Tag Archives: camera

Bushwalking Photography Workflow Pt 2 | Using iPhoto to Select, Rank and Sort

Ever come back from a bushwalk with a huge number of photos to select, rank, sort and show? The traditional way is to set up a series of folders to which you then drag those you like, to produce a slideshow. Not any more…….there are much more efficient workflows and great software such as iPhoto to help.

The first task with any collection of digital photos is to delete those that are out-of-focus, taken by error or poorly centered on the subject. Next you will want to select the best of the multiple shots you have taken of each scene and decide which you are going to incorporate into your slideshow. You will probably want to remove any movies you have made as they can make the production of the slideshow more difficult. Finally you will want to crop some and perhaps change contrast, exposure, sharpness.

Traditionally this has been done by deleting unusable photos and then dragging the images you want to keep into folders. There are more efficient workflows today that use readily available photo software to allow easier sorting and ranking and which make any changes instantly reversible. The key to an efficient workflow is to assign “keywords” to groups of photos and then rank each using a “star” system or some equivalent. The final step is to establish “smart” albums, which automatically group your selections by searching according to set criteria, rather than requiring that you drag and drop photos, which can easily lead to errors.

The workflow that follows applies to iPhoto, which is available at low cost for iPhone, iPad and Apple computers but there are many alternatives both for Apple computers and those running Windows. The workflow is easily adaptable to any software, including online storage.

WORKFLOW

STEP 1 IMPORT

Import your photos from your camera card into a single album which you have named by location, and date. The fastest way is to use a card reader connected or inserted into you computer.

STEP 2 INITIAL RANKING

Add rankings

Give each photo a single star (*) ranking by selecting all, and then pressing cmd-1  [Photo on left]. Your software may require a different key action.

STEP 3 ASSIGN KEYWORDS

Select groups of photos and assign keywords according to topic or location. iPhoto allows you to manage your keywords so the a single key press will allocate a keyword(s) to the photo or group you have selected.

Suitable keywords might be the location, birds, flowers, people, photographer, camera, date, person’s name etc.

You can assign keywords to indicate the type of editing that needs to be done eg crop, enhance, sharpen.  I crop all my photos to the 16:9 format for showing on a HD digital TV, but you can save some effort  and card space by doing this automatically in advance using your camera settings.

Once you have assigned keywords you can then create a smart album to dynamically group all photos with a particular keyword.

STEP 4 ESTABLISH SMART ALBUMS

Set up “smart albums” which will automatically group your photos according to multiple keyword(s) and  star ranking.

STEP 4 DELETE UNWANTED FROM ALBUM

Remove photos and movies from the smart albums by removing the single star ranking (cmd-0) but they will still remain in your original album even when they have no star. (See above diagram)

STEP 5 SELECT SLIDESHOW PHOTOS

Go back to your first album and assign ** to each of the photos you wish to include in your slideshow. Set up a “Best of…” album which includes all your two star or higher photos.

Set up smart album

The advantage of smart albums is that they are dynamic with a simple change to a keyword or rating automatically and instantly reflected in the smart album.

NB I have chosen iPhoto as my software of preference; not too expensive, not too complex and usable cross platform (iOS 5, OS X) with both Apple computers, iPhones and iPads.

See also:

Bushwalking Photography Workflow Pt 1| Share the Best of a Group’s Photos Using iPhoto

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Bushwalking Equipment | Keep Your Camera Working in the Cold and Wet

Ever tried to take photos in the rain on a cold day or come inside from the cold to a nice warm hut/car/tent and wondered why you couldn’t see through the lens? Worried about what will happen when you go outside into the cold and wet?

These are universal problems for outdoors photographers and can be incredibly frustrating, as I recently experienced on the Routeburn Track in New Zealand.

Fortunately the cold itself is not usually a problem for a warm camera ( NB the same applies to your smart phone’s inbuilt camera), as condensation does not form on warm objects and cold air is usually relatively dry. There are of course the dual problems of the rain or snow falling on the lens or getting into the camera electronics and then there are the  batteries, which often fail when cold. No batteries, no photos!

