Some Thousands of Photos Later

Today’s diatribe is devoted to the topic of digital photography.

Let’s start with the obvious. Digital cameras let you take a lot of pictures. A lot. My Nikon D70 will do more than 700 shots on my current memory card. Unlike film, the processing cost is zero, and you can get a reasonably good idea of how the picture will turn out right after you take it.

Unfortunately, the net result is that you end up with a lot of photos. In my case, nearly 8000 over the last 2 years (this is not counting the ones I deleted immediately on the camera or upon brief inspection). If you are also, as in my case, averse to throwing things out that might be interesting/useful/valuable, this poses difficulties. A certain amount of organization is necessary. Particularly since I’ve started using the Nikon in raw mode, this organization needs specialized software because the actual picture files themselves all require substantial tweaks to look good.

Hence, I not only have to spend time cataloguing and organizing photos, but manipulating them in Lightroom. It can end up a bit much. My old-old computer (the PowerBook G4) was for tasks other than photo editing a perfectly acceptable machine. For e-mail, papers, web-browsing and web-page stuff, it was more than sufficient for the task.

So yes, digital cameras do make for good pictures, and in my case, probably far better ones than I could have produced just using film. It’s also an incredible time sink. Witness the half a day I just spent rationalizing those thousands of photos, labeling the ‘good’ ones, shifting them into a hierarchy based upon date, resizing and copying them for upload to the new Gallery photo album software and so on. I hope the results are commensurate with the effort.

Now, back to reading about the origins of anthropology as a discipline. And for those of you fearing global warming, don’t fret, it looks like the next few weeks here will be plenty cold.

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