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Vivitar Foot Repair

Vivitar

So I got this Vivitar 285 flash last year, and it’s been working great, except for one thing… the little plastic foot is no match for the weight of this thing. Eventually, it broke. Argh… To be expected though.

I found a replacement metal foot on ebay for $6.99, and I watched some YouTube video that explained replacing it. Here’s the thing though… after I watched a damn advertisement, and then a 9 minute video showing how to do the replacement, I decided that I’d help people of the future by presenting the same info in a good old no-nonsense way, with words and pictures!

Broken Foot

So here is our broken foot. Thin, old, cheap plastic. No good! Grab a tiny screwdriver and remove the foot. Don’t lose the screws, they are tiny! (Also, you will need them later!)

Remove Foot

Here is the broken one still attached, next to the new one. On the original unit, there are 4 wires. Two of them (white and green) go to the test button. You don’t need these! You just need the black and red wires. The button on the new one will work just fine with only the black and red attached.

New Foot

The black and red wires are short, so don’t cut them, you need to desolder them. If you don’t have a good soldering iron, and some soldering wick and a solder sucker, find someone who does. (Maybe your local hackerspace?) I did cut the white and green ones, and put a tiny amount of tape over the ends, just to be totally safe.

Soldered

Solder the black and red wires in place securely. It appears I put the black on in the center. I’m not sure that it matters, but YMMV and I make no guarantees. (See where I put the screws? Right where they belong, because they are so damn small I was afraid of losing them!) Also, don’t put the foot on backwards, as that would be stupid. (Disclaimer: I’m not even sure you can put it on backwards. I just like disclaimers.)

New Foot

With the soldering done, put the foot in place, put the screws in, and put the batteries back in (you did take them out before you started, right!?) and test it!

OK, there’s your short guide to replacing the hotshoe foot for a Vivitar 285 camera flash. Hopefully you read this in less time than it took me to watch that 9 minute long YouTube video.

(And yeah, the fact that this is a post about photography that has terrible photos is not lost on me. Apologies…)

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HDR Photos [Photoshop and Luminance HDR]

HDR Photos

It’s been a while since I posted anything about HDR imaging, and I realized that I never put Adobe Photoshop CS5 to the test. I did try creating an HDR image with CS4, but was disappointed with the results…

In the image above you can see my final output of an image. On the left side is all Photoshop, and on the right side is Luminance HDR (formerly “Qtpfsgui” for you old timers.)

Now for both of these images I did the HDR+ thing I talked about a while back, where I blend an HDR image with a normal exposure. Personally, I like the way those turn out, so it’s pretty much how I do HDR.

Pewaukee Lake

Here’s the image from Photoshop. (View it large at Flickr.)

Pewaukee Lake

Here’s the image from Luminance HDR. (View it large at Flickr.)

I think the Photoshop image looks better in the sky… it looks a bit cleaner, while the Luminance HDR image has a little bit of banding going on. You can also see some differences in the trees, and the water, but I think the rocks in the foreground really show the difference, and I prefer what Luminance HDR did.

This is only my first attempt at comparing the two applications, so it’s not entirely scientific. I did go into each file and tweak it a bit to try to match them closely as far as the color balance, but the detail is where the difference is most apparent. I also didn’t see any way to adjust the tonemapping in Photoshop, while Luminance HDR has a ton of sliders and options to twiddle with.

I suppose next time I could combine the two final images into a ‘final final’ image that would be some sort of SUPER HDR+ image. (I’ll add that to the ‘to do’ list.)

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Analog Photography!?

Skylark

It’s been a while since I thought about my film days, and honestly, I don’t know the last time I’ve use the term “digital photography” when describing “photograpy” but there are still people who shoot film, RachelK is one of them, and another is Troy Freund.

Troy wanted to let me know that he’s involved with an Analog Photo Seminar at Cardinal Stritch University on October 9, 2011. Here’s the details:

This seminar will feature presentations and demos by Wisconsin film-based fine-art photographers. Nick Olson, Dr. Yong-ran Zhu and Mark Brautigam will present on their experiences in large-format photography. Over the lunch-break, I will talk about the experience of working with Leica rangefinder cameras.

Each photographer will give a 30-40 minute presentation of their work, followed by a short Q&A session. The afternoon will be spent with each photographer giving a hands-on demonstration of their working methods.

