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03-11-2013, 10:58 PM   #1
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Cap to block sunlight

Bright sun just kills that LCD screen, doesn't it? Now, we K-01 users don't have the luxury of an OVF optical viewfinder, or an EVF electronic viewfinder. But what we DO have is a large, large screen -- if only we could see it in bright sunlight.

You can. This morning, inspired by Athman on the K-01 thread at our Xara-Users Forum (Xara is a fantastic vector-art program that is also a super photo editor), I re-purposed an old black t-shirt, the kind someone gives you but you never wear. But tight, reasonably light-proof fabric. Ended up, after a bit of fabric-gluing, with a 30" x 21" rectangle, which I velcroed to the back of a black color-coordinated San Francisco Giants baseball cap. If you are in Japan, a Yomiuri Giants cap works fine too, since when Lefty O'Doul helped start that team in 1934, he copied his old New York Giants colors.
To use your new sunscreen, you just turn the cap backwards, so that the brim is over your neck, and then you hold the cloth over the top of the camera.

Worked fine! (pix 1 and 2). Next, to adjust it to the way I hold a camera (close, I'm near-sighted, so about 6" away with my glasses down my nose)... I just folded the 21" dimension in half, with another velcro to hold the folded part to the back of the cap (pic 3). That's about it. If I went to a fabric store to get some REALLY lightproof black cloth, I'd buy a 30" x 24" piece just to be sure.

P.S. This is a variation on the old ground glass focusing cloths, used by Muybridge, Adams, Weston and others on their heavy tripod-mounted view cameras. But this time around, fixed to the hat, we don't have to sacrifice small-camera portability.

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03-11-2013, 11:12 PM   #2
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Patent that design now! You're on a winner!
03-11-2013, 11:49 PM   #3
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Ha! No, this idea's public domain. And I'm pretty sure that the US Patent Office would find that sticking a piece of cloth to the back of a baseball hat would be, well, 'obvious', as the patent lawyers say. Besides, using a black cloth goes way back to those 8" x 10" view cameras... probably even further to the mid-1800s when photographers like Brady ventured out of their controlled-lighting studios into the bright sunlit world.

I'm a heretic. I actually believe that our K-01 LCD screens are vastly superior to the teeny OVF/EVF alternatives on DSLRs. LCD screens are large, clear, and bright ... most of the time. And putting a lightweight 'photographer's tent' on a baseball cap blocks light coming from the front (bounces off your face onto the screen), or light from the side -- or, worst of all, light from the side to the rear, which washes out an unprotected screen.

Even better, when you're not taking pictures, you can just take it off the cap and put it in your bag -- or, leaving the flap attached to the cap, fold it up and then velcro the folded flap to the rear of the cap... much neater.

Anyway, hope this helps. There are lots of black baseball caps out there... not just the Giants... the Orioles, back east? The White Sox, in Chicago? Have fun!
03-12-2013, 03:02 AM   #4
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No - you need to patent it. It is all in the way you frame the application. If you say "I have this cap with a black flap at the back, and you can turn it around to shade your LCD screen" they may well say "No. Too obvious." But if you say "I have invented this shade for an LCD screen an what makes it unique is that you can turn it around and wear it as a cap, they may say "Wow! How come no one ever thought of that before". But now this rationale is in the public domain, you have to get to the patent office in the morning before some 12 year old beats you too it. Otherwise, in twenty years time you will be crying in your beer saying "He's the second richest man in the world now, that guy with the LCD cover-cap. It was my invention, you know." And people will just shake their heads and walk away.

I'll bet they are ebay by the end of the week. (Good idea/design, by the way!)

03-12-2013, 03:50 AM   #5
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I wonder if there's a Mahogany and Brass version of the K-01 to go with it. LOL

I just use a Hoodman Lupe.

03-12-2013, 07:19 AM   #6
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further improvement: stitch a hotshoe cover into the front part of the cloth to help you keep it attached to the camera body...
03-12-2013, 08:23 AM   #7
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Very nice, though it should say in big bold letters on the sides "DONT SHOOT - PHOTOGRAPHER AT WORK!"
03-12-2013, 04:46 PM   #8
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Thanks PJ1... no, I'll pass on the patent... you are probably right, but I'm retired now, and it's time for others to chase the fame and fortune.

ChrisJ -- Pentax should make high-end K-01s with unique, limited-run design motifs. Mahogany and brass... brushed or polished aluminum, alligator, leather, and so on. I'd get Marc Newsom back in a flash for more. The longer I use the K-01, the more I appreciate the design.

For this project -- perhaps a black Pittsburgh Pirates cap, that comes with a bright yellow P logo... indicating 'Photographer'?

Arvid -- thought of attaching it to the hotshoe -- but that might be too static. Ha! YOU make one and let us know how it works.

digital029art -- that's for sure! My wife is telling me NOT to use it around children. And, I guess, around ex-Al-Qaeda guys, as it might remind them of less pleasant days in Abu Graib or Guantanamo.

Today, I modified the black flap to suit my near-sighted vision. Without glasses, I focus about 8" away from my eyes. So I hold the camera fairly close. Which let me reduce the size of the flap considerably. See first pic below... which also has the first photo I snapped using it, of a distant helicopter (100% crop), pointing toward the sun. The second pic shows a cropduster flying by, seen between tree branches (thanks to manual focus!), another helicopter, and the cropduster flying away towing its banner. All at 200mm. Anyway -- enough proof-of-concept, now I have to get closer to those aircraft!

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Last edited by jon404; 03-12-2013 at 04:54 PM.
03-13-2013, 12:39 AM   #9
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ChrisJ -- what Hoodman Loupe do you use with the K-01? Also -- I'm nearsighted... would it still work? I wear my glasses all the time.
03-13-2013, 01:21 PM - 2 Likes   #10
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You could use the advertising slogan, "Use this and your guaranteed to be left alone by the opposite sex for more precious shooting time!"
03-13-2013, 03:26 PM   #11
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Interesting idea, but I'd rather just turn up the brightness myself ;-)

Xara has been my favourite Vector/Bitmap editing tool for well over a decade ! I find that I often get better result in some cases than with Lightroom, which tends to introduce artifacts here and there whenever I try anything with any degree of complexity. Xara is so powerful, it's mind blowing what you can do with it ! I like to use it especially for removing un-wanted elements or "graduated" filtering effects. I also don't know any other tool out there capable of stretching an image without altering proportions, quite amazing !
03-13-2013, 04:26 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by chiane Quote
You could use the advertising slogan, "Use this and your guaranteed to be left alone by the opposite sex everyone except the police for more precious shooting time!"
Fixed it for you.
03-13-2013, 06:52 PM   #13
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Tom -- well, it works. The sight of me scared the crow off his perch at the top of a tree... and I was able (barely) to catch an image. But the cap-with-a-flag helped tremendously, as he was flying east-to-west with the sun above and behind him. Later, I was also able to see a helicopter flying along -- and take a quick snapshot before it flew out of sight. Easier to photograph than a bird, it goes in a straight line.

regor -- Xara is so good. Pic below of Los Penasquitos march near San Diego, a soft fog creeping in near sunset today. Made layers, saturated the foreground flowers a bit, added a transparent fog-grey gradient to make the backgound look a little foggier than it actually was. I've put a lot of Xara photo-editing tips on the Xara-Users forum, at Xara Users • View topic - Jon's Xara Designer Photo editing tips ... it's a fantastic, easy, digital darkroom tool!
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