Archive for March, 2021

Fujifilm X Webcam 2

March 30, 2021

Fujifilm X Webcam 2 is a free software application that enables the use of select Fujifilm cameras as a device for video conferencing, live video streaming, etc. Versions of the software are available for both macOS and Windows.

X Webcam is compatible with my Fujifilm X-T3 mirrorless digital camera; it isn’t compatible with my Fujifilm X-T1. An older camera — one that is used less than the newer model — would be perfect to repurpose as a Webcam. <Heavy sigh!>

How it works (when it looks like it doesn’t).

Connect the camera to a computer via a USB cable. A small green LED on the back of my Fujifilm X-T3 indicates the camera/computer connection is active. Next launch Fujifilm X Webcam 2 on your computer. Notice the window that appears on-screen is grayed-out, suggesting the application isn’t working. But it is!

In order to look like it’s working, Fujifilm X Webcam 2 must be connected to some sort of videoconferencing application such as Google Meet, Open Broadcaster Software (OBS Studio), Zoom, etc.

Nothing happened after I started OBS Studio, that is, until a “Video Capture Device” was added. At that point, the X Webcam 2 window was active. Notice my camera was recognized by X Webcam 2, as indicated by the following Screencapture.

The bigger picture shows both Fujifilm X Webcam 2 and OBS Studio are working. My X-T3 digital camera is listed as “Video Capture Device” in the OBS “Sources” panel. The audio output from the built-in microphone on my laptop computer is shown in the OBS “Audio Mixer” panel. (Audio isn’t included in the feed from X Webcam 2.)

At this point, OBS Studio could be used to either stream or record the output from my X-T3 and laptop microphone. More “Sources” can be added to the main window, but for the purpose of this blog post all I wanted to do is demonstrate that Fujifilm X Webcam 2 can be interfaced with OBS Studio via a USB cable.

Related Resources

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Post update: Tachopteryx thoreyi exuvia

March 26, 2021

I just updated an older blog post in order to correct a label for an anatomical structure that was mislabeled, plus I added some new information.

The updated annotated image is shown below.

No. 2 | Gray Petaltail (Tachopteryx thoreyi) | exuvia (dorsal)

While I was editing the photo, I noticed something I hadn’t seen before — a large dorsal hook of abdominal segment nine (S9) that overhangs segment 10 (S10). This time I’m fairly sure the structure is correctly called a dorsal hook.

Related Resource: Tachopteryx thoreyi exuvia, an updated version of a blog post by Walter Sanford.

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Sumo Citrus still life

March 19, 2021

Have you seen/eaten Sumo Citrus? They’re easy to peel, seedless, and billed as “the sweetest orange.” Delicious, I say!

How I got the shots

I set up a tripod at a good distance from the subject for a 50mm lens. Then I switched cameras without moving the tripod. Each camera/lens combo was set for an aperture of f/8; other camera and flash settings varied as necessary. (See EXIF info for details regarding camera settings for each photo.)

Canon 5D Mark II

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens (“Nifty 50”), Godox X2TC, Godox TT685C plus Lastolite flash modifier.

18 March 2021 | BoG Photo Studio | Sumo Citrus

Fujifilm X-T1

Fujinon 18-55mm zoom kit lens set for 34mm (51mm, 35mm equivalent), Godox XProF, Godox TT685C plus Lastolite flash modifier.

18 March 2021 | BoG Photo Studio | Sumo Citrus

Fujifilm X-T3

Fujifilm 11mm extension tube, Fujinon XF80mm macro lens, Vello Off-Camera TTL Flash Cord, Godox X2TF, Godox TT685C plus Lastolite flash modifier.

18 March 2021 | BoG Photo Studio | Sumo Citrus

Sumo Citrus from Giant Food

Bernard Nimmons is the produce manager at the Giant Food located in Beacon Center. I sent a Facebook Messenger message to Bernard recently…

I need Sumo Oranges STAT! Are they back in stock?

The following selfie photo is Bernard’s reply to my message. Now you can see why I always say “Bernard puts the ‘Pro’ in Produce.”

Selfie photo used with permission from Bernard Nimmons.

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Odonate calendars updated for 2021

March 16, 2021

Google Calendar was used to synthesize Dr. Steve Roble’s excellent datasets for the Commonwealth of Virginia into two calendars: Dragonflies (VA Flight Dates); and Damselflies (VA Flight Dates). An online, interactive version of both calendars is provided on this page.

Dragonflies (VA Flight Dates) – Updated for 2021

The dragonflies calendar is shown below. Every event features the following information: common name; scientific name; early-date/late-date; abundance; and habitat.

Damselflies (VA Flight Dates) – Updated for 2021

An interactive version of the damselflies calendar is also available online, as shown below. Every event features the following information: common name; scientific name; early-date/late-date; abundance; and habitat.

Color-coded versions

Both calendars are color-coded by family. Regrettably, the color-coding is lost in the online, interactive version of both calendars. That is, unless you print the .ics version of the calendars (samples shown below). Please contact me if you would to have copies of the .ics versions of the calendars.

The colors of the rainbow (ROYGBIV) were used to color-code the seven families of dragonflies; the equivalent colors in the Google Calendar default color palette are shown in brackets. The colors for Emeralds and Clubtails were flip-flopped because it just makes sense the Emeralds should be color-coded green!

  • R = Family Aeshnidae (Darners) [Tomato]
  • O = Family Cordulegastridae (Spiketails) [Tangerine]
  • G = Family Corduliidae (Emeralds) [Basil]
  • Y = Family Gomphidae (Clubtails) [Banana]
  • B = Family Libellulidae (Skimmers) [Peacock]
  • I = Family Macromiidae (Cruisers) [Blueberry]
  • V = Family Petaluridae (Petaltails) [Grape]

Dragonflies (VA Flight Dates) – March 2021

“FSL” was used to color-code the three families of damselflies common to the mid-Atlantic states (USA); the equivalent colors in the Google Calendar default color palette are shown in brackets.

  • F – Family Calopterygidae (Broad-winged Damselflies) [Flamingo]
  • S – Family Coenagrionidae (Narrow-winged Damselflies) [Sage]
  • L – Family Lestidae (Spreadwings) [Lavendar]

For what it’s worth, all of the colors for the damselflies calendar are pastel shades.

Damselflies (VA Flight Dates) – March 2021

Related Resources

CHECKLIST OF THE DRAGONFLIES AND DAMSELFLIES OF VIRGINIA, April 2017 and April 2020 updates” by Dr. Steve Roble, Staff Zoologist at the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage.

Kevin Munroe, former manager of Huntley Meadows Park, created an excellent calendar called Dragonflies of Northern Virginia – Flight Periods. This calendar is a valuable resource for hunting dragonflies in Northern Virginia. I think the value of Kevin Munroe’s calendar is enhanced by using it in combination with my visualization of Dr. Steve Roble’s dataset.

Dragonflies & Damselflies of Loudoun County features a flight calendar for both dragonflies and damselflies.

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Answer key: Vernier calipers

March 12, 2021

The jaws of the caliper are spread apart 11.15 mm (7/16″), as shown by the following annotated photo.

08 MAR 2021 | Bog Photo Studio | analog Vernier caliper (close-up)

As it turns out, I used the calipers to measure the diameter of the barrel of a brass spigot used for photography clamps.

Product image courtesy B&H Photo.

Related Resource: Tools of the trade: Vernier calipers.

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Tools of the trade: Vernier calipers

March 9, 2021

A Vernier caliper is a useful tool for measuring things precisely. The caliper shown in the following photos is precise to 0.05 mm (1/128 in).

08 MAR 2021 | Bog Photo Studio | analog Vernier caliper

Some guides to the identification of odonate larvae and exuviae are measurement intensive. A caliper can be helpful for making measurements of a specimen quickly.

08 MAR 2021 | Bog Photo Studio | analog Vernier caliper (close-up)

Carolina Biological Supply Company sells both analog and digital calipers. Analog calipers are relatively inexpensive and work well. Digital calipers can cost at least five times more than their analog counterparts.

Carolina sells two models of analog Vernier calipers: one model is made of nickel-plated steel; the other is made of plastic. The metal caliper has sharp edges and points that can scratch surfaces easily; the plastic caliper won’t scratch most surfaces.

The metal model comes in a plastic pouch; the plastic model doesn’t. Advantage metal model, right? No! Both the metal caliper and its plastic pouch are covered in some type of lubricant that is both unnecessary and a chore to clean off the caliper. Can you tell I prefer the plastic model?

Learning by doing – How to read the Vernier scale

How to Read a Metric Vernier Caliper by (7:01) is an animated video that explains how to read the Vernier scale of an analog caliper. Watch the video, then test yourself to see whether you can determine how far the bigger jaws of the caliper are spread apart (in mm), as shown in the preceding close-up photo.

Be careful — the Vernier scale shown in the video is precise to 0.02 mm while the one shown in the photograph is precise to 0.05 mm. Here’s a hint: The jaws of the caliper are slightly more than 11 mm apart.

