Don’t leave things to chance.
One thing that I always try and do with the storm photography, well, any type of photography is before I start and capture it is to make sure my equipment is ready.
Here’s the thing, though, the best laid plans of mouse and man sometimes fall by the wayside because of something so stupid and often overlooked.
Recently, in this area we have been slammed by some great storms; sadly my hit rate on them has been quite low because they have been quite embedded even though they were dropping a lot of lightning, and also they have been at that part of the day where it’s a continuous battle to keep the shutter speed and the aperture low enough to catch the slow moving affair which is lightning. This, in turn has put a bit of strain on equipment availability as I’ve got wet a few times and things needed to dry off before I could use them properly again, however with one storm bleeding in to the next it was just easier to swap rigs.
This is where it all fell to pieces, though. When I went over to the Nikon D810 last year, I decided that I’d had enough with Compact Flash cards, and was going to concentrate solely on SD whilst maintaining backwards compatibility with the older cameras by using adaptors for SD to CF.
When the usual storm camera decided to stop working, nothing serious just the battery door is a bit loose (but what to be expected on a 12 year old machine) and it wouldn’t drop pressure on to the battery to make contact on the terminals, I picked up the D700, swapped everything over and went back to it. Great, all seemed to be good until the buffer was full; and then it just stopped and did nothing; there is always the wave of fear when that happens, and maybe it’s not so bad in a controlled environment but I was up on the side of a hill with a weather front moving towards me.
Then the troubleshooting began, first thing I did was to turn off the triggers, but the buffer was only dribbling through to clear, then I turned off the ISO settings, and the same; it was only when it came to turning the RAW recording to compressed I realised what was happening… I’d not tested the CF adaptor with the SD card in the D700, and whilst the write times on that SD are substantially fast enough on the Fuji as well as “normal” plinking in a storm on the D300, between the usually unnoticed conversion overhead that the CF adaptor brings, and the speed of the SD card (the ones in the D810’s are a lot faster), little things that shouldn’t make a difference were making too much a difference.
This morning, I’ve been rummaging through the box of bits looking for the CF cards that I retired last year, and put them back in to the cameras just to not have this problem; but now I’ve got the added bonus of working out why MacOS doesn’t read off the CF as fast as it does the SD when importing in to Lightroom (I think that’s an Adobe thing).
So, moral of the story… Check everything, assume nothing, and once it’s checked, check it again!