Thursday, October 17, 2013

Crushing candy, old school.

This photo shoot started with the premise that sugar emits light when impacted. I figured this would be a good reason to rest out my pellet gun instead of going back to the air cannon because I wanted to see how the lead pellets would work. After a few shots this is the best example I had.

Long exposure with no flash gave some double imaging but still kinda cool. You can see impact area and the blue light being emitted from the candy, not only from the impact point but also the stress cracks all around as it exploded.

But seeing how I already set up the shooting range I figured I might as well set up the flash and capture some exploding candy. Also seeing how I had been stuck on the same level in Candy Crush for a week it was a good way to take out my frustration crushing candy the old school way.

First I had to dial in the range and timing, also I wanted to see what the pellets would do when meeting my new steel backstop at 450 ft/sec

Once dialed in I could start the crushing. I wish I could say this next shot was intentional, but that is what I call a bullseye.

Now for some real impacts.

then some sugar cubes

then some M&M's, a personal favourite

At this point I was out of candy, so I finished up with some old staples, Fishy crackers and grapes.

for this shot I extended the time a little to get more of the after effect, that was one juicy grape

That's it for now. All these were made with the targets right up against the backstop, next time I think I'll try the pellet gun with the targets free standing and see what the outcome is.

If you like what you see or have questions tweet your comments or target ideas to @Daverig
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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Backstop aquired

Since my last test firing with the air cannon I've been looking for a solid backstop to fire against. Something like a large chunk of steel that should spread out the impact hopefully making for some interesting images.

Well last weekend I was lucky enough to find such a object at a yard sale. I believe it is a anvil used for automotive body work, but for me it's a 1/2 bound chunk of steel. After cleaning it up and giving it a coat of black paint it was ready to see how the airsoft pellets would react to the impact.

But before we get to the results, first let me go over the ingredients that make this possible.

One box of Ammo.

Optical trigger mounted on cannon barrel

Air cannon loaded to 30 PSI

Triggering board registering firing at 400 Feet per Second

And a fraction of a second later we have...

End result was me sweeping up a lot of bits of plastic. Also the 4 silver circle marks were made by a different kind of projectile I'm testing and hope to have images of this weekend along with some more interesting things going splat up against the anvil.

Tweet your comments or target ideas to @Daverig
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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Another excuse to break out the air cannon.

Last weekend I finally got around to testing my Nikon SB-700 flash for high speed captures and the results were pretty good. If you go back to my previous post on my 1st tests 1.21-gigawatts using some cheap flashes, the attempt worked, but the images were still blurred due to the duration of the flashes.
Old Flash created streaked images
Aside from the new flash I also make some modifications to my air cannon. I added a breach loading mechanism to the barrel so I didn't have to move the whole gun to load it. This mean once the cannon was aimed every shot was in the same place making lining everything up much easier and faster. 
The speed of the airsoft pellets were clocking in between 350-400 ft/sec which was more than enough velocity for the tests.

Finding targets that make for interesting pictures is harder than you would think. I tried a few toys like army men and such but all you end up with is the toy frozen in the air. Something with movable limbs usually make for better actions shots so I found my small Master Chief figure. 1st couple of rounds were uneventful until the chief activated his Over Shield shattering the airsoft pellet.
Over Shield activated !!!
But the Over Shield doesn't last forever and he eventually fell victim to the over sized sniper round.
Never saw it coming.
After the Chief was removed from active duty it was the Battle Droids turn. Nothing much came from him except this one Dead eye shot to his blaster arm cleanly disarming him, and removing the arm from its body in the process.
Draw !
These targets were interesting, but it was time to move to the good stuff. I wasn't really set up to make a mess so I started with a few crackers. 1st was a clean through shot.
Next we have is a nice double kill, glad to see the cannon has some penetrating power. I especially like the crumb spray from the 1st cracker blasting across the 2nd one.
Combat spacing !!!
Lastly we have some grapes. I was quite shocked at how juicy they were, and how far the juice spray carried.
Freshly squeezed.
 Also the pellet is nicely captured at the end of the spray in both shots.
Head Shot !!!
All in all the flash worked performed pretty well. For the Crackers and Grapes there is still some motion blur but it's not too bad. I still may look into a air gap flash in the future but this should work for a while. Head over to my gallery so see all the images here.

If you have any suggestions on what I should shoot next send me a tweet @Daverig

And don't forget,

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Time-lapse Testing

I've been looking at trying some time-lapse shooting. Yesterday we has some nice clouds with strong winds so I did some test runs. These as jpgs straight out of the camera and stitched together, them combined in iMovie. 
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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Some images from last week

Just a few pictures I snapped with my iPhone last week.

And a video shot with my Nikon7000, 105mm Macro lens, and 3inch extension tube
Journey of the Friut Fly
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Monday, August 6, 2012

Sliding camera shoulder strap for under $8

I've been looking at the R-Strap and C-Loop strap mount for some time now. I like the idea of both but can't bring myself to spend over $70 for a camera strap with a 1/4 20 screw. I've had a idea on how to make my own for awhile now and today I finally got around to doing it.
I started by heading down to my local Home Depot and going though the fastener isle. I found a few different option so I brought more parts then I ended up using.

