Very important reading if you care about your digital camera sensor.

Interesting Links, Internet tips and tricks, tests

I have recently found out that:

Concert laser shows, and other laser sources can, literally burn your DSLR sensor. The problem has not been very obvious for a long period of time, since we used to take only stills with DSLR’s, exposing the sensor for only a very short period of time. The shorter the exposure, the less chance there is that the laser beam hits the sensor at that very particular moment.

Now that DSLR’s are also capable of filming, the problem is appearing more frequently. While filming with your DSLR, the mirror of your camera is up, and the sensor exposed. Laser beams although often spreading over distance a little bit, are known for their very linear and small beam. This beam hitting the lens, then refocused on the sensor, can ruin your sensor at the very first hit.

there is a lot of documentation on the subject on the internet (search for ‘laser beam killing sensor’) but I think this single movie tells the whole story.

Someone filming with a Canon 5D mark II (a 2500$ camera) not aware of the possible damage that might occur. At the end of the song, his sensor is turned completely useless.

Beware if you care.


PS.: Share if you have other friends with digital gear, interested in picking up on a concert from time to time, … Same thing can happen to your video camera, and I suppose to your cellphone camera sensor too.

Workshop Bert Stephani

Internet tips and tricks, Tips and Tricks


Last week I had the chance to follow the workshop ‘advanced speedlight techniques’ with Bert Stephani, contemporary portrait and fashion photographer from Steenokkerzeel, near Brussels.
There were three participants, of the four spots available. We had some coffee to start with, typically Bert I guess. 😉
Bert is easy going, cool, relax and above all, willing to share his experience. We had an interesting day, full of practical tricks and tips.

Some of the lessons learnt:

• When setting up a light situation, use your hand as a stand in for your model. It’s freely available, and never bored with your tweaking lights over and over again. In the meantime, your model can freshen up or relax a while.
• When setting up a combined available/flash light setting, first expose for the available light, then the flash, and last but not least, take pictures.
• When taking pictures with a model, encourage your model, talk it trough the shoot, give clear posing instructions, … introduce mini-breaks from time to time to make your model relax, and to offer yourself some time to think about new ideas. Don’t break the posing flow or the contact between yourself and your model by looking at the results. When your light setup has been setup well, all images should be fine afterwards.
• Be relaxed and confident as a photographer. Whatever your mental status is, it reflects on your subject and in your images.
• Work your light situation in function of the story you want to tell.
• Don’t give workshop instructions and bake sandwiches at the same time. (first bakery products got carbonized)

Some of the strong points of the workshop:
• Bert has a large studio space – the barn – , offering plenty of possibilities, different light situations, props, …
• We could freely ask for personal advice on challenging projects and thus influence on the content of the workshop.
• The atmosphere is cool and informal

Some of the weak points of the workshop: Sorry Bert if this bothers you, I feel like I need to be complete for my readers.
• The workshop seemed not prepared and rather un-structured and slow-paced. I don’t know if this is typical for Bert’s workshops, or just on this particular occasion.
• Workshop was marketed ‘including teaching, model fee and bread lunch’, the teaching was there, the bread lunch too, but there was no model, so participants had to stand in as a model for the other participants. I have no problem with modeling as such, but it limits your ‘photography time’ during the day, and on our last ‘assignment’ only one person could be the photographer, so neither me nor the third participant had images from this setup. As a participant I felt I had not the same level of ‘hands on experience’ during the teaching, when I was acting as a subject.

some images taken during the workshop:

Free lensing

Internet tips and tricks, Tips and Tricks

I found out about free lensing yesterday. Checked some references on the web.
This is what I found. Free lensing is the technique where you take pictures with the lens off the camera !
So, you get your camera, screw your lens of, and hold it before the cam to take pictures. Crazy huh!
What are the consequences:
No communication between camera and lens, so no aperture settings, which means you’ll work with full aperture opening of your lens. (unless you use an older lens with aperture ring)
No AF (you could have guessed that yourself, couldn’t you?)
No IS (image stabilization) of any kind. You’d be happy if you manage to keep lens and body more or less stable.
risk of dropping your lens while manipulating your camera.

so what on earth would make you want to do this?
by taking of the lens, you can play with the image DOF plane, like with a technical camera, a tilt-shift lens, or whatever system that allows to move the lens independently from the film plane (sensor plane)
this means your sharpness plane no longer runs parallel to your film plane.

a bit difficult to understand maybe, but look at the images.
You’ll see that I get sharp and unsharp in the same depth plane. Text on monitor is supposed to be flat, although only some lines are sharp, the others are not.
The lamp cover has some pearls sharp in front, some in the back, none in-between.

I’m not sure this is the best technique for tack-sharp images, but it can produce very artsy images at least. I took these some moments after I read this post, so I’m an absolute beginner. I will possibly never do something serious with this, but I thought it was funny enough to share.

If you want to give this a try, please note:
I won’t take responsibility for damage to your camera or lens.
Keep i mind that the sensor is at some moments disposed to the outside environment, never attempt this in a dusty area.
Lenses developed for a full frame camera will give better results, due to their bigger image circle.
try using some old analog lenses, they are cheap, and always developed for full frame negatives.

Low Key selfportrait

Internet tips and tricks, people


I had to make a selfportrait today for an article in the Dutch online magazine EOSZINE.

after some web-surfing, I stumbled on this youtube video: about low key portraits anywhere.

Basic principles are: fast as possible shutter, and small aperture will get the environment black. The flash will light up the subject (me). Since I have not really finished my Studio, I thought I’d give it a try.

This picture was taken with my ‘old’ EOS 450D and the 50mm f1.8

Setup: flash just left of me, trough umbrella 105cm, 580EX II flash at 1/8th power, manual mode. Triggered with Cactus V5 transmitter.

Camera: 1/250th f9.0 ISO200

(actually the camera doesn’t sync at 1/250, it has a max sync speed of 1/200 but the black band is hidden in the black backround on the left side)