Photography Contest

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Here's a couple of small packs I recommended. When I just want to carry the bare minimum, my lightweight bag is a Lowepro Fastpack 100. I chose this one, because I hate the single sling setups. With the sling, there's just too much weight on one shoulder. Using the double straps evens out the weight. The really simple design also doesn't scream 'Look I have a camera in here'. I'm able to fit a Canon DSLR with a 24-70mm in the bottom area and another lens in the top part. Plenty of space for media cards, lens cleaners, and filters. If you're shooting with smaller cameras, there's more than enough room in the 100, but of course there's larger versions available too.

Lowepro Fastpack 100Fastpack 100 DSLR Bag
find-price-button Lowepro Fastpack 100 DSLR BackPack

The Fastpack 100 is a great small pack (I actually have two), but the Flipside versions from LowePro are just a bit larger and the next step up to being able to hold a Tripod and a long lens. It's called the Flipside because of the way you gain access to the gear which is both functional for keeping things out of the dirt, and safer from pick pocketing sticky fingered thieves. If you need to hold a Tripod, carry longer lenses, or external Flashes, the Flipside 200 would be a good start. There's also larger versions of the Flipside available too.

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find-price-button Lowepro Flipside 200 Backpack (Black)

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Not sure how many of you are following the 'Human Planet' television series, but it's something to look into. It's already pretty amazing what types of environments these film makers have to endure, but then at the end of the segment they always show some type of BTS of how they pulled off some of their camera movements. In one episode they showed how they setup a CableCam system to follow a man crossing over a turbulent river.

So now i'm interested in seeing if I can pull one DIY version off with a GH2 or at least a tiny version for a GoPro (you know just in case I run into a situation where i'm shooting over a turbulent river too). If you've got ideas for the best way to go about this, i'd like to see what you come up with. Here's a few interesting videos below on some motorized remote systems with pan heads.

Here's one below from Vimeo Member Photoship One, same guys who offer Helicopter mounted camera systems. Heck, if their version can support a GH2, I think it would do well in the market. On another note, with a motorized CableCam, has anyone attempted a motion control CableCam for super long TimeLapse?

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radio-popper-system

If you missed the announcement, RadioPopper is holding a 'video' contest. RadioPopper makes some super fast wireless flash triggers, and some that maintain communication between the camera & flash without line of sight requirements. With that communication they are one of the rare triggers to support High Speed Sync wirelessly. Don't worry, the contest is not a difficult one where you need to show off award winning Photography skills. Just 30 seconds of showing or explaining your best photography lighting tips. They mention you can do this right from your basic webcam if needed. Since I have several RadioPopper PX's myself, I think i'll have to join in on this one. You can find more information at the link: http://www.radiopopper.com/contest

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diy-pvc-flash-adapter

Hal Robertson is at it again. Here's a simple, cheap, but extremely effective way to get a more diffused and powerful flash while staying portable. Using mainly PVC parts to assemble this cross shaped mount, it hold three individual camera Flashes. You can find more detailed photos at the Flickr page here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/47152462@N02/5201859448/in/set-72157625453539100/

DIY-PVC-Triple-Flash-Adapterpvc-triple-flash-adapter

Why would you want so many flashes in one umbrella? There's a bunch of good reasons why. First, you're harnessing much more power in a small lightweight package. In order to get more power on location with real studio strobes, that normally means carrying a heavy battery. Secondly, instead of firing one flash at full power, you would fire three flashes at a lower power so that your recycle times are much much faster. Third and probably most important for some high shutter shooters out there is the ability to use HSS. Most studio strobes can't support the bursts of HSS to sync at just about any shutter speed. When using HSS, you can fire the flash at almost any shutter speed but this will reduce it's power output. By adding up three flashes, you'll be able to support HSS while still giving plenty of light spread to your subject. [Thanks Hal]

In order to make mounting easier and still support some tilt action for light position, you'll need a tilt mount. Normally these things run between 30-40 dollars, but here's one I tracked down for about 10 bucks.
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find-price-button Positionable Tilt Umbrella Adapter Flash Photography

Don't forget you'll need some of them little Flash Shoe Adapters too which are dirt cheap.
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find-price-button Cold Hot Flash Shoe Adapters

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pdn-the-shot-contest

A few more days before the entry deadline, but should be enough time to catch a single photo. PDN presents 'The Shot' sports photography contest. Both Amateur and Pro categories from on the court, on the water, to on the field, and more. Who knows, maybe taking photos at your kids soccer or basketball game might land you some winnings. More details over at the link: http://www.pdntheshot.com/index.shtml

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There was a time when many said DSLR cameras with video capabilities wouldn't make much sense, but look where we are today. Now we're starting to see point and shoot cameras offering more into HD video features, but it's still nothing to get too excited about. Point and shoot cameras with HD Video still aren't quite at a level to make any filmmaker go nuts - but then again there are guys spending big bucks shooting short movies and music videos through an iPhone. Here's three cameras that have already made it as winners in this years popularity contest, but should be even more popular during the holidays. If you're like me, and you've got friends asking you about what new camera they should be getting into, keep an eye out for the Canon S95, Canon G12, and Nikon P7000.


Canon Powershot S95 Images

I'll dive into some fun novelty features that these cameras have built in on a different post, but for now a quick highlight of the external hardware and basic features. The Canon S95 is an improvement over the already popular S90. Many settings can be controlled manually like shutter, aperture, ISO, and white balance. For photos, the S95 can also shoot in RAW which will give you more dynamic range to edit images in post. A friend of mine recently took the Canon Powershot S95 on vacation and found the camera's ability to take such nice pictures in it's auto settings, there was no need to shoot in RAW and edit later. For serious photographers, the manual settings and RAW photo options are great features in a pocketable Point and Shoot camera. All three cameras use SDHC media cards for storage and are HD video capable @720 24fps with HDMI out as well as a port for USB AV out.


