So, I got five more action cameras (and a gimbal)

This whole action camera thing is turning out to be an interesting journey.

Since my previous post about picking up a Yi HD Action Camera, things seem to have taken a turn for the extravagant.

After I started playing with it, I realised what one could do to it through script hacking. Then, I got curious. While I saw a big difference in the footage, I wanted to do a direct comparison. So, I acquired a second camera. Next came a dual GoPro mount and a GoPro monopod (I refuse to call it a “selfie stick”, sorry).

Continue reading So, I got five more action cameras (and a gimbal)

So, I got an action camera

I’ve been toying with the idea of an action camera for a while.  I wouldn’t really use one often enough to justify the cost of a GoPro, though, so it was never really an urgent need but always in the back of my mind.

I’m heading to Cologne in September to cover Photokina for DIYPhotography.  I’ve never been to Photokina before.  I’ve never been to Germany before, either, so I wanted to be able to document as much of the trip as possible.

Call me a big kid if you want, but I’m excited.

Continue reading So, I got an action camera

I finally saw my first wild slow worm in the UK

Ever since I first learned of the existence of adders and other wild reptiles in the UK, I’ve wanted to find one and see it in person

I’ve made a number of trips to various locations around the country where they’re supposed to be regularly spotted, and they’ve all turned out fruitless.

I still haven’t found my elusive adders, but I did accidentally stumble across a slow worm while out location scouting a couple of days ago (almost literally), marking my first discovery of a wild reptile in the UK.

When I’m out location scouting with no expectation of getting any images other than to simply document the location, I tend to leave my camera gear in the car or at home.

Normally I just use my iPhone to get shots of the location, all nicely geotagged allowing me to be able to easily find the place again in the future.

Continue reading I finally saw my first wild slow worm in the UK

TPS 2016 Roundup, and apparently I’m a model

I’d planned to post something within a day or two of arriving back home after the show, but you know how it is, real life gets in the way.

Eventually, so long had passed that I figured there wasn’t much point posting about it, but now things are getting caught up and today’s tutorial by Dracorubio (more on that later) has given me an excuse to jot something down.

I want to keep this brief, and non-rambly, so first, let me say that the show was amazing, much better (and bigger) than I’d expected it to be.  I hadn’t been to the new and rebranded show since it was launched shortly after the demise of Focus on Imaging.

Continue reading TPS 2016 Roundup, and apparently I’m a model

The last DSLR I’ll ever need

This post stems from a conversation started with my good friend Chris Frosin, during a rainy visit to the Lake District a few days ago.  Chris and I don’t get together too often, so when we do, it’s a good opportunity to geek out on the some of the latest photo news.

I’ve been shooting with SLRs of one type or another for about the past 17 years.  I switched from 35mm to digital in 2002, and for the last 7 years, despite bouncing around between other various cameras and brands for certain shoots that had specific technical requirements, my body of choice has always been the Nikon D300s, and still is.

It’s my go-to camera.  It’s what’s always charged and ready to go at a moment’s notice.  I use it for both personal and client work.

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While I do love the D300s as a camera, there have been one or two shortcomings that have always bugged me.  I’ve never really kept these annoyances a secret, and they have been very minor annoyances, but I have been one of those yearning for a D400.

What did I want in a D400?  Well, to be honest, not really that much more than the D300s offered, but I did make a short list.

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Winter was coming

For the third year in a row, various news outlets have reported that we we’re going to be seeing the “Worst Winter in 100 Years”.  This year we finally got to see a little weather action.

I’m not sure the flooding of great chunks of the North West of England is quite what they had in mind, and being one of the 55,000 homes that was without power for several days, I didn’t venture out much while most of the city was underwater, but we did get to see a little snow last weekend.

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3D Photogrammetry

I love how far along 3D software has come in the years since I last worked with it regularly.

Back then, Maya was still produced by Alias, and if you wanted such revolutionary features as particle, hair & cloth simulations that reacted realistically to real world physical principles, you were spending upwards of $5,000 just for the software, let alone the kind of hardware you needed to run it efficiently.

Now, such features are readily available to any and all through free Open Source software, like Blender (which has also come a hell of a long way since I first played with it way back when), and the hardware can be bought off the shelf at your local computer store to run it at a decent enough pace.

One of the aspects of 3D that I was always intrigued by was that of 3D scanning.

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Photographing Grass

So, this was something very different for me.  The last time I was a part of the 3D world, I was still shooting film.  Digital cameras weren’t really that great, and online texture libraries were often prohibitively expensive for personal follies (at least if you wanted imagery of any kind of decent quality).

Yesterday, however, I spent the afternoon in the surprisingly glorious sunshine (It got to 19 degrees yesterday! in England! in October!) photographing blades of grass, leaves and various other bits and bobs in order to start compiling my own texture libraries for Blender and other 3D applications.

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Delving back into 3D

It’s been almost a decade since I last ventured into the world of 3D software like Maya, 3DS Max, etc. but suddenly I seem to have been bitten by the bug again.

It all started a few weeks ago when I was asked to give another talk at Lancaster Photographic Society on lighting portraits.

My plan was to sift through the images I already have in my library, and shoot a few more to explain specific lighting principles, and the differences that can happen when you add or take away a light here, or a reflector there.

Then, I stumbled across a post in the Strobist group on Facebook by Pat David, linking to a fantastic Blender 3D file he put together on his website, created specifically for the purposes of rendering out lighting tests – you can see one of mine in the header photo on this post. Continue reading Delving back into 3D