Laymen Basics of DSLR Photography – 3 Aperture

So what have we learned?

LIGHT is king! Cameras cannot hold a candle to your human eye. As a matter of fact, you can think of a camera as having sunglasses on. The amount of light that gets sprinkled onto a camera’s electronic sensor is determined by your lens, or ‘Aperture’ of your lens.

ISO – Even though the hole is sooo small, cell phones are getting better and better, mainly because the ability of a sensor to pick up light gets better every year thanks to technology. (and Sony, I cant believe I am saying this because I have never been a huge fan of Sony’s Business tactics. but it is true. Just about every camera you can think of has a Sony created sensor)

Shutter Speed – During the day we have plenty of light to play with, this is why even older DSLR’s with less sensitive sensors can bust out crisp vibrant images at noon. But who likes light saturated photos with no depth? You will need an Instagram filter to give it some depth. A great deal of photographers will wait until the golden hour, dusk or dawn. When there is less overall light traveling to the sensor on your camera, it will take longer for your sensor to create an full high quality image no matter what camera you have. How does your camera regulate how much light gets to your sensor over time? It finishes the shot with a click, or light-blocking ‘shutter’ to cover the sensor when the shot is complete.

Aperture – FINALLY! Congrats if you made it here from the beginning! This is where most people get crossed eyed because there are soo many ways to make a salad, so hang in there and try to remember that Aperture at its core is basically one thing. THE SIZE OF THE HOLE.

So the last step of the whole process is to focus or pinpoint the light onto the sensor properly. This is where a good lens can flaunt its advantages. Aperture is literally how big the opening of your lens is. Some huge lenses let a lot of light in, are heavy and expensive. These are called ‘quick’ lenses. These are great for low light situations because they allow your little turd of a sensor to get slammed with as much light as possible in as little time (quick shutter speed) as possible. ‘Fast lenses’ Otherwise known as Low F-Stop or Large Aperture.

So if a large hole or Aperture is called a fast lens, then you should automatically know that a high f-stop or ‘slow lens’ has a small opening allowing less light in. There are many variables like glass quality, amount of glass, and surface coatings that make a lens ‘fast’ but the size of the opening is the most important to remember therefore at night you want a ‘fast lens’ and during the day you can get away with a ‘slow lens’ I plan on writing an article on why you would not just use a fast lens all the time, there are plenty od reasons why but one of the largest reasons is that because a large point is focused onto a small point, it creates a shallow depth of field. This is good for buttery out of focus backgrounds but horrible for group shots where you need multiple people in focus.

As you master the Triangle (Shutter Speed, ISO, & Aperture) You will find favorite start-up settings depending on your lens, the amount of light available, and environment. (what you want to keep in focus)


1. If there is a lot of light available (Maybe a studio where you have access to multiple lights) Then you will want to start with the best ISO your camera has available. (200 on my camera) Since you have plenty of light, set the shutter speed to as fast as possible so you don’t end-up with a shot-ruining blur when people move at the last second. Now you can set your aperture to be a small hole since you have a lot of light, or you can get creative and slow the shutter speed to accommodate for a larger hole (low fstop) to create beautiful bokeh rich portraits.

2. If you are inside walking around and limited light, then you will want to start with a high ISO sensitivity setting to pick up as much light as quickly as your little sensor can handle. Since your sensor still can’t pickup light as fast as the human eye, you will need a long shutter speed as well as a large hole to let as much light as possible through. (Low f-stop setting) In this setting, since you are walking around, you will want to experiment to find a short enough shutter speed that doesn’t blur images but long enough to take rich photos. Some DSLR’s will require a tripos to keep the camera still as well as a still environment at night. This scenario shows off the true nature of your camera. Once you understand how limited a sensor is, you will then be able to exploit its limitations in a creative way to create engaging unique master pieces with the click of a button.

Aperture or f-stop is a decision you will need to make before the shot but do not be afraid to experiment. In most scenarios you might not even need Manual mode, but you need to know the triangle to be a successful photographer. If I am trying to control depth of field, (what is and isn’t in focus) I put my camera in Aperture Priority mode (Av on my camera)- and allow the camera regulate the shutter speed. If I am trying to stop any action or try to get creative with motion blur then I will use Shutter Priority Mode. (Tv on my camera)

Try to always remember that a camera is like you wearing sunglasses at night, it cant see much of anything the moment the sun shifts over the horizon. You might need to find creative ways to light up the main attraction of your photo.