This button snap ended up being the key to the whole mechanism.

The snap is the exact size of the inner hole of the large washer and it's height is slightly more than the thickness of the washer. So it made for the perfect spacer. This allows the larger washer that the camera will be attached to spin freely but still have the 1/4 20 screw be tightly fastened.

The inner hole of the button snap is a little less than 1/4 inch so you have to drill out the center with a 1/4 drill bit. It's thin metal so it is easy to drill and could be filed out if a drill isn't available. Here's what the mechanism looks like assembled. Starting from the bottom you have:

  • A 1-1/2 inch outer diameter rubber washer with a 1/4 inch center diameter. $0.40
  • A 1-1/2 inch outer diameter metal washer with a 1/4 inch center diameter. $0.50
  • A snap rivet with the center bored out to 1/4 inch. $0.40
  • A 1-3/4 inch outer diameter metal washer with a 11/16 inch center diameter. $0.60
  • 1/4 20 screw. $0.80 (alen key versi

Next was the 3 fastener types I was going to try out. A alen key, bolt head, and flat head screw.

The three screw all had +/- to using them. The Alen key screw has a large head and low profile, the bold head looked to be the right length already and the flat head wouldn't need special tools to tighten/lossen. I wasn't able to fine all the fasteners at a short enough size so 2 had to be cut down. To do this I 1st I took one of the longer bold head screws and threaded it into the camera as far as it would go, then put a piece of tape around it do show the depth of the camera mount when the screw is removed.

Then I assembled the mechanism with the flat head and alen head screws and used this to mark the cut points.

I used a Dremel with a cut off wheel to do the job, but a hack saw would work also. Just be carful to not damage the starting thread. If you do mangle the threads, go back with a file to straighten them out.

And here's what everything looks like attached to the camera. 
The bolt head can be tightened with any hex wrench, but looks kinda plain.

The flat head screw has the advantage of not needing any tools to tighten/loosen, just some spare change, but protrudes pretty far.

The Alen key screw has the smallest profile of the 3 and if you have ever bought any furniture from IKEA you are sure to have one of these alen keys around you can throw into your camera bag. I ended up going with this one.

Next step is attaching the shoulder strap to the mount. First mark off 2 spots to drill 1/8 inch holes, they should be near the edge of the washer but not too close.

After drilling the wholes make sure to de-bur them. Rough edges in the hole could wear away and the string/ropes used to attach the camera. You can do this by using a larger drill bit to put a small bevel on each side of the holes, or use a small round file the smooth the holes. I also slightly bent up wash side of the washer to raise the holes away from the camera body.

Now you have to choose what type of string you want to hang your camera by. It needs to be strong as it will be the only thing keeping your camera from falling to the ground. For example you could use a shoe lace. Strong yet soft with all kinds of colours to pick from.

Being paranoid myself I ended up going with something a little stronger and more industrial looking. 

Whatever you end up choosing, make a loop about 6 inches long and attach it to the holes in the washer. I chose to also make a loop at the end of the rope for 2 reasons. It will stop the camera from sliding up/down the rope and more importantly it gives a safety redundancy. In creating the loop, if one of the connections to the washer should break, the loop will keep it attached to the other side and not have the camera just slip off.

If you also go with the aircraft cable, one thing to watch out for is the end of the cable fraying and stabbing you when you brush against them. To stop this I soldered the ends after crimping everything together.

The last piece is to add a clip and attach the mechanism to the camera body. I went with a threaded link so there is no way it could open accidentally open ($1.99). A carabiner would work here too. 

Now we move to the strap part of the project. I happen to already have a camera strap I really like that I received as a free gift from the good people at SmugMug through a promotion. So as long as you have a strap that is thin enough your good to go, if not you'll have to fine one and that might increase the cost of this build. I also picked up a pack of 2 harness rings (2.99). The 1st is used to attach the ends of your camera strap together.

The second ring is looped though the strap so that it can slid up and down your chest. PS, add this ring before attaching the 2 strap ends to the other ring.

And now you just have to attach your threaded link to the ring on the camera strap and your done. Adjust the back buckle on your strap ends to change the hanging height of your camera

Now there are still a few options left to talk about. The reason I added the ring to attach the ends of the camera strap is that I also added a carabiner to attach that ring to my belt or belt loop on my pants. This way the bottom of the camera strap is anchored to my hip and if I lean over to pick something up the camera won't swing forward.

If this isn't a concern for you, you could omit the ring connecting the ends of the camera strap and just use the buckles to attach the ends directly to each other.

That's pretty much it. It should take someone about 1/2 hr to put together with the most complicated part being the drilling of the button snap and washer as long as you can find a screw the proper length.

If you like what you see here and find this helpful, please share it :)

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