Pictures, Pictures, and More Pictures

Well, this recent Memorial Day weekend was pretty much a photography session. Pure and simple.

Saturday was my niece’s wedding and I was taking the wedding photos. I had my granddaughter along helping, with her getting the bride’s pictures while she was getting ready. All told, we took 1882 pictures. Of those, 664 were for the time lapse of the ceremony itself.

In prepping for the wedding photography, I found a mini SD card and adapter that I’d forgotten about. It used to be in my old Droid Incredible, and was an 8 GB HC. So, I backed up the card, wiped it, and put it in my camera. Now I can take 1684 pictures without swapping out the card. Nice!

It turned out to be a most fortunate discovery, actually. I mentioned a time lapse of the ceremony taking 664 photos, right? My plan was to set up with Pentax Tether and automate that. I would then take the other camera and roam the outskirts getting shots from different perspectives. Pentax Tether stores the images directly to the laptop, rather than to the camera memory, so image count wouldn’t be an issue. Unfortunately, due to a hard to see screen in bright sunlight and operator error I had to manually take those 664 shots. By that time I’d already taken some 250 plus pictures of the wedding preparations and if I’d had my usual 4 GB HC SD card in the camera, I’d more than likely have had to change the card part-way through the wedding ceremony. This 8 GB HC SD was a lifesaver.

The operator error? I entered .5 in the interval field. That seemed reasonable and the field was labeled ‘seconds’. That crashed the program and caused errors when I tried to restart and use it. Not realizing the cause at the time and running out of setup time, I had no choice but to manually count time and shoot. Happily, it appears from the EXIF data I was rather consistent.

The next morning I was able to work out the cause and determine it was the entry of half a second that was at fault. Lesson learned. I rarely need to shoot that fast in my time lapses, so I find no fault with Pentax Tether. It works awesomely for every other time lapse I’ve done. If I do need to shoot faster, I have a very good HD webcam and control program for that that allows me to shoot with less than a second intervals.

DANG it! Why didn’t I think of that then instead of now when I’m typing this up? Oh, fudge. I had everything there.

Another lesson learned is that the 8 GB HC SD card will actually take more than the indicated 1684 pictures before needing to be swapped out. The camera was updating the count every so often by dropping back to a higher count. I’d take a picture, watch the counter decrement, and then return to the previous count even though I verified it stored the picture. My guess is that with my K10D, the 8 GB HC SD card is the upper limit for the FW to handle. Since I also have 3 x 4 GB SD cards (2 of them HC), two 2 GB SD cards, and a 1 GB micro SD card with adapter, I have plenty for any photography outing I can foresee.

Then Monday, I took Joanne, a co-worker visiting from China, my dad, my wife, and my granddaughter out to Leslie Gulch so I could try finding the Giant’s Skull. That trip was another 280 pictures.

The best thing about the trip to Leslie Gulch is that I found the Giant’s Skull again. It did get me in trouble, though, when I found it. Using pictures I’d taken before, I had narrowed the location down to a stretch of the road once we found certain landmarks. I walked down the road a ways but didn’t find it. My wife drove the car down to where we walked and we got back in. She drove maybe 60 to 100 feet at most when I yelled, “STOP!! THERE! STOP!” She stopped and turned around and told me in no uncertain terms not to yell next time. I’d scared her, and my dad, who were both in the front seat. I’m pretty sure now that I also scared Emily and Joanne in the back seat by me.

But I did get her to stop. 😀

I made a point to determine the Latitude and Longitude of where on the road we were. I can take those co-ordinates, plug them into Google Earth or Flash Earth and work with them to figure out if I’ll be able to get the picture I have in mind: The Giant’s Skull with the Milky Way over it. That I’ll do first then later on I’ll do a time lapse, hopefully. From the road, as I remember it, the skull is SSE and the Milky Way runs roughly SW to NE. I think I’ll be able to position myself for the shot. I can also use Stellarium to “lay out the skies” and know what to expect. Skull and moon shots are another possibility. I’ll have to remember to borrow my son’s high beam light so I can use it to light up the skull for some shots.

Now that I know where the Skull is, a whole host of potential picture taking opens up. Time lapses. Poses. Sunrise/sunset lighting. Ok, maybe not that many right now, but it’s great to finally be able to stop trying to find the location and concentrate on all the ideas, knowing I can move forward on them.

All in all, it was a great weekend of photography along with several great lessons learned.


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2 Responses to “Pictures, Pictures, and More Pictures”

  1. Linda D. Says:

    Lol! I LOVE watching how your mind works and I can just picture your family jumping when you express your eureka moments! Thanks for sharing your process. The idea of a time elapsed ceremony is fabulous!


  2. Bill Says:

    You can apply time lapse photography to just about anything. For a wedding or similar ceremony, I’d suggest no more than 4 seconds between shots. At that point it’s still smooth when you create the video, but it’s at the upper limit, I think, and close to where it will start being jerky. The other key is to be as consistent as possible in the timing between shots.

    I love doing time lapse!


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