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Rainbow Connection

by Eyre Austero 18. October 2010 07:40

This has happened to me a number of times--of seeing beautiful rainbows after the rain. And in most cases,  all I can do is sigh because I didn't have anything with me to capture the moment.

It's a good thing that today, my bag is still in the laundry so I had to temporarily use my camera bag to hold my IDs, ATM/Credit cards, and other stuff. In effect, I also took with me my camera and was lucky to be able to spot this scene with a rainbow (see photos below).

The morale of the story is that, some photographic opportunities come unexpected so it's best to have a camera readily at hand to capture these moments.

Tags:

Photography | Random Shots

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0

Snap Shots for BlogEngine.NET

by Eyre Austero 19. September 2010 09:34

     This is not my first time of seeing this feature of having a visual preview of a link  once the mouse pointer is hovered over it.  I've seen it implemented in a lot of websites.  But after seeing it at work in a BlogEngine.NET-powered blog that I visited recently, I can't help but be curious. How can I have it in my own blog?

Snap Shots

     Luckily for me 'though, the installation of this tool is easy. It is somewhat similar to the way I installed the AddThis button a few month ago.

     Here's the step-by-step procedure of installing Snap Shots to your BlogEngine.NET-powered blog:

Step 1. Visit http://www.snap.com/snapshots.php#overview then click the 'Get Started' button.

Step 2. Follow the instructions provided.

Step3. Once you reach the installation portion, copy the code.

Step 4. Open the PostView.ascx file of your current theme using your favorite web development application (Microsoft Visual Web Developer Express for my case).

Post View 2

Step 5. Paste the code previously copied before <div class="footer">.

Snap Shots Code

Step 6. Save the changes then open your blog in your local computer.

Step 7. If you like it and if everything is working correctly, upload the PostView.ascx file to the remote server.

      Here's a  description of Snap Shots taken from the Snap.com website. It also includes an instruction on how to disable this tool, should you wish to do so.

Snap Shots is a nice little tool that enhances links with visual previews of the destination site, interactive excerpts of Wikipedia articles, MySpace profiles, IMDb profiles and Amazon products, display inline videosRSS, MP3s, photos, stock charts and more.

Sometimes Snap Shots bring you the information you need, without your having to leave the site, while other times it lets you "look ahead," before deciding if you want to follow a link or not.

Should you decide this is not for you, just click the Options icon in the upper right corner of the Snap Shot and opt-out.

Tags:

BlogEngine.NET

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1

Nikon D7000 Announced

by Eyre Austero 18. September 2010 18:24

     For the Nikon D5000/D90 users out there who are looking for an upgrade option, good news! The Nikon D7000 is coming to town. This new camera, which Nikon describes as a  "mid-class, high-spec Nikon DX-format camera" was announced last September 15,2010 and is expected to be available by mid-October for around 1,200 USD body only and around 1,500 USD with the 18-105mm kit lens.

 

Key Features (sources: Nikon, dpreview, imaging resource) :

  •  Newly developed CMOS sensor (16.2 MP)
  • A new image-processing engine (EXPEED 2)
  • ISO 100-6400 (plus H1 and H2 equivalent to ISO 12,800/25,600)
  • Weather sealed, magnesium alloy body
  • A new 2,016-pixel RGB metering sensor ( which offers twice the metering pixels as Nikon's previous high-end metering sensor)
  • 39-point autofocus system with nine cross-type points at the center of the frame
  • 1080p HD video recording with mic jack for external microphone
  • Twin SD card slots
  • Scene Recognition System (see 2016 pixel sensor, above) aids metering + focus accuracy
  • 3.0 inch 921k dot LCD screen
  • New Live View/movie shooting switch
  • Full-time AF in Live View/movie modes
  • Up to 6fps continuous shooting
  • Lockable shooting mode dial
  • Built-in intervalometer
  • Electronic virtual horizon
  • Shutter tested to 150K actuations

 

   Feature-wise, the Nikon D7000 is said to be in-between the Nikon D90 and the Nikon D300S.  As to how it compares to these two models, refer to the table below taken from dpreview.

 

Tags:

Photography | Techie Stuff | Gadgets

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0

Anaglyph Stereoscopic 3D Gaming with IZ3D

by Eyre Austero 5. September 2010 21:30

     If you want to experience 3D gaming the cheap way, then just don't throw away yet those 3D glasses that you happened to use if you watched the June 20, 2010 episode of Party Pilipinas or those cardboard type red-cyan glasses that come free with some magazines (like the August 2010 issue of FHM).

