Tag Archives: memory

Photographing Signs. They Are All Sorts of Fun!

Signs can be humerous - they can do many other things for our photography too.

Signs can be humerous - they can do many other things for our photography too.

There are many reasons to take photographs of signs

Sometimes it is the ordinary and everyday things that provide us with the most fun, the most information, and something to identify with. Here are a few reasons you should look out for signs on your photo-shoots.

  • Humour – lots of fun!
    There are literally millions of funny signs around the world. Try a search of Google about funny signs and you will be laughing for hours. I have managed to grab a few fun shots of signs over the years. This one above has given me lasting smiles. Keep on the look out. You will see some of the most extraordinary mess-ups if you look at hand-made signs. Sometimes quite serious ones bring a smile too.
  • Orientation – know where your shots were taken…
    Often, particularly in out-of-the-way places it is not always easy to get an idea of where you are. If you take a shot of a lovely landscape you want to remember where it was. Sometimes the nearest road sign is a great help. You don’t need to show it to anyone or to do anything special with the picture. Keep it. One day it will remind you of where you took that landscape and you can tell your friends where to go to find it.
  • Sense of place – helps give a feeling of where you were…
    Travel photography can be surprisingly stressful. You are on the run all the time; trying to make the best of your holiday/trip. Stopping to take snaps is great fun, but where were you when you took that one of the man holding a six foot red banana? Very bizarre – yet so absorbed in the moment you forgot to take note of where it was and what sort of place it was. Taking a quick snap of a few signs or local shops can be a great help. Your pictures remind you of the place and the character of the surroundings. It does not need to be road signs – shops sign, location or building signs, even schools, hotels and other places that can identify and convey a sense of the local character. One day you will look back and remember in much more detail the character of the place.
  • Direction – signs help you to know where you were looking…
    Looking in one direction or another is important. When you are trying to orientate a shot to the direction you were shooting, road signs with arrows are particularly useful.
  • A way to remember – your adventures geo-tagged…
    Having fun in a restaurant on your holiday? Take a picture of the menu, take a picture of the shop front. Best of all take a picture of a road sign from inside the building looking out. You will never forget where it was, and the fun of doing these quick shots will also help you to fix the adventure in your mind. Issues of the moment are often what makes a memory vivid.
  • Memorable places – the sign reminds you of a visit…
    I once went to see the Leonardo Da Vinci’ house in central France. Outside was a wonderful sign. It was quite lengthy, explaining the museum and the exhibits found inside. I took lots of photos of the museum and its exhibits. When I got outside and read the sign it was hilarious. The translation was awful – so awful it was hugely funny. I took a shot for the humour, and because it reminded me of what I saw inside. Unfortunately the camera was stolen before I took the film out. That was 30 years ago and I still regret not having that shot! What a fine summary of the days memories it would have made today.
  • Conveying local culture – signs tell you what sort of place you visited…
    Signs tell you a surprising amount about the local culture. Building signs can be quite a cultural clue. The grandness of a sign sets the tone for what is inside. The language, font or characters can be quite illuminating or interesting. Sometimes they make great photos in their own right. Especially shops with a bit of character or interest. They can really say something about the place you are in, and what you see there. It is also interesting to see how many signs there are in a place. Sometimes the presence of lots of signs tells you about the activities. Markets and high streets in developed countries are often quite regulated. Signs are not allowed to become too obtrusive. In underdeveloped countries this is not true. The signs in the main shopping district can be a riot of colour, fonts, shapes, sizes, placement, pictures… you name it. Everyone is trying to get a message out over everyone else. These sorts of shots make for a fun view of a frenetic area and tell your viewer about its character and tone of life there.
  • Reminders of exhibits you have photographed…
    My son taught me this one. When he goes to a museum he photographs the info-sign next to every exhibit which takes his interest. I don’t go that far. However, when I am photographing aeroplanes at air museums (an interest of mine) I take a picture of the info-sign for any plane I photograph. Then I have a record shot of what I have seen. It just serves as a memory jogger for the picture and its contents. Beware you do not use the photo however, you might be infringing copyright.

As you can see, signs provide more than basic information. They are also about a place. They provide an inside guide as well as a pointer on where to go… and they are fun. Enjoy!


Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is managing editor of Photokonnexion.com with professional experience in photography, writing, image libraries, and computing. He is also an experienced, webmaster and a trained teacher. Damon runs regular training for digital photographers who are just starting out.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’
By Damon Guy :: Profile on Google+

Memory Card Rotation – play it safe

All types of memory card should be rotated in use.

Make sure you use all your memory cards. Don't let them hang about unused.

Make sure you use your memory cards

It is too easy to let your memory card stay in your camera. If you have more than one card the chances are it is in the camera and the others sit in your kit bag. In fact memory cards can deteriorate with handling or even just being knocked about with the other gear you have. It is important to protect your cards because if one fails you stand to lose a lot of data one day. These days big capacity cards can mean literally thousands of images on the card. If you lose that data you will be sorry. Remember these cards are vulnerable media, and they can also deteriorate with use. Here is what to do…

  1. Mark each card with a unique reference number to identify it.
  2. Keep accurate records of purchase date for each card.
  3. On your record note the date each time the card goes in the camera.
  4. Tick it off as ‘formatted’ when you clean up after a shoot.
  5. Use the records to rotate the next into the camera ensuring regular use.
  6. Replace each card every 2 years, (less for pros.). Discard old ones.

