I thought it was well past time that I did some more explanation of how to use the new features in DIYPhotobits.com Camera Control 2.1.
Turns out my video skills need a bit of work though as I ended up putting together a 10 minute video, the YouTube limit, and only covered half the features. Still, I hope this is helpful both to see what sort of thing the script is useful for — in this case I’m covering self-portrait balancing flash vs ambient ala Strobist.
(Click through and view the high quality version if you want to read the text!)
Pop-up flash on the D300 is the trigger for the flashes
Long USB cable, plus a USB extender cable
I cover the use of the remote shutter release, combined with shutter, aperture and ISO controls to take and download images as well as using Bridge to view them.
What I ran out of time to do before the YouTube 10 minute limit was tethered shooting from the camera, and external viewer push. Perhaps I’ll try to do another short video covering those, but I do really want to work on the next features!
While doing this demo I also noted some odd slowness of the script in some situations, particularly M vs P mode that I’m unable to explain at the moment, so will spend some time to investigate that and hopefully speed the whole thing up.
The other day I saw this nice post at diyphotography.net about a simple backdrop stand, and it made me think how I do this with bamboo. Nothing bamboo specific about it I think, and in fact really not much to it at all.
Basically I leverage chairs , specifically any chair with straight legs (so no sofas or lazyboys or office spinners). Why? Because chairs are everywhere, and they tend to stay put — they are easy to weight down with a few books or you can even have someone sit on it. So you it isn’t anything extra, it’s just using what you have.
Three bamboo poles — at least 6 foot long, dirt cheap where I am
Couple of pieces of elastic cord tied in long loops — I carry some of these everywhere
And then the backdrop, I have a few meters of sheet material from a fabric shop which is almost completely white — and once it is blasted with enough light it is white. For colour backdrops I just ad gels (to the flash).
Then I need to find two chairs — dining chairs are great though I also use some rattan arm chairs — then put a bamboo pole upright next to leg of the chair and bind it top and bottom of the chair-leg with bits of velcro. If the chair back has exposed poles you can bind to all the better for stability. That gives me two uprights.
Now I take the third pole, stand on the chair to reach, and bind the horizontal pole to the upright with elastic cord giving me an “H” shape of poles. It takes longer to write it down than to do it and it’s lightweight yet sturdy and all I have to carry about is three poles and the rest goes in my pocket.
I guess this is one up on the “clamp the sheet to a bookcase” in terms of flexibility of where you can put it, but is similarly basic. But then that’s all you need really isn’t it?
Having said all that — I’ve lost interest in the idea of white backgrounds and really want to find more interesting textures out in the real world to be the backgrounds in my portraits. But that’s another story.
Why a bamboo light stand? Well if you are a reader of Strobist
then you know that lightstands are very handy — if not read here first. Of course a factory built one is simple and probably the best option
, but it isn’t exactly cheap. Particularly if you want more than one — and you will, you’ll want several. There’s your main light, then fill, then hair and rim lights, and what about some reflectors and… you get the picture. Just try not to over-do the whole speedlight thing, heh?
Now one good solution to keep Strobist from hurting your wallet is the Stick in a Can, click that link and watch the video if that name doesn’t mean anything to you, but good/cheap and DIY as that is it isn’t great for portability. I mean how many cans full of concrete can you carry about – even in the back of your car?
So here is my solution to the problem — which makes sense for me because were I live bamboo is cheap cheap cheap. This light stand uses three 6 foot pieces of bambo, some brass bolts and a piece of string. The bolts and string cost me more than the bamboo.
If you live somewhere where bamboo is an exotic import and costs a fortune, well then this post is of only academic interest. Though flip through the pictures and maybe consider doing the same out of PVC tubing? I understand that’s pretty cheap — using PVC tubing for photo stands is not new of course. But that’s another topic.
As we are visual types I’ll start with a slide show that shows what the stand looks like and how it’s used. And I’ll follow up with some more details in another post.