Sunday, February 28, 2010

Part 2: Photography with Imre Episode 14 - Flashes Part 2: Sync Speed

I have to say that I'm quite happy with Episode 14; new look, much better sound quality too. And indeed, Thank You to all of you wonderful viewers! It's quite the sight to see over 10,000 total upload views and I certainly hope I'll one day see over 100,000.

Now this video was essentially done in two parts, starting with a demonstration of flash sync speed. I would like to add that if you're using a camera/flash combo that works well together (e.i. the two devices are compatible and can "talk" to each other; generally the same manufacturer) then you may find that the equipment puts limits on what you can do. I must admit that I was a bit surprised to find that I could not set my Olympus E-3 above 1/250th of a sec shutter speed with the FL-50 flash attached. To get that "bad" photo in the video with the shutter (second curtain) partially covering the sensor, I resorted to using my dad's old manual flash hooked up to the camera via PC cable. Only then could I push the shutter speed beyond the sync speed. So with the right gear you usually don't have to worry about the sync speed, unless of course you're using a manual flash or studio strobes; in those cases knowing your sync speed is of high importance.

As for the second part of the video that dealt with FP mode, I'll start off by saying that not all cameras and flashes are capable of doing this. So if for whatever reason(s) you require such a feature, ensure you do your research before potentially getting stuck with equipment that doesn't do the job.

And as I mentioned in the video, if you want to find out more about the FP mode then do check out the links below; especially the second one. Like the author said, the FL-50 flash in particular does more or less have a very steady light output in FP mode. The high speed video clips I shot also confirm this; as far as I'm concerned no noticeable flicker or strobing is present. After playing with those clips frame by frame, the pre-flash takes approximately 1/1,200 of a second to complete (because of the rolling electronic shutter in my high speed camera, only 2 frames have light from the flash on them, but only partially on each frame), and the actual large "FP" flash lasted a whopping 12 frames. Time wise, this translates into a burst of light about 1/100th of a second long! This seems to indicate that for shutter speeds above the sync speed, the flash starts firing just before the shutter opens and keeps firing up to or even a little bit after the shutter has closed. Cool stuff!

Anyway, I certainly hope you'll join me for the next episode where I show off some of the features most flashes can do and how you can use them, especially the first and second curtain modes.

So please do subscribe and check me out on Facebook (become a Fan too) so you can stay up-to-date with my doings. TTYL!

Web Resources

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Photography with Imre Episode 14 - Flashes Part 2: Sync Speed

As usual, it's quite late and I gotta hurry up so I don't miss SNL after it comes back after a commercial break.

Episode 14 is live on YouTube, do check it out. This is the second part of the flash mini-series I'm doing.

Tomorrow I'll write up the supplemental blog post and until then, please subscribe and check me out on Facebook (become a Fan!) TTYL!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

How to Play La Cucaracha on Mandolin

Well I'm happy to say that I'm still really enjoying my mandolin and after playing around with it for fun one day I accidentally stumbled upon La Cucaracha! So after a week of practicing the tune I decided to create a video of it. Now please do keep in mind that there may be other versions of it, so this may not be "proper" so-to-speak. But as far as notes go, it sounds just fine to me. For my next mandolin video I'll be playing Fur Elise, a beautiful composition by none other than Beethoven; a little trickier than the Mexican song, but practice will help snag perfection.

So do have fun practicing the tune. Also, please subscribe and check me out on Facebook (become a Fan! Fans are cool!).

Web Resources

Friday, February 19, 2010

Part 2: Photography with Imre Z. Balint: Episode 13 - Flashes Part 1

*sigh* I wanted to have this done yesterday but I got caught up in a few things and well here is today. Ahh, close enough.

The first part of my flash mini-series is quite straight forward, but I do have a few points to mention.

First up I'll quickly mention the links that I scrounged up. If you're the tinkering type you might like the first couple of links on how flashes actually work. Then I've included some URLs to websites that explain the guide number in more detail. Now as mentioned in my video, unless you really enjoy doing math in your head or are using manual flashes for your work, the majority of digital SLRs and electronic flashes today do all that good stuff for you. Thus, you can just point and shoot and in most cases get an adequate exposure when using a flash.

Second up is in regard to getting the right flash for your camera. Sometimes mixing brands are not a good idea as the camera body may not be able to properly communicate with the flash. For example, my Olympus E-3 can control the FL-50 flash I have (also Olympus), including its ability to zoom, but if I used another make of flash then I might only be able to use it in manual mode; in other words, I better know my guide number formulas as the camera body will only be able to trigger the flash, not tell it what power to use (or how much to zoom, to use the auto-focus assist illuminator when the shutter button is half-pressed, etc.).

Third up has to do with zooming. Certain flashes have the ability to focus their beam of light, or concentrate it if you will, when you use a telephoto lens and pull in on your subject. On my FL-50 I can hear a quiet buzzing sound as a micro-motor activates and moves the flash's innards around. Also, because the beam of light is more focused compared to the wide setting, manufacturers usually base the guide number off the zoomed setting (mostly a marketing thing as far as I can figure; big numbers look better). This is good to keep in mind because if you're primarily doing wide angle shooting then you will get somewhat less light out of your flash.

