TWiP #179 – TWiP the Light Fantastic

Audio MP3

On this episode of TWiP… Holiday Photography Tips, Remotely controlled DSLRs, and Shooting in the dust.

Hosts: Frederick Van Johnson, Tyler Ginter, Catherine Hall, and Ron Brinkmann


TSA Episode Retrospective
After receiving a lot of feedback from TWiP #178 the group briefly discusses how photographers’ rights are impacted by changes in TSA policies and screening procedures.
On TWiP #177 guest host Tyler Ginter discussed how uses Squarespace for components of their online presence. Although Squarespace is a sponsor of the show their is no connection or affiliation with The primary goal was to demonstrate how building web sites can help worthy causes such as the children of

Holiday Photo Tips
With the holiday season in full swing the group shares some fun tips for taking and sharing holiday memories:

  • Catherine: Prioritize important events to make sure holiday memories are preserved, particularly when family & friends don’t get to see each other often. Using a good point-and-shoot camera helps to have it with you at all times. Play with the flash settings on your camera (such as slow sync) to capture low light without blowing out Christmas tree and other holiday lights.
  • Ron: For holiday parties and family events, if you’ve been identified as ‘the photographer’ of the group it’s important to organize the shots so that people don’t have to sift through the entire set. Pictures of kids with their toys can be a fun memories years down the line.
  • Tyler: Always try to tell a story through a group of shots. When shooting in snow remember to keep your camera gear dry and that light will reflect off the snow. Shooting time-lapse sequences with an intervalometer can be a fun way to put a different perspective on holiday events (more information on time-lapse at Tyler’s blog or email with questions).
  • Frederick: Asks a question to Ron on how to get the best possible low-light shots with camera phones.
  • Ron: Turn on more lights whenever possible… but moving light sources to be closer to your subject and preventing harsh backlighting will allow the small sensors in camera phones to capture unique lighting.

Remotely Controlled DSLRs
Using blueSLR photographers can wirelessly control a supported camera from a smartphone while embedding GPS location data in their images. The group discusses how this device could be used in various situations for remote triggering, intervalometer, and geotagging versus other available solutions. While many GPS solutions can be very complex this solution allows GPS location data to be written into the EXIF data directly from the camera.

Shooting in the Dust
Catherine, Tyler, and Ron share the experiences shooting in harsh environments where dust and sand can be unavoidable. Keeping a single lens mounted to the camera avoids the risk of accumulation inside the camera while swapping lenses. Cleaning the exterior of the camera body with compressed air or cleaning cloths can also minimize risk, but never use compressed air inside the camera! A lens filter can help to protect the front lens element but might add optical artifacts depending on the type of filter (such as a variable neutral density filter) under certain lighting conditions.

Every week our producers scour the TWiP forums to find the best questions for us to answer on the show. Here are this week’s questions:

Question #1 from tsunam99: I’m looking for a camera that is “compact” but has good low light performance (e.g. pictures at parties/events, etc).  I used to have the Finepix F30, which I loved, but then it kinda… got dropped.  So, something like the Canon S95 or the Lumix LX5 (skipping the G12 due to its extra bulk – though having a viewfinder is tempting).  Having said that, I stumbled upon the preview on dpreview for the upcoming Lumix GF2 micro four thirds (well, technically, since I live in Japan, it’s already available).  I know that the micro four thirds (and others like it, such as the Sony NEX, etc) are a compromise between a standard DSLR and a compact, but was wondering if it’s worth considering such a camera (with a pancake lense) given the advantages a larger sensor should have in low light conditions.  Or, is the performance of high end point-n-shoots close enough (now that’s a relative term…) that the only reason to go with a micro four thirds would be to be able to use multiple lenses?

  • Ron: Recently purchased a Canon S95 after traveling with a Lumix LX3. Micro Four Thirds cameras like the Lumix GF2 can make for a great travel camera with a larger sensor from a point-and-shoot.
  • Catherine: Just purchased the Canon S95 instead of the Canon G12 due to the size differences for being able to carry around in a pocket.

