Category Archives: Photography

The real life battlefields that inspired Call of Duty: WWII

How close are Call of Duty: WWII‘s maps to the real life battlefields on which they were based? See for yourself in this gallery of screenshot-to-photograph comparisons.

These photos were taken in Normandy, France at Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach at Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, at the Longues-sur-Mer battery (La Chaos) and one (the circular, overgrown bunker ceiling opening) at Blue Beach, Puys, Dieppe. The screenshots were taken from Call of Duty: WWII on an Xbox One.

 
Late last year I embarked on a tour of significant WWI and WWII battlefields in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. As it happens a number of the sites I had the honor to visit and photograph are also represented as maps in the new Activision title, including Omaha Beach and Pointe du Hoc. Activision has a blog post with some detail around the historical significance behind these real locations where fierce engagements took place during World War II.

My Grandfather landed on Juno Beach on D-Day with the No. 22 Canadian Field Ambulance Unit of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps. He spent the month of June 1944 in, and around, Beny-sur-Mer, in late June 1944 he was injured and evacuated. I set out on this battlefield tour with my father and one of my brothers so that we could consider the experience of my Grandfather.

Pages from my Grandfather's WWII Service Book. Note "Disembarked France 6 Jun 44," also known as D-Day, about 3/4 of the way down on right-hand page.

The tour began on November 4th, 2017, when I realized Call of Duty: WWII was to be released on November 3rd, just one day before our scheduled departure, I decided that I would bring my Xbox in the hope that my brother and I could visit historical battlefield sites during the days and play through the campaign in the evenings at the hotels. We completed the campaign on our last evening in Nijmegen, Belgium after visiting the John Frost Bridge (A Bridge Too Far), the Holten Canadian Military Cemetery and the Canadian Legion 005 earlier that day.

Over the course of the 10 day tour I took over 3,000 photos from which I was able to draw these comparison shots. Additional photos of these sites, and of the many others we visited, can be viewed here. Please contact me if you wish to inquire regarding usage rights.

The hero image is a screenshot from the Call of Duty: WWII Pointe du Hoc map split with a photograph taken at Pointe du Hoc in Normandy, France.

Special thanks to The Battlefield Tours for providing a top-notch tour experience.

All photographic images Copyright © 2017-2018 Phil Tucker. ACTIVISION, CALL OF DUTY, and CALL OF DUTY WWII are trademarks of Activision Publishing, Inc.

New band lineup baby announcement

My wife Ester and I are expecting and since we’re both musicians we grabbed our guitars and did a fun photoshoot to announce our good news. Inspired by this creative announcement we came across.

A Maker Wedding

Initially I wasn’t sure how much our wedding was truly going to represent my fiancée and I, after all, we wanted our family and friends to enjoy themselves and feel included — as with any large event there are a lot of expectations to manage. After deciding to craft my own Edison-style light fixtures for our reception I realized that the occasion was, in addition to a celebration of our life-long commitment to each other, an opportunity for us to showcase our creativity and perhaps introduce some of our family and friends to aspects of ourselves they may not have known existed.

In retrospect we probably took on too much, but it allowed us to feel the occasion was a true reflection of ourselves — for me this meant soldering, stripping, crimping, twisting, programming and no small amount of brow furrowing. None of these projects could’ve come together without the help of my wonderful wife Ester, who not only said yes, but also collaborated throughout and trusted me to deliver on some very important aspects of our big day. In addition, a big thanks to my dear old Dad who took time to help me with the lengthy task of wiring the Edison fixtures and to the friends and family who helped us setup and teardown these, and other installations.

Animated Arduino LED matrix lounge table top

Vinyl “flexi” record wedding invitations

XBee remote relay as photobooth RF camera trigger

Bachelor party wireless Arduino accelerometer Stab-O-Meter

JQuery Animated Wedding Website


Various puppet arms available at Obscura Antiques & Oddities, New York

Video: Slow-motion speed bag and affordable high-speed video

slow motion speed bagWho doesn’t like watching stuff in slow-motion? Ever since I added a speed bag to my workout I’ve been wanting to see exactly what’s going on in slow-motion — turns out, exactly what you’d expect. The camera I used was an inexpensive Casio EX-FC100, sadly off the market at this point, but its replacement, the Casio Exilim EX-ZR100, though a little more expensive is still a great budget high-speed video solution, especially if you catch it on sale.


 

Converting the Canon TC-80N3 for use with the Rebel XT (and others)

After having fun with some infrared and macro photography I wanted to try some time lapse. Some cameras have built in intervalometers ( big word for interval timers ) which allow you to do time lapse with little effort. Sadly the Canon Rebel XT does not, so I searched around for solutions, most of which are quite expensive.

I found out some useful information:

  • the Rebel XT has a 2.5mm stereo jack connection for remote operation
  • connecting the ring and base of this jack trigger the autofocus
  • connecting the tip and base of the jack triggers the shutter

With this information I hacked together a makeshift solution with a 12v relay, 12v wall adapter and an X10 appliance module. This system sucked and wasn’t portable, but it was all junk I had laying around. Anyhow, I went back to searching and found out about the TC-80N3, a Canon wired remote which does all sorts of fun timer stuff, including time lapse and goes for under $100 on eBay now and then. Unfortunately it doesn’t work with the Rebel XT, the connector is different, out of the box at least.

I found out that it has three leads on the connector, as the Rebel does, so perhaps they function the same? It seemed to be the case so I went and purchased one, hoping to just swap the connector out.

Once it arrived I went straight to hacking it up. Chopped off the old connector, found out that there are two wires and a ground wire, sweet. With the help of my multimeter I determined that the red wire is the shutter and the white wire is the focus. So, to attach the new connector:

  • solder the red wire to the tip of the 2.5mm jack
  • solder the white wire to the ring of the 2.5mm jack
  • solder the ground to the base of the 2.5mm jack

Slip the cover back on or tape up the connector, whatever, and it’s all done. The Canon TC-80N3 modified to connect to and control a Canon Rebel XT. Doesn’t need much know how at all to pull this off.