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Digital Photography in Cambodia, Vietnam etc, 2009

 

I used a Canon 5D Mk 2 camera and Iris used a Canon 450D camera. All Iris' shots are taken with the Canon EFS 18-200mm f/4.5-5.6 image stabilised zoom lens (35mm equivalent 29-320mm). Most of my shots were taken with a 400mm f/4 DO prime (non-zoom) image-stabilised lens but I also used a 70-300mm DO image stabilised zoom lens and a 24-105mm f/4 image stabilised zoom lens. On one day in Etosha National Park I used a 1.4x extender with the 400mm lens to create the equivalent of a 560mm f/5.6 lens.

Iris was very pleased with her camera; it was versatile and easy to manage. She got some excellent shots with it. Mine was more of a compromise with the 5d and 400mm lens being relatively heavy and awkward but producing outstanding image quality under the relatively difficult conditions of the game drives. To make it easier to handle my camera I bought a $3 child's bean bag cushion and velcro'd it to the 400mm lens. Although this purple bag (the other choice was pink!) was rather conspicuous it did allow me to support the lens easily and probably helped stabilise it. Most of the time there was nothing suitable to rest the lens on in the game vehicles but when there was something the bean bag was great.

We used large camera memory cards; mine was a "600x" UDMA CF card that was very fast. We downloaded the images to a laptop computer nightly so we started with clean cards most days. We always shot in RAW and viewed the images in Adobe Lightroom.

We used a Lenovo ThinkPad laptop computer. It's small and very light but with a dual-core processor. The solid-state hard drive was fast but didn't have much room for photographs (the 5D Mk2 produces RAW files of 28 to 30 MB each). We used a 500 GB external hard drive for primary image storage. This didn't provide for any backup and we would probably have been more secure with second external hard drive.

The images were imported into Photoshop Lightroom daily. Lightroom ran very well and it was easy to add keywords and captions to the images, “in the field”. When we got home, it was easy to copy the images and their metadata into Lightroom on our desktop computer, by connecting the external hard drive to the desktop computer.

We do not delete many images, either from the camera or the hard drive, unless they are a total disaster. We do not have the time to examine the photos carefully (nor a large screen – the laptop is 13 inches) and we also find that our opinion of some images changes over time. So, we bring almost everything home.

We took two rechargeable batteries for each camera and two multiple-voltage battery chargers with adapters for local sockets. This was satisfactory.

Overall, the trio of digital camera, laptop computer, and hard drive worked, for us and our needs.

Once home, we import the images from the laptop external hard drive to a desktop computer and use Adobe Lightroom to sort out any "duds" and rank the remainder. Those that we plan to post to the Web are moved to a collection and developed using the develop module in Lightroom. Where necessary, we use Adobe photoshop CS4 to make aditional changes. Finally, images are resized and saved as jpegs using Lightroom's export feature.

The Web site was written using Dreamweaver and is managed with Dreamweaver. The site uses Adobe Cold Fusion programming to simplify reusing code from exhibition to exhibition.

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