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The course takes a look at the hardware and software issues behind field shooting: assessing storage and backup needs, evaluating GPS geotagging options, surveying power and charging issues, and more. After discussing each of the components, Ben shows how they fit together in different field setups, ranging from an extravagant laptop-based system to a no-computer setup that backs up photos to a compact digital wallet device. The course also spotlights some workflow strategies to consider when you get home, from transferring photos to merging them with a larger photo library.
- Selecting the right gear, from cameras to bags
- Bringing the right battery and storage equipment
- Packing your camera bag
- Getting to the destination with heavy equipment
- Unpacking and setting up the gear
- Geotagging photos on location
- Downloading manuals for convenient access in the field
- Wrapping up a shoot
- Unpacking and transferring images to an editing workstation
Skill Level Intermediate
So I found this really nice spot here. This is where I am going to spend the night. It's the end of the first day. I have got this great clear view of with the sky. The full moon is going to be out tonight. It should be really nice. I've also got, here, in front of me, all of the camera gear. I brought this is it. This is my ultra-light rig. I have my SLR with my walk-around 24 to 105 lens on it. I have my 16 to 35, which I've been carrying out here. One thing is, the lens is a little exposed here. I've got to be very careful that I don't just drop the bag down, but this makes it easier for me to get to.
I've also got, as I mentioned before, this little point-and-shoot camera. This is the Canon power shot S 100, and I showed you that it has built-in GPS. But that's not why I've brought this camera, because I don't need the GPS. I've got my geologging device. I've brought this camera because it's smaller and lighter than my macro lens for my SLR. And it does great macro work. I can get to within a couple of 7 meters or something. It's got a really fast lens on it. So this ends up being a very, very good macro camera. It's also nice just because it's got a little bit more telephoto reach them my walk-around lens and so if I keep it somewhere easy to get to while I am on the trail, I don't actually have to stop and change lenses, or I can do a little more reach to what I use to.
It's also easier to shoot video with this camera. So it's worth dropping one of these into your bag if it's small and light, just for the macro capability and to have a little more shooting flexibility. The other things that I've got here, as I mentioned before, my spot if I get lost. My GPS logger. I have the wireless remote control that you saw in the last video in case I want to set up some self-portrait kind of things. To facilitate that, I've got my Gorillapod. I've got another stabilization thing which is this bottled water here, which helps me hydrate. Very important.
And if I drop this thing on it, I've got a little camera support for my point-and-shoot. I can't use my SLR with this. I'd ideally want a bottle with a slightly wider top so that I get some friction here. But this will actually hold my little point-and-shoot camera so that fun for self-portraits and things. I brought two filters with me that I've not used yet and without a tripod I don't know if I will, but I thought I would bring them anyway. I have got my infrared and my neutral-density filter. The only way that I am really going able to work with those is setting up the Gorillapod and obviously it's very short, so I've got limited use there.
I have no computer. I have no iPad. I don't even have that little HyperDrive gizmo that I showed you before. So I've no way of copying my images anywhere. So for storage what I've done is I've simply brought a mess of compact flash cards. I've just got a lot of them. I'm thinking I've got far more storage than I'll need to get through this trip. So my answer to the storage issue is simply glut. I am carrying them all in this case that is waterproof. It's also shockproof. Its going to be very hard to damage, so I am not too worried about losing cards that I have already shot. Now this gets me enough media to take all my pictures. I don't get any redundancy, but I actually, if I want, have an option for redundancy and that is because my camera has two media slots on it. A lot of SLRs have this.
Now I have a compact flash slot and I have a SD slot. If you notice, I've still got in the SD slot my Eye-Fi card, so I can eventually beam pictures to my phone if I want. There have been a few places where I've been up on ridge and gotten a tiny little cell signal so if I wanted, I can actually emails and photos out. But what's nice is I can program this in different ways. I can set them up so that when one card fills up the camera automatically switches to the next. That doesn't do any much good out here because it's no big deal for me to stop and switch cards. But if you have an event shooter, this is really handy. It means you don't have to interrupt your shoot and risk missing part of the event while you change cards.
I can also set this up so the different formats go on different cards. I can, say, put raws on the compact flash, put JPEGs on the SD card, or I could, say, put full-res raw on one card and half-res raw on the other, or different resolution JPEG. I can set these up however if I have want. Or I can tell the camera, no matter what I shoot put a copy of each--put a copy of everything on both cards. So if I am shooting raw or I am shooting raw plus JPEG, it puts everything on both cards. I can slow down my burst rate a little bit, but in general, it's a very effective very easy way I having getting full redundancy.
If I wanted, I could bring an equivalent amount of SD storage to the CF storage that I have and know that I've got two copies of everything I shoot. So really there's no reason to bring a computer with you or anything else. Storage is cheap enough these days that you should be able to get through your trip simply by carrying a lot of media. You can't look at any of it. You can't edit any of it. But bear in mind that for the history of photography that's how thing have been. People took rolls of film and certainly didn't have the option of redundancy and they managed to make do for all the time.
Power. My batteries last a good long time, but over the course of three days I am starting to wonder if they are going to make it all the way. I have a spare so I am probably okay. But I have another option and that is solar. I've two solar chargers here with me: the freeloader Pro which I can use to charge up my camera and this hot tips charger which is very small and which is actually enough to gas up my phone if I need it. Now what's cool about these is they are not the solar panels that feed electricity out of wire; they actually have batteries in them. So I can look at these as another set of batteries, but batteries that are capable of recharging themselves.
I can also charge these off of USB a connection, so I charged about before I left home. So right now I have got two fully charged batteries to work with. If my camera starts going, I can recharge my batteries off of this and then set this out in the sun again to try and charge it up. It should be noted that it takes a long time to charge a solar charger. You've got to have full daylight for 7 or 8 may be more hours to get it really completely charged. And even when it is, it may not be capable of completely recharging a battery. It may get it to 50%, 75%.
It probably can get it all the way, but it can get it far enough to keep you going. If you keep it recharging while you're using the partial charge it gave you, you can probably stay ahead of it and end up with enough power to get you through a long trip. These are not just for backcountry; they are just handy for anytime where it's critical that you be able to recharge your battery if you have to. So that's where I'm at. I like this setup. It's lightweight. It's usable for a lot of different situations. I have got the storage options that I need. I have storage options that I need. I have got power if I need it. The sun is going down, so I'm going to get something to eat and then set up for some night shooting.