Category Archives: Equipment

The New New

I have recently had a battle in my head and in my wallet. I knew I wanted to purchase a new camera that was something like an action cam, only so much more. It has the qualities of say a GoPro, but the image quality is vastly superior. The amount of control you have with the camera is like night and day.

The camera I’m talking about is the Sony RX0. I had it in my sights for several months. Then Sony went and released the Sony RX0 II. This put in something of a quandary. Three months ago, there was nothing wrong with the Sony RX0, but now there was a Sony RX0 II that was superior.

I had to make a decision. By the old and save a few bucks or pull the trigger on the new and lighten the wallet a bit.

Lucky for me, while I was wrestling with the decision, a bit of an unforeseen windfall landed in my lap and I decided to pull the trigger on the Sony RX0 II.

I’ve only had it since Tuesday, but I already love the little guy:


Sony RX0 II

Happy birthday to me!

Here are a few of the first pictures I’ve taken with the RX0 II:


First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

Here are some of the specifications of the camera:

Number of Pixels (Effective)Approx. 15.3 Megapixels
Lens Type ZEISS Tessar T Lens, 6 elements in 6 groups (6 aspheric elements)
F-Number (Maximum Aperture) F4.0
Focal Length 7.9mm
Focus Range (From the Front of the Lens)Approx. 0.66′ (20cm) to Infinity
Focus Area Wide (25 points [contrast-detection AF]), Center, Flexible Spot (S/M/L)Expanded Flexible Spot
ISO Sensitivity Auto (ISO125-12800, selectable with upper/lower limit)
125/160/200/250/320/400/500/640/800/1000/1250/1600/2000/2500/3200/4000/5000/6400/8000/10000/12800 (Extendable to ISO80/100)
White Balance Modes Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent
Fluor.: Warm White, Fluor.: Cool White, Fluor.: Day White, Fluor.: Daylight, Underwater Auto, C. Temp./Filter, Custom
Electronics Shutter 1/4″ – 1/32000
Continuous Shooting Speed Speed Priority Continuous Shooting: approx. 16fps, Continuous Shooting: approx. 3.5fps (Maximum) (With Max. Recording Pixels)
Waterproof Yes (IPX8 equivalent)
Dustproof Yes (IP6X equivalent)
Shockproo fYes (6.5′ (2.0m) (MIL-STD810G C1 Method516.7-Shock)
Crushproof Yes(200kgf/2000N/440lbf)

I made an unboxing video of it the RXO II for the YouTube Channel. It isn’t necessarily something I would recommend watching, unless you really like unboxing videos. It is in black & white, because I lazily didn’t check my camera settings before I started recording:



It isn’t the most watchable video in the world, but it allows me to practice my minimal video editing skills.

I’m going on a Birthday Road Trip on the morrow. I plan on using the RX0 II to do a vlog of the trip. I’m definitely not going to get in the habit of vlogging, but I wanted to test the RX0 II as a vlogging camera because some people say it is the greatest vlogging camera ever and some say it isn’t good for it at all.

One last thing, if you are a GAME OF THRONES fan, we will be watching the series finale at The Union Street Theater on Sunday night. You are invited! Jay might even be making cake. He also has a 20 year old surprise.

Naima Takes Dickcissel

Dipping into the backlog again. This post finishes off all of the backlog from May of 2018! WooHoo!

It once again draws on a consistent theme. Me taking pictures of Naima at Dickcissel Park.

You might be wondering why I took so many of these pictures last year. The reason is because I spent a considerable part of 2018 trying to get the perfect picture of Naima running at the camera. Ears in the air. Tongue sticking out of her mouth. Silly dog smile on her mug.

I also had an obsession with getting a picture of her in the water. From underwater. But that is a project that will continue into 2019, I do believe.

Here are some more Naima pictures:


Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Gotta keep hammering away at that backlog!

+++++++

Also, since the purchase of the drone, I’ve decided to start actually adding some content to my YouTube channel. In the past, the YouTube channel has only really existed so I could like other YouTube videos. Over it’s 10+ year existence, I’ve only uploaded like 30 videos.