TIP: Photography captures light from a single micro-moment. A true photographer will use the light available to him/her even if they have to reflect it, this is one of the biggest difference between a beginner and old soul. (Simple example: Someone offered to take a photo of you and your loved one at night in front of your favorite pizza place. You see a towering light post as the main source of light for the area so you immediately ask to move over 4 feet and shift direction slightly so the light is at a 45-55 or so degree angle to light up your faces in an otherwise seemingly dim environment.)

Laymen Basics of DSLR Photography – 2 ISO

We just learned that a DSLR sensor needs an exact amount of light to make an image, and that shutter speed is the only way to increase or decrease the time light hits the camera sensor.

ISO is not used very often but important none the less. Remember how you need to give the sensor the exact amount of light it requires? Well as technology increases so does a sensors ability to pick up light. ISO is a measurement of the sensitivity of your sensor. It is like a dimmer light switch knob in your home. It is very exact and the lower you twist the knob, the darker it is. ISO is also like the volume knob on your car stereo. The higher you turn it, the louder it gets, but noise or static is introduced making it displeasing.

So why would you want the sensor to pick up light faster (high ISO) if it introduces noise into the photo? Well some photographers take advantage of the grainy look for a certain style. But it is barely used for this. It is mainly used so you do not have to take a tripod out with you when you take photos in dark lit environments. I have personally experimented with low lit handheld shots, and I can tell you my hands are not as steady as they once were. All of my photos turn out fuzzy or blurry because the slightest movement during a long exposure shows overlapping light information. (shutter is open for a second of more) Turning up the ISO (or sensitivity of the sensor) allows you to have a faster shutter speed resulting in a sharper night image.

There is practically no reason to turn up the ISO during the day unless you require a certain effect. You will always want a relatively low ISO so your images are not grainy. I personally experimented and took several images with a different ISO and pixel peeped so I know what I am dealing with when I adjust the ISO. Internet images don’t really matter since they are resampled smaller removing most grain, but if you are looking to frame some photos for the wall or print for any reason, I would highly suggest a low ISO.

Please take the time to look at your results from experimenting with the ISO, way too many photographers are afraid to turn up their ISO when they could get crisper images (faster shutter speed) if they did.

In the comments below, please tell me what camera you have and the highest ISO you pixel peeped to be ‘good enough’ for most quality situations.

By the way, if you made it this far, the next post completes the exposure triangle. So you should be able to finally switch to manual mode with confidence like I just recently did.

Next up > Aperture, Why should I care how big the light hole is?

Laymen Basics of DSLR Photography – 1 Shutter Speed

First off, I will be 100% honest and let you know I just recently had an ‘ah hah’ moment about how photography works.

This information is based from the perspective of not knowing what to do in any of the advanced modes and mostly relying on auto when it was an important shot. I just recently figured out how the triangle works and why it is important to have manual modes on a DSLR Camera.

Sooooo… this is the boring part, but if you understand the next couple of paragraphs, then you just might have your first ‘ah hah’ moment. We cannot use anything to its full potential unless we know how it works.

DSLR cameras are no where near the quality that our human eye can see, we have to use the absolute latest technology to even come close to the quality our naked eye takes for granted.

All DSLR cameras have an electrical sensor, this sensor is square and thin like a piece of paper, it is about the size of your thumb nail. The cheaper the camera, the smaller this sensor is. This sensor turns light into pixels, the more pixels the better the image. The problem is how these sensors pick up light. Without a lens to ‘focus’ the light, a sensor will pick up a nice huge image of the same color, only producing solid black, grey or white images. The longer the sensor is exposed to light, the more it will produce a blank looking pure white image.

Now lets imagine we put a lens in front of the sensor that focuses light perfectly on the lens, we still have an issue with pure white images because we have no way to stop the light from hitting the sensor. On a bright day, we might want the light to hit the sensor just a fraction of a second because the light overwhelms the sensor, but at night the sensor cannot get enough information to make anything but a black image. So at night, we have to let the light hit the sensor longer so the sensor gathers enough information to make a photo, maybe a whole second or two even.

