We received a nifty little Actobotics slider kit from ServoCity and over the winter I had the opportunity to shoot a mix of live action and cell phone time lapse video and also a little bit of GoPro video with the slider.
In this post I am going to review the Actobotics slider as a tool for creating movement in both live action video and GoPro or cell phone time lapse video. Because there are so many Actobotics pieces and components available, I found it somewhat overwhelming to figure out the specific parts needed to build a photography and video slider.  Fortunately, the Actobotics staff were very helpful in selecting everything that was needed. To that list, I would also add a 12V battery tray with a plug end (I used my Dynamic Perception dolly’s 12V Li-Ion battery and a DIY plug end made out of a cigarette lighter adapter). I used the mini-ball head that comes with the Phone Mount to mount my cell phone and a GoPro with no problems. I used the 20 RPM Precision gear motor for both the time lapse and live action video sample footage. However, I think it would probably be more versatile to use the 45 RPM gear motor for live action video because you would have the option to film dolly moves that are a little faster and a little slower than the maximum speed of the 20 RPM motor. For live action video, I found the slider moves to be generally nice and smooth, but because the entire system is so light, I did find that it was susceptible to camera shake by very minor jitter of the slider and camera – so you have to be very careful that the system is entirely stable and obstruction free for the entire slider run.
One problem that I noticed trying to run a faster motor at minimum speed by setting the speed with the speed controller was that the sled did not move at a constant speed.  It tended to move faster at the beginning and then slow down as the slider run progressed. I should also point out that control of the Actobotics slider is fully manual – there is no movement ramping or shoot-move-shoot (interleave) capabilities.
Without movement ramping, starts and stops are pretty abrupt and need to be cut out of the final clips. Without shoot-move-shoot movement, you are restricted to only filming in good light.  Of course, if you are filming with a cell phone or a GoPro, you will only be working in good light anyway.
In this article, I don’t want to get into the specifics of how to actually make cell phone time lapse video or GoPro time lapse video, I will follow that up in a future article. However, for the cell phone time lapse video sample footage at the beginning of this article, I used a Samsung Galaxy Note III mobile phone with the Camera FV-5 app.  The sunset time lapse footage was taken on a GoPro, and the through the ice live action clip was also filmed with a GoPro. Overall, I found the Actobotics Slider to be a very handy tool for adding motion to both live action video and time lapse video – it is small, lightweight and easy to use. As far as sliders go, if you are only using a small camera, like a cell phone, GoPro or a point and shoot, the Actobotics Slider works very well and is very cost effective when compared to commercially available sliders. I do not think that you would get very good results with a full size DSLR on the Actobotics Slider – although a small DSLR, like a Nikon D3300 and 18-55 kit lens (or similar from Canon), or a mirrorless system would probably work ok. To be an effective tool, I would go with the 45 RPM motor for live action video and the 0.5 RPM motor for time lapse, instead of trying to use a single motor for everything. One final thing that has piqued my imagination is the idea of adding a robotic cart with wheels to the slider – imagine how great a setup like this would be for elaborate hyperlapse movements!
Would you ever consider working with just a GoPro, cell phone or point and shoot – or is a full size DSLR a minimum requirement? To see more of his work please visit his studio website blurMEDIAphotography, or follow him on Twitter, 500px, Google Plus or YouTube.
Stefan Kohler is a conceptual photographer, specialized in mixing science, technology and photography.
When he isn't waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. The problem is that fireflies flash briefly, whereas the background illumination persists for the duration of the exposure. We would like to find a method to limit background brightness in our final image, while leaving the shutter open long enough to capture plenty of flashes. The instructions below are given in terms of Photoshop (PS), but with minor changes they work in the GNU Image Management Package (GIMP), which is free software.
If your camera supports long-exposure noise reduction, it is usually a good idea to turn it on.
I refine settings until I get a very dark background, a stop or so darker than the image shown above. We can approach this problem in Photoshop by making numerous exposures of medium length and loading each into its own PS layer. Background luminance remains approximately constant in amplitude and in its location within the image, so lighter-color blending limits the background’s brightness to approximately the level we would see in a single exposure while recording all the firefly flashes that we have captured in multiple exposures. At this point we should save out a safety copy of the image with blending mode and layers intact, then flatten the image to a single layer on which we can do further image processing to produce the final image. All digital cameras produce luminance noise in which random pixels show up lighter or darker than the true luminance level in the photographed scene. We can either accept that our final picture will be a little noisy or we can correct the noise at the expense of image resolution by doing noise reduction on the flattened image.
