Monday, June 11, 2012

Perth Airport Viewing Area and Geotagging in Lightroom

Recently, I took a trip out to the new Perth Airport Viewing Area, just off Dunreath Drive. This was to serve a dual purpose, giving me an opportunity to check out a new shooting location, as well as serving as a test run for a new geotagging workflow.

High Octane Photos

The viewing platform on Dunreath Drive is located at the southern end of Runway 03/21, and it's a good idea to check weather conditions and flight details before heading out, or you might end up not seeing much at all.

High Octane Photos

On the day I was there, the planes were taking off and landing southbound on 03/21, and the take off viewing was reasonably good, but inbound the planes would disappear under the treeline in the distance, and you'd next see them after they'd landed.

High Octane Photos

As for the geotagging experiment, for some time now, I've been looking for a way to geotag my photos automatically, and I've recently started trialling a solution for this. I'd been considering buying a GPS enabled point and shoot, having that in the camera bag, and using it to product a GPS tracklog, then importing that into Lightroom and geoencoding the photos with that data. However, I've simplified that even further, by using an Android app called GPSlogger on my phone, which uploads its logs to Dropbox on demand, which in turn synchronises automatically with my computer, and I then use Jeffrey Friedl's "Geoencoding Support" plugin for Lightroom to interpret the GPX format log produced by GPSlogger, and interpolate between the points recorded by the app to estimate my actual position for each photo.

High Octane Photos

My plan with geotagging is to geotag every shoot, and then keep an eye on where I put the photos. It appears that facebook doesn't automatically display geotagged information, flickr does add the photo to your map automatically, and my own websites do not, at present, display or use any geotagged information. If I ever have shots that I'd like to keep the location private, as does happen from time to time, the export dialog in Lightroom does give the option to hide location information. This is a system that I really wish I'd had in place for The Bonneville Run, instead of relying on my memory to work out where each photo was taken. In turn, this little experiment was inspired by our upcoming trip to Phuket, where I'm sure I'll struggle to remember where we went and what we saw each day, without geotagged photos.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

2012 Anywhere, Anytime Airshow at RAAF Pearce

Like most motorsport people, I love anything loud and fast, and that includes military aircraft. So when the RAAF announced they were running another airshow at RAAF Pearce, north of Perth, I started making plans to get there.

We ended up getting a little delayed, partly due to traffic and partly just due to the usual issues with getting a car packed with stuff for a young family. However, the timing turned out to be pretty good, as we cruised in past a C-130H firing up, and as Kate was busy unpacking the car, I was shooting it taxiing out to the runway to start the afternoons military flying displays.

The RAAF were keen to show off their new C-17A Globemasters, with two aircraft on site, one on static display and the other in the air.

The RAAF's Hornet's and Super Hornet's were also out and about, showcasing both their agility and power.

The day was far from a 'jets only' affair, with the RAAF's Hercules and Orion aircraft joining the fun, and the Roulette's flying team putting on an aerial display.

As usual, the RAAF put on a great display of firepower, including a visit from a USAF B-52, which had flown down from Guam for a flyby. The B-52 is unable to land at RAAF Pearce, due to the width of it's landing gear (the B-52 has support gear at the ends of it's wings, which would have extended past the width of RAAF Pearce's runways)

After the flying dispays wound up, most people headed to the carpark, and joined the already long (and not moving) queues for the highway. However, we headed for the static displays, including a C-17A Globemaster, more Hornets, Hercules', a new RAAF Wedgetail (based on the Boeing 737) and more.

Once the static displays closed as well, knowing that we were in for a wait, we grabbed a couple of drinks and headed for the car. We held off on even trying to leave until Mikah wouldn't let us wait any more, which turned out to be about 2 hours after the show closed. Although we still could have walked to the highway quicker, by the time we got out onto Great Northern Highway, the traffic had eased up to the point that it was no worse than any other Sunday evening, which made for a much more relaxing drive home.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mission Sized Burrito

Ever since the first time we visited California, back in 2009, I've been fascinated by burritos, in particular, the meal sized burritos most commonly found in California. While there are a few places over here that sell Mexican food, and burritos in particular, most of them fall short in one way or another of the burritos we've eaten in California. Usually it's the size that lets these Australian burritos down, and I've yet to find anyone here that make a burrito that is big enough to be a meal in itself (as the burrito is usually eaten in the USA and Mexico).

