My Reverse Ring Got Stuck On the Camera Body

I had a moment of near panic today when I found I could not remove my inverse ring from my camera after doing some macro shots. I ended up laughing at myself afterwards though when I learned how to get it un-stuck.

Yes, my reverse ring got itself stuck on my Canon camera body and I was on the verge of panicking after spending almost 5 minutes wrestling with it today.

This is actually a nice case of ‘absence of mind’ while doing something…or, ok, it’s actually a case of plain old stupidity.

While trying to fend off an impending panic, I thought of searching for help via Google as I know I can always count on it for answers. I also know that if I, mediocre as I am, can meet a problem like this, there’s a great probability that at least 35% of the world’s population has already been through the same problem. Ok, I made that statistic up, but the point is…there should be a considerable number of folks out there who can be as dumb as I sometimes can be.

As I expected, there were several pages returned by Google about the same subject matter.

And the funny thing is that I could see that there were also a lot of people who have yet to experience this same thing and be as dumb as I was in finding a solution to it.

In the forums, (e.g. photoforum, dpchallenge, dpreview) here are just some funny suggestions to removing a stuck reverse ring:


…might be worth applying a bit of heat…


Maybe try mounting it on the camera, reversed and then try removing the ring..


Gentle tapping, flat on a bench may also yield a result – dry grease or candle wax rubbed into the thread before the next application will help stop it from sticking too…


apply heat or place in the fridge (wrapped in a plastic bag if cooling) and the stuff should come apart while either hot or cold.


A sledgehammer also comes in handy at times like that.
If all else fails, …you need an Excedrin for the self-inflicted headache…

The sledgehammer solution, of course, is my most favorite.

How to Remove Stuck Reverse Ring

How do you remove a lens from the camera body? If you know how, then that exactly is how you remove a reverse ring from the same camera body.

You press the lens release button, and then twist the reverse ring gently counter-clockwise.

You can imagine how dumb I felt when I realized how to remove a stuck reverse ring from my camera. How does a simple procedure that one already knows still slip off sometimes?

Anyway, I just simply missed playing with my camera as I just got it back after several months of it sleeping in some Canon support repair shop in the South. I remembered that I have a reverse ring which I bought last year (I have a post about it: Macro Close Up Photography: Cheaper Alternative to Macro Photography) and was thinking of trying it again.

Here, by the way are some shots I made with my 18-55mm kit lens attached on my camera in reverse with a couple of close up macro filters.

From this:
subject for macro photo watch

comes these macro pics:
macro reverse ring photo
scratches seen through macro photo
The watch is an old one that I still use even now. It’s still silver-shiny, but as you can see in the above close-up photo, you’d think it’s been slid through sandpaper.

I shot another macro coming from this old filing cabinet:
old filing cabinet

And here’s the macro photo:
macro photo of a rusty spot
That’s the close-up of a particular rusty spot on the filing cabinet.

Not the best macro photo quality of course, but considering that I only used very cheap equipment like close up lenses and inverse rings, I think it’s cool enough.

While we’re in the subject of inverse rings, here’s a couple of short videos I found from youtube which should amply educate anyone who has yet to know what a reverse ring is and what it is for.

Note: All macro photos are un-cropped.

My Phottix Battery Meets Its End

My phottix battery has served its purpose. But unlike the original Canon batteries, it died too soon.

Like they say, you get what you pay for. And it got proven right with the Phottix battery I bought sometime ago which at first got me really satisfied because it worked nicely for a price that’s only a third of the real thing.

Well, like I’ve said in a previous post called LP-E8 Battery By Phottix Let Me Down, it lasted for only 3 months. Good thing my original Canon battery lived up to its name and is working satisfactorily even now.

A few days ago*, I found it again in some box in the back room. Having nothing in mind to do, I conjured this idea about picking it apart and see what’s inside the thing.

, I’ll let the pictures tell its story.

exploded view of phottix battery

There!

I did not go any further after that last image. Besides my fear of the unknown, I don’t have the time and guts to tear it apart and see what possibly toxic material is hiding behind the tin body.

And my monkey mind is no longer able to hold on to the idea, and having seen the end of my phottix battery, is itching to jump on to another thing.

*This article was actually written as a follow up to the ‘LP-E8 Battery By Phottix Let Me Down’ post ages ago. Upon browsing through my folders, I found this and despite how long ago I first drafted this, I decided to post it anyway.

