Random post out the nowhere!

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Been quite busy recently hence lack of updates so here is a biggish one…

I have had a week off work to clear up my office which quite frankly had turned into a tip…

Office Cleanup

Office Cleanup

No real excuse other than general laziness so felt it was about time I actually did something about it… so after removing 8 old PC’s, 4 old laptops, recycling no end of boxes and paper, 12 big bin bags of rubbish and what seemed like an eternity of paper shredding I got the ‘living’ space somewhere handy…

Office Cleanup

Office Cleanup

Well worth the effort although I do have a little more to do yet but I have at least broken the back of the job and the rest should be relatively easy to manage…

In other news I have been playing with electronics…. its been a fair few years since I have done any serious electronic project assembly but armed with a kit of parts I built a drip controller and trigger unit to do splash photography… I won’t bother going into detail as I’ll post links at the bottom with all the info but here are a few pics…

Drip controller…
Drip Kit

Drip Kit

Drip Kit

Drip Kit

Drip Kit

Drip Kit

Drip Kit

Multi-trigger
Drip Kit

Drip Kit

The multi trigger has essentially one output to trigger a flash so as I need the ability to trigger more than that I made a distribution ‘manifold’ to fire up to 5 flashes simultaneously… I do have wireless triggers but there is a small amount of lag in firing that can be tricky to dial out so this will alow the flashes to be triggered via PC Sync…

Drip Kit

Drip Kit

The setup is a little heath robinson at the moment while I refine it but it does work as you will see in a bit…
Drip Kit

The setup works like this… the drip controller can release up to three drips per triggered event and you control the size and time between drips to create different collision effects… the multi-trigger uses an optical interrupter to trigger a delay before firing the the flashes… the camera can be triggered from either control unit but I am using the splash controller as this seems to work best in dealing with the inherent shutter lag of a DSLR.

The flash guns are set to manual at a speed of 1/64 to be able to freeze the splashes with minimum motion blur.

Using a suitable tray full of water and a background of some description you fire the flashes at that to bounce light back to the splash…

In fairness its a little more involved than that but this isn’t a tutorial, there are plenty of those on the web and a fantastic e-book I got from Corrie White who does some amazing Liquid Drop Art (links at the end) which has great info in it…

So, spent a bit of time playing with the settings trying to dial the rig in… this took me a little bit of time and god knows how many images but here are a few of my initial results…

Using square patterned wrapping paper as a background…
Liquid Drop Art

Liquid Drop Art

Using very reflective shiny red wrapping paper as a background…
Liquid Drop Art

Liquid Drop Art

Just using a frosted perspex background…
Liquid Drop Art

Liquid Drop Art

Finally a go at reflection…
Liquid Drop Art

Unfortunately the water was getting a little dusty at this point so not the best image but it was more to learn the technique than anything…

Pleased with the results and absolutely knackered from humping a ton of crap from the loft to the car and then to the recycling centre… I feel that this week I have single handedly saved the planet… and I didn’t have to wear sandals to do it either 😉

More drip art very soon 😀

Links:
Drip controller kit
Corrie White (Liquid Drop Art)
Drop photography guide

<tuffty/>

Broadway Tower

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Been wanting to take a trip to Broadway Tower in the Cotswolds for a little while and Friday night presented an opportunity so off I went…

The structure is buried well and truly in the countryside but the scenery is stunning… so much so I found myself stopping a couple of times to take a quick ‘snap’

When I got to the location I didn’t realise there was a public walk that could have got me closer to the tower so found myself on the side of the road with the 100-400…

Annoyingly there were people around the tower which made composing a shot a little tricky but I took a series of shots at different positions along the fenceline… biggest problem however was the clouds… the sky was clouding over as I was driving so by the time I got there the sun was starting to disappear behind cloud 🙁

So here are the shots from the trip

Broadway Tower

Broadway Tower

Broadway Tower

Broadway Tower

Broadway Tower

Broadway Tower

Its a shame I didn’t realise I could have gotten closer to the tower and that the weather turned but the pictures worked out well and I plan to revisit at a later date.

