A Variable Neutral Density Filter Anyone?

Summary – Neutral density (ND) filters make it possible to use shutter speeds that are slow (-er than without them). Think cotton candy water, streaming clouds, fireworks. As compared to a normal ND, a variable ND allows you to vary the amount of shutter speed slow-down to suit the subject.

Spring in the Great Smoky Mountains NP

Nice to dream about – when it was near 0° (F ) while writing this 😉

Read here – Cotton Candy Water Techniques

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Today’s  opening summary at the top gives essentials of

What ND density filters are used for

For more on Variable ND read here

The main purpose of this post is to

Point you to an inexpensive Variable ND (< $15)

Something you can experiment with before spending big-$

On something you may rarely use

Here’s an excellent review of VND filters

The <$15 shown above is referred to as Cheap-O

Before laughing – note that it gets a good review

As a point of reference

Name brands (quality products) run hundreds of dollars

My Singh Ray (thin ring) is $390

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Don’t forget the International Abstract Photography Exhibit

Entries close March 31st; it’s free

Entry details are here

The gallery is here


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Exposure – Diffusion Disk for Light Control

Off to Charleston, SC for a week

I’ve auto-scheduled posts for that period

Dragged out a few oldies (but goodies?)

During the stay there, I’ll throw in  daily photos

If time permits – lots of great photo-ops

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D800E_130323_113754__DSC6785 nx wbdl cep

Tulip in Blue Bottle

One last tulip image for the road

Tulip on floor; camera on tripod looking straight down

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Often the sun doesn’t cooperate with us. The problem is typically one of contrast extremes – dark shadows contrasted with bright overblown highlights, a situation that our eyes can deal with but a camera’s sensor (or film) can not. What do we do?

  • Come back when the light is better, or
  • Control the contrast range, or
  • Try HDR.

Controlling the contrast range over a small area is easy. If you’re in the forest, forget about it – come back another time. To control the contrast in a small area, you can use a diffusion disk. Shown below is a 5 in one collapsible disk. The diffusion part is the semi-transparent whitish portion. The outer portion is a reversible cover that serves as a reflector (black, white, gold, silver) when installed over the diffuser portion. The entire kit & caboodle folds up into the carrying case at lower left. One could improvise this.

To use it, you simply position it between the light source and the subject. Farther away from the subject causes a deeper shade; closer provides a more natural light but diffused (evenly distributed). An example of with/without is shown below in a pair of bluebell photos I made last spring to demo why one should have such a disk in their bag of tricks.

These two images were made seconds apart. The sole difference is that the diffusion disk was used for the top image.

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Everything is a Remix (Even Photo Creativity)

Everything is a Remix

Is the subject of a wonderful 10 minute TED talk

General Theme – everything is built on what went on before

This is a follow on to my post on Derivative Art

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The above TED talk is part 1 of what evolved to a four-part series.

The Complete series is here

Here is some general info on the “Remix Culture” – Wiki

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“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

From the letters of Isaac Newton

This is a familiar form of the “shoulders” quote, but

It goes back to the 12th century

A Western metaphor with a contemporary interpretation meaning

“One who develops future intellectual pursuits by understanding and building on the research and works created by notable thinkers of the past”.

It’s a good thing F=ma wasn’t patentable 😉

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The goal of US patent law is

“promote the progress of useful arts” (emphasis mine)

BUT – in many ways it does anything but that

What if Apple filed a 20 page patent for

Unlocking a tablet device with a finger swipe?

or another for

Putting beveled edges on computer tablets?

or?? the list goes on….

Oh, I forgot. Apple did do that! 😦

In a similar vein –

What if Henry Ford had patented human transport via gasoline powered wheeled vehicles?

“I invented nothing new. I simply assembled the discoveries of other men behind whom were centuries of work … progress happens when all the factors that make for it are ready and then it is inevitable.” — Henry Ford

Or the Wright brothers – human transport via powered flying machines?

AND – speaking of wheels…. 😉

Music –

“The words are the important thing. Don’t worry about tunes. Take a tune, sing high when they sing low, sing fast when they sing slow, and you’ve got a new tune.”  Woody Guthry

Art –

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.” — Attributed to Pablo Picasso

General –

“Originality is the art of concealing your sources.” — Attributed to various sources including Ben Franklin & Thomas Edison

“Substantially all ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources   Mark Twain

On a personal note –

What if I had patented “Adaptive shortest path routing” (look it up in one of the Bell Lab Tech Journals circa 1973)?

It’s at the heart of all modern digital communications – internet, phone, ….

I’d be a very rich man. In the day AT&T offered me a senior Bell Labs position (I declined) and they totally revised their long distance phone system (the only one there was in the US then – pre-divestiture) based on their estimate of capital expenditure savings to the tune of billions per year from my invention

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Name Change that tune – (Steve Jobs quotes)

1st came –

“We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

When asked in an interview the 80’s, at the Mac introduction, about using Xerox Palo Alto Research Labs user interface designs (including the mouse) for the Mac

Later came –

“They are shamelessly copying us.”