Solving the battery problem is relatively easy. Just keep the camera warm, next to your body, along with a spare set of batteries which you can use to replace the non-functioning cold batteries if needed. Swap them back with the newly warmed batteries, if you need to repeat the process. While they are much more expensive, Lithium batteries last longer and perform better in the cold than NiCad.

The difficulty of shooting photos in the cold and wet is that you often get water on the lens or viewfinder, which either makes it difficult to compose the shot or ruins it completely. Pull your rain jacket hood over your head and use a  peaked cap to keep the water off the lens and camera. Keep the camera inside your jacket near your body, where it’s easy to find, not inside your cold backpack, where both the camera and the pack contents will get wet every time you want to take a photo.

The alternative of course, is not to take the camera out of you pack during rain, but then why bring your camera at all, if you’re not going to use it. Wet weather photos are unique and mountain scenery with rain and snow falling, cascading waterfalls, racing creeks and swirling fog is magical.

If it’s particularly cold and you are wearing gloves, then you have another problem. Take your gloves off and freeze while you operate the buttons or use a camera that is fully automatic. Even better, buy a waterproof fully automatic camera or a single use waterproof camera.

Coming inside after a long day in the cold is the most problematic. The greater the temperature difference between your camera and the warm moist air produced by all those wet clothes drying in front of the fire, the greater will be the condensation on your lens and electronics. The solution of course is to minimise the temperature difference by either pre-warming your camera or slowly letting it warm in the coldest place you can find inside.

Placing your camera in a waterproof bag before you come inside, will make sure that any condensation is on the outside of the bag not on your camera. Then its just a matter of waiting until your camera warms up before you take it out of its bag.

The same applies to your camera card and batteries, let them warm up next to your body before changing them in your camera.

Acknowlegement

Thanks to Bill S from Trailspace and the New York Institute of Photography for the inspiration to write this article. I needed reminding that condensation only occurs on cold surfaces.

Read more
Related posts
How to Use Your Camera in Cold Weather (RitzCamera.com)
Cold Weather Photography (Trailspace)

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Bushwalking Photography Workflow Pt 1| Share the Best of a Group’s Photos Using iPhoto

Ever tried to select the best photos from your bushwalking expedition when there has been several photographers?  How do you easily compare photos of the same scene from different photographers? How do you share the best photos?

 iPhoto Workflow Summary

  • Import the photos from each photographer’s CD into a separate album.
  • Select and drag them all into a new “Combined” album, leaving the old albums intact.
  • Check your own camera’s time/date and correct the time/date of all your own photos
  • Compare the times shown on photos of the same scene from different photographers with your own, now corrected, time/date.
  • Adjust the time/date of each  photographer’s album so that  the photo(s) you have in common have matching times/dates.
  • Sort the photos by time/date and you will now see photos of the same scene from different photographers located together in your “Combined” album.
  • Select the best photos from each scene by giving it 4 stars (Command 4)
  • Set up a Smart album which contains all the photos from your “Combined” album which have more than 3 stars.
  • View your Smart album and you will see all the best photos from your group’s expedition, sorted by time/date.

The workflow I use to help me select the best photos from several photographers is to ask each for a CD and then import them into separate iPhoto albums, each named after the photographer eg initials or first name.

I then set up a new album into which I  drag all the photos and sort by date/time. The first thing you will see is that photos taken at the same time by different photographers don’t appear next to each other on the page. This is because they forgot to update the time on their camera clock before the expedition.

Which camera clock was correct? Were any of the clocks correct?

It doesn’t really matter. Go to your own camera and check the clock against the current time. If like me, your clock was set for AEST, half an hour ahead of ACST, then all you have to do is take 30 mins off each of your photo’s times and they will all have the correct time.

How do you adjust the time and date on a photo?