Command-click on all the layers in the layer panel so that all layers are highlighted in blue.
Select Edit -> Auto-Align Layers to clean up any minor camera movement that occurred during the multiple exposures.
About the author: Ken Rice is a photography enthusiast and retired biologist living on a small farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The folks at National Geographic just did a solid favor for all the adventurous outdoor photographers out there. After a lot of speculation and a juicy tidbit here and there, a more complete spec list and first photo of the much-anticipated Canon 5D Mark IV has leaked. Recently I got a message from a person who said that they liked my pictures, but unfortunately they don’t have a "photographic eye." This inspired me to write the following article about basic aesthetics and their relationship to photography. The multi-aperture computational camera is an exciting technology that's emerging in the world of photography, and it appears that Nikon wants in.
VSCO today announced the launch of its new Open Studio, a free-to-use massive studio space in New York City. If you wanna capture quality product photos on the cheap, this short little DIY tutorial is going to be a great resource.
This photo shows what Sports Illustrated photographer Simon Bruty packed for the Rio 2016 Olympic games, the 8th Summer Games he has covered. A little earlier today, we reported on how Sohail Mamdani of BorrowLenses had discovered that one particular Nikon D600 he was testing was consistently overexposing photographs by two stops. Lightroom is a very powerful tool, and this quick timelapse by filmmaker and photographer Bart Oerbekke demonstrates how a series of simple edits were able to really bring one of his landscape photos to life.
Animals stealing action cameras is nothing new—monkeys, seagulls, and foxes have all gotten their 15 minutes of fame this way. Want to see how a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer responds to a request for free images in exchange for "credit" from a major news corporation? News Corp photographer Brett Costello was robbed of $40,000 in camera gear at a cafe in Rio a few days ago. After showing you how to make a tripod using a piece of string, I’m going to go a little more surreal this time by explaining how an old frying pan can be used to get dramatic low angle images. I really love the combination of street photography and rain, since rain changes the mood and the city completely. It’s a comment you will hear over and over again throughout your child’s life:  “Enjoy every minute of it because they grow up so fast!”  And while you are in the midst of all the diaper changes and late-night feedings and piles of laundry, it is so easy to put off capturing that precious baby in photos.

We’ve rounded up some great ideas from several mom photographers to inspire you to take a monthly photo of your baby.
One thing you will notice from each of these month-by-month photo projects is that something in the photo remains the same in an effort to keep the focus on the baby’s size.
Ten years ago, well before we all had nice DSLR cameras, Amy from I Heart Faces and Living Locurto placed her son next to a big stuffed bear each month.
Using the same piece of furniture and the same location in each photo gives the viewer a sense of scale, highlighting the changes as baby grows.
Nicole from Making it Lovely extended her monthly growth photos into a two-year project for her baby Eleanor.
Here, Drew used the same chair and background wall, and then added balloons to show her baby’s age in each photo.
If you want a more variety in your background, keep the baby in the same outfit throughout.
We hope this round-up of baby growth photos encourages you to plan a creative monthly photo project for your own baby. I have been doing photo shoots of my daughter every month and plan on doing them every month until she is at least two years old.
I’d love to hear more ideas on monthly photos for the second year if anyone has more ideas! Terms & Conditions •• All photographers submitting the I Heart Faces Photo Challenges, grant the rights to display their photo on this website. I Heart Faces is a photography blog with monthly photo challenges, free photography tips and tutorials. Each month all levels of photographers have the opportunity to submit a face photo into a themed photo challenge. In this video I will show you the photo session and Photoshop editing of the images to create a star trail and 4K time lapse.
We will visit the location before the night shooting session in order to see the access and possible setup places.
For night photography, it’s not necessary to have the most expensive camera out there. If you don’t have a remote trigger, you can also shoot in Burst Mode if your camera allows you and simply tape the shutter button.
Proper clothing is also important because nights are usually colder, check the terrain and wear proper shoes.
If you want to photograph the milky way or the stars, you need clear dark skies and no moon, otherwise you will not see the stars. Also check clouds coverage charts and make sure you have no clouds, because the stars will no be visible. Setup your tripod and make sure you open the legs wide enough to avoid movement in case of wind and wrap the camera strap to the tripod so it doesn’t hang  around moving your camera or getting in front of the lens. If the stars are very bright you can focus to infinity using by pointing to the brightest star on the sky.
