Camera Preparation? Any hints? Big or sacrifice with small?

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Camera Preparation? Any hints? Big or sacrifice with small?

Postby winebuff » Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:58 am

Hi everyone

I am a photographer on the side and want to photograph BM in 2010. Torn between my killer big Canon or my point and shoot so I dont cream the Canon. Thought I would get armor for the Canon but open to any suggestions. Much appreciated!
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Postby justfred » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:29 am

There's lots and lots of other camera threads here to answer your question.

How many times have you been? If this is your first time, take the point and shoot, and leave it in your bag, and take pictures in your head.

Armor doesn't help. Ziplocs work, if you keep the camera wrapped in them all the time. The biggest problem with big cameras are the sliding lenses, that find all sorts of ways to suck in dirt. Don't change lenses.

That said, I've taken my Nikon D70 and 18-200 lens out five years or so, and only now the camera's starting to fail. I keep it in a fuzzy bag when it's around my neck (most of the time), try to only take it out for photos. All in all, a high-end point and shoot seems to work better than a DSLR for me, because I always have it with me. Same technique applies - keep it out of the dust when you're not shooting, and in your hand when you're shooting, and it should be fine.

Most of these were Canon D9:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/justfred/s ... 406956614/
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Postby winebuff » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:33 am

Thx Fred. Yes, it is my first time. Your input is much appreciated!
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Postby winebuff » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:38 am

Fred, your photos are fantastic! Great job and great advice. Will probably just take my Canon powershot SD850 then and keep it simple. Thx!
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:47 am

My Canon Rebel XT DLSR is still happy after a bout with the playa.

I tried to bring it back to the clean room at work and got myself a shitstorm until I blew the dust off with high-pressure air. It's working fine.
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Postby phil » Mon Nov 09, 2009 1:17 pm

I take my big camera and my point and shoot. I've taken pictures since the 90s, and I still have my Nikon FM2 in good working order, but it's totally mechanical and built like a tank. I've used a Nikon D70 for years, and it still works fine. I take both cameras to a local camera store to have them professionally cleaned (well, not the FM2 anymore since I stopped using film). If they're not up to factory spec, I have the store send it out to be brought back to spec.

The lenses take more of a beating than the cameras. I use zooms, and eventually they start creaking and whining when they zoom in and out. I'm expecting a locked zoom any day now - but I've been expecting that for year.

I keep my big camera in a simple camera bag when I'm not using it, take it out to shoot, then put it back. Same with the point and shoot. I don't use either in dust storms. (The camera bags I use are the kind that hold only the camera - not a big bag that you carry all your gear in.)

Your mileage will vary. I'd suggest bringing your big iron in a couple of ziploc bags just to have it on hand; use your P&S until you reach a level of comfort on safety and then switch to your big Canon if you feel you can.
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Postby winebuff » Tue Nov 10, 2009 8:14 am

Great advice. I am going to dive in and bring the Canon and 2 point and shoots just in case. I would kick myself not bringing the best one at the BEST photographic experience in the world because I was a scared wienie. Duh!
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Postby mudpuppy000 » Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:44 pm

I brought my DSLR but I didn't want to risk screwing it up with the dust, so I ended up using my waterproof point and shoot most of the time. I also shot way more video than stills...
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Postby klondike_bar » Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:02 am

i took an old, poorly treated point and shoot with me (i decided to leave my newer, 13MP camera at home), and by the end of the week, it was reduced to a trembling mass of defiled plastic.

Even after a half-assed cleaning, the lens cover refuses to slide open on its own , and the lens makes a lovely grinding/clicking sound as it attempts to retract when turning off.
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Postby AntiM » Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:24 am

I keep looking at the point and shoots made for little kids. Supposed to be tough?

