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First successful HDR

22 Nov 2009 at 11:44am

Since I am on the topic of Photomatix I thought I would post this pic which was my first real success with HDR photography. A lot of you guys probably haven’t seen this pic but I think it worked out pretty cool. Taken on the trust 20D at the first Red Bull Air Race in Perth.

Also we have a new blogger in the flock, Jamie Nicolaou, check out his blog HERE

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Big Bike Ride

22 Nov 2009 at 11:28am

Had a 104km ride in Perth today, this is a pic of my mate Ben and I all lycra’d up!! We managed to get around the river twice in 2.55 hours about an average of 34km per hour. One thing Benny and I had in our favors is our training on the hills down here in and around Dunsborough. We had a distinct advantage over our Perth cousins who must do all their riding on the flat. Or maybe they are just bred a little soft in the city. The next ride we are thinking about is the great ocean rd, 145km’s. Did anyone else go into the ride, or get out and take photos of it. Saw a few people with cameras.

The results are in. I came 115th out of the 500 plus riders doing the two laps of the river. Time was 2.55h at an average speed of 35.6kph. The best guy did it in 2.40h at an average of just under 40kph.

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Photomatix tone mapping plugin for Photoshop

19 Nov 2009 at 11:48am

The Monastery

This is a photo I took in New Norcia the other month with photographers Mark Stothard, David Bettini and Greg Munyard. After seeing Marks photo of the old mansion in Trinidad I got all inspired to have a crack my own architectural photography. This was again tone mapped from a single image in photoshop with the photomatix plugin. I am really loving doing this on just the single images, I haven’t seemed to get too many noise issues, nothing Noise Ninja couldn’t fix anyway. This image was taken with the 5D mark II and my trusty Canon 50mm f/1.2 god I love that lens.

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The International Pano Awards

16 Nov 2009 at 6:36am

The International Pano Awards are now open. Get your entries in now. This isn’t my photo comp, mine will be announced soon. There are some great prizes to be won so have a crack. If your not in it you won’t win it!!

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How to Get a new Lens for Free

14 Nov 2009 at 6:10pm

The time is 1.22am, Sunday morning, I can’t sleep. I have too many thoughts going through my head. One of them is this, a way to get something for free. My wife and I really think about our environment and the future we are creating for our kids. We struggle with the conflict of having a certain level of greenness (is that a word?? must be, spell check didn’t have a problem with it) and living with a certain degree of comfort. Lets face it, it is me who is the big consumer. I buy all the toys, need the latest gadgets and equipment etc. In the past couple of years we have been trying to reduce our power consumption at home and have achieved a pretty good level of saving that hasn’t been hard or meant that we miss out on anything. What amazes me is no one else we know tries these same simple things.

“TURN OFF YOUR LIGHTS, STAND BY POWER, TV’s, COMPUTERS ETC, it isn’t that hard. People in our street have every frigg’n light wired to their house on every night, inside lights, outside lights, garden lights. WHY???? It should be part of our everyday living now, like wearing a bike helmet, not shooting an Elephant or taking no more than a dozen crabs. Why are we such a dumb bunch of lazy useless organisms that are hell bent on destroying the thing that keeps us alive. I feel it is my duty to try to make people aware and make people care for our kids very existence. Heavy sh1t I know but do we really care??

It is in our nature to be lazy, to think only of ourselves, to try and survive longer than the next bloke. To have the most money, the biggest house and god forbid the best camera and lenses. We will be doomed if we don’t change our ways now. So what I hope everyone reading this will do is get up off your computer chair and turn those bloody lights off, turn on your washing machine at 10pm, put the dishwasher on at the same time, turn off the tv and DVD player at the wall. Walk or ride your bike to the shops, recycle, have a compost bin and all those other things that aren’t hard to do. I challenge you to change your habits.

We only use an average of 9 units of electricity per day in our house and we forgo nothing. I would like to hear how many of you do the same. Wouldn’t it be great if our heros could be people that do something good for the planet like greenpeace, wwf and individuals like Steve Irwin. I guess they aren’t as cool to worship as Paris Hilton, Tom Cruise, and other disgusting roll models for our generation.

Now here is the cool part. You want that new lens??? of course you do. Can’t afford it?? of course you can’t. Why not?? because your probably paying too much on your electricity bill. TURN YOUR LIGHTS OFF, ETC, ETC, ETC. In a year you would have paid that sucker off in the savings you make. Thats it!!! Free lenses for everyone. I should have been an accountant! When you have finished making the changes necessary to never have to pay for camera gear again then have a look at how large multinational companies are F#~king up our world and our lives for the good of their shareholders. That will be the topic of my next sleepless night. There is so much we need to do to fix this stinking situation. It has to start at a grass roots level. Once you have made the changes, tell all your friends the secret of getting free stuff, and see if they care enough to do their bit for the planet. If they are still dragging their heels, make them feel bad about how they, by there actions, are stuffing up the future for you. And I don’t subscribe to the bullshit line, China is making more pollution that everyone so what chance do we have, we still per head of population pollute more than just about anyone else on the planet, how does that make you feel?

Phew, got that off my chest! Now I can go to sleep.

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Tone Mapping

12 Nov 2009 at 11:24pm

vineyard workers HDR tone mapping photomatix hdr

I have been bitten by the HDR bug, I mean everything can’t be Australian Landscapes, there has to be some people in there too. This is an image tone mapped in Photoshop thanks to the Photomatix plugin that comes with photomatix. This was a single image and it sort of came out how I wanted, that gritty illustrated look. I obviously have done some work in photoshop to further stylize the image. I plan on learning everything there is to know about Photomatix and will be making that my subject for the workshop on True North.

