Bottle Cap camera mount

testing it out

bottle caps are all the same no matter how large the bottle is. some energy drinks have a larger cap that supposedly makes drinking faster. either will make a neat universal camera mount.

1/4″ bolt 3/4 to 1 inch long
1 washer
1 nut

put a hole in the cap from a bottle. it doesn’t matter if it’s came from soda, water, juice or tea. all the caps are the same size. you want the hole so the bolt fits snug. if you make the hole too large use another cap. once you have a perfect hole install the bolt, add a washer and tighten it down with a nut. use your fingers to tighten it and when it won’t move anymore your done. you don’t have to get this super tight to work.

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you can put the cap on a bottle that’s full then twist the camera on. DO NOT over tighten the camera to the mount. to avoid wobble and vibration from pushing the shutter use the cameras self timer to take the picture.

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Get Better Shots: 5 Simple Things You Can Do

get the camera out of default
turn on grid (or make an overlay)
take more than one shot
edit what you show
share your photos

People have told me over the years that they really like the photos that I shoot. I’m going to blame this on the rules of thirds: that is part of this comes from practice, part comes from editing, and the last part comes from the camera itself. the camera will help you take better pictures. but it’s not obvious that it can.

one of the first things you learn in photography class is something called “rule of thirds”. this “rule” defines where put your subject on the frame. most cameras have a “grid” that you can turn on. this gives you a way to easily see the thirds. grids also help you find center more easily. and you can use the lines for alignment to make sure things aren’t crooked. if you camera doesn’t have a grid or overlay you can easily make a grid using transparency in a printer. this allows you make other girds that will work with any camera. here are some grids that you can resize and print for your camera.

one thing that it every camera’s problem is the default mode. it takes ghastly pictures. getting the camera out of default will greatly improve the images that you take. there are two settings that are a must:turn off the flash and change the exposure mode. the goal is to get images that look more like natural light. there is a time and a place for flash. some situations are greatly improved using one. however, flash on should not be a normal setting.

I have never said, “I wish I took less pictures while I was there.” there aren’t a lot of reasons to be stingy on shooting with digital. you have lots of room on the card and there isn’t a financial downside to taking more as there is no per cost shot. having more than on picture means you have choices later. if somebody was moving or had their eyes closed it’s easy enough to composite two okay pictures to make one great shot. take lots of pictures and don’t delete “the bad ones” until you get home.

I have memories of having to sit through the vacation slide show where every single photo taken got cast onto a screen. it makes for a very long evening. there isn’t a reason in the world to show every single shot you took. in fact showing everything goes against you. better to not show your mistakes and bad photos. if I had 100 photos I try to narrow those into a set of 25. this can be a very hard task but it’s essential. next choose 10 of the very best photos that will tell your story. this might mean using a shot that you don’t consider “best” but helps round the series. you can always show more photos later.

the very worst thing you can do is to leave your photos in your camera or phone. they won’t do much good there if that’s your only copy. but worse is you can’t easily share. it’s very easy to make prints. there are snazzy photo printers and just about every other printer can use small 4×6 paper. if printing is not your thing use a service like Target, SnapFish, Walmart, Walgreens or the service found in iPhoto.

sometimes printing photos isn’t appropriate but it’s still a good idea to put them someplace where people around you can see them. you have a wide choice of services like Flickr, Mobile Me, Kodak Easyshare and Smug Mug among a sea of hundreds. the bonus of using a service is that your photos are automatically backed up for you.

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Last call for Kodachrome

it’s now or NEVER!

there is only one place to develop film left and December it’s over
a year ago less 1% off Kodak film business came from Kodachrome
but it’s been “being turned off” for the better part of 20 years!

what is so special about Kodachrome

it’s the only film of it’s type
developing is an additive process
most BW film removes particle from the negative
archival stable
blue has a 10% loss after 185 years.
think “steam punk”
it looks different from anything else I’ve seen
you can look at a slide and KNOW that it’s Kodachrome
because of the additive development process you can see it
looks like textures
part of it’s beauty is that
it’s slow film
you have to project it
it’s a bitch to make a print from
very forgiving film
it has a range of 8 stops
meaning you can botch the exposure and still get a good looking image
what about OLD film?
it has a room temperature shelf life of 8 months
most photographers froze their stock
old film as long as it was store properly will work today
reports of stock from 1991 reported to look great
the song
mama don’t take my Kodachrome away
simon and garfunkle
this came out when I was kid
I was 8. that was 1973
guess it has been uneconomical that LONG!
I stopped shooting with it because it was expensive to buy and develop
E6 was something you could do in your own dark room!
it was slow
I was kid, I was impatient.
took weeks to get rolls back
what’s next?
there are still some very pretty film alternatives
list goes here
where to get your last rolls
your local camera shop
check your bag.
old film is stable. don’t pay too much though.

