Friday, February 26, 2010

Minnesota State Capitol Building HDR

I was traveling in Minnesota, and walked to the State Capitol building. It's very ornate and has gorgeous marble and granite. I didn't have a tripod, but tried some quick bracketing for some HDR images. The colors in the building were fantastic, and I think the High Dynamic Range images turned out great.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

West Coast Panoramics

I was going through some pictures last night from our December 2009 trip to Seattle and Whistler, and forgot that I had captured a number of sequences for creating panoramics. I use a combination of Photoshop CS4 photomerge and Adobe Lightroom to process the pictures. Here are a few from the west coast trip.

(Sorry, but these are all watermarked.)

Looking down at Whistler Village from the top of Blackcomb mountain

Whistler Mountain and cloud cover

Looking down from Whistler Mountain towards Creekside

One of the Scenic Overlook stops on the way down from Whistler towards Vancouver.

Blackcomb Mountain

View from the top of the Space Needle in Seattle, WA

Monday, February 8, 2010

Winter Ice Sports: Part II

The nice thing about the HD video on the GoPro HD Hero, is the ability to grab fairly decent frames from the video to use a still shots. I created a custom mount to attach to the kite lines for snowkiting and kiteboarding, and didn't have time to set the camera to capture still images. Here are the results using the frame grab:

Here, the camera was attached to the top of the mast, and I was able to pull a frame off the 1080p video.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Winter Sailing: Ice Sports and the GoPro HD Hero

I went up to Madison, Wisconsin yesterday for the Culver's Camp Randall Hockey Classic, but had some time to kill before the hockey game started. I met a few friends down at the lake for some fun on the frozen ice. My friend Chris rides a custom rig that has 2 skis up on an angle attached to a board, which is then attached to a standard windsurfing sail. I clamped the GoPro HD Hero to the top of the mast, set it to capture 1080p video. Here are the results:

Click on image above to load video

I had also created 2 custom mounts for the HD Hero camera to use with a kiteboarding kite, which we also use on the snow with our snowboards. Basically, I used a combination of the helmet mount and a double loop to go around the middle strut on the kite. We went back and forth between capturing video and taking images, and got some great shots. Here are a few still images from the kite looking down at Lake Mendota and the kiter.

Even though this one isn't level, it's one of my favorites, as it shows the entire group out enjoying the wind. 3 snowkiters, and one ice windboarder in the same shot. Everyone in this image has worked at the UW Lifesaving station at one time.

Monday, February 1, 2010

How to Install SDM: (StereoData Maker)

StereoData Maker (SDM) is a CHDK variant that simplifies using your CHDK enabled Canon Powershot camera. If you are unsure what CHDK is, please visit the wiki here. I personally use SDM on my Canon G9, and will hopefully use it on my G11 and SD990 someday. Being able to easily run scripts for Kite Aerial Photography is my main focus for using SDM, which allows for custom intervelometer sessions. SDM is also very handy for timelapse photography. I thought I would post instructions on how to download and install SDM on a memory card that is larger than 4GB, which is the size limit if you use the normal CHDK hack.

These instructions are for windows users.
Step 1: Download the from the StereoData Maker website. Unzip to a folder of your choice, but you'll need to also put the firmware in this same folder in the next step.

Step 2: Download the proper firmware file for your specific Canon Powershot camera, and unzip to the same folder as the files. When you unzip, there should be a file called DISKBOOT.BIN, and this is the file you need to copy to the folder where you unzipped the common_files to.

Step 3: Launch the sdminste.exe executable file.

Step 4: Ensure that the Memory card that you want to use is unlocked, meaning the data protection tab on the SD card must be up. I have had problems with the SD Card reader that is built into my laptop, and other readers that do not support SDHC. The reader that I use and recommend is a Lexar Professional UDMA CompactFlash/SD Reader supporting USB 2.0. Since I will be using an 8 Gig card, this showed up as my L: drive, which may be different for you depending on your system configuration. As you can see from the SDM Installer before I do anything, there is 1 Partition and 7816 MB available on this card. Click on New Install to get started.

Step 5: Ensure that the option on the bottom for Card Size is set to Over 8GB (Two Partitions), and Click OK.

Step 6: Click Yes when it asks you to continue to install SDM.

Step 7: Remove SD Card from reader and press OK on window before proceeding.

Step 8: Re-Insert SD Card Backinto reader, and click OK.

Step 9: You should see a command window appear. Press the Enter key on your Keyboard. It will ask you to name your boot partition. I use SDM_boot, which will appear in Windows Explorer, so you'll know which partition is active. Type in SDM_boot and press enter. (In this partition, there is 1.96 MB, and should only have the DISKBOOT.BIN file on it.)

Step 10: Remove SD Card from reader and press OK on window before proceeding.

Step 11: Re-Insert SD Card Backinto reader, and click OK.

Step 12: Click Yes if it asks you to confirm a Quick Format.

Step 13: You should see a command window appear. Press the Enter key on your Keyboard. It will ask you to name your Data partition. I use SDM_Data, which will appear in Windows Explorer, so you'll know which partition is active. Type in SDM_Data and press enter. (In this partition, there is 7.6 GB available. You should see 2 folders on this partition, CHDK and DCIM)

Step 14: Click OK. Remove your SD Card, enable the lock tab on the SD Card down, and put into your camera.

Step 15: When you turn you camera on, you should see a splash screen that says StereoData Maker, with the version number.

  • On my G9, I press the Shortcut/Direct Print button, this activates SDM(CHDK), and pressing Menu brings up the SDM menu.

  • Here is an example of the Wind Watcher script.

What else do I need to know?
  • Make sure that the SDM_Boot partition is active before locking your card and putting it in the camera. You'll know that it's active, as windows should only see the 1.96 MB drive letter called SDM_Boot. If it says SDM_Data, you need to use the SteeroData Maker executable to swap partitions. You can only swap partitions if the card is unlocked. Here is an example of what the SDM Installer will look like if you are on the boot partition:
  • Here is an example of what the SDM Installer will look like if you have the data partition active.
  • In order to copy scripts into the SCRIPTS folder, you'll need to make sure that the Data partition is active, and the card is unlocked.
  • Basically, in order to use the SD card on your PC, it needs to be unlocked. In order for the SD Card to work in your camera, it needs to be locked.