My rig, as of 2008-08-30, is a Canon G9. It was a recommendation of a couple of photographer friends of mine and I've been quite happy with it this summer. I wanted a small, light, fast, portable camera that would fit inside the external pouches on my packs. The G9, although heavy for a point and shoot, satisfied all of these needs, and as a bonus, it has a lot manual adjustments for the tweaker in me. I started using it on the Kings Canyon Trip in 2008.
For most outdoor shots, I've settled on shooting in aperture priority at ISO 80 with an exposure bias of -1/3 and My Colors set to Vivid. Sometimes, I use manual mode to get better control over the exposure, although I suppose I could get the same effect using the exposure bias. I find it nicer to see the actual shutter speed and aperture, however. I protect the screen with a cover from ScreenGuardz.
My flash setting is at -1. The flash is pretty powerful and will blow out anything close on stronger settings.
For shooting long exposures on little things in dark forests, like mushrooms, I also use a 2-second timer and the macro setting. I've saved these settings on C1.
I bought the OEM case for underwater shots since the price was right. I'm not yet using a strobe, but the flash diffuser does a pretty good job at reducing backscatter. For settings, I also use aperture priority, an exposure bias of -1/3, and ISO 80. I set the flash to -1, My Colors to Vivid, and use the underwater white balance and shoot JPGs. I've saved these settings on C2.
Another G9 photographer on the ba_diving mailing list taught me about how to change the aperture if you don't have access to the adjustment wheel (which you don't with the OEM case): while pressing the shortcut key, use the left and right arrow keys to adjust the aperture. Thanks, Brenna!
When I first used the camera, I took both raw and JPG images, but found that the JPG images were "good enough." The gimp-ufraw plugin was just too slow and too much work and I was never able to reproduce the quality of the JPG images generated by the camera.
For post-processing, I've discovered that the Picasa tool is fast and "good enough." I hit everything with the I'm Feeling Lucky and Sharpen commands in the Picture -> Batch Edit menu. Occasionally, I'll have to undo those tunings and use the Colors -> Levels or Colors -> Curves commands in the Gimp.
The Picasa tool makes it easy to sync your photographs with the Picasa web site. As an added bonus, the Picasa web site has a feature which displays your photographs on a Google map. In order to enable this feature, you need to insert the latitude and longitude into your photographs. To do this, I just let my GPS run whenever I'm shooting photographs. Later, I use the gpscorrelate tool to use the GPS track to set the GPS information into the photographs. (Hint: Don't save tracks on Garmin units since that removes the time information. Either use the active log or the track saved to the card.)
Occasionally, I won't have GPS information for a photo. In that case, I'll use exiftool to either copy the GPS information from another photo, or set it manually. Here are a few examples that demonstrate both techniques, as well as how to list the GPS tags in a format that can be used to set the latitude and longitude. The exiftool FAQ is handy.
exiftool -TagsFromFile src.jpg -gps:all dest.jpg exiftool -GPSLatitude=37.235172 -GPSLatitudeRef=N \ -GPSLongitude=122.066092 -GPSLongitudeRef=W \ -GPSAltitude=42 -GPSAltitudeRef=above dest.jpg exiftool -GPSLatitude="19 16.117" -GPSLatitudeRef=N \ -GPSLongitude="81 18.683" -GPSLongitudeRef=W \ -GPSAltitude=0 -GPSAltitudeRef=above dest.jpg exiftool -a -s -c "%.6f" -gps:all src.jpg
Sometimes I forget to change the time zone or adjust for daylight savings time for a day or two. This writes incorrect date information in the photos. In addition to being wrong, it also makes it harder to get the correct GPS information. Here's another exiftool example for browsing the dates in the photos and then adding an hour to the dates.
exiftool -DateTimeOriginal -S -s *.jpg exiftool -DateTimeOriginal+='0:0:0 1:00:0' *.jpg
The hugin program makes it a cinch to produce panoramas. The following panorama was created with at least six images, shot using the stitch-assist feature in the G9.
I am, of course, still finding my way, humbly. I have gotten this far through reading, heeding advice from friends, and stumbling clumsily on my own. If you have settings that have worked well for you, or have found handy Linux tools, I would love to hear from you. In particular, I'm looking for automated ways to create HDR (High Dynamic Range) images, as well as to stack exposures of the night sky.
Copyright © 2008, 2010 Bill Wohler
Last modified: 2013-01-20 23:03:09 -0800