Well you could go to each photo’s information (EXIF) by selecting Info from the menu at the bottom of the edit window and subtract 30 mins from each time. There is an easier way, and that is to select all the photos belonging to one photographer and change them all at once using the Photos/Adjust Time Date menu item. (HINT: the time shown is that of the first photo in the album, so adjust the time on this photo by the differential you have calculated). All the photos in your both your initial and “Combined” album will take on the new times/dates

How do you select the best photo of a scene?

Now that they all have the correct date and time photos of the same scene will be together. Compare them by selecting all the photos of the same scene and then double clicking to open up a new window where they will all be displayed next to each other. Allocate 4 stars to the best and permanently delete any unusable photos by OPTION-COMMAND-DELETE them. Repeat for each scene.

How do you view the best photos?

To do this set up a new smart album called “Best of…” and set the criteria to include all photos from your “Combined” album that have more than 3 stars. Simply change the number of stars for a particular photo in your “Combined” album to less than 4 to make it disappear from your Smart album. It will still appear in both the “Combined” and individual import album but not in your Smart album.

How do you share the “Best of..” photos?

Well you can upload to iWeb, MobileMe, burn a copy of the iPhoto library or make a DVD slideshow movie using iDVD. You could also upload to DropBox or any of the other online galleries such as Flickr, Picasa. If you are uploading to iWeb make sure your selection does not include any movies and that the title of the site has no spaces.

Similar Postings

Bushwalking Photography Workflow Pt 2 | Using iPhoto to Select, Rank and Sort

Bushwalking Photography

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Conserving your Digital Camera’s Batteries while Bushwalking.

How do I save my camera batteries when in the bush? Can I charge my batteries when on a hike? Which camera settings can I change to conserve battery power?

Panasonic Charger and Li-ion Battery

Some hints are obvious

  • carry more than one set of batteries
  • choose higher power batteries eg lithium ion instead of alkaline or Nicad
  • charge your batteries at the last possible moment
  • don’t leave your camera turned on unnecessarily
  • maximise  power and screen saving, using your camera settings
  • standardise on a single battery type so you can swap batteries between your torch, GPS and camera

Some are less obvious

  • use your viewfinder instead of the LCD the screen
  • turn you screen brightness down to a minimum, if you have no viewfinder
  • don’t review or delete the photos you have taken
  • minimize the use of flash
  • take less video: plan what you are going to take
  • zoom you camera less and don’t have it set on continuous focus
  • have the subject prepared and the camera set on the tripod before turning on your camera
  • keep your batteries warm: some would say this is unnecessary
  • update all the settings on your camera such as date/time before you leave home
  • don’t take more photos than you need
  • if you have a GPS in your camera, decide if you need it turned on

Some technology has only recently become available

Acknowledgment

The idea for this post came from wildtiger.biz Tips when taking your video camera on a bushwalk; Jay Fraser Posted on 2006-04-05 and has been expanded based on my personal experience of extended walks and digital cameras.

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My Favourite Bushwalking Cameras

In  a previous post I discussed the features of my ideal bushwalking camera but they may not satisfy your needs. Many keen photographers like to have full manual control over their camera, take RAW photos; others may never want to take video, take macros, use HDR or stitch together panoramic shots. Each to their own!

This post is based on my evaluation of the cameras available today and may be different in a months time. Certainly the options were quite different when I bought my Panasonic Lumix FZ35 in September last year; it has been replaced by the Panasonic Lumix FZ40 which has  24X zoom, 25 mm wide angle, 14 megapixels,  and 3″ screen.

Panasonic Lumix FZ35


Why do I like about the Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ35 (FZ40)?

