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 Friday, March 24, 2017
by Sean Setters
 
While a sharp image is often most desireable, sometimes increased sharpness is counterproductive to achieveing specific photographic goals. For instance, lately I've been intrigued by slow shutter speeds and the motion blur recorded as a result of their use. Specifically, I've recently been using the RigWheels RigMount X4 Magnetic Camera Platform for automotive photography.
 
While I'm finding the camera platform to be an exciting tool to have in my kit, its not necessarily an inexpensive piece of gear and its uses outside of automotive photography are somewhat limited. But using the RigMount X4 got me thinking about other ways of capturing motion and the world of artistic possibilites at our fingertips, especially if nothing in the frame remains sharp as a result of one's chosen exposure variables.
 
With that in mind, I recently made set out with my camera in hand with a goal of creating a totally motion blurred image that looked more like "art" and less like "a mistake." With the goal of few (if any) details being discernable, I didn't have to go far to find a suitable location. The scene I chose was the normally-not-very-photogenic view seen across the street from my home. After about 20 attempts (using various panning/rotating techniques), I had a motion blurred image that intrigued me enough to post-process (seen above).
 
To capture the image, I used a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and EF 17-40mm f/4L USM (with a 4-stop ND filter) with the following settings: 40mm, f/6.3, 2 sec, ISO 200. I held the camera level to the ground and panned from right-to-left while bouncing the camera up and down (as if it were a bouncing ball) during the 2-second exposure which created seemingly the intertwined flowing lines seen in the image. For post processing, I applied vignetting correction and increased the image's saturation/vibrancy/clarity in Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CC. For what it's worth, I ended up liking the end result so much that it's now my smartphone's wallpaper (slightly croped and rotated 90-degrees).
 
We invite you to share your artistically motion blurred images in the comments below.
Post Date: 3/24/2017 8:51:00 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
B&H currently lists the expected availability of the new Canon EOS M6 as Thu, Mar 30th.
 
With that date rapidly approaching (less than a week away), it seemed logical to get our expectations loaded on the Canon EOS M6 Review page, so ... we did just that.
 
What are the differences between the EOS M6 and the EOS M5? We list those differences right at the top of the M6 page – and the list is short. So short that much of the M6 page is the same or nearly the same as the M5 page. And, a short list of differences is very good in this case. If you are familiar with one of these cameras, you just need to read the mentioned differences list to be familiar with both.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 3/24/2017 8:09:01 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
Expired: Amazon has the Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 & Premiere Elements 15 available for $69.99. Regularly $124.99.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • Turn frowns upside down Transform frowns into smiles, adjust squinting eyes and make other quick tweaks, so everyone in your photos looks their best.
  • Guided Edits for help along the way Photoshop Elements offers 45 Guided Edits that step you through to fantastic results.
  • Picture incredible text Get step-by-step help turning a photo into cool visual text and then adding an embossed look and drop shadows to really make it pop. Great for collages, scrapbook pages, cards, signs, and more.
  • System Requirement Note: Only compatible with 64-bit processors
Through this weekend, B&H has select Camera Creatures on sale for $11.99 each. Regularly $19.99 each.
 
Alternately, you can get both props for $19.99.
 
If you've ever photographed young children, you likely know how difficult it can be to get and/or hold their attention. These props look as if they could make photographing children a little easier. [Sean]
 
Product Highlights
 
  • Keeps Kids Focused On the Camera
  • Unique Attention Grabber
  • Fits Most Camera Lenses
  • Built-In Squeaker
Post Date: 3/24/2017 5:19:17 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Thursday, March 23, 2017
B&H has the Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD Lens in stock with free expedited shipping.
Post Date: 3/23/2017 4:11:48 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
Through March 27, use coupon code C20SPRING (20% off) during checkout at eBay to get the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens (via redtagcamera – 99.9% Positive Feedback) available for $111.99 with free shipping. Compare at $179.00 after $20.00 instant savings.
 
Note: The coupon code (20% off, $50.00 max) is single-use only (per eBay account) and can also be used on other select purchases on eBay.
 
This lens is small, lightweight, inexpensive, easy to pack and features surprisingly good image quality. At this price, this lens is a fantastic bargain. [Sean]
Post Date: 3/23/2017 4:10:42 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
Through March 27, use coupon code C20SPRING ($50.00 off) during checkout at eBay to get the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens (via redtagcamera – 99.9% Positive Feedback) for $219.95 with free shipping. Compare at $279.00 after $20.00 instant savings.
 
Note: The coupon code (20% off, $50.00 max) is single-use only (per eBay account) and can also be used on other select purchases on eBay.
 
The Canon EF-S 10-18 IS STM is the lens I used for my most recent car-in-motion shot. [Sean]
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 3/23/2017 10:31:40 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Through March 27, use coupon code C20SPRING ($50.00 off) during checkout at eBay to get the DJI Phantom 4 Quadcopter (via redtagcamera – 99.9% Positive Feedback) for $929.95 with free shipping. Compare at $1,061.00 after $140.00 instant savings.
 
Note: The coupon code (20% off, $50.00 max) is single-use only (per eBay account) and can also be used on other select purchases on eBay.
Post Date: 3/23/2017 10:23:18 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Through March 27, use coupon code C20SPRING during checkout at eBay to get the Canon EF-S 55-250mm F4-5.6 IS STM Lens (via redtagcamera – 99.9% Positive Feedback) for $109.56 with free shipping. Compare at $299.00.
 
Note: The coupon code (20% off, $50.00 max) is single-use only (per eBay account) and can also be used on other select purchases on eBay.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 3/23/2017 10:11:15 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
by Sean Setters
 
In my review of the RigWheels RigMount X4 Magnetic Camera Platform, I demonstrated how the mount could be used to capture a vehicle in motion (with blurred surroundings) while attached to the car being photographed. The example I created can be seen below.
 
Self Portrait with RigWheels RigMount X4 Magnet Camera Platform 1

Getting a shot like the example above is relatively easy and straightforward using the magnetic camera platform. But ever since posting the review, I had been wondering whether or not the RigMount X4 could be utilized to photograph a vehicle it wasn't attached to with a sharp vehicle and similarly blurred background. From a photographer's perspective, this type of situation would be ideal as the camera gear's safety and security remain the responsibility of the photographer rather than the driver of the subject car (assuming you're not using the X4 for a self-portrait like I was).
 
However, I knew that there would be several challenges involved in photographing a following vehicle, all of which can cause unwanted motion blur of the vehicle being photographed. To capture an acceptably sharp follow vehicle, the following would all need to happen simultaneously during the relatively long shutter duration:
 
  1. The car with the camera mount could not hit any significant bumps
  2. The follow car could not hit any significant bumps
  3. The follow car would need to maintain a constant distance from the lead/camera mounted car
I reasoned that using an image stabilized lens would help reduce the impact of small vibrations caused by the mount vehicle, but... it wouldn't be able to compensate for any noticeable bumps in the driving surface.
 
Unfortunately, there was another challenge to consider – lighting. If photographing on a bright, clear day, the single primary light source would not likely produce great results.
 
For instance, if driving into the sun, the lead vehicle's shadow would likely cast a distracting shadow into the scene. If the sun were camera right, the broad side of the subject vehicle as seen from the lead vehicle would be in shadow with, yet again, another distracting shadow cast into the middle of the frame. If driving away from the sun, then the bulk of the subject car would be in shadow. With the sun camera left, the broad side of the subject vehicle would have been well lit, but... I still wasn't sure that I'd be happy with the lead vehicle's shadow likely being visible in the frame.
 
Shooting at night seemed to be the best solution to the lighting problem. With street lights (and possibly head lights) providing the bulk of the lighting required for an exposure, the car could be lit from multiple angles with any shadows cast being less severe. Also, the direction of travel would be less of a concern, meaning that a wider variety of shooting locations would be available for consideration. As ideal nighttime lighting conditions would likely be sporadic on any given route (aside from a well lit parking lot), it was necessary to add "good lighting" to the ever-growing list of variables that had to fall in line for the desired final image.
 
Before attempting a nighttime shot, Alexis (the driver of the following vehicle) and I did a dry run during the day to determine which focal lengths and shutter speeds might work best. Tests with a shutter speed of 1/2 second never created a sharp-looking vehicle. We found that wider focal lengths and a relatively close vehicle in an adjacent lane with a 1/3 second shutter speed provided the most promising results. At 1/3 second, there were still only a few sharp images compared to the total images captured. However, the blur created at 1/3 second appeared significantly better at comfortable speeds than when using shorter shutter speeds.
 
