Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dell Mini-10 continued

The Dell Mini-10 worked out well. It handled putting a variety of sized photographs (1790 total photos), ranging from 5 Megapixels to 15 Megapixels in size. Lightroom 2 worked just fine, though I noticed it slowed down somewhat when it was driving the internal LCD and a 1920x1080 monitor. Dropping the resolution down to 16 bit did not seem to help much. Removing the external monitor helped immensly.

Overall, I'm impressed with the laptop. It seems to have enough power, and with the longer battery it lasts a fairly long time.

Overall, for a small computer it works well. I need to get a better mouse (I don't like the touch pads). The keyboard is a little small but usable.

About the photo, A Pitts S2B coming out of a tail-slide with the smoke on...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

How slow can you go?

There's a basic rule in taking photographs of flying airplanes, if they have a prop, make sure that prop is blurred. Obviously, the slower you can get the shutter, the more blurred it is. I did a quick calculation a couple of years ago and came up with around 1/250th of a second should keep the prop blurred through an arc.

This year, while I was shooting the Watsonville Airshow, I tried to see how slowly I could go. I started at 1/320, which had a reasonable amount of blur, then went to 1/250th (the image on the top.) I then went to 1/125th of a second (the image on the bottom.)

As you can see, the prop is more blurred. However, the hit rate for good photos was not nearly as high. I had more of a problem with camera shake, etc... I was also trying to shoot without the image stabilization, and on a monopod. All of this will make a difference.

I might be able to do more with IS and without the monopod. But practicing these panning shots improved my images. Even the difference between the first shots I made with 1/125 and the last ones I made is substantial.

I really have to respect the people who do this for a living.

Details: Canon Digital Rebel Xt. Canon 100-400 mm IS, manfroto 676B monopod with 3229 head

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Field laptops

The time off year is here again, I'll be working the Watsonville Airshow as judging photographer. in order to do this, I needed a small laptop or computer to sort over 2000 photographs that I and my helpers will be taking. I bought a "netbook", a Dell Mini-10. It arrived this last week, and I was able to play around with it after taking some photographs at Lake Merced in San Francisco. Some initial thoughts:
  • Only 1 Gig of memory, not too bad but some people might want more
  • Buy the larger resolution screen. I bought the normal screen (1024x576 or so) Lightroom will pop up menus that are 768 high. I can adjust the screen to show 1024x768 but more resolution would help.
  • It handles Lightroom 2.3 fairly well, including adjustments to the photo, rotating, etc.
  • Dual-core processor, even with only a 1.6 Ghz CPU, it performs very well.
  • Get the 6-cell battery, lots of time to find a plug
  • HDMI out, I think for me this will be more useful than vga out.
  • 160 Gig hard drive. More than my desktop.
It's small, and very portable. it doesn't have a CD/DVD on it, but I already had a USB DVD burner so I was able to easily install what I needed.

It's an amazing little machine. Since it was so new, I did spring for the 2 year maintenance agreement.

And just because this is a photo blog, one of the many Herons I ran across at Lake Merced...