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edgertronic high-speed camera with inexpensive follow focus

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edgertonic high-speed camera with EzFoto Fotasy follow focus and 15mm rail system.

edgertronic high-speed camera with EzFoto Fotasy follow focus and 15mm rail system.

Today, I received and set up a relatively-inexpensive follow focus system for the edgertronic high-speed camera. The follow focus is the EzFoto Fotasy, which includes a follow focus and 15mm rail system for $278.99 shipped on Amazon Prime. The packaging is nothing fancy, but it feels really solid for the price. Also, it has 20 reviews on Amazon averaging 4.5/5 stars, which is a good sign. One thing I really like about the Fotasy system is that both the bottom tripod mount and top quick-release clamp are Arca-Swiss / Really Right Stuff compatible. The RRS B76 Multi-use fore-aft plate fits perfectly on the bottom of the edgertronic and works well with this rail system’s QR clamp.

The Fotasy follow focus adjusts quite a bit for height, but doesn’t quite make it to the edgertronic’s bundled 50mm Nikon lens. (read more »)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Feb 26, 2014 06:51:40

edgertronic high-speed camera configured for field use

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edgertronic high speed camera, configured for field use with 2200 mAH 3S LiPo battery, TP-LINK TL-MR3040 v2 mobile wireless router, L-bracket, tablet tripod adapter, and Apple iPad Mini Retina.

edgertronic high speed camera, configured for field use with 2200 mAH 3S LiPo battery, TP-LINK TL-MR3040 v2 mobile wireless router, L-bracket, tablet tripod adapter, and Apple iPad Mini Retina.

I configured my Edgertronic high speed camera for field use, today, which means attaching portable power and a portable, battery-powered wireless router. Once the edgertronic works directly by using Wi-Fi, the wireless router can be removed. (read more »)

San Diego, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | Feb 26, 2014 06:38:36

File storage and backup for photographers

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Eric Cheng Pictures

I spend way too much time thinking about data storage and backup. I’ve been a professional photographer for nearly 10 years, and have accumulated over 10 terabytes of pictures, video, and project data. I have finally implemented a storage and backup scheme that I’m happy with. It took a long time to set up, but I have direct access to all of my media now, and have comfort in knowing that it is securely backed up. (read more »)

San Francisco | link | trackb | 65 comments » | Jan 6, 2013 02:53:39

Iceberg arch collapse in Antarctica

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When I was on the Sea Shepherd boat in Antarctica during 2009/2010, I captured an unusual sequence of images: a sequence of an iceberg arch collapsing. I literally raised my camera to my eye (Canon 1D Mark II w/70-200/2.8L lens), and the arch collapsed. I mashed the shutter button down and captured 20 frames—in bursts. I shot in bursts because I was afraid that the buffer wouldn’t hold. Later, I pulled the frames into Motion and created this video.

Antarctica | link | trackb | no comments » | Jun 1, 2012 05:05:18

Contrail Shadow, Aerial (flight from Seattle to San Francisco)

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I looked out of the window during a flight from Seattle to San Francisco last Sunday and noticed the shadow of the plane’s contrail. This video was shot with an iPhone 4s and sped up 8x (with contrast increased).

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | May 8, 2012 08:15:02

Joshua Tree National Park at night

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This was my first motion dolly timelapse attempt. We learned a lot that night; somehow, multiple failures still resulted in a video! Thanks to Jody Elliott for loaning me her 1Ds Mark III for the shoot and to Jason Bradley for shooting with me and hauling the gear down from the Bay Area.

Joshua Tree, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | Mar 3, 2012 07:20:24

Diving the Eastern Fields of Papua New Guinea, 2012

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Hello, everyone. I’m back from the remote Eastern Fields of Papua New Guinea. We only had 6 days out there because two strong tropical storms moved into the area, but the diving was good (until we moved back to the coast).

My 4-week cough turned into a 6-week cough, so I only did 3-4 dives in the Eastern Fields. It was extremely frustrating, but I enjoyed being out on the ocean with a great group of people. Here’s the video slideshow I made for the group:

Music selection by kozyndan. End credits by me and Dan.

Tony Wu (my co-trip leader) has posted a fantastic write-up of the trip, and a Wetpixel thread is tracking more pictures and experiences.

As always, you can see the expeditions we run over at Wetpixel: http://wetpixel.com/expeditions

Eastern FIelds, PNG | link | trackb | no comments » | Feb 5, 2012 19:29:24

Underwater Indonesia: Alor and Komodo, November 2011

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Underwater footage from a 26-day Wetpixel underwater photography expedition to Alor and Komodo, Indonesia. Footage taken by me, with Canon EOS 7D, Tokina 10-17mm fisheye zoom lens and Canon 100mm macro lens. Macro footage was lit with dual Light & Motion SOLA 1200 video lights. Additional footage captured with GoPro HERO cameras in modified Eye of Mine underwater 3D housings.

Indonesia | link | trackb | 1 comment » | Dec 2, 2011 22:46:49

Final Cut Pro X missing media problem

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I used Final Cut Pro X, Apple’s controversial new “professional” video editing program to cut the trip video during my latest Wetpixel expedition to Indonesia. These slideshows have become a tradition for guests and combine video, stills, and music into something people can take home to show their friends and family.

Using Final Cut Pro X was, for the most part, fantastic. It is really more like an “iMovie Pro” and includes one-click video stabilization, color balancing, and look filters, which were all features I used extensively. Aside from dealing with small bugs, I was able to produce a 30-minute video fairly easily, without being impeded by any critical issues. However, I am back home, and am now in the process of trying to migrate my slideshow project and event files to my main Mac Pro from my MacBook Pro. This is proving to be impossible. Two excellent threads provide work-arounds for reconnecting missing media, but upon following the instructions outlined within those threads, this is what happened:

  1. After copying events and projects to the Mac Pro, they showed up and opened in FCPx, but all of the media showed up as missing (red thumbnails).
  2. Per suggestions, I re-imported all of the media (annoying, since the files are spread out over many folders). The red missing media icons for videos and audio were all restored to color (no longer missing). This seemed like a good sign.
  3. Many JPGs in the media list were not successfully re-connected; instead, they were duplicated. I have hundreds of JPGs in the slideshow, which are now all “missing” and therefore, would need to be re-cut into the timeline.
  4. Soon after re-import, I noticed an import background task running. Upon closer inspection, I realized that FCPx was in the process of copying over all the newly imported media instead of honoring my request to leave the files in their original location (by leaving “Copy files to Final Cut Events folder” unchecked). The source media is hundreds of gigabytes. Duplicating them is not an option.
  5. Closing FCPx and re-opening it immediately causes the import process to re-spawn. If I cancel the process, the media simply does not show up in my events.

Put quite simply, there is no way to move a complicated project and its associated event media from one machine to another. The fragility of the media storage system in FCPx is shameful—it’s like the product was never tested in the real world.

I will, in this case, essentially lose this project and never be able to edit it again. I suppose I’ll archive the events and projects in case FCPx improves its media handling capabilities. One significant side effect: if I upgrade my machine or need to reinstall, I’ll effectively lose all of my FCPx projects. Until there is serious improvement in media management, I can’t see myself using Final Cut Pro X again.

San Francisco | link | trackb | 9 comments » | Nov 23, 2011 01:43:41

Sunset timelapse, Hong Kong

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Timelapse video taken with Canon 7D and Tokina 10-17 fisheye zoom lens from 29th floor of the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong in Wanchai. 1 frame taken every 8 seconds from 16:05 to 18:48.

Hong Kong | link | trackb | no comments » | Oct 18, 2011 10:14:20

Shark Diving in French Polynesia (podcast)

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Support us: download the podcast on iTunes ( find “Shark Diving French Polynesia!”)