Before I go any further, let me be clear – please use caution if attempting to photograph moving vehicles. Do what you can to minimize risks and always be alert to potential hazards and/or traffic conditions. We are not responsible for property damage and/or loss of life if you attempt to replicate the results.
 
How I Got the Shot
 
Because of its wide angle of view and image stabilization feature, I opted to use a Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens paired with an Canon EOS 7D Mark II. The 7D II was not only a good camera choice because of its compatibility with the EF-S 10-18 IS STM, but it's built-in intervalometer feature made triggering the camera during the shooting runs very easy.
 
I mounted the camera and lens to a ball head attached to the RigMount X4 and – using the included (4) Long Magnetic Mounts – I affixed the rig to the driver's side back quarter panel of my car. With the road in front of my house free of traffic, I directed Alexis to a spot for optimal framing, manually focused on the car, made a few test shots to determine the proper exposure settings, and with the exposure settings determined, I set the camera's intervalometer to take a shot every second. With the camera triggered, I told Alexis to try and maintain a constant distance from the car when she could (while abiding by all traffic laws, of course).
 
The exposure settings used: 10mm, f/5, 1/3 sec., ISO 1000.
 
We ended up doing two 1/2 mile laps traveling down a four lane road featuring a decent number of street lights. After the first lap, we took a look at the images to see if there were any adjustments that might be made to improve our results. We determined that the follow vehicle needed to be just a little bit closer and a little more forward in relation to the lead car than the previous run. On the second lap, we got the shot atop this post. Out of the two laps, there were only a handful of acceptably sharp images (out of 400+) and only a couple of the shots featured decent lighting and optimal vehicle placement within the frame (making selection of the best shot a very easy task).
 
Conclusion
 
Can the RigWheels RigMount X4 be used to photograph a moving vehicle that it isn't attached to, with motion blurred surroundings and a sharp subject? In a word – "absolutely." However, planning, patience and persistence will be your allies in getting those results.
 
More Info: RigWheels RigMount X4 Magnetic Camera Platform Review
Post Date: 3/23/2017 8:10:50 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
B&H has the Cinetics Axis360 Pro Motorized Motion Control System and Slider available for $699.95 with free shipping. Regularly $899.95.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • For Motorized Slides, Pans, and Tilts
  • Digital Stepper Motor
  • Supports up to 11 lb
  • Controller Unit with CineMoco Software
  • Speeds up to 110°/s
  • Incremental Steps Down to 0.03°
  • 32" Slider
  • Mini Tripod Kit with Ballhead
  • Two Quick-Release Clamps
  • Arca-Type Quick-Release Plate
Think Tank Photo has its new Signature-series – the Signature 10 and Signature 13 shoulder bags – in stock with free shipping.
 
As an added bonus for using our links, you'll get a free gift with your purchase of $50.00 or more at Think Tank Photo.
 
Key Features:
 
  • Modern wool-like fabric that is soft to the touch and stands-up to everyday use
  • Full-grain leather bottom and detailing, plus antique finished metal hardware
  • Zippered flap provides full closure and security to the main compartment, or tucks away when not in use
Post Date: 3/23/2017 7:36:36 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
From Nikon:
 
Changes from Firmware Version 1.1 to 1.2
 
  • Fixed an issue that in rare cases prevented the camera turning on and increased the drain on the battery when Disable was selected for Bluetooth > Connection and On for Airplane mode in Camera settings > Network menu.
Download: Nikon COOLPIX W100 Firmware v.1.2
Posted to: Nikon News
Post Date: 3/23/2017 7:28:26 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Through midnight tonight Eastern Time, B&H has the WD 8TB Red 5400 rpm SATA III 3.5" Internal NAS HDD available for $269.99 with free shipping. Regularly $319.99.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • 8TB Storage Capacity
  • 3.5" Form Factor
  • SATA III 6 Gb/s Interface
  • 128MB Cache
  • 5400 rpm
  • Up to 178 MB/s Sustained Transfer Rate
  • 600,000 Load/Unload Cycles
  • 1,000,000 Hours MTBF
  • Error Recovery Controls
  • NASware 3.0 Technology
Through midnight tonight Eastern Time, B&H has the Tokina 12-28mm f/4.0 AT-X Pro APS-C Lens for Canon available for $199.00 with free shipping. Regularly $449.00.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 3/23/2017 6:30:47 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
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