Tuesday Tricks

Orange
Orange

Jason Moore has his bi-monthly Photographic Compostion posted today, so be sure to stop over there and see the others (I am sure they were more creative than the one I came up with at the last minute yesterday…)

Rather than record a tip or trick for this Tuesday, I thought I’d share a few ideas and suggestions I’ve picked up from various magazines, forums, and photo communities for managing and handling your gear in the field.  These things have become almost second nature to me now and I can’t tell you how helpful these tips and tricks have become in helping me keep everything organized.  So without further ado, here’s my Tuesday tricks:

  1. Pack a large plastic ziploc or other sealable bag in with your camera gear.  When it’s windy or there’s lots of dust around, you can change your lenses from inside these bags to minimize dust.  Additionally, it serves as an additional layer of protection should mother nature decide to dump a deluge of water on you with little warning.  (I keep several sandwich bags in my pack for protecting things like CF cards, wide angle lenses, TC’s and other items.
  2. If you must change lenses in the field, keep the body of the camera pointed down so as to prevent dust from falling into the opening (dust won’t wall up…).
  3. Keep a notepad and pen in your pack, in case you find a location that you want to remember, meet someone and want an email or phone number, or to get an address to send prints or perhaps a resume to!  On the same note, having some business cards and model releases handy for handing out and in case you have a willing model…
  4. Turn your CF cards around backwards when full, so you always know which ones are used versus unused.
  5. Buy a car converter for AC to DC.  This way you can charge your batteries while en route to a shoot.  They’re only like $20 at Wal-Mart or Radio Shack and can add a certain peace of mind that you are going into your shoot with as much of a charge on your portables as you can get.  (Just make sure you add the battery chargers to your packing list…)
  6. Speaking of packing lists – make one!  This can help ensure you leave with everything you brought to a shoot.  I’ve blogged about this before, but it’s been a while, so bears mentioning again.
  7. Pack a micro fiber cloth for wiping off lenses in a pinch.  (Better a microfiber cloth than your shirt!)  These can be begged off any eyeglasses store (try Wal-Mart, they are pretty liberal with handing these things out..)
  8. Need a better way to store your gear at home?  Try shoe boxes.  You can get them for a buck a piece from a dolalr store – makes a great way to compartmentalize short lenses from long lenses, accessories, flash equipment, battery chargers, CD media, gray cards, lens cloths, etc.  A few labels from a Dymo label maker and everything is neat, and easy to find in your bedroom closet!
  9. Dress in layers – weather can change, especially if you are shooting at sunrise or sunet.  It can change from cool to warm or warm to cool very quickly and having a layer to take off (or put on) can extend your shoot time before you start getting uncomfortably warm (or cold).
  10. Take a bottle of water and a granola bar in your pack!  You’d be surprised how quickly you can dehydrate and how hungry you can get while shooting.  I’ve been on shoots where there is so much creativity and so many shooting opportunities, I can often forget to eat or drink.  When things finally end you can be very hungry and or dehydrated where even a bottle of water or a granola bar (or both) can give you the needed boost until you can get to Starbucks or the house for more healthy refreshments!

So, that’s my ten tips/tricks for the day.  Got any of your own to share?  Sound off in the comments – I’d love to hear what others have to say about shooting preparations.  In the meantime, happy shooting, watch those apertures and we’ll see you back here again tomorrow for the Week 13 episode of “What’s This?”

Photo Galleries Galore

I’ve been playing around with the SImpleviewer Flash concept a little lately.  In looking at how others are implementing it on their blogs, I was thinking that CB could use a dedicated photo gallery to share and exhibit some photos.

Well, as a temporary release, I’ve put a few together using the Auto-viewer format.  It has naturally been customized a little, but is up and viewable right now!  Check out the images I’ve included here:  CB Photo Galleries They are mostly images of colors and textures thus far with a few other test images thrown in to determine sizing.  Hopefully I’ll get all the full versions from “What’s This?” incorporated soon too.  Feedback, comments, and suggestions on this are not only welcome, but encouraged.  Ideally I will be setting up a dedicated website for this material at some point too (provided there’s enough interest).  So, what do you think?  Don’t quit my day job?  Good idea?  Yawner?  Sound off in the comments!  Here’s a few sneak previews of what’s in the gallery right now:

CB Photo Gallery

CB Photo Gallery

CB Photo Gallery

CB Photo Gallery

In other news, I got word from Michael Johnston over at The Online Photographer that his final post on “Must Have Photography Books” has been published.  Like an oracle, when he suggests a book, it quickly sells out, so be sure to stop over to his blog to see what photography goodness is available.  It can be read here.

Last but not least, there’s only a few more days to participate in the “SLR features” poll – I think it’s set to expire this Friday, so be sure to jump in and share your thoughts on what the most important features are.

