IR Test Shot

August 01, 2006

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Just got the IR converted camera back at lunch today. I walked outside and took a couple of test images. Here's one:

IR Test My chrome that I'm going to use for the flash filter isn't in yet, but should be this week. So, still need a few parts to get the system I've envisioned together but the key part is in play. I'm very psyched.


Yep. Found a lab.

July 27, 2006

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And we have a winner: whcc.com These guys a really smart. They ask you to send in up to 5 8x10s for them to print as a test. Part of this is to help make sure your monitor is calibrated. Part of it too is marketing. I uploaded the prints yesterday and they were delivered to me today via overnight UPS. Immediately, I like them. Another example of the fact that these guys get marketing is the rest of the welcome package. There is a very nicely printed eight page "Getting Started" booklet and, more importantly, seven sample prints from the various types of paper you can choose from. All of this may have cost them $30 but the bang for the buck is huge. I haven't done anything but get some test prints from them yet and I'm effectively already a satisfied customer. The prints themselves look great. You have to do color correction yourself which can be time consuming, but I like having control and knowing that what I set isn't going to be altered by an auto-adjustment on their end. One of the prints I got was from the wedding I shot recently. This is the first time that I've had a pro lab print a serious image from my 5D. I'm happy to report it is outstanding. I also had a copy of the same image printed black and white. They do the prints on color paper, but they have the calibration down. I don't think I'd be able to look at it and a print on true black and white paper and be able to tell the difference. So, to sum all that up. I'm really digging this digital photo thing right now.


IR Camera Shipping

July 26, 2006

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Just an update for those following the progress. I've gotten a note saying that my camera has arrived in Washington, has been converted and is on its way back. Estimated Delivery Day according to UPS is Tuesday, Aug. 1. I didn't like the fact that August was so close since time seems to keep flying by, but now I'm REALLY looking forward to it getting here.


Found a lab

July 26, 2006

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I think I found the photolab that I'm going to use. I've been looking for a lab that offers an API to their services. (API, for those that are wondering, means Application Programming Interface, and is a fancy term that just means that you can write a program that talks to the software that has the the API.) A few places out there have some basic APIs, but most of them just let you upload prints and still require you to go to their web page manually to complete the orders. The one exception to this that I've found is White House Custom Colour. They don't have a full API, but they have a service where you upload images via FTP to different size folders. For each file you upload to a specific folder, you get one print of it in the respective size. Since I can write programs to automatically FTP this means that I can hack together my own poor man's API. What all this means, is that I should be able to setup my photo order web pages on my site and have them automatically fulfilled. It would be much easier to go with one of the many online photo labs out there and just use their built in shopping carts, but I have looked at a ton of them and don't like any. So, the web geek in me looks like it's gonna have a chance to run a little project. I think the first lab that's out there that creates a full blown API is going to get a huge bump in business. There is some open-source web gallery software called "Gallery" that has a few simple shopping cart features in it with shutterfly and one or two other labs. None of the available services is fully customizeable though which means that what you can do with it is limited. The first online lab that provides an open API will probably get immediate visibility into the 50,000 Gallery installs the next time they update.


PocketMod

July 24, 2006

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T turned me onto the pocketmod a while ago. It's bascially like a Hipster PDA, but a little more functional. I used to try to carry a little notebook with me, but since it was a separate thing I would often leave it at home. I can fit a pocketmod into my money clip (yes, I use a money clip instead of a wallet. Less bulk = better) and it's pretty much always with me. The other thing I add to the system is a Pilot G2 mini pen. These are nice because they are about 1/2 the height of a regular pen so they don't bug you when you carry them in your pocket.


Infrared Filters

July 20, 2006

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The first time I tried setting up an infrared flash to do flash photography without visible light was back in the film days. The experiment didn't last long due to the price of materials. To filter the flash, I saved up and bought a 3x3 Kodak 87C infrared filter. These things aren't cheep. I think they were like $45-50 back then. Now they go for about $57. One thing to keep in mind with a filter that blocks all the visible light and only lets infrared pass is that the visible energy turns into heat.

The first time I popped the strobe after taping the flash to the front I had it at full power and the filter singed, hissed and crumpled up a fair amount. If you have ever seen a piece of surran wrap get to hot and crinkle up it's the same thing. This was when I was in high school or early college. And while $50 is nothing to sneeze at today, it was way more of my income back then.

This time I'm going to try the trick of using an unexposed but developed piece of slide film for the filter. Originally, I was thinking about doing this with my Alien Bees which would have probably required getting 4x5 film, but since I've been reading a lot of strobist, I'm going to be running this with smaller strobes which will allow me to run with 120 film. If this works, it'll be waaaayyy less expensive per filter, and I won't mind as much if they burn themselves up.


Learning by doing

July 19, 2006

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I've always been a fan of learning by doing. Just jumping in. It's the way that I've picked up most of what I know. No surprise to me, but scientists are finding out that we are wired this way. The article is longish for web reading, but worth it.


IR conversion in progress

July 17, 2006

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Just sent my old 10D off to Life Pixel to have it converted. After years of talking about this, I'm finally starting the process.


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