COBA Ninth Meeting

The ninth and final meeting of the year for the Camera Owners of the Bay Area user group met on Wednesday night at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. There were two presentations focusing on the Earth’s celestial neighbors, the Sun and the Moon.

There were only a handful of people at the meeting. I attributed the low attendance to a couple of factors. Probably the biggest reason was the fact that I didn’t advertise the meeting through my typical channels (i.e. online forums). I had guessed, incorrectly it now seems, that the COBA mailing list and calendar (which I had forgotten to update) would be reminder enough for most people. Thus, it look like I’ll be posting my meeting announcements onto the usual staple of forums — DP Review, Fred Miranda, and Rob Galbraith — for the next meeting.

Jeff Conrad presented tips and techniques for photographing the full moon. I learned that my current approach to shooting the moon, which consists of looking up at the sky, seeing the moon, and saying, “Wow, a moon shot!” doesn’t lend itself to creating dramatic photos. Jeff demonstrated that by using today’s technology, such as satellite maps, GPS, and computer software programs, one can easily calculate the best times and locations from which to photograph the full moon.

He displayed some lovely shots of the moon intersecting the TransAmerica building in San Francisco and overlooking the City from the Golden Gate Bridge. For more information on photographing the full moon, please refer to Jeff’s presentation handout. A revised version reflecting his actual presentation (this is an earlier handout) will be made available shortly.

I demonstrated a prototype solar-powered charger for the EOS-1D. I have written an article on the device in my Photography Articles section of my web site. The prototype that we have now works well, but the charger module, made by MAHA, isn’t designed for rugged, outdoor use. As a result, Bryan and I will likely develop a more robust, weather-resistant case to go along with new electronics.

COBA newcomer, Glen, made a good point about locating the manufacturer of the NiMH cells used in the NP-E3 battery. By learning what kind of cells are being used, we could discover the battery’s charging characteristics. Knowing this would greatly ease the development of an efficient charger that can safely charge the NP-E3’s batteries time and time again. Using an inefficient charger increases the risk of permanent damage to these batteries, which can be a costly proposition at over $100/battery!

COBA’s not going to be meeting during the month of December. We’ll reconvene in January, 2003. Until then, happy shooting!

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