Time Lapse Information

Here's a little something I wrote up for the photography club.
I hope it helps. I'll keep it updated here:
So just star it if you want to stay updated on it. I probably won't update this post, just the google doc.
Comments/corrections always welcome!

Time lapse Checklist
  • Tripod
    • Stable
    • Locked
    • Weighted
  • Camera
    • Set to manual
    • Exposure Set
    • Focus locked
    • White Balance locked (optional)
    • Image Review set “OFF”
    • Image size – medium or small (Check the resolution – use the smallest size you can get that’s bigger than 1920x1080)
    • Memory card has enough storage
  • Interval
    • Remember what time you started and know what interval so you can calculate your number of frames
Compiling Software

  • Quicktime 7 (Version 7 is important – new versions omit this feature)
    • http://www.apple.com/quicktime/what-is/
    • How to:
      • Make a folder with all the photos from your time lapse
      • Open Quicktime 7, hit “File” -> “Open Image Sequence”
      • Navigate to folder, select the first image, hit “Open”
  • FFMpeg - http://ffmpeg.org/ - Never used it before. Let me know how it works if you try it.

Dolly/Rail rigs – “Real” ones are just way to expensive. Here’s a real one for reference, and some DIY ones to get you inspired if you want to build one. There are many, many more designs. Phone Apps
Online Resources:
Time Lapse Video Examples:

Metals and Cathode tubes

Robot is shipped and done! It's so much better than anything we've made in the last two years.
For information about the team, check out 649mset.org, but I haven't really been doing a good job of keeping that website up-to-date.

Here's how the shoot of the robot went. I was supposed to take the photo at 5pm and on a basketball court (the robot is supposed to play basketball, after all), but there were some complications. The main complication being that the clear acrylic shooter on the top of the robot, not really visible in these photos, took almost 4 hours to build due to a design issue that we created. Fix one problem, create three more - the design flaw hydra.

Anyways, I ended up shooting the robot at 10:40 - not enough time to wheel the robot down to the basketball courts on the other end of the school, so we shot in the area outside the room.

Had issues with the second flash slaving, so ran the shoot with one light (thank god for Nikon CLS) through a 5-in-one diffuser. Those things are great; scrim for flash/sunlight, gold/white/silver reflectors (I don't like using the gold one very much though), and a black side for blocking light.
I got this one (hooray for Chinese imitation goods!), but 43 inches is a bit too big. I'd recommend going with the 32 inch one if you want it to be easier to carry around.

Rod got out some green cold-cathode tubes (people use them in computers to light them up from the inside) and stuck them on the robot. I love the effect, but it's probably too fragile to keep on there permanently

Here's how the shoot went:

Light leakage - You can see the edge of the scrim in the shadows, but I kept it because I liked how the basketball hoop was lit up, and I liked the streak on the ground.

Flash didn't trigger, but the popup flash lit up the front arm and piston. I really loved that strange orange/green contrast that was going on throughout the shoot

 Noticed the bright white rectangle in the background? That's the retro-reflective rectangle around the hoop, and it's lit up from my popup flash - my popup flash is set to its lowest possible setting. That stuff is pretty darn reflective.

All lights off, low angle. I have quite a few scrapes on my elbow now because of this shot. I really love this Tokina 11-16 lens

"Our robot looks like a really bad sports car" -Mark

Personally, I think our robot looks like a huge gaming rig. Notice all those electronics on the inside? I worked on that. :D
(Mark and Mihir worked a lot on it also)

This shot will probably go to the sponsors - Great light from that scrimmed flash, though I had to drop the flash's metering by 3 stops. That metal just reflects anything you throw at it, and if you go automatic metering, you have to turn down that flash a lot.

Final shot with a ball, no lights. I tilted the ball so you could see our team number, and so it would be lit with the green cathode tubes. Awesome!

I hope we do well at our competitions this year! The acrylic shooter looks awesome, but I'll save that for another post.

This week...

This week sucks.

irrelevant photo.

Saratoga Nighttime

I decided to go out at night for some photos. It was drizzling earlier today, so I thought it wouldn't be too bad.
I was wrong. It's pouring out there.

I decided to go anyways, because it's friday night and I am a wild party animal. So my dad and I drove over to Angela's to borrow her tripod (I didn't break it yet!), in exchange for one of my flashes.

30 Second exposure. This was at 7 o'clock, when it was pitch dark in my back yard. Awesome
That was using my little gorillapod.
I shot outside for two hours, in the pouring rain in downtown Saratoga.
Things I learned:

  • Bring more lens cloths. The lens kept getting droplets on it, and eventually the cloth I brought got soaked and didn't help dry off the lens at all
  • Shoot with the wind; Don't point your camera into the wind. If you shoot into the rain, unless you're in good cover, you're going to get droplets on your lens, which will ruin your shot if you're shooting at small apertures, you're going to see it in your image, and it won't be a small droplet
It was raining so hard. All my gear was completely soaked when I got home. It's a good thing the d7000 has some weathersealing, because it was completely covered in water when I got back home.

I went into the middle of the street for some photos, but unfortunately Angela's tripod wasn't strong enough when it was fully extended, and the shots came out blurry. After 4 tries for the middle of the road shots, I went home. I shot about 25 frames in those 2 hours, here are the 6 that I kept.