Please submit your answer as a comment on this blog post. Relax, you won’t see any spoilers because all comments must be approved by the blog administrator. (Hey, that’s me!)

Post update

The answer key for the caliper quiz is now online.

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


Tethered shooting using Canon EOS Utility

March 5, 2021

Canon EOS Utility (EOS-U) can be used to tether many models of Canon digital cameras with computers (running either macOS or Windows). For example, my Canon EOS 5D Mark II appears on the list of cameras supported by EOS-U.

Canon EOS-U is like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re going to get! The way that tethering looks and functions seems to depend upon a combination of your camera model and your computer operating system.

My new 13″ Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) features the “Big Sur” macOS. The drop-down menu for “Operating System” (shown below) doesn’t list either “Big Sur” or “Catalina” — the last two versions of macOS. So I selected “macOS Mohave v10.14” …

and downloaded/installed “EOS Utility 2.14.31b for Mac OS X.”

Canon EOS Utility 2

Here’s how to get started. Tether your camera to a computer using an appropriate cable for your camera and computer.

Trouble-shooting tip: Set the camera Drive Mode for “One Shot” before tethering your camera to a computer. EOS Utility 2 doesn’t work when the Drive Mode of my Canon EOS 5D Mark II is set for Timer (either 2 s or 10 s).

Launch Canon EOS Utility 2, or EOS-U 3 if you are using a newer camera than me. The “Main Window” (shown below) should appear on screen. Click on “Camera settings/Remote shooting.”

The “Capture Window” (camera control panel) should appear on screen, as shown below.

Click on the button labeled “Preferences…” that is located in the lower-left corner of the “Capture Window” (camera control panel). The following screenshot shows all of the categories of preferences.

Select Preferences → Basic Settings in order to set the “Main Window” to show on startup. I recommend ticking the checkbox to automatically display the “Quick Preview” window whenever a photo is taken.

Select Preferences → Remote Shooting in order to set where photo files are saved. My camera is set to shoot RAW files only; CR2 files are saved to both my camera and computer, as indicated by the icon in the camera control panel that looks like a computer + camera.

Select Preferences → Destination Folder to specify the location where photo files will be saved on your computer. My preferences are as follows.

Help requested: A little help from my readers, please. What is the purpose of the “Monitor Folder,” shown in the preceding “Preferences” panel? I speculate it might be a folder that is watched by “Digital Photo Professional 4,” free photo editing software available from CanonUSA.

Subfolders within the “Destination Folder” are created automatically as per my preferences.

Select Preferences → Linked Software in order to set an application that will be used to open photo files automatically. In my case, I registered “Preview,” an Apple graphics utility.

When you click on the “Register…” button the first time, what you see varies depending upon whether you are using EOS Utility 2…

or EOS Utility 3. In either case, all of the default options are Canon applications. If you would prefer to link to a non-Canon application, then select “None” and press the “Register…” button again in order to browse the applications available on your computer.

The “Capture Window” (camera control panel, shown below) can be used to change some but not all settings for my Canon EOS 5D Mark II. The initial settings shown by EOS-U should be the same as your camera before it was tethered to your computer.

The grayed-out “M” indicates my camera is set for Manual shooting mode. The shooting mode (M, Av, Tv, P, etc.) cannot be changed in software — you must make that setting by turning the dial on your camera. Also, adjusting the focal length of a zoom lens cannot be done remotely by the software.

The camera settings shown in black can be adjusted remotely. For example, I set the White Balance for “Flash,” as indicated by the lightning flash icon. Press the virtual shutter button when you’re ready to take a photo.

EOS-U 2 seems to have no idea what type of lens is mounted on the camera. In this case, I used my Canon “Nifty 50” lens (EF 50mm f/1.8 II) to take some test shots. The “Quick Preview” panel appears after you take a photo. (The panel is resizable.)

Each photo also opens automatically in “Preview” based upon my settings in Preferences → Linked Software. To some extent, it’s redundant to open photos in both EOS-U “Quick Preview” and Apple “Preview.” My goal is simply to demonstrate for Fujifilm that Canon has shown it is possible to make “Linked Software” work on a computer running the Big Sur macOS.

Click the “Live View shoot…” button, located near the bottom of the “Capture Window” (camera control panel), in order to display the “Remote Live View window” (shown below). There you can set the focus point, and zoom in/out. Other options might be available depending upon your camera model.

Canon EOS Utility 3

Mike Powell, my good friend and photowalking buddy, experimented with his Canon EOS Rebel SL2 tethered to Canon EOS Utility 3. Sincere thanks to Mike for patiently helping me begin to figure out things that are software-dependent and things that are camera-dependent.

