Archive for the ‘Photography Tutorial’ Category

DIY Camera Controller – The Program – Part 6

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Are you getting excited, desperate to try out the new toy?

We are almost finished with the prototype controller but without the program its not going to do a lot, in fact it’s not going to do anything.

Before you upload the program you need to install a library to control the LCD display, this rather excellent piece of work has been created for you by Dale Wentz and you can find out more in the Arduino Playground

There is a tiny bug in the library code which has not as yet been updated, so to save explaining how to fix it I have included the fixed library along with my program.


DIY Camera Controller – Breadboard – Part 5

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Now its time to start bringing this thing together.

Before you do this you will need to get the Arduino programming environment set up and test your Arduino board. Full instructions can be found on the Arduino Website for different computer platforms, if you need help with this then you can ask for help in the comments below 😉

Once you have the software set up and you have successfully uploaded the blink demo to your Arduino you can get started assembling the controller prototype.

This section will give details how to put together the project on bread board, a solderless prototyping board which allows you to knock up circuits in next to no time and mess about changing things around until you are happy with it.


DIY Camera Controller – Sensors – Part 4

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

You will need some sensors to get the most out of the controller so I will give a quick rundown on how to make a couple.

The first is a laser trip wire, this is a laser module which sends out a beam which bounces off a reflector back to the laser and is picked up by a photo transistor. The reflector is a retro reflector which basically means it bounces the light back in the opposite direction to which it arrives, this means you don’t have to spend the best part of a day trying to get the dam thing lined up – you just stick the reflector somewhere and aim the laser at it.

Another advantage of this approach is that the detector and laser are in one box, so there is only one cable to worry about, although its perfectly feasible to separate the detector and laser if you wish to point one directly at the other.


DIY Camera Controller – Circuit Description – Part 3

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

Here is where we start to get into the nitty gritty..

For those of you who are new to electronics you better break out those peril sensitive sunglasses because this is going to blow your mind! I am about to describe the immensely complicated interplay between literally thousands of components with almost limitless possibilities.

OK, I may have slightly exaggerated with the thousands of components, its actually 9 and 5 of them are push buttons LOL but the limitless possibilities isn’t far off the mark because this basic setup could be the starting point of practically anything you could dream up.


DIY Camera Controller – Parts Lists – Part 2

Friday, October 30th, 2009

So what do you need to get started, a few basic tools, a slack handful of electronic components, an Arduino, big jar of instant coffee…

This list is not the complete list of everything, there will be some other minor components required and I will update the list with further details as I work through the build. The components not included in the list will be cheap bits and pieces costing less than a quid so the build cost is not going to rocket skyward 😉


DIY Camera Controller – Part 1

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Splash - My new microprocessor camera controller 11Interested in High Speed Photography? What about wildlife photography? Or time lapse photography? If you are here is a gem of a DIY project for the brave among you..

This project is to build a computerised camera controller which you can use to photograph fast moving events such as water drop splashes or balloons bursting, capture wildlife automatically or take time lapse sequences such as flowers opening or a house being built!

Skills you will need to have (or learn!) are soldering, identifying electronic components, making coffee or suitable alternative, ability to donate loads a money to my paypal account – Well, last one is optional actually 😀

So, if you are interested read on, if not bog off and find something else to do..


DIY Grid Snoots – The Quick Way..

Saturday, September 26th, 2009
Finished Grid Snoot

Finished Grid Snoot

It’s time for a bit of DIY again, this time a nice little grid snoot or two.

I have seen a few tutorials out there in web land detailing how to make these, I have taken the best of each and added my own touches to streamline the process considerably. This method is FAST, no messy glued up fingers, and the grid looks really neat. This version is also immune to the problem of straws falling out caused by the straws becoming unstuck from the brittle dried glue.

Why do you need a grid snoot? Well for one thing they can be VERY much shorter than a normal snoot, to give you an idea how well these restrict the light beam I shot my flash through a bundle of 203mm x 4.3mm straws and from about 15′ away (5m) the spot was about 6 or 8 inches across! Another advantage of grids is that no matter what the shape of your flash head, the spot light is circular.


DIY Snoots – Very useful tool to have

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

There are times when there is just not enough light to take the picture you want so you have to get some from somewhere, most of us photographer types tend to use a thing called a flash gun! The trouble is flash guns sometimes produce too much of the stuff and throw it all over the place and this is where a nifty little tool like a snoot comes in handy.

A snoot is basically just a tube which you stick on the end of your flash head which blocks light from the sides and leaves you with a tight beam which can be positioned pretty much wherever you want.

PA Katana MD Coming out of the darkness.

PA Katana MD

This shot was taken using a snoot and shows the effect (or one of them) you get by using one. This rather superb model aircraft was sat on my living room floor just in front of my couch and did not make for a very interesting photo when lit normally with an un snooted flash because having a couch sat behind it was just plain awful!

So instead of just sticking a flash somewhere and shooting it, I put a home made snoot on it and positioned the flash to just light up the front of the plane. The results being a more dramatic looking photo and the horrible cream coloured couch background lost in the darkness.