Photographing Water Droplets

It all started after browsing through Strobist.com, and viewing David Hobby’s Strobist DVD’s. I wanted to try to photograph some bouncing water droplets.

Like with most things, the preparation and the cleaning up afterwards take more time than the actual shooting. I used a big black oven plate as a water basin. A big piece of cardboard had to serve as background. I preferred to have a white background, but I didn’t have any, but if you set your strobe’s power high enough, everything will become white.

I tight up a little zip-lock bag on the ceiling’s light and punched a hole in it. The hole however seemed to be to big. I got to many droplets at the same time. Also the bag was turning around, which made it hard to keep the focus right.

I placed my Canon 430EX II camera left on a piece of foam, pointed towards the background and triggered with a cheapo eBay wireless flash trigger.

Of all 360 pictures I managed to make in less then 10 minutes, the following were the nicest.
Water Droplet

Water Droplet

The setup:
LightingSetup

Two days later I found out a way to make a nice and easy Droplet generator, using only a Schell tap and an empty milk container.

Duppel Generator

With this own made droplet generator it’s a lot easier to make all the droplets fall on the exact same spot, and thus enable you to always focus right.

Check out the result:

Water Droplet 2

HTC Touch Diamond: Windows Mobile 6.5

Scoring twice with the same product. Apple did it again. First they launched the iPhone, and two years later they release a firmware update that contains all important functions – which are standard in most mobiles – that the iPhone lacks. To be honest, when I saw my twitter account full of tweets of happy campers who upgraded their iPhone with the latest firmware, I was jealous.

For over a month I could test an Android G1, but as I had to give it back, I was stuck with my HTC Touch Diamond again. I didn’t like the Windows Mobile 6.1 / Touch Flow anymore, so why shouldn’t I try to flash the ROM?

Some trial and error later: tadaa, a HTC Touch Diamond with Windows Mobile 6.5!
IMG_5387
The Home screen

IMG_5386
The start menu

You can hardly operate a Windows Mobile 6.1 device without having to use the stylus. With a WM 6.5 this is much less the case. As you can see in the picture below, the menu options are much bigger, which makes it less difficult to operate it with your fingers. No more fiddling with the stylus anymore if you want to use the basic functions (taking a call, checking your mail, etc.)

IMG_5388

IMG_5389

How to upgraden?
http://forum.xda-developers.com/ is the place to be!

1) Create a free account. You’ll need it to be able to download attachments.
2) Read this forum post and carefully follow the instructions!
2.1) Upgrading to HardSPL
2.2) Upgrading Radio
2.3) Flashing a ROM (see point 3)
3) I used this (BsB 6.5L Black) ROM

Making Fire With A Bottle Of Wine

Let me show you how to make fire with a bottle of wine.

Just like if you were using a magnifying glass it’s all about bundling as much as sun rays as possible and make them come together on one small spot. I used a small bottle of South African Chenin Blank from a local discount warehouse. I think it speaks for itself if I tell you that it will not work with red wine, as it will block to much the sun rays.

Probably I’d better drink the wine and filled the bottle with clear water, but that was not necessary for this small experiment.

Making Fire With A Bottle Of Wine

Making Fire With A Bottle Of Wine

Making Fire With A Bottle Of Wine

What you see is a smoldering piece of dried leaf. I have to admit I didn’t get any flames on my quickly gathered pile of tinder, but that would have only be a matter of time. I saw once a episode of href=”http://lesstroud.ca/”>’Survivarman’ Les Stroud in which it took him almost 4 hours to get a fire going using a lens from a broken video camera.

Cotton Balls And Petroleum Jelly

Cotton balls catch easy fire. Cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly keep easily fire. Below you can see a comparison video of two similar sized cotton balls. One of them is soaked in petroleum jelly. The regular one burns only for about 1 minute (even a little less) and the one with petroleum jelly burns almost 5 minutes.

Having some cotton balls in your fire starting kit is great, having a petroleum jelly cotton ball in it is even better!

Starting Af Fire With Birch Bark

Starting a fire with some birch bark is a piece of cake. Even when the birchbark is still wet, it will light as if it was a dry piece of paper soaked in gasoline.

When you are on a hike, and you plan to make a fire later the day, it’s a good idea to collect already some tinder when you find it. Collecting upfront birch bark when you are in a birch tree forest might look stupid, but can you imagine your frustration when you want to lit your fire and you are in the middle of a pine tree woodland, or desert and the last birch tree was 20 km ago.

Always be prepared!

Android On A HTC Diamond or Raphael

If you have a HTC Diamond or a Raphael and you want to experience how Android feels like, you should check out the Android ports of Connect-UTB. The installation is very easy and doesn’t need any tweaking nor configuration. Just download the package, copy it to your HTC, do a reboot and click on the executable.

What you get to see is what Android looks like. Unfortunately it’s far from functional and besides opening some simple applications or moving widgets you can’t do much with it. You can’t even make a phone call. Although making an outbound call is possible, you can’t hear eachother.

It lacks a decent soft-keyboard which is pretty needfull since the Diamond has no onboard keyboard. It’s fun to play with, but that basically it. Don’t use this port to judge Android, because “the real deal” rocks big time! Just see it as a teaser.

Android on HTC

Android on HTC

Japanese Waterstones

Last week I bought myself a set of Japanese waterstones. I have some nice utility and bush craft knifes which I want to keep sharp. And since I want to do that myself I had to gather the right materials to do so.

Japanese Waterstone

Tadaa: my complete set of Japanese waterstones. It’s the same set of stones Ray Mears is using in his bush craft video’s. Check it out:

Knowing how to do it, and doing it yourself are two different things. I can’t put a razor sharp edge on all my knives, but I managed to do it with my EDC Victorinox Spartan. Experience through practice…

Google Launches Google Voice

A few days ago Google launched Google Voice. It’s an incredible smart solution for he who uses a (mobile) phone. So basically: everybody. Unfortunately it’s not yet opened for everybody, and currently only in the US.

Google Voice can do lot’s of things you didn’t even know you would ever need. First of all you only need one number for all your telecom devices. You can select which phones need to ring when someone tries to reach you on your Google number. You can block calls, forward calls and reroute calls. You can text sms’s make calls and ofcourse receive calls. You can even do a listen in: before you decide to answer your caller you can listen to what he’s is telling you on your voicemail. I think I would be a great fan of that function.

Your voicemail has also some other very interesting features, like voicemail transcripts (get an email with the text what your voicemail says) and personalization greetings. Say “hello” to your boss and “Wazaah” to your friends.

It can even do more: you can set up conference calls, record calls and switch from device while you are calling. And all of this for free! I can’t wait until this is available in my country.

Magnesiumstick And Sisal Rope

It’s friday, time to make some fire! Today we are going to use some sisal rope as tinder to start our fire. It’s pretty easy if you know how to do it. I’ll show it to you in a few pictures. The knife I’m using is a Frosts Mora Clipper. A very cheap (= inexpensive), but decent knife every wannabe Bush crafter must have! 😉

Or for those who like a video-demo: