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Old January 30th, 2009, 04:09 PM   #1
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Letus Extreme surf footage.

Pretty gorgeous surf footage from Lyall Bay, Wellington, New Zealand.
The Planets aligned and I got a unique kind of angle to shoot from (nearly side-on to waves), a south facing coast (sun sets along wave) and a fresh offshore breeze to get some interesting shots.
Shot with a Canon XHA1 and Letus Extreme with a Canon FD 300mm f2.8 lens.

Lyall Bay Surfing January 2009 Wellington, New Zealand. on Vimeo
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Old January 30th, 2009, 09:14 PM   #2
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Dennis.


As you suggest. The planets did indeed align for you. You might get long shots on lens-in-camera style videocameras with purposed accessories other than with a Letus or other adaptor but what other use is there for that accessory.

I use adaptors for chasing aircraft with long lenses so I genuinely appreciate just how well you were doing that day. With that location and the shots howling at you to frame up and button on, you were probably raised up that little bit extra into the "zone" that day as well - right? There are a couple of little operator finesses in there which hint that you were not just experiencing plain good luck.

Last edited by Bob Hart; January 30th, 2009 at 09:16 PM. Reason: error
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Old January 30th, 2009, 09:57 PM   #3
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Dennis.

As you suggest. The planets did indeed align for you. You might get long shots on lens-in-camera style videocameras with purposed accessories other than with a Letus or other adaptor but what other use is there for that accessory.

I use adaptors for chasing aircraft with long lenses so I genuinely appreciate just how well you were doing that day. With that location and the shots howling at you to frame up and button on, you were probably raised up that little bit extra into the "zone" that day as well - right? There are a couple of little operator finesses in there which hint that you were not just experiencing plain good luck.
I suppose I did have to focus it, but it was such a beautiful location and lighting... it was hard to go wrong.
It must be hard for you hunting a plane in the sky? Those long lenses can make it pretty tricky finding things... at least with surf, you can find the wave easily and just quickly follow it along to surfer.
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Old January 31st, 2009, 11:19 PM   #4
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There is a cheat which works single-camera a lot of the time if the glare is not too bad. That is to harmonise your viewfinder to your free eye view by shimming and/or taping the eyepiece from moving.

Set your zoom lens approximately to the field-of-view of your free eye, find the subject with both eyes then eyeball the viewfinder, relocate the object with your free eye and with practice you can get it in your finder most times and then zoom in on it. Forget about F18s though.

I mostly operate two harmonised cameras on the one tripod, one for aquiring the subject, also for wide view and safety shot if the close-up to the other camera is lost from the frame.

Tilting the tripod pan handle upwards about 30 degrees and with the bend away from your body, standing in close and holding the end of the panhandle palm-down with fingers wrapping directly over the end facing backwards also helps as you don't have to change grip as you elevate or lower. Another panhandle facing forwards or using the lens support rod for a front-end grip with the left hand similarly oriented forwards can also help.

You use as much all-of-upper-body movement from the hips up as you can to start the pan and tilt moves and your arms only for tiny quick trims of the main movement. You can control a 1000mm with practice.

If you use the long lens for your sighting lens with a harmonised two-camera setup, you get absolutely the sweetest butter-smooth camera moves on the wide camera. You actually have to lead a lot in the close-up view to get the natural nose-room on the wide view which otherwise stays too centred and un-natural.

So with your surf shots where there is a predictable move left to right, you might set your wide camera to the view you have in your clip, then set the sighting camera zoom to say about head and shoulder framing, then lead the shot by putting the surfer's head right on the left edge of frame. The bonus is if he suddenly accellerates, you will see it sooner.

You can also re-harmonise the cameras so that the wider view is framed correctly for nose-room in the movement whilst your sighting cam remains centred, a matter of personal preference not necessity.

You get pretty tired after a day of this if you are ancient like me.

I have a whole new respect for the Red Bull camera ops.

Last edited by Bob Hart; January 31st, 2009 at 11:45 PM. Reason: added text.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 12:10 PM   #5
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Tilting the tripod pan handle upwards about 30 degrees and with the bend away from your body, standing in close and holding the end of the panhandle palm-down with fingers wrapping directly over the end facing backwards also helps as you don't have to change grip as you elevate or lower.
Haha, that's exactly how I have the tripod handle for surfing shots. It looks a bit kooky but it seems to be the best way of you have to twist your body without having to physically take a step.

