Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Buschur's Sport Compact Shootout Photos!

Pictures of the cars that competed in the drag race event on May 24 and 25 in Norwalk, Ohio can be found here:


If you participated, there's a good chance I got a photo of your car!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Infrared Converted Camera Rental Part 2

Infrared Road

I took the photo above on my lunch break yesterday. It was an enlightening day. Because the camera's exposure meter measures visible light while the sensor's been converted to see infrared light, it's not very accurate. I wrote about this yesterday, but at that time I was under the impression that the difference would be fairly standard -like if you always over expose by 2/3 you'll generally get good results. And this is why testing is so important.

Turns out that the exposure varied, sometimes wildly. In fact, for awhile I was underexposing according to the exposure meter. So, the lesson learned here is that it's important to know how to use your histogram to determine exposure when playing with infrared. RAW is a good idea as well since it gives you some leeway in post processing, and bracketing is also a good idea.

Another surprise was that my copy of DPP (Canon's RAW software that comes with their cameras) couldn't open the RAW files from the XTi. So, I had to download ufRAW in order to work with the files. I don't like it nearly as much as I like DPP (although it may just be that I'm used to DPP), so I'm hoping there may just be an update for DPP or something?

Anyway, I feel like I have the technical stuff down at this point so last night I spent some time searching Flickr for infrared photos to see what kinds of subjects and compositions I like in order to get ideas for my own photos while traveling. I favorited some. If you're interested in seeing them, click this link to go to my photostream and then click on "Favorites" under my name.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Infrared Camera Rental Story Part 1

I'm unsure if this will be helpful to anyone or not, but I figured I'd write out everything from the time I first received this infrared converted camera (Rebel XTi) to when I get the hang of it.

After unboxing it, inserting a memory card, and grabbing a lens for it, I turned it on. I immediately got an "Error 99". I removed the battery as it suggested, but it didn't help. I googled the error, tried cleaning the contacts on the lens connection and the battery connection, but continued to get the error. One person advised removing the battery for a couple minutes. I tried that and it turned on just as I was writing an email to the place I rented it from.

Next I took a sample photo out of a window to check the exposure. Converted cameras often need a little extra light, so you have to set the exposure up a stop or so. I took several shots while keeping an eye on the histogram and found that at "0" the histogram was right in the middle. Since there should have been some highlights, I increased it to + 2/3. That was better, but I tried +1 to be sure. That looked good too. + 1 1/3 was too light. So, now I know to increase the exposure by 2/3 to 1 stop.

Next I tried to connect the camera to my computer via USB to download the photos and determine more precisely what exposure was the best. My Windows 2000 machine could not find drivers for it, but my XP computer was able to recognize it.

This reminded me that I needed to see what kind of images the camera was set to record. I usually shoot in RAW and definitely wanted to shoot RAW for my infrared photos. It was taking jpg's, so I made that change and then walked through the Custom Functions to set the autofocus to work via the "*" button and set the directional buttons so they chose the AF point to use. Ah... it feels like my camera now :-).

Now to go out and take some more "real" test shots to get used to it before going on my trip!