Posts by Category: Water Drops and Splashes

Cactus LV5 Laser Trigger – First Look

Posted by Caz on Sunday, 7th April 2013

I was recently contacted by the folks at Gadget Infinity, asking if I would like to try a Cactus LV5 Laser Trigger for evaluation. Of course, I said yes! It arrived the other day:

Cactus LV5 - Boxed

Cactus LV5 – Boxed

Cactus LV5 - Open Box

Cactus LV5 – Open Box

Here’s what comes in the box:

Cactus LV5 - What's In The Box

Cactus LV5 – What’s In The Box

Initially I was surprised that there were only 4AAA batteries in the box, but reading the manual, it turns out that each half of the trigger will work happily on just 2AAA’s – but will take 4 each – the usable life of the batteries is just halved when using two. The box contents comprise 1 LV5 laser emitter, 1 LV5 laser detector/RF transmitter, 1 LV5 hood (for the detector), 1 PC sync lead, 1 3.5mm plug cable and settings stickers to remind you what the thumbwheel control does on the detector.

The LV5 has Duo Mode Triggering (DMT) which means it can be triggered by either blocking the transmission between the laser Emitter and Sensor, or removing the object between the laser Emitter and Sensor. It sends a control pulse either via the 3.5mm jack socket on the emitter or via wireless to a Cactus V5 transceiver (optional extra).

Since I don’t have any Cactus transceivers, I decided to use the LV5 to trigger my camera’s shutter directly. This requires an optional extra lead, which is dedicated for your camera. It wasn’t included in the box, but fortunately I had a suitable cable for my Canon EOS 7D from my CameraAxe system – although you can of course buy one from Cactus.

A while ago my Lego Diver had fun making this picture with me on Day #1258. He had to make the jump many times because we were timing the camera shutter by hand. But today I tried it again with my lady diver and the Cactus LV5 laser trigger. Here’s the setup:

View From Above

View From Above

Side On

Side On

Looking Behind The Camera

Looking Behind The Camera

The transmitter and receiver were placed just above and either side of the tank of water and carefully lined up. Initially I had some trouble with the camera continuously triggering but once I aligned the sensors properly, it was fine.

I used the camera in mirror lock-up mode to minimize the shutter lag, using my existing Yongnuo TX and RX units to fire the flashes. Of course, you can use the built-in Cactus trigger signal to fire Cactus receivers under each flash if you have them.

It was much easier than timing by hand! I made sure I dropped the diver at a point which would break the laser and adjusted the delay until I got the shot I was after. I still took a quite a few shots, but there were many more keepers and it didn’t take very long to get one where she was looking in the right direction, and in the right point in the tank.

I can certainly see the potential for using this for other high speed shots with objects dropping into liquids. I doubt I would use it for any collision or crown shots, as I have two systems already which also control the valves – essential for such work. Here are some fun shots from my session:

Splash Facing Away

Splash Facing Away

Twist To The Right

Twist To The Right

Cleaning The Tank Of Bubbles

Cleaning The Tank Of Bubbles

Perfect Timing - Deep Dive Revisited

Perfect Timing – Deep Dive Revisited

The triggers seem well built, although I did find it rather easy to accidentally switch them on with the flush-mount on/off switch on top of each cylinder. So probably best to store them without batteries, just in case they get switched on while putting them away. You can take the hood off and stow the two front-to-front via their handy little twist locking mechanism. The transmitter also has a slide-across cover for the laser beam too – a great idea, although you can still see a very dim red spot through the cover when closed.

Each half of the trigger has an adjustable-angle foot – a nice mechanism with click-position location and a big thumb-tightened locking screw. Underneath, it has a standard 1/4″ tripod screw thread and plastic hot shoe attachment. I used the latter to slot into some plastic feet which came with my flash guns, which made the trigger very easy to position.

The LV5 has the potential for many uses where movement detection is required. I look forward to exploring more of these, including perhaps some wildlife shots in the future, as the units will work in sunshine and up to 150m apart.

March ’13 – Review

Posted by Caz on Monday, 1st April 2013

Despite the persistent cold and snow during March, I still managed quite a few outings for photography.

