Landscape Photography 101 part 2. Learn from a pro.

Posted by on Oct 11, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Landscape Photography 101 Part 2

Allen Tippetts – Midvale, Utah


In the last installment we talked about resolution and I promised that I would move into a discussion of “workflow” in part 2, so here we go.  If you are serious about your work, as I hope you would be, it is important to get in the habit of performing a series of steps or a workflow that will keep your work consistent, your gear performing to its best, and your images up to your best standards.  It is much easier to develop good habits than to break bad ones, as I can attest to.


You’ve been out on a photo excursion and at the end of the day you are either home, at a hotel room, or at a campsite. It’s after dinner and you are anxious to see those beautiful images, so let’s get to work.


First, your equipment:


  1. Remove the memory card from your camera and set it in a safe place. We’ll come back to that in a moment.
  2. Clean your camera.  Use a soft brush to remove any particles of sand or dirt from every surface of the camera, including your lenses.  Then using a lens cloth sprayed with lens cleaner, clean the lens, eyepiece, and LCD screen.  Never spray lens cleaner directly onto any of these surfaces!  The liquid can work its way into cracks, crevices causing severe problems downstream.  Wiping down your camera and lenses is critical if you are photographing scenes along beaches or on a boat.  The salt water spray and humidity can drastically shorten equipment life if not removed quickly.  I also wipe down my equipment several times during a shoot if I’m on a beach.
  3. Use a separate soft cloth sprayed lightly with lens cleaner to wipe down the rest of the camera and set it aside.
  4. Tripod and/or monopod:  Extend all legs to their full extent and wipe down the surfaces that retract.  Wipe down the rest of the surfaces also; handles, head, swivel joints, etc.
  5. Clean any other photo equipment that you used during the day.

Now your images:

  1. Insert your memory card into your computer, or attach the USB cable from your camera to your computer.  If you have a card reader, you can use that, also.
  2. Whether you have a pc or an Apple machine, use your basic software to COPY the images from your memory card to your permanent storage space.  This can be your pc hard drive or an external hard drive.
    1. I would not advise storing all of your images in the same folder on your computer.  A consistent and logical file system will be more manageable over time as you start accumulating many images.   I store my images on my hard drive in a folder hierarchy of year and month.   So, if you looked at the folder list in “My Pictures” on my laptop, you would first see a list of folders that simply have a Year label.  Within each of these years is are folders with a month label.   When I copy images from my memory card, they go into the appropriate year/month folder. I don’t rely on my storage system to catalog or index my photos, I use Adobe Lightroom for that purposes.
    2. You can devise your own storage system, such as a separate folder labeled for subject matter (sunsets, beaches, mountains, National Parks, family, etc.).  Portrait/Wedding photographers will commonly create folders for each shoot in order locate them quickly.  The point is, do some thinking about the photos you have and establish a filing/storage system that works for you.
    3. Once the images have been COPIED from the memory card and you have VERIFIED that they are located on your pc or other hard drive, replace the memory card in your camera and format it, following your camera’s instructions.  This will erase all of the images, and also take the memory card back to its optimum state for storing the next set of images.


Whether you shoot 10 images in a day, or 1,000, following the above workflow for permanent image storage will insure that you never find yourself with a full memory card and faced with the decision of which image to delete in order to take one more.   It will also insure that you do not accidentally delete images from your memory card that you forgot were there.


What do you do if you are on a trip and don’t have your computer with you to perform that daily download?   Obviously, there are times when you simply can’t get those images out of your camera every day.   Make sure you have additional memory cards for one thing.   Memory cards are relatively inexpensive, so keep several in your camera bag.   Secondly, there are devices made to store and preview images, such as the Epson P-series photo viewers.  They are now out of production, but I still use my P-2000 regularly.  You can find these on E-Bay.  Other manufacturers have similar products available.  The P-2000 holds 40 gb of data, so I can transfer my 8 gb card into the viewer 5 times before the capacity of the viewer is exceeded.   My 8 gb card holds approximately 300 jpg and raw images, so 1,500 images can be stored on the P-2000.   The viewer also has a somewhat larger screen than most camera LCD screens, allowing a more pleasant view of your photos after they are transferred.   When you return home, your images can then be moved from the viewer to your permanent storage device.   Make sure the device that interests you accepts the type of memory card from your camera.  The P-2000 for example, only has a slot for CF cards.


Whew, I know this is a lot of information, and at times it can be a boring process to just copy images.  If you make it habit, it will become less burdensome, and more like that darkroom experience when your photo magically appeared on a sheet of paper in the developing tank.


What do we do next?  We’ll talk about backing up your images so you never lose anything.  And we will have a discussion on cataloging and indexing images so that you can find exactly what you are looking for.  Both are continued “workflow” processes.  Until then, keep shooting!


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