Thursday, December 12, 2013

Steadicam Curve First Look

New toy!
I could not help myself with this one, it just looked cool.
And so far it works well.
I think I originally saw this "bit of kit" demoed at NAB.
When I got the chance to pre-order it ....... I jumped, and I never
ever do impulse buys ..... go figure.
The Steadicam Curve is small, light with an elegant design.
Made of aluminum and plastic, its only function is to stablize
GoPro cameras.  As a card carrying addict I was powerless.
Do you need one? Probably .... NOT.  GoPro cameras have a wide angle
lens, almost 180 degree field of view, it hardly needs stabilization.
Then again I do see a ton of wiggly GoPro videos on the net so
maybe there is a need. Here is a first look video.

  I took the new rig on a short staycation
to Lido Key, Florida.  We ran it through several shooting
situations with some fairly good results.  Video below.

I also shot a room tour video with it, including a resort and beach shot.
I think the Curve will be a great tool for anyone using GoPros to shoot
real estate or tour videos.  Wedding photographers will probably
find them useful as well.  Below is the room tour video.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Painting Light with Sparklers and a GoPro Hero3 Black


You never know what you might get when you try light painting.
My wife had been after me to get some sparklers to give them a try.
Of course I wanted to try it with my GoPro Hero3 Black "see addict here".
Unfortunately, the new firmware for the Hero3 Black cut out one of
my favorite features of the new model, exposure lock.  It also reduced
the longest exposure to a 1/3 second instead of a 1/2 second.
Undeterred we gave it a shot.  Amazingly you still get some pretty
good results, click here to see the video.
Above and below are a few examples of the still frames we captured.
Next, we are going to give it a try with a DSLR and longer exposures.
Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

GoPro Hero3 Protective Lens Accessory

Quick post for my GoPro readers.  This week I bought
the protective lens accessory for my Hero3.
Seems like no big deal but I've been waiting years for these.
They come in a two pack for $20.  A decent price
to protect your camera if you are shooting without the
 waterproof case.  I made a short video showing how it works

This accessory does not fit the Hero HD or the Hero2.
So far it works great and does not seem to effect video quality.
Bottom line, if you want to shoot naked
you might want to get some protection.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

life is still finding a way

It's just a pink vinca flower ....... or is it?
A year ago it started growing in a crack in my driveway.
I thought it was funny, so I made a video and wrote a
blog post.  Then something unexpected happened.
It became family.

It continued to grow.
And grow.
And grow.
I could not think of pulling it up.
A couple weeks ago, we had a yard sale.
Every third person stopped to look at the flower
in the crack between the garage and the driveway.
Dumb founded they would look at us and we would
reply .... it just happened.

The pink vinca is no longer just a flower, it has a story.
Sadly it will come to an end someday, but to update
that little flower is still going strong and is not so
little anymore.

Here is the link to the original blog post
and the original video.

If you wondered, yes, the poor pink vinca gets a little battered
and bruised every time I use the truck.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Clearwater Beach Mini Staycation

Spent a few days in September out on Clearwater Beach.
Not much to say other than the Sunrises and Sunsets were beautiful.
Sand was white, sun was bright and no work to fight.
As usual, many photos were taken.  My addiction to
 tinkering with time-lapse gear and GoPros distracted me often.
Below are a few photos and videos ..... enjoy.


A couple behind the scenes photos.

Setting up the pan/tilt unit is sometimes a real head scratcher.

Having a dedicated partner makes me happy.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

GoPro Hero 4 ? NOPE Hero3+

Update: It's here and it's called the Hero3+
OK that's original.
Here is a link to their page and the new sales demo video.
Hero3+ video

So the good: color balance modes, better battery.
New lens, better in low light. smaller.
Not so good: still no exposure lock, no 1/4 20, no long exposure
times.  Nothing hits me as a wow I need to go buy this now.
I'm thinking the Hero3+ will be missing from my family
portrait above just like the forgettable Hero960.

The one thing I'm most excited about is the new protective lens.

I noticed that on YouTube the new "WOW" video to sell the camera
is listed in the "sports" category. The video was almost exclusively
Sports shots, so I guess this is the target market.
There was not one time-lapse shot, RC or other use shown.
Too bad, I guess all the 15 year olds on YouTube are right,
GoPros are for sports.

I will continue to use them for almost everything but, until
another manufacturer makes the camera I want.

