Monthly Archives: February 2008

Ipod touch for photographers

I’ve had a super nasty flu-like virus for more than a week now so haven’t been able to do anything productive. I very rarely get sick but this virus got the better of me. Good thing that I now own an Ipod Touch so I can surf the net and listen to – and buy – music lying flat on my back on my sofa!

Flemming Bo Jensen Photography on the Ipod Touch Safari Mobile browser:

FBJ on IpodTouch

I love music and now own 4 different Ipods (the mini which I don’t use anymore, the nano, the shuffle and the touch which I do use all 3). I first had a look at this beauty in Sydney back in October and it’s amazing I held out so long before buying one. It is simply another masterpiece from Apple, the touch navigation is absolute incredible and an engineering slice of magic.

Ipod touch for photographers

Well as much as you would like you can’t store your photos on this device and use it as a portable hd and viewer in the field. Would be cool with an external hd and card reader that plugged in the data port of the Ipod Touch but we’ll never see that. Remember, this is Apple, they do not think anything but Apple software and hardware exists in the world! The screen quality is great, very sharp and bright. As for displaying your photos on this baby the screen actually has fairly accurate colours, it’s a bit under-saturated and bluish (too cold white balance) but still excellent especially for this sort of device. Definitely much better colours than most laptops!

I also plan to use my Ipod Touch as a portfolio-in-my-pocket device! I will create a portfolio of the very best of my shots, edit, sharpen and saturate them for the ipod touch screen and voila…instant portfolio on the go in my pocket everywhere I go!

Me and digital sensors – we love the red colours of dusk!

Dusk for me has the best colours of any time of the day. Next time you witness a sunset, please stay for another 20 minutes. All of a sudden when the sun is about 6 degrees below the horizon you will be treated to the very finest colours of nature, the clouds will light up like on fire very briefly and all is well with the world.

It’s close to magic and one of the awesome features of digital sensors – they’re extremely good at picking up the red light of dusk and actually better at it than the human eye. I don’t fully understand how but I know that the brain is probably overcompensating in adjusting the white balance of what the eyes see – perhaps because the light level is so low. So my brain sees the scene as too blue but I just keep shooting because I know the sensor in my Canon 5D will pick up all the red that my brain seems to filter out. When you open the raw file you can see how saturated the red channel is, it’s amazing. You have to underexpose or you’ll blow out that red channel with all that lovely colour information!

This is magic from 1 year ago in Copenhagen (actually only got around to stitching this panorama a few days ago, how lazy am I!). Click to see large:

Click to see large size on my gallery!

I haven’t added much saturation, with this sort of dusk light and these sort of clouds (quite rare) everything lights up like crazy for just a few minutes! As you can tell, this is also a stitched panorama with moving elements – birds and water. It is shot handheld, stitched in PTgui and with a bit of clean up in Photoshop it is actually possible to do stitched panoramas (read more about them in my post here) with moving elements as long as the changes between each shot are not too drastic.

It will be fairly close to dark at dusk especially in Winter so you may need your tripod or lenses with image stabilizer. But remember next time at sunset, don’t go, stay another 20 minutes and be prepared! It’s magic and then it’s gone again!

Sigma DP1 – it’s real and almost here!

A digital rangefinder…a digital compact camera with SLR quality…it’s actually coming! (although it’s not quite a rangefinder). Remember my post about a digital compact worth owning? Well as far as I am concerned there still is no digital compact worth owning but…the Sigma DP1 is almost here after a truckload of delays!

The Sigma DP1 now looks like this without the viewfinder (picture from dpreview.com) and really is pocket-sized:

sigma-dp1

It will quite possibly be a bit of a revolution in digital imaging! A pocket size camera with a Sigma SD14 Foveon sensor giving you SLR quality images is no small feat!

It’s absolutely perfect as a backup camera and a camera for discreet street photography and situations where it’s not practical to bring your DSLR + 5 kilos worth of lenses, gear, tripods etc.

