When I lead tours, one of the things I often do is offer people the option for me to go through their camera, to see if it's set up right or wrong. And it's amazing, the number of problems that people have set up in there. Like, why do you have this set up? I don't even know what that is, (laughs) is something I get from time to time. And so, if you're wondering what I'm doing when I'm checking everyone's camera, including my own, because I do dumb stuff too, what am I really looking for, to make sure that my camera's ready for the next day's shoot? Alright, make sure your sensor is clean for dust. It's a lot easier to deal with that at home, before you go out on a big trip. If you wanna do it yourself, you can check it by shooting a white piece of paper at f/22, magnify the image and just look for black spots. If you need to go in there and clean it, get that little lens pen in there and get the blower and clean that stuff off, because it's much easier to do at home than it is on the ...
road. I like to travel in a stealthy manner. I don't need to advertise what I'm doing and when I'm taking a photo, I turn off the beep. Same thing visually, the AF illuminators really don't do much good for things more than about five feet away, so why am I gonna annoy the people I'm gonna take pictures of? Why am I gonna telescope what I'm trying to do with my camera? Turn that off as well. In case something got lost, I'm gonna put my name in the camera, so it's electronically in there, so it's on the photographs that I shoot. Yeah, people can write over it, but at least I'm giving honest people a chance to help me out if they want to. Of course, setting the date and time for the location that you're gonna be at is gonna help when organizing and reconstructing the events that were going on and what you were doing. White balance is something that I don't really change that much, out in the real world. And so a lot of times, I'll just start with it at auto, because it's a nice, good, simple setting. Same thing with exposure compensation, I don't work with it a lot, but it's best to have it set to zero as a starting point. A lot of cameras have these special effects modes, and I'm not saying don't use it. It's just probably not where you wanna take all your travel photos unknowingly. And so get that sort of stuff turned off. A little bit more subtly, but kind of the same way, there's a lot of picture modes, film simulation modes. And so be aware of where your camera is at. And I typically leave it at standard or normal, so that it's very consistent, and I can adjust things later, if need be. I do change ISO quite a bit, but, you know, kind of on a default basis, I like to start it off on the highest quality, and then I'll make that judgment call as to when I want to go to something higher. Many cameras now offer the option of different types of compression for your images. An uncompressed image is gonna be very, very large. And there are ways of doing loss-ly, lossless, compressed images. And from all the testing I've done, you are sacrificing virtually nothing in image quality. If you're not sure yourself, do your own test. But this is where I set my camera. And finally, of course, shooting RAW. RAW is the original information that comes off the sensor, so that you can make the maximum amount of adjustments, later on, after the fact. It's gonna give you the most versatility in changing environments. And so just to recap it all, here it is, all on one slide for you. Alright, the final gear check, let's make sure everything's ready. Have you tested everything, is the flash working, do the lenses focus properly, all the cameras working properly? Is everything as clean as it can be? Have you got all the smudges off, everything's ready to go? Get your cards formatted. You don't want last year's Christmas photos taken with you on vacation in the summertime. Nice clean card, so you have the maximum amount of space. Charge your batteries, and obviously pack that battery charger. That's one of those critical items you probably don't have a backup on. Make sure you know where that is. And while it's been a lot of fun talking about camera gear, I will leave you with this quote here.
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