On that subject I hope you have booked. The last I heard there was only 30 spots left.

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Canon Have Dropped Their Prices

12 Nov 2009 at 11:14am

Canon have just announced effective as of the 13th of November tomorrow, that they are having a price drop on a number of there Pro Canon camera and lens range . Below is a list of some of these new prices.Sweet times hey!!! Why wouldn’t you buy a 5D2 now! Cheap deals on Canon gear don’t come around very often.

Canon 5Dmk2 new price $3495.00
Canon 1DsMk3 new price $ 9800.00
Canon 16-35mm F2.8 series II new price $ 1945.00
Canon 24-70mm F2.8 new price $ 1760.00
Canon 70-200mm F2.8 IS new price $ 2299.00

And there is a number of other lenses reduced, give Team Digital a ring for a super new price.

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More photos from the pizza night

10 Nov 2009 at 9:28pm

Merv has uploaded his photos from the pizza night with descriptions and all. Check out his blog, he wants to get more than 500 hits in a day. The link is in the side bar. Please everyone have a look and fullfill his lifetime ambition. He said there would be a beer in it for me!!!

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Michaels Impressions of the 7D in Video Mode

10 Nov 2009 at 8:56am

7d pic

Hi all

I had the opportunity to road test the new Canon 7D DSLR courtesy of
Ben from Team Digital in Perth and I would like to share some of my
thoughts on the camera in video mode.

Firstly can I say that Christian arrived at work on Monday last week
and said “Ben has given us the 7D to have a play with”…… “I’m
taking it back on Wednesday” Great. I’ve got two days to come up with
a review which will be worth reading. The pressure was on and the
conditions here at home were pretty ordinary. No clouds and windy. But
in essence I wasn’t there to dazzle anyone with amazing footage, my
main objective was to have a play and see if I liked it. I certainly
didn’t have a good crack with the camera so I apologise for the lack
of in depth analysis.

My first impressions were that it looked like a 5D but seemed a little
more solid. The menu function and most of the buttons seemed similar
with the exception of the on off button, live view button and the
record button. I found myself constantly pressing the quick control
button on the back of the camera to start recording only to realise I
hadn’t started anything and missed the shot. I’m a bit slow on the
uptake but I eventually got it together.

I was excited to try out the 50fps option and shot a number of scenes
with this option and couldn’t wait to get back to the office to
download the footage and watch beautiful smooth slow motion footage.
If you bought this camera primarily for this option you would probably
be pretty annoyed by this time. The 50fps option was complete rubbish.
Ok thats a bit harsh. The raw footage plays in fast mo when it is
played back in quicktime. You have to convert the footage using Cinema
Tools to 30fps, 25fps, 24fps to get it playing how you would expect it
to play. The footage is recorded in the lower quality 1280 x 720 which
looks average along side the full HD footage. I cant see the point of
this option when you should always been wanting to shoot in the
highest resolution possible depending I guess where your footage will
be displayed. The slow mo it produces is cool but at the expense of
quality. I prefer to slow down my high res footage by a small amount
using Optical Flow retiming in Compressor.

After deciding the 50fps option was not exactly a brilliant option I
decide to shoot using the 25fps and 24fps mode. I must say I had a bit
more luck in these mode and without the time to shoot a 5D along side
the 7D, the footage looked remarkably like the 5D’s and I could not
really identify any differences in the absence of a proper set up
test. I was also interested to compare the footage between the 24fps
and 25fps mode. I was under the impression that the 24fps frame rate
would give a more filmic look to the footage as it’s the frame rate of
film. I imagined the footage would be a lot softer in 24fps but the
opposite occurred which blew me away. Once again my footage didn’t
give me a great chance to make a definitive observation on this but
this is how it appeared. The depth of field seemed greater on the 7D
which would make sense due to the APS-C sensor being a lot smaller
than the full frame sensor of the 5D.

Most of the footage I shoot is generally landscapes and I generally
require the widest lens I can find. With the 7D and it’s 1.6x crop
sensor you find that you cant get a very wide field of view which is
the biggest issue for me with what I do. This however is a great
option for people such as wildlife photographers who can always do
with a little extra zoom with their footage. Too much Zoom can also
be a real problem for these cameras as they are so light and are
effected by the wind and handshake quite dramatically.

In summary the 7D was not ground breaking for me as I already have a
5D. If I didn’t have a 5D I would consider the 7D as it is only
marginally lower in quality to the 5D with the added bonus of the
50fps Slow Mo option and lets face it, most of the work produced these
days is viewed on a computer so who really needs large format quality.
The frame rates of 24p and 25p give you a bit more flexibility as you
don’t have to convert the footage to PAL broadcast rate of 25fps like
you have to from the 5D’s 30fps. An upgrade for the 5D in the future
will fix this problem also so the 5D will have 24fps and 25fps.

I think the only determining factor between the two cameras is price.
If you don’t want to or cant afford to spend the coin on a 5D then get
a 7D. If moneys not the issue get a 5D as I don’t believe the 50fps,
24fps and 25fps is a deal breaker and I’m sure with future 5d upgrades
these options will become available. The cameras are so similar and
both worth the investment and if I had my choice I’d get the NEW
1DMK4!!!!!!!!!!! Ha Ha…… Nah not really I’m happy with my 5D.

Mike Fletcher

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