Doing Halftones in Photoshop

I’ve done halftones before, using Inkscape. Now I need my notes on how to do it in Photoshop so I can look it up whenever I need it. I’m too lazy to memorize it. 🙂

Halftones when done right never fails to add extra life to any graphic work I do. I’ve used them just recently in some tarpaulin banners/streamers I designed at work.

I remember having posted about how I learned a method of creating colored halftones in Inkscape. But since Inkscape was a later (than photoshop) discovery of mine, I’ve always favored using photoshop as I’m already familiar with most of its features and tools. The image below is something I put up sorta quickly just for this post.

halftones using photoshop

Everytime I’m inspired to do halftones, which is not very often by the way, I automatically google for its procedures. And that’s because I’m too lazy to memorize the actual procedures. I’ve of course already saved the pages somewhere on my harddrive, but again, I’m too lazy to look for it. Googling just happens to be a lot faster. Lately though I’ve found that google has somehow managed to re-arrange the usual search results which I’ve been used to years ago. Thus, I’m putting this post up so that I only have to go to this page instead of some other website.

Well, there are several methods of creating halftones. Like I said earlier, there’s one for Inkscape, there are some from Illustrator. This one’s from Photoshop.

Photoshop: Quick Way to do Halftones

  1. Open a photo or graphic you want to create halftones from.
  2. Select the portion on which you want to apply halftones on. Use the Lasso Tool, or Polygonal Lasso Tool, or any favorite method of selection you use.
  3. click the ‘Refine Edge’ button. Thats the only long button on the bar below the menu bar. This adjusts the degree of fine-ness of the gradient from solid color to transparent.
  4. Adjust the Feather slide bar according to your liking. Then click ‘OK’.
  5. Click on the ‘Q’ key to create a mask. The parts outside the selection will turn some kind of orange.
  6. Click on Filter>Pixelate>Color Halftone…
  7. Adjust the ‘Max. Radius’ value. If you don’t have any idea, try 8 then click OK. If you don’t like it, undo the change and go back to Filter>Pixelate>Color Halftone… and change accordingly.
  8. Click ‘Q’ again. The selection will show up again (the crawling ants).
  9. Invert the selection. Select>Inverse.
  10. Hit ‘Delete’.
  11. Voila! Halftones!

I use halftone effects either in the background or a partial floating semi-transparent foreground. In the image above, I used it for a background. Thus, the source of the halftones are actually just solid color layers upon which I applied the procedures cited above.

Next, I would like to convert a human portrait so that the subtle gradations and shades on the face are halftones instead of the usual gradients. I’ve seen it somewhere on the web and in some posters so I’m sure if it could be done, it could be done using photoshop.

Discovering Flickr

Flickr is an option to take when your free blog platform has a very low limit to how many pictures you can upload to their servers.

About a month ago, I was tasked to create a blog for our office. Although we have an official website, the instruction did not involve the use of that website. I would have loved to, at least, create a subdomain from it for the blog project.

The only option is to use free blogs and among several possible platforms, I choose wordpress.com. The thing though is that the blog would require me to use a lot of pictures. And I’m sure that these free blogs have limits as to how much space you can use in their servers. These days, it wouldn’t be a lot as they are scrimping for space, what with millions of people creating new websites everyday.

flickr logo imageWith that problem in mind, I recalled having seen quite a few photo blogs before and I wonder if they store their own photos or host them some other place. Although most of these photoblogs I know are self hosted (meaning, not hosted in free blog sites), I think that they cannot just upload all they want in the servers they use. Paid hosts, I recall, also have limits when it comes to storage space even if they say ‘unlimited’ in their ads.

One photoblog I frequent is that of an Australian dude called Sire. He owns a couple of photoblogs and I remember him in one of his past posts thanking flickr for something. I realized it was about the hosting of photos that he displays in his photo blogs.

Long story short, I decided to use flickr likewise to host the images I’m going to use for the blog I made for the office. And like Sire, I thank flickr for this feature. Flickr does implement some limit to the number of pictures you can upload per day or per month, but the picture volume for the blog I’m working on is comfortably way below the limits.

Once you have a flickr account and have uploaded your pics, it’s as easy as clicking the ‘share’ button above the picture you want to display in your blog.

Then, choosing ‘HTML’ (see #1 in pic), then choosing the size you prefer in the dropdown list (#2), then clicking on the code box (#3), the mere act of which automatically selects the whole code, then pressing ctrl-c to copy it.

flickr easy

The code looks like this:


< a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/blahblah/1111840101/” title=”picture’s title” >< img src=”http://farm7.staticflickr.com /6769/6328840101_02ae24dd4f.jpg” width=”456″ height=”500″ alt=”text here text here”>< /a >

Now you’ve got the code to paste on your post on your blog. You now have a picture without loading your server with image files.

