Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy US Thanksgiving! I said to my US friends. And to the vast number of young turkeys who were orphaned today, "I'm sorry for your loss". LOL


I want to give a shout out about one of my favourite accessories, the TriggerTrap Mobile kit. Sometimes you find a device or an app that's brilliant, and this is one of those. I've supplemented my remote triggering devices for my DSLR with their kit. It gets around any and all limitations the camera has, and it makes it dead easy to do timelapses, star trails, even simple self-timer and remote shutter actuation.

This is exactly how I use it on my camera (although this isn't my photo, it comes from TriggerTrap. I would need an extra camera to get this picture and I can't even use my iPhone if it's in the picture!). I control my camera through my iPhone. 

If you go to the TriggerTrap site, you'll find out that the unit has two parts: the one that connects to the phone through the audio port, and the end that connects to the camera. Just tell them which camera you have and it will tell you which version you need. I'm not going to give you all the details, because their website is wonderful and they tell it better than I do. Here's a tip: click on "Inspiration" at the top of their screen for some great tips and tricks! (or just click here to go there directly).

Now here's two tips of my own:
  • TriggerTrap cannot access the Apple iPhone screen brightness or switch it off. So to conserve battery, I turn the brightness all the way down when I'm ready to start. Problem is, even with it turned down, I run out of iPhone battery after about an hour and a half. I have ordered an external battery pack for the phone (like $6.49 on eBay from the Far East...). You'll need it if you want to do long timelapses.
Oh, and you might want to throw a hat over the phone to prevent its light from invading your images. Don't forget to cover your viewfinder. 
  • I was having trouble figuring out where to put the phone, I didn't think letting it dangle off the tripod was a great idea. So I went on eBay and within moments, I found a mount, much like the one in the picture above, that fits in the hotshoe on the camera. Ex- Hong Kong or China, shipping included, it sells for the princely sum of $0.99. 'nuff said?
Anyway, it's a great product, very reasonably priced, and I don't hesitate to recommend it to all my faithful readers. By the way, they're offering free shipping worldwide until the end of 2015. Here's the link again.

One more shout out to 3LeggedThing

My replacement tripod leg arrived yesterday. "Brian" is now walking on his own three legs! In case you're new around here, the back story is that I had tripped and almost fallen down on winter ice, saved only by my superb carbon fibre tripod. It's strong (weighs in at only around 1.3kg including the ball head) but is not really designed to support 270 lbs (8 kg or 17 lbs rating). I bent a couple of leg sections that made it hard to collapse. Still worked, though!

Anyway, too long a story. Cut to the chase: 3LT sent me replacement parts at no charge even though I wanted to pay them. But in the end, although we did everything we could, we couldn't save the leg. So they just sent me a new one. Free. Am I getting special treatment because I write about them? No, I don't think so. They are just 110% committed to their customers. You can see this attitude if you watch this little video on their website. They're as off-the-wall as it implies.

Anyway, pay them a visit. You'll be impressed.

PS: They just announced pre-orders are open for the new Trey Ratcliff/Peak Designs Everyday Messenger bag. Not cheap but this looks like a perfect product and you get what you pay for. Check it out in their USA store.

A quickie from Topaz Labs

It's Black Friday time. You know what that means!

Topaz Labs just announced a BLACK FRIDAY sale: 50% off the whole package. If you already have some of the apps, you can get 50% off an upgrade, between November 25 and November 30. Use this link to get to the Topaz site: and enter "BLACKFRIDAY2015" in the coupon field at checkout. Note: their newer products require some graphics horsepower to run. You should download the free trial to make sure it works before committing. But get it all done before the 30th if you want the discount!

Picture Time!

I'll start with this one:

Last time I posted the original of this picture. I've had a chance to work on it, using Impression and the new Texture Effects and I have to say I'm really quite satisfied with how it turned out. I can picture it as a large scale canvas print. Hope you like it too!

The camera club went out and shot "steel wool" the other night. For those who don't know what it is, you set fire to a ball of ultra-fine steel wool and swing it around on the end of a tether while doing a time exposure. Thanks to Mike Hamilton for being the "swinger"! We had a turnout of about 10 club members and EVERYONE got outstanding images. Here are a few examples:

Mike stood on top of the stone fountain at Head Lake Park in Haliburton. When I looked up, the moon peeked out from behind the clouds and I got this shot of him silhouetted against the moon, before he started to light the steelwool. This needs to be made into a real painting, it's my first project when next I pick up my brushes and oil paints! Blow it up fullscreen.

After he lit it, from the same location. By the way, I really wanted to shoot this with the wide angle lens from this distance, which put me in Kathy's field of view, for which I apologize. She actually got some good pictures with me in the falling flames: I said it adds to the image!  

Out on the flat lawn area, this picture looks like a giant umbrella of flame. 

And my favourite one, you know me, I have to mess with them in post-processing! and it burns, burns, burns...

A whole bunch of painted effects were used to achieve this impressionistic oil painted look. I used Photoshop, Nik HDR Efex, Impression and Texture Effects and more!

I have some great news on an upcoming project, which I should be able to reveal next week, and some pictures of a very different subject, keep an eye out for the next blog posting!

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