Monday, June 24, 2019

Easier way to capture lightning

I just discovered an easier way to capture lightning - use the time lapse function of the 7D II to continually do 30-second exposures. 

First, I set the aperture (normally wide open, the 16-35's IQ is excellent even at f/4) and ISO to properly expose the scene with a 30 second exposure, before the lightning bolt strikes. 

Next, I point the camera to the general direction of the sky where lighting strikes are active, fine tune the framing for composition, and manually pre-focus on a foreground object in the distance that I wish to be sharp. The deep DOF of the UWA lens should also render the lightning bolt in reasonably good focus.

At this point, I enable the 7D II's time lapse function, then press the shutter button. The 7D II will shoot long exposures non-stop until I turn it off when the lightning activity subsides. I usually set the interval between shots to 2 seconds to give me time to turn off the camera in between frames.

Here's a practice shot using this approach. I'm hoping the lightning display will be over a more photogenic location in the coming nights. Casting a wide net (long 30 second exposures), and doing this continually, should greatly increase the chances of catching a lightning formation at its sweet moment.

Shooting info - Bued River, Rosario, La Union, Philippines, June 22, 2019, Canon 7D MII + EF 16-35 f/4 L IS,
16 mm, f/4, ISO 200, 30 sec, manual exposure in available light, Uniqball UBH45/455B support, cropped to fit 16:9.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Trying time lapse for the first time

Some sample time lapse clips in 4K captured at Bued River, northern Philippines - Canon 7D MII, EF 16-35 f4 IS, EF 70-200 f/2.8 IS II, manual exposure in available light, tripod/ball head. 

Music - "Old Vienna" by Endless Love


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Slow Life in the Garden

It's amazing to see details in garden bugs when motion is slowed down to between 5% to 20% of real life speed, and lens magnification is near macro levels. For scale, the tiny bee in the opening scene has a total length of less than 10 mm. 

Shooting info - Bued River, northern Philippines, June 21, 2019, Sony RX10 IV, using a tripod and ball head, manual exposure in available light. 

Music - "All Hail the Queen" by Dan Lebowitz


Lightning with the good, old 5D MIII

When traveling light and wanting to maintain the capability to shoot various subjects, my "go to" gear is the very compact Sony RX10 IV. This allows me to shoot from 24 mm to 600 mm with decent image and video quality.

When shooting lightning though, I still bring out my good, old Canon 5D MIII and the 16-35 f4 IS from the camera bag. The corner-to-corner sharpness of the 16-35 f4 L IS is perfect for this application, while the big fat pixels of the 5D III allow long exposures which are necessary to catch the brief, unpredictable appearance of the subject.


Shooting info - Bued River, Rosario, La Union, Philippines, June 20,2019, Canon 5D MIII + EF 16-35 f/4 L IS,
24 mm, f/4, ISO 100, 30 sec, manual exposure in available light, Uniqball UBH45/455B support, cropped to fit 16:9.

Extreme Zoom at a Dragonfly

A short footage of a dragonfly taken with an RX10 IV. 

Shooting info - filmed in natural habitat under available light at Bued River, northern Philippines, June 20, 2019. 

Music - "Wishful Thinking" by Dan Lebowitz


Saturday, June 15, 2019

Scaly-Breasted Munia Gathers Nesting Materials

With the start of the rainy season in our islands, freshly grown vegetation will soon be all over the place, and there will be an explosion of various forms of life all around. This is the time that most resident birds will breed, as food becomes plentiful. 

This Scaly-Breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata) was gathering nesting materials along the banks of Bued River when it was filmed. 

Shooting info - Bued River, northern Philippines, June 16, 2019, Sony RX10 IV @ 600 mm (equivalent), various aperture settings, 1/250 sec, ISO 200, manual exposure in available light, using a tripod and ball head, 1920/119.88p capture processed to slow-motion clips. 

Music - "Tango de la Noche" by Wayne Jones



Thursday, June 13, 2019

Butterflies in Slow Motion

A few clips of butterflies filmed in natural habitat. 

Shooting info - Bued River, northern Philippines, June 14, 2019, Sony RX10 IV, hand held, manual exposure in available light, 1080/119.88p processed to 1920 x 800/23.976p (20% slow motion), cropped to a cinematic 2.4:1 aspect ratio. 

Music - "One Step Closer" by Aakash Gandhi


Bugs in Slow Motion

A short footage of garden bugs filmed in natural habitat at 1080/119.88p. 

Shooting info - Bued River, northern Philippines, June 13, 2019, Sony RX10 IV, hand held, 24 mm, various aperture values, ISO 200, 1/250 sec, manual exposure, manual focus, stabilization on.


Sunday, June 2, 2019

An old moonshot now in 4K

I've been trying to get a more detailed moonshot for the past nine years, but I just couldn't get something much better than the one I captured in 2010 through the polluted skies of Metro Manila. I think the next big jump in detail for me is when I get my hands on a piece of glass with a diameter much larger than 143 mm.

So, when I needed a new desktop wallpaper for my 4K display, I had to go back to a nearly one decade old capture and re-process it to 3840 x 2160.


MANILA MOON - MARCH 7, 2010. Observed from Paranaque City, Philippines, on March 7, 2010 (04:57:54 local time),
Canon 7D + 400 2.8 L IS + stacked Canon 2x and Sigma 2x TCs, 1600 mm, f/16, ISO 100, 1/25 sec, contrast detect auto
focus in Live View, 475B/3421 support, remote switch, single RAW capture cropped and processed to 16:9 aspect ratio.


A closer view of  Montes Apenninus cropped from the 3840 x 2160 image.

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