I don’t know what processing happens down at the flickr servers but I noticed that the flickr pictures displayed are a lot crispier and sharper with a lot smaller file sizes than the pictures I upload directly to the free blog servers. And inspite of photoshop’s ‘Save for web’ feature, I still can’t duplicate the small size flickr outputs at such good quality.

Of course, there’s the issue about what happens to your blog should, God forbid, flickr folds. But that’s for another story, I suppose.

nom-0801nom

My 580EX II Sometimes Does Not Fire

I thought my 580EX II has gone south on me when it fails to fire sometimes. And nothing can be more dismal than a flash that doesn’t fire when you expect it to work the most – during an event coverage.

Just this week, my 580EX II speedlite started to act queer, sometimes fires, sometimes doesn’t. I have to take it off the hotshoe and replace it before it fires again. Then again, sometimes it still fails to work. It was exasperating especially when I’m covering some event and a (supposedly) perfect picture comes out dark because of a speedlite misfire.

The first time it happened, the battery was almost already spent. So I thought it was a case of low power supply. But even after a fresh recharge the same thing happens.

The Solution

My external flash does not fire sometimes

The thought of having to part with my gear for a day or two is kind of difficult and I fear that it might happen if the symptoms continue as I really have to send it in for the Canon experts to check out. Luckily, I got to ask some questions at the perfect place that often has perfect answers – the google search page.

Turns out, it’s a case of a contact problem. Some sort of cleaning the parts that gets to make connections at the hotshoe. That is, cleaning involves both the hotshoe on the camera and the contacts at the speedlite.

And what do I use to clean these thingies? An eraser!

That was no suprise to me as I have some experience in this area. I once cleaned up the memory cards of a cpu using an eraser. When I put back the ‘erased’ memory cards in place, the computer came back to life.

So, what I did was to rub the eraser on the hotshoe surfaces as well as the contact surfaces on the speedlite. After doing so, I wiped off the excess ‘burnt’ rubber of the contacts with a piece of clean cloth. And voila! Everything was back to normal.

I still don’t know why I need to use an eraser to clean it up. If it’s just dust, a little blowing off would probably do. If an eraser is needed, perhaps the dirt that got stuck on the contacts must be of the stubborn type.

Another Solution

Another reason a speedlite may fail to fire is a wobbly or loose coupling at the hotshoe. Here’s a video I found that explains it all.

P.S. If you haven’t checked out my post about the Canon 580EX II, please read it. I’ve included there a few videos about the proper use of the 580EX II.


I posted this as soon as I completed the cleaning and the camera began working nicely.

The pessimist in me however tells me to observe the gear a few more days before rejoicing at having found a solution to the speedlite problem. Well, l’ll definitely make an update to this post, whatever happens in a few days.

LP-E8 Battery By Phottix Let Me Down

I got a lesson on “You get what you pay for” with the Phottix LP-E8 replacement battery I bought a few months ago.

I’m done with the Phottix made LP-E8 equivalent battery for the Canon Rebel 2Ti/550D. I’ll never buy another Phottix battery ever.

phottix LP-E8 replacement battery

I was only forced to purchase this battery because there was a shortage of LP-E8 batteries at the time I needed a spare battery for my camera. Some friends had warned me beforehand that it’s not as good as the real Canon LP-E8, but that it does get the shooting done.

Theirs may have lasted longer but mine happened to just get busted after only about 3 months of use. And it happened when we were about to take an 8-hour trip to a cool beach resort. I charged it with my Canon battery charger but instead of the light turning green after it was supposed to be fully charged, it just blinked continuously. And when I inserted it into the camera, the power level remained at the warning low level.

You get what you pay for. Yeah, the Phottix LP-E8 (actually, the battery backside says ‘Phottix 7.4V 1400mAh Titan for LP-E8) only cost around a third of the real thing. I think that it did however was a great help in getting the shots which I may not have made had I not had it as a spare battery. During a fashion show for instance where my sister in law was one of the models, my Canon LP-E8 run out of juice just about the time the finale came. The Phottix LP-E8 came just handy and saved me the trouble of explaining the possibly missed pictures. This may have been my battery when I shot those pics I used in my post Macro Close Up Photography: Cheaper Alternative to Macro Photography.

