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Cactus Wireless Flash Trigger Set V4 & Receivers

29 Oct

Finally got my Cactus Wireless Flash Trigger Set V4 and receivers and have been trying them out. So far I love them and have not had any misfires as people have claimed.  As a product, they are very steady and portable compared to the V2 receivers.

I was able to trigger my flash (SB-600) at distances of about 50 feet with walls in-between me and flash, and was able to trigger the flash in open spaces at a whooping distance of 180-190 feet. I did not see much of a difference in distance if the antenna was up or down.

Some of the other tests I performed were:

  • High Frame Rate fire: At about 5 fps (frames per second) with a battery grip(MB-D80) and the flash at full power, the flash was not able to keep up with every frame. I got about 1 in every 5 shot flash trigger (Note: batteries were not fully charged). I believe this is mainly due to the flash recycle time.
  • When the flash was at its lowest power 1/64th of full power, the flash was able to keep up with every frame shot.

The extra receivers I got would eventually be coupled with my current SB-600 and the future SB-24 or SB-25.

Here are a few picture of the trigger and receiver.

 

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Photography Gear Wish List – Off camera lighting Update

16 Oct

I just pulled the trigger on getting some equipment for my off camera lighting. I purchased a Cactus Wireless Flash Trigger Set V4 and 2 Cactus Wireless Flash V4 Receiver’s . With this setup, I would be able to shoot with the flashes off the camera. I read some good reviews about the Cactus Wireless Triggers and Receivers, and for under $100 I would able to fire 3 separate flashes, compared to a single $170 pocket wizard.

I am also looking to pick up 2 extra flashes (Nikon SB-26 or SB-28dx under $100 each) to add to my SB-600. To top this all up, a softbox would seal the deal for me.

As soon as I get them and have tried them out, I would surely give a review about them.

Happy Shooting.

The Best Camera

2 Oct

The best camera is the one that’s with you.” – Chase Jarvis

This is very true! as a photographer enthusiast I find it very difficult carrying around my Nikon D90 DSLR everywhere I go, but I find myself in situations where I wished I had my DSLR with me. I have found myself going to events as a guest and leaving the Nikon D90 with the battery grip at home (even thou it’s painful to do that), because I just feel the camera is too bulky to take with me. So I settle for the point and shot.

Since I can not take the point and shoot everywhere I go, that is where my iPhone comes into play. My first generation iPhone with 2.0 mega pixels comes in handy in well lit areas, and I take a ton of pictures with the iPhone just because that seems to be the only camera with me.

Chase Jarvis is a well renowned photographer; one of his latest projects was compiling the astonishing pictures he has taken over some time with his iPhone into a book titled “The Best Camera“. And from his experience of taken photos using his iPhone and applying filters, updating and uploading his photos to his social network; he thought why don’t I just come up with an iPhone app that does all the heavy lifting in one simple process. And he did, the app is called “Best Camera“, visit his page for more details about the application.

The application comes in handy as an app I can use on the go without having to download the photos into something like Photoshop or Light Room and then apply the cool effects. These can all be done on the iPhone.

Here are some of the things I hope the future releases would have:

  • Ability to choose the frame color. Since the frame color only comes in white as of now, the picture frame is not prominent on webpage’s with white backgrounds, or to have a drop shadow along the edges of the frame.
  • Ability to delete pictures once uploaded to the Best Camera website.
  • Ability to use some kind of slider to decrease or increase the filter effects.
  • Some sort of customization to upload to other sites such as Flickr, SmugMug, Zenfolio etc.

I found the app very easy to use and very easy to share with my twitter account followers, my FaceBook account and also uploading a copy to the Best Camera website. I have gotten rave reviews from friends and families on FaceBook when they learnt the photo came from my iPhone. Here are the some before and after photos.

Here are photos I have submitted to the Best Camera website.

Before

After

Before


After

Before

After

Before

After

Photography Gear Wish List – Off camera lighting

21 Sep

Its been a couple of months now since I decided to take my photography to a another level. And from the things i have learnt so far, I believe there are somethings I need to do to make my pictures look different from any other picture i have ever taken.

Now that I look at every picture from a photographer’s point of view, I now see hard shadows, object growing out of the subject’s head, over exposed subjects and a whole lot more. My picture’s have been a lot better since I have gotten my first DSLR (Nikon D90) and a flash (Nikon SB-600). I have learnt to bounce my flash off the wall (hopefully its white) to create a bigger source of light, because bigger source’s of light casts softer light on the subject.