Happy shooting, watch those apertures, and we’ll see you back here again tomorrow!

The Weekender – Web stuff and some thoughts on CS4

The last few days have been insanely busy with work and home obligations, so out of necessity I have not had time to devote to content for the blog.  My apologies for abandoning the readership temporarily, and without warning.  I’ll endeavor to give advance notice before that happens again.  So, with that out of the way, I thought today it might be useful to get a wrap-up of what I have been seeing and reading around the forums, blogs, and internet that’s photography-related.

  • Jeff Revell, who has become quite well-known for his photowalking blog made a few interesting posts recently.  In one of them, he did a reminder on updating your firmware.  Great idea Jeff – if you’re interested, I actually put together a post with all the Canon firmware updates as of a few weeks ago.  The other one was ab out the Epson Print Academy season for 2009 has been published.  I had been meaning to go to one of these for a while, and for a mere $150 think it is definitely worth the cost.  They’re coming to Denver and it’s a mere block or two from where I work so I will most assuredly be in attendance this go around.
  • Scott Kelby, master instructor of Photoshop, Lightroom and author of more books than I can count, is also bringing his tour through Denver some time in December.  Check out the schedule here if you want to see him live and in action at what he does best!
  • David Ziser has offered up a Digital Wakeup Call DVD worht $75 to some lucky participant if he gets 20 ideas on how to incorporate video into your selling packages for photography businesses.  Not a bad deal for 5 minutes of your time!
  • Don’t forget, I’ve expanded the poll here at CanonBlogger to go longer than the 1 week, so the numbers are a more accurate representation.  What features do you like about the curreng generation of camera bodies on the market?  What motivates you to buy?  Share your thoughts on the poll to the right.

Last, but not least, the hubub on most forums lately has been surrounding the release of CS4 and LR2’s latest updates.  The reason for all the hoopla comes every time there is a new release to the software, and it’s a cycle that likely will not end.  Rather than just pile on and vent, I thought for the second half of this double-feature wrap-up, I’d share some thoughts on why people are frustrated rather than just saying “people are frustrated”.  So, here’s a different perspective.

Software is not a tangible asset

Software is not like a camera body, or a car, or a television, it’s something that lives on your computer.  Thus, the value of it is not as easy to see.  We are very much a society that thrives on all our toys, and software just isn’t the same as having the latest body, or flash or television or car.  It’s not something we can touch and feel and show off to our friends.  It’s only on our computer.

Necessity

With software, we are sometimes obligated to upgrade.  I personally had to upgrade because CS2 did not offer a raw converter for the Canon 40D.  Sure, there’s the Adobe DNG converter for free, and I actually have incorporated that into my work flow for the Mac where I don’t have CS3, but that does present another step in the process of a work flow that I was previously happy to not have to deal with.  Anyway, the point here is that if you don’t upgrade your software, you will find yourself unable to maintain a stable and consistent work flow (since you re upgrading other gear all the time too).

Competitive Pricing

With other technologies, competition keeps prices under control.  Camera vendors like Canon, Nikon, Sony, and the rest all have to compete with one another for your business.  Adobe really has no competition in the market place.  Okay, sure, there’s Corel, and the GIMP, but come on, who are we kidding?  Adobe is the market when it comes to photo editing software.  All the others are simply “alternative programs”.  Without a competitor, Adobe can price things however they want, knowing that those of us who have already invested are pretty much committed to maintaining our work flow by keeping the software interface as consistent as we can.  To their credit, upgrades are cheaper than the full blown versions of the software, and there are often promotions and suc (educational pricing is the best way to go imho – take a community college class once every two years and you will save anywhere fro $300 to $700 on pricing for the CS products).

Release Schedule

Do we really need to upgrade our software and work flow every 18 months?  With cameras, (which are released on the same schedules for most SLRs), most people I know wait at least 2 generations before upgrading.  Another analogy that has been made here is to cars – anyone upgrade their car every two years?  What about televisions?  Do we really upgrade our televisions every 18 months?  Unlikely…and even if we do, is the old television still usable?  Often times, the older version is relegated to the basement or a childs bedroom, or even sold second hand.  Who buys outdated software?  No one that I know of…

So, there’s the second half of the weekend post.  What do you think?  Am I off base?  Is the software market competitive?  Do you think the pricing is fair and equitable?  What about the upgrade schedule?  Does 18 months sound about right?  Sound off in the comments!

Again, sorry for the lack of material over the last two days.  Hopefully this will make up for the lack of content on Thursday and Friday.  Now, since you’ve finished this, take that last sip of coffee, pack up your gear and go have fun shooting!  (In other words, Happy Shooting!)  We’ll see you back here again on Monday.