Great help or not, just the same, I’m sticking this time to the genuine Canon LP-E8 batteries. Of course, there are other LP-E8 replacement batteries out there (e.g. Lenmar, Opteka, Wasabi, Power2000, etc.) besides the Phottix version. But I’m no longer interested in trying them out, no matter how cheap their prices are.

I’m not saying though that all Phottix products are bad. In fact, I’m using a Phottix battery grip, which is still working good even now. For the price I paid for it, it’s just awesome. I think the ‘you get what you pay for’ thingy doesn’t apply in this case.

Canon LP-E8 Battery Available at Amazon

original Canon LP-E8 battery

The Canon LP-E8 battery is currently available at Amazon at this page. The reviews however indicate that some users are not sure if they are authentic Canon LP-E8 batteries.

Me, I think I’ll buy only at Canon shops which luckily is in one of the malls in my city.

Have you any experience about non-Canon batteries for your Canon equipment? Care to share?

Macro Close Up Photography: Cheaper Alternative to Macro Photography

Macro attempts using available cheap alternatives to those expensive macro lenses.

This week, I just found myself in the close up macro phase of my on-off photography adventure. And having found the regular macro lenses a little too expensive for my taste, I got into a little research about cheap macro photography setups or equipment. And fortunately, I found a few cheap macro close up alternatives.

The Macro Close Up Lens

close up macro filters

I’m not referring to the real macro lens such as the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L IS USM Macro Lens as like I said earlier, it’s a tad too expensive for me unless I specialize in macro photography. What I mean are those little filter sized lenses you put on your lens that lets you get closer to your subject beyond the minimum focusing distance that your regular lens allows.

I got 4 pieces of these little lenses like the 1 2 4 10 Close Up Macro Filter at Amazon. The 1 2 4 10 numbers simply mean a dioptre magnification of 1x, 2x, 4x, and 10x.

Here are some of my attempts at macro close up photography using the filters. As I can’t find some interesting object like a bee perhaps or a spider to shoot, I used my forefinger as a test subject. For these, I coupled the 4x and 10x filters together and placed it on top of the 18-55mm kit lens.

close up macro
Uncropped photo of a forefinger
cheaper alternative to macro photography
The kit lens with the 10x and 4x tandem

The Macro Reverse Ring

The day after I shot the above pictures, I went to the malls to check out for reverse rings. Among the first three malls I visited, only one happened to have a store that sells these rings. I purchased a 58mm reverse ring which fit perfectly with my 18-55mm kit lens.

Hereunder are some of my attempts at macro photography. Again, these attempts being at the spur-of-the-moment ones, I scrambled to find something interesting to shoot besides my forefinger again. I the absence of an interesting subject, I opted to make a door key my subject for test shooting using my macro reverse ring. 🙂

cheap macro photography equipment
Using the macro reverse ring with the 10x and 4x macro close up lenses on the 18-55mm kit lens. Uncropped.
cheap macro photography setup
Using the macro reverse ring on the 18-55mm kit lens only. Uncropped.
cheaper alternative macro photography
The model

I’m sure the macro shots using those expensive macro lenses give way much better quality images than these cheap alternatives. Because if not, no one would be shelling out big bucks if their quality equals those taken through the above-cited alternative macro photography setups. Me, unless I decide to take macro photography more seriously, I shall content myself with these cheaper close up macro equipment.

Yet Another Cheap Macro Close Up Photography Setup

Wanna Try Macro Photography Too?

Thinking of Earning Money From My Photos

Do you think we hobbyists can earn a little something from our photographs? I did a quick research and I do think we can.


I’ve accumulated a considerable number of photographs after almost a year of on and off hobby-photography and am now thinking of earning money from these photos. Although I still felt I need to learn a lot, I’ve gained at least a wee bit of confidence in my photography. Yes, I do some post processing, but who doesn’t these days? I’ve seen some photos from folks who who don’t do post processing and a lot of them are just not that pleasing to the eye.

One of my friends asked me how he can make money out of his photographs. I’ve seen a lot of his photos which he posted on facebook and flickr and they’re all awesome. He especially makes stunning landscapes. That brought me to thinking about making use of my photos to earn too.

One possible way to earn is through a photo-blog. I have blogger friends who have photo-blogs but I’ve never asked them how much they earn using the adsense blocks they put up in those blogs. From what I’ve learned so far in the blogging arena, keywords are key to gaining (the right) traffic and thus earnings. My biased belief is that one doesn’t earn much, adsense-wise, with photo blogs that post random pictures of anything. If they do, then there must be some structure and strategy they use that I’ve yet to know about. Some photo blogs I love to visit are scenicadelaide and jrondaldlee. I guess one strategy they use is to include a few paragraphs of text in the photo post. These gets some keywords embedded in there for seo purposes.

