Friday, July 25, 2008

Infrared Photography with Nikon D40

For the past 3 weeks, I've been receiving requests from fellow D40 users on how to get into IR photography. Well, here it is.

D40 is great for IR photography because of its 6-megapixel sensor. This sensor is fairly sensitive to infrared and, in ideal situation, it can even be used handheld. No modification is needed to the camera but you need an infrared filter.

To keep cost down, I use the kit lens Nikkor 18-55 because of its 52mm filter thread. This glass is sharp, kicks ass and produces no hotspots when doing IR stuff (a lens hood is recommended though). The cost of a 52mm IR filter is quite reasonable so that's why it's not recommended to use f2.8 glasses as 1) IR filter cost is a bit prohibitive at 72mm, 77mm, or 82mm threads (at least thrice compared to 52mm!) and 2) IR works best in landscape photography so a great depth of field is needed (smaller the apertures, the better). I normally shoot at f11, f13, f18, etc.

My IR filter is Hoya 52mm R72 IR Filter which I got for PHP2,000 (~US$45) last June 2007. I normally shoot when there's plenty of sunlight (10am~3pm) and some scattered clouds. Be warned, don't forget your sunscreen lotion!

Here's my flow:

1) Once I find an interesting subject and its suitable composition, I set my camera in a tripod.

2) Switch to aperture mode and select f9 or f11. Focal length is up to you.

3) Press pre-focus button to get sharp focus of the subject.

4) Switch to manual focus to avoid re-focusing later.

5) Mount the IR filter carefully; avoid moving the lens focus ring.

6) Set whitebalance to incandescent +3, image quality to RAW and ISO to 200.

7) Switch to manual mode and set shutter speed to a starting point of , say, 1/2 second.

8) Activate 5-second timer and push shutter release button. Wipe that sweat off your face and drink some cold liquid.

9) After the camera has taken the shot, review histogram. The peak should be more or less leaning to the right half of the chart to avoid dim images. Decrease or increase shutter speed as necessary and take the shot again. If the scene has plenty of sunlight, decrease aperture to get more depth of field, say, f18 or f22.

That's it. Next time, I'll list here my basic false color processing workflow to obtain the desired look of final image. A good reference is here.

As you may have noticed, IR photography is in between the golden hours of sunrise and sunset. So you have no reason now to stop shooting when sunlight is very harsh & bright. I tried shooting IR in these golden hours and in most situations, the shadows produced by the scene make the image dull.

Update: Globelines Green

I woke up around 7am today, then remembered that I only need to be in the office around 11am so I booted up the PC and went directly to Speedtest.net. I was pleased with the report:



I guess they have changed last night our "rights". Anyway, leadtime from the day we filed our formal complaint until today is 6 days. I hope everything will be alright with our connection in the coming weeks as their "leadtime" is really poor.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Update: Globelines Blues

We now have a broadband connection but it's the wrong one. As adviced by our barely competent agent, we finally went to Globelines SM Center to air our issue: we paid & signed for 1Mbps not 384kbps+landline.

They "promised" to resolve this mixup on or before July 25.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Why the Philippines is Standing Still

This is my reaction to an Inquirer.net article:

It's pretty simple -- it's due to transporation. Philippines is composed of thousands of islands, so moving people & goods results to higher cost. Look at Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, etc... it's obvious.

Sad experience with Globe 3G & Globelines

Globe GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HDSPA

Some weeks ago, my 4-year old Nokia 6600 just died on me and even Nokia Care (SM Cebu) can't save it. So I bought a 3G phone, Nokia E51. This phone's WiFi works flawlessly and mobile internet surfing is just superb!

But not with Globe's network.

As I always have strong HDSPA (3.5G) signal in our home (Opon, Lapu-lapu City), I got very excited and tried to connect to the internet using my phone as a modem. For weeks now, that excitement turned to grave frustration -- the connection is very unreliable and, at best, veerrrrryyy slow that easily translate to an expensive wireless internet un-experience. Grrrr.

Globelines

Last week, we applied for Globeline's "Wired Globe Broadband Plan 1 Mbps Data Only". The agent's promises were wonderful and short of biblical. He told us that we'll get connection 1 to 2 days after our downpayment. Today, it's already 7 days after our payment and that promise is still a promise.

Worse, due to some miscommunication, they will be installing not 1Mbps but 384kbps only. They "promise" that we can upgrade to 1Mbps a week later after a successful installation.

We even don't have a connection yet and we're already experiencing their "stone age" customer service. It's like I'm watching some introductory scenes to a horror movie and I don't even want to think about post-installation issues & future calls to their "customer service". Grrrr.
"He's called Dr. J because, on the court, he operated on people." - Nate "Tiny" Archibald on Julius "Dr. J" Erving