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Tech Podcast Network
Saturday
May162009

Photowalk 70 - A Bad Case Of Wind

Last night I grabbed my Canon EOS 350d / Digital Rebel XT dSLR, jumped into the car and did a quick run to the beach, then back up towards Portsdown Hill with an eye towards a motorway shot and perhaps a pano.

However, the wind was blowing, the light was disappearing fast, and I didn't have much time...

Stokes Bay, Looking East
Stokes Bay, Looking East


There's two main beaches in Gosport - the more developed, touristy Lee-On-Solent, and my favourite, the much emptier Stokes Bay. No sand on either I'm afraid, but they both look across the Solent and can be the location for some great shots.

In the above photograph I'm looking away from the sunset - I saw the interesting clouds, and the stone slabs for foreground interest, set up my tripod and shot a 3 bracketed exposure burst for a Photomatix HDR in post processing.

Stokes Bay Looking West
Stokes Bay Looking West


I turned around and shot towards the Sunset. The light wasn't great, with little real contrast in the sky, so again I went for a bracketed exposure to turn into a HDR. Shooting "stony" beaches is always a bit dodgy, and this photo could do with some foreground interest, plus the top of the sky is pretty empty.

Portsmouth Harbour From Portsdown Hill
Portsmouth Harbour From Portsdown Hill


After visiting Stokes Bay, I headed back away from Gosport, through Fareham, and up onto Portsdown Hill, to take a photo looking down onto Portsmouth Harbour. The wind was blowing hard, so my tripod again got some use.

It looks ok large, but if you look at the original, it's very soft. Needs re-visiting!

M27 Looking West
M27 Looking West


Determined to have a crack at this months photo assignment on long exposures, I parked up near to a motorway bridge, and set my tripod and camera up near the edge. My technique was simple - I just set my ISO low, then closed down the aperture to really limit the amount of light entering the camera, shooting in Aperture Priority Mode. I think I ended up with about a 13 second exposure - and I just turned the shutter delay on, and took a few shots.

What I didn't take into account was the wind, and how wobbly my £6.99 Asda Tripod is with a heavier dSLR on it.... You can see how bad it was all moving by the light trails, which are really jagged!

Anyway, it was good piece of practice, and as I'm writing this I'm listening to Martin Bailey's latest podcast, which is all about taking great long exposure shots, so hopefully I'll get some inspiration for better shots, but I wanted to include this one in my stream to share my learning's.

Cheers, Rob.
Tuesday
May122009

Win A Panasonic Camera / Camcorder (US Only)

For my cousins over the pond in the colonies, a new site dedicated to everything HD, both video and photography, could be of interest.

Livinginhd.com has a nice mix of social networking, galleries, tutorials and loads of other stuff that I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of, but it looks like a great resource for anybody who's into HD quality video (and some photography too).

"What about the free cameras!" I hear you shout! Well, Panasonic are giving away a camera everyday, until the end of May, to members of LivinginHD, so all you've got to do is head on over, sign up, create a profile, and enter the competition every day. Unfortunately the rules say it's US only, but I've uploaded some images and will post a few articles anyway.

Good Luck!

Cheers, Rob.
Monday
May112009

A Couple More Evening Shots From The 350d / Rebel XT

Went out last night and grabbed some photographs, but I have to admit I was in a rush, so they're hand-held and a little soft.

The first is a b&w HDR (processed with Photomatix, then Photoshop), and I'm getting used to how the Canon EOS 350d / Rebel XT exposure-brackets. What you do is set the amount of bracketing in the menu's, then depending on the shooting mode you're in, it'll react in different ways.

If you're in single shot mode, you press the shutter button, take the correctly exposed photo, then press the shutter button again to take the under-exposed, then again to do the over-exposed shot. If you're in drive or burst mode, just hold down the shutter button and it'll take three bracketed shots in quick succession. If you use the shutter delay or remote, it also takes all three shots in a row. Phew!

Anyway, here they are:

Retirement Flats At Lee-On-Solent
Retirement Flats At Lee-On-Solent


Lee On Solent Sunset Towards Southampton
Lee On Solent Sunset Towards Southampton


Cheers, Rob.
Sunday
May102009

SCL Photo Podcast 44: White Ballance 

SCL PodcastJust a quick one this week, altering your cameras "White Ballance" as a technique to practice.

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Our Flickr Group.

Cheers, Rob.
Friday
May082009

Adding Your Details To The Exif Data - Canon EOS 350d / Digital Rebel XT

Imagine my surprise when I was checking what shutter speed I took some photographs at, when I discovered that someone else's name was listed in the exif data!

Obviously this person was the last owner (and I think I've found his blog, which is cool), but I need my name and details there, and I was actually quite pleased that the camera could do this, I thought it was only a feature of high-end models, or something you had to add in Photoshop or Light-room.

First up, exif data explained. Exif data is all this extra stuff that gets stored within your photo at the time you took it. Shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, focal length, etc. Take a look at the "more properties" link the next time you're looking at a photo on Flickr. It's useful for reminding you how you got that particular look (or the mistakes you might have made), but it's better for checking other peoples shots on flickr - you can see what camera they used, what aperture, what shutter speed, ISO, focal length etc. Very useful.

Apart from water-marking your photo's for the web, another way of protecting them (and proving they're yours) is to add your details to the exif data. It can be stripped out of course, but most people who just grab photo's from the web to use on their own sites won't bother, so you can simply point out to them that it is yours, and if they check the exif you can prove it.

As I've said, you can add extra stuff into the exif data with software - the most common thing is GPS coordinates, but we all should be adding our details to our photographs, but to be honest I haven't bothered in the past, but if canon digital cameras, like the 350d / Rebel XT can do it automatically, at point of capture, why not give it a go?

A quick search of the web, and I found out how. First up you'll have to find the discs that came with your camera, and find the CD that has Zoombrowser EX on it. Install that piece of software from the options screen (use custom install), connect your 350d / Rebel XT to your computer with the USB lead, turn it on, fire the software up, and click on the "Acquire & Camera Settings", then the "Remote Shooting" option from the drop-down menu:

350d_exif_1



Next up, click the "Set To Camera" tab, then "Confirms / changes camera settings":

350d_exif_2



Finally we just put our details in, click "Apply" and "OK":

350d_exif_3



So from now on, whenever I take a photo, my camera automatically stamps my name and contact details into the exif data, without having to run any extra software. How great is that!

Cheers, Rob.