Sunday, November 02, 2008

Did you miss me?

I've been working away, doing stuff. I haven't had much time for photography, or for writing, which is why I haven't posted anything here in almost a week.

Did you have a good Hallowe'en? The only thing I really did that was Hallowe'en-ish was to wear some biker stuff to an early morning breakfast networking meeting. There were half a dozen people there in costume. Naturally, I took a few pictures which are in my gallery. This guy had fun, though:

The rubber nose (aw, I gave it away!) certainly didn't look real. It was off-colour, looked like plastic. A little Photoshop and...

Anyway, I drove up North right after the meeting and stopped for a couple of pictures along the way.

Aren't evergreens supposed to stay green?

Later, I took my bike out for the last ride of the year. I rode up highway 35 past Dorset, turning around just before Dwight. It's a great stretch of road. I stopped to see what pictures I could get at Wren Lake, where we were in September on the workshop. There's a parking area just North of the bridge that leads to a forested trail to the lake and I took some shots in there.

FacZen Photography Tips

Batteries, memory cards and third party stuff

Today I'll be talking about batteries and other stuff that gets attached to your camera.

  • Always carry a spare battery. Do you know how frustrating it can be to run out of battery in the middle of a photo shoot? Oh you do… and you don’t have an extra battery yet…

    Remember that in the winter, batteries can’t deliver their full potential, so you’ll run out sooner than you think.
  • And while we’re on the subject, what about memory cards? A high end DSLR shooting in RAW can fill up a memory card really fast!

    At a recent workshop, a friend of mine recorded a day’s worth of shooting on a 4Gb Sandisk Ultra III Extreme CF card. The best you can buy. When he plugged it into the computer, it failed. He lost a whole day’s shooting. S#(;@ happens. Wouldn’t it have been better to use a couple of 2Gb cards instead, or even change cards during the day just for security?
  • I also bought a remote shutter release online, from the far east. OK, well eBay. The price was very low and I did read a couple of reviews of this manufacturer's product which said their quality was really good. The jury's still out.

    While the release (made by Phottix) worked really well in tests -- I was able to trigger the shutter from about 100' away -- I'm not sure it's perfect. I wanted to use it for long exposures and the specs say you can set it up to do that: press and hold the release for a bit while in "Bulb" mode and it'll lock the shutter open until you hit it again. It's only doing that intermittently, sometimes it just fires the shutter for some (short) indeterminate period of time. The thing is, when it's holding the shutter open, it's draining its battery, which is a CR-lithium one which ain't cheap. The other night I shot half a dozen time exposures totalling about 20 minutes. A couple of nights ago, I tried it again and I got one 10-minute exposure before it died. I talked about it with Jim and he told me to bite the bullet and buy the Nikon release. Guess I will.

It’s up to you, but I tend to buy off-brand batteries on eBay instead of the expensive OEM ones. The OEM (Canon, Nikon, etc) will warn you that off-brands can damage your camera. It’s your choice if you believe that or not. Compare Nikon’s eL-en3e battery at $79.95 locally with a no-name equivalent shipped from China at TWO for $20 including shipping. But for memory cards, I stick with originals. Sean found out that they can fail too, but I’m not willing to risk the same thing happening on an off-brand.