Saturday, March 26, 2011

PAW 12

Ski Side Flowers

This week’s picture is from my garden and taken one morning this week with my G12 in RAW, Av mode at ISO 200, 1/30 second and f4.  Those blooms are now full blossoms; in fact, my yard and gardens are bursting with color.  I’ve been walking around with the G12 and just snapping away. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

LED Ring Light


Neewer LED

Intrigued by the concept of continuous lighting and the results of a ring light, I bought the cheap “Neewer” LED ring light recommended by Kirk Tuck. Kirk (should I call him Mr. Tuck? I don't really know him although I read his blog regularly and recommend it. Also, I bought and liked his first book “Minimalist Lighting”.) has been working with continuous LED lighting and has a book on using LEDs in the works. I got the cheap ring light, fitted it to my G12 and have been enjoying tinkering with it for a week or so.

The Neewer LED ring light slides over a thin plate that is molded onto a filter-looking screw thread. Six such mounts are included in the package. One of those mounts had 58mm filter threads – just right for attaching to my Lensmate adapter (the others are 49, 52, 55, 62, 67mm). At first, I used both the “A” and “B” adapters but quickly realized that the “B” adapter produced vignetting so it was removed.

The battery case mounts to the G12 hotshoe but does not use the G12 battery.  The battery case can fit onto the hotshoe facing either way.  The kit includes an AC power supply.

From my early trials with the Neewer LED ring light, I discovered a few quirks:

    • best to use reading glasses when doing close up work

    • must actually be turned ON or will produce misleading results

    • do not attached the connecting cable to the “DC 3V In” connection (no damage but lights do not come on)

    • using old rechargeable batteries, lights blinked then went dim but remained lit

The level of lighting is not adjustable.  Neewer claims a 1-1/2 hour service time using the recommended NiMH batteries but I haven’t confirmed that (yet). 

Naturally, I had to “test” some aspect of the LED ring light. I suspected that the light output and color would vary with the type battery used. The battery pack holds two “AA” batteries. I tried conventional alkaline, NiMH and NiZn batteries in macro type close-ups. Note that these batteries each have differing voltage outputs. Although my tests were not particularly rigorous, I could not tell any differences in light output or color. The test procedure was to get a RAW image of red, green and blue pins (RGB – get it?) shown below and convert using Adobe Camera Raw. In the conversion process, the exposure adjustment (based on pushing the histogram to the right) and color temperature (sampled from the white base) were noted. Pictures were taken in three settings: 1) indoors using fluorescent lighting, 2) inside a light tent with overhead lights off and 3) outdoors under bright sunlight.

According to my simplistic tests, the Neewer LED ring light tends to have a color temperature of about 6000 K. As compared to normal room lighting, when used up close, the Neewer LED ring light provides about 3 stops of exposure. That is, instead of shooting at 1/25 second without the LED light, I was able to shoot at 1/250 second with the LED light. Outdoors was, of course, a different story. When used outdoors in bright light, the Neewer LED ring light reduced exposure by only about 1/3 stop. Remember that these results are with the light close to the subject.


Neewer LED

The photo above was taken in RAW mode with lighting only from the overhead fluorescents.  Automated exposure in Av mode was f 3.5 at 1/25 second using ISO 80.

Neewer LED

This shot was taken with the overhead fluorescents plus the LED ring light.  Notice the softer shadows but also notice that each pin shows a reflection of the ring light.  Automated exposure in Av mode was f 3.5 at 1/250 second using ISO 80.

I like the cheap LED ring light.  I wouldn’t have bought it at a higher price but it will be useful for getting macro photos.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

PAW 11

Super Moon

Tonight was a “super moon” so it seemed natural to get a shot of it for Picture of the Week.  This was taken with my 7D, 100-400mm zoom, 1.4X teleconverter and cropped.  Tripod mounted, of course and shot at ISO 400, f8 and 1/100 second.  This crop is about 1/4 the captured scene.  This is the second shot I took and, although I persisted with several variations, the one I liked best.  The moon really was a bit golden early on and became increasingly white.  This is my second attempt at photographing the moon, the first one was an eclipse.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

G12: Focal Lengths

The G12 has a 5 to 1 zoom lens with focal lengths ranging from 6.1 mm on the “wide angle” end to 30.5 mm on the “telephoto” end.  The lens is not infinitely adjustable; there are 14 different focal lengths.  The available focal lengths are:

6.1 mm 12.1 mm
6.8 13.8
7.4 15.7
8.1 18.1
8.9 21.5
9.8 25
10.8 30.5

These are the focal lengths needed to do depth of field calculations using programs like DOFMaster.  There is also a DOFMaster App for the iPhone that is very handy and accessible in the field. The iPhone App does not always have the precise G12 focal length as part of its database.  For those focal lengths, I just use the closest available value.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

PAW 10

Home Depot Flowers

I had yard work to do and needed supplies from Home Depot so took along my G12 and got this shot.  I’m always pleased to have conceived of a shot and then accomplished much that same image.  This was shot at f2.8 and focused up close in macro mode to minimize depth of field.  I could have framed it a little differently so that the store details in the background were not visible but actually wanted to show a blurry store scene.  This was processed from the RAW file and saturation/vibrance bumped up a bit – seemed appropriate to the subject.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011




I’ve been wanting a “tripod” for my iPhone and finally decided to try the Gorillamobile by Joby. So far, so good.

The Gorillamobile is a frame and tripod combination. The two piece frame surrounds the iPhone and slides onto a clip on the adjustable tripod. The tripod is adjustable by virtue of its flexible joints and legs. The frame is easily assembled around a naked iPhone but not a dressed-up iPhone inside a case.

In a moment of humility, I have to admit that I thought the frame snapped onto the tripod clip (and it can). The frame does not, however, easily snap off the clip. In fact, as is “clearly” illustrated by the pictorial instructions, the frame is supposed to slide onto the clip. On close inspection, one corner of the frame is relieved so that the clip on the tripod can easily slide on or off at this corner. (In the above picture, this relieved corner is at top left. Yes, I snapped the clip onto the frame in the wrong location.) In addition, the frame has slightly raised support ribs in the middle of both a long side and a short side. When sliding the frame onto the clip, additional holding power is provided by sliding (push harder) the clip over these support ribs.

In use, the Gorillamobile seems study enough, especially remembering that the iPhone shutter is triggered by removing one’s finger from the shutter button. The iPhone doesn’t have a built-in shutter delay and, up to now, I’ve not installed any of the camera Apps that include a shutter delay (hey, a good blog topic!). Adjusting the iPhone and Gorillamobile for composition of a photo takes a bit of trial and error but can be done reasonably well.

The flexible legs of the Joby tripod can be used to wrap around other supports such as tree limbs, rails, fences, etc.

An adapter to be attached to the standard threaded tripod mount in most cameras is included with the Gorillamobile. The adapter does fit my G12 and the G12 can be used on the flexible tripod; however, when doing so, the G12 is easily vibrated. If I ever use the G12 on the flexible tripod, I hope to remember to use the shutter delay.

Saturday, March 5, 2011




This week’s PAW is an HDR image processed in Photomatix and further tweaked, then cropped in Photoshop.  It probably doesn’t look “HDR” – at least, I hope not.  The G12 was used in manual mode to get exposures at f4, ISO 400 and bracketed shutter speeds of 1.6, 6 and 0.4 seconds.   Manual mode was necessary because of the 1 second shutter speed limit in Av mode for G series cameras.  The scene is from the country store at Rural Life Museum that was shown in the previous post.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

G12: SCN Variations

Rural Life

Sunday I roamed the Rural Life Museum looking for PAW candidates and also to give the G12 SCN modes another try.  The above picture is a scene from the old country store, shot in Av mode at 1 second exposure, f3.5, ISO 80, tripod mounted of course.  This is the in-camera JPEG.  I suppose this is a “normal” image.

Rural Life

Above is the in-camera “HDR” version of the “normal” scene.  This particular variation is the “sepia” HDR.  The exposure was determined automatically as 1/20 second (must be the first shot of the series), f3.5 and ISO 1600.  A nice variation to my eye.

Rural Life

The above variation is the “B/W” HDR. 

Rural Life

Next, getting out of HDR mode and into “Nostalgic” mode, the above shot was automatically exposed at 1/10 second, f3.5, ISO 800.  Within Nostalgic mode, the amount was set at maximum; that is, 5 bars of the available 5.

Rural Life

Again in Nostalgic mode, the above variation is with the amount set to 2 bars of the 5 available.  I like this one best.