So there ya have it! Stayed tuned for the second part of my flash mini-series, which will focus on the flash sync speed. As usual, please subscribe and check me out on Facebook (become a Fan!) to stay up-to-date with my videos and other stuffs. L8r!

Web Resources

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Photography with Imre Z. Balint: Episode 13 - Flashes Part 1

Finally! I managed to assemble Episode 13 of my Photography Series introducing flashes and the guide number. And if you've watched the video then you've probably noticed that there will indeed be several more episodes to come that will nicely round out all the other wonderful things flashes can do and be used for. The next episode in particular will be on what the flash sync speed is and the episode after that... well you'll just have to wait to find out!

Oh and guess what? That's right! It's once again too late for me to write up my supplemental blog post for this video tonight, so yup, check back tomorrow evening and I should be done by then.

If you enjoy my videos, please do subscribe and you can also check me out on Facebook (become a Fan!). L8r!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Olympus E-P2 (Pen) - High Speed Video of Image Stabilizer

Last time I looked inside my E-P2 I shot some high speed video of its shutter in action. This time around I decided to check out its image stabilizer in action.

What drew me to do this was that strange and brief sound I kept hearing every time I turned the camera off and the IS was enabled... buzz, buzz, buzzzz. So I setup my Casio EX-F1 to record the video, removed the lens of the E-P2, turned on my studio light, and started recording. Then I simply turned off the camera and there it was, the sensor dance. I have to admit that I was quite surprised to not only see the sensor in motion, but how much movement it was capable of doing! Since the action wasn't very fast, my video starts off with an HD quality clip of this and then right after comes the 300 frame per second segment.

The third and final clip in the video demonstrates the camera's image stabilizer at work when an exposure (or photograph) is being taken. I set the shutter speed to two seconds and then nudged the camera around gently as it sat on the tripod. Because the movement of the IS is really small, it's quite challenging to see it in motion, but using annotations on the video I pointed out where this was most visible. My estimate of how much the sensor shifts is about 0.5mm. And I actually shot several other videos of this, some at 1,200 frames per second, but this video seemed to demonstrate the shift better than the others.

For next week, time permitting, I will be shooting a full episode of my photography series, this time on electronic flash basics.

So if you want to stay up-to-date on my videos then please do subscribe. You can also check me out on Facebook (become a Fan too). L8r!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Part 2: Mandolin Tuning - Tutorial and Advice from Imre

Alright, time to finish the supplemental post to my video on tuning a mandolin.

First of all I'll start with saying that the method I use to tune my mandolin is the way I like to do it. I'm pretty certain there is nothing really wrong with starting at the G strings and working my way through to the E's using an electronic chromatic tuner, and then going through again by fretting the strings at the seventh fret and tuning the next pair (since a mandolin is tuned in fifths, fretting a pair of strings at the seventh fret will have the same note as the next higher pitched pair of strings; e.g. fret a G at the seventh fret and you get an D, which is the same note as the next set of strings played open). But I've read about other tactics such as tuning your A string first using either an electronic tuner or another instrument (usually a piano) and then tuning the rest of the strings to that nicely tuned A string. My ultimate recommendation is as usual, do a little research and pick the one that you're the most pleased with.

And remember that "wawawa" sound I talked about in the video in regard to when two strings are almost in tune with each other? Technically that phenomenon is called a "beat" or "beats" and the last two links in my resources section are on that topic. Mind you, those sites get quite specific and for some musicians it may be too much information. If you're not that interested in the physics of sound (instead of being inspired you start drooling), then at the least it's worthwhile knowing that if you want two strings to be tuned exactly the same, then you should hear no beats. Remember, the further off tune two strings are, the faster that beating sound... wawawa...  is.

I'll end by saying that my book from Amazon arrived today - Mel Bay's Complete Mandolin Method. Kudos to Amazon for a super speedy delivery; got the book in two days with 3-5 day shipping. Sweet! First impressions of this book are quite good. I especially like the DVD too; no hype or ton of talk. Instead you see a fellow playing through almost each example in the book. Very good if you're new to reading music or have issues with timing.

Have fun playing your mandolin if you got one and if you don't, then whatcha waiting for? :) Also remember to subscribe and check me out on Facebook (become a Fan!).

Web Resources

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mandolin Tuning - Tutorial and Advice from Imre

Not exactly photography... or at all, but for all you music lovers out there, this one is for you... and I'll probably come up with more too. So, if you've never played a mandolin yet or are thinking of getting one, you might find my video useful about how to tune one. You can watch it below or click the previous link to view it in HD.

And I detect a pattern... I tend to stay up far too late, which means that I'll be writing the "real" supplemental mandolin tuning blog post tomorrow evening and I'll be sure to include those links to websites that have some chord charts and scales.

Remember to subscribe, check me out on Facebook (become a Fan!), and I'll cya l8r!