Monday, May 9, 2016

Continuing Konuspot 80 Digiscoping adventures

Since the last post on the Konuspot 80 I have purchased and received a T-ring adapter for my Olympus OMD-EM1. Now I can mount the camera directly on the scope. This immediately makes life easier. The next thing I did was to mount the scope on my best tripod/ballhead combination. This greatly improved the steadiness of the image.

Sadly, it seems the Rose Breasted Grosbeaks were just passing through and now that I am ready to take their picture they are gone. Oh well. To test out the new setup I tried some flower shots. The biggest problem here is that our climate in SC has changed. Now we have day after day of dry air with lots of wind, unlike the usual humid and still days. While absolutely beautiful weather, it makes capturing flower images at high magnification challenging.

I did take some test shots. Most were soft. I bumped up the ISO to get a higher shutter speed. Even so, focusing on a moving target is near impossible.

The results were mostly soft as I said. There was movement is some which I liked – kind of a dreamy artsy look. Nonetheless, I am waiting for calmer days.

One thing I did not expect was that I cannot use Live View on the EM1 when it is attached to the scope. I was hoping and assumed it would work. I guess since the camera does not recognize a lens is attached it will not do Live View. A perusal of the manual is in order.

In the meantime I have ordered T-ring adapters for my other cameras, the Olympus E30 and Pentax K30. With these adapters I can leave a camera on the scope all the time.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

My digiscoping experience with the Konuspot 80 so far

I purchased a Konuspot 80 about a year ago with the intention of doing some digiscoping.  Eagle Optics defines digiscoping as:

Digiscoping is a unique kind of photography using a digital camera and a field spotting scope. Now you can expand your ability to photograph the wonders of nature by putting your digital camera to work with any spotting scope.

On this past Sunday, I finally got around to trying out the Konuspot 80 as a digiscope. I was not following a particular tutorial or procedure, I was basically just remembering the steps from what I had read in the not too distant past.

The Konuspot 80 is a 20X-60X x 80 scope. Mine came with a T type camera adapter and a small tripod.

First thing I noticed is the tripod is too flimsy to be of much use. Of course it didn't helpl that I was using a makeshift table constructed of deck rail, deck chairs, and large books. But I think it's safe to say a better tripod is in order. There is a lot of droop in the supplied tripod. At the magnifications we are dealing with the droop is a major problem.

My suggestion is that whatever tripod you use, get it mounted on a solid surface.

Next, I attached the camera adapter. I had planned on using my Olympus SH-1 point and shoot. There would be no mechanical connection between the camera and scope. I was unable to get a decent shot by hand-holding the camera up to the eyepiece. The fact that I had an unstable tripod setup didn't help the situation, nor did the fact that one hand was always on the camera, leaving the other to adjust the position of the scope, focus of the scope, and magnification of the scope. I quit using the SH-1 without a single image.

I got my Olympus OMD-EM1 and fitted it with a 50mm F2 macro lens. It was easier to hold this camera/lens combination up to the scope eyepiece. Using live view on the camera, I was able to get a few shots - all of which were not as sharp as they might have been. Again, the issue was having enough hands to do everything required. I gave up pretty quickly.

I came in to regroup. I realized I needed someway to attach the camera to the scope. I ordered a T to micro 4/3rds converter for the EM-1. This way I will have the camera mechanically connected to the scope and will have both hands free for other things like positioning, focus, and magnification.

So, if the adapter gets here this week I will try again this weekend.

Other issues/comments.

  1. The images in the scope are sharp and bright. I think they will make good photos.
  1. I was working in the shade, which required a high ISO for the photos. The brighter the view the better.
  1. The bokeh with the scope was interesting.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Onagofly Drone Experience - Good and Bad

I received the Onagofly drone a couple of days ago. I am impressed by the quality/design of the packaging and the device itself. It feels really solid and is surprisingly heavy. I don't have the right version of Android on my phone, so I had to get my son to load the app so we could try it out.

The instructions are minimal but adequate. We finally got connected and started the drone. We used the auto takeoff. My son did the driving. The first flight ended up in a bush beside our house. Maybe we could use this as a hedge trimmer.

We decided to move to a more open area for the next try. Started out ok, but for some reason, the drone took off away from us at a high rate of speed. And as if drawn by a magnet - straight to a big oak tree. BAM! Gone are two propellers. Otherwise - everything seems intact. There are spare propellers. Each propeller is marked with a letter. I assume that they have to match with the motor letter. In my haste, I put the wrong letter  propeller on a motor. The propellers have a press on fit. They do not come off easily. As I was trying to remove the propeller, I ripped the entire motor from the unit. %#$%^ !

I have written customer service about this incident. Hopefully they can sell me a motor, and I can replace myself. We shall see.

There is a crash avoidance feature. It is not on by default. Even if it had been on, I don't believe it would have saved the drone because of the speed it was traveling and the 8" range of the avoidance system.

My luck with drones has not been good.

Update 5 May 2016: I heard from customer service after a week. They want me to send pictures of my problem, which I did. Here's what happened:

Update 19 May 2016: I received an response from my last contact with Onagofly. They said my issues weren't covered by warranty. That's a surprise. No where in my emails did I mention warranty. So I replied asking could I get parts to fix it. They replied that they have forwarded my request to the appropriate staff. Hopefully I will get a quote on parts soon.