     In anaglyph mode, it's all that you'll ever need. There's no more need for active shutter glasses + 120Hz monitors or for 3D ready displays + passive polarized glasses. Just your current setup.

     To give this a try, I downloaded the latest IZ3D driver then installed it--not the full installation, but just the anaglyph option (which is free).

     If you have your red-cyan glasses right now, put them on then see some anaglyph screenshots of Bethesda's Oblivion shown below. As you can see, there is a noticeable depth perception using the convergence and separation settings that I used. But there is however a problem with the colors. They're a bit off.

     Will this problem with color accuracy make up for the 3D gaming experience this anaglyph technology brings? Hmmm. Let's see 

    

Tags: ,

Techie Stuff

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1

Lunar Occultation of Venus

by Eyre Austero 18. May 2010 07:06

     While busy playing Oblivion yesterday, I received a 'text' message from my officemate (Ate Aida) telling me to have a look outside to see how beautiful the moon is.  Good for me that I did. The sight was indeed spectacular! Before my eyes is the crescent moon with a star (or to be accurate, the planet Venus appearing like a star) on top of it. So I hurriedly took my Nikon D5000; mounted it on a tripod; then started shooting using the 18-55mm kit lens. I had some difficulty with AF so I switched to manual focus, making use of the electronic rangefinder to confirm focus.

     Although I can only do so much with my kit lens in this situation, I'm still happy because I was able to document this rare and special astronomical event.

     To those who missed this, here are some of my photos of the May 16, 2010  lunar occultation of Venus.

Tags:

Photography | Random Shots

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4

AddThis Button for BlogEngine.NET

by Eyre Austero 20. April 2010 22:48

   To my fellow BlogEngine.NET users out there who woul like to add the AddThis social bookmarking button to their blogs, I've found a simple way to do it  which I will now be sharing with you.

Step 1: Open the AddThis website.

Step 2: Select 'Website' as your service.

Step 3: Choose the button style that you would like to appear in your blog.

Step 4: Decide whether you'd want analytics  for your button or not.

Step 5: Click 'Get Your Button' and copy the code.

Step 6: Open your favorite web development application (which is the Microsoft Visual Web Developer 2008 Express for my case).

Step 7: Open the PostView.ascx file of  the theme you are currently using.

Post View in VWD 2008

Step 8: Paste the code previously copied to the line just before <div class="footer">.

sample code

Step 9. Save the changes and upload the file to the remote server. (Well, this is if your website is hosted on a remote server.)

     Now, open your blog and see for yourself the AddThis button just above the footer.

     With a social bookmarking button, we not only make it easier for our visitors to bookmark and share our posts to popular channels such as Facebook, Digg, Twitter, StumbleUpon etc.  We, at the same time, also come into possession a good tool to market and promote our  blogs through our visitor's help.

     If you like this post, please bookmark and share this to others who might also find it useful using the AddThis button below.

Tags:

BlogEngine.NET | Resources for Bloggers

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1

Manual Focus Using Live View

by Eyre Austero 12. April 2010 08:30

     Although the current auto focus systems of DSLRs are fast and accurate, there are still a number of situations where manual focus is better.  For Darren Rowse of Digital Photography School, these include macro work, portraits, shooting through glass or wire fences, action photography, and low light.

     To prepare myself for these situations, I re-read the Nikon D5000 manual  and learned two useful things. One is the use of the electronic rangefinder, while the other one is the use of live view in doing manual focus.  

     While the electronic rangefinder is good,  the viewfinder is however small making it sometimes difficult to confirm focus accuracy.  It's a good thing that the Nikon D5000 has the live view feature.  One would not only get a 2.7" view of the scene, it is also possible to see its zoomed version up to 6.7x.  I used this feature while doing a lens test of the kit lens and  found it to be very useful in fine tuning focus.

      There are however some limitations with regards to the use of live view in doing manual focus.  Quoting from an article of Joshua Lehrer of Steve's Digicam, "I will preface by saying that 99% of the situations in which live view is a valuable asset, the camera should be in a fixed position, such as on a tripod, the ground, table, etc.".  I agree with this and I think the same applies to the use of manual focus in live view. But ,of course, this is just me. Feel free to disagree.