  •  for 99% of photos I take, it can do everything that an expensive and heavy DSLR can do, plus more and usually it can do this using the Intelligent Auto setting
  • lightweight compared to a DSLR or even the Canon SX30
  • great zoom and wide angle with superb image stabilisation: I can’t tell the difference with or without a tripod on most occasions.
  •  great image quality (IQ) which rivals that of the much larger DSLRs, except in low light, which is this camera’s Achilles heel and that of most other small digital cameras for that matter.
  • fast startup, focus and time between shots. In a 100 photos, only a few are are out of focus.
  • auto face recognition and focus on faces if selected
  • fantastic automatic mode which selects not only the correct exposure, shutter speed and ISO but also adjusts backlight, compensates selectively for over/under exposure in small areas of the scene, and intelligently selects settings depending on the type of photo (scene) being taken. I rarely have to use manual except to open up the aperture when I want to put the background out of focus.
  • superb HD video, with stereo sound, which is videocam quality: great for 360s from the top of Frenchmans. Separate button to turn video on/off. Can be played in your HD TV.
  • automates the stitching of panoramic shots
  • HDR: adjusts for both under and over exposure in the one scene
  • reasonable flash
  • high resolution screen: one of the best available
  • adjustable viewfinder: great for bright light viewing
  • great slideshows with effects and music, straight to your TV
  • RAW setting if you like to manipulate you photos without any in-camera pre-processing
  • readily available high quality accessory lenses (screw on the front) allow for ultra closeup, wide angle or tele.

Features the FZ35 lacks

  • geotagging: no GPS
  • not waterproof
  • rotating screen, which Canon posseses
  • good low light performance (common to most small digital cameras)
  • difficulty in putting background out of focus (common to most small digital cameras)

I must admit I am a convert to Panasonic cameras for bushwalking, having previously used Pentax, Minolta and Olympus. I think they have it right: top quality Leica lenses matched with top quality electronics for which Panasonic are renowned. Every year they bring out new models which are usually, but not always, a significant improvement over the last. I also like the user friendly on screen menus, the well thought out features and powerful firmware for which Panasonic have had vast experience in consumer electronics.

If you have a choice buy the Panasonic Lumix FZ35, which will be a little cheaper and, so some say, have better IQ because of the lower megapixels and less powerful zoom. Of course if you are a bird watcher the 24x zoom might be just what you want.

What are the alternatives? 

Panansonic Lumix DMC TZ10

Panansonic TZ10

This camera is my second choice as it has the similar firmware to the FZ35 (FZ40) and if I was trying very seriously to save weight, this would be my first choice. Compromises over the FZ35 (FZ40) to make it smaller and lighter are minimal. Most importantly it has a GPS so all your photos are automatically geo-tagged for research purposes or adding to Google maps etc

Canon SX30 IS

Canon SX30 IS

The Canon SX series has been the only camera to really match the Lumix FZ series and they continually compete with each other head-on. Image quality and other features  are similar. The reason I chose the Lumix was that it was significantly lighter and a little smaller. A friend of mine who has owned this model for some time and does lots of bushwalking has recently changed to the Lumix for similar reasons.

Panasonic DMC FT1 (new model FT2)

This is a rugged waterproof (not just weatherproof) camera with HD video and Intelligent Auto (iA) which even works with the video. I would choose this for any bushwalking activity that required photos in a wet environment eg Kokoda Trail, rafting, Tasmania even. This camera lacks none of the  features of the FZ series; the zoom is only 4.6x, but that is the only real compromise. It even has HDMI output for HD viewing on your HD TV and if your TV is also Panasonic you can use your remote to operate your camera as it plays video and slideshows.

A great second camera!

Panasonic DMC FT1 (FT2)

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Choosing the Ideal Bushwalk Camera

What characteristics should the ideal bushwalking camera have? Will a smartphone do instead? Is a full blown DSLR needed? What about for those poster size prints?

I  am continually looking for the ideal bushwalking camera and each year I seem to get closer with each new product release.  But each year I keep adding new “must have” features to my list, so I never actually get there.

I remember having a Minolta Weathermatic 35 DL waterproof  film camera  in the late eighties with which I was very satisfied. It had limited zoom and macro, auto-focus, replaceable batteries, and could be used underwater with its special sports viewfinder.  It was way ahead of its time! I thought it did a great job at the time. But things have changed; cameras are smaller, have better zoom and the automatic settings make them truly point-and-shoot cameras!