That will hopefully change in the coming months. ‘

I recently put up my first “test” video. It was mostly a test of if I could figure out how to do it. I’m not particularly good at video editing and it shows in this video. What also shows is how terrible I am at sound recording.

I hope my video editing skills improve. We’ll see about the sound recording skills. Actually I have no choice but to improve on sound recording. You’ll see when you watch the video.

So below, checkout this YouTube video I made on DJI Mavic 2 Pro Quickshots with Bethany as the guinea pig:



If you don’t subscribe to my YouTube channel, please do because when I hit 100 subscribers, I can customize my channel’s URL. In the future, there will be more drone videos and I have plans for more videos revolving around the birthday present I’m giving to myself.

Also, a big shoutout to Joe who is helping me with video editing. The video is edited with an open source video editing program called OpenShot.

Lazarus Come Out!

A few weeks back Rodan139 took a tremendous tumble from the sky. According to the flight log, Rodan139 fell out of the sky from 190 feet. It was going 40.3 MPH when it hit sweet, round, Mother Earth.

Rodan139 was a hurting unit when I got to it. A couple arms were broken off, the camera was barely hanging on, and most of the body was considerably damaged.

To be brutally honest, it sucked. However, Rodan139 is just a machine. So I picked up his pieces and threw them in the Sir Pixalotmobile and Jason and I drove to Luther to have a tasty lunch.


Whatcha Smoking Tenderloin

Let me tell you, nothing mends the cracks in an emotional broken heart while at the same time clogs up the plumbing of a physical heart like a tasty, tasty tenderloin*.

After lunch I went home and did some research on the level of fiscal pain this accident was going to cause me. I knew it wasn’t going to be cheap, but the worst case scenario was that I was going to have to push off the purchase of the Sony RX0 that I have been coveting for a few months now (but that is another dilemma for another time).

I contacted DJI Repair and they sent me a UPS Label to send Rodan139 into them. I boxed it up and sent it off and waited. What happened next surprised me.

They covered the whole thing. All the parts. All the labor. All the shipping. Covered. And what was covered wasn’t cheap.

Here is a list of everything they covered and what it would have cost:

Item List

Gimbal Axis Arm Module (Pro)

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 160.00

Total Price: 160.00

Upper Cover Module

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 11.00

Total Price: 11.00

Middle Frame Module

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 13.00

Total Price: 13.00

Core Board Module

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 320.00

Total Price: 320.00

Vibration Absorbing Board (Upper)

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 2.00

Total Price: 2.00

Rear Arm Module (Left)

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 21.00

Total Price: 21.00

Front Arm Module (Left)

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 24.00

Total Price: 24.00

Front Arm Module (Right)

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 24.00

Total Price: 24.00

Repair Service Fee

Quantity: 2

Net Price : 65.00

Total Price: 130.00

Tax

0.00

Shipping Cost

0.00

Total Amount

705.00

Discount

705.00

Total Payment (USD$)

0.00

You read that right. It could have cost me $705.00, but it cost me nada. Zilch. The big goose egg. Hmmmm…. I wonder what also costs about $705? That is a discussion for another time though.

What is not a discussion for another time is how amazing DJI’s Customer Service is. I was very impressed and I was glad that I decided to go with DJI when I decided to take a stab at aerial photography.

Yesterday at approximately 4:05 PM I was reunited with Rodan139. Now that I am complete again, I feel I can share a couple of pictures taken from that last fateful flight that ended in carnage of twisted wire and broken plastic.


Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Yesterday it was a little windy, so I took Rodan139 out for another very shorty maiden voyage.


Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

The last picture I took in my backyard as I wanted to test a night photography setting.

I definitely was the most nervous I have ever been on one of these little flights. In particular, there was a moment when I was out at the Harrier Marsh when Rodan139 was surrounded by a flock of birds. Visions of a bird smashing it to it and it tumbling to the ground danced in my head. I quickly rose above the birds, but I was shocked out how close they came to it. A mental note was made for future trips out to Harrier.

