More Fun with my Sony A7ii and 30mm Macro

I’ve been more vigilant now about keeping an eye out for things that might be interesting on a macro level. It is something that takes getting used to as far as a mindset. It figures though, that on days I don’t have the macro lens on me, I notice the things I need the lens for. Luckily, in the case of this cicada shell, I had time to go home and come back. This little guy was going nowhere.

Cicada Shell Sony a7ii 30mm Macro

I went to McKee Beshers Natural Preserve in Montgomery County MD for a morning of shots with my family. I’ll be writing a more complete post of that later. This was one of the shots I caught using the macro.

Honey Bee at Work McKee Beshers Sony 30mm Macro E Mount

These tiny purple flowers off a bush were only about 6 or 7 millimeters in diameter.

Purple and Small Sony 30mm Macro E Mount

These white flowers are very common in Maryland. You see them everywhere. I’m trying to find the name of them so I can update this later. Please if you know what they are go ahead and put it in the comments.

Lunch Time Sony 30mm Macro E Mount

As usual, I edited my photos in Adobe Lightroom CC.

Tictocpop’s Passive Aggressive Response

I’ll keep this brief. The first post can be read here.

As if by clockwork, Otis Funkmeyer posted another video today which was a combination yet another one of his “commentaries” of a call out battle against him from Devious. I won’t link to his page from mine just on principal.

The punchline? He added another #Electrosoul 7 clip. One he missed earlier. It was the same. No credits and no permission. All of this was done with full knowledge of our position. Actions speak loudly for this man don’t they?

This was the original footage of the call out battle uploaded by Devious on the Gr818ers facebook page. It’s a fun clip and not full of drama at all. Watch and decide for yourselves. You don’t need anyone to give you a play by play. You have eyes and ears.


It’s getting kind of boring now so back to more interesting subjects!

My Problem with the TicTocPop Youtube Channel

The clip above and three others is what this post is all about. This will probably be a rare occurrence in my blog. I’m taking an opportunity to complain about something that I feel was a transgression on my rights, and my #Electrosoul Team’s rights as a content creator(s). Forgive me if this is a little long, but Otis and I as it turns out have mutual friends. Some of them needed a good explanation of why I’m angry about this subject.

This is essentially about actions taken by Otis Funkmeyer, the man behind TICTOCPOP on YouTube. This is not a huge deal. No one died. What it is at the least for me is extremely irritating. At the worst, I believe it is copyright infringement. In the middle? I think he did something wrong. I’ll get back to this. First let me give you a context.

We held the 7th iteration of our local jam Electrosoul on July 30, 2016. It was overall, a good experience. As always we have things to learn and intend to get better each year. For those who are unfamiliar with our jam, it is a dance competition we hold every year which thanks to a lot of teamwork and goodwill has been growing. We get more and more participation every year from both locals and guests from out of town. Our visitors and participants have come from all over the world. We are still what I’d consider to be a medium size event in the grand scheme of things.

Throwing a jam is a lot of work. It takes a long time to plan. We have to line up potential judges, djs, battle guest(s), venue(s) all of which take time and money. There is the fee for each vendor, the prize money, the travel costs, food…yada yada yada. You can fill in the blanks. We get ready all year by having fundraising events and also spend money out of our pockets. We line up a team of about 12 volunteers as well. Then of course we have all the networking and marketing we need to do to get people to the jam. At best, we hope to break even somehow. That doesn’t happen much. Not yet. It is completely ok with us we know it takes time to get a local scene large enough to fund the type of jam we like. We throw this jam because we love doing it.

At the end of the day, the only evidence of our jam every year is our youtube presence. It is a critical part of our outreach. I think it is the same for every promoter. We have great tools, but there only a few. Nowadays it is Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.We take the time to capture the jam on video. I personally own all of the equipment so it is yet another expense to throw on the pile. We then make sure to categorize the clips and upload them with a jam trailer in the beginning. This jam trailer is critical because it identifies who we are and it also gives a shout out to our key sponsors. That is a big deal. We could not function without them. We do a similar thing in the jam description. We repeat the jam and sponsor info and we add references to our judges, battle guests, djs, and anything else that is relevant. They deserve a credit. Here is what it looks like. Notice the view count at the time of this blog. This is our original upload from #Electrosoul.