Minolta Weathermatic 35DL with sports finder by Marty4650

The ideal camera needs to be weatherproof, lightweight, have both  zoom, wide angle and macro lens, with video capabilities, have a battery that lasts for the duration of your walk or is easily replaceable, have a screen that is visible even in bright sunshine, have a GPS and have …… the list goes on. With each new model release the features become more impressive.  Panoramic stitch, HDR, face recognition and focus, automatic backlight, 15 megapixel….Will I ever be satisfied?

The answer is probably no. Each year my children get my reject camera as I progress to the next model. Each year, my ideal digital camera changes a little, but the core requirements for me today are:

  • big zoom and wide angle
  • lightweight and compact, hence single lens
  • GPS for geotagging photos
  • full automatic with intelligent processing that I can depend upon
  • replaceable lightweight batteries, preferably Li-ion to save weight
  • screen that works in bright light or better still an optical viewfinder
  • high quality video capabilities
  • 5-10 mega pixels
  • built in flash
  • ability to easily connect o my computer and TV screen

Can a smart phone meet all of these requirements? The iPhone 4 goes close, as do high end Nokias and probably many others. There are many situations in which a smartphone would be more than adequate and would meet most of my core requirements. The main problem is that to fit the features into such a small space, compromises need to be made. See some of my other iPhone posts for more details.

Is a full blown DSLR suitable? Not for me; too heavy, bulky and only in poor light are the photos better. The equivalent of my Panasonic FZ35 18x zoom would weigh a ton in a DSLR. Possibly OK on a day walk, but I don’t have the room or want the additional weight  for an extended walk. With even point-and-shoots having as many as 15 megapixels, poster size prints are feasible without needing a DSLR.

When I eventually master taking good creative shots with my point-and-shoot I might want to print poster size prints or take shots in difficult light conditions, but until then I’ll concentrate on getting interesting, creative shots, for which I don’t need a bulky, heavy DSLR.

Want some recommendations on particular models ?

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My Favourite iPhones Apps for Bushwalking, Hiking, the Outdoors and Fitness.

For about three weeks, I have been trialling a selection of free and paid iPhone apps, small applications for mobile phones, of which a small number may eventually meet my needs as a keen bushwalker (hiker), photographer and “naturalist”.I have been overwhelmed by the variety of apps, their quality,  versatility and value. With a 32GB iPhone, I have plenty of room to experiment!
The key to versatility is the ability of iPhone 4 apps to integrate and multi-task in the background with the inbuilt compass, GPS, accelerometer and gyrometer, camera, video and music player. The high resolution touch screen makes many tasks such as map reading easier.
Some of these apps duplicate functions included in others, but offer them in a more user friendly manner or with more options. Be wary of free apps that include ads that will drive you mad with their insistence that you visit their website or depend for full functionality upon registering for  a website which then owns and shares your information and habits with third parties. Many of the free apps are “lite” versions of the full paid version and are made available so you can test the features before purchase.
In a previous post, I did a Google search and came up with a list of over 60 “outdoors” apps  which I then reduced to a smaller number for download especially those with a local flavour. I have intentionally omitted those that require registration on a website to work and those that can’t use the UTM coordinate system, where this is critical. I have included “Lite” versions which allow you to trial the product free of charge before upgrading to the full paid version if you wish.
Over the next few weeks, I will review some of the best in more detail. Those that I have downloaded so far include the following :
Navigation

Gone Trekking Safety Outdoors: location aware safety notification app (Free version available)
MotionX GPS : attempts to bring many of the features of a dedicated handheld GPS, plus a sports and  fitness GPS, plus a geotagging camera into a single app (Free version available)
Map Overlay Tracer: overlay and trace maps directly on top of Google maps
Google Earth: explore your intended or current  location using 3D satellite imagery (free)
GeoLog Tag: acts as a GPS data logger and geotagging app (JPEG and RAW) for photos taken with any digital camera. (Free version available)
Declination: find your current magnetic declination based on the World magnetic mode. (Free)
Bit Map: offline map viewer for your own imported topographic  maps in standard image formats plus oz2 (Australian)
Map Tools: utility that lets users fully utilize coordinates. Converts between datums, including AGD66, AGD84,GDA94, NZGD49, coordinate systems, and map projections and calculates distances.
Convert Units; ideal for converting F to C, miles to km, quarts to litre, or with custom unit conversions km/hr to minutes per mile (Free)
Pocket Pedometer: specifically designed for walkers and runners, automatic movement detection, calibration, distance measure, calorie counter, conversion system. (Free version available)
Orienteering Compass : behaves just like an oil-bath compass with outer locking ring
BackToMyCar
: assures you of never forgetting where you parked again, take photo, turn by turn walking instructions, see distance and time left on meter. (Free)

