PlatyPod tripod is a utility tool I’ve started using more often. I bought mine about a year and a half ago and set it aside for a bit, as it was not front of mind. I started using it again and found quite a few new and different ways to support my camera and lights. Now, the Ultra model stays clipped to my Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 20 camera bag.
Watson Lake, Prescott, Arizona
Sunrise image selected from time-lapse captures
Having outfitted my car for camping I was able to be on site for sunrise and moon-rise shoots. I’m sharing some of the sunrise footage I made with my Lumix G9. Capturing time-lapse images adds to possible output. Of course, there’s the time-lapse processed at multiple playback speeds. Multiple images can also be processed together for noise reduction or other creative uses. Individual images can be selected for processing different times.
Link to sunrise video. It is magical seeing time compressed. There is a different perspective when everything is shown faster. The world can be viewed in many different ways. Being a stills photographer/Lens Based Artist I seem to be drawn to what can be shared starting with individual captures. Putting the photos together gives me another creative outlet.
Low to the ground
Platypod Ultra tripod with a couple leveling bolts in place.
When making this set of images I wanted the camera to be low to the ground which, is a perfect use for the PlatyPod tripod. With no legs the camera is not affected by wind and stays steady Many regular tripods can get low as well, but end up with legs splayed.
Yours in Creative Photography, Bob
FYI I am currently creating paid content for PlatyPod.
I’ve been enjoying the cooler air at night photographing Nightscapes and Starscapes. Today’s high was 107 here in Sedona, Arizona. Decided to lay low during the day!
I’ve been playing with the Platypod Ultra making some time-lapse videos for them. I bought the Platypod about a year and a half ago and wasn’t using it very much. But when they asked me to work it a little more I’ve been finding more and more uses. In addition, it now hangs off my small Think Tank Mirrorless – 20 camera pouch when I go hiking. I’m finding it gives me a stable platform while adding very little weight to my kit.
I spent a couple nights car camping, AKA boondocking, in my RAV 4 during the last full moon. Here’s a time-lapse I made of the moon for Platypod getting up off the horizon. See more of the boondocking story here.
Yours in Creative Photography, Bob
For those who are viewing this in the Successful-Photographer email notification here’s a link.
•• The reason I use the Think Tank MM 20 is that it is small but robust. I’ve been using this bag for about five years and it is only starting to show some wear. Know that I am a mirrorless shooter with Lumix and Olympus gear so It’s just the right size. They make larger models such as the MM 30 for larger camera gear
The Lumix G9 with Leica DG 100-400mm lens was set upon a tripod and made mostly worry free for the duration of the show. Since I was making decisions on the other cameras. (see Part one Fireworks set-up – Part two Olympus LiveComp Mode) I was looking to get images on the G9 without doing anything other than making sure the fireworks were framed properly.
Blended images Photoshop
Once the files were downloaded I culled the empty frames and the ‘less than stellar’ captures. Then I took multiple frames into Adobe Photoshop and combined some of the images. For best results I recommend the Screen Blend Mode. Put a mask on the file and use a black soft edge brush to remove the parts of the image that don’t add to the final look for which you are going.
Settings for this camera were 5 SEC f/11 ISO 200. In addition, the in camera time-lapse was invoked. A one-second break was added to allow the camera to reset between frames. I was making the images with still photos in mind. If I was creating a time-lapse movie the settings probably would have been more like a two second exposure to help explore and record the movement and to have enough frames for a longer movie. As it is after removing some frames I ended up with only 134 frames, which makes for a pretty short movie.
Let me know which frame rate you prefer and why if you get the chance.
Out for the second night of trying to catch the Perseids Meteor Shower. The largest amount of visible streaks across the sky were scheduled for the early hours of Sunday morning.
Set the alarm for 12:05 AM. Wake up 11:58 PM. Check cloud cover. Looks OK. Dress. Hop in the car. Head to the pre-scouted location at Bell Rock Vista one of my favorite rock venues for photos in Sedona. (partly because it’s five minutes from my house.)
About one minute of time lapse from three cameras.
Note clouds and lightning to the south. Thankful there’s an open to the sky ‘window’ to the north.
Set up cameras. Yes, cameras plural. When photographing images for time-lapse video one thing you end up with is time. Once a camera is set, and recording do not touch, bump or adjust unless you would like to restart the sequence.
Camera one – Lumix GH5 with Leica 12mm Summilux f1.4 lens. This camera and lens combination ended up giving me the cleanest, sharpest files. I set the camera for RAW capture. Note that RAW files can chew up some real estate on your card. Make sure you have a large capacity. **
Camera two – Lumix GX85 with the Leica 15mm Summilux f1.7 lens. This set-up is a great go-to set up for night skies.
Here’s a single still image from the shoot. Processed in Photoshop
Camera three – The Lumix FZ2500 with a built-in 25-480 Leica DC Vario-Elmarit F2.8-4.5 lens. This is best shot at the 25mm setting to keep the f2.8 aperture. As you’ll note in the video, this is the only camera lens that showed condensation toward the end of the sequence. It was a VERY moist and humid night. This camera must generate a little bit of heat as time goes on. In less humid situations I wouldn’t see this as a problem.
A great resource for deciding what exposure settings to use including various camera and lens combinations may be found here. I highly recommend checking out the rest of Ian Norman’s blog Lonely Speck. Lots of helpful info there to set you on the right path. Remember the guide gives you a starting point. You still must experiment to get the most from your experience.
Yours in Creative Photography, Bob
Working on my settings for better quality imagery. Any lack of quality is purely operator error!
** The GH5 has two cards slots and can be set to behave in a variety of ways including to continue recording on the next card when one fills up. Very handy for lots of captures. When not gathering images for time-lapse the cards can be set to be an automatic back-up by writing to the cards simultaneously, RAW files to one card, jpegs to the other, videos to one card and stills to the other, etc. But I digress.
The Perseid Meteor shower was coming to a peak. I went out on the 11th of August to test out camera settings. It’s always better to practice before the ‘Big Show’ so you don’t end up spending time and not getting your images correct. I rarely do night time-lapse photography so I needed a refresher.
Good thing too!
MAJOR TIP! One thing you can never depend on is the LCD on the back of your camera when viewing images at night. Because your pupils are expanded because of the general darkness the light coming from your LCD looks nice and bright and full of detail. It’s a physics and eye thing. My images came out about two stops darker than I would have liked. That doesn’t mean I didn’t get anything. Just that the quality is not up to the snuff that I would like. A bit on the dark side. NEXT TIME IT’S BY THE NUMBERS.
Three quarters of the noise in a digital file resides in the bottom, or left side, of the histogram. Conversely, three quarters of the best pixels reside on the right. When shooting night star scenes such as time-lapse video or star trails it’s better to get closer to over exposure and make your adjustments in post to keep the noise level at a minimum. You’ll see that in the images below.
Processed as a still from one of the images in the sequence. Made with Lumix FZ2500 (I underexposed this a lot! and was still able to pull a decent image)
This image was produced with a still from the Lumix GH5 and the 12mm Leica Summilux f1.4 Lens This is a sweet piece of glass! I also underexposed this image but between the GH5 and Leica glass achieved a lot higher quality image.
I’ll share another shoot and some star/night shooting tips in an upcoming post.
Yours in creative Photography, Bob
PS – the landscape was so bright at night because of the 1/2 moon shining down
Occasionally I'll send out a digest version of the blog posts on Successful-Photographer. I'm not a fan of Spam and I'm sure you are not. Your Email address is safe with me. Bob
For infrared conversion of my cameras I use LifePixel. Infrared allows you to put an older camera to use and opens up a new time time of day for productive image creation.
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