Update 16 Sept 2016: Onagofly is incredibly slow in solving this issue. After numerous emails they gave me a RA and I sent the unit back. I know they received the unit over a month ago. Still no info at all from them. I am waiting - pretty frustrated with the company.

UPDATE 18 OCT 2016: I still have not received any information about the repair of my drone. I have pretty much given up and admit I have lost $200 on this journey.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Huion DWH69 Review (Part 1)

Newegg had a great deal on the Huion DWH69 Wireless graphics tablet I purchased one and received it yesterday. . I have a small Bamboo tablet, but never got used to it (for sale, comment if interested).

Seems that lately some of the Asian companies have spent a little more time and effort on packaging. Huion is no different. The tablet came in a sturdy two piece box. Inside, it was cleverly arranged in various compartments. A very nice presentation.

I began with my laptop. I downloaded and installed the latest driver for the unit from Huion's website. I like the way they set that up to. They use OneDrive and share the driver files. If you have a OneDrive account you can copy the file to your storage area, or you can just download it. Pretty cool.

After installing the driver I attached the unit via USB cable and immediately the tablet/pen combination behaved as a mouse. I don't have Photoshop on my laptop so I opened Krita. Sure enough, you can draw with the pen! I am not a big Krita user (yet) so I don't know much about it or what you can do with it. Huion says it does not support Krita. I guess this means that the pen pressure functionality doesn't work among other things. This appeared to be the case. But I could draw.

It will take some time to get used to the two buttons on the pen which function as the two buttons on a typical mouse. They worked as expected. The pen is quite comfy to use.

That's as far as I got on Day 1. Next I will install the tablet on my desktop and give it a try with Photoshop.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

ICY Dock Black Vortex MB174U3S‑4SB Storage drive cage Issues resolved

I had issues with my drives in the Icy Dock Black Vortes. If I removed a drive and replaced it, I would get a "Drive not accessible" error when I clicked on the drive in explorer. This was very frustrating. I could load a disk partitioning tool and it would see the drive and all the files just fine. Only I couldn't access it in the normal way. The solution was to "Take Ownership" of the drive. There are various ways to do this and Google will supply you with answers. I have not had any issues since I did this for all my external drives used in the Black Vortex.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

ICY Dock Black Vortex MB174U3S‑4SB Storage drive cage Review

I recently purchased a new desktop computer that only had space for 2 HD's. I have a few other drives that I wanted access to. The new computer has highspeed usb3 ports so I was looking for some device to attach my drives through usb3. I decided on the ICY Dock Black Vortex MB174U3S‑4SB storage drive cage.

First of all, it's cool looking. It is well ventilated and has a forced air cooling via a fan on front. It also has cool blue LED lighting. The fan has 3 settings - off, low, and high. The LED's have 3 settings as well - off, some, all. I leave the LED's off, but if you want the cool blue lights, they are there.

The cage has four 3.5inch drive slots. 3.5inch drives are easy to install. A simple handle is screwed onto the drive and it slides into the dock and that's it. If you want to use 2.5inch drives, I suggest you purchase the Icy Dock EZConvert Lite MB882SP-1S-3B device, which will allow a 2.5inch drive to easily fit in the 3.5inch dock.

The power switch is on back of the unit. I presently leave the power on at all times, even if I shut the desktop down. When I power on the desktop, the drives are immediately available.

My unit is presently filled with three 3.5inch drives and one 2.5inch drive. The unit comes with 2 additional handles, so one could have 6 HD's ready for use in the unit. The drives are hot-swappable.

I have not had any issues so far and the unit has performed quite well.

You can find it on Amazon here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Evernote for Photographers

I have written before how I use Evernote (free version) in my photography to save tutorials, images I like, ideas, etc. The folks at have a good article on using Evernote. It can be found here. Have a look. I find Evernote to be a big help.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Backlighting Existing Photo Prints

If you have a light table, you can use it to produce some interesting effects on existing printed images. The idea is to place your image on the table and photograph the image again - with the back light from the table. The photo print paper I use is thin enough to let some light through. I have used a texture print below the main print for a different look. Also, you can use multiple prints below the main print to block off a particular area on the main print for highlighting. You can come up with some interesting effects using this method.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Image Transfers on Metallic Poster Board

I was looking for something new to do with image transfers. I wanted something to give them a little kick. I think mounting them on metallic poster board did just that. Kicked them up a notch. BAM!

I make my transfers from color laser prints and Mod Podge. 4 or 5 coats.

I also used Mod Podge to attach them to the poster board and also added another coat.

Here are the results.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Image Transfer/Lift Look with Grafix Rub-onZ

I purchased 4 sheets of Grafix Rub-onZ with the intention of transferring a cone flower image to a piece of wood. I followed the directions but was surprised to find that when I put the film on the board and rubbed - nothing happened. I was trying to attached the non-sticky side to the wood. At this point, I gave up with the idea of using wood and wondered how I could make this work for paper. I coated a 5x7 matte card with Jade PVA glue and placed the film down on the paper. I rubbed with a bone folder to get as many of the air bubbles out as possible. I let it sit for a while. Then I peeled off the outer film exposing the sticky side. At this point, I thought I realized what I had done wrong. As I was peeling off the film, there were some tears and scratches - I liked the way it looked. The question was how to counter the sticky side up? I decided to try coating it with Jade PVA. This worked perfectly. The resulting image looks a lot like some of my emulsion lifts and I am happy with the results. I have repeated this process three times now. Actually, I have yet to use the Grafix Rub-onZ correctly.