See Troy’s blog post for all the details.

If you’ve got any questions, I’m sure you can hit up @midwestphoto on Twitter and he’d be happy to answer them…

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Vivitar 285

Vivitar 285

I recently got a Vivitar 285 flash.

Yeah, you could say I’m pretty excited about it. :)

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Mobile Phone Photography

With so many people carrying phones with them almost everywhere, and with these phones having better and better cameras, and with these phones having the ability to run applications that use these cameras, Mobile Phone Photography is a genre worth recognizing.

(I’m mainly going to touch on iPhone related stuff, but other platforms have their own apps and features.)

The iPhone camera is simple as heck, you launch it, you frame your shot on the screen, and you push a button. It’s probably the simplest camera you’ve ever used, and with good reason. There are numerous iPhone apps that allow you to use the camera to take a photo and immediately upload it to some online service such as Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I’m not going to cover every iPhone photo app out there, but I’m just going to outline a few of the apps I’ve used on the iPhone.

bestcamera

Best Camera from well-known photographer Chase Jarvis is a step-up from the basic camera app with a set of effects you can apply to your photos. You can shoot the photo directly in Best Camera (or open a photo from the library on your phone) and apply a number of effects and then choose to just save it or email it, or upload it to Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, or thebestcamera,com.The upload feature is simple to use, and I like it so much I often use it even when I’ve take a photo and modified it with other applications. Best Camera also lets you view images other have uploaded to the site. (Best Camera is $2.99 at the App Store.)

hipstamatic

Hipstamatic is, well, how do I describe it… it’s like an old-timey 1970’s cheap plastic camera that turns your iPhone into a toy. Sort of. I first heard about this app when a co-worker mentioned she knew the guys behind it. If you’re a design-nerd, there’s a lot to love about this one… and if you’re just interested in an interesting camera experience, you’ll find that too. Hipstamatic is this “virtual camera” which hints at a future where more and more of the camera will be customized using software. I’ve heard the guys on TWIP talk about this idea of “a camera with a sensor and a lens mount, where everything interesting happens in software, possibly from 3rd parties” and this is like an early view of that. Hipstamatic also features the ability to swap (virtual) lenses, film, and flashes, which, when combined, create unique images. (Hipstamatic also features the ability to buy more lenses and accessories directly in the application, which is brilliant from a software developers point-of-view.) One annoyance about Hipstamatic is that you can’t open an existing image taken with other camera apps and apply effects to them, it’s sort of an all-inclusive affair where you take the photo in Hipstamatic and you process it there. (To the developer’s credit, I think this is intentional, but it annoys me.) Also, like many of these apps on the iPhone, it can’t easily work with the full resolution image, but often uses a scaled-down version, due to memory constraints and what not. (These are things that should go away in the future, as hardware/software advances.) Hipstamatic also has a community, and contests, and if you really want to get into, well, you can really get into it. See? Here’s a cat photo I took. (Hipstamatic is $1.99 at the App Store. Base-price, without additional accessories.)

photoshop

Photoshop.com Mobile is a great little free app that lets you do minor edits (contrast, saturation, crop, straighten, etc.) and apply effects to your images, and save them to Adobe’s Photoshop.com web site. Personally I really don’t care about the Photoshop.com web site, but Photoshop.com Mobile is a free app with a few nice features, so if you want to install it and try it out, it’s pretty painless. (Photoshop.com Mobile is FREE at the App Store.)

plasticbullet

Plastic Bullet is a great new app from Red Giant Software that lets you take a photo, or select one from your library, and apply effects. Again, we’re going after that “plastic toy camera” idea that is all the rage (See Hipstamatic above.) Plastic Bullet is simple, simple, simple. It shows you 4 completely random variations of your original image, and then you can either choose one, or generate 4 new ones. It’s never the same twice, so if you see one you like, save it! Stu Maschwitz is the main guy behind Plastic Bullet, and while it doesn’t do all the fancy uploading and sharing stuff, there’s a Flickr Group, and maybe keeping it simple like that is good enough. (Plastic Bullet is $1.99 at the App Store.)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick look at Mobile Phone Photography on the iPhone. It’s an interesting future, and I’ve got a few follow-up posts planned, so stay tuned!