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What tictocpop did, was take 4 clips from our battle and copy them without our permission. The clips were shown almost in their entirety and joined into one clip about 30 minutes long for use in Otis Funkmeyer’s commentary.  They were critical clips in our collection since they were of the battles lead up to the final. From a promoter’s perspective they are the highlight of our years worth of work and preparation. I don’t like his commentary because I find him to be rude at times. This is not why I take issue with tictocpop. Frankly, other people are making that case far better than I could and it will resolve itself.

No, for me it is different. I take issue with him not approaching me for permission to use our jam footage. I had just finished putting trailers on almost 50 clips and uploaded them all. Not even 48 hours later, he had done the following with the 4 clips he hijacked.

  1. TICTOCPOP Removed our intro trailer. This is significant because using a trailer days who we and our sponsors are. It is a common practice used by most jams( that have the time to do so) today.
  2. Next he made his commentary and embedded our video(s) in his frame. The frame which includes advertising of his own brand.2016-08-15_14-05-15
  3. He added a closing trailer for his own business. The word production seems a bit of a stretch to me.2016-08-15_14-06-19
  4. He added ANOTHER closing trailer for his own business.2016-08-15_14-06-31
  5. He had his own YouTube description for the video which had none of our information or credits.2016-08-15_14-06-54

Other than the obvious issue of him removing all the original shout outs and replacing them with his social media platforms and his book and his businesses..notice something else. The view count. The new compiled video  has 1099 and the original final battle has 1026.  Look, I’m not one who obsesses over hit counts. In the end, I think our video will showcase the jam, the competitors, the djs, the venue, and the guests just fine. I’m irritated by the principle of the thing. His channel is siphoning off activity from ours without giving credit back to any of the participants.

TICTOPPOP is not a part of our team and should not be using the results of our hard work at #Electrosoul to promote his brand without our permission. There are arrangements that can be made for this sort of cross promotion. GR818ers already reposted our clips with our blessing! They made sure to refer back to the original source and shout out the jam. Everyone is happy. Unfortunately, for this case, we just don’t like TICTOCPOP’s channel. That is not personal. We just don’t. We should have the right to decline to have our footage that we capture of an event that we organized and financed to not be used in such a way. This is not unheard of at all. There is a reason people can’t just hijack JusteDebut footage and use it anywhere they please. I’m not saying we are that large. We shouldn’t have to be.

To make matters worse, I am fairly sure Otis Funkmeyer knows I don’t want our footage used by now. Nothing has changed. The video is still up. I don’t know if that will be the case forever. I’m just making my case for those who are interested.

Who do I think will be interested? Other promoters. Just look at this thumbnail list of uploaded videos on tictocpop. Maybe it is an assumption on my part but I don’t think he got permission to use any of these clips. Not all of them are from jams so I have no idea what total metrics are here for clips from other promoters. It does look like a substantial number. You know what? Whether there is infringement or not, it is nice to be asked.

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My First Macro Lens experience: Sony 30mm f3.5 E Mount

My First Macro Shot with a Bug! Sony 30mm F3.5 E mount
Well I finally got a macro lens! It has been a long time. I was eyeing the 90mm f2.8 FE Mount for a while, but since I’ve been spending so much money on other prime lenses lately I decided to go cheap. I just won a $100 Prize from a step challenge so I new exactly where to put the credit to good use! I bought it used on Amazon for about 198 bucks so I only put out about 100 cash.

I couldn’t wait to get out there and try it. First off, let me just say I have developed even more respect for those great macro photographers out there. This is not easy. It is especially difficult to catch bugs with wings. They are so fast. I’m amazed now when I see the great closeups how patient the photographer must have been. Also, you need a very steady hand. The little bugs that crawl aren’t that easy to catch either. It may seem counter intuitive, but when you are zoomed in so close on something when it moves it can easily out run you. I observed the main reason for that being that as humans we simply cannot track something so close to us with our wrists bound together. The shot of the polka dot beetle above was one among 30 shots I took. Although I was happy with it I do wish I nailed the focus better on the shell. I think I was at f 3/5. I would have probably been better off with f 4.0 but things were happening so quickly I couldn’t adjust. The autofocus was lagging trying to catch the little guy.
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Capturing the flower was easier as long as it wasn’t windy! I was pretty surprised how close I could get. The lens was only an inch away in this shot. As I got closer, things got more abstract. I did seem to lose some sharpness though.

