Kayaking on the Inniscarra Reservoir

During the last few days something incredible has happened. The weather in Ireland improves! Over a week without rain, nearly no clouds and “high” temperatures. This chance has to be used. Luckily the Inniscarra Reservoir is basically around the corner, 20 minutes by car and there’s a kayak rental.

Two (or three?) years back I’ve done a kayak course and learnt how to maneuver a sea kayak. Today I got a sit-on-top kayak but to get back in shape it was quite ok. The whole set of equipment can be rented from Lee Valley Harbour and if you don’t have a clue how to move a kayak they also offer courses. Off I go, perfectly fitted out.

ready

The reservoir covers an area of about 530 hectares so there’s enough different routes and it shouldn’t be boring. I’ve decided to head to the Carrigadrohid Castle since it’s about half an hour each way which was a good distance to start with. Here are  few impressions from the water.

I hope the weather stays that good, if everything works out next weekend I’ll plan the next trip. If you’re not into active sports you can also rent a motorboat including fishing gear.

Martin

17. April 2016

Martin

Who would have thought, blink once and another two months without a blog post are gone…

Not that there’s much going on at the moment except for a few minor things. I decided to let go photography for a while. Somehow I’m missing some sort of connection at the moment and I’m not sure where I want to go with the whole thing. I’m looking at lots of inspiring pictures from other photographers and came to the conclusion that  I have no idea what to do myself. That’ll blow over somewhen.

In the meantime I’ve taken care of our garden shed and working on making it more cosy so I can work on other projects. I think I’ll start with electronic stuff again and finally use my soldering iron and the Arduino I’ve got laying around since ages. At the moment the shed is a bit of a construction site but I’m nearly there. Just filling up some gaps, fixing the tabletop and some painting and off we go.

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How to photograph star trails – an introduction

Now that all this fuss with the “Super Blood Moon” is over I can tackle the next project. During the last holiday in Poland the original plan was to capture the Perseides meteor shower, but that failed due to my limited equipment, which in this case means no fast wideangle lens. The other option which was available were shooting star trails.

After researching a bit online I thought I had everything sorted. Now, have a look at the outcome:

starsfails

While “Point the camera at the sky and make multiple exposures” sounds quite easy, the reality is as always quite different.

There are a few mistakes which can be easily avoided if you just keep an eye on them. Here’s what went wrong and why:

  • It’s completely not sharp. We’re not talking about a bit of soft spots but simply a blurred image. In order to battle lens fog I’ve wrapped a towel around the lens, this most likely moved the focus ring a bit.
  • Light pollution is visible. This could have been avoided if I had chosen a different spot, but that was not an option. Then again this isn’t the worst thing and if it’s not too overpowering it’s also acceptable
  • Broken trails. If you look especially at the star trails on the right side, you will see that there are breaks. Those are a result from pictures I had to throw out because I cleaned the lens and in my wisdom had the headlamp on which resulted in overexposure.

With that out of the way, let’s have a look at what it takes to get an actual good result.

Continue / Weiter

Martin

31. January 2016

Martin

It’s finally happening. I’m currently finalizing the new layout. If everything works and the functionality doesn’t make too much trouble everything will be ready by the end of February. Here’s a preview:

Bildschirmfoto 2016-01-31 um 16.21.38

A cheap DIY solution for lens fogging

One problem I’ve encountered while doing long time exposure shots outside was lens fogging. As soon as the temperature of the lens drops below the outside temperature moisture condenses on the the glass and you get great  blurry shots. Different solutions range from a soldered ring of resistors up to ready-built solutions which costs quite some money.

My goal was a simple and cheap solution which is easy to handle. Enter USB powered heating soles. For about 5€ they seem to be perfect:

  • You can cut them
  • They are flexible
  • Easy power supply solution thanks to USB

After about two weeks they arrived. I’ve ordered two pairs so I can take apart one and check what’s inside. As expected it’s a simple, rectangular heating foil. Perfect! That makes the cutting very easy.

The power supply is a 15.000 mAh battery pack used for charging mobile phones and so on.

The assembly is quite easy, a rubber band holds the two soles together:

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For the battery pack you need a really stylish solution:

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All together now:

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I’ve tested the setup for the first time in Poland at around -14°C over about four hours. No lens fogging!

Here’s the result:

hut2

Conclusion: For 5€ (if you have already the USB battery pack) this solution is definitely perfect. Now I just have to see how it performs in Ireland where the humidity is most likely higher at this time of the year.