High Capacity Shooting

Before I start some notes, the following applies to:
Nikon D50, D40
6MP, Image Quality Normal, 3008*2000, 1600 ISO, 1/100sec (ish)
In-built flash not used (SB-400 speedlight), minimal use of back-screen
Downloading onto a PC running Windows XP.

I do not shoot in RAW. Are you nuts? I have more than enough to go through already!

There are only a couple of occassions where I have topped-out my memory card whilst shooting, I was caught up in the moment and thought I had more shots remaining.

These were as follows:

# shots Event
2788 Absinth Club, Feb. 2007
2682 Red Door Burlesque, Jun. 2008

With the Absinth Club it was a big night and at Red Door Burlesque I had been struggling to shoot with a Nikkor f1.8 50mm lens manually in a low-light situation all night including one section lit by candlelight. I would not recommend it.

A couple of months later I did shoot 2561 at the Kinky event and had the forsight to change the memory card before the next act so I would not have that problem. I went on to shoot another 828 photos with the new card. The camera was starting to experience problems from continuous use at this stage so I would not recommend it.

Yes, you can delete photos while you are at the event, but using the back screen uses up battery and I have found that it actually reduces the capacity of the card.

I generally change batteries at the same time as the card, even though they are still about 1/4 full at the time as it is just easier. If you are conservative with using the back screen you can get away with 2000+ shots on a single charge.

I do this before I get home now, but make a quick note of how many photos you have taken on the biggest card, you will need it for later.

Putting the photos onto my computer, I generally like to split them into directories depending how many will fit onto a CD or how many CDs I want to have to back them up onto. 492 is generally the maximum, but it can go up and down. If you can manage it, try to make a clean break at 1000, as it makes it a lot easier when viewing in the file browser in Photoshop later (you have to go to the end of the set to view the first photos otherwise.)

You might need to go to bed while the photos are downloading, you are probably very tired at this point. If you are still pumped, put on a CD or watch some late-night TV while waiting for the photos to download. I find it best to reboot the computer after downloading the photos as I get "Low Virtual Memory" errors (I only have 256Mb or RAM on my computer!)

The next thing I do is copy across the photos to an external hard drive so I have two copies of the photos.

I always try to make at least one more backup, in this case to DVD if you are using a 4GB card or have shot more than 480 photos at a single event. Take note that a lot of people still do not have DVD drives in their computers so you will have to backup to CD for them if you have agreed to send out a copy of the originals to them.

Once you have backed up your photos, turn off your computer and leave it for at least eight hours. No! Do not be tempted to look at the photos or you will be on the computer going through them for the next couple of days.

After you have relaxed and let the photos "set", then you can start going through them in a reasonable and ordered manner.

Thanks, Tim Chmielewski, 25th November 2008.

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