Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Using a MIOPS with a Fuji GFX50s


We’ve been photographing lightning for several years using different triggers; most worked but were bulky. We were about to replace our current trigger after Don had inadvertently fried the battery and decided to check the current assortment of triggers on the market.
MIOPS came on our radar recently due to water drop photography we've been doing and decided to dig into them a little to see what they have to offer. We started looking at just a replacement for the lightning trigger and liked what we saw with the MIOPS Smart. The Smart allows one to capture lightning as well as other things either as a stand-alone device or using a smartphone. Using the smartphone also opens up broader applications.
 
One of the first test images done shortly after setting up the MIOPS Splash. Using plain water in a dimly lighted kitchen.
 

f/11 ISO 200
 
We now have the MIOPS Smart and have tested it using light to trigger the camera as well as sound and laser. The cool factor is that we can connect the Fuji GFX50s medium format camera without any issues. We’ve also found the operation either as a stand-alone or via the smartphone one of the easiest we’ve encountered.
We were so impressed with the Smart that we decided to order the MIOPS Splash. We felt we were testing our luck on this as we were very pleased with the system we had been using however we felt this might be slightly better. And we were correct. We found the setup easy and the footprint much smaller. We set up the Splash using a ground tripod in the kitchen. The kitchen while convenient is not the best place to capture water drops due to the light in the room. Knowing the drawbacks of the location we decided to go ahead with the testing. In short, we were impressed.
Like the Smart, the Splash talks to the smartphone via WIFI. Don installed the battery in the Splash, turned it on and the phone instantly recognized the connection. We found this the same as when we first connected to the Smart.



Pleased with the initial test images we decided to add a little color.
 
f/11 ISO 100
 
f/11 ISO 100
 
Now the slightly bad news. We use 3-Nissin Digital Di700A flash units to capture water drops. No big deal. The Splash like the Smart has one 3.5mm connection port for the flash. The units came with a 3.5 mm to PC Sync cable. The issue is the sync connection is too loose to give a proper connection to any of the flashes which meant we needed to use a combination of tape and rubber bands to keep the connection. All isn’t lost as we've ordered a new set of cables to try; we’ll also be trying a 3.5mm cable to the 3.5mm port on the flash. 
 
This is a shot of the setup taken the second day inside the garage; notice the fancy tape and rubber band...
 

We found that connecting a flash to the Splash worked (with the tape and rubber bands) and setting that flash as the master and the other 2-flashes as slaves. We shot around 150 files during  testing and found the flashes worked well.
 There is little to no information found on the web as to settings or height of the drop. Most of this is trial and error. We decided on dropping at a height of between 8 and 9 inches into a device about 5 inches deep. We were immediately pleased with results. We kept the drop size at 50ms and experimented with the delay in between the drops as well as the flash delay.  In all the cases We kept the camera on bulb, triggering the camera then the Splash using a combination of remote shutter release and smartphone.
 
More samples from the first day of shooting...
 
f/11 ISO 100
 
f/11 ISO 100
We began writing this shortly after receiving the Splash and began testing it. Since then we took it to our garage where we normally shoot water drops. The reason to relocate is that the garage is much darker and we are use to shooting there.  We also used a slightly smaller tabletop tripod to set the Splash on. The bowl is a straight wall glass 10” diameter approximately 5.25” tall. We set the distance of the drop to the water level at approximately 9”.
 
Typical setup in our garage using 3-flashes and the large bowl.
 
Another view


 
And one more...
 
Make certain everything is level. We try to have the table level as well as the arm off the tripod. Then there’s the MIOPS itself; which we believe is the most important to have level. If the MIOPS valve isn’t level the drops coming out will fall at an angle causing problems. We have a cheap 2-bubble level that we put on top of the water tube to check the plum.
 
The following are samples from the second day of testing. All were captured using the GFX 50s, GF120mm lens and 45 WR extension tube.
3-blue drops
f/11 ISO 400
 
Don's finger slipped and activated the trigger a second time while the shutter was opened for a total of 6-drops.
f/11 ISO 400
 
 
We also wanted to test the results of using a Singh Ray Color Intensifier filter on a couple of shots.
 
f/22 ISO 800
 
                                                  f/22 ISO 800
We’ve now used the MIOPS Splash twice while writing this. This might not seem like much however we’ve been shooting water drops for several months and am not entirely new to it. There are several things we like and enjoy about this system. Ease of setting up, size of set up, no need to be plugged into an electrical outlet. 
 
We changed the background to capture this sample.
f/22 ISO 2000
 

We had been wanting to experiment using photographs as back drops and decided to test it out. The images in the background are 8x10 ceramic tiles.
 
Lake Jackson in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
f/22 ISO 2000
 
Buffalo in Jackson Hole Wyoming
 
f/22 ISO 2500
 
House on Fire ruins in southeast Utah
f/22 ISO 2500
 
Infrared image of ruins in Taos New Mexico
 f/22 ISO 2500
We'd like to suggest that MIOPS include information on purging the system once done. If not, it’s a simple method of rinsing the tube and valve out with warm water and setting the first drop to 999 ms in order for the water to purge out. Watch the water as it comes out and once you have clear water the system is clean. The last thing you want is to be using a dark color one day and light the next and get left over coloring as it cleans itself. Do it right and you won’t have an issue.
 
Taken years ago in Tubac Arizona we titled "Blue Pot"
f/22 ISO 2500
 
And don't be afraid to be a little whimsical
 
UPDATE:
Received the 3.5mm cable for the Di700A flash and tried it out and it works. No more need to use a combination of tape and rubber bands to keep the Sync cable in place.

We’re busy testing, experimenting and learning and hope to add more later so stay tuned.
 