A sensor is absolutely useless to us with out a way to time how long light hits it. This is what photographers refer to as a shutter, or shutter speed. It is literally a little black cover that opens up for however long you tell it to let light hit the sensor and quickly covers the sensor back up. So it would be fair to say the faster the shutter speed, the more intense light the sensor requires to contruct an image.

So lets say you have experimented enough to know that you need a slower shutter speed when you go into the city at night to take photos of buildings. You will absolutely 100% need a tripod. Why? Because if that little bitty sensor moves around even a tiny bit while it is collecting light information, you will see it in the photo. The buildings will ghost in the direction of movement of the camera. A tripod allows the sensor to sit 100% still to absorb the light evenly across the photo it is creating over the span of 1-2 seconds.

Now lets say you go to a park in the middle of the afternoon to take photos of the family, will you need a tripod? That is right, no, not unless you want to be in the photo and take timed photos. This is because light from the environment is so bright and overwhelming that the little sensor can only handle a fraction of a second of it to make a full blown beautiful photo.

So the little turd of a sensor is not so amazing in terms of versatility, it has needs, and if you don’t fulfill those needs, it wont fulfill your needs. DSLR Cameras are based on early cameras, there are only 3 ways to manipulate the light traveling to the sensor.

Shutter Speed (camera) – ISO (sensor) – Aperture (lens)

Next up, ISO. Why should we care how sensitive the little electronic sensor is?

CKS Financial Credit Repair

CKS Financial asked me to help get the message out about easy to follow credit repair steps. Some of us were never really taught just how important a credit score can be.

I remember my father always talking about intelligent financial decisions when I was younger but I never really cared.

It is a different story when you are ready to have a family and finally get into a house. Here is a video created for CKS Financial LLC that shows the 3 easy steps you can take to be on the road to an amazing credit score.

Always try to make sure you utilize less than 30% of your total credit cards limits. Less than 10% is the best but less than 30% can seriously increase your credit score.

I had a lot of fun with this video, it is my first semi-pro video. I got to use a greenscreen, two Olympus EPL micro 4/3 cameras, shotgun mic with xoom recorder all tied together with adobe After Effects and Premiere.


Samsung Galaxy S4 ZOOM VS Galaxy S4 – Photo samples

Are you wondering if this phone would be a good choice for you?

For me, it really comes down to only a view small factors:

  • Size of the phone
  • Zoom ability

I will explain:

This thing may say S4 and it seems as fast (even though the processor is slower) but its not an S4. It does not have the screen size, resolution on the LCD, the small form factor or SPEED. So why would you even consider the Galaxy S4 ZOOM???

Well, the phone does one thing and it does it well. IT TAKES EXCELLENT PHOTOS. Are the photos so much better that you should drop your S4 and replace it today. NO. The photos are pretty comparable in all instances except when you need to zoom in on your child riding a ride at the park, or anything that interests you outside of 5 feet basically.  Why is this? Well as the marketing of the phone probably already gave away, it has a HUGE Optical ZOOM lens getting you 10 times closer to anything you point at.


Zoom abilities are not good for group photos, but it does give you some creativeness with portraits or far away objects.  The Macro ability is also alot cleaner than the regular S4. Strikingly so when you look at the details at pixel level.


Overall the larger camera sensor allows slightly better macro and low light level photos. But it is nothing to write home about.  Where this camera really shines is the ability to ZOOM without any degradation. Digital zoom will never be as good as optical zoom for obvious reasons. If you find yourself wanting to take photos at a distance quite a bit, or wish you could get closer quite a bit, then this phone is worth it.


Otherwise for day to day photos, the Galaxy S4 works just fine while coming in a smaller package with a faster processor and bigger screen.


One thing I did not show here is the video capabilities of the ZOOM. It does take amazing videos and allows you to use the zoom during the whole video. Unfortunately you can hear the lens zooming in and out in the video so post processing will be required.


I am slightly sad that this phone is not as popular because I am a big fan of improving camera technology to the point it is easy to carry around. This thing is just too big. I am going to keep the ZOOM for now but am frankly tired of explaining the pros and cons to everyone that asks ‘WHAT THE !?!?! IS THAT”


I would much rather see an even LARGER SENSOR and an expensive prime lens instead of a zoom lens.

Beginner Basics of Corporate Video Interviews in Adobe Premiere

So, I wanted to start performing interviews to make our company’s goals more apparent as well as adding a personal touch.