About Microsoft and the operating system which would be released as Vista

and more recently –

“I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

On Android, a mobile OS that he felt was copied from Apple

It must depend on whose foot the shoe is on….

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10,000 Hours, OR – Practice, Practice, Practice….

Some Potpourri

.This post has several purposes –

1. Preach the sermon about practice yet one more time

2. Introduce a great online magazine (location of sermon)

3. Provide some amazing music (part of e-zine sermon)

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The meat of this post is contained in the five links below

If you’re one of the 50% or so who don’t follow links

You can stop right here 😦

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1. You may have heard of  the “10,000-Hour Rule”

Popularized in the book, The Outliers   1-12-2013 9-23-52 AM

The book is a very interesting read

Whether you agree with its premise or not

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2. Here’s an article on the 10,000 Hour Rule and Photography

It appears in “on landscape” 1-12-2013 9-25-23 AM

A United Kingdom based online magazine

This particular article is free

Includes lots of interesting reader comments

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3. Even if you’re not interested in practicing or landscapes

The article includes links for several

Musical performances of various genre

(To illustrate what a little practice – or a lot – can do)

I’ll include one here.

An amazing guitarist

Go to the article if you want more

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Personal note –

I believe there’s an element of truth in the 10,000 Rule

From 2002 to 2007 I amassed over 10,000 hours

of “photography time”

During that time I progressed from

1st time camera owner (2MP P&S) to

Advanced winner of everything in sight

From May 2004 until summer 2009

I shot every day

Averaging 75 shots a day

Just sayin’ – Putting in the time can’t hurt

Now at the start of that time, if someone had said –

Camera or guitar – which will it be?

After listening to Tommy Emmanuel – tough choice

Probably still the camera because I love nature

[Update – for readers from the land of Oz the guitarist, Tommy Emmanuel, is one of your own. Quite a treasure.]

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An Index to the GIF Animation Series Posts

Today’s post buys time while researching

The next topic in my “moving pictures” series

Time-lapse Photography

 

Clouds at Sunrise

View from my desk while I was doing this post

30 minutes of real-time compressed to 30 seconds

Besides clouds, see the sun on window frames starting at right

Lastly, starting at 26 sec., a jet-contrail (low left window pane)

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Done in-camera with D800E (except begin/end text)

Most cameras, at best, can create a sequence of images

The D800E can go a step further and create a .mov file

Who knew? Not me, until yesterday 😉

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The nine GIF Animation posts in the order presented –

1 – Animation – Photos and Otherwise

2 – Animated GIF Images

3 – Animated GIF Software – Rudimentary Features

4 – Adding Falling Snow, Part 1 – Still Images

5 – Adding Falling Snow, Part 2 – Animated Images

6 – Adding Falling Snow, Part 3 – It’s Snowing!

7 – A Plug-in for Making Falling Snow

8 – Animating Sunrise & Sunset

9 – Animated GIF Photos – The End

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Instagram & Cinemagram Apps – Is Anigram next?

GIF animation recreates

Funky old flip page “movies” of yesteryear

In the age of digital photography

Like Instagram and its faux-vintage photos

GIF Animation is giving short “flip-movies”

A rebirth

SO – where are the Instagram-like

Gif Animation mobile apps?

They’re there

One named Gifagram for instance

But – they have a long way to go IMO

 

1357760935819

Animation of an Animation

Made while writing this

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From a BBC Nature Collection video on my monitor

Cell phone camera & a GIF Animation app

As captured and uploaded to my blog

Like any animation or video – a steady camera would help 😉

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I’m not a big fan of most mobile phone apps.

They’re often bug-ridden

A rush to market

I’ve tried five animated GIF android apps.

I wouldn’t recommend any

Try some and if you find one that you like

Let us know

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I mentioned Cinemagram in the title.

Scroll down the above link for examples

More examples

Cinemagrams (or Cine’s) are animated GIFs created by recording a 2-3 second iOS video

Part of the image is still and part, selected by the photographer, moves

This app is iOS only at present

Android competitors are available

A good cine (good subject/story that is) is hard to do

99.9% on the Cinemagram site are 100% junk

Guess it doesn’t take much to amuse some people

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Animated GIF Photos – The End

Nothing much more to say

Moving on to other animation forms in later posts

hoover

President Hoover’s Trout Pond

Camp Hoover, Shenandoah National Park

One of a series done for the park service as a volunteer

Tossed a rock for effect

(2 years before I even thought of animating it)

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A simple two image GIF

Enough to get the idea across

Moving branch upper center & water

water-branch

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Another with just two frames

falls

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A beach scene with 9 frames –

beach

None of these were shot with animation in mind.

I’ll try to think of it in the future.

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That’s all folks….

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