The Digislider Has Arrived!

The Digislider Has Arrived!

13

MAY, 2013

The latest trend in Time-lapse photography is to have the camera in motion while shooting. To accomplish this the camera needs to be mounted on a track for a perfect linear motion moved using a pulley system connected to a variable slow moving motor that shifts the camera very slowly from one end of the Track to the other adding a nice parallax effect.

At long last I have acquired a piece of equipment that I have been yearning to buy for quite a while now. Having experimented a little more recently with Timelapse Photography I realized that without a slider a little bit of dynamic is missing in the films. That’s where the Digislider comes in. Normally such a piece of kit is pretty expensive but from the England based company the complete setup with a high torque motor & controller is available for around €650. A bargain as it turned out as the build quality is super.

On the left, the manual winder and on the right the motor with controller.

Photograph by Douglas Stevens Photoviewz

Ordering the slider from Digisliders website is a breeze, you just have to round up that what you need as individual components & add these to the shopping cart. Three days later, my parcel, a long Cylinder was delivered & after unpacking everything I realized that I was going to have fun building this thing. If you haven’t the time or patience for this then I’m afraid you will have to bite into the sour apple and go for something more expensive that is ready to use. In any case it took me 2 hours to assemble the many small parts into something resembling the original product. I was in luck, everything fitted & I even used every piece that had been supplied without having anything left over :-)

The only disadvantage is…..weight and bulkiness, it should fit in the suitcase though.

Photograph by Douglas Stevens Photoviewz

“Three days later, my parcel, a long Cylinder was delivered & after unpacking everything I realized that I was going to have fun building this thing.”

As I was finished & quite proud of my own handwork I was itching to try it out & mounted the Digislider to my Gitzo 3540XLS tripod & mounted my older, much used but trusted D300 to the carriage. I then ventured into the garden & after finding a spot on the patio with the complete length of the garden in the viewfinder I positioned one of our garden chairs to the side with the back rest protruding into my composition from the right at a distance of around 1,5m. I set the camera to Manual exposure, focussing & white balance with an Aperture of f2,8 & a shutter speed of 1/40th. Next I programmed the camera over its menu a timelapse of indefinite duration with a shot every 5 seconds. The controller was set to move, stop, shoot, move 2mm every 3 seconds. Using f2,8 & placing the chair close by results in a nice depth of field look with the chair nice & soft out of focus & the garden itself sharp as a knife.

I can’t wait to test this on holiday somewhere interesting.

Photograph by Douglas Stevens Photoviewz

So much for the theory, time for the practice. After a programmed 2 minute preparation pause the camera started shooting automatically & through the cable connection between the camera & controller once an exposure had been made the carriage moves automatically 5mm further & took the next shot. After 20 minutes waiting time & approx 400 shots in RAW format the camera has travelled the complete rail distance of 75cm. My first test worked just fine, even my wife was impressed.

The second piece of luck came the following day in form of a beautiful blue sky with some lovely fluffy clouds. The evening before I went out for a short bike ride and discovered a field full of blooming Sunflowers, the ideal setting for a timelapse film. The following afternoon I gathered my equipment at home, putting the Digislider into a very useful tripod bag from Manfrotto & proceeded with my bike to the Sunflower field. The sun was behind me which made everything perfect. I did two different sequences & within this time I got quite a sunburnt neck from the sun but it was good to be outside in the fresh air doing my thing with my new toy.

For those of you interested in the product, here is the link to the Digislider Website: http://www.digislider.co.uk/

Have fun.

Portfolio Index

Complete overview to all categories of my portfolio.

Journal

A chronicle of places I have visited & documented with word & picture in recent years.

About

Me, my gear, inspiration & answers to frequent questions.

Blog

Putting pictures into words.

Not To Be Underestimated, The Price Of Travel Photography

Not To Be Underestimated, The Price Of Travel Photography

19

JANUARY, 2013

He who wants the best quality photographic results has to endure lugging a big rucksack or case around full of a that essential equipment. I do try to reduce the weight wherever possible but at the end of the day I just end up saving on my clothing. The cost of such DSLR equipment is also heavy, not to mention the travelling aspect, insurance, admission fees, food, accommodation plus the energy one spends once there.