A great way to get professional video on a budget:

  • Find a quiet closed off room with no air ducts or constant buzzing sounds
  • Use a DSLR for video
  • Make your own lights (use the same color of bulb and 3 point lighting techniques)
  • Purchase green felt for behind the subject, Premiere and after effects makes it super easy to change their setting
  • Take crisp photos of interesting place in the office (and outside the office) you could have conducted the interview for backgrounds and intro/fillers.
  • Set up multiple (2-3) angles even if you use a phone camera as an extra, it makes for a much more interesting video when you can switch views throughout the video.
  • Practice interviewing someone before the real interview(s) This is one of the most important steps because you want to answer a question that interests your viewers, not subject them to a long drawn out ‘look how smart the CEO is’ video.
  • Apply translucent powder to the interviewees face, even guys. This will remove glares and shines from the nose forehead and cheeks.
  • Use a video host like Wistia so you don’t have to worry about your video loading properly on different mediums. (Yes I use Wistia, not trying to advertise them but look at their learning section!)

I have had plenty of issues starting what I thought would be easy. Here are a few things I wish I would have known before starting this project:

  • Phones like the Nokia Lumia or the Iphone or even the Galaxy S4 can be used for different angles, but it is a major PITA to get all of the video aligned when stopping every 5 minutes because of the 2GB Fat32 limitations. (Multi-Camera editing) So you might want to ask if anyone has a video camera you could use, even if it is consumer level.
  • Make a loud clapping sound at the end of every take you found amazingly interesting so it is easy to find when editing. (look for the audio wave form that goes all the way to the top)
  • Don’t be afraid to re-ask the same question to get more insight. (If you felt there was a weird eye twitch or it just did not feel right, then you are probably right, get more video!)
  • Assure every camera is properly recording sound, without sound you have to match all of the videos by hand, the new Adobe Premiere CC has the ability to align videos by their sound tracks, saving hours if not days of time.

Ducati Diavel Review by WIlliam

What was Ducati thinking??? Ducati is known for their superbikes, right? Well that is what attracted me to this so-called cruiser. I am now 35 and too old to keep hugging a gas tank, plus my wrists start killing me and I want to be able to go on longer rides with a passenger.

So I test rode the Ducati Diavel. All I can say is OMG! It sounds like a BEAST! Have you ever heard an RC51 or any twin sport bike with no baffles and fell in love? I owned everything from growing up on a dirt bike to a basic Harley to a GSXR 1000 to a Triumph Speed Triple. Nothing compares to the overall categories this baby covers. I have to say my favorite relaxing deep sounding bike was my 03 Kawasaki Vulcan Meanstreak with no baffles. The Diavel does not have quite the tractor sound the meanstreak did but you can hear the tractor sound resonating through. Especially around a bunch of sport bikes, the Diavel makes any sport bike baffle or not, sound like a weed eater on steroids. I find myself revving the throttle with the clutch in quite a bit, just to hear the sound while I’m cruising around.

Diavel-comparisonSo is it more like a cruiser or more like a sport bike?? Coming from both worlds, the Ducati Diavel is 100% superbike bred. It may have a slight low center of gravity feel and have that deep throaty powerful sound, but it will scare the sh*t out of you if you aren’t careful. You have to respect its power 100% of the time, just like a superbike.

The bike is constantly gaining attention; so much so that I think some of my regular sport bike riding friends are tired of seeing me bask in the spotlight. It definitely gets more attention from sport bike riders than cruiser riders. In fact, at Harley events I might get 1 or 2 people asking what the hell is that.

What are my favorite things about the Ducati Diavel?

  • Its looks, it is beautifully designed, gets a lot of attention
  • Its power both torque and horsepower wise
  • It’s up-right comfortable seating position
  • Fat 240 rear tire
  • Traction control / computer air temp, avg mpg
  • Key Fob, never have to fish for the key in my pocket

What are my least favorite things about the Ducati Diavel?

