Photographing Brass Town Falls with a Neutral Density Filter

Neutral density filter waterfall - ND8

A neutral density (ND8) filter allows for some great waterfall shots!

Hi everyone, and thanks for reading!  This site is mostly about camera hacks and mounts that other people (and sometimes myself) do.  It’s not really about photography per se, but once in a while I do get to take some shots that I’m proud of.  I’m going to file this stuff under the new “Jeremy’s Photography” category so I have a place to show it off.

I don’t claim to be a great photographer, so it’s more about the learning experience for me.  If you have any suggestions as to how these shots could be better, please let me know in the comments.  If you think they’re awesome, I’m happy to hear that too.

I used an ND8 filter on most of these shots, and a longish exposure time (around 1/8 second or so).  This along with the ISO being set to 100 allowed the water in motion to appear more like “streaks” than “drops.”

So check out the shots of Brass Town Falls located in the furthest reaches of Upstate South Carolina after the “read more.”  It’s a great location, so maybe you can give photographing it a try! Continue reading

Aerial Video with a Keychain Camera and Hubsan X4 Quadcopter

keychain camera hubsan X4 Quadcopter

If you want to take aerial video with your GoPro camera, the DJI Phantom quadcopter, which we’ve featured here, might come to mind.  If you don’t have $500 to spend (or more if you don’t own a GoPro), you might be looking for another cheaper option.

Fortuantely, 501Stratos has found an interesting solution by hooking a sub-$10 keychain camera to the bottom of his little Hubsan X4 warbird quadcopter.  The outer case is stripped off to save weight.

Update 4/22/2014: After a helpful conversation on G+ with Trevor, I realize this camera may actually be the more expensive (around $60) 808 #16 V3 camera (Amazon) with a wide angle “D” lens.  Or maybe another 808 camera with a “D” lens.  For more (much, much more) info on the versions of this keychain camera, check out this article by Chuck Lohr.  Thanks Trevor!

The video, as seen after the “read more,” from this camera is actually pretty good considering the source, but it’s really no competition for a proper aerial filming platform. Continue reading

Easy to Build Open Source Camera

a 3D printed open source cameraThis open source camera combines practicality, simplicity, and ingenuity to make a camera out of readily available parts. In addition, it gives individuals the chance to build their own camera. This encourages experimentation and forces the builder to learn more about the nitty-gritty of photography.

Even though there is not a detailed instruction list, the parts list is complete. It shouldn’t be too hard  to assemble the camera based on the pictures and some common sense. Being open source, maybe someone will contribute a full instruction manual in the future.

open source camera before assemblyThe body is constructed from 3D printed plastic and an adafruit trinket (knockoff arduino) controls the shutter. Actual film (as opposed to a CCD) is used to capture the image. This allows the design to stay simple and effective. The camera is simple and it’s easy to understand how it works. Because of this, it would be easy to experiment with long-exposure or other “exotic” filming techniques.  See our explanation of light graffiti if you need some ideas!

On the other hand, as a result of the simplicity there are two major downsides to this camera:

  • The battery is difficult to access
  • It is difficult to aim the camera

However, these things could easily be improved upon in a future design.

Undoubtedly, the best part of this camera is the fact that it is open source. This opens the door for all kinds of experimentation and new features. Maybe we’ll see a 3D printed tripod or other crazy accessory show up for it soon!