This was an attempt to create a Mission style 'meal in a burrito' burrito. The ingredients were all off the shelf items, including the largest tortilla commonly found in Australia, beef, chicken, shredded cheese, mushrooms, onions, tomato and salsa. In addition, a pack of Uncle Ben's Mexican Rice (microwaveable) a sachet of Old El Paso Chicken Burrito seasoning were vital to the finished product.

I used half the seasoning for the chicken and half for the beef, which was all cut into small pieces before seasoning and then left to stand for about 5 minutes. Ideally I would leave the meat in the seasoning longer, but the decision to make burritos for dinner came pretty late in the day. The tortilla's were prepared for use by placing them on a small rack on top of an oven tray, which was partially filled with water, inside the oven at around 180 degrees Celsius. This worked well, but needs a little refinement to ensure even steaming of the tortillas, which makes them much easier to handle when wrapping a large burrito. While initially I had thought I could get away with only using 2 tortillas, it became apparent while wrapping the burrito that I would need a third to go around the centre of the burrito. Looking forward to the next attempt, I think I'll use the same 2 tortilla layout to start with, but keep the filling strictly to the length of a single tortilla in the centre of the first 2 tortillas, and then use a third to wrap the centre section, which should in turn give me a little more material to work with at each end.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Motorvation 26 - Photo Blog

This January, I covered Motorvation 26 for Perth Street Car Magazine, along with editor Trevor Pickett and photographer and writer Jordan Leist. This is a small sample of some of the photos I took over the weekend.

Jeff Clarke had a number of cars on display and out on track over the weekend.

Chuck Haynes spent the summer in Australia and brought the Jet Dragsters to Motorvation.

Everyone loves the supercruise.

Some of the crowd trackside.

Russell Woods debuted his VL Commodore burnout car, 'Rollin', at Motorvation.

Cruzin' Magazines Gavin Kelso was head judge for this years Miss Motorvation.

Earl Salter won the blown category of the burnout competition in 'Feral'.

This beautiful Cadillac has a road racing history.

Jordan working the crowd.

WA's burnout crowds are pretty vocal.

More classic American iron on the supercruise.

'Blownwgn' gets the flames out at both ends.

Michael Butlers 'Hollyhood' on the supercruise.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

More ReplayXD Videos

Over the last couple of weeks, I've done a bit more experimentation with the ReplayXD 1080 and the Camzilla mount. I've put it on a few mates cars while they've been out having some fun, and I've set it up as a fixed camera and made a time lapse video as well.

This first video was the first time I fitted the camera to the outside of a car competing in a motorsport event. This is Franz Esterbauer's Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8 MR, and he's competing in the first round of the McRae Motorsports Twilight Rallysprint Series, held at the Perth Motorplex. Franz has always done pretty well at these events, and this run was no exception, Franz's quickest run of the night, it was also good enough to help him win the event. The experimentation side of things, saw me running the camera with an exposed microphone opening, which I have since realised was not such a good idea, and as a result, I've had to overdub this video with some music to hide the deathly silence left behind after I muted the sound from the ReplayXD the instant Franz leaves the start line. If you want an idea of how bad the wind noise was, watch the video to the very end, as I left the original audio intact as Franz drives off from the stop control.

The next video we have today is from Gerrin Good's 'TYAFRYA' burnout car. TYAFRYA is a methanol fueled Ford XE Falcon, and Gerrin's certainly not afraid to swing the big ol' girl around on the burnout pad. For this video, I had covered the microphone opening with a small sticker, supplied by ReplayXD with the camera for that purpose, I also turned down the microphone gain to 25db to see if that helped. As you will pick up while watching the video, there are still some noise issues with this setup, either wind noise or the sticker vibrating.

For the next attempt, I replaced the flimsy sticker with some good old race tape and fixed the ReplayXD 1080 to the side of Nathan Hollis' "TANK" burnout Sigma. This is where I'd wanted to put the camera on Gerrin's car too, as you get a good view of the drivers hands during the burnout (and while that looked good on Franz's car, it works even better on a burnout car), however, TYAFRYA has stickers on the rear windows, and that causes some issues with the suction cups on the Camzilla clamp. As you will notice in the video, there's still some wind noise or vibration issues, but they seem to be getting a bit better.

The final clip for this blog post, is a time lapse video that I shot with the ReplayXD 1080 and Camzilla rig at the Perth Motorplex's December 2011 round of the Australian Top Fuel Championship. I mounted the camera to the glass inside race control, and set the ReplayXD to shoot 1 shot every 3 seconds. The camera managed to fill it's 4 gigabyte card in around 2.5 hours, and I resized, cropped and compiled the results into the video above.