  • At night it isn’t as beautiful as a typical chromed out cruiser
  • Doesn’t have heated hand grips
  •  Gas tank is a little small at 4.5 gallons and only has a dummy light
  • MPG ranges 35-45 depending on riding style, a little low compared to other bikes
  • Only 1 Ducati Dealer within an hour drive
  • Expensive to maintain from the tire, to the valve maintenance

The RPM range seems pretty tight compared to most super bikes rapping out at 10k. From 1000-4000 it has plenty of torque but feels clunky because the horsepower doesn’t really start kicking in until 5k. I know the bike pretty well now and know exactly how many gears to drop down to stomp on it whenever I want. At  0-60 in 2.6 seconds, there are very few bike or production cars that can come close to its in-town bursts.

Overall the Ducati Diavel is by far the sexiest beast I have ever ridden. I have ridden 3,000 miles in 2 months and still get a sweet smile on my face every time I ride. This bike is relaxed enough to put around town but mean enough to keep 1000 cc sport bikes in check

A VIDEO review the 1st week I had the bike


2012 Brammo Empulse R Specifications

Wow! 54 Horsepower is pretty impressive. The torque is amazing too. Enough power for hooligans but not enough to hang with the super bikes. If you ask me, this is the perfect in town bike. I would also use it to commute to work even though my work is only 8 miles away. Plus I can only imagine the ‘What is that’ looks on riders faces at the local motorcycle meetups.

If I do get one of these bad boys I better be ready to defend its silent exhaust note and its relatively low power/range. But hey its the price we pay to advance technology, this is the beginning of what is to come. People that pay extra for less right now can justify it by the gas savings, which will hopefully push battery technology to the next level.

I honestly feel like Brammo took their time to do it right. Zero may makes a good bike too but if I had to choose it would be an Empulse all the way!


Brammo Empulse vs Zero S ZF9

They are decently even all the way around but the empulse has 2 fun factors the S does not have:

-6 gear transmission

-a top speed of over 100mph

The brammo also has a nice fat 180 rear wheel compared to the dinky Zero’s 130.

Zero does not claim any horsepower that I can find, but I am guessing the Brammo Empulse has it easily beat in the power department. I will see if I can scrap up some more info on this. Comparatively I think I am biased on Brammo Empulse’s side because is it so close to an actual streetfighter that could be accepted in the motorcycle community. By looking at the specs, the Zero S seems more like a big toy to me. But once again this is speculation, without seeing them and riding both of them side by side.

What I do know is that the power and low end torque delivery is close to my friends Kawasaki ER-6N that is an absolute BLAST to ride around town even though it gets snickered at on the track. I am not a track rider personally, but I do enjoy ripping up the pavement and this bike has no problem fitting the streetfighter profile. Big Grin.