Hi folks, it’s been a while since my last offering but time just flies & leaves little time for blogging in recent times. As you might have noticed, the diary from my America trip has been pretty much neglected. I hope to correct this at some stage this year but now I’m set for my next trip. This time I’m off to sunny Dubai in the United Arab Emirates in February to escape the German winter for a week.

The reason for the title of this article is to demonstrate the typical run of things before a trip materialises into reality. Just as I thought I had everything that one needs in the form of photographic equipment my thoughts for the new year were to spend more time on travelling & less, a lot less on equipment. Shortly after Christmas I decided it would make a change to fly somewhere in winter where it is warm. I decided on a week in Dubai. Why Dubai I hear you ask? Well, for a number of reasons, first of all I didn’t want to fly too far as it is only a short break lasting a week. Another reason is that Dubai is one of if not the most exciting city worldwide at present in terms of photographic possibilities. Dubai has an ultra modern skyline, many fascinating architectural highlights, a lot of luxury too but also cultural aspects that are very stimulating for the travel photographer.

There is a saying that the most difficult part of travelling is just going. This is only partly true, I think probably most of us want to travel but are too comfortable at home, playing games on the computer, sitting in front of the TV watching what others do, basically trying to escape the normal daily things & it is easier to go out to the disco or cinema or meet friends. I too am guilty of this at times but another drawback keeps one from not travelling….the expense. Although it isn’t so expensive to book a flight these days to somewhere exotic, this is just the first of a chain of expenses that most people don’t realize in advance. If you are like myself & travel independently to experience the many facets of a country in your face then there are added expenses of inland trips with planes, rental cars, buses & rail. Being a photographer you need to take the best equipment money can buy to document every event in the best possible quality. This can become a very expensive hobby as in my case.

I have just upgraded from the Nikon D700, a beautiful piece of kit to the D800 which in my opinion is a Landscape photographers dream come true. High resolution, high dynamic range, professional filming features & a super noise reduction that makes taking pictures in low light a pleasure. Add to this a set of professional Nikon lenses suited to FX cameras plus a second body, the trusty D700 & numerous accessories including batteries, carbon tripod, ball head, cable release, flash, CF cards, filters, pano head, etc, etc then you can imagine that not only is this hobby expensive but you also need to have a strong back to carry this stuff around.

After booking a trip you realize that you need this & that, things that you missed on your last trip, weight savers, efficiency improvements, things that you need specifically for certain trips & situations. Add to this as in my case with Dubai a flight over the city in a helicopter or light aircraft, plus entry costs to museums or attractions then it sums up to a hefty sum. Not that I’m complaining, on the contrary, you get what you pay for normally.

Last year I realized a dream in travelling around the South West of America three weeks long, a fantastic journey with many positive experiences meeting many interesting personalities along the way. Two days before flying home my laptop broke down in Las Vegas. Thank God I had backed up all files onto two external hard-drives, none the less a real bummer, something like this had never happened before.

This time around flying to Dubai I have a problem, no laptop, shit! CF cards are cheap but for the amount of data that I will be shooting with the D800 I would need to buy at least 10x32GB and that is still more expensive than a new Netbook. I would like to travel without a laptop, they are heavy & cumbersome, need a big AC adaptor, a mouse, plus the two external hard-drives. I decided that this time an external photo backup would be the answer, CF card from camera direct to the device backed up onto the device within minutes, thus saving buying extra CF cards. Of course such a device isn’t cheap but practical & weight saving, hopefully also reliable. There we have it, as soon as the trip has been booked extra expenses appear for equipment & this is something that will always happen I presume.

It sounds quite negative what I am describing here I know, I just want to point out that those who want to follow in my footsteps into the most interesting, exciting, fulfilling hobby that anyone can imagine, that this too has it’s hurdles. Travel photography sounds very romantic, everyday a new destination, new acquaintances, new experiences, super imagery & this is all true but hauling up to 8kg of camera equipment around with you all day & now & again drawbacks due to delayed flights, hidden costs, bad weather & failing equipment makes this almost like a freelance job without payment.

But who cares, the rewards are of greater value & you only live once, enjoy.

