to sit and wait.
They zip and zoom, back and forth between rocks.  Shooting them is a bit of a challenge, they look like rocks with little black eyes. And the best part, they are constantly chirping back and forth.  Silly and fun, well worth the price of admission.  Enjoy the video and remember shhhhhhhhhh pika are sleeping.

Rocky Mountain National Park


on the hunt for pika

windy portrait of Mrs. Getawaymoments

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pan Left Sarasota Chalk Festival

On Sunday I had the chance to go to the Sarasota Chalk Festival.  I took the opportunity to shoot my fourth
Pan Left short with my new GoPro Hero2.  If you can, watch the video in HD. The new GoPro creates a
much sharper image then previous models, but with that you blow through the memory cards much faster.
I shot between seven and eight thousand still images to make the time lapses.  The camera was panned using
my homemade time lapse panning unit.  I mounted the camera on a light stand which had a ten foot reach.
In some of the shots you can see movement, luckily I was only bumped in the crowd about four times.
My lovely wife shot some great still photos, scroll down to see a few of them.  If you get a chance to go
see this or another street chalk festival, GO!  The work is amazing and the experience of watching artist
create is always a joy.


Monday, November 7, 2011

First Panning Timelapse with GoPro Hero2

I got the new GoPro Hero2 last week and then I got really busy, isn't that always the way?
I will have a first thoughts review coming and a trickle of test videos soon.
I drove over to North Tampa Photography Saturday to pick up a used lens and figured it would be
a good drive to test the new Hero2 on my time lapse panning rig.
The interval was set to 1 frame every 2 seconds.
Here is the result.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Time Lapse Panning Unit Malfunction

All cheap kitchen timers have one thing in common, plastic.
It makes them inexpensive, it also gives them a finite lifespan.
I have been using them to spin cameras for a few years now
with very few failures.  But as always with Murphy's Law when
you need a tool to work, failure is always a possibility.


While visiting Mt. Evans on vacation I decided to try for two GoPro shots of the
drive down the mountain.  The first shot would be a static shot looking forward   
              and the second shot would be a panning time lapse from the roof of the car.                

Well, the panning shot did not work. It was supposed to slowly pan left showing the car and the view. Instead it panned a little then slipped, panned a little, slip.  Why? Who knows.  It may be the spring was too weak, something broke, the wind pushed it around.  I have had these things run fine on top of a  car for an hour at 60-70mph.  To be transparent and allow my readers to share in the failures as well as the successes, here is one of the time lapses that did not work.  It is still an interesting piece of video with breathtaking views, too bad Murphy was along for the ride.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How to Make a Magnet Mount for your GoPro Hero

The funny thing about Gopro cameras, is the infection.  Oh yea, the infection you get trying to figure out
what you can do with them, where you can mount them.  If you are reading this you probably drive your
friends crazy with talk of Gopro everything, but I say too bad. Its good clean fun ...... most of the time.
One of my first home brewed Gopro mounts was my magnet mount, it sure is ugly but it worked like a charm.
Well, recently it started to come apart so I started hunting for a new model to build. I am a big
fan of Gopro free forums, it is a great community resource for everything Gopro. A couple users there
made magnet mounts using a 25 pound pull antenna magnet, so when I found them cheap at Harbor
Freight Tools I figured I'd give it a try. Here is my DIY video so you can make one yourself.

Parts List
25 pound pull antenna magnet
1/2 inch 1/4 20 machine screw
1/4 inch washer

It's an easy build and a must for your Gopro kit.  If you build this DIY be careful, the magnet
is strong enough to keep the camera on a car, it's also strong enough to damage a paint job.
I always use a tether, if your camera fly's off and hurts someone or causes an accident that would
be very bad.
Here are a couple fun videos to remind you that no mount is perfect.

DIY Chickens
I found two places where you can buy a magnet mount for your Gopro. Check them out.
Eye of Mine
Rage Cams


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