Sandy & Don

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 







 
 
 
 

 

 

 








 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Liquid Art

f/11 Bulb ISO 400
3-red drops (November 2018)
 
f/16 Bulb ISO 400
3-red drops falling into milk (November 2018)
 
This is part 4 of our “Splash Art Photography with a Fujifilm GFX 50s”
We’ve done a lot of “wet photography” since our last blog on the subject (August 2018).  The more we shoot the more we learn and with that we hope to pass it on. We've included several samples of what we've been able to accomplish.
f/32 Bulb ISO 1000
3-green drops into clear water (December 2018)
 
f/10 Bulb ISO 400
2-orange drops into a dirty bowl (August 2018)
 
We began shooting drops using a large plastic container and since then we find ourselves using smaller and smaller containers. While the size of the well has changed the one constant is the use of cold water.  We’ve found that no matter the device we use to capture the drop the container works best if chilled. We've also learned that we need to have the container clean which means several changes of water during the process. 
f/11 Bulb ISO 400
3-red and blue drops (September 2018)
 
f/11 Bulb ISO 250
2-red and blue drops (September 2018)
 
f/11 Bulb ISO 400
3-red and blue drops (September 2018)
 
 
 
 
We’ve learned that environmental aspects of where we’re shooting have a large impact. We set our wet studio in our garage and while it’s insulated it nevertheless has no HVAC. Temperature and humidity play a key roll in how well our shots turn out as no two days are the same. We’ve found that a stopping for a couple of hours can effect the outcome.
f/32 Bulb ISO 1000
3-blue drops (October 2018)
 
f/11 Bulb ISO 100
clear water dropping into milk (September 2018)
 
While the above is true the water solution of the drop is critical. We attempt to create as near as possible the same solution of Xanthan Gum each time. A mixture of warm water and Xanthan stirred and left overnight works well, straining the mixture before using. The food coloring is the least of the concerns and we’ve found adding a small amount of 2% milk will enhance the color before topping off with cold water. I can’t give a precise ratio however a little of the gum, food coloring, and milk go a long way. This is where you get to experiment.
f/16 Bulb ISO 400
3-red drops (November 2018)
 
f/10 Bulb ISO 400
3-red and blue drops (August 2018)
 
We’ve been using a Cognisys Stopshot Studio connected to a Microsoft Surface Book II. This has worked very well for us. We’ve settled on using 2-3 flashes depending on the effect we’re looking for. We also use multiple backdrops ranging from glass to paper again depending on what we’re after. We have also been experimenting using various surfaces to place the container on which also depends on which object we’re using.
 
f/8 Bulb ISO 800
3-black drops (January 2019)
 

 
Camera setup is the simplest. We’ve been ranging from a tripod on the floor to a tabletop tripod and in some cases a Platapod®. We mount the camera in portrait mode both on and off a ballhead and focus rail. The camera is the same; a Fujifilm GFX 50s as is the lens, a Fujifilm GF120mm micro. I’ve shot using just the lens as well as adding both the 45 WR and 18 WR macro extension tubes. I have experimented using both tubes and found while it worked I was just too close. (In re-reading this I see I failed to mention using a wired shutter release which I do and feel mandatory.)
 
f/11 Bulb ISO 400
3-yellow and blue drops (September 2018)
 

We’ve been doing this often enough that setup is getting routine now. I’ll make the gum the night before. The table setup is fast and easy with the most difficult part now being choosing which colors to use.
 
 
f/32 Bulb ISO 1000
3-drops (December 2018)
 
f/16 Bulb ISO 500
3-clear drops into ice tea (January 2019)
 
f/9 Bulb ISO 400
3-orange drops (January 2019)
 
f/9 Bulb ISO 400
3-orange drops (January 2019)
 
Post processing is a key element to the images and using Capture One-12 has been a huge help. I now do well over 70% of post processing in C1-12 before sending the file to Photoshop. If you haven’t used Capture One before I suggest looking into it.
f/11 Bulb ISO 400
3-orange drops (January 2019)
 
f/11 Bulb ISO 400
3-orange drops (January 2019)
 
One final thought is don’t get discouraged. We’ve had countless times when we felt we weren’t capturing anything worthwhile however we resisted the urge to quit and reformat the drive. Not reformatting the drive was the smartest thing we ever did after spending time reviewing the files on our computer screen. We’ve shot anywhere from 1 to 3 hours at a time and well over 500 files on the card. We’ve gotten to the point that we only keep the exceptional images.
 
I hope this helps answer any questions that might still be lingering.

Don
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Tabletop Images

 
 

We recently added a new section to our web gallery named, “Tabletop Images”. 
We’ve found that not everyone has the wall space to display our prints so we are offering a solution.

 
 

You’ll find a selection of metal and ceramic tiles offered in sizes that are perfect for a desk, table, or countertop. The metal images are printed the same as our much larger metal prints just smaller; yet with the same great detail. The ceramic tiles are all 8x6 and may be displayed on a table using a built in easel or on a wall using the attached hook.

 
 

Prices are affordable ranging from $29.95 to $115.00 with equally affordable shipping of $5.00 each.
The metal prints includes base made either of bamboo or acrylic and are included in the price.  Sizes are from 8x10, 8x12, and 10x10.

 
 

The ceramic tiles are limited to quantities we have in stock. The metal prints are unlimited however we will need at least 7-days to produce and ship them to you.
 
 
 

Visit the “Tabletop Images” section of our web gallery for more information. Our work can also be found at Absolutely Art Gallery & Gifts, 16701 N. Oracle Road, Suite 145, Catalina, Arizona 85739 (520) 818-1242 and on Face Book at here or our Face Book page here.

 


 

Sandy & Don