Tuesday, June 26, 2012

One More Question...



Thanks to everyone who has responded to my request for tips on photography for bloggers this month. You can find all the tips so far at...

20 Killer Tips on Photography for Bloggers
52 Secrets of Top Photo-Bloggers
Get 43 Tips on Photography That Really Work

If you have other tips to pass on about how to create great photos on your blog then please feel free to write posts about them. But I do have a specific question - or series of questions really - on this topic that I would like to hear more about. This is a sailing blog so I would like to hear what special tips you have for taking photos on a boat, and especially how you take photos on a small sailing dinghy like a Laser.

Do you have a waterproof camera? What models of waterproof camera can you recommend? If you take a non-waterproof camera or phone on your boat how do you protect it?

Do you mount your camera (still or video) on your boat? If so, how and where? One of my followers on Twitter specifically wanted some advice on where to mount a video camera on a Laser. Bow, stern, top of mast, end of boom, on your hat? What are the pros and cons of the different options?

Are there any other tips on how to take great photos and video while you are sailing... or even racing?

Doug at Improper Course wrote an excellent post Finding the Right Match that gives his answers to most of these questions. But I'm sure some of you do things differently. I'd love to hear from you.

Post your tips on your blog and send me an email with a link to it. Full details at Photography for Bloggers 101.

13 comments:

Scott Lemke said...

GoPro camera is a good start (www.gopro.com). It is waterproof up to 200ft. The new hero 2 will shoot 11 mp photos, 1080p video, plus a few other options. There are many types of mounts, chest strap, wrist strap, suction cup, roll bar/seat post. There are also adhesive mounts flat and curved. I have used mine while sailing, snowmobiling, and mountain biking. The adhesive helmet mount holds strong at 105mph and the audio is remarkably good for being in a waterproof case. The suction cup will hold to about 10 knots of sustained submersion(tested on a tri). The adhesive should hold better but its always a good idea to have a string or the floaty backdoor.

Scott Lemke said...

I should have added that it has a fisheye lens so it is really good for what is going on right around you. There is no zoom. Here is a sample from last November. http://youtu.be/iUky6srRWs8

bonnie said...

As demonstrated in my first attempt at answering this, I have used a series of Optio WP's.

Turned out that I hadn't killed the WP80 after all, it was just temporarily stunned. But that was a good reminder that somewhere buried in the instruction book on the first optio was a piece of advice that I forgot to follow with this one, that being to send it back to Pentax service for a gasket replacement once every two years. Waterproof cameras are like drysuits that way - their waterproofness relies entirely on gaskets that form a tight seal, and at least with Pentax's line, they don't last forever.

I can't rememer exactly when I got the WP80 but I'm pretty sure I let the recommended 2-year replacement time go by & that's why when I got into rough conditions, it nearly failed. I got a reprieve this time but I do think one lesson here for waterproof cameras is read the manual & follow the maintenance instructions better than I did this time.

As far as where I carry it, I just keep it in my lifejacket pocket, with a bright orange float attached to it (that has actually saved the camera twice).

One problem I have had with my Optios is that they haven't got even a little sliding cover for the lens. The lens starts out smooth enough to shake off water, but over the course of time it ends up getting tiny scratches, not enough to mar the pictures themselves, but enough for a big old glob of water to stick there. My friend Steve the Paddling Chef made himself a neat little case for his Olympus, which had a similar uncovered lens - the case served as a float and also did a very nice job of protecting the lens. Not sure why I never followed suit except for laziness!

bonnie said...

The one big thing I would look for for a waterproof camera to be used in dinghy sailing or kayaking - make sure you can operate it easily with one hand, and while wearing a thick neoprene glove if you're going to use it in the winter.

Oh, and one more thing in the wintertime - when it's cold the batteries seem to run down fast. I'll put the camera down the front of my lifejacket when it's cold enough to do that, still runs down faster but the body heat does seem to help.

/Pam said...

We've experimented with the Pentax Optio, Rulo's SailPro and the Kodak PlaySport. We haven't done it yet but we've considered mounting the SailPro on the boom looking back and, at the same time using the hat cam mount on the Kodak and then put the video together with a picture in picture feature such that you see the sailor's perspective at the same time that you see what the sailor is doing. I haven't seen anyone do that yet but think it would be very educational.

O Docker said...

I still haven't gotten a waterproof camera, so don't know much about different models, although this new Olympus looks like a step up from the bunch. I do like the dpReview site - they seem to do a thorough and objective job of reviewing cameras. Here's a pretty recent comparison of what they consider top underwater cameras.

