The Selfie Stick

Selfie Stick

Behold, the Selfie Stick!

The very name conjures up the worst in narcissistic tendencies. Selfies are bad enough, but to have gear specific for the purpose is even worse. However, I’m here to defend the Selfie Stick, not as a narcissist’s assistant (I wanted to see how many S’s I could get in this sentence), but as an essential tool in my photo bag. Continue reading “The Selfie Stick”

A Panoply of Cameras

Panoply of Cameras
A Panoply of Cameras

Sometime before Christmas I was doing some straightening around the house and I kept stumbling on cameras that were out of place. Some are ones I’m currently using, and some are vintage cameras we keep for nostalgia. I began to wonder exactly how many imaging devices I have in the house. In addition to the obvious cameras, there are webcams, tablets, computers, and just about any phone we’ve purchased in the last decade. That’s a heck of a lot of cameras. I decided to gather as many as I could an create a panoply of cameras for one grand photograph.

This post tells two stories. The first is the story of the an image. The second is an idea for series of future blog posts that the image engendered. Continue reading “A Panoply of Cameras”

Fake GoPros – Buyer Beware

Fake GoPro

Before Christmas I wrote a post with some things to consider if you wanted a GoPro. There are some other options out there. With the success of the GoPro, other companies are putting forth their point of view cameras. And, of course, with the success of GoPro come the imitators. There are lots of fakes and look-alikes on the market. Some of these look good – others, not so much. Continue reading “Fake GoPros – Buyer Beware”

So You’re Considering a GoPro

GoPro Hero 3 Black
GoPro Hero 3 Black

This morning I got a message from a friend considering a GoPro camera as a Christmas present. Since I’ve gotten that question several times, I decided to put together a blog post with what I’ve been telling folks who might be thinking about getting one, either for themselves or as a present.

I’ll state up front that I love my GoPro, but sometimes it’s a love-hate relationship. Even though I (and lots of other people) come up with different ways to use the camera, it’s a niche product, and you have to know its limitations. TL;DR version, I wouldn’t recommend it as your sole camera, but if you’re an active, creative photographer, you’ll find yourself using it in all sorts of ways you never imagined when you first got it. Continue reading “So You’re Considering a GoPro”

Time Lapse with Daffodils

Depth-o-Fields
Depth-o-Fields

Last weekend I tried setting up a back yard time lapse to see if I could capture the water rising when the beaver rebuilt his dam. Well, the beaver did rebuild, but I wasn’t able to catch the activity. I didn’t even get to catch the water rising. However, I did promise to post the results, and here they are…

As seen in the video, there’s a long stretch of nighttime, and that’s when the water rose. It’s low when the video starts, then when the image comes back in the morning, the water comes back up. Oh well. You can see the neighbor’s huge television from across the lake flickering in the upper left corner in the nighttime shots. Continue reading “Time Lapse with Daffodils”

Backyard Time Lapse Set Up

2014 Snow-003
Beaverdam in the Snow

We have a very active family of beavers in our back yard. They have managed to dam almost our entire little lake (or the streams that run through what used to be a lake.) While I personally like the beavers, and enjoy seeing the lake much fuller just upstream, their activity is flooding some of my neighbor’s yards. One of my neighbors will occasionally disrupt the dam and let the water flow through. But, the beavers build it right back. It’s a never-ending battle.

2014 Snow-006

On Saturday I looked out the back window to see the water flowing again. With all of the melting snow, I guess there was the danger of more flooding, so my neighbor broke through the dam once again. I knew it wouldn’t last, that the beavers would rebuild quickly. I figured this might be a good time to try out my long-term time lapse rig with the Raspberry Pi. Continue reading “Backyard Time Lapse Set Up”

Time Lapse with Raspberry Pi

Take a look at the video below:

Now look at this one:

Both of these time-lapse sequences are by UK photographer Neil Bromhall. These types of time-lapse photos take a huge time commitment – weeks and months. This one, from Norway, took a full year.

In order to get the correct effect, the camera must remain in place throughout the video. Unless you’ve developed some miraculous method for placing the camera in the exact same spot each time with the exact same zoom and focus, the image will jump around and not look right. That means that you’re going to have leave your camera there, probably outside, exposed to weather, and not very secure. Continue reading “Time Lapse with Raspberry Pi”

Cat Trio – A PicoBoard Theremin with Scratch

Cat Trio

OK, I’m sure that’s the most confusing post title of all time. I’m sure it will make sense by the end of this post.

This is a Theremin…

Moog Theremin
Moog Etherwave Theremin

…and I want one. Unfortunately, Santa (aka, Laura) didn’t agree. Something about it being too expensive and weird-sounding. 🙂 Oh well. So, I decided to look into options for building one. I had been playing with the PicoBoard and MaKey MaKey, and thought those would provide excellent options.

It seems that everyone wants to make banana pianos with the MaKey Makey. Since a MaKey Makey imitates a keyboard, it’s great for discreet keys and tones. However, a Theremin operates on a continuum, sort of like a violin or trombone. Therefore something else was needed. That’s where the PicoBoard comes in, with its ability to return values along a continuum based on its sensors. Continue reading “Cat Trio – A PicoBoard Theremin with Scratch”

MaKey MaKey and Google Earth

Makey Makey and Google Earth-001
MaKey MaKey – Front Side

Before Christmas I got an Amazon gift card for my birthday, and I used it to buy a MaKey MaKey. It arrived just before the hectic Christmas rush and our traveling, so I didn’t really get a chance to play with it. These past few very cold days have been the perfect opportunity to see what this thing can do.

So, what is this thing?

A MaKey MaKey is an Arduino-based computer interface that allows any conductive material to be substituted for a key on the computer keyboard. The name is a contraction of “Make Anything a Key,” or “MaKey.”

The kit comes with alligator clips and jumper wires to attach to…just about anything. The board is connected to the computer via USB. You connect the clip to some conductive material such as aluminum foil, liquid, or even a piece of fruit. Another clip is attached to the ground on the board, the held in one hand. Touching the fruit-foil-liquid will complete the circuit through your body and trigger the key, depending on where the first clip is attached on the board. Continue reading “MaKey MaKey and Google Earth”

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