Friday, February 25, 2011

Photographing Birds: Uploading files

At the end of a day photographing birds, it is time to upload your photo files from your camera to your computer.  Follow the directions and use the software that came with your camera.  I use two additional pieces of software.  Photoshop may be able to duplicate this software, but I use them because of their ease of use and the results they offer.

I upload my photo files into a folder I named "2011 Photos."  Within this file, the camera software automatically places folders labeled with the date the photos were taken. After uploading the files into my computer, I erase them from my camera.  You do not want to run out of camera disk space when you are in the field.

Next I review my photos with a program called Photo Mechanic.  Basically this relatively inexpensive software is like an old-fashioned slide sorter.  First I toss out any poor photos.  It helps to be ruthless in this activity.  Next I rename each photo.  Renaming them allows you to find the photos of particular birds.  Renaming is done with one key stroke.  The program remembers the previously renamed file, so it is easy to number them sequentially.  Later, Photo Mechanic makes sorting files into new folders an easy task.

Capture One is the next software I use.  This program is used by professional photographers and has a high learning curve.  (Capture One is not inexpensive.  Erika took one look after I used the program and said it was definitely worth the cost!)  Usually my photos look good, but Capture One can tweak them in many ways.  If needed, I fiddle with my exposure.  I also usually sharpen my pictures.  A slightly out of focus photo can be rescued.  Capture One's next task is to convert the RAW file into a TIFF file.  Capture One places these new files into my folder called "2011 TIFF." (Photoshop can also convert RAW files to TIFF, but does so much less robustly.) Finally, Capture One automatically opens the TIFF file in Photoshop.

There is more work to be done, but that is accomplished in Photoshop, which I will describe in my next post. (The photo below is a Double-crested Cormorant.)

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