Flaring caused by droplets of water?
Again, flaring from the droplets of water on my lens.
Longest exposure (excluding the first photo), at 10 seconds. The trees look like broccoli. The wind was blowing them all around so thats why the leaves are blurred.
Composition didn't feel right, so I cropped to a 16:9 to give it a cinematic feel.
Favorite shot of the night.

All shots with Nikon's 18-55mm kit lens (borrowed from daniel, thanks!). Also, edited with Adobe Lightroom 4 beta. It's a great improvement from Lightroom 3, but it's a little slower.

Quiet mode initiate

Some photos from this past winter break...

Starting with hiking in the forest on christmas day,
Christmas day 
...to touring San Francisco
Waiting for the San Francisco Trolley

Taking photos while hanging out the side of the trolleys! That was really fun.
Another trolley passed right by us
Hanging off the side also

All these locks

A sleeper

So many hipsters in San Francisco. Colby was trying to imitate, and my 50mm focused on the wrong part of the image, so even the picture was a little bit hipster. Hipster colors added in post.
What a fun break this has been.

Starting a new long term project, we'll just call it "Basin" for now. Photos coming soon! I'm really excited about this project.

I'm also really loving the quiet mode on the d7000. Even though there is a lot of shutter lag (less than a point and shoot, but its not as fast like the normal 50ms shutter lag). I shot most of the day in San Francisco in Q mode, and even in quiet hotel rooms nobody (except for the people standing right next to me) could hear my shutter going off. Meanwhile, the d90 next to me was clacking away.

Sketching Light!

For Christmas one of my cousins just got me Sketching Light, by Joe McNally!
Joe McNally is the best. If you haven't seen any of his work, I'd check out his website at http://www.joemcnally.com/.
Also, his blog is one of my favorite photography-related blogs. It's not informative like Strobist; it's mostly personal experiences - the background stories of Joe's photos. This is my second McNally book - I bought The Hot Shoe Diaries over the summer, which was great. Sketching Light only came out about a month ago, and the moment it was announced I put it on my Amazon wishlist.

Now I have something to read over winter break! Also, the image is actually a little bit blurry, because my 50mm 1.8 was front focusing a little. I fixed that with the D7000's AF-finetune feature just a minute ago, and also the red stripe on the left of the book is not chromatic aberration; it's just the spine of the book.

Happy Holidays!

Robotics team photo

Robotics team photo from the weekend. Nothing really special about it, since we might give it to the yearbook, and they like their photos to be very generic and tidy (though they're never really that tidy... photos at lunch time are the worst - lighting and everyone wants to just eat their food).

Light was nice and overcast, so I decided to take the photo outside. With this many people, shooting it inside the robotics room would have been too chaotic. Also, the room is a mess.
The team. I think it looks best at the 11x17 ratio.
I just balanced the exposure with the ambience, and I added in a negligible flash pop from the hot shoe to give catchlights in some of their eyes.

Hooray for 16 Megapixels! I can't really tell the difference in the final photo, but it gives me a little more cropping leeway in Lightroom (which I do notice).
No team picture is complete without the silly photo.

Bye D80!

Passing the baton (the 35mm 1.8)

Sold the D80 yesterday... from now on I'll be shooting with Nikon's wonderful d7000!
(pictures in the last two posts are from the d7000)

3 years of great shooting with the D80, and I'm sad to see it go.. I didn't plan on upgrading until the d80 kicked the bucket, so no Tokina 11-16mm for me!
At least now I can go over ISO 800.

Zen mode activate

Once you get in the studying zone and start focusing your chi, anything is possible.
I have to be careful that I don't start spewing lightning bolts though.
I got bored with studying, so I took a little break. It actually took over 14 tries (there are 14 files on my camera; I think I deleted some).

No remote, and no one to help me, so self-timer, practice, and a little bit of luck.
I turned off all the lights in my room so that my flash burst could take care of the action-freezing, and I set it to rear curtain sync so that I could time it better. 1 second exposure so I could time my jump easier.

There's a little timeline to show what I did, and when. It took a few tries to get the hang of it.

And here's a digitalrev video that explains this pretty well. I wanted to do the photo with a laptop but I didn't want to wreck any of my parents' computers (I'm pretty sure they wouldn't like that either).

Local happenings

Haven't really been able to post in a while (I haven't really been able to take pictures in a while also), so here's a little recap of the last few weeks.

It's fall! All the leaves are crinkly, so walking down streets is very satisfying. I love stepping on crunchy leaves.
Fall colors!
To be honest, I'm not sure why he had a cowboy hat and a bat. Probably some history video project.

Holiday spirit has finally started; not the retail holiday spirit, but real community holiday spirit! This weekend I went to the annual Los Gatos Holiday Parade to watch my brother and his marching band. It ended up being pretty fun, since I've never seen it before from an audience point of view; I've been in it twice in middle school marching band (which my brother is in now).
My brother's marching band

Santa Clara Police Department marching band? It was pretty cool watching these old guys marching and playing

"SHH! Santa loves beer!" - A local brewery
Leigh High Marching Band tenor drums. Their uniforms were all black and looked great; they probably get really hot in full sun though.
There were like 20 people marching down holding these. I'm not sure what they are exactly.
And finally, here's a picture of my brother in his marching band uniform, because my mom forgot to buy a portrait.
I'm an idiot and forgot that prints were 8x10, so I can't crop this photo without it being awkward. I'll just get a 10x14 photo frame and cut a mat for an 8x12 print.
Junior year sucks, but there only a few more weeks of first semester. I'll just have to deal with it.