In July, I went to French Polynesia with Fabrice Charleux of Plongeur.com to capture stills and video of the incredible schools of gray reef sharks that call its remote atolls home. At that time, I posted only a few still frames from the trip—not because I didn’t want to share, but because I had something larger planned. When I returned home, I called up Mary Lynn Price of DiveFilm and asked her if she would be interested in collaborating in a podcast episode. Luckily, Mary Lynn was excited about the project, and together, we have finally finished and published a new DiveFilm HD episode on the sharks of French Polynesia. To see the video, please download it from iTunes. DiveFilm is currently the only ocean-related podcast featured by Apple, and the only way to make sure it stays there is to have folks download and view it through iTunes!

Links to podcast: DiveFilm HD on iTunes. The episode is called “Shark Diving French Polynesia!”

Special thanks to Fabrice Charleux (gracious host and organizer; translator; subtitling), Mary Lynn Price (editor; podcast goddess), Don Kehoe (grumpy photo assistant), Dave Patchen (supporting friend), Adam Tow (interview camera assistance) and Rae Chang (interview assistance). This would not have been possible without all of you!

Footage taken with Canon 7D, Canon S95, and GoPro Hero camera in Eye of Mine flat-port housing.

Hong Kong | link | trackb | no comments » | Oct 18, 2011 01:19:26

Eric Cheng’s Top 10 Underwater Photography Tips

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Here are the slides from the 90-minute seminar I gave at Monterey Shootout 2011. I always create slides without many words, preferring to talk through the points spontaneously, but it may be useful to some folks out there. When I have more time, I’ll come back and add captions with notes about each of the points (and why I included specific pictures and videos).

On a side note, I have discovered that the photo and video player over at Google+ is excellent as a slideshow player on the web (as long as you do not require intra-slide interactivity).1 I can mix still images / video and re-order slides, and the blacked-out “theater” (to steal the Facebook word for it) is pleasing and promotes real-time interaction.

Link: http://ech.cc/uwphototips


  1. Note that I do not really use Google+, yet, so if you interact with me in that social environment, I may not respond. I’m in evaluation mode. I have tried to import my connections via the various methods out there, and Google+ seems to fail constantly when I do anything in batch (e.g., add more than 10 people to a circle at once). 

Monterey, CA | link | trackb | 7 comments » | Sep 12, 2011 16:57:42

Monterey Underwater Film Festival 2011

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The Monterey Underwater Film Festival audience at the Golden State Theater. I took this picture as an opener to my presentation.
The Monterey Underwater Film Festival audience at the Golden State Theater. I took this picture as an opener to my presentation.

Tonight, I spoke at the Monterey Underwater Film Festival, along with Berkley White, Chuck Davis, Stephen Frink and Rick Rosenthal. The film festival, which was attended by approximately 725 enthusiastic audience members, took place at the Golden State Theater and was put on by NCUPS and Backscatter as part of the Monterey Shootout 2011.

The audience was incredible—very “live” and reactive! There was great energy in the air, which always makes an event a lot of fun to be a part of. I was honored to present alongside underwater-imaging pioneers who have decades of experience.

Speakers: Rick Rosenthal, Chuck Davis, Berkley White, Eric Cheng and Stephen Frink. Monterey Underwater Film Festival, September 10, 2011.
Speakers: Rick Rosenthal, Chuck Davis, Berkley White, Eric Cheng and Stephen Frink. Monterey Underwater Film Festival, September 10, 2011.

Monterey, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | Sep 11, 2011 01:36:20

If you tried to make this film, it would look like shit

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Doug Bayne’s video about digital SLRs and movie making. Pure genius!!

San Francisco | link | trackb | no comments » | Aug 22, 2011 23:07:25

Whale shark feeding in 3D

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Here is a 3D video of a whale shark feeding at the surface during a huge whale shark aggregation in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. I shot it on August 15, 2011, using a GoPro 3D HERO System and an Eye of Mine 3D flat lens housing (a flat-lens solution is required for a GoPro to focus properly underwater).

The video is best viewed at 720p in some sort of 3D mode.