A gear that would help me with light control is a softbox. A softbox is a box that fits over a flash head or lamp made of black sides, with white, gold or silver interior and a translucent front where light passes through. I currently use a Gary Fong lightsphere, and this seems to do the job so far. To get creative I would have to take the light off the camera. In terms of off-camera light using a softbox, one can make the pictures dramatic or sensual. I will surely blog about this as soon as I get my hands on one.

2 Softboxes and white reflectors.

Photography Projects to keep things fresh

8 Sep

I have barely began my photography journey, and I am finding it hard to pick up the Nikon D90 and go out and shoot on a regular basis. Since I work a full time job as a Software Engineer Monday’s – Friday’s, and on the Saturdays I have my morning run, my daughter’s swimming lessons, do some house work and that basically takes the whole day. And for Sunday’s, I am decompressing getting ready for another week after church. So when do I have time to go out and take pictures?

I got inspired by reading an article on the Digital Photography School website titled 7 Photography Projects to Jumpstart your Creativity, and decided to take on one or two of the projects. Some of the ones I am looking into are 100 Strangers, A-Z, Pick-A-Something and Go Mono.

100 Stranger: With this project, I might have to make it a day’s task to go out to a public place such as the DC monument – Lincoln Memorial where there are hundreds of people walking around and approach them for a photograph.

A-Z: I believe this can be easily done around the home or outside in the yard. This might be a fun one to take on first.

Pick-A-Something: Pick a something that looks like a fun thing to take on probably out of the house and in the yard, can you say B-U-G-S !!!!

Go Mono: With this I would be looking for something abstract that would look good as a black and white picture.

I will be posting updates here and also tweeting about them as I get them done. For updates on the projects you can follow me on Twitter (@shardayyy) and the results of my projects will be posted on Zenfolio (shardayyy @ Zenfolio).

My first photoshoot

19 Aug

My first photoshoot went without a hitch, and there are things that were learned from it or things that could have been done better.

I was planning to shoot for the day, but I was crippled by the weather (it rained) and had to shoot in a basement with limited natural light coupled with florescence bulb light. I planned to shoot outside and hoped for a sunny day, but when the day came around, it was cloudy and wet.

My brother-in-law being a photography hobbyist himself, came to the rescue with his gear. Since I was only armed with one strobe (SB-600),  I could not see how I could have pull it off. I am a fan of  Zack Arias and watched his OneLight video, I couldn’t see how I could have done it without something like an AlienBees Flash Unit. You can check out my gear list to see what I am working with.

My brother-in-law came to the rescue with the following gear:

  • Canon 50D
  • Strobe Transmitter
  • 3 Strobes
  • 2 Soft boxes with stands
  • A light boom
  • Some back drops (not white or black)
  • White Circular form boards for reflection

Here are pictures of the setup.

Chloe Cole Beautes Photoshoot

Chloe Cole Beautes Photoshoot

Here are a few pictures from the shoot and more could be found on Chloe Cole Beautes website. More information about Chloe Cole Beautes can be found on its Twitter page and its Facebook page.

Scott Kelby’s 2nd Annual Photowalk coming up July 18th, 2009

13 Jul

As July 18th, 2009  comes up fast, I am getting excited by the day looking forward to my first photo walk.

I am looking forward to use this opportunity to network, to learn and improve my photography skills.

Here are few things I am doing to get prepared:

* Researching my photo walk route:
By researching my route I am getting myself acclimated with what might be on my route, such things as land marks or interesting building. And the way am doing this is by simply using any of the street view applications out there. Such as Google Earth, Google maps, Bing Maps etc. That way I can keep a mental list of some cool spots I have to take a picture of.

* Business / Contact Cards:
By profession I am not photographer, but a Software Engineer by day and I do not have photography business cards ready  to give out. What am doing is firing up photoshop and by using a business card template, I can easily add my name and some contact info where people can find me online. This would be a good way to share my work and also meet people.

* Gears:
Making sure I have what is needed for that day. If you look at My Gears list, the only thing I would be bringing with me would be my D90, both lenses (Nikkor 18-200mm VR f3.5-f5.6 and a Nikkor 50mm f1.8), the SB-600 speedlight, extra batteries for the flash, extra memory cards all packed in my Lowepro SlingShot 100 and a tripod.

* Online Photo account:
For those that do not have a way to share their photos online, there are tons of paid and free sites you can host your photos on. The ones that I have are Flickr (Free with yahoo account), shutterchance (Free/Paid), Zenfolio (Free Trial/Paid – a discount coupon code is available on my site if intrested in Zenfolio ), Picassa (Free with Gmail account). Making sure these accounts are still valid and ready for photo postings.

For more information about the photo walk please visit the official website for more details.