The weather on Saturday and Sunday does look promising. Although Saturday, Baby Got Rack might be doing a little research project. Oh… I’ve said too much.

*At this time, there will not be a review of the tenderloin. While I have very good perspective on what is actual tragedy and what is just “well that sucks”, I still wasn’t in the proper state of mind to properly assess the tenderloin.

The Future

The most recent filter I have tested from the super cheap filter kit was the green filter. The green filter is the last of what I would consider the standard black and white photography filters that I tested.

What does a green filter do? According to hoyafilterusa.com:

Less popular than the other colors but still very useful for specific types of photography. The Green filter is good for lightening the tone of green foliage which can give an other-worldly effect similar, but not has strong as infrared in some situations. Since it renders greens lighter it can be used in the scenic photography but because it also makes skies a lighter gray care should be taken to consider the scene and include as little sky as possible.

Here are a few examples taken in my backyard:


Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

I’m not sure which filter I will test next, but I’m thinking it might be pink.

It Stands for the Sun

Yellow.

Yellow is the most recent filter from the super cheap filter set that I cracked out and tested. I still took mostly pictures of Naima, but I actually left my yard and went out to Dickcissel.

This, was perhaps, not the best plan. With all the space to roam, Naima is definitely harder to photograph at Dickcissel. Also, your shutter speeds often slow down when using filters, so a dog running all over the place isn’t the best subject. But I made do.

You might be wondering what a yellow filter does in black & white photography.

Here is an explanation from shuttermuse.com:

A Yellow filter absorbs all coloured light except yellow. It is the most-popular colored filter used with black and white film. Because a yellow filter absorbs blue, it provides significantly greater contrast between blue and yellow or white subjects. The classic example of the use of a yellow filter is when shooting black and white scenes which include portions of a cloud filled sky. Use of a yellow filter in this situation significantly darkens the blue portions of the sky, whilst allowing the clouds to remain bright and vibrant. This change in contrast gives the sky a vastly improved sense of depth and drama.

Here are some pictures from the yellow filter photo shoot:


Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Naima decided she needed to dig a giant hole while we were out there. Here are a couple pictures in color to help you appreciate the mess she made:


Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

The next filter I will test will be the green filter.

It is Beyond Dimensions

Time to reveal another filter test from the super cheap Neweer filter set I purchased on Amazon several weeks back.

This time the filter that is up is the blue filter.

Here is a description of what a blue filter does in black & white photography from photographymad.com:

Blue filters are rarely used for black and white photography. They darken most colours and reduce contrast across an image.

When used correctly, this reduced contrast can be useful for giving a shot a calm, soothing atmosphere. A blue filter also increases the appearance of haze and mist, making it handy for enhancing the mood of an early-morning scene.

Here are a ton more pictures of Naima taken with a blue filter:


Naima Blue Filter Test

Naima Blue Filter Test

Naima Blue Filter Test

Naima Blue Filter Test

Naima Blue Filter Test

Naima Blue Filter Test

Naima Blue Filter Test

Naima Blue Filter Test

Naima Blue Filter Test

Naima Blue Filter Test

Naima Blue Filter Test

Naima Blue Filter Test

Naima Blue Filter Test

Naima Blue Filter Test

Naima Blue Filter Test

Naima Blue Filter Test

Naima Blue Filter Test

Naima Blue Filter Test

Blue Filter Test

Blue Filter Test

Blue Filter Test

Blue Filter Test

Blue Filter Test

Blue Filter Test

i would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the lighting conditions were considerable harsher than when I did the red and orange filter tests.

The next filter to be texted will be the yellow filter.

The Happiest Color

A few weeks back I showed the results of test photos taken with a red filter from a new extremely cheap set of filters that I recently picked up.

The most recent filter I’ve taken out and tested is the orange filter. Much like the red filter an orange filter is actually designed to be used with black and white photography.

What does an orange filter do. Here is a pretty good description from photographymad.com:

In portrait photography, an orange filter reduces the appearance of freckles and blemishes, giving the skin a healthy, smooth look.

