Archive for July, 2009

Added a second widescreen monitor

July 10th, 2009 4 comments

I found a sweet deal on Slickdeals for a Samsung 2333SW monitor, so I picked one up:

I now have dual-screens again, a 22″ Samsung 226BW and the new 23″ 2333SW:

I’m not entirely thrilled with having one of the screens vertical, though, it’s causing alignment issues and I’ll have to use separate wallpapers on each screen.  Unfortunately, the new monitor came with a DVI cable that’s way too short, so I’ll have to rummage around for a longer one before I can turn that one horizontally.

My old monitor is attached to an Ergotron LX mount, so I can move that one freely, but the new one comes on a base that isn’t very movable.  Hopefully I can avoid having to buy another mount.

Now I just need to get the colors calibrated.  The colors are way off on the new monitor (either that or my old monitor has always been way off, in any case, they’re nowhere near close to each other).  Does anyone have a Spyder2 or other calibration device that I could borrow for a few days?


First attempt at photographing fireworks

July 4th, 2009 No comments

My town held their annual fireworks on July 2nd, 2009.  (Yes, two days early, it’s cheaper then; according to the mayor they were done at “no taxpayer expense”).  I took advantage of this to try my hand at taking pictures of fireworks for the first time with my new camera (Canon Rebel T1i).

Before I started, I read some of the tips from Digital Photography School, PetaPixel, and Scott Kelby’s book (page 175).  I decided to use my EF28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 USM lens, set at f/11 on bulb exposure mode (tripod mounted, lens hood attached, wireless remote used to trigger the shutter).  I didn’t want to fight the crowds over at the park, so I set my tripod up on the sidewalk near my house.  I’ve watched from here in past years, the view isn’t bad, but is occasionally obstructed by trees.  I’ll need to find a better spot for next year, as I discovered that there were power lines in the way that obstructed many of the photos that I took.  I cropped them out in most cases, but you can see them in a few of the photos below.

The first half of the photos were taken in JPEG mode because I forgot to switch the camera to RAW mode before I started.  I took 75 photos total, and eliminated about half of them (empty frames, too much blur, only a small bit of firework in the frame, etc.)  I processed the remaining 43 in Lightroom (mostly cropping and exposure adjustments).

What I learned from this experience:

  • Most images were slightly overexposed.  I’ll either try a smaller aperture or will manually set the ISO to 100 or 200 next time.
  • Find a spot where power lines and trees won’t get in the way.
  • Watch out for mosquitoes.  (Ok, not much I can do about that one…)

Overall, I don’t think they came out too badly for a first attempt.  You can see a slideshow of the results below.  (Click here to see them if you don’t have Flash enabled).  You can click on a photo from the slideshow to see a larger version in the gallery.
Read more… (and show photo slideshow)

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