Another friend however, who now lives in Canada swears he earns a little something every month from his photographs he submitted to such sites as fotolia, dreamstime, and other stock photo sites. This I suppose is where I would load my photos in the hope of getting a few cents out of them. Yes, there would be millions of photos out there, and I can only imagine how mine would fare in that ocean of images. But like they said, whatever idea you’ve got, taking action is the secret to knowing if it will work or not.

Here’s a list of stock photography sites I’ve stumbled just recently. This guy from photopreneur really did a lot of research to gather this information. Check it out by clicking here.

Me, I’m going over my database to find my passwords to some of the sites I’ve created an account with some time ago. I think it’s time we earn some money from our photographs. 🙂

PS. As a hobbyist, I only have the basics in terms of equipment:

Wish List Entry:

The Master Key System

A totally free give-away from a fellow warrior at the warriorforum called ‘The Master Key System’ is up for grabs.


“That much gathers more is true on every plane of existence and that loss leads to greater loss is equally true.”

From The Master Key System

I’ve been blog-lazy for the past couple of months. I’ve gone way below my self-imposed quota of articles and I’ve even foregone answering the comments on my posts. I suppose I could say Bruno Mar’s “The Lazy Song” has become my theme song for these past few months.

I’ve however been considerably pre-occupied with my next love – photography. I’ve been dabbling with it, whenever I get the chance, for almost a year. And just this August, I’ve incorporated it with my day job – documenting the festivities in my city. We only have one working camera at the office (the other one is yet to be repaired), so my own camera came in handy at the right time.

So far, I’ve realized that even after almost a year, I still have a lot to learn and a lot of practice ahead of me before I can feel really confident about my shooting skills. A friend of mine has been suggesting I join up with a local group of photo enthusiasts. Upon learning that all its members are pro, I got cold feet and decided to just stay where I am and improve from there.

pic from canon 550d

Anyway, I’ve stumbled back to the warriorforum and there’s one free wso there that is quite cool (aren’t all free wso cool?). This one however is different from the rest in that it doesn’t force anyone to join their list. There is however an option to join.

It’s about his free ebook called ‘The Master Key System‘ by Charles Haanel. I guess this probably can be found in a lot of other sites because it says this was written a few years back, in 1912. 🙂

If you’re into something like “The world without reflects the circumstances and the conditions of the consciousness within“, you will find this collection of wisdom from Haanel awesome.


“Harmony in the world within will be reflected in the world without by harmonious conditions, agreeable surroundings, the best of everything. It is the foundation of health and a necessary essential to all greatness, all power, all attainment, all achievement and all success. “

How are harmonious and desirable conditions secured?

How may fear be completely eliminated?

What is the Silence?

What is changing conditions and multiplying results in the objective world?

These are just a few of the many questions answered in ‘ The Master Key System‘ by Christian Haanel.

Meet the Bunwich

Our new pet dog, Bunwich, arrived home a couple of days ago. Isn’t she a beauty?

bandit-signature

Almost 2 years ago we brought our very first family pet home and I wrote a post called ‘Meet the Bandit‘. Now, another girl pup has joined us. Ladies, gentlemen, and dogs….meet the Bunwich!

pet dog

While Bandit is a mix Japanese Spitz and Chihuahua, the friend from whom we got Bunwich said Bunwich is a poodle. Really, I love dogs, but I still don’t know and don’t intend to learn their breeds and all. I just love them. Of course, I don’t do the pet-licking-my-face routine. I play with them but I keep them at a safe distance from my face because, like I’ve said in the other post, I am sensitive to dust and pet hairs. My kids don’t seem to have that sensitivity though.

pet dog bunwich

My kids, 6-year old Shaniah Niles, and 12-year old James Lionel, shrieked in delight when they saw the Bunwich for the first time. While Bandit is snow white, Bunwich, born March 5 this year, is a mix of darkness and light browns. I think there are a few white fur on her chin and under belly though.

Getting a good shot at her indoors was not easy as she can’t sit still even for a second. She such a dynamo that I had to have my wife hold her so I can take a shot. I took several shots and the majority were blurs. It took all the patience I could muster just to get a few good ones out of several wasted shots.

bandit-signature