When photographing buildings and cityscapes, they give bricks a pleasing tone, and increase contrast between different materials to add depth and texture to the image.

Similarly to red filters, they can be used to reduce the appearance of fog and haze, and to darken skies and emphasise clouds.

I spent a little time chasing Naima around the backyard and photographed a few other things for this test.

Here are the test images, fresh out of the camera. Not touched by Photoshop:


Naima Orange Filter Test

Naima Orange Filter Test

Naima Orange Filter Test

Naima Orange Filter Test

Naima Orange Filter Test

Naima Orange Filter Test

Naima Orange Filter Test

Naima Orange Filter Test

Naima Orange Filter Test

Naima Orange Filter Test

Naima Orange Filter Test

Naima Orange Filter Test

Naima Orange Filter Test

Orange Filter Test

Orange Filter Test

Orange Filter Test

Orange Filter Test
Orange Filter Test

Orange Filter Test

Orange Filter Test

Orange Filter Test

Orange Filter Test

Orange Filter Test

Orange Filter Test

You can tell that there is some vignetting at the widest angles, but nothing that I can’t live with.

Not sure what filter I will test next, but I do know that there are only 40 filters left to test!

Blue Steel Redux

Cleaning up some of the May 2018 backlog brings us to even more “reimaginings” of classic Photography 139 image “Blue Steel”.

These pictures were taken when I was playing with extension tubes. Extension tubes are fun for the whole family. The family that loves super macro photography. And what family doesn’t? No family that is worth know, that is who!

Have a quick peek:


Extension Tube Test

Extension Tube Test

Extension Tube Test

Extension Tube Test

Blue Steel Redux

Blue Steel Redux

Blue Steel Redux

Extension Tube Test

Extension Tube Test

Blue Steel Redux

Blue Steel Redux

Blue Steel Redux

I’m thinking of adding a Blue Steel Redux picture to The Canvas Project, but I already have the original “Blue Steel” hanging up in my hallway. That might just be too much Blue Steel for one house.

Who am I kidding? You can never have enough Blue Steel.

That Doesn’t Mean It Isn’t There

I decided recently to buy a set of neutral density filters. I considered spending a good chunk of coin on some really nice filters, but while I was poking around looking for a set to buy I came across a set of 40 filters for cheap.

Now I’m not a fool. I know the 40 set of filters isn’t super high quality. They aren’t even made out of glass. However, that doesn’t mean that can’t get the job done.

I haven’t cracked out the neutral density filters, but I did take the red filter for a little trip around the backyard with everybody’s favorite model Naima.

At first look, you might be confused as to why the pictures of Naima below are black and white. You need to understand that colored filters are usually used with black and white photography.

What does a red filter do:

Red filters are a favorite among landscape photographers and are often used to add drama. In nature photography, a red filter will increase the contrast between red flowers and green foliage. A red filter will deepen a blue sky and make white clouds pop out. It can also decrease the effects of haze and fog. In some cases, depending on its strength, a red filter could even turn the sky black.*

Normally I would encourage people to always shoot in color (when shooting digital) and shoot in RAW. You can change color pictures to black & white in post production, but you can’t add color (yes, but you know what I mean) to a black and white picture in post.

However, these pictures are taken in the high contrast monochrome setting on my camera. Therefore it was taken in .jpg.

If you are using color filters in black & white photography I would not urge you to shoot the pictures in color, since you are going for an in camera special effect right out of the shoot.

These pictures were not edited in any way. These are straight out of the camera:


Naima - Red Filter Test

Naima - Red Filter Test

Naima - Red Filter Test

Naima - Red Filter Test

Naima - Red Filter Test

Naima - Red Filter Test

Naima - Red Filter Test

Naima - Red Filter Test

Naima - Red Filter Test

Naima - Red Filter Test

Naima - Red Filter Test

Naima - Red Filter Test

Naima - Red Filter Test

Naima - Red Filter Test

Naima - Red Filter Test

Naima - Red Filter Test

Naima - Red Filter Test

Naima - Red Filter Test

Naima - Red Filter Test

39 more filters to test. Or so.

*From exposureguide.com