Portfolio Index

Complete overview to all categories of my portfolio.

Journal

A chronicle of places I have visited & documented with word & picture in recent years.

About

Me, my gear, inspiration & answers to frequent questions.

Blog

Putting pictures into words.

Is That A D700?

Is That A D700?

17

FEBRUARY, 2011

Photography can be a very expensive pastime especially if you always want to have the best equipment available. I have no gripes with that but where it tends to nerve me is when people are convinced that expensive kit automatically ensures perfect pictures. This depends of course on what one sees as being a perfect picture. The techno nerd will tell you that a low grain, extra sharp picture without vignetting & chromatic aberrations is the bees knees whereas I as creative nerd will tell you that it is no use having the perfect technical solution if the image itself is crap. Yes, crap! No emotion, bad composition &/or badly exposed. I would rather have these qualities with grain & slight blurriness if the picture itself communicates something special.

It is indeed. Why is it that so many people are more interested which model or make it is rather than ask questions about techniques or composition of the picture you are about to take? Of course without good equipment there is little chance of good quality pictures but I have seen enough photographers that spend so much money on cameras and lenses plus travel to all those exotic places that this planet has to offer but the pictures are to put it mildly…..crap! Why is this so? It could be the case that we think that with the best equipment that money can buy our pictures will be much better. Technically speaking, they should be. With a DSLR and a good lens the quality what noise, sharpness and the like are concerned is impressive but if you have no idea how to compose an object properly or be wary of light situations around you then the end product will be sharp and free of noise but the image content will leave your audience cold.

For me photography opens possibilities to get outside, visit places, meet people, experience real life situations that I can’t when I’m strapped to my chair in the office forty to fifty hours a week. I’m almost a normal human being on Saturday and Sunday. My wife would disagree with this for the simple fact that in her eyes nobody is normal that gets up on a Sunday morning at half six to drive 60 miles by minus temperatures to take pictures of a possible sunrise on some Bavarian lake or mountain. For me it’s a passion and not a burden. I feel privileged to live in such an area of natural beauty. I am thankful of having a bit of talent seeing things differently to others and I am glad that at least to a certain degree I can afford to realise some of these visual dreams now and again.

Photography has many facets, one of them certainly being the constant change in technology but unfortunately higher camera model numbers and expensively priced lenses seem to be that what most of us interpret as being the secret to good photography. Everyone has to make his or her own experiences I suppose. I must also admit that my equipment has dramatically improved over the years because of my constant search for the best possible quality in my pictures, but this search has cost me a lot of money and I am still looking for that perfect camera bag content. Moose Peterson has probably the nearest I have seen for a while
http://www.moosepeterson.com/blog/?cat=1

This sort of equipment is only realistic through tough saving and real dedication to a hobby or through working as a photographer for a living.
I take around 30-40,000 pictures a year, how many does the average holiday photographer take, 2-3000 a year? Practice makes perfect as they say. Before going out there with the bicycle, car or train, think of the numerous possibilities you have within walking distance of your own four walls. Details, macro shots within the own four walls in winter to keep your hand in. Winter is processing time and time to save money for the oncoming trips in spring and summer.
Photography as a hobby is about making the most of what you have until it makes sense to update to better gear. There are Photographers that only ever use one lens their entire lives, so there is no hurry ;-). Ask yourself this question; “How much time do I spend looking for equipment and how much time do I spend actually taking photos?” Be honest with yourselves. This is an appropriate question before updating from a compact camera to a DSLR and interchangeable lenses costing thousands of Euros for example.

Photography as a career is about having to have the best equipment money can buy to survive, producing the best possible results with the least amount of hassle. To be a pro you need durable, reliable equipment for travel and on the location. Lenses that exceed the budget of every hobby tog are normal tools of the trade, but even here not many so called “Pros” earn enough money through their equipment. They earn their money from daily practice at looking at the world and documenting it in many, many pictures. A good pro never spends much time looking for equipment, a good pro is out looking for pictures.

Portfolio Index

Complete overview to all categories of my portfolio.

Journal

A chronicle of places I have visited & documented with word & picture in recent years.

About

Me, my gear, inspiration & answers to frequent questions.

Blog

Putting pictures into words.

Translate »