If you own a 3D display at home, you can download a higher-quality side-by-side version for local display (~99MB; link is good for 500 downloads; if it fails, please let me know). The downloadable video is still highly-compressed and doesn’t quite convey the same 3D coolness that original version does, but it is still effective!

Isla Mujeres, Mexico | link | trackb | no comments » | Aug 20, 2011 22:47:31

Kieran Liu, age 5, swims with a whale shark

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Kieran Liu, age 5, had a special experience during his first moments in the ocean as a snorkeler. Showing no fear whatsoever, Kieran swims madly at a 30-foot whale shark, trying to get as close as he can!

Video shot by Eric Cheng in Isla Mujeres, Mexico on August 18, 2011.

| link | trackb | 5 comments » | Aug 20, 2011 07:26:53

Wetpixel Isla Mujeres Expedition 2011, Days 1-3

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Day 3 of the 3rd Wetpixel whale shark expedition in Isla Mujeres, Mexico: We’ve had 3 days of whale shark action so far, and each day has given us something different (but spectacular). The first day, a couple hundred whale sharks were spread out in a rather long stretch of the glassy-calm ocean. The water was relatively clear, considering that it was completely full of transparent tunny eggs from the mass-spawning event three nights earlier. Whale sharks gulped down eggs around us from 8am until our boat left (at 1:30pm).

On the second day, we discovered a small patch of ocean with hundreds of tightly-packed whale sharks. They were so dense that they were forced to feed in layers, and we saw as many sharks ascending and descending as we did on the surface of the ocean (very rare). Our guides were totally excited, saying that the ocean was infestado with whale sharks. After thirty minutes of total whale-shark insanity, the sharks vanished in a coordinated descent into the depths—it was totally bizarre. One minute, we were surrounded by literally hundreds of sharks, and the next, there were only a few left on the surface. All of us, including the local guides, were totally dumbfounded by the strange behavior.

Today (day 3), we found the sharks 4 miles east and 2 miles south of where they were yesterday. It took a coordinated search effort by multiple boats to find them (which took 3.5 hours on the water), and we weren’t in the water until 9:45am. The action was fantastic, with botellas almost literally everywhere we looked (a botella is a stationary whale shark that is vertical in the water, “gulping” water constantly to feed.

I’ve been shooting with both a Nauticam-housed Canon 7D with Tokina 10-17 fisheye zoom lens, and with a 3D GoPro HERO setup (with Eye of Mine 3D underwater GoPro housing). The 3D GoPro setup has been yielding some very interesting footage because I can get the camera in places where a big housing can never go (e.g. right in front of a whale shark that is cruising at speed). I have some interesting 3D footage that I’d love to present, but two failed upload attempts to YouTube are enough; I’ll upload when I return to the States.

In the meantime, here’s a 3D screen-grab from the video (red/cyan 3D glasses required):

3D whale shark gulp with GoPro 3D HERO camera / Eye of Mine 3D underwater housing

3D whale shark gulp with GoPro 3D HERO camera / Eye of Mine 3D underwater housing

I also have cute / precious footage of Kieran Liu (the 5-year-old son of my friends Kenny and Lori) swimming madly after a whale shark (and managing to get really, really close). He is fearless!

Update: here are links to the videos:

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Aug 17, 2011 19:54:44

Behind-the-scenes video with Coco Rocha

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LYTRO – Behind The Scenes from Coco Rocha on Vimeo.

Coco and James have posted the behind-the-scenes video from the Lytro photo shoot last week. My face is in the video for approximately 4 frames. ;)

New York, NY | link | trackb | no comments » | Jul 22, 2011 10:29:02

Vietnamese coffee, this morning

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I love this stuff. (read more »)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | Jun 3, 2011 10:38:34

Space shuttle Endeavour STS-134 launch video

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Here’s a video I made of STS-134 using the 50-image launch sequence shoved into Adobe After Effects. Time warp FTW! (read more »)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | May 18, 2011 02:33:14
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