You can also increase the exposure time, but to go beyond 30 seconds you have to switch to Bulb mode and use the remote trigger. Once I found the right settings for my photos, I programmed my remote control by setting to Timer Mode with and Long exposure time of 40 seconds and an Interval of 5 seconds between each shot and hit the play button. The Nikon D7100 has a built in Long Exposure Noise Reduction (LENR) function which can take the dark frame after each image automatically and subtract the noise when it processes the image.
The reason why I took this dark frame on a separate black image is because I want to show you how you can use it in Photoshop to remove noise from your final composition but it’s not as effective as the built in function on your camera. Select all the layers except the last on on the bottom and change their blend mode to Lighten.
Cleaning the image from airplane trails is time consuming depending on how many images you used to make your star trail. If you want to take advantage of your shooting session, you can use the same image to also create a timelapse video but you will need far more photos than just 60. Tagged design tutorials, how to make a timelapse, learn photoshop, night photography, night photography tutorial, original tutorials, photoshop star trail, photoshop tutorials, star trail, star trail tutorial, time-lapse, time-lapse photography tutorial, timelapse tutorial.
You can create a lot of impressive effects by stacking or layering photos, whether you do it in a darkroom or with Photoshop. New York NYC Crime Bronx Brooklyn Manhattan Queens Education Weather Obituaries Sports Yankees Mets Giants Jets Knicks Nets Rangers Islanders Football Basketball Baseball Hockey Soccer College High School The Score More Sports News Crime U.S.
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NASA astronauts have shot heavenly footage of last montha€™s epic Aurora Borealis a€” all from the comforts of the International Space Station 240 miles above Earth. The out-of-this-world time lapse videos show a number of trippy sights, including a glowing green halo outlining the Earth over North America, made all the more dramatic by the constellation of yellow mad-made lights shining from civilization below. This most recent outburt of solar activity may presage a busier period of so-called space storms unleashed by our star, some 93 million miles away. Flares can often disrupt communication grids as well as satelitte equipment, but offer the pleasant side effect of producing amazing Northern Lights.
The proper exposure depends on the ratio of the fireflies’ luminosity to that of the background. Over the course of a long exposure the background brightness builds up to the the point where it’s as bright as the fireflies, and the image looks terrible. To accomplish this, we need an image processing package that supports layers and layer blends. I usually make between 8 and 30 fifteen-second exposures with the camera mounted on a sturdy tripod and triggered by a remote shutter release. It’s easy to lighten the background in postprocessing, and the pronounced underexposure helps the firefly flashes to retain a rich yellow or green color rather than being overexposed and nearly white.
If we use a lighter-color blending mode, a point on a lower layer is visible on the layer above if it is brighter than the corresponding point on the upper layer.
It is a weakness of our method that spuriously lighter-toned background pixels propagate up through the layer stack just as well as fireflies do. As an example, I can load thirty 10Mpix RAW files on a Mac Mini with 4 GB of RAM, but the same thirty images will bog down a 2GB laptop. Even at this stage I like the image to be a stop or so darker than it will be in its final form.
They put every US Geological Survey (USGS) topographical map from across the United States on one easy-to-navigate site and made them easy to print out at home. A 60TB drive would be massive by any standard, but the latest Seagate SAS drive is mind-blowing for one other very important reason: it's a solid state drive.
In it, you see how an $8 IKEA table turns into a full-fledged product photo booth with just a few modifications and some creative foam board placement. After searching long and hard for the cause, he stumbled upon the culprit: the D600 wasn't closing the aperture blades to the correct opening size.

Louis Post-Dispatch who won the Pulitzer Prize with his paper this year for his coverage of protests in Ferguson, Missouri. Then yesterday, while covering an event at the Olympics yesterday, Costello spotted the thief pretending to be him. Photographer Aaron Anderson has put together a lighting tutorial that will show you how he uses one light, a black flag, and a white card to capture beautiful, dramatic headshots.
The Canon 1D X Mark II squares off against the Nikon D5 in a series of tests including sports shooting and hand-held low-light high ISO street photography. More to the point, don't leave comments about your blog, product or service on our participants websites.
I will also show you how to shoot time lapse photography, the camera settings and how I took the dark frame used to subtract the noise from the image once the star effect is created in Photoshop. The most expensive the better the results of course but the lens you are using is far more important in my opinion.
But you can find really cheap remote triggers and even though wireless are a bit more comfortable to use, a corded one will do the job too.
In my case I was wearing tall rubber boots because there was a lot of tall grass full of bugs and thorns.
