African Crowned Crane, Denver Zoo
3. Clean up my act
Since I take so many pictures, it’s important to be able to find them on my hard drive without too much difficulty if I’m looking for something in particular. When I download photos, I rename them by the date they’re taken (eg. 010610_xxxx), then I usually create different folders for specific occasions within a folder for the month the photos were taken. What I plan to do is start adding tags to as many photos as possible so I can search by keywords in addition to by date. Right now I can remember where and when I took that picture of the yellow flower with the spider on it, but before long I’ll need a little help to jog my memory. In case you’re interested, Picasa, which in my estimation is just about the best little free photo editor around, can be used to assign tags and allows you to tag bunches of photos all at once. Very cool. It promises to be a rather tedious endeavor, but I’m sure it will be worth the effort in the long run.
I also need to start deleting the superfluous stuff. I’m getting close to filling up the 500GB portable external hard drive that is the primary storage device for all the digital photos I’ve ever taken. (I also back those up to a 1TB desktop hard drive. Tip: It’s important to back up your photos to two or more places in case one of those places crashes and burns). There are a LOT of photos on that hard drive that probably don’t need to be there. In some situations, I set my camera to rapid-fire so I can take 4-6 pictures per second (depending on the camera), so I end up with an awful lot of nearly identical photos in those situations. And even when I’m not rapidly-firing, I almost never take just one photo of ANYTHING. So I’m sure I have a whole lotta deleting to do in the coming months.
4. Learn what all those buttons are for (especially on the D300) and USE THEM
Holy cow, that camera has a lot of buttons! It’s amazing that the engineers over at Nikon can find places to put so many buttons, dials, switches and levers! And then there are the MENUS! Yikes! It’s so easy to just set the thing to Program and shoot away, but how much sense does it make to buy a fancy-schmancy digital SLR camera and then use it as a point-and-shoot? None whatsoever. I actually know what many of the buttons are for and do occasionally use them, but I need to REALLY get to know my cameras and learn how to maximize the potential therein.