Official 2012 Brammo Empulse R Specifications
Empulse Motor
Motor Type: Permanent Magnet AC (PMAC) – Water Cooled
Motor Controller: Sevcon Gen 4
Peak Motor Power: 40kW, @ 8,200 rpm (54 hp)
Peak Continuous Current: 270 amps
Final Drive: Direct Chain Drive (14/48) 520 O-ring chain
Transmission: IET 6 speed gearbox with multi-plate, hydraulic activated wet clutch
Max Motor Torque: 63Nm (46.5 foot pounds)
Battery Pack
Battery Type Brammo Power™ BPM15/90 Lithium-Ion ( NCM Chemistry)
Battery Pack Capacity: 9.31 kWh (nominal), 10.2 kWh (max)
Battery Pack Voltage: 103.6 V (nominal)
Battery Life: 1,500 cycles to 80% capacity (100% DOD)
Recharge Time: Level I maximum charging time: 8 Hours. (0 – 99% SOC, no cell imbalances)
Level II maximum charging time: 3.5 Hours. (0 – 99% SOC, no cell imbalances)Every 10 minutes of Level II charging adds up to 5 miles of range
Empulse R Performance
Empulse R Performance: 100 + mph (160 + km/h)
Driving Range: City: 121 miles* (195 km)
Highway: 56 miles** (90 km)
Combined: 77 miles*** (124 km)*SAE City Riding Range Test Procedure for Electric Motorcycles (variable speed, 19 mph / 30km/h average)
**SAE Highway / Constant Speed Riding Range Test Procedure for Electric Motorcycles (70 mph / 113 km/h sustained)
*** SAE Highway Commuting Cycle (.5 City weighting, .5 Highway weighting)
Operating Modes: 2 Operating Modes selectable through the handlebar switch:
1. “Normal” – limits acceleration by reducing maximum current delivered to the motor through the motor controller in order to maximize driving range.
2. “Sport” – provides maximum performance in both acceleration and top speed.
Regenerative Braking: Under deceleration, energy is returned to the battery system to both extend driving range and provide familiar rider feedback.
Operating Cost: Assuming 13 cents /kWh for electricity:1 cent per mile around town
2 cents per mile on the highway
Data Collection: Brammo DDC™ (Dynamic Data Collection) records key motorcycle parameters at 1Hz (1 sample/second) for analysis and service support.
Empulse R Dimensions
Weight: 440lbs. / 200kg
Seat Height: 31.5” 80.0 cm
Width: 31.8” (bar end-to-bar end) 80.77 cm
Height: 42.6” (highest portion of the dash) 108.2 cm
Length: 81.3” 206.5 cm
Ground Clearance: 7.3” 18.54 cm
Storage Capacity: Optional Brammo hard saddle bags and top trunk.
Fuel Economy: 485 mpg-e 206 km/L-e
Carrying Capacity: Cargo Capacity 365 lbs. / 165.6 kg (805 lbs. / 365.1 kg total combined motorcycle, rider, passenger and cargo)
Wheelbase: 58.0” 147.32 cm
Warranty: 2 Years (Limited Factory Warranty) 1 year Fender-to-Fender Limited Warranty, 2 year Limited Powertrain Warranty (Batteries and Motor)
Colors: True Blood Red, Eclipsed Black, White Noise
Empulse R Key Components
Frame: Brammo E-Beam™ Aluminum, Fabricated by Accossato in Italy
Suspension Front: Fully Adjustable 43mm Marzocchi Forks
Suspension – Rear: Fully Adjustable Sachs Shock
Brakes – Front: Dual 310mm Brembo floating disk with twin four piston Hydraulic Brembo Brake Calipers, Radial Mount.
Brakes – Rear: Brembo single disk with dual piston Hydraulic Brembo Brake Caliper
Wheels (Front/Back): 17”x 3.5” Marchesini / 17” x 5.5” Marchesini
Tires (Front/Back): 120/70-17 AVON AV79 / 180/55-17 AVON AV80
Instrumentation: LCD display; speed, tach, odometer, gear position, energy consumption, battery status, estimated range and system status

Brammo Finally Announces Release Date for the Empulse

I received this email yesterday. It is about time!  I can’t wait to hear the specs on the new transmission. I’ll bet it has some serious power improvments over the Zero, but we will see.


Dear William xxx,

We are proud to announce that we will be revealing the production version of
the much anticipated Brammo
Empulse on May 8th, 2012. The launch event will take place in Los Angeles and
will be webcast live to all pre-order customers. Since the Empulse concept was
first revealed, a vast amount of development and testing has taken place and we
are confident that you will be delighted with the ground-breaking electric
motorcycle we are about to reveal. On April 18th we will announce full
specifications of this exciting milestone in the evolution of motorcycling,
giving you every opportunity to become familiar with the Empulse before seeing
it for the first time on May 8th.

Electric motorcycle racing is an integral part of our lives here at Brammo
and our experience and championship record on the track has played a critical
role in the evolution of the Empulse from concept to production. Professional
racers have had a hand in the development of the Empulse and they will be
sharing their Empulse riding experiences and impressions with you at the reveal
on May 8th.

Follow this link and learn more about the Empulse and its roots in
Brammo’s racing heritage

If you have questions about the Brammo Empulse simply email [email protected] for an answer.

The Brammo

Adobe Edge Pros and Cons

Where does Adobe Edge fit? It is still in Preview phase but will be released soon. After some research, this is where I see its current state. Correct me if I missed anything.

What it is currently good for:
Creating banner ads for phone browsers.
Opening your html pages and adding sweet little animations. (HTML opens right up as a regular css webpage and you can add flash like effects to any div on your page)
Preparing for the future.

It is compatible will all new browsers without any plugin conflicts, like apple has with Flash.
It is based on HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript so it is easy to work with other developers without them having to know Adobe Edge.

It cannot be used in older browsers which right now is roughly 40% of the population*
Some advanced programming features are still much faster in Flash.

I would bet my savings that HTML will eventually take over Flash applications, so now is the time to start learning jquery and html5.

*css3 compatibility
*ie6-7 and 8 reach