Archives for : photography

Summer 2011

Some pictures from last summer. As you can see I'm not the fastest guy to edit & publish pictures.

LED Ring testing, again

I modified my DIY LED ring so that I can use a 3S LiPo battery as the power source instead of the 9V battery I was using before. This gives me more light as a fully charged 3S LiPo has a typical voltage of 3x4.2V =12.6V. Testing confirmed that the light was much brighter with the new power source. Obviously I had to test the light so I took a couple of shots of my Access Music Virus TI Snow synth module.  

Dead Wasp Wallpaper + Updated Gallery

Two things. I've upgraded my blog to use the NextGEN Gallery plugin. This makes browsing through the pics a breeze. Note that this won't affect older posts, they'll still suck. But starting from this post things are getting better. Below you'll find a new wallpaper I did. The picture is taken on my back yard after heavy rain. This wasp had curled inside a crocs shoe for cover but had still perished. It looked so sad that I decided to take a picture of the thing and edit it a little bit. I changed the crocs from puprle to gray to pop out the wasp. I also used Lightroom's magic brush functionality to boost the brightness of the bee and fade out the background. This was a very quick'n'dirty sort of deal and I'm sure using real Photoshop I could have gotten a better result. But I don't have Photoshop and I LOVE Lightroom so this will have to do.


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Latte Art Part I

It has been a while since the last update so here goes. Below are some of my latte art attempts: a heart and a modified rosetta of sorts.

Walk in the Park II

We went to the same park again and I took some pictures. I took shots of flies and a spider. Oh and there is one "drop of water on a leaf" shot that is as big a cliché as I am.

Using LED rings for lighting

I recently bought some LED rings from Dealextreme and built a DIY LED ringlight with them. I attached two different rings to a CD case using hotglue. The CD case was made of translucent plastic so I sanded the cover plastic to give it a nice and smooth texture. This way the cover works as a sort of diffuser. I still need to cut a hole into the CD case to make it attachable to a cheap UV filter I also bought from Dealextreme. Another idea I got was that I should build two of these ring sets and find a way to attach them to some stiff but flexible "arms". That way I could achieve similar lighting possibilities that Canon's professional macro flash MT-24 EX offers. Anyway, even with just one ring you can achieve pretty good results. I took some photos of different toys: Turtles, Littlest Pet Shop figures and Luigi from Super Mario Kart. Pics below. I've edited these all slightly. I wanted to have rich and full colours so I increased the vibrance and saturation ever so slightly. It's amazing how much dust these things gather. You cannot see it with your naked eye under normal conditions but with a macro lens shot from a short distance the crap these things gather becomes obvious. Luigi really should wash his face more often! I removed the biggest dust particles using Lightroom's spot removal tool. I also used the tool to fix some spots that were missing paint in the toys. I power the LED ring with a 9V rechargeable NiMH battery but I have plans to add a connector for a 3-cell LiPo battery. This way I will get more voltage which will result in more brightness from the LEDs. I have yet to try this light when shooting insects. I'm not sure the intensity of the light is enough, at least not for fast moving insects. For stationary guys maybe, we'll see.

Walk in the park

I went for a little walk into the park with my family the other day and took some macro shots with my EF-S 60mm. I've got one photo of some sort of beetle that I do not recognize, one picture of a fly and a couple of shots of a hoverfly. Enjoy! All images are slightly edited in Lightroom. The most heavily manipulated is the fly shot. The fly is black so it did not reflect as much light back from the flash as the surroundings. I used the tone curves in Lightroom to tone down the yellow flower and lighten the dark fly. The details of the fly are more evident after this tweak. The rest of the pictures have basic after editing done to them: cropping, some exposure and color tuning and that's it.

Before / after

Out of popular demand I have done a few before/after pics from my HTC Desire set. I found it simplest to just take a good old fashioned print screen grab and copy paste that into, resize and upload - success!!!! The improvement to the corridor shot is clear. There is more contrast, fuller colours and an overall nicer feeling. For the zebra crossing at night shot I basically cut some of the information from the picture away by using the "blacks" slider in Lightroom. Yes - the sensor had captured information about the surroundings but they were so drowned in noise that I decided to throw that away. I also added a slight vignette effect, and croppping the black levels adds a kind of vignette to this picture as well, since all the light is at the center. For the Wiimote shot I wanted a warmer, even retro feeling. The LEDs are emitting very cold light - too cold. I didn't go for a perfectly realistic feeling either, I think the Wiimote is not as creamy in shade in real life. But I wanted to have a warm, fuzzy and a little bit retro-ish mood and I think I succeeded in that with this picture.

Photography on HTC Desire

My first post will be about trying to get decent photos with a crappy camera. I have an HTC Desire phone, which has a 5mpix camera with a very crappy sensor. For some reason, I have an obsession to try and capture decent-ish photos with it, even though I could just as well use my EOS500D. Well, of course I don't always carry that around. The pictures were taken without using the on-board flash, because that one sucks big time. Almost every picture is heavily edited in Adobe Lightroom 3 to liven them up a bit. Let's start looking what I've managed to do with this camera.

The above shots are taken at night, as you can see. I was coming home from a bar after having a few beers with a friend. As you know, the best art is often created while under the influence of some mind-expanding substances. The noise in these images is horrendous, I tried to remove it best I could with lightroom without destroying the details. The colours and lighting has also been tweaked to provide more sensory satisfaction. Not great images, but decent, I think. The next photo is a normal / boring rooftop + some flagpoles against a beautiful autumn sky. Here the Desire fares better because there is more light. The original photo had dull colours and bland contrast so I touched this up a bit in Lightroom. Then I wanted to test if the sensor can perform in conditions where there is ample light available. So I took my DIY LED ringlight and started shooting. I think these are pretty good results. It is quite obvious really, since there is now adequate light for the sensor to do its thing. I will post some more LED lit photos in the near future. Those are shot with EOS500D and the results are even more impressive naturally. Looking back at this set of images, one thing is very clear: the sensor on the Desire sucks. Still, with persistence and a little after-editing it is perfectly possible to get decent pictures with the on-board camera. They're no good for print, but especially in small size they can look good. This is especially the case with the night shots. They are useless in full size, but ok in thumbnail size. Until next time, then.