Lastly a couple of random pics I took on the way to the tower… there was a few other shots I would have liked but will have a go at them the next time…
Broadway Tower

Broadway Tower

Broadway Tower

<tuffty/>

Castle Combe Whitsun bank holiday race

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Up at 5am for an early start and early drama as the after run coolant pump on the S3 failed and spat coolant out on the way to meet Bill at the unit.

Joys of a 15yr old car with 130k miles on the clock lol… I replaced this once we got back from Combe so all good so on to the racing 🙂

Unfortunately Bill retired during free practice in the morning with a significant rattle from the gearbox area which is disappointing considering its just been rebuilt… when Bill removed the box the following day he found the flywheel had come loose and the clutch friction plate had separated from the rivets….

The joys of motorsport (cars in general it seems lol)

Anyway, I took a few pics all the same and here is a selection of the better ones…

Castle Combe Whitsun Race

Castle Combe Whitsun Race

Castle Combe Whitsun Race

Castle Combe Whitsun Race

Castle Combe Whitsun Race

Castle Combe Whitsun Race

Castle Combe Whitsun Race

Castle Combe Whitsun Race

Castle Combe Whitsun Race

Castle Combe Whitsun Race

Castle Combe Whitsun Race

Castle Combe Whitsun Race

Castle Combe Whitsun Race

Castle Combe Whitsun Race

Castle Combe Whitsun Race

Castle Combe Whitsun Race

Castle Combe Whitsun Race

Castle Combe Whitsun Race

Castle Combe Whitsun Race

Was a great day with good people and great racing (despite all the problems)

<tuffty/>

Fun with macro

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I have had a macro lens for a while but haven’t really used it much… with the weather being a bit rubbish and the sun being too high at this time of year to make sun rise/set pics or astro pics realistic on a ‘school night’ I thought I’d dust it off…

I am not an insect person… not really keen on them at all and hate spiders in general… most macro photography seems to be insect related though which made finding inspiration a little difficult at first but thankfully there is a thread on POTN that is dedicated to none insect macro which is an interesting read.

Here are a couple of my initial shots…

Fun with macro

Fun with macro

Fun with macro

This one was particularly tricky… working with a shallow DOF and a lively cat with manual focus…
Fun with macro

Fun with macro

This one needs some work on the technical aspect but the premice is to get a background object reflecting through the drop in sharp focus… the object in question was a box of Walkers crisps… nearly worked 🙂
Fun with macro

Fun with macro

Fun with macro

I then had a quick go at water drops… this is trickier than it looks…
Fun with macro

The water drops stuff really caught my interest and after a bit of reading up it seems there is some nifty kit available to facilitate this type of photography… most of it is relatively expensive, more money than I was prepared to spend just to take pics of splashes so I do what I normally do in situations like this and improvised 🙂

Tried using a small plastic bag filled with water then pricked a hole in it using a needle… this worked ok and I used my intervolometer to take a series of shots…
Fun with macro

The results were ok… there will inevitably be quite a few that you chuck away too of course
Fun with macro

Changed the white balance in post to alter the colour of this one…
Fun with macro

Fun with macro

All seemed a bit hit and miss and also had a play with the camera settings a bit too… I then changed the configuration a bit and just used a bit of tube as a pipette and manually timed the shots… this proved a little more successful but was quite awkward non the less
Fun with macro

Fun with macro

Fun with macro

Fun with macro

Fun with macro

Fun with macro

So… next thing I want to try is to improve on the rig… I found the paint roller tray a little on the awkward side due to its shape, I think I will look into something a little shallower with less features that cast shadows etc as the step in the roller tray would sometimes cast a shadow in the pics…

I need a more hands off dripper system… the bag was ok but wasn’t flow rate or drop size controllable but it did at least land drops more or less in the same place… using a ‘pipette’ had better control but was a little inconsistent where the drop landed as I was holding it at different angles each time I was taking the shot, the changes were minute but in macro its enough to move the result well out of frame

I am going to try an irrigation dripper valve… these are cheap (£3 for three valves on eBay) so all I have to do is rig up a reservoir for the water and use a bit of silicon vacuum hose to plumb it all up… that should give me more controllable and consistent results (I hope)

Until next time 🙂

Links:
POTN – Non Insect Macro thread

The comprehensive water drop photography guide

How to Photograph Water Drops with One Speedlight

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