Abstraction Zoomed In Macro Sony 30mm F3.5 E Mount

I couldn’t tell what settings would work best here. I will keep practicing!

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Later I took some pictures of food close up. This was great. Who doesn’t like giant meatballs?

DSC08260 At a Vietnamese Restaurant i took a picture of my pork dish. DSC08256

Here was a picture of my iced coffee.

As usual, I edit all my photos in Adobe Lightroom CC. Currently I’m shooting with my Sony a7ii.

 

 

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My Strobist Journey Starts Here!

Starting Strobist

Well I’ve finally started down the path I’ve been avoiding for a long time now. The past few months I’ve been researching the different techniques I want to try. I’ve decided to by the equipment piece by piece rather than get those kits that are available for between 40 to 200 bucks on Amazon. This will without a doubt cost me much more in the end but I’m trying to get some good quality equipment that will last longer. This is not to say I’m trying to break the bank. Light stands and backdrops can get very expensive. Light diffusers and strobes also range in price a great deal.

In the picture clockwise from left to right:

I’m starting out with single flash and diffuser for now. It’s time for me to cut my teeth into the manual settings. My first focus will be to play with some low key photos. More to come!

 

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Banding during High Speed Sync

I’ve recently started (finally) to practice and play with my flash. There is a lot more to come but I decided to play with High Speed Sync the other day on my Sony HVL-F32M.

Right now I’m just trying to learn some consistency with my a7ii/F32M setup getting some nice falloff during a sunny day. There isn’t a great deal of info out there about the Sony a7 series and HSS… at least not for those of use teaching ourselves. I’m still trying to fully grasp what is happening with this shot. Feel free to comment or link me to articles on this subject.

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This was obviously indoors. My brother was back lit and I was experimenting with HSS to try and balance it out with my flash on camera.

Shutter speed 1/6400, ISO 400, f 1/4. Flash fired with HSS. You can see the banding on his face so I know HSS was working at least. I’m going to continue researching why this banding is happening with my particular settings.

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Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 G Master: Sample Shots 1st 10 days

My last post I detailed the shopping anxiety. Once that subsided I embraced being an early adopter and all that entails. For good or for bad, this lens is mine now. I may as well enjoy it. Normally, I share shots that are edited in light room. For this post I will share the images that have not been edited at all! I’m quite impressed with the results. All of these were taken on my a7ii. I made sure to install the most recent 3.10 firmware before I started to use the lens. When I could, I shot wide open so I could soak in all that beautiful “fall off”.

GMaster Test Shots No Edit 4

I have noticed that nailing the focus does seem a bit difficult. My camera was hunting around a bit. I’m not sure if it was me though. I may not have all the settings done as well as I could. This was true of both AF-S and AF-C.

GMaster Test Shots No Edit 5

The bokeh is gorgeous in my opinion. I was waiting for the Batis to come out and I gave up on the long wait to get this one. I hope to be able to compare the two someday. I think if the Batis 85mm shows up on the used market I’ll consider adding that to my collection. The 85mm GM is a bit heavy.

GMaster Test Shots No Edit 6

The blue/pink contrast really pops out at you here!

G Master 85mm f / 1.4 Bokeh

This shot I took of my brother using an on body Sony HVL 32m flash. I am trying to learn High Speed Sync techniques. This was shot at about 1 pm with the sun blazing.

Chalk on rock #Rocky #FlickrFriday

This chalk on rock shot was actually something I took just to try to expose for the background. I wasn’t going to keep it at first but I liked it. You can see how sharp the details are if you go the original image.

Fire Gutted Finished Attic

This was a well lit situation at night. Between the darkness behind the house, the light from the trucks, and the light in the house I think the GM 85mm really showed some good contrast.

Firefighters finishing up

I was tempted to edit this one because of the slight haze but I think it still looks good. There was a lot of moisture in the air with all the water and fire hitting each other.

Dog Radar

This was just a fun shot. The Mastiff weighs 170 lbs!

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This shot I tried to nail the focus on my own reflection but I didn’t quite get it. Still, it looked pretty good.

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When I crop in on that you can see that I perhaps missed focus and was on the grains of the wood rather than my own reflection. Still if you look you can see how it caught my brother and girlfriend in the frame. It looks like there is some chromatic aberration. I will try cleaning that up in the future.

More to come! As is NOT normal, I did NOT edit these photos in Lightroom CC.

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