Archive for the 'Digital Photography' Category

Photography for Disabled People

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

Recently I received a letter from George asking me for recommendations for a camera that would be easy to use in light of his disability. My unorthodox approach to camera building has left me unqualified to give that kind of practical advice, so I thought maybe one of you could advise him better than I. Here is his letter, and any comments would be appreciated. Thanks, George for the letter, and I hope this generates some helpful suggestions!


News Photography Criticism

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006


I thought I would post a link here to an article I wrote for Be A Design Group called “News Photography: The Truth is Dead.” It talks about the role of photography in the news and the common misconception that photography equals truth. I am hoping to start a lively discussion, so hop over to BADG and voice your opinion.

Use Your Camera to Navigate in the Desert

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

The temperature is well over 100 degrees and I am about 10 miles from civilization in the middle of Nevada desert. After digging my rental car out of the sand, I am beginning to question whether or not I want to go through with this photo assignment. I could see the peaks of the sand dunes in the distance, and armed with a bottle of Powerade and my digital camera I start walking away from my car – and safety…


Canon EOS 5D

Sunday, April 23rd, 2006

Canon_EOS_5D.jpg The Canon EOS 5D: the digital camera you have been dreaming about. No, I am not fortunate to own one of these, but the company I work for does and I have been playing with it for the last few weeks. Wow. This is the most expensive camera I have ever used, and probably the best. If you can afford this piece of equipment, I highly recommend it. Amazon sells the body for $3,000 and the 24-105mm lens for another $1,200. Unfortunately that is just the beginning and you start to see that this camera can easily become a money pit. You will most likely need accessories. For example, it doesn’t have a built-in flash, so an external flash is probably a good idea. At 12.8 megapixels, storage quickly becomes an issue, too. The camera is so fast even at the highest setting that a 2gb card gets filled very fast. In addition to a couple large compact flash cards, you will probably need an external harddrive for your computer. Even 200gb will get filled faster than you would expect. You should probably upgrade your version of Photoshop. An extra lens or two wouldn’t hurt. The battery pack is pretty cool. It never ends. However, if you have the money, this is an amazing camera.

Ebay is a great place to shop for the Canon EOS 5D. Here’s what is on Ebay right now:

How to Make “Spinning” Vehicle Photography

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006


I am going to take a break from camera modifications, and show you a simple way to make large objects (like a car) “spin” by taking a series of still images. You have probably seen this effect in car commercials, and maybe you wondered how it was done. For small objects a turntable is obviously the easiest way to create this effect, but if you want to do this on a large scale, things get a little more complex since most of us don’t have access to an enormous turntable. The solution is to let the large object remain stationary and take a series of photos in a circle around the vehicle. The hard part is taking each photo from the same distance from the vehicle, at the same height and at equal intervals. You can “eyeball” it like I did for the car above, or if precision is crucial, you can be more precise by using the following instructions. Actually it isn’t that hard, and you don’t even need to do any math, make any measurements, or use any tools! Here’s how to do it…


Philips Keychain Digital Camera

Sunday, January 15th, 2006


I got Philips’ keychain digital camera for Christmas. I think it cost about $20, and surely was a tempting stocking stuffer last Christmas. While it may be a nice little camera for my collection, I can’t say it is a great performer. Here are some of my criticism of the keychain camera…


PC Magazine and the Digital Pinhole Camera

Friday, January 13th, 2006

I have gotten plenty of recognition for my Lego camera nerdery, so it is nice to get noticed for one of my first pinhole camera experiments. The digital pinhole camera I built almost exactly a year ago caught the eye of PC Magazine. I knew that they were thinking about running a story about it, but didn’t know it made it to print. Apparently it was published back in November, and I thank the PC mag crew for their recognition. You can read the online version of their story at,1895,1892668,00.asp. If have any interest in my digital pinhole camera, stay tuned. I plan on doing a follow-up on it soon that describes how to make a pinhole box that folds down.

If you are interested in pinhole photography, Ebay might be a good place to find a starter pinhole camera. Here are the pinhole camera auctions going on right now:

Nikon Coolpix Cameras

Wednesday, December 14th, 2005


Coolpix cameras are a great product line. I bought my Nikon Coolpix 5000 back when 5 megapixels was really a big deal. More recently, I picked up a used Coolpix 990 that I use almost exclusively for timelapse photography. I know it is terribly late to do a product review of these seemingly outdated cameras, but you might be surprised how much life these cameras have if you get a little creative…


My Camera Thinks it’s a Graphic Designer

Sunday, November 13th, 2005


I don’t think that my camera likes making time-lapse photography. I can’t blame it for getting bored after taking the same photo several thousand times. It is tedious production work. I set up the camera and then leave it all alone for most of the day. Not exactly a camera’s dream job. So I am not surprised that once in a while my Nikon Coolpix 995 decides to rebel. Once every few thousand images it decides to break the routine and design something more interesting. It moves parts of the photo around. It changes the colors. It repeats the parts that it likes, and deletes what it doesn’t like. If I didn’t know better, I would think that my camera wanted to be a graphic designer. It never resizes the image, but sometimes it leaves a white edge on one side. I think that is its polite way of saying that it would rather work in a different proportion. I guess 4×3 is a digital camera’s equivalent of 8.5×11. It’s boring.

The results of my camera’s improvisation are useless in terms of time-lapse, but often they are quite beautiful on there own. They are almost always more interesting than the photos taken seconds before and after. I am sure there is a more technical explanation for these images, but I prefer my Toy-Story-esque explanation. Rather than delete these images I have decided to save them. It’s best to keep the creatives happy, plus I think they fit very well with my Found Photography theme…


My New Coolpix 995

Tuesday, August 30th, 2005

This week I got a Nikon Coolpix 995 from my friend Kyle. Yes, I have a Nikon Coolpix 5000 already, so why would I need an older Coolpix? The answer is time lapse photography. I haven’t posted much about my adventures in time lapse, but look for more on that subject in the future. In the past I have controlled the camera through my Palm Pilot using a program called CoolRemote, but now that I have an extra digital camera that I can dedicate to a project, I am thinking about setting up a several month long time lapse powered by a PC running The Force. It should be fun, and I will keep you posted. Thanks, Kyle for the Coolpix 995!

Ebay is my favorite place to find deals on great old cameras. Here are the Nikon 995 Coolpix cameras on Ebay right now: