Go For It: Pixels are Free

One of my favorite expressions with digital photography is "pixels are free."  With no cost, photographers should enjoy complete freedom to experiment and play.  If you have an idea for a shot, go for it.  If it works, great.  Take what you did and make it a part of your photography. 

If it does not work out, no big deal.  But use the results as a completely free learning experience. Go to school and figure out what was the issue/s.  Can you make a small adjustment or do you need to go back to the drawing board and plan again. 

I recently found myself in a situation where I honestly did not know how the results would turn out.  I wanted to shoot a series of images for a landscape panorama in rapidly falling light levels.  I had the Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L on my 5K Mk II; a combination not often used for panoramas.  To make matters worse I was on the back of a moving boat.  Not only was it moving forward and slowly rocking side to side but we were in a regular ocean swell so we were slowly heaving (up and down.)

Not the best situation but pixels are free so I went for it.  The results from the 42 shots are shown below. 

sinewavepano.jpg

This is the panorama after the stitching process.  If you follow the bottom (or top) you will notice a nice sine wave pattern.  That is the boat going up and down with the ocean swell.  My camera support was rock solid (RRS TVC-33 and PG-02) but the boat was out of my control. 

At this point I had a nicely stitched panorama even though it is somewhat ugly in terms of how everything lined up.  But it worked and did not cost a thing. 

BI_small.jpg

After a little cleanup, I had a usable, huge panorama to optimize.  For a free experiment, I will take it.

Fiat Lux!

New RRS Tripod and Ben Willmore/Light Review from Joe

Really Right Stuff recently released their new travel tripod.  The link will take you to their description and also to a great review.  Joe Jr. joined LIGHT and Ben Willmore recently for a week long class and attached a review in the RRS newsletter.

RRS Newsletter (link no longer available... sorry!)

Cannot wait to get my hands (and camera) on this tripod.

Fiat Lux!

Tethered Shooting Spacer

I have always found it a bit unwieldy when shooting in a vertical/portrait orientation with a tethering cable attached.  Recently, Really Right Stuff (RRS) made the perfect solution and I was fortunate to shoot with the Cable Release Spacer (CRS) today. 

The CRS attaches to a standard L-bracket and adds about 1.25" for your tethering cable.  It also has a small locking bar to "lock" your cable to the spacer.  This is great since any tugging on the cable can easily damage your camera's ports, a very expensive fix by the way.

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Vertical orientation. The CRS firmly attaches to your L-bracket for stability.

CRS2+%25281%2529.jpg

 Horizontal orientation, not much change but cable is firmly attached.

If you are a tethered shooter and are tired of dealing with work arounds for your cable when shooting vertically, pick up a RRS Cable Relief Spacer and all is good.

Click here to visit the RRS site.

Fiat Lux!

The Ultimate Pano - Gimbal Head

The ultimate panorama and gimbal head is shipping very soon.  The PG-02 from Really Right Stuff is awesome.  I had the opportunity to test the PG-02 prototype during my yacht-based photo tour to Alaska this past spring.

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The PG-02 prototype with Canon EOS 7D and EF  800mm f/5.6L

In addition there is a RRS long lens stabilization kit attached. 

As many of you know I do not beat around the bush with most of my opinions and recommendations.  So in a quick few sentences here you go.

Image from PG-02 mounted Canon 1D Mk III with EF 400mm f/2.8L

Image from PG-02 mounted Canon 1D Mk III with EF 400mm f/2.8L

For the long lens action shooters, this is the best gimbal head available.  I compared head to head with the other industry leading options, in the field, with big bodies/long lenses (Canon 1D series and up to the EF 800mm f/5.6L,) shooting high-speed, high track crossing rate action, and from a moving (forward, roll, pitch, and heave) platform.  There is no comparison.  The Really Right Stuff PG-02 is the best.  Well balanced, smooth, and silky the PG-02 was incredible.

For the panorama shooter, the PG-02 is a multi-axis pano head.  Equivalent performance to the Really Right Stuff Omni Pivot Pro Pano Kit.  Shooters can easily locate their no parallax point/entrance pupil and align it with the axes of rotation.  As a pano shooter, this is great gear since it not only performs equal to other RRS pano gear but does triple duty: pano, gimbal, and video.

For the video shooter, the PG-02 is the smoothest, silkiest pan you will experience.  Moreover, the pan glides perfectly regardless of the overall tension on the head.  Whether loose or tight, you will not experience any kind of jerking or sloppy pan.

For audio or additional gear, there is another threaded screw on top of the vertical arm that accepts equipment directly or even another ballhead.  In the field, we mounted another ballhead as well as small, point and shoot cameras to capture action as we worked the main body/lens.

RRS+Demo-03.jpg

Image from PG-02 with Canon 7D and EF 800mm f/5.6L

As you know, I always give full disclosure.  Really Right Stuff does not pay me to endorse their gear.  I use it because it is the best.

Check out the PG-02 at the following link.

RRS PG-02

I will demonstrate the PG-02 at the California Photo Festival next week.  There are still spots available so join us 

California Photo Fest

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Fiat Lux!