Here is an example record table you can use for one card. Put as many rows on to the record sheet as you need.

Memory Card Record Table

Memory Card Ref. Number: 2012.001
Date purchased: ..10/02/2012..

Date into camera Date used Date out Formatted Y/N Roated Y/N
 04/05/2012  04/05/2012  05/05/2012  Y  Y

If you put your record-table on a word processor or spread sheet you can print it out and quickly fill it in. Over a period of time you will get a picture of your memory card use. From this you will be able to predict when to buy new ones for your rolling programme, how much they are used and what sort of time period your cards are in your camera between uses. I also have a ‘shots’ column which tells me how many shots I have taken on that card on each shoot. At the end of each row a short space for notes. I note in that space what date I retired the card, did I have problems, any special issue to note and so on… Design your record to suit the type of use you are making of your card.

This record system helps you to be safe about your memory cards. If you are careful and fill the record sheet in every time it will also help you remember if you downloaded the shots last time or not! Hopefully with this ‘record strategy’ you will never have a catastrophic card loss.

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.

20 Ways to Protect Files on Memory Cards (Part 2)

Part Two

Previously we looked at ten ways to protect your memory cards from file loss. Memory cards are such risky media! So here are the other ten!

11. Do not change your memory card while turning on/off your camera. Your camera carries out a number of start-up/power-down operations.
Solution: During power up/down the card may be accessed. Sudden removal can corrupt or destroy your data if the card is in use.

12. Do not change your memory card when the camera is on. The camera may be using the card and you risk your data being damaged.
Solution: Ensure your camera is turned off and given time to power down.

13. Do not swap cards between cameras and continue to shoot. This can corrupt your files. Different cameras use different methods of working with cards. Even the same model of camera may have different software updates. The two methods may not be compatible.
Solution: If you take a card out of a camera download the files before using it again. Always format a card as soon as it is placed into a camera.

The contacts on memory cards are particularly vulnerable. Protect them.

Memory card contacts are vulnerable.

14. Your card is vulnerable when out of the camera. In your camera bag or kit box it can be crushed or bent by the weight of other equipment. This may destroy it. In your pocket other objects, dust, moisture and body grease may damage it – especially the data contacts. In some countries, older baggage x-ray machines could possibly damage data. Other dangers include liquids, extreme temperatures, dropping, chemicals, sprays and children who chew!
Solution: Properly protect your cards. Keep them in a purpose-made casing. Most good cards come with a plastic cassette case. Ensure cards are isolated from liquids, grease, other equipment and mechanical damage. Airport people-scanners/x-rays will not damage your cards. Keep your cards with you – do not leave them in booked-in baggage. Keep your card away from sources of electro-magnetic discharge (e.g, audio speakers, old screens etc.).

15. Do not leave files on the card longer than necessary. The longer they are on the card the more vulnerable they become. Camera failure, theft, card failure, other users, accidental deletes or formats… there are thousands of potential loss situations.
Solution: Download your files to your computer frequently. Back up your files maintaining at least two copies. Once files are downloaded and backed up then format your card, in camera before re-use. The more files you have on a card the more you can lose.

More after the jump…

16. A stolen card = lost files. Photographers often forget to put cards away in a safe place. They are easily picked up and disappear in a moment. A professional photographer I knew had two cards stolen at a wedding. He lost all his shots for the day – not to mention his professional standing! A very, very expensive mistake!
Solution: Have a special, secure place you always put cards that are taken out of the camera. Make it a personal mission to keep them protected until you are able to download them. Make sure you have a secure, preferably locked place for them.

17. Do not keep cards until they fail. Memory cards have a long life under ideal conditions. In the field they are NOT in ideal conditions. The longer you keep them the more likely they will fail.
Solution: Professionals – renew your memory cards annually! It is a legitimate business expense. I recommend that amateurs replace working cards every two to three years. Retain old cards for emergency-only use. Format cards (for security and privacy) and throw them away after five years regardless of use.

18. Do not pull your card out of a card reader without ejecting! You risk extreme damage if you do not ‘eject’ memory cards properly from your computer or card reader.
Solution: Use the recommended eject method for your computer system. This applies to USB, camera flash and memory cards as well as small format cards from other mobile devices.

19. Do not be tempted to buy cheap imitations! If you don’t recognise the memory card manufacturer do not buy. There are a lot of cheap imitations with a short life, run very slowly or are unreliable. If the transfer speed is not given assume it has a slow access time.
Solution: For a few pounds more you can get the real thing and it will be less risky for your files. Modern DSLRs work best with between 20mb/sec and 30mb/sec transfer speed. Some cards run faster than that, but they are very expensive and your camera may not work that fast. Check your camera specifications.

20. Do not format over yesterdays files! It is easy to keep all your cards together and mistakenly insert a card with yesterdays un-downloaded files. When you put in a new card you always format right? OK… you just deleted yesterdays shoot.
Solution: Have a system! Two storage bags for your cards. One holds cards you have downloaded and backed up. The other holds cards waiting to be downloaded and backed up. Be rigid. Clearly mark your bags and train yourself to follow the system – then no mistakes.

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.