Thanks for the other tips. A dual camera setup would be sweet. Where I shot that surf video from has the Wellington airport directly behind it. I literally had 737's taking off and landing 150 meters behind me. Airport security drove around to check me out as the camera on the tripod with the long lens must look a bit like some sort of rocket launching device.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 02:15 PM   #6
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Dennis:

Technical question. With A1 doing about 500 mm plus 35 equivalent, bare, why the adapter. Do you feel depth of field is an issue at telephoto lengths ?
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Old February 1st, 2009, 09:13 PM   #7
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QUOTE.

"Airport security drove around to check me out as the camera on the tripod with the long lens must look a bit like some sort of rocket launching device."

When I was doing some tests with an early AGUS35, I was accosted by a couple of guys who had a good level of alcohol in. I think they were initially minded to give me a heavy massage for running a "multinova" speed camera for the cops. After running the speed cameras was outsourced, assaulting or chasing the multinova operators away then smashing the cameras became a sort of weekend recreation until a few people went to trial.

As to the look, with the blackboard paint and sewer pipe caps I used for the casework sitting on a Miller Tripod, it was a petty good fit

Then a strange penny dropped for one of them. He said to the other that it was not worth "getting disappeared amd nobody know where you are for 28 days", a reference to US homeland security legislation which was receiving airplay on the news at the time. He ushered his friend away. Whilst I do not endorse George W. Bush's flavour of politics I do have him to thank for that escape.

Airport Security. When I was a kid and I was not one of the culprits, the groundsman at the airport used to go tearing out long the levee bank in his ute to the runway threshold to chase off the kids who were trying to shoot down the twice-daily DC3 with onestrap shanghais.

You may know the ones kids make in treeless country where no decent forksticks grow and the knuckle of the right thumb holding the strap gets opened up by the rock flying past if the hand is not whipped down smartly enough after letting go.

They actually had a better chance of being skonned by their own rocks coming back down than hitting an aircraft at 200 feet but it did not stop them from trying.

Sentimental - the sound of two supercharged P & W radial engines striving for air on a stinking hot day finally going overhead the house remains strong in the memory.

Last edited by Bob Hart; February 1st, 2009 at 09:35 PM. Reason: added text
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 01:50 PM   #8
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I always keep my monopod handy for any 'drunk' party poopers. I've just got the feeling that I don't think that they're very interested in a rapid close-up look at it (well I hope so anyway).

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chase off the kids who were trying to shoot down the twice-daily DC3 with onestrap shanghais.
LolZ... I probably would've been one of those idiot kids given half the chance. I know... stupid!
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 01:57 PM   #9
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Technical question. With A1 doing about 500 mm plus 35 equivalent, bare, why the adapter. Do you feel depth of field is an issue at telephoto lengths ?
The XHA1 will zoom in further... but if I was to shoot the surf with the bare XHA1, and then with the 300mm on the Letus, I get a much more pleasing image to my own taste with the Letus. You can see quite a difference.
It's a pity I didn't keep any of my test footage that I did to experiment this very question you've raised so that I could show you a grab or two.
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 11:09 PM   #10
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Chris.


True. - With the Z1 and a 500mm via an adaptor, there is not as much extra telephoto available in the 500mm image as the 35mm field-of-view brings it back into considerable overlap with the direct-to-camera image.

It is this overlap which also helps in harmonising the cameras on the common mount.

The groundglass, despite its disadvantages relating to artifacts seems to yield a pleasing image more than direct-to-camera, I think mainly because pinpoint highlights and broad overbright areas do not seem to burn out as much.

Another aspect is affordability. I simply cannot afford a B4 mount video camera and the AU$140,000 long lens which goes on it for chasing sports plays and airplanes. Carrying the thing and its tripod about would also kill this old relic and make the flat feet flatter than they already are.

If I had one of those, I obviously would walk away from groundglass relay for this task. The Red Bull Air Race images are amazing and the gyrosphere on the helicopter, - my reaction - pure unbridled green envy.
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