It's that time of year when the interwebs start stirring about all kinds
of new products that will be arriving just in time for Christmas
and it's time for one of my favorite subjects,


Is there a GoPro Hero 4 on the way?
I made a video that discusses that possibility and my observations,
predictions and wishes for GoPro's next offering.

No way to know what is really coming down the pipe.
One thing is sure, the cameras are getting better with more
features than ever before.  Soon we will have HD plus
cameras everywhere, and they will be tiny.

My wish list this time for GoPro?

1/4 20 mount on camera.
Make it entirely black.
Manual control or AE exposure lock.
16 by 9 stills
Longer still exposure times.
Better battery 
and maybe even a Hero3s that will talk to you
or even a Hero3 Pink.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

DIY GoPro Frame

One is ugly, one is almost elegant in it's simplicity.
Both solve a simple problem, how to shoot with a "naked" GoPro.
The companion video will show you how I made them click here to watch.
The best ground breaking feature of GoPro Hero's was that it included
a water proof housing.  The cameras have proven to be so versatile that
you soon find that you want to shoot out of the water and want to record
good sound.  You can't do that when the camera is in a water proof case.
The company now sells a "frame" housing and a skeleton case.
Both are kind of expensive for occasional "naked" shooting.
The frame is only made for the Hero3.
Years ago before they came out with the "frame" I made the DIY frame
at the top of this page for in car shooting.
It is ugly but it works.
A few bucks in parts and you can make your own.
My new "naked" mount, see below, is inspired by the GoPro
mounts RC plane and copter users developed.
A few bucks for a strip of aluminum, a screw,
and you're in business.  I have been using this new mount for
in car shooting with great success.
The only downside, it does not work with an LCD back.

So? Need a GoPro frame mount? Buy one, or you can try
and make your own. Either way have a great time shooting.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Green Darner Dragonfly

It's a rare occasion, but every year our garden doubles as a way station
for one of the largest dragonflies you will see, a Green Darner.
We have never seen any other behavior but rest.
I am sure the other life stages of the fabulously colorful
insect must be amazing to watch.  Our limited time with our guest
is still and uneventful.  This of course makes for a wonderful opportunity
for photography.
So, without anymore rambling I offer you a moment with Anax Junius 
the Green Darner Dragonfly.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

GoPro Hero 3 LCD BackPac Warning

Recently I had a problem with the GoPro Hero3 LCD Touch BackPac soft door.
The LCD comes with four back doors, One is a splash door with a soft plastic
cover that allows you to use the touch LCD screen.  It is flexible and thin, not made for
deep diving.  It is also not made for extreme pressure changes.
On a recent flight my touch back door bulged out damaging it.
My flight was cross country so we probably reached altitudes of 30,000 feet or higher.
Usually cabin pressure is kept to about 8 to 10 thousand feet.
Before my trip I had installed the touch backdoor on my Hero3 at sea level.
As the altitude rose on the flight the pressure pushed the plastic film
door out until it became deformed. 

I did a search to see if there was any information on this problem.
 GoPro has a article about it in the support section of their website.
Read here.

So let my mistake help save your LCD Touch BackPac.
If you are going to fly or traverse great altitude changes, make sure
you do not have this backdoor on any of your GoPro cameras.

I made a companion video to this article, check it out Click Here.
Or watch below.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

CSI and My Little Garden

When you have a garden, you sometimes find yourself in the middle
of a mystery.  Pieces of seemingly unrelated evidence, death, distruction
and very few answers.  You can get on the interweb and search,
check all your handbooks and still nothing.  Every once and a while you get
a break.  I found this creepy little cocoon actually a pupa while digging a new
plant bed. My interest peeked after I thought I saw it move.  I quickly
cleaned it off and sequestered it to a jar.  Then put it under video surveillance.

The results, where too creepy not to share.

After capturing this wiggle-athon, I placed the pupa in a container
and waited to see who would emerge.
About a week later, I found this little moth in the container.
Its a Cabbage Looper, I think. 
For weeks I had been fighting a loosing battle against caterpillars
on my cucumber plants, and now I had my answer.
Years ago I posted some photos of "Cucumber Bandits"
Now I know the rest of the story.

Cabbage Looper moth lays eggs on cucumber.

Eggs become caterpillars and then eat my cucumber plants.

Then turn into pupa, below and turn brown see top of page.

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