Wednesday, March 30, 2011

GoPro Battery Life w/ Accessories!

I've been a huge fan of the portable GoPro HD Hero Cameras for capturing images from a number of different sports, events, and also Kite Aerial Photography. GoPro has been developing some interesting accessories for the HD Hero camera, including the new LCD BacPac and Battery BakPac. The LCD BacPac allows you to view what you plan on capturing in real time, and also play back the images and video you've also recorded. The Battery BacPac allows you to add an additional GoPro battery to almost double your recording time. I thought it would be interesting to actually test the life of the GoPro when adding the accessories, and document the results here.

As you can see from the 2 GoPro HD Hero cameras stacked up together above, the Battery BacPac is a bit more Chunky than the LCD BacPac. GoPro includes additional rear-case doors to accommodate the extra girth.

All tests were conducted using a 60 second intervelometer, or the PES setting on your GoPro HD Hero. I also added a third party portable battery pack to the tests to see the limits of what you could do in the field. Here are the results:

HD Hero Alone
Number of Images: 222
Battery Life: 3 Hours 41 Minutes

HD Hero with LCD BacPac
Number of Images: 95
Battery Life: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

HD Hero with Battery BacPac
Number of Images: 382
Battery Life: 5 Hours 38 Minutes

HD Hero with Battery BacPac and External Kensington Ultra Portable Battery Pack (USB)
Number of Images: 614
Battery Life: 10 Hours 14 Minutes

As you can see, you do not get double the life out of the GoPro with the Battery BacPac, but almost. The times above will almost certainly change for capturing video, or increasing the intevelometer setting. Using the LCD BacPac will significantly reduce the usable time for your GoPro, but being able to see what your shooting is necessary. My goal is to create a 10 hour time lapse sequence, ending right after sunset, and using a motion timer to track the sun across the sky. Look for that video this summer!

UPDATE: Invested in a new battery backup device from NEW Trent, the iCruiser IMP1000 11000mAh External Battery Pack and Charger. I wanted something with a bit longer charge than the Kennsington Powerpack. This unit is a beast, and is thicker and heavier than the Kensington. Interstingly enough, the product description said that you could obtain 17 hours of movie watching time on an iPad 2! I decided to put my GoPro HD Hero to the test configured with a 30 Intevelometer, and the Battery Backpack. Here are the results: HD Hero with Battery BacPac and External New Trent iCruiser Battery Back (USB) Number of Images: 3,946 Battery Life: 32 Hours 52 Minutes

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tabby Ruins Star Trails

I was back in South Carolina visiting family, and decided to head back to one of my favorite destinations, the Tabby Ruins on Spring Island. The forecast showed that clear skies were predicted, and compared to what I was used to in Wisconsin, decent temperatures. I loaded up the camera gear and the dogs, and headed out to the island after dark. The intent was to set up 2 cameras and capture a series of images to combine into star trails. I used the software, StarTrails to combine the images, which makes it much easier and faster to get the desired result.

All images were 30 second exposures. I also used a LED headlamp and red LED flashlight to paint the ruins to get some interesting effects on the inside and outside of the buildings.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bikram Yoga! It's HOT!!!

My friend Maura has been dreaming of opening a yoga studio in Chicago for a few years now, and it's finally come true! Bikram Yoga Chicago South Loop opened its' doors today, and had a special VIP night last evening for friends to preview. I had been asking Maura if I could photograph her doing yoga a few times, and she invited me to capture the event. I brought a fellow photographer, Mac Petras, to help. The thing about bikram yoga is that it's done in a hot room, at 105 degrees. Not only were their physical challenges, but equipment issues as well.

Since this was a special event for Maura, I wanted to try a few things to capture not only photographs, but video and timelapse as well. We put our camera in ziplock bags and stuck them in the hot room about 40 minutes before the event so that the cameras would get acclimated to the room. Seemed to work fine, as we didn't have any fogging issues, only sweat pouring, and we weren't even working out. I only did one lens change, and stepped out of the room to do that and didn't have any issues with fogging. I'm still previewing the pics, and grabbed a bunch of favorites and whipped out a few time lapse sequences and video. One of the GoPro cameras was mounted upside-down, and attached to a lawn sprinkler timer and Gorrillapod to get a slow panning time lapse of one pic every 2 seconds. Then upload to Animoto,and Viola! Just love how this service takes the effort out of creating interesting fusion sequences. Enjoy!

Click below to preview video:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tabby Ruins & Links: PAP & KAP

I was in South Carolina late last year, and was able to visit the Tabby Ruins on Spring Island on a couple of different occasions, once to try some Pole Aerial Photography, and also some Kite Aerial Photography. It was in the 40's both days, and that keeps the people of South Carolina indoors, so I had the place to myself again. For the Pole Aerial Photography, I thought I'd try to get images of the well-known ruins from a different point of view, and get some unique images.

I was lucky enough to get my kite up into the air for a KAP session, on a very brisk morning. The shadows coming through the windows are great!

For additional images in the Spring Island Gallery, click here.