On the internet you can find applications that will give you the forecast but you can also just watch the TV and check the local forecast. On manual mode, pump the ISO very high 1600 or above and the lowest F number and set an exposure of 30″ and try from there. Set the camera and focus mode to Manual and set the widest aperture of your lens (lowest F number), ISO of 800 and exposure time of 30″, take a test shot and of course shoot in RAW. Try with 40 seconds and same ISO and F number and you will get longer star trails and brighter image.
The downfall of using the built in function is that the picture takes twice as long to be taken (40 seconds for the normal exposure and 40 seconds to take the dark frame). That way you will have an image where the foreground is well lit and free of noise which you can compose in Photoshop using a simple layer mask. With the settings that I used to shoot all the images, the foreground is a bit too dark so after I finished shooting the sequence, without moving the tripod, I took another shot and I painted the foreground with a flashlight.
For a 10 seconds video at 25 frames per second you need 250 images and if each photo takes 40 seconds to be taken, that’s 10000 seconds (about 3 hours of shooting if you also add 5 seconds of interval between shots).
You can create the time lapse video straight from Lightroom using the Slideshow module and the time lapse presets for lightroom but exporting the time lapse takes about 15 minutes depending on the amount of images you export. For this tutorial I used another software called Sequence to create the 4K the time lapse video. The Harris shutter effect makes your photos super colorful, and double exposing or stacking negatives makes for some crazy looking portraits.But, if you're looking for a way to add some flair to your cloud shots, this technique used by photographer Matt Molloy is perfect—it adds a brush stroke effect to long exposure photos by stacking them, giving them a look you usually only see in time-lapse videos. That ratio is constant if we assume (as is usually the case) that the background lighting doesn’t change much over the course of a session.
In other words, the method works best if the image is still unattractively dark at this step. Because I don’t want to change their color, I never add filtration to the fireflies, but I often add some blue (#80) filtration to the sky if it looks muddy once the background has been lightened. Last Friday, Carson was contacted by what appears to be a CBS account on Twitter that regularly Tweets requests for image usage. Incredibly creative, he frequently manages to surprise and delight us with his unusual portrait assignments. My biggest photography project of her first year was to photograph her in the same basket every week wearing a different hat. Think about bugs and other creatures so take with you bug spray especially if you’re going to shoot near a water source. Elevated locations are also great to avoid pollution and have a clearer view of the stars and even see the milky way with the naked eye.
If you carried a flashlight you can use it to illuminate into the distance and focus that way. The objective is to get a photo that is bright enough so you can see what’s in the frame. Your objective is to get a decent amount of stars and a usable amount of noise so you will have to balance it. So I put the lens cap on and I took a shot using the exact same settings I have set for the time lapse sequence. Load the photos you want to use for your star trail, with 100 photos you will have more than enough (even less if you use exposures longer than 40 seconds). I used this image to put it on top of my star trail and used a layer mask to blend the images. 30 as the planet was bombarded with strong solar flares, setting off the spectacular light shows as energized particles interacted with the atmosphere.
We usually would like a rather long exposure because we want to see lots of fireflies in the final image.
It was fun to come up with holiday hats- even a cat in the hat one for Dr Seuss’s birthday. Take a flashlight for light painting the foreground and a head lamp for your safety, you will walk safer and you will be seen by others. Take extra batteries for your electronic equipment and maybe even something to eat and drink, you will out there for a few hours. There are plenty of websites that will give you the lunar phase but it’s usually on the middle of the month where there is no moon on the sky (depending on your hemisphere). You will get an unusable image with lots of noise but it will help you make your composition.
The foreground should have some light on it as well, unless you want to have a silhouetted horizon line. Make as many test shots as you need and make sure the focus is right, the last thing you want is to get home after 3 or 4 hours of shooting and find out that the pictures are out of focus. Disable the visibility of all layers except the bottom one and start enabling them back one by one and inspect your image. If you increase the ISO you will get more noise but also brighter stars and brighter foreground (expensive cameras handle noise a lot better). This will be used later when we make the star trail image to subtract this noise from the stacked images. When you see a new airplane trail, use the Spot Healing Brush Tool to remove it and continue with the process until you’re done. I start with the first image from the timelapse as a normal photo and then blend the rest of them with the 'lighten' blending mode.
This only adds things that are brighter than what was in the first photo, and so you can see things like the paths of stars as they move across the sky.
Be sure to share your results over in the Inspiration section if you decide to give it a try.You can find more of Molloy's work on his Flickr stream, which has a whole collection dedicated just to this technique.

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