Tags: ,

Photography | Learning Series

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10

'Abusing' my Kit Lens

by Eyre Austero 2. April 2010 18:13

     One of the problems commonly faced by newbies in photography is what we call the Gear Acquisition Syndrome (a.k.a. GAS)--or is it just me. Barely two and a half months since I purchased my DSLR camera and after  having only taken about a thousand shots with it (mostly fireworks), here I am now itching to buy the next accessories for my camera. Indeed, it looks like I'm now nearly afflicted with GAS.

     Luckily for me, I've managed to hold it at bay. While seeking for answers in photography forums such as DPP, Pipho, DPReview as to what to buy next (prime lens or flash), I came to realize that the answer is not simple and that it is actually only me who can best answer my own question. The general concensus is that, I first have to know the type of photography that I like most doing before I can make informed choices as to what gears to buy next.

    So here I am now; starting to 'abuse' (i.e. maximize) my kit lens; trying to figure out the focal lengths that I use most of the time; the type of photography that I like most doing; learning more about proper exposure, composition, lighting ;and many more.  Who knows, I might after all not be needing more than what the kit lens offer--although I very much doubt this. Hehehe...

    Here are some of my random shots taken using the kit lens. I'll be updating this post whenever I come across something interesting.

Tags: ,

Photography | Random Shots

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1

Shooting Fireworks at the Pyromusical Competition: Part II

by Eyre Austero 16. March 2010 22:49

     To further hone my skills in fireworks photography, I once more went to the SM Mall of Asia last March 14 to watch the last day of the 1st Philippine International Pyromusical Competition.  Unlike last February 28, my experience that night did not go as smoothly.  For one, the area was so  jam-packed, limiting my movement.  The moon was also nowhere to be found forcing me to look for an alternative method to ensure that my focus is set to infinity. What I did was to focus on some distant bright light sources in the hope that this will do the trick.  As this activity required me to remove the camera from the tripod, this somehow led to the worst thing that happened to me that night (and with me as the main culprit).  Almost half of all my shots were partially tilted (from the horizontal plane) due to my failure to double  check whether my subject is still properly framed or not after returning the camera back.  

     Things might not have turned very well that night but I'm actually glad that it happened.  The valuable lessons that I've learned will surely be of great help for me in averting potential disasters in the future.

     Here are some of my fireworks photos taken that night. To view the camera settings used and my other fireworks photos, please refer to Part I of this post.

    

Tags:

Photography | Fireworks

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4

Shooting Fireworks at the Pyromusical Competition

by Eyre Austero 3. March 2010 20:39

     As a newbie in DSLR photography, improving my photographic eye and skills is my topmost priority. So whenever an opportunity presents itself, my natural instinct is to jump right in to get my hands dirty so as to learn in the process. It is this same instinct which led my feet to the SM Mall of Asia to shoot some fireworks during the February 28, 2010 schedule of the 1st Philippine International Pyromusical Competition. The competing countries (on this date) were France and Japan.

     To get the most out of this event, I did not go to the place empty-handed. Instead, I gave myself more than a week to gather some useful tips and practices on how to best shoot fireworks. As a start, I went to the venue an hour earlier than the scheduled start of the event. This is for me to secure a nice spot for taking photos.  To avoid camera shake, all photos were taken using a remote switch and with the camera mounted on a tripod. The UV filter was also removed to prevent getting ghost images of the fireworks. Camera used was the Nikon D5000. Lens used was the kit lens (18-55mm VR).

     Let me now share with you the camera settings that I used.  Be forewarned 'though that some settings might be camera-specific.

  • Long Exposure Noise Reduction: On
  • Flash: Off
  • Vibration Reduction: Off
  • Active D-Lighting: Off
  • Focus: Infinity (As suggested in some forums, what I did to achieve this is to focus on the moon then to switch to Manual mode afterwards.)
  • Autofocus: Off (Well I did this because it is said that the brightness of the fireworks and the haze of the smoke confuses many auto focus systems.)
  • Mode: Manual
  • Shutter Speed: Bulb (This is to give me better control over exposure time.)
  • Aperture: f/8, f/11 (This is to have greater depth of field.)
  • ISO: 200
  • Image Quality: Fine
  • Metering: Matrix

     And now, let me present to you the result of my first try, ever, at shooting fireworks.  

    

      For more tips on how to shoot fireworks, please visit this link: http://camerani.com/how-to-photograph-fireworks/

Tags:

Photography | Fireworks

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