Canon Powershot G12 Images

Unlike the other two larger cameras, the Canon S95 does not have a hotshoe option and very little analog dials / buttons to manually change camera settings. If you're willing to carry a slightly larger camera, the Canon G12 and Nikon P7000 will get you closer to that DSLR feeling. These camera have several dials and buttons dedicated to quickly change camera settings. On the Canon G12 there's a single dial dedicated to ISO, and a single dial dedicated for Exposure compensation. Another dial controls the main menu for AV, TV, Video, and one more jog dial on the back controls the shutter speed. It's not in familiar places, but with short time you'll master these controls.

Comparing the Canon G12 and Nikon P7000, the Canon can accept a remote shutter. The Nikon P7000 does not have a port for this. For travelers who want to fire the camera remotely, or control it via Intervalometer (timer remote) for some nice Timelapse photography or to trigger for HDR bracketing, the Canon G12 would be the better camera. FYI - The remote does not start video mode. Also take note, the Canon G12 uses the same connection as the T2i or Canon 60D. The intervalometer shown is one I use for the larger DSLR's found here: http://cheesycam.com/canon-60d-timer-remote-timelapse/


Nikon Coolpix P7000 Images

For video mode, the Nikon P7000 does have an external Mic input. That's a very nice surprise for someone that is planning to do more video work than photos on this smaller camera. I can see myself mounting an LED video light and a good external microphone to enhance the whole video experience. Perhaps a tiny camera cage stabilizer would make it even more fun to take around events. One super huge advantage Canon has is that this type of camera has existed for many many years. Many adapters, lenses, and accessories have been designed for earlier G10 & G11 bodies, which is still compatible to the G12. You can find some additional Telephoto adapters, Macro Filters, and Wide angle lenses for the Canon G12 here: Canon G10, G11, and G12 Adapter, Lenses, and Filters
Even the Canon OEM waterproof housing for the G11 is compatible with the G12. This already makes for a perfect underwater HD video camera on the cheap. Special wide angle lenses, fisheyes, and step up Macro filters are widely available through Canon and aftermarket companies. Since this is something new for Nikon, I can't even locate the lens adapter for the P7000 yet. Hopefully we'll start seeing some new accessories for the P7000 by end of year to further expand it's usability.

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Nikon P7000 with Ikan Fly Kit, Rode VM, and Z96 LED Light

Since the Nikon P7000 has a 3.5mm input for an external Microphone, I quickly threw on my Rode VideoMic. Next I mounted it to the Ikan FlyKit DSLR Stabilizer (I'll get to that later). With a Flexible Power Arm, I also mounted the Z96 LED video light. I have nothing interesting to record right now, but testing it out, everything works great and the image stabilization in the Nikon performed well. I'm not sure if there's a way to set the video to 'manual' mode but I did notice some exposure changes in the video while running around. I'll have more stuff to show on the Ikan FlyKit DSLR Stabilizer soon.

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IKan Elements Fly Pack DSLR Kit

I know people will be looking for information about these popular cameras during the coming holidays, so i'll have more information to come. There's a ton of things I haven't covered like built in ND filters, Hybrid Image Stabilization, registering Custom Settings, built in Effects like Fisheye and Miniature Filters, built in HDR Processing, and much much more. I'll try to get it to it soon, but there's more technical specs at the product pages below. Showing right to left Canon S95, Canon G12, and Nikon P7000.

canon-powershot-s95 canon-powershot-g12 Nikon_Coolpix_P7000

Click for Product Information & Pricing

6 Comments

Wow, I was just talking about the SpiderTrax Dolly in my last post, but then received an email from SpiderTrax Dolly user 'Luke' with a link to his awesome BTS video. These guys are crazy! Looks like they ran a custom long track for some super long slider shots. Something you're not going to be able to do with a standard camera Slider. They also showcased some very cool rotational shots on the gym floor, again something you can't do with a standard slider. Other BTS footage includes the use in a wedding, tutorial videos, and more. This is a great video really showcasing the versatility of this product, and c'mon you can't beat the price! I have a feeling this video is going to sell out the first run of these SpiderTrax dollies, so if you don't have one, now is your chance. Visit: PhotographyandCinema.com

Thanks Luke, great job! More information about Luke and the rest of the team that put together some creative video footage can be found on the YouTube description over here.

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Wow, i'm excited to see what will go down with this year's 48 Hour Film project. With all the new DSLR's capable of Cinematic footage, and the affordable T2i recently released, this should be an interesting year of Films being created for the 48 Hour film project. Anyone planning on shooting this year? More information about the project, following this link.

From the website:
The 48 Hour Film Project comes to San Jose on the weekend of August 13th. Filmmakers from all over the Bay area will compete to see who can make the best short film in only 48 hours. The winning film will go up against films from around the world.

The 48 Hour Film Project is a wild and sleepless weekend in which you and a team make a movie—write, shoot, edit and score it—in just 48 hours.

On Friday night, you get a character, a prop, a line of dialogue and a genre, all to include in your movie. 48 hours later, the movie must be complete. Then it will show at a local theater, usually in the next week.

In 2009, nearly 40,000 filmmakers made 3,000 films in in 76 cities. This year, we're even bigger, with filmmakers around the world taking the challenge to make a film in just 48 hours.