I have a 35mm film P&S which seems to love the playa. And a Sony Mavica which uses floppy discs and takes the best fire pics ever!
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Postby winebuff » Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:46 am

I am going to go for the big gun. If it sits at my house I would miss the BEST photographic experience I will ever come across. Just wont change lenses and take it out of case only when taking the shot. It will be worth it. Worst case, I will take it in to get cleaned. The photos it takes are amazing so would kick myself if I didnt have it.
To each their own. It is all about your comfort zone. For me, getting naked is WAY out of my comfort zone. Will work on that next :lol:
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:43 am

I saw a LOT fewer cameras than I did in my previous year. Maybe it's because there's less to see? :lol:
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Postby phil » Wed Nov 11, 2009 11:16 am

klondike_bar wrote:i took an old, poorly treated point and shoot with me (i decided to leave my newer, 13MP camera at home), and by the end of the week, it was reduced to a trembling mass of defiled plastic.

As it should have been. :->
klondike_bar wrote:Even after a half-assed cleaning, the lens cover refuses to slide open on its own , and the lens makes a lovely grinding/clicking sound as it attempts to retract when turning off.


I had the same thing happen to me with a cheap point and shoot. This is a philosophy issue: Do you want to take a cheap piece o' crap that you know will fail - maybe before you leave, maybe after? Or do you want to take something that's worth money and may fail but likely will survive the week at BRC?

My cheap point and shoot did last the Burn, but the lens cover didn't open all the way on its own - I just pushed it the rest of the way - and it got dust on the sensor or somewhere inside that showed up on my pictures. Conversely, I've had my FM2 35mm Nikon and my D70 at BM for years without failure of lens or body, although I don't take them out in dust storms, and I do have them professionally cleaned and maintained. I'm sure Canons are just as reliable. I've had my FM2 at Burning Man and on beaches and rain forests on the French West Indies. The only issue was my Tamron zoom lens beginning to squeak when zooming and focusing, and it's years old, too.

I know of a video camera guy for some company who wrecked their $40,000 (his statement of price) pro camera by taping during a dust storm. shrug - things certainly fail on the playa.

My experience with camp stoves is that the rubber hoses and fitting fails quickly from camping on the playa - I'll guess it's the combination of sun and playa powder that eats it up. I bought expensive Coleman stoves, and they last no longer than cheap crap, so I bring two cheap crap stoves. One failed during the week this year, so I got the other one out and kept on cooking.

My experience with tents is different. I don't want my tent to fail during a storm at night. Louise and I buy expensive tents that stand up to years on the playa without catastrophic failure. shrug - many people buy cheap tents and have no problems. It's a matter of personal philosophy.

I think bringing the big Canon in plastic bags leaves options open, so long as the original poster knows that the risk is wrecking the Canon. My experience (and Louise's with her Rebel) is that good cameras last on the playa, so my take on the risk is that it's worth it. Louise brings her tripod and takes photos that really knock my socks off:
http://civex.smugmug.com/Other/2009-Burning-Man-Photos-Louise/9704450_iE9t4#P-3-9
You can't get those with most point and shoots and their small sensors.
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Postby geospyder » Wed Nov 11, 2009 12:08 pm

I used a Panasonic Lumix point and shoot this year. I got 598 pictures before it bit the dust - literally. My big mistake was not keeping it in a zip-loc. I carried it in my pocket (when I had pockets) and on a lanyard at other times. Next year it stays in a zip-loc until I take a picture.
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Postby AntiM » Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:15 pm

My Lumix has been going a few years, but I do keep it in a plastic bag. It was growling at me though.
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Postby winebuff » Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:51 pm

Phil,
Louise's pics are beautiful! That is why I decided to bring the big Canon. The camera I have and the lense for that matter, are weather resistent. Meaning they are ungodly expensive and they put more seal into them so what the hell. I am going to sign up for a media registration and hopefully they will grant me the right to shoot professionally and hang with the bigwigs. Otherwise I plan to shoot all week on my own and do a coffee table book for my family and friends if they want one.
Ziplocks are a given. Keeping it in the camera bag when not shooting, and may also use the suggestion by a pro photogrpaher I was talking to here, is to tape the edges. No prob. Take a chance and be aware.
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Postby winebuff » Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:55 pm

PS

I am a semi-pro photographer btw. I sell to stock ad agencies and have sold over 700 photos. (La de flippin dah)! Hence, the attempt at the media registration., Cant do that with a point and shoot. God, I need a glass of wine now, anyone else want to join me? Red or white? Dry or sweet? :P
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Postby geospyder » Wed Nov 11, 2009 9:06 pm

No wine tonight. I'm currently drinking a Wittekerke, a Belgium white beer.
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Postby magicmarty » Wed Nov 11, 2009 9:36 pm

Louise,

Your photos are incredible! breathtaking!