Service Tools

No Signal: No cell service? In a dead zone? want to be notified when you can make calls again without taking the phone out of your pocket?

Photography

Photonasis has the biggest collection of photo effects on the app store  (Free)
Genius Scan: turns your iPhone into a pocket scanner, great for sending those trip intention forms you have just completed (Free) 
Photo Timer : capture group photos and self portraits
Flickit: keep your Flickr.com photostream up to date
Flickr: shoot, upload and share photos and videos: Geo-tag your photos or add them to a set. View your photos by set and tagBurst Mode: analyse fast events frame by frame eg bird flying
Remotomatic: make your iPhone a bluetooth remote controlled camera with self-timer shutter built-in.

Equipment

Camp and Hike: allows selection from a larger master list depending on duration, weather and type of trip.
ListPro : the ultimate list making toolkit (Free)

Reference

Australian. Birds (Michael Morcombe eGuide): a comprehensive collection of bird calls, sketches and a searchable, location aware database, which allows side by side comparisons.
Bird in hand; covers 23 of Tasmania’s common and endemic birds and includes bird calls, high quality pictures and information on their habitat, breeding, diet etc. Use the App while out bush to work out which call is which.
Star-Guide: displays the constellation to which your iPhone is pointing (Free)
Wikipanion: accessing Wikipedia has never been faster and easier eg do a search for Federation Peak, Tasmania and find out the history, location, climate, climbing routes and get photos.

Fitness

iWorkout Lite: Do you want a personal trainer in your pocket? metronome, pedometer, exercises, videos
Walkmeter: continually records your time, location, distance, elevation, and speed. See your results on maps, graphs, and a calendar, and organized by routes and activities. Monitor your progress with up to 20 configurable announcements including distance, time, speed, elevation, climb. Compete against your previous workouts along a route.
Pocket Pedometer (Free) measures distance, time, calories, steps with automatic calibration for walker. Battery saver turns off screen automatically.

First Aid/Emergency

Gone Trekking Safety Outdoors:  location aware safety notification app
MediProfiles: carry all the emergency medical information you need about your co-walkers in case you need it in a remote location. Published by St John Ambulance (Free)
TuneIn Radio: listen to and record over 40,000 radio stations via the internet including thousands of AM/FM local stations. Want the local weather forecast or fire danger report?

Utilities

Flashlight: the LED light on iPhone 4 and fills your screen with bright white light . Strobe for emergencies. Red light for night use.
KnotsGuidecontains 92 knots divided into 10 categories
Learning the Ropes- Navy Knots learn to tie navy knots with 3D animation and notes (Free)
GoodReader
: use it to view reference documents you have saved from the web. Super-robust PDF reader with advanced reading, annotating, markup and highlighting capabilities, excellent file manager, TXT file reader and editor, audio/video player, Safari-like viewer for MS Office and iWorks files.
Kindle
: gives users the ability to read Kindle books
Library : keep track of and share bushwalking books you have read, books you want to read, and books you are reading. (Free)
BooksApp Lite: easily catalog your entire book library, group related books together, recommend your favorite books to your friends and family and keep track of who has borrowed your books. Uses ISBN and scans barcode to import details including artwork. (Free. Limited)
Climbing Grade Converter : converts grades between 14 climbing grade systems including bouldering (Lite version is free but limited)

Weather

iBarometer: lets you easily know what is the pressure near you, using the internet. Great for calibrating your altimeter.
Pocket Weather AU: weather sourced directly from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) Keep up to date with weather alerts and extended forecasts.

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