Rodney Campbell's Blog

Archive for January, 2013

Big Balmoral Stoppage…

by on Jan.23, 2013, under Life, Photography

Soon after sunrise (6:30 to 7AM) at Balmoral beach I thought I’d try some ten to twelve Stop ND time stoppage action with the new Lee BigStopper plus the Heliopan CPL.

Note: These images (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger – so click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer.

I’m not yet totally convinced by this first shot and would be very interested to see what others think – I was drawn to the lone empty bench at the end of this concrete outcrop across the beach and out onto the ocean – plus getting the only clouds in the whole sky into the frame was karma…

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 22 mm, 81.00 sec at f/16, ISO 100

A little further down the beach we have this fully enclosed swimming area (my kids have swum here a number of times) with a walking pier right around which I do really like…

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 20 mm, 81.00 sec at f/16, ISO 100

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Balmoral Pano…

by on Jan.20, 2013, under Life, Photography

Headed down to Balmoral beach (on Sydney’s middle harbour) for a sunrise shoot. The sunrise isn’t in an ideal location for anything too interesting which would include the sun in the frame but it’s a nice location with some interesting elements including a small island just off the beach. As seems typical with the sunrise shoots of late there were very few clouds to add any interest to the sky.

This was taken about 10 minutes before sunrise and consisted of a set of 54 (18 sets of 3 bracketed [0, -2 & +2EV] exposures) vertical images at a relatively wide angle (35mm).

Each of the brackets were blended and then those results were then stitched into this very wide (probably around 250 degrees) panorama and a couple distracting elements were cloned out (lamp post, seat).

In this case it’s hard to really see the image with this very small thin image and it’s worth clicking through to the larger image to see more detail – and of course the 30,000 x 5,800 pixel master image looks great 🙂

NIKON D600 + @ 35 mm, 1 sec at f/9, ISO 100

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Sigma “Eye of the Photographer” Competition…

by on Jan.16, 2013, under Life, Photography

Last year I’d entered two images into a photography competition sponsored by Sigma, and didn’t think much more of it as you do…

I received an email late last week indicating I’d won a prize and had anyone contacted me about it yet…

Anyway to cut a long story short I’d won first place in the “Eye of the Photographer” competition.

The best part about this is I’d won $3,000 of my choice of any Sigma lenses for which I’m particularly happy. This is especially good news since with my recent move to FX I was seriously eyeing off the new Sigma 35/1.4 and their 15mm f/2.8 fullframe fisheye and wondering which of the two I might be able to convince the boss I could buy. Now my decision rests on what third lens I’m also going to choose – their highly regarded 85/1.4, the new 105/2.8 macro or something else…

… and the image which won was this “Starry Eyed” image taken out in country NSW

NIKON D7000 + 12.0-24.0 mm f/4.0 @ 12 mm, 60 sec at f/4, ISO 1250

Technical Details:
Nikon D7000 + Tokina 12-24mm f/4.0 Lens @ 12 mm
Twilight Image: 58 seconds at f/11, ISO 100
Star Trails Images: 210 x 60 second exposures (3.5 hours) at f/4.0, ISO 1250

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D600 Sensor Cleaning Part II…

by on Jan.14, 2013, under Life, Photography

A while back I’d posted about some of my experience with dust spots on the new D600.

Basically I think it’s getting better but it certainly did seem to produce more spots on the sensor than either of my two previous D-SLR’s (D90 and D7000).

I already owned the CopperHill MegaKit which included everything you needed for lens and sensor maintenance including:

• Large Giottos Rocket blower (for blowing the sensor and readying the sensor sweep brush)
• SensorSwipe (the tool/stick you use to wet clean the sensor)
• 100-pack of QuikStrips (the use once cleaning strips you put on the SensorSwipe stick)
• 2 ounce bottle of Eclipse (the cleaning solution – you put two drops on the quikstrip when it’s on the tool)
• Lens Care Kit
• SensorSweep (a brush you use for dry “static” cleaning of the sensor)
• SensorView (a LED illuminated sensor loupe)

I had the 14mm SensorSwipe tool which is designed for a two pass clean of a crop (DX) sensor and I’d used it a number of times on my D7000 to good effect.

Up till now I’d only cleaned the D600 using the Rocket Blower to blow air onto the sensor (which just removes the dry easy to remove dust).

So I ordered a new SensorSwipe (the 24mm one for a one pass clean of a full frame sensor) and the new 100-pack of 24mm QuikStrips and whilst I was at it I also purchased the new Sensor Loupe.

After the new kit arrived I did try the SensorSweep brush for the first time this time to see if it did anything useful – my conclusion – it did not – in fact I reckon it just smeared the stuck on gunk across the sensor and made it worse. So it was time for a wet clean which worked as it had previously on my D7000.

A couple weeks later and my sensor was pretty dirty again and I had to do another wet clean but it produced outstanding results this time with no visible spots in my long exposure landscape images the next morning.

I also own a copy of the Reikan FoCal – Fully Automated Camera Calibration software tool. I actually own the Pro version which lets you do everything including:

Assisted Target Setup – Live View help for getting the target set up correctly
Semi Automatic Calibration – automatic control of the camera to simplify you find the best settings
Fully Automatic Microadjustment/Fine Tune Calibration – camera/lens calibration at the touch of a button
Manual Calibration Mode – calibrate from a set of image files you shot manually
Aperture Sharpness – find out the sharpest aperture for your lenses
Autofocus Consistency – check out the autofocus performance of you camera
Dust Analysis – find out how much dust is on your sensor, and which aperture it will start affecting images
MultiPoint Focus Test – automated comparison of many focus points, and even full individual calibration
Real-Time Detailed Analysis Information – shows the results as the tests progress
Report Generation – generates details PDF reports with all analysis results
Target Optimisation – uses features of the FoCal target to optimise test analysis
Expert Mode – allows changing of test settings, e.g. aperture and ISO

So I’ve also run the automated Dust Analysis test before and after cleaning and I can see where it’s improved.

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by on Jan.12, 2013, under Life, Photography

A long (150 second) exposure beneath the twin Shoalhaven River bridges taken just on sunset using the B+W ten stop ND filter…

Note: These images (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger – so click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer.

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 16 mm, 151 sec at f/8, ISO 200

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