There is so much out there that is new to me when it comes to photography.  As a photojournalist for nearly 30 years, I was always about the moment.  I didn’t worry about perfection in an image.  I didn’t plan, didn’t try to control.  I just let what was going on in front of me happen so I could capture it visually.  Which is exactly what a photojournalist is supposed to do.  I use to say that photojournalism is the art of imperfection. As a photojournalist, you can’t adjust the scene, you have to work capturing what is going on without influencing.

That being said, since I was 12 years old, I shot my photos organically.  Not influencing, sort of a fly on the wall.  Since I left photojournalism, I have learned more about Photoshop than I have since I started using it in the early 90’s.  Doing timelapses, hyperlapse, using After Effects, taking control of my imagery.  I admit that I am still a neophyte at having a vision, focusing it, planning, refining and shooting what is in my head.  I’m a work in progress.  Which is great for anyone. Constantly be a work in progress.  There is always room to grow.

Yesterday I learned what a Cinemagraph is.  A Cinemagraph is

         “still photographs in which a minor and repeated movement occurs, forming a video clip. They are published as an animated GIF or in other video formats, and can give the illusion that the viewer is watching an animation.”

From Wikipedia.

They are wicked cool! Click on it to see.  Cigraf

This is my first one.  I spent about 5 min shooting then about 2 hours figuring out how to do it.  A lot of what I’ve learned about Photoshop, I’ve learned from watching Aaron Nace with Phlearn tutorials on Youtube.  I’ve also purchased several of their advanced tutorials.  The information is amazing and Aaron Nace does a great job explaining and teaching the techniques.  Anyway, this is the tutorial I used to figure out how to do a Cinemagraph:

Like i said, I spent about 5 minutes shooting the video I used for my 1st Cinemagraph.  The biggest lesson I learned was to really think out what you are going to shoot.  What you need to make your Cinemagraph really work is motion that can be looped seamlessly.  Mine has a little hick-up in it where my son turns his head a bit on the low end of his bounce.  Causes a little skip.  It’s still cool though.

I’m going to keep working on getting better at these. I see so many ways to use this technique.


Timelapse Photography


I love timelapse photography.  The compression of time, using stills to create motion, the way they look and how you can use them for an entire project or insert them in to video projects.  They are just cool to me.

A timelapse can be as simple or complex as you want.  It doesn’t take much to create one.  A camera, an intervalometer and a solid base on which to place your camera.  Simple is a tripod, a table, chair, the ground or anything that your camera will just sit still on while you are shooting.  For more complex timelapses there are motorized rail and dolly systems such as, motorized booms with pan/tilt heads such as  These are all super cool and can get expensive if you want to go that route.  I do! Just not yet.

The cameras I use have a built in intervalometer and a timelapse menu in the software.  Make it pretty easy.  I shoot with Nikon D810’s.  I prefer using the intervalmeter over the time lapse function for 2 reasons.  First, I feel that I have more control and do longer timelapses and second, I’m a big nerd and like figuring stuff out on my one.

Last week, I decided to try to do a “how to cook” timelapse to show how to make Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Balls. Yummy right?  They are ok in my opinion, like a Cliff Bar. I throw them in my backpack when I’m hunting or hiking but not going to be serving them as dessert at a party.  Anyway, not the point.  I wanted to show how to make them using timelapes photography.  The final video needed to be 30 seconds long.

I haven’t been doing timelapses all that long so I am not “be all, end all” timelapse dude.  This is just about how I worked out what I did.

To get a smooth 30 second video from a series of stills, I like to have 24 stills per 1 second of video.  So, for a 30 second video, I want 30 seconds x 24 stills = 720 images.  The build in intervalometer is programmable down to 1 still per second.  I needed to time my making of the protein balls to take 12 minutes.  12 minutes is how long it will take shoot 720 images at 1 image per second.  By the way, it took me 3 attempts to get the timing right because I didn’t do all the math first.  I finished making my first batch in just over 4 minutes and had 8 minutes of shooting going on with no action.

Once I figured out how long I needed to shoot for to get the right frame count, I had to make the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Balls again using the timer on my phone to figure out how slow I needed to move to stretch a 4 minute recipe into a 12 minute shoot.  Using a note pad, I wrote down time stamps that I used as references to keep on pace. Set everything up, set the stop watch on the phone and followed the notes.  Got it on the 3rd attempt.

Here is the final timelapse:


Manitou Springs Incline Hike with DJI Osmo and GoPro Hero 4

My sister Amy thought it would be a great idea to do the Manitou Springs Incline while she was visiting Colorado for the Holidays. What she didn’t tell me was that the Incline was a hike that rises 2000 feet vertically in less an mile horizontally. The average incline is 44° with parts being 68°.

I packed an DJI Osmo and a GoPro Hero 4 to take some video and see the difference between the 2 cameras.  Both capture very good video. The color and clarity is fantastic.

I’m really liking the Osmo because it’s so steady.  You can walk, jog and climb stairs and the video is silky smooth.  The video quality is crystal clear.  With my limited time playing with the Osmo, the 2 drawbacks are the sound capture isn’t very good and it’s a little cumbersome.  If you are just filming, it’s great. If you are participating in what you are filming, it can be a little hard to handle. For the sound, adding an external mic helps but I haven’t figure out how to adjust the sound gain.

The GoPro Hero 4 is solid.  Sound was good and video was good.  They are small and you can easily hold them in your hand.  The GoPro’s size makes it very easy to be apart of what you are shooting.  I didn’t use one the housings so the sound would be better.  Just hand held it.  Without the gyro like the Osmo, the video is shakier.

All in all, the hike was tough and fun.  Took us a little over an hour to complete. Both cameras performed well and I’m glad I have both.