How to find some colour in the dead of a Canadian Winter – photography from the Niagara Butterfly Conservatory.
All taken with the Olympus PEN EPL3 micro four thirds digital camera.
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From Canadian Thanksgiving (early October) to the first snows of December. All taken with the trusty Canon T6i in my own backyard. I have a thing for nature macros.
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Minus 20 outside, so it’s time for another round of macro-ice crystal photos using the Canon T6i Rebel with macro STM lens…
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Barely above freezing, but the sky is clear and winter blue. The camera is a Ricoh Theta S on a Gorilla Pod wrapped around the rear view mirror, until it wasn’t. Without a hint of a problem it suddenly let go at 80km/hr as we rode down a country road. The tripod and camera slid down the pavement for 50 odd metres before coming to a stop. We turned around and went back to find the camera case popped open and electronics hanging out, I figured it was dead.
Once home I put the guts back in and snapped it shut again and it powered right up. All the photos on it were fine, only the plastic piece at the top shattered. It’s now covered in tape and looks like the tough little camera that it is. If you’re looking for a hardy 360 camera, the Ricoh Theta has survived thousands of miles on a motorcycle taking all sorts of photos and videos, and now it has hit the road at high speed, and it still keeps on ticking.
I’d kinda hoped that this nixed the Theta S so I could upgrade to the new Theta V. At this rate I’m going to have to drop this thing into the sun to kill it! #onetough360camera
I had the camera set to take a photo ever 10 seconds. I hoped that it happened to be taking one as it came off the mirror, but no luck. In the meantime, here are a selection of stills and 360 movable images from the Ricoh on the ride:
Dress warm for a cold ride. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
Cold, easly spring #Triumph ride #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
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All taken with a Canon T6i DSLR using the kit 28-55mm lens…
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Taken between 9 and 10am on Saturday, April 14, 2018.
Using the OnePlus5 smartphone camera.
Videos modded in Windows Movie Maker.
GIFs made using the EZgif online tool: https://ezgif.com/maker
You can find more media on the ice here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/CwEOjz8TqYfF1QAM2
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October 24th, 2014 there was a partial solar eclipse at sunset up our way. I was on the rear deck with the Olympus PEN EPL3 watching it go down. All shots with the long 300mm zoom lens.
Typical shot data looks like this:
f/22 1/4000150 mm ISO1000 for the lower light shots and similar settings with wider aperture for the brighter shots – I’d rather everything stay sharp with as big an F stop as I can manage. No filter, believe it or not.
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Originally posted on Tim’s Motorcycle Diaries.
I’ve been messing around with 360° immersive video at work. One of the best ways to quickly get familiar with the technology is to use it in a difficult circumstance so you can find its limitations. At work we’re building immersive video to show a virtual walk-through of our school. If the gimbal and camera we have will work on a motorbike, it’ll work stuck to a kid’s head as they walk through the school.
There are a number of barriers to admission with 4k video and image stabilization. Fortunately, the 360Fly4k windshield mount I have is so over engineered that it easily handles the weight and motion of the gimbal and camera rig.
I’ve previously done 4k video with the 360Fly4k, but it has a big blind spot on it, so this would be my first true 360 4k video. The Fly is a tough thing that takes great footage, but I’d describe it more as a 300° camera than a true 360 one.
This 4k 360 camera is the Samsung Gear 360. I’m running it off the camera because the app won’t run on my Android non-Samsung phone because I guess Samsung don’t want to sell many of these cameras – it’s kind of a jerk move on their part so if these things don’t sell (because you have to have a Samsung phone to access it remotely), then they’re getting what they deserve.
The Gear 360 has a small screen so you can see settings and using the buttons is fairly straightforward, though you’ll find yourself constantly accidentally pressing buttons while you’re handling it. The Ricoh Theta 360 is still my ergonomic favourite in terms of control and handling, and they just came out with a 4k version of the Theta – perhaps they’ll lend me one to test.
The gimbal is a Moza Guru 360°Camera stabilizer. The typical gimbal design has weights to the left or right of the camera to keep things balanced, but on a 360 camera that means you’re blocking all sorts of sight lines. The Moza gimbal is vertically stacked with the weights hanging below, mostly out of sight. It has a power button and a push button joystick that lets you set shooting modes and centre your camera so it’s looking where you’re going rather that looking down the ‘seams’ between the two cameras.
