Hi again :)
Not much on this post, but just wanted to update ya'll that I've uploaded a video of my stars photography. This is the time-laps video of that day (ref. First ever star trails attempt. Lesson learned!)
I strongly suggest three (3) things for watching this short 19 seconds video:
I hope you enjoy watching it!
The video link to Youtube in HD: My first ever Stars Timelaps
This was a great, quickly assembled and kinda short drive (approx. 2.5 hours) to Makhtesh Ramon, Israel (actually, it was further south, behind "Kushi 101". And so, along with Guy, Erez and Liron, we packed the car with our gear and some stuff for the long, cold night and on the road we went. I'm not going to bore you with the long non-technical details of the trip and the overnight stay at the location, but instead, I wanted to share my first time experience of photographing the stars. More specifically, creating a star trails photograph (as seen above and as you can see in the Landscaps section of my website.
I took the Nikon D7000 camera, mounted with my Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 lens and set the following settings:
Soon after I started, and to be more accurate @ 20:06 (after 36 images), the camera stopped taking pictures.
Since I've set it to work all night long (or at least, until the battery drains, whichever comes first), I didn't think much of the camera, and went about my business of being with my friends and drinking beer :)
After a while though, I decided to check my camera (which was not very far from where I was, but not very close either, approx. 10 meters away). To my amazement, the camera was not taking any pictures. How long you ask? I'll tell you. From the last image, which was @ 20:06 till I got the camera taking pictures again, which was @ 20:18 (12 minutes).
So, what went wrong you ask? Well, it appears there is a misunderstanding (mainly on my part, but I noticed I was not the only one having this issue, after I "Googled It"). The interval set in the Interval Timer Photography setting, is from the time the camera starts to capture an image, till it finishes + processes the image (High ISO NR for example) + saves the RAW image to the SD card.
If you look closely at the image I took, you can see that there are star trails that start with a relatively short line, then a blank space in the trail and long line after it in the same path of the star trail. That's the start @ 19:47 and then the 12 minute break until I noticed the issue and fixed it ... or so I thought!
My fix was, to set the interval to a time 1 second longer then my exposure ... that means, a 30 second exposure needs an interval of at least, 31 seconds.
But wait .. do you notice that even the long start trails are broken up? They are one complete line. Why you ask? Good question (and part of the answer lies in what I wrote a couple paragraphs up. The reason the star trails on the long trails are broken up is because the 31 seconds interval is not enough. 30 seconds of the 31 is for the 30 second exposure I had set for the images, and 1 second just isn't enough to have the image processed and saved to the memory card.
So even 31 seconds were not enough, and so, what it did, was save the images to the camera internal memory buffer. Which was enough .. until it wasn't. At that point, it had enough time (1 second) to initiate the save to the memory card. Since it did that, for a few seconds, it had the rest of the 31 seconds interval to wait until it started taking pictures again and so on and so forth.
First ever star trails attempt. Lesson learned!
I wanted to tether my D7000 to my laptop .. and since I only had the small 1 meter USB A to mini B cable that arrived with the camera when I purchased it, I didn't have the freedom to work at a studio environment where the laptop is sitting on the desk and my camera is mounted on my tripod in the middle of the room.
Solution? Simply get a longer USB cable. eBay to the rescue!
I found a cheap cable (including shipping) named " Sandberg USB 2.0 A to Mini B Male 5m". Great! Priced at $12 USD, this was idle so I purchased it.
After a couple of weeks, the cable arrived (Yay!) .. but due to the amount of stuff going around in my life, I didn't really have time to test it out just yet when it arrived. I waited a few days and then tried to test it out ... but guess what? It didn't work. My laptop didn't recognize my new 5 meter USB cable :(
I tried over and over, but nothing helped. I also tried to see if I can connect it to the powered USB socket in my laptop, but that didn't help either.
So that was a waste (but didn't get me broke) of money. I tried to contact the seller on eBay saying:
I tried now connecting the cable to my camera and while the old original
cable I got from Nikon is working correctly, the new cable I got from you
isn't working ... and Windows says that it can't recognize the USB
Can you please tell me what might be the problem with a 5m
His response was:
It might be the length of the cable
YYY solutions Ltd"
Fine. Screw the 12 bucks! But what now? I started searching for another solution .. a better quality cable was my first thought. But how do you recognize good quality cable when you see one and you have no idea how USB works and what might be industry standard for quality USB cable.
I found this cable from a company call audioquest. They have a series of such cables titled "Mini USB-Digital Audio" and each cable as a name but I was looking at the Diamond cable. OMG! Do you know how much this cable costs for having a "SOLID 100% PERFECT-SURFACE SILVER CONDUCTORS (PSS)" (that means, the conductor are made of 100% silver!)?
On Amazon I found it called Audioquest Diamond .75m (2'6") USB A to Mini Digital Audio Cable and priced at $548.75(!)
Yea .. that's a bit too much for my wallet :)
So what else can I do/use? I read an article about What are the differences between USB Repeaters and USB Extenders?
Great! Let's find a USB extender, of 5 meters. And not long after I started searching, I found it! It's by a company called Unitek and they have the USB2.0 10M Active Extension cable Y-260.
Priced at $12 USB (same as the previous one), I couldn't resist due to the low price ... and purchased it immediately at a local store.
I brought the cable home, connected it to the laptop on one end, and to the other end, I connected the original USB I got with my D7000, which in turn I connected to the camera body. Boom! It works like a charm :)
A big thanks to Dorly my love, for going over to the shop and getting me this cable while I was at work :) and also thank you Unitek for making this cable!
Ok, started thinking about getting a new camera .. a Full Frame (FF) Nikon D800(E). Before I do this, I need to figure out if my memory cards and lens apply to it ... so here's why this blog post was born.
The post is a work in progress and will be filled out with information as I go along.
After my brother in law (Thanks Adi) gave me some tips, one of them was to add the EXIF data to the photographs. So I did just that ...
Being a computer geek that I am .. I also tried to automate the process as much as I could.
I won't go into details here (maybe in another post) but basically, what I did was extract the relevant EXIF data using a free software called BR's EXIFextractor to a CSV (comma-separated values) file.
I then used another free editor called Gvim for Windows to record a macro that edits the line to just the way I want it to be, and then I ran that macro on all the lines in the file.
Then I only needed to copy/paste those lines into the relevant photographs :) So what you see, is the result of this work.
And on another note, I also changed the logo's font .. to try and make it look more presentable. What do you think?
My name is ... well, Shai. I'm sitting at home now, drinking a vodka mixed with an energy drink. Yea, I like to drink a glass after a hard day work from time to time. There .. you already know something someone else probably doesn't know about me :)
I have a wonderful gf .. 9 months now, as of writing of this post. Our dog (from her side) is Bono.
Since approx. 1996, I've been a computer enthusiast .. I've been a PC Technician, a Computer Systems Administrator and lately, a Operational Business Intelligence Developer.
I always loved photography. I guess it always was in me to take great photographs and this is why I do it everyday, all the time. I try, test, buy and challenge myself to photograph. New and exciting things, all the time.
This is Shai the photographer, and this is my photography portfolio. I really hope you enjoy .. and feel free to contact me :)