Question #2 from MasonPelt: What memory should I get with the Canon 60D? I plan on shooting more video then photos with the camera so speed is very important to me.

  • Tyler: Canon recommends UDMA Compact Flash cards for the 7D and 5D MkII, so when shopping for SD cards make sure they support high speed transfers such as SDHC Class 10 media.


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On December 14th at 8pm ET / 5pm PT, Ron Brinkmann will be on the Peachpit Photo Club live webcast!


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11 thoughts on “TWiP #179 – TWiP the Light Fantastic”

  1. Thank you Catherine for answering my question about 5-in-1 reflectors. I was considering a single reflector, but hoped I could get away with a cheaper solution. Oh well. 🙂
    Thanks Frederick for doing TWIP every week and making it one of the best photography related podcasts out there.
    Nick Mazur

  2. I really enjoyed this weeks show. Great guests and great topics. I would have to disagree with what Kathrine said about 5-in-1 reflectors. Saying that they aren’t very good is a pretty broad statement. I have had great success with both a single reflector and the 5-in-1. Keep the awesome shows coming!

  3. Hey foks,

    Thanks for a great show (it showed up on my iPod synch this morning). Tyler, just to be clear – I now think it was “my bad” on the whole 100 Cameras – Squarespace thing. I was overly sensitive when you were really just having a great geek moment.

    Keep up the good work, folks – and thanks for the discussion of lights and reflectors. I found it very useful.

    Between now and next week I’ll be listening to more of your show archives, so here is a question for the show : which of the shows from the archives would you most recommend for those of us who are going back in time?

  4. About the BlueSLR:

    Thank you for contacting blueSLR.

    At this time, the blueSLR accessory does not send images directly to the iPhone. Images must be moved off of the camera in your standard way – including using an EyeFi card.

    Derick, on behalf of the blueSLR Team.

    FYI ,

  5. Since the release of the D3 I’ve been shooting with it using using a tiny bluetooth dongle in the 10pin port that links to a separate bluetooth enabled GPS receiver. The receiver sits in my camera bag or on the camera strap; the dongle is so tiny you don’t notice it at all. The GPS battery runs all day and the associated receiver works most places indoors pretty well too. So every image is tagged with all the kit associated with it being functionally invisible. Given I shoot extensively all over the world I can’t imagine life without it. It also has a trigger socket so you can still use pocketwizards or similar. Search for Nikon and Gisteq through Amazon or similar to find it.

    The BlueSLR solution looks very nice functionally – but it is much, much bigger… I also suspect it requires your iPhone to be running their app for it to work properly. Can’t see that working all day battery wise! Of course I am hoping the D4 will have this functionality built in – but for the moment I’m a happy camper for sure. So if you travel – check this out if you value image by image tagging in the camera.



  6. Careful about that auto GeoTagging…..

    I’m not so sure I want all my photos auto geotagged. I would want all the social sites to auto strip such data if it does come about. Any of my pretty gal friends I would definitely recommend they turn that stuff off…. Oh look at the cute picture of my fluffy dog… oh and while your at it, here is exactly where I live.

    …… something to think about.

  7. I really enjoy the TWiP episodes with Tyler. Maybe I’m biased because I’m retired military, but his discussions are the most interesting and useful to me.

  8. Tyler great blog. Good show. I would love to see more commercial based interviews. Since that is the route I am pursuing.

    Profoto in general are overpriced. There are a few more types of lighting to consider, that are great:

    Elimchrome ranger rx kits are great, versatile, 10 stops, and get a crazy fast flash duration for action photos.

    Speedotron black line are up there and have a battery solution for location.

    5in1 reflectors work fine, I have used the sunbounce stuff at the studio I work for and they are nice but again overpriced and kinda flimsy for me. We try and lean toward mirrored panels for lighting and white movie projector screens.

    Budget is always an issue. So chose wisely.