Wireless Flash Mod

May 01, 2006

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An amazing piece of tech in modern photography is the ability to have wireless automatic TTL exposure control of multiple strobes. The fact that the two flashes can communicate via pulses of light and automatically determine their exposure so fast that you effectively can't tell the difference between their communication and the exposure burst in incredible. It's one of the most telling signs for me of exactly how fast computer chips can work and I'm sure the chips that make it work are an order of magnitude less powerful than what's in everyday personal computers. Right now, I've got two Canon flashes that I use in this setup with the master on the camera and a slave setup somewhere else in the room. One of the few drawbacks of the system is that when a flash is set to slave mode its auto-focus assist lamp blinks every second or so. This light is surprisingly bright, especially if it keeps hitting you in the eye from less than a few yards. It also creates an annoying blink on your subject if you happen to have it pointed directly at whatever you are shooting. You can pivot the flash head to try and get this to aim somewhere else, but in general it seems to always end up being a distraction. The good news is that it appears that you can cover the AF assist lamp and not affect the wireless operation. For example: Flash Mod It turns out that the wireless sensor is directly above the Canon mark. Also, to give you an idea of how bright the assist lamp is, the blue tape you see is actually two pieces of painters masking tape with a piece of black paper in between and if you look directly at the strobe you can still see the red blinking through it.It takes a little getting used to and the user interface for controlling the stobes leaves a lot to be desired, but if you spend a little time to get through the learning curve it's a great tool to add to the box.


Up to date photos

April 30, 2006

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While looking around for some packaging options, I can across DNL Photo. After a few clicks I got to this page. Me thinks they need to get some more recent sample photos.


Thermostat

April 30, 2006

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Just installed a programmable, digital thermostat in the house. With summer effectively here we'll see what type of difference it makes in the power bill. I keep the house at 75 degrees, but there is no need to keep it there while I'm gone. So, I'll let it up to 86 during the day while I'm gone (which is also when the difference in outside temperature is the highest). Should be interesting.


Digital Cameras - A Technical Marvel

April 29, 2006

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Today I shot my first completely digital wedding. I'm still shaking my head a little in disbelief. I'm on my second digital camera body, and have been quite pleased with it, but haven't really done much of anything professionally with it till today. I used to shoot weddings with a Hasselblad 500 C/M. That camera is completely mechanical and doesn't even have a battery. I'd use a handheld meter for exposure readings and an external flash that had its own sensor. I didn't have any 220 backs for the camera, just 120 so I would have to reload film every 12 shots. To contrast that with the 5D which has auto-focus that is faster than I could ever be with built in metering that's tied directly into the flash and 4GB memory cards that can hold ~250 shots. I know it's been said before, but offloading a lot of the more mechanical parts of an exposure to the technology really does make it easier to focus on the image. I've know this conceptually for a long time and have had some practical experience with it, but shooting a wedding REALLY made the contrast stand out for me. So, this is the future, huh? I'm liking it. An added bonus: I get to make lots of "Back when I was a young photographer…" comments.


Flash manual designed for digital cameras

April 29, 2006

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I found an amuzing item while reading through the manaul for my Canon Flash. There is a footnote that says: If the flash exposure confirmation lamp does not light, move closer to the subject and take the picture again. You can also increase the camera's ISO speed. Seems that Canon feels that if you are using a recent flash you are going to be using it on a digital camera. In the film days, in order to increase your ISO you had to switch rolls of film.


Content

April 26, 2006

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There are those times when you just feel good and for me, right now is one of them. After work I went out with a few fellow employees and played 9 holes on the Valley course which was pretty fun. But what really hit the spot was that I splurged and went to Outback and had an excellent dinner of Steak and a baked potatoe with a nice salad. Top that with three whiskey drinks that got me to that point of being really relaxed, but not quite buzzed and I was pretty well set. Then the ride home, the air was perfect having just rained a little so that each breath felt nice and clean and some good tunes. That's a really hard thing to beat.


Solar panels with holograms

April 26, 2006

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I think solar energy makes an incredible amount of sense. The prices aren't there yet, but they are getting closer. Technology Review has a peice up about a company that is starting production of Holographic Solar panels. I haven't figured out yet what a breaking price point is for me, but it's getting closer.


Lost

April 26, 2006

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I missed the first few episodes of Lost when it first started so I haven't watched it. I like seeing things in order and didn't want to jump in at the middle. So, now I've started from the beginning. I'm on like episode 10 now. It's a lot of fun. Not quite Galactica good, but it's way up there.


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