Today I went on an impromptu nature photowalk. It was sunny (which it seldom is in Vancouver during winter), so when the clock hit quarter to magic-hour I was out the door.
I spent most of my time stealthily crouched in a glurpy muddy swamp for about 1 1/2 hours. I was waiting for this lazy Blue Heron to take off, so I could get the spread-winged money shot. Then I got the dreaded flashing “CARD FULL” message on my screen. This bird had stayed in the same position for 30mins, so I figured I had time to quietly pop a new card in. The very second I put down my camera to swap cards, the heron flew away into the most perfect pink sky. Gotta love nature photography.
The point is that in my haste I forgot a lot of critical things necessary for taking photographs; such as a clean CF card, a charged battery, and perhaps rugged waterproof boots (which you technically don’t need for photography, but I find that I consistently end up stepping or kneeling in something wet, muddy, sandy, or soggy).
So let’s learn from my forgetfulness, and get ourselves prepared!
Here are 6 Quick Photo Tips for Photography on the Fly:
- Always check your camera to make sure there is a memory card in it. Duh! But i did it today, so there’s no fault in double checking your camera or your sanity!
- Make sure the memory card is empty. Nothing sucks more than getting that great photo opt ruined by the dreaded “Full CARD” notice.
- Bring one or more spare memory cards. Make sure they are clear too. Even if you think there is ample room, you never know what you may want to shoot. Memory cards are so cheap now, so buy a couple and keep them in your photo bag. You won’t regret it.
- Aim to keep the battery in your camera fully charged. Make a habit out of recharging your battery when you return from a shoot. Then, you’ll have a fresh one when you head out next.
- Mark dead batteries with black tape (gaffer’s tape works best because you can reuse it again and again). I use this system with my flash AA batteries as well. It definitely helps you identify usable batteries in a pinch.
- Keep these things in your photography bag
- extra battery
- extra Memory Cards
- battery charger
- USB-USB mini cable
- soft cloth
- lens dusting brush
- fingerless gloves
- headlamp or flashlight
- plastic bag (comes in handy for protecting your camera gear in the rain & gives you something to kneel on something instead of muddy swamp land). I’ll do a DIY post on this to give you all the tips for weather protecting your gear.
If you do a little bit of prep work before you head out on a photo shoot, you’ll be ready for anything awesome that comes your way!