No Bicycles

No Bicycles

Chairs Not For Hire

Chairs Not For Hire

The first expedition was with the Essex Massive on a day out to Cambridge. The carved doorway very nearly made it for Day #1889. Next up was a long weekend in Bournemouth with Alistair for BarCamp Bournemouth5. We weren’t expecting more snow, but that’s exactly what we got! The deckchairs were a close runner for Day #1897.

I also got the Splash Art kit out again for some practice – making Storm In A Teacup, and playing with splashes in bubbles:

Two To Break Through

Two To Break Through

Mid-month I went to Brighton for the evening to give my talk and demonstration on High Speed Photography, which went down very well. I enjoyed a sunny afternoon in Shoreham before the session – it was good to feel some warm weather at last! Here’s one of the crowns I made during the evening demo:

Low Front Crown

Low Front Crown

I took a walk to the grafitti wall in Chelmsford again – it’s always interesting to what new art has been put up. Here’s a detail from one of the murals – I loved the contrast between paint and textures of the broken concrete underneath. It nearly made it for Day #1907.

Rough Surface Arrow

Rough Surface Arrow

By 23rd March it was still bitterly cold, but I took a walk to Sandford Mill Lock and the footbridge for my monthly Treasure Hunt shot. And it was snowing again! The bridge was pretty, but I had my brolly to keep the worst of it off me and my lens:

Undercover Viewpoint

Undercover Viewpoint

At the end of the month the Chelmsford Flickr Photowalk got together again to attend an open day at the Museum of Power in Langford. There were plenty of things to see. I managed to find images for several projects – David was Stranger #27, Chart #96 was a great mono candidate, and we had a splendid Geeks’ day out. All in all, a great end to the month, despite the weather.

Taking Her For A Spin

Taking Her For A Spin

Splashes In Action!

Posted by Caz on Tuesday, 19th March 2013
Caz in action

Caz in action

The presentation and live demo of my High Speed Photography talk went down well at Brighton & Hove Camera Club this evening.

The first half of the show was taken up with my talk and slides, showing how my water splash work has evolved. The second half was the demo where I showed members how to capture some images of crowns using the Splash Art Kit. Club member and fellow-365’er Graham Devenish caught me in action at my rig (right).

The members asked plenty of intelligent questions, and quite a few were making copious notes, so perhaps they will have a few budding Splashers at the club soon!

Here are a few shots I took during the demo:

Transparency

Transparency

A Splash Of Red & Yellow

A Splash Of Red & Yellow

Blue Coronet

Blue Coronet

Bubble Trouble

Posted by Caz on Sunday, 17th March 2013
Soap Bubble Splashes Setup

Soap Bubble Splashes Setup

I had a lot of fun with the teacup splashes the other day and thought I would have another go at a few more, to add some new material to my High Speed Flash/Water Splashes talk for next week. So I decided to try and catch some water collisions inside a soap bubble.

The setup is fairly straightforward – I used a small dish in front of my translucent perspex. This was lit from behind with two gelled flashes and from the rear LHS with one snooted flash, all at low power (1/64).

First blow the bubble into the water in the dish using a kiddies’ bubble-blowing bottle. Then activate the Splash Art Kit to make collision shots as normal. Voilà! Here are a selection of the best from my shoot, any of which could have made it for Day #1903 – I had a hard job deciding which I preferred!

Punch Up

Punch Up

Bubble Vase

Bubble Vase

Breakthrough

Breakthrough

Funnel Through The Bubble

Funnel Through The Bubble

I’m looking forward to giving my presentation now!

Making A Storm In A Teacup

Posted by Caz on Friday, 15th March 2013

Next week I’m giving my High Speed Flash/Water Splashes talk and demo at Brighton & Hove Camera Club. Since I haven’t done any splash pictures for a while, I thought I would get the kit out again and have a play.

Splash In The Cup

Splash In The Cup

I’ve been meaning to use this fab teacup again. It was last seen on Day #1614, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. The above is an alternative to the shot which made it for Day #1901 – Storm In A Teacup. Here’s the setup:

Teacup setup

Teacup setup

Another Lens Splash

Another Lens Splash

Coincidentally, I was looking for an image for this week’s 50@50 project, and since the cups needed to be photographed a little further away for the full effect, my Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM was perfect for the job. Above right is an alternative for Teabreak Time In The Studio which I chose for 50@50 (2013) #11, seen in the previous post. Mum and Dad gave me the fake lens mug for Christmas and it was crying out for a shot like this!