How the camera shutter works

I’ve seem tons of explanations of how the shutter works. This is particularly interesting when taking about flash photography when the so-called x-sync speed is the cutting limit of flash usage unless High speed sync (or similar techniques, like hyper-sync are used).
This youtube film helps understanding why things work the way they do. Pay attention to the recording of the shutter at 1/1000 and notice the narrow slit between the two shutter curtains. If you were to use normal flash with the shutter in that state, you would only record the light that would pass through that slit and result in a bright band in a black frame.

Here’s the high speed shutter recording (youtube):

Photography with CO2 Mist: Experimental notes

Layla in the mist
Layla in the mist

After seeing CO2 used in so many movies and shows as special effect, I thought of giving it a try myself to create a photo, so I went to a factory of industrial gasses and got a 10Kg bag of CO2 pellets.

CO2 pellets - close up
CO2 pellets – close up

The stuff is quite actually quite difficult to use. First the CO2 pellets sublimate¬†continuously,¬† so my stock of 10 kg was about the half after 1 evening in the fridge. Second, when poured into water to produce mist, the reaction is strong, but lasts just a few minutes. I was using warm water to get a strong reaction, but it froze quite quickly. Third, the mist is gone almost as fast as it’s produced.
Lesson learnt for next time:

  • Buy more,
  • Use it the same day,
  • Use big can of water relative to the amount of CO2 pellets used,
  • Work fast – prepare the idea, lights and the scene beforehand.

Lights: Used a simple 2-light setup: 600EX-RT bare behind the girl and a second 600EX-RT fitted in a Lastolite Stripbox.

Color burst

Bookmark: Speedlite Flash Duration

Color burst
Color burst

If you are into high speed flash photography, knowing the duration of the flash burst at different power levels is vital to create a setup that will freeze the action of your chosen subject.
I found on this blog an experimental measure of flash duration for different brands and models:

Crafting an image with Pocket Wizard’s AC3 Controller

A dark reflection of Evelyne
A dark reflection of Evelyne

In this tutorial we are going to see how, step-by-step, we can build an image using the AC3 controller. Using the different channels we will be able to setup and enable each light independently, fine tune the light output in e-TTL or manual mode as needed. We will repeat this process until we have completed out setup and then put it all together.
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Free EOS Magazine sampler

EOS Magazine sampler
I’m a regular contributor of EOS Magazine, a great source of information and technique about photography and video with your EOS camera and accessories. When EOS enthusiast see this magazine they get really excited, but you can’t find in the newsstand, as it’s only available on digital or paper subscription.
To give you a glimpse of what EOS Magazine is about, they have put together a sampler of some articles of previous issues.

Have a look (direct download): EOS Magazine sampler

Iceland in Infrared

Iceland in Infrared

I have been organizing my “old shoe box” and found a set of my favorite slides from a trip to Iceland in 2002. In the pre-digital era, one of my favorite films was Kodak Ektachrome Infrared “EIR”. This film had a IR-sensitive layer that with the help of specific color filter, could turn the near-infrared radiation of an scene into a colorful image.

Iceland in Infrared
Iceland in Infrared

Good old EIR required special treatment. All EIR color layers are sensitive to the blue spectrum and therefore blue needs to be filtered to avoid a murky image. A yellow #12 filter is perfect for that job as it absorbs most blue radiation, letting the higher part of the light spectrum, towards the red and infrared, pass-through.

Nowadays we have the immediate feedback of the LCD screen of the digital camera but at the time, imagination was your best preview. Learning to visualize an scene in infrared was required to make the most of this -rather expensive- film.
One thing I certainly miss in these digital days was the emotion to go to the lab to pick up your developed slides, place them on the light box and discover the how the infrared light, invisible for the eye, looked in your final image. My heart used to tick faster every time.