Your mileage might vary, but it’s worth noting that the “Capture Window” (camera control panel) for Mike’s Canon EOS Rebel SL2 shows several options that aren’t available for my older Canon EOS 5D Mark II. This is the box of chocolates thing that I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post.

For example, the Drive Mode [Single Shot, Continuous, Timers (2, 10 s)] can be set in EOS-U 3 (on Mike’s camera) but can’t be set in EOS-U 2 (on my camera).

Look closely at the “Capture Window” (camera control panel, shown above). Notice the icon for a movie camera located to the right of the “Live View shoot…” button. That button is supposed to enable remote video shooting; neither Mike nor I have tested the process.

Here’s a screenshot of the “Remote Live View window” on Mike’s computer. Notice the EOS-U 3 window features more buttons than EOS-U 2. Also notice the histogram shown in the lower-right corner, a useful tool that isn’t featured in EOS-U 2 using either Mike’s Canon EOS 50D or my Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

What are the take-aways?

Canon EOS Utility can do so much more than tethered shooting using Adobe Lightroom Classic that EOS-U is the tool of choice for tethered shooting with my Canon camera. I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface of what EOS-U can do, and I’m looking forward to further exploration and experimentation.

Who knows? The joy of tethered shooting with EOS-U — and the frustration of the limitations of the software when used with my older camera — might motivate me to buy a new Canon mirrorless digital camera. That is, assuming Canon introduces a pro-grade camera with an APS-C sensor at a sub-$4K price point. If I’m going to spend $4,000 or more for a camera — the current price range for higher end Canon mirrorless digital cameras — then I think my money would be better spent on one of the Fujifilm GFX medium format digital cameras.

Related Resources



Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Tethered shooting using my Canon EOS 5D Mark II

March 2, 2021

Adobe Lightroom Classic can be used to tether many models of Canon and Nikon digital cameras with computers (running either macOS or Windows) that meet the system requirements. For example, my Canon EOS 5D Mark II appears on the list of tethered cameras supported by Lightroom Classic.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark II works as expected when tethered with Lightroom Classic. “Live View”¹ on the computer screen plus the ability to change camera settings and trigger the camera using Lightroom are among many features I like. And it’s FREE. Well, free as long as you have Lightroom Classic and that isn’t free.

Getting started

Here’s how to get started. Tether your camera to a computer using an appropriate cable for your camera and computer. Launch Lightroom. Select File → Tethered Capture → Start Tethered Capture…

The “Tethered Capture Settings” window appears on screen; carefully consider the settings you make (especially the “Destination”) since Lightroom doesn’t like it when you change the location of photo files on your computer!

After your camera is connected to the computer successfully, select File → Show Tethered Capture Window. “Command-T” is the keyboard shortcut to toggle on/off the “Tethered Capture Window,” shown below.

The window indicates the name of the camera connected to your computer and the “Session Name” that you used when you set the “Tethered Capture Settings”; in this case I used the name “Studio Session.”

Click the button labeled ¹”Live” in order to see a “Live View” of your camera. With my camera tethered to an Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) — by far the fastest computer I own and one of the faster computers currently on the market — there is so much video lag that I found “Live” to be unusable!

You can adjust a limited number of camera settings, including shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and white balance (shown from left-to-right in the “Tethered Capture Window”).

“Develop Settings” can be applied on-the-fly to photos as you shoot them. I’m not sure how useful this feature is, given the fact that it seems like every photo requires a unique set of adjustments/edits.

Lastly, there is a shutter button that triggers the camera remotely.

To end the session, select File → Tethered Capture → Stop Tethered Capture.

What are the take-aways?

Essentially that’s all you can do using Adobe Lightroom Tethered Capture. As far as I can tell, there’s no way to autofocus the camera lens remotely. (Please correct me if I’m wrong.) That would be a nice feature to add. (Hint-hint, Adobe.)

In contrast, the Canon EOS Utility can do so much more I think it’s the tool of choice for tethered shooting with my Canon camera. Please stay tuned for my next blog post in which I will do a complete review of Canon EOS Utility 2, plus a few comments about Ver. 3.

Related Resource: Tethering just got better in Lightroom Classic CC, by Terry White (20:59). “Adobe Evangelist Terry White shows how to shoot tethered into Lightroom Classic CC with the enhancements released in the February 2019 update.” Source Credit: Show notes. Note: Mr. White refers to the refers to the “Tethered Capture Window” as “Tether/ing Bar.”

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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