DPreview.com has heaps more info:

Price of the DP1 confirmed at 550 UK pounds

Sigma DP1 beta picture gallery

Sigma announces Spring 2008 release date for DP1

The official Sigma DP1 website: http://www.sigma-dp1.com/

A Flickr gallery showing you photos of the DP1 – notice how small it actually is.

Someday soon Canon will announce a successor to the 5D and of course I’ll buy that, it’ll hopefully have the 14-bit 21 megapixel sensor from the the 1dsMkIII – but this Sigma camera is the one I’m really excited about!
I want one of these before my next photo trip!

Sorry

Australian Aboriginal Flag

This blog is about my photography but occasionally I will stray off-topic. Today is one of those days.

Today (Wednesday the 13th of Feb) is an important day, a landmark in the dark history of Australia. Today the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd offered a broad national apology to all Aborigines and the Stolen Generation for the laws and policies that during the past 200 years have inflicted so much grief and pain on the Australian Aboriginals, the oldest living cultures on the planet.

The apology is important because it acknowledges that this actually happened (some people have questioned the Stolen Generation like some people question Holocaust) and it’s a long needed step towards making amends, moving on and making life better for the indigenous people. It’s just a small step, aboriginal culture is practically on the edge on being wiped out and they need so much more help. After declaring the entire country “Terra Nullis” – uninhabited – the first colony after the “discovery” (not so much, more like an invasion!) had an absolutely devastating effect on the aboriginals. The crimes against these people are impossible to fathom.

I am deeply interested in and feel connected to keepers-of-the-land cultures like the native Americans and the Australian Aborigines and I am part of western civilisation and feel responsible for the past actions of our culture. I am sorry.

Read more about this and watch the speech at News.com.au.

Your 3-legged friend the Tripod

Tripod is not only a very funny Australian comedy trio but it’s also an essential tool for getting the best out of your camera and lenses. Of course you need a tripod for long exposures (unless you have bionic arms and can lock the motors) but every single shot you do should be made from a tripod with a cable release if you want ultimate quality from your gear. The difference really is very noticeable! Here’s an 8 second exposure from just after dusk at Lake Peblinge in Copenhagen today (one of the bloody angry Swans at the lake almost attacked me during this shoot!).  At this size you can’t tell but it is a perfect tack sharp shot due to tripod, mirror lock-up and cable release. I did a 30 second exposure at iso50, also super sharp but this 8 second one had the best reflection on a windy afternoon. Click to see larger:

Click to see large size on my gallery!

Every hand held shot suffers from camera shake, it’s just a matter of degree. In broad daylight shooting handheld at 1/500 you still have camera shake. To make matters worse, on a SLR camera you also have the slap from the mirror adding even more camera shake! Stick your camera on a tripod with a quality lens, use mirror lock-up function (very important!) to avoid mirror slap and a cable release – and you get tack sharp images you won’t believe!

Having said that I used to hate shooting with tripods and I just owned a cheap heavy Manfrotto (still use the bag!) that I didn’t use much. Takes the fun out of it, I like to jump around, shoot all sorts of angles (like an artist doing sketches) and have freedom. And sometimes there’s no time, I have maybe 20 minutes of good sunset and dusk light and want to bring as much data home, get as many different compositions as possible. This requires me running around the scene like a man obsessed with a big smile on my face (you should’ve seen me at Hawk Dreaming)

gitzo Having seen the difference in image quality and gone professional I realize now there’s no substitute – I need shots on tripod, mirror lock-up and with cable release to get max image quality and be able to deliver the fine art images I strive for.  So courtesy of the great guys at my favorite shop in Copenhagen Photografica – I now own the amazing Gitzo carbon tripod (with Gitzo ballhead) shown on the right! It is actually so light I have no problem bringing it everywhere. The tripod including ball head weighs only 1.5 kilos! (my camera bag with Canon 5D + lenses is the problem and what’s killing my shoulder, must be 5 kilos at least)

I’m still not a big fan of tripod shooting but at least I now have a fantastic Gitzo. Until I can get those bionic arms, this carbon tripod is now a part of me!

EDIT: Forgot to add that this means I can also get started on my Copenhagen By Night photo project!