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making the iPhone camera better

it’s been said that the best camera you own is the one that is in your pocket. this makes the camera in an iPhone the best thing for millions of people. but we find the camera amazingly craptacular.

one of the things that makes the iPhone camera so accessible is that it’s very easy to use. click the Camera icon then click the shutter button. shoot simple. and that is just fine for most of the situations where you use the camera. it works and that’s most important. but we find that there is so much more that this camera can do with just a little extra software.

we talk about a lot of apps on the show. some of them are free but most of them cost a few dollars. you don’t have to buy everything but if you did it would set you back about what dinner and a movie costs. in other words not much.

one thing that we didn’t talk about on the show is that you should try to learn all these camera apps at the same time. just get one at a time spending a few hours learning how to make it work. that way when it’s time to enhance, crops, pano or scale you’ll have an idea of what you can do instead of head scratching about what to do.

My workflow comes down to nine apps at this point and I could probably trim it a little further. Here’s a quick overview:

TrueHDR: A surprisingly good iPhone tone-mapping app. Grab a bright exposure, grab a dark one, let it do it’s magic. It won’t push the colors into fairy-tale painterly glowing halo land, but it will help you make the most of the limited iPhone exposure tools. It does a great job of aligning both photos too since you’re shooting handheld.

AutoStitch and Pano: both are similar with slightly different work flow. Frankly, if there was a full OS X or Windows app that could do panoramic stitching as easily and seamlessly as these apps on a <$25 budget I think it would be quite successful. I'm sure the low resolution helps, but these are also a great way to increase your maximum shooting resolution if you can move further in and take multiple photos. Liquid Scale: One of the coolest apps on my phone, I wish I had more use for it actually. Basically it takes the smart rescaling technology that debuted a few years ago in research circles and was introduced commercially in Photoshop CS4.

ColorSplash: Mostly superflous but it does something none of my other apps doe. selective desaturating. I’ve used it once or twice but keep it around just in case.

Now for the four I use the most.

TiltShift & TiltShiftGen: Let’s you get some fake tilt-shift lens effects. TiltShift has better tools for controlling what to blur but TiltShiftGen adds really nice blown out exposure to it’s blurring. Both can be used for really subtle effects for focussing your eye on a key area without getting really stylized.

Mill Colour: I do almost all of my color correction with Mill Colour. Having an iPhone app based on the Mill’s color grading suite is both cool and really refined. It isn’t the easiest app to use, the changes you make are very gradual but that’s what I love about it. Mill Colour has primarily replaced all the canned effects apps.

Naked touch: Odd name, “I’m using naked touch on my phone right now,” but it’s the most powerful traditional photo-editing app I’ve seen. Features include sharpness, noise reductions, shadow and highlight contrast controls, levels, curves, contrast and brightness, white balance, color balance, intensity and saturation. All parallel the features you’re used to on a desktop app though with some simplifications. I also do all my cropping with it.

That’s my cheapish iPhone photography setup. I’ve listed them in my order of workflow too, it’s a surprisingly functional system for an iPhone, it’s not instant like the effects apps but it gives me a lot more control that I really enjoy.

–Chris White

And one more…

Camera for iPad is actually a universal app by purpose, despite the name. It’s a tethering app, lets you use your iPhone as a camera for the iPad, displaying a viewfinder on the iPad’s display, and even using the iPad’s display as a flash when snapping.

–Dave Chartier

so this camera tool call GorillaCam (that has the low cost of free) needs 3.1 iPhone OS to run. I’m all about some of the things that are offered in the app as long as using it doesn’t take longer then the camera app that Apple provides. Grid is essential to learning to shoot better pictures. the self timer, continuous, three frame and one touch features bring that thing in line with my Canon.

thinking out loud about Grid for a second. it’s nice that the basic rule of thirds is here. but, and maybe this is an opportunity, I’d like to see other grids. because not everything is so simple as 3rds forcompositon. it sure would be nice to have different grids. like center, center with a ring. 15%, 20%, 30% square, 30 degree parallel lines on the horizontal, 16 squares, and 10% & 20% from the edge lines are all useful depending on the situation. all these would greatly aid shooting portraits, group shots, buildings, etc.

my only complaint is the startup page graphics are fuggly. but aside from that the software runs just fine. and it’s nice to not have to wait to take the next shot. just click, click, click and then it takes time to catch up.

–John Foster

links to the app Dave uses:
Camera Plus Pro
QuadCamera – Multishoot

links to the apps Chris uses:
Mill Colour
Naked touch
AutoStitch Panorama
Liquid Scale

Note that some of those are overlapping, TiltShiftGen is fast, TiltShift is more powerful. Naked touch and PhotoForge are both trying to be Photoshop for the iPhone. AutoStitch and Pano do the same thing but you use Pano to take photos while AutoStitch stitches photos you’ve already taken.

We’re playing with ProHDR right now as an alternative as it has better ratings. we saw it when looking up the TrueHDR link.

camera apps for Kids:
LEGO Photo
Funny Face Symmetry

other interesting photography apps:

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