If you own a Canon Powershot G series that features a tilt and swivel LCD screen, you already have a camera that takes phenomenally better selfies than your latest smartphone — that is, if image quality matters to you. I was never drawn to taking selfies because smartphone front cameras are largely still supremely inferior when compared to a 5 year old battle-scarred G11. Also, you may have read about RAW support in Android 5.0 Lollipop, I am shooting RAW+JPEG with the G11. Only slight drawback with this camera is its rather narrow 28mm field of view (newer compacts feature 24mm). Regardless, I would take distortion free any day except in rare circumstances where fish eye would be more desired.
So yesterday, I put the rig to the test (without the remote shutter cable solely relying on 10 seconds timer for each shot) at our 4 km Bukit Pak Natu hike in Sungai Liang. These pictures were taken between 3.30pm and 4.45pm on an extremely sunny afternoon and what’s the first thing that springs to mind when shooting under such conditions? Yes, harsh shadows, strong contrasts and if you’re taking pictures using a smartphone, front or back camera, you would most probably end up with pictures of dark faces or blown out background, not to mention images with no discernible background detail.
The following images were taken at various scenic spots throughout our hike — no forest canopy here just full on direct sunlight leaving subjects with dark faces especially when hats are worn. Here’s the thing with this setup: the G11 has DSLR-like controls so it’s extremely useful to have FEC dial to balance flash power when shooting under such extreme conditions. Conditions that overwhelm even the mightiest of smartphones (their tiny LED flash do not stand a chance). I shot RAW+JPEG and each of these images are good for A3 prints.
Update July 16 2013: While a HONL Speed Strap makes a great secondary protection, I now use LockPort USB port saver for primary protection. As I frequently take the camera off the tripod, having the cable strapped makes it inconvenient.
I photograph food a lot and goes without saying, I tether my EOS 5D Mark II to a 17 inch Dell Studio laptop. There’s really no other way when critical review is key to decisive, quality results. Thing is, working with any sort of exposed cable comes with an inherent risk that requires no explanation. Last week, during a routine shoot, I accidentally stepped on the cable closest to the camera and there was no slack, resulted in a good tug that fortunately didn’t cause any damage to either connectors. I may not be so lucky next time.
A quick search on the web revealed several kinds of brackets designed for HDSLR videographers to hold HDMI cables securely. This one in particular is designed to interface all 6 cables on EOS 5D Mark II/III and 7D bodies.
It’s not my style to buy gadgets online or spend time searching for stores that carry them. So I put on my thinking cap, looked around the studio room for ideas and came up with a perfect instantly available solution that does the same thing — using a HONL velcro Speed Strap. It’s rubber lining provides sufficient traction that when securely fastened around the tripod leg, it offers plenty of protection against a repeat accident.
The Apple iPad is my preferred computing device when working away from home and when my photography assignment does not necessitate lugging my Dell 17″ Studio laptop on-site. With the long commutes and long hours, my car turns into a makeshift office (only thing missing is an espresso machine. Mind you, the idea of my Caffitaly machine tagging along has crossed my mind once or twice.). After months of failing to source for the right raw materials, I finally found what works well incredibly well and requires no expenditure — a lanyard. In my example, I use a Nokia OVI wide lanyard I have in my collection from ZoukOut 2009. The idea to mount the iPad (having an Apple Smart Cover helps big time) on the steering wheel is nothing more than simple ergonomics — my work and the commute alone is tiring enough, no need to throw neck pain from awkward posture to the mix.
Warning: It’s dangerous to place any object between the steering wheel and the passenger at any time you’re sitting in the driver’s seat. There’s an inherent risk of the airbag deploying when triggering conditions are met even when the vehicle isn’t moving. The idea here is that if you own an iPad, happen to have brought it with you and plan on using it in the car anyway, you may as well use it comfortably. The lanyard takes just seconds to mount and dismount.