New Jersey Videography: Macro in C Major

This morning I wanted to record HD video with a very closeup view of my fingers on the fretboard of my acoustic guitar.  I also hoped to get high quality audio from the brief recording.  All of this can be quite a challenge for a hackjob of a guitar player like myself!

Anyways, I aligned my Canon EOS 60D DSLR into position, manually prefocused my Tamron SP 90mm VC macro lens, moved an articulating LED lamp close to my hand for lighting, and dialed in my exposure settings on the camera.  Many many takes later I did an acceptable job of playing a short musical package, and was able to get some portions of my hand and fretboard partially in focus while doing so.  The post-processing was no walk in the park either!

Snakes!

I did film a good amount of HD DSLR video this summer, especially closeup views of herpetiles (reptiles and amphibians) and dragonflies.  I just edited a little bit of footage of two different species of snakes found in New Jersey, and threw in a bit of my guitar playing for good (or bad) measure.

Northern Watersnakes are very common and sometimes large serpents that are most often seen in or near fresh water rivers, ponds, and lakes. Northern Ringneck Snakes are not commonly seen above ground, so that was a quite a lucky find by me.

Filmed with the Tamron SP 180mm macro lens and Canon DSLRs.  I use my phone for the audio recording of my Yamaha nylon-string guitar.

DSLR Nature Video in HD: Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly

Here is some DSLR nature footage that I shot in the tail end of this summer in New Jersey.  This was one of my first times using a fluid head on a tripod, and I practiced smooth vertical and horizontal panning motions to avoid jitters in the video.  The YouTube video below is a splice of 3 separate angles of a Great Spangled Fritillary in butterfly, a species I consider one of our most regal flighty residents.

Please watch in 1080P for full resolution

Equipment used in filming and production: Tamron SP 90mm VC F/2.8 1:1 Macro Lens, Canon EOS 60D DSLR, Manfrotto 700RC2 Mini Video Fluid Head, Manfrotto 055x ProB Tripod.

The acoustic guitar is my Washburn D10 CE using mostly Major 7th chords.

DSLR Nature Cinematography: Snowy Egret

I recently shot a few very short HD DSLR Video clips of one of the more common and easily recognizable wading birds in New Jersey, a Snowy Egret.  My personal goal for wildlife still photography had as been 2 archival quality captures of any subject that I found interesting.  Archival quality captures to me means focus is spot-on, exposure will not require significant post-processing, and the composition is pleasing to my eyes.  I also try to avoid repetition in my photos.  I’ve “upped the ante” on my nature shooting goals, and will now also try to film 1 or 2 quick sequences when I am in the outdoors.

Back to the point, I had been shooting all of my recent photos with a ballhead on my tripod.  Having no experience with fluid tripod heads, but realizing their importance in the video industry I started doing some research.  I already have Manfrotto RC2 quick release plates attached to most of my cameras and lenses so I wanted a fluid head that was designed for the RC2 plate.  I wound up purchasing a Manfrotto 128RC Micro Fluid Head and it has remained atop my 055x ProB tripod ever since.  This allows me to perform the steady panning motions needed for dynamic video work.

The above video was filmed using the Tamron SP 150-600mm VC Lens and the Canon EOS 7D.  Manual video mode settings include: ISO 100 F/14 and the Shutter Speed set to 1/80th.  I muted original audio from the clips in post-processing because of the loud hissing of the wind.  Guitar playing is me strumming my Washburn D10 Guitar, and I ended up recording this with my Samsung cellular phone.  Audio post-processing involved noise reduction, addition of a Phaser Effect, and overall Volume Reduction.  Video post-processing included trimming video segments, cross-fade transitions between shots, contrast enhancements, and split-tone color processing.