Tag Archives: workflow

Photostream – a salutary lesson

Photo Stream Icon

If you’re working on a big photography project, shooting raw with a reasonable camera and use Apple’s iCloud Photostream feature you might want to turn it off before you start.

Any big project – like shooting King Lear – produces learning experiences. If it doesn’t you’re either very good at what you do or just not awake.

The biggest take home from this year’s Dartmouth Shakespeare week was the way I had to modify my workflow in order to accommodate using a Nikon D700 as the main camera. If you’re interested the various issues are detailed in another post. The biggest change/shock was what iCloud Photostream can do to your bandwidth, and the impact on your bill if you happen to use a broadband provider that applies the “fair use” principle.

Dropbox icon

My projects usually involve quite a bit of web-based work. There’s the trivial stuff, eMailing folks, coordinating, etc., these are all done through eMail, or things like Facebook groups. Some of the coordination gets done using Dropbox (for my contacts who can handle/value this wonderful resource) or by means of the excellent (free) WeTransfer service. These move the large ad hoc files effectively. There’s usually an element of research as well (thanks Google).

It’s not unusual for my bandwidth use to spike during a project. I shell out much more than the average broadband customer in order to never have to be bothered or surcharged by my provider. Except this year, with Photostream turned on, very early into the month warnings/threatening eMails arrive telling me that I’ve used more than 50% of my monthly “fair use” allocation. After the usual, small period of denial, I ran some network diagnostics, looked at the blinking lights on the comm’s kit and quickly worked out that something was beating the hell out of the upstream broadband and nearly saturating the local WiFi. Ten minutes later it was obvious the cause was Photostream. It was diligently trying to sync thousands of raw (24 MP) photos to iCloud and thence to all of my Mac OS and iOS devices. Action – disabled Photostream on everything including Aperture. Network traffic dropped through a hole and the coms kit lights reverted to their normal sedate rate.

All’s well that end’s well?

Not quite. Although the timely warning from my broadband provider made me remedy the problem, Photostream burned more than half a month’s bandwidth in a couple of days. The process of getting photos out to various stakeholders, publishing and updating this site, and related Facebook sites have taken me to point where less than 5% of my allowance remains. I expect I’ll get screwed for violating “fair use” this month. My opinions on “fair use” are the subject of a separate post.

Icons used in this post are © their respective owners.

Posted in Inn Theatre, King Lear, Messing with cameras, Theatre Also tagged , , , , , , |

Photographic Workflow

Nikon D100

My normal workflow, established over a number of intensive shoots revolves around my venerable Nikon D100, my iPad and various other Apple computers.

The process works something like this.

  • essentials – are the camera batteries and iPad charged
  • Is the iPad charged and is there enough space on the iPadeye-fi
  • Is my 8GB Eye-Fi pro X2 card erased and ready (its in a SynchroTech CF adaptor)

Get to the shoot

  • Pre-check the WiFi iPad connection
  • Remember to set up a new collection (album) in ShutterSnitch

Shoot the event

Get home

  • Flip the iPad back to the Home (or Office) WiFi
  • Check ShutterSnitch Backup is running on the Office/Home Mac Mini
  • Get some sleep

Post ProcessAperture Icon

  • Aperture 3
  • Gigabit Ethernet directly attached to my work horse (a recent MacBook Pro)
  • Great Big hulking Drobo

I’ve got this down to more or less an art, even allowing a night’s sleep before I work up the photos, and they’re all nicely where I want them so that all I have to do is ingest them into Aperture and start working on them, which usually happens over breakfast the day after a shoot.

Enter the Nikon D700Nikon D700

Just like a new child, this camera was a revelation and completely turned my processing upside down. So much more capability than my poor old D100. The 51 sensors, autofocus tracking and the various metering capabilities were all fun to play with. Being able to shoot 12.1MP NEF (raw) frames at 6 fps with no stuttering and get crisp nicely focussed shots was great fun.

The but

However the D700 would not accommodate my Eye-Fi card in it’s SynchroTech CFMulti adaptor which meant that I had to use “proper”, slimmer CF cards for the shoots.

Where’s the problem?

The iPad, Eye-Fi combination originally started out as a way for me to be certain I was getting great shots. As far as I know ShutterSnitch is the only tool that allows live preview of shots; there’s no product I could find that would do the same with a camera attached via USB. Having shots on the iPad allowed me to preselect the obvious duds and bin them before they ever hit post production. When the ShutterSnitch guys added ShutterSnitch Backup I had an automated way of getting the shots onto the system and no longer even needed to remove the memory card from my camera.

The D700 catapulted me back in time. Fussing with CF cards, (carrying spares), having to either connect the camera to my computer with one of those damn usb to micro usb cables and then waiting an eon for the photos to be transferred, or removing the card and dragging the contents off of it to my Mac Mini for similar processing to my normal routine.

I was desperate for a WiFi solution

I did some internet research. I Found an item (Nikon WU-1a) improperly described on Amazon as compatible with the D700. Almost bought it. Did some more checks (didn’t believe the price) and after a chat with Nikon found out that it was definitely not compatible. Found out that the right Nikon item (Nikon WT-4A) retails for around £900 and that (because they are so dear) they are rarely used, not available for hire and none too cheap/available from sources like Amazon or eBay. I did find a third party product (HyperDrive iUSBportCAMERA a mere £250) which sits on the camera hot shoe but didn’t go that route due to cost and time limits. So I found myself trying to shoot with the camera tethered to my iPad by USB, not very convenient especially in a lighting tower.

Was it worth it?

The photos talk for themselves, but I’ll be looking for some way to get the quality and WiFi connectivity for the next project.

Posted in Cameras, Messing with cameras, Technology Also tagged , , , |