Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Samples from DIY Back Drop

I spent the last few days working with my DIY Back Drop. As with any project it took me awhile to dial in how to best use it. If you look back at my post regarding the back drop some of you may have noticed that I felt that the results I got from it were OK. Hence the need to futz around with it for a few days. My first attempts were done with a yellow plastic table cloth thumb tacked to the background. The results as shown were OK. The back ground was a little too plain for my taste. Too washed out even when I saturated it a bit in Photoshop. Next I tried a little green spray paint on the table cloth. It broke up the flat coloring but the green looked a little too contrived as the patterns were too distinct. The solution was pretty simple. I moved the back drop about five feet further back and I moved my camera position closer to the birds. The end result was it threw the green out of focus for a more pleasing image. I still didn't like the tint of green that I had used. The last and final step was I took off the table cloth and left the raw wood as a background. I got a little brown spray paint and sprayed it loosely all over the back drop. I then moved the back drop back another five feet or so to further throw it out of focus even more. Looking at the final image taken with this set up I finally had an image that I was pleased with. Take a look and see what you think.

God's blessings to all,


Friday, January 16, 2009

DIY Tripod Pads

DIY Tripod Pads

For those of you that have been around photography a long time this won’t be new to you. This DIY project has been around for years and saved the shoulders of countless photographers from being abused by their tripods. Anyone reading this that has carried a heavy telephoto around all day shooting wildlife without pads can tell you that pads are a required piece of equipment.

The process of installation is very simple. Take your tripod with you to the nearest hardware store. Ask the clerk where the piping insulation is. Once you have located it find the closed cell insulation. It is slightly firm to the touch and not all soft and squishy. The soft and squishy kind will absorb water and that’s not what you want for a tripod that you will be carrying out of doors.

Look at the hole in the insulation and find the size that most closely matches diameter of the top section of your tripod. Buy enough insulation to cover all three top sections of the tripod. Price wise in US dollars it probably won’t be more than six to eight dollars probably a lot less.

The next stop is the sporting goods department. Find some cloth camo tape. It is the kind that they use to cover bows with for hunting. If that is unavailable in your area try using camo duct tape. If all else fails use green or black. Now head on home.

Step one is to measure the top section of your tripod or you can put the insulation alongside it and mark the insulation where you want to cut it. Next step is pretty obvious you cut the insulation crosswise. Following that you cut the insulationlengthwise. A lot of insulation comes precut or partially cut for this purpose. Now spread the insulation open with your thumbs and slide it onto the top section of the tripod. Do this waith all three legs.

The last step is simple and can be done really slowly and carefully to produce a really professional looking job or it can be done functionally to just provide some usable pads. I think I’m kind of middle of the road on this one. If you have a center post on your tripod and it can be simply removed take it out. Choose one of the pads and starting at the bottom slowly wrap your way up ward with the camo tape. You go up on an angle like a barber pole as you wrap. Overlay each layer as little s possible to conserve tape. Do all three legs put back the center column and you have completed a masterpiece.

Now go out and shoot some great images of the world God has provided for us.

God’s blessings to all,


Thursday, January 15, 2009

DIY Shutter Release

Someone in my family stepped on the jack for the shutter release on my Rebel XT and broke it. I had been wanting to take bird pics with my 400 mm lens but I had no release. There are also no camera stores closer than an hour and a half to buy one. Some how or other I stumbled upon this site where you can make one from an old hands free mic for a cell phone. So I went down to Big Lots store and bought one for three dollars. I found one that had the switch separate from the mic and speaker. Because of this I didn't have to take anything apart like the one shown on the site. I just cut them off. I hooked it up to my camera and voila it works just fine. The only disadvantage i could find is that I can't lock the shutter of the camera when it's on bulb if I want to do night shots. You can however hold the button down and it will keep the shutter open. For hour long exposures this might be a little tiring on the fingers!

In any case I was able to use my three dollar shutter release until I was able to drive down and buy a new shutter release. Being the Cheapo guy that I am I was reluctant to part with the forty bucks for a new one but in the end I did. My DIY one is going to hang around as a back up for my new camera . On a sad note my old Canon10D has gone to camera heaven after five years of heavy usage. It was even rebuilt once by Canon during that time too.

God's blessings to all,


Saturday, January 10, 2009

DIY Fake Barn Siding/Wooden Table

I am always looking for cheap back drops and props to use in my photography. Also I have always admired those photos of an old wooden table with a bible on it lit by a burning candle. Off to the side there is always a pair of reading glasses or an old fountain pen or some other treasure. In any case I always wanted to create my own version of this iconic image. The problem was I lacked an old wooden table.

While cleaning up the front yard I came across a couple of old wooden pallets that I had been using to keep my firewood off of the ground with. Pallets are fairly easy to get cheaply or even free. I get them free from the local lumber yard as they always seem to have too many of them from all the deliveries they get.

In any case I looked at the pallet and that weathered wood and bingo a table was born. I took a nail puller, a hammer and a crowbar and went to work taking those babies apart. In about ten minutes time I had a nice pile of weathered wood. The next step was simple I lined up all the flat pieces side by side. On top of that I placed two more of the flat pieces from the pallet. Then I took my screw gun. All photographers should have one. (recquired equipment you know) and a bunch of short decking screws and screwed the whole thing together.

Those worn pieces of wood are now perfect to act as an old table or it can be used to replicate the side of an old barn for portraits.

God’s precious light to all,