Category Archives: Technical

New Video: Mating Really Right Stuff And Nodal Ninja Panoramic Gear

I had written a post back on December 24th, 2012, titled Mating Really Right Stuff And Nodal Ninja Panoramic about my panoramic head assembled from Really Right Stuff and Nodal Ninja gear. The post has been one of the most visited on my entire blog, but I had gotten several good questions that I thought a video might explain better. 

So, here’s the video with the astoundingly creative name of Mating Really Right Stuff And Nodal Ninja Panoramic Gear:

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Also posted in Panoramic Photography, Travel, Videos Tagged , , , , |

Thinking About Panorama Formats

I recently was contacted about selling one of my prints, a black and white panorama of an old wood mill incinerator in Eastern Oregon (Download a free .pdf of this panorama here). That got me thinking about panoramic image print formats:

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Also posted in Fine Art Printing, Panoramic Photography, Thinking About... Tagged |

Thinking About Composition

I tend to spend an inordinate amount of time considering the composition of my images. I’ve been known to reshoot a still life 10-20 times until I get it composed exactly how I see it in my mind’s eye. Back in the days when I shot and developed all my own film, it was quite a long process compared with my digital workflow of today. I think that extra time was worthwhile though—it essentially gave you time to forget the exact images you had shot while you waited to have enough rolls to mandate mixing a fresh batch of chemicals, developed and dried the film, and then scanned and archived. You got fresh eyes

Thinking About Composition

Thinking About Composition: About 99% There. Click To Enlarge.

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Also posted in Black and White Photography, Thinking About... Tagged , |

Canon Concept Store In Laos Rocks

So… I created a bit of an issue with my carry everywhere point-and-shoot Canon Elph 110 HS that I bought for my trip to Thailand/Laos. Let’s just say a visit to the factory will be required… don’t ask. If I mention “water buffalo” will that suffice?

photo canon store laos ixus 125

Ixus 125 HS, the non-North American version of the Elph 110 HS

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Also posted in Travel Tagged , |

Mating Really Right Stuff And Nodal Ninja Panoramic Gear

Panoramic Gear:

I’ve been a huge fan of Really Right Stuff’s (RRS) gear for many years and have had their quick-release Arca-Swiss style camera plates and clamps on nearly ever camera I’ve owned. The one thing that was always missing from their catalog, however, was an detent-indexed rotator, used for, among other things, shooting stitched single-row panoramic images. This is my solution to that missing piece.

Note: Click on any of the images for a larger version; a manufacturers’ link to each item described is provided at the bottom of the post. Detailed technical specifications can be found at each of these links.

Panoramic Gear

The Full Really Right Stuff/Nodal Ninja Rig.

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Also posted in Panoramic Photography Tagged , , , |

Canon 6300 et al. — The Great Inkjet Swindle!

Picture Of Canon 6300 Info Panel Stating Ink Is Low

What?? Feed This Beast More Ink… ALREADY?

Now don’t get me wrong… I’ve just replaced an Epson 3880 that was damaging Botanica Obscura prints in the deep shadows with its spur wheels (another blog post on that particular bit of suckiness soon) with the Canon 6300… and it is a world apart. After more than a decade, I’ve ditched Epson for good and moved to Canon. The level of engineering is much higher and Canon has excellent included software (like the Free Layout image nesting program and their exceptional Photoshop Print Plugin) that makes the Epson’s software look, well, quaint. 

On top of that, Epson has become hostile to third party software writers like Roy Harrington (who programs the brilliant Raster Image Processor Quadtone RIP). Canon, meanwhile, has included their own Media Configuration Tool to allow you to adjust their printer to use third party papers. And, Canon has been open to supporting third party software writers like Bowhaus and their fantastic RIP True Black And White (which is what I use for my fine art printing now–I used their InkjetControl and Open Printmaker RIP since the first version was put on the market; that was Epson-only software, and I became quite skeptical of Epson when Bowhaus dumped them for Canon).

But, that’s not what I want to rant about. What I want to rant about is a scam all the wide format printer manufacturers engage in.

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Also posted in Fine Art Printing

Rode Microphones Rock — The Decentered Element

Rode Microphones

I have two of Rode’s Lavalier Microphones* and they preform quite well. So, I was a bit distressed the other day when I was setting up the lav for an outside shot and slipped on the Minifur-LAV* (the synthetic fur cuts wind and reduces its capture on the audio) and the bushing that adheres to the lav pushed into the furry. Not good. The lav sounded terrible and the furry was wiggling around a bit loose. Fortunately, I have a back up.  Read More»

Also posted in Audio

Final Cut Pro X Ingest Bug — And A Solution

An Image Of A Movie Set Clapboard, The Graphic For Apple's Final Cut Pro X Software

When trying to ingest video clips from the SD card I use in my Canon XA-10, I ran across an irritating Final Cut Pro X ingest bug. Here is what happens:

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Also posted in Videos

Using A Gitzo Spike Kit On A Really Right Stuff Tripod

Complete Gitzo Spike Set

Gitzo Stainless Spike Set, L to R: Large Feet With Washers, Spikes, and Small Feet With Washers.

I’ve been taking some test shots in the forest for a future project, and have had a bit of an issue with my tripod moving around in the understory. There is quite a variety of things on the forest floor: moss, roots, rocks, fallen limbs, etc. So, I decided to get a set of spikes for my new Really Right Stuff (RRS) TVC-24L Versa Series 2 Tripod. Read More»

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Mounting My Images on Plywerk Bamboo Panels

I have two solo shows coming up in the next few months (stay tuned!) and I was trying to find a non-standard way of mounting my images. I do like the typical matte board and black-museum-frame look, but for the Botanica Obscura work, I wanted to try something new–and, well, something more fitting. Right about that time I had been researching Dane Creek’s covers for the folios I am making (stay tuned some more!), I came across his post Plywerk Mounting Panel Review.

Long story short, I ordered a few test pieces and for the most part have been favorably impressed. Attaching your image is a straight forward process, if a little nerve wracking at first–you  have to get the print on the ph-neutral adhesive correctly the first time, or the whole assembly may be ruined. You also have to be quite careful when trimming the edge of the print to the edge of the mount. Clear mounting and trimming instructions are included with every order. Plywerk mounts are offered in a large number of sizes and thicknesses, and in Birch and Bamboo–architects and builders will recognize the Bamboo base material as Plyboo. Plywerk also offers Photoshop .PSD files on their site here, that are designed so you can add your own image on a layer, for marketing and sales and such. That’s a nice touch. Here are two different versions of one of my Botanica Obscura images:


Photograph Of Jon Witsell's Botanica Obscura Image Mounted On A Plywerk Bamboo Panel



I’m using 310gsm Canson Infinity Platine Fibre Rag which is the inkjet version of the paper platinum/palladium printers have used for years. It has a nice surface, is acid free, and contains no optical brightening agents (OBAs). One of the reasons why I picked this paper was that this type of mounting is designed to be shown–not squirreled away in a collector’s dark cabinet. No OBAs means that there won’t be a shift to yellow as the brighteners lose their ability to fluoresce over time. I gave the mounted image 24 hours to let the adhesive set, then sprayed the image with two coasts of Premier Print Spray to help prevent scratches and finger prints on the image surface.

To sum up, I really like the Bamboo mounts for these particular images–they make for a more intimate, organic presentation.

 Plywerk Bamboo.

Also posted in Black and White Photography, Fine Art Printing, Print Mounting Tagged , |