One of the greatest inventions ever is the ability to attach information to your digital pictures. Even better is to be able to sort it and use it in a meaningful fashion.
I was presenting at the Crosstown Camera Club last night on how to travel as a photographer to a remote destination, particularly Costa Rica as I teach photography on tours there. One of the tools I used to analyze my gear was Lightroom from Adobe. Any image management tool which allows the filtering of the metadata on your camera images would work as well.
The filter is great because you can select your library, or individual folders and see how many times you used a particular camera, lens, flash, F-stop and other great information.
Camera Usage Statistics In Costa Rica
By examining my shooting habits on my last Costa Rica trip I can pack more efficiently for my next trip and save pounds of glass carried and make room for other items.
Looking at my shooting habits from Costa Rica I can tell a few things right away. My 50 MM lens wasn’t even mounted on the camera. Next time, I will leave it behind. Next, the 15 MM Fish Eye was used on only a dozen shots out of nearly 3000. Is it worth it’s weight on this trip? The 100 MM Macro faired better accounting for almost a hundred shots. It is a lot of weight and I will have to think hard about taking it next time.
The other statistic I glean from this is that I shot a lot of telephoto and a lot of those with a Canon 1.4 Tele-converter helping the lens. The answer to this data spread is simple. I need a longer lens next time. Most of my shooting took place at the long end of my range and I need to be better prepared for this type of photography. Telephoto accounted for 3/4 of my shooting so I know now what to pack and what to mount on the camera as I head out.
Use your EXIF and Metadata to your advantage. It can tell you what equipment you are using most and what equipment you should consider as a must-pack. In addition it can tell you what equipment you aren’t using. Maybe it’s time to trade that lens in for a different piece of equipment. After all, it hasn’t taken a photo in years. With metadata and a quality digital asset management tool, you can be sure and keep that gear assortment optimal.
A great source for additional travel photography tips is Flying with Fish. Go check out his blog.
Rikk Flohr © 2008