Most 360 cameras are actually two or more cameras working together. The resulting footage is then stitched together in software to make an every direction video. The raw footage from the Samsung looks like this (on left). A front and back facing fish-eye camera capturing separate footage.
Because both cameras are capturing different scenes, you can often see where they are stitched together because of a difference in ISO which shows up as a clear line of brightness difference (on the right). They all tend to be identical, fixed-lens cameras, so the aperture and shutter speed tend to be identical.
The first test video has the Samsung camera set at highest resolution (4096×2048 pixels in video) and 24FPS. The gimbal is in locked mode, so it’s always looking in the same direction even if I go around the corner. The gimbal provides smooth video by taking the bike’s motion out of the video (it’s always looking in the same direction as the bike and I rotate around the shot), but a bike’s motion is one of the best parts of riding, so for the second shot I set it in tracking mode so it followed the bike’s motions.
Uploading it to YouTube out of the Gear 360 Action Director resulted in a flattened video that doesn’t allow you to pan. In order to produce that kind of video in the G360-AD (what a ridiculous name), you need to PRODUCE the video in the software and then share it to YouTube from within the program. My issue with this is that when you bring the program in it takes an Intel i7 VR ready laptop the better part of twenty minutes (for less than ten minutes of footage) to process it before you can do anything with it. When you produce it (again) for YouTube you end up waiting another twenty minutes. The Ricoh Theta saves the video (albeit 1080p equivalent) in a fraction of the time and the resulting saved version is 360 ready for YouTube; the 360Fly software is likewise efficient at 4k. I’m not sure why I have to wait forty minutes to produce less than ten minutes of footage on the Samsung. I know it’s a lot of data to work through, but it isn’t a very streamlined process.
So, after a lot of post processing, the 4096×2048 360° video out of the camera shows up on YouTube at 1440s (s stands for spherical rather than p – pixels – spherical footage is stretched across a wider area and tends to look less sharp). I’m not sure where my 2048s footage went – I imagine part of that big post processing was to shrink the footage to fit on YouTube more easily?
If you click on the YouTube logo you can watch it in YouTube and adjust the resolution (bottom right) to see how it looks (make sure to do it full screen to use all your pixels). If you’re lucky enough to be watching it on a 4k display, this will come close to filling it.
The quality is excellent, the microphone remarkably good (they get beaten up pretty badly on motorcycles), but the awkwardness of post processing and the ergonomics of the thing don’t make it my first choice. Trying to manage it with gloves on would be even more frustrating. What you’ve got here is a good piece of hardware let down by some weak product design and software.
The software does offer some interesting post processing options in terms of wacky arts filters, but if you’re shooting at 4k all this does is drastically reduce the quality of your video. If you’re going to use those filters film at way lower resolution so you don’t have to wait for hours while they process.
I’m aiming to go for a ride tomorrow to look at the fall colours after our first frost. I’ll bring the Samsung along and see how well it photographs. It’s promising 15 megapixel 360 images and high dynamic range landscapes, so I’m optimistic. Photography is timeless and my preferred visual medium anyway, I find video too trapped by the continuity of time. Maybe the Samsung will be a good photography tool. Of course, I won’t be able to fire the thing remotely because I don’t have a Samsung phone…
The next morning I set up the camera on the gimbal for the ride to work. The camera epically failed to catch any of the magic of the morning mist. The video I got was starting and stopping every minute and the footage was a mess, full or artifacts and unusable.
Compared to the robust Ricoh Theta (which I’ve had out in light rain with no problems) or the bullet proof 360Fly4k, which I’ve left filming through full on storms, the Samsung gave up the ghost at a bit of fog on an otherwise sunny morning.
This is not a tough camera by any stretch. Dainty might be a better way to describe it. For something that’s supposed to catch the world around you, it’s best used indoors. Yes, I’m bitter that I couldn’t catch anything of that glorious morning ground fog.
|Simulated image indeed – this camera wouldn’t work that close to an ocean! If you’re looking for a resilient, tough, outdoor camera, this ain’t it.|