Cameras like the GoPro are great for video of things that move fast and are likely to get slammed around or drenched - like Laser sailors. They're small, tough, and as Scott says, made to be mounted almost anywhere. But, as Scott also points out, they have super wide angle lenses, which is both good and bad.

The wide angle means that everything from very close to infinity is always in focus, so no need for a lens that focuses, so the camera is smaller, tougher, simpler, and cheaper to build. The wide view also means that anything in front of the camera is included in the shot - so aiming and positioning are less critical. And, if mounted close to the water, they make any sailor look like he's going ten times faster than he is - just the thing for an aging, mid-fleet kind of guy.

The bad is that they're not great for general photography. Everything not smack up against the camera looks much farther away than it is (just like those passenger-side mirrors on cars). So, if you get a GoPro or such for exciting, action Tillervideos, you'll probably also want something else for pictures of Marmite sandwiches, passing yachts, and wahines.

And Bonnie's right about the rubber gaskets or O-rings. Anything that opens on a 'waterproof' camera relies on them. They wear, dry out, and eventually need replacing. The old pro-grade Nikonos cameras had rituals to follow to keep the O-rings working, but a single grain of sand could still ruin your day. Optics and fussy electronics will never be really happy around water.

O Docker said...

Oops. Here's the link to dpReview.

Tillerman said...

Hmmm. And it's my birthday next week...

Mitch Zeissler said...

I second the notion of getting a GoPro for playing directly in the water and a second camera for when you're not going to be fully immersed. Cindy has a small waterproof Sony DSC-TX5 point-and-shoot that works great and delivers very good results (watch our YouTube vids to see what it's capable of producing), but it doesn't go into the briny deep enough (only 10 feet) -- so we're thinking about a GoPro as the replacement for when the TX5 *does* eventually go too deep, but the jury is still out because she likes having a built-in zoom as well.

We tried the expensive-for-what-you-get waterproof bags for the iPhones (ziplock bags on steroids) and can't recommend them; my first iPhone bit the dust when the waterproof bag it was in proved to be otherwise (a leak developed near one of the welded side seams, but the top opening remained watertight). If you want waterproof, go with a rigid plastic case or with a waterproof camera body instead.

Listen to what Bonnie says about one-handed operation and keeping it warm in cold weather; Cindy was sitting and taking pix on the trampoline of our Hobie Tandem while we were enjoying a lively sail... when some of the plastic buckles failed and the trampoline partially dumped her in the water (story here: http://goo.gl/ss9Lj). Had she not kept one hand for the boat, she would have gone in entirely; she had her life jacket on since she can't swim, but still... that was a close call.

Concerning the my main camera; it stays out of the wet. Period. I'll use a kitchen trash bag or an umbrella to keep it dry when it's raining, but when the moisture gets serious the main camera gets secured and put away.

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

What I wanted for my birthday is a crew member permanently delegated to photography, even if he/she were to use only my damaged (sandy) camera. Didn't fish my wish.

my2fish said...

Tillerman, I put together a blog post showing the various camera points of view I've investigated and/or used to take videos while sailing. I use a GoPro, and love it. I'm jealous of the version 2 ones out now, but haven't upgraded (yet).

Here's a link to my post:
GoPro Points of View on a Sunfish
Cheers,
my2fish

Tillerman said...

Thanks my2fish. Great post.

Pandabonium said...

I use a "Camzilla" mount on our boat. It has multiple ways of being set up and many possible adjustments. It works with most any camera, offering more flexibility than say a GoPro system. Check them out at camzilla.com.au

For cameras, I use waterproof ones. One is a Pentax OptioW60 which has 10 megapixels and works well on or off the water.

My favorite, however, is an Olympus µ Tough 8010 (sold as Stylus Tough in the US) which is waterproof to 10 meters (I have yet to sail that deep) and shock proof even if dropped from 2 meters (I'm clumsy). It takes very good pictures and video with 14 megapixels, 5x optical zoom and dual stabilization. The only complaint I have with it is that the flash is designed to light up underwater subjects so is usually too strong when taking pictures indoors.

I agree with Bonnie's comments on both of these cameras.

As for mounting - mount 'em wherever you get whatever it is you want to see. On a Laser, the foredeck looking aft is nice spot. I like mounting mine on the seat in the Lido 14 to get video that includes the sails and the lee rail.

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