, HDR with Qtpfsgui


Just found out about Qtpfsgui. I had some previous struggles with HDR images but the tone mapping I was able to get by local adaptation wasn't quite what I wanted and it took a lot of work (see my previous post for some more samples). Following (more or less) the tutorial from garmahis.com I managed to get some really dramatic images (Fattal algorithm is really striking). When it comes to High Dynamic Range images you can get better results with Gimp and Qtpfsgui (open source tools) than with Adobe Photoshop or Photomatix (the Adobe image aligning algorithm is quite good and even the HDR creation seems better that Qtpfsgui's but it lacks "dramatic" tone-mapping algorithms). There's a long way to go into HDR imaging, but here is a comparison between my previous tone-mapped images (on the left) and the ones generated with Qtpfsgui (with minor tweaks and some layer blending).

Subway advertising (Quack quack in the back)


Subway advertising.

Quack quack in the back !

"Stick 'em up !"

Or as one of my colleagues mentioned to me: "What what in the butt !"

Homemade remote control


The Samsung GX-20 (as Pentax K20D I guess) is great overall: very ergonomic buttons with intuitive controls, great build quality and feeling but it has some major drawbacks (in my opinion): no option for turning noise reduction completely OFF (so a 1minute exposure takes two minutes) and the bulb button has to be continuously pressed for long exposures (and these lead me to the conclusion that the 14.5MP sensor is rather noisy and the manufacturer knows that ;) ). But I really want to be able to do some night photography too, even if the camera is obviously not intended for that. I bought a Pentax infrared remote control (since the Samsung is also IR capable) but the first time I tried to shoot some stars I found that it's not practical at all - there's no locking mechanism on the remote control and I still had to keep that darn button pressed for the entire exposure time, which got me frustrated rather quickly.

But, there's also the cable release option. Since I had already spent some money on the (mostly useless) IR remote I decided not to buy a cable remote, but to make one myself. The remote control is rather straightforward (and the same way might be for Canon, Nikon, etc.). If for a Canon A530 a (USB) homemade remote control you need some power source, CHDK, and a little more work, the homebrew cable release for a DSLR needs only some circuit closing (with switches and/or pushbuttons).

Parts needed:
- some container (I used a dental floss box)
- a cable with a 2.5mm male stereo jack (or a 3.5mm jack cable and an adaptor)
- a switch (for continuous shooting and bulb mode)
- two push buttons (for shutter and auto-focus)
- tools of the trade (soldering iron, solder, pliers)
- (optional) adhesive Velcro so you can stick the remote to the camera during a long exposure.

Pinouts: ground, auto-focus button, shutter release (test it before soldering to find out which is which).

Making of my homemade DSLR cable release: stick the buttons into the box and solder the cables: ground goes to all three buttons, shutter release goes to one push-button and the switch, autofocus goes to the other push-button.

So that's it - homemade Samsung DSLR remote control !

, , , Rainbow Pigeons


Pigeons with a fountain rainbow in the background.

, , Frogs


, , Freshwater Turtles


My best guess these are freshwater turtles from the Trachemys Genus - Trachemys scripta (also known as the Pond Slider) or Chrysemys Genus - Chrysemys scripta elegans. If any one of you know better please leave a comment.

Samguns G20 firmware check/update


OK, all over the net every search leads me to the fact that the new Samsung GX firmware (Ver 1.03) was released. But I have one question. HOW DO I FIND OUT WHAT FIRMWARE I ALREADY HAVE INSTALLED ?! Sorry for the CAPS but it really drives me crazy. I've been searching through the camera menus to no avail. The only method so far is reading the EXIF of the photos. Still searching for a in-camera way ...
...and...after a while...
...just updated the firmware and the answer to my question was there. Just turn on the camera while keeping the Menu button pressed. If there's a firmware update on the memory card the update process starts. IF NOT, the current version is displayed on the LCD screen. Yeeey !!! No other info though, just "VER:1.03".

PS: "When the firmware is upgraded, all the camera settings are set to their default values" say the instructions.
> Well, not in my case. All my settings were kept intact which was great (spared me a couple of minutes and a lot of effort trying to remember my custom settings).

, , Startrails


My first atempt of startrails. Made from a couple of 1minute shots with Canon A530 and CHDK.

, , , Hidden pigeon


One of my first pictures taken with my new camera (Samsung GX-20).

, , Rainbow


Just a rainbow after the storm.

, Crazy Sky


After a summer storm.
The craziest clouds I've ever seen.

, , , , , Potos Nights


Under the umbrella

Some pictures from Potos resort - Thassos Island (Greece). Taken with my A530 and CHDK set for (extra) long exposure (about 1 minute).

The lighting seemed interesting due to the full moon and different taverns and clubs right next to the beach.

, , , Lightning in Thassos


Thunderstorm in Thassos (Greece). The pictures were taken from the hotel's balcony by my Canon A530 mounted on a tripod with CHDK motion detection script (lightning). Meanwhile I was out having a late seafood dinner.

, , , , , Simpleviewer Gallery


Testing Simpleviewer flash gallery. Rather nice, except for the fact that I can't link directly to Picassaweb gallery. Pictures were taken from here.