Thanks, Phil, for putting them on line

Wow!
"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties" - Erich Fromm

Stay firm but loose!

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Postby justfred » Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:57 am

winebuff wrote:I am going to sign up for a media registration and hopefully they will grant me the right to shoot professionally and hang with the bigwigs. Otherwise I plan to shoot all week on my own and do a coffee table book for my family and friends if they want one.


I repeat my previous suggestion, more strongly. If this is your first year, experience the event for yourself without the filter of a camera lens so you can gain some understanding, before trying to capture it and pass it on to the coffee tables of friends and family. "hang with the bigwigs"??? This is not a concert. There are no backstage passes. Anyone who runs into him can apparently get an interview with Larry the Hat, whether they want one or not.

All a media registration does, is allows people you take pictures of without permission, to complain about your obnoxious behavior. Oh, and sell your pictures afterward. If this is why you're going, suggest you stay home. Or at least only show up for the afternoon of Critical Tits, take a million shots with your fancy camera, and go post them on the internet so losers can wank to them.
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Postby winebuff » Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:10 am

Fuck you Fred :wink:

I do my art through photography.I cant paint, I cant sing or play an instrument. Dont give me shit for that so eat me.
I am not selling my photos of BM to the average consumer. I am making a book for christmas presents for people that do not have a chance to go to BM and would like them to see and experience some amazing art.

As for hanging with the big wigs, I meant that as a joke somewhat. I am in awe of photojournalists talent and have talked to a few here. One said I could go to the Media Mecca and charge my batteries if so needed. He was very gracious. You are not. Stop taking everything so dam literally. Believe it or not, I am a really nice person and not the creep you make me out to be. I ask before I photograph. I dont need to take photos of naked people, not my idea of a jolly. I create art for my family and friends to enjoy. I am not a capitalist regarding my photos. So lighten up dude!

Now kiss my ass and say you are sorry :D
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Postby justfred » Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:32 am

Fuck you too, winebuff (smileyface)

Seriously though - to experience something you have to EXPERIENCE it. You can't do so by seeing it through a viewfinder, and you can't do so by looking at a coffee table book. You have to be there, be in it. This is one of the things I've learned at Burning Man.

One aspect of the event that newbies don't seem to understand, is that everyone is a participant. And although you "do your art through photography" - that isn't participating. It isn't enriching the event for others AT THE EVENT. People won't look at you and say, "oh wow, that's awesome, you're taking pictures." There used to be a big sign at center camp that said "No Spectators" and you're asked to do four hours of community service during the event - a request that new people tend to ignore. What do you plan to do to serve the community? Picking up moop doesn't count, you have to do that anyway.

I honestly suggest that instead of planning a photo safari, you try to find people in your local area who are doing a project of some sort - a theme camp, an art car, an interactive art piece. Get to know them. You may find out that you can indeed paint, sing, and play an instrument - and maybe you can weld, use a plasma cutter, do some soldering, go thrift store shopping, cook dinner, share wine, come up with clever whatever for the amazing whatchamawhozit they're building. Heck, they'll probably even let you take pictures of them! They are the real Burning Man. Go deep.

I'm sure the media mecca people are cool and all, but for the most part capitalism is what they're about. You get a media tag so you can sell your shit, and media mecca exists to corral these folx and try to steer them on-message. If you just want to take pictures for friends and family you don't need a media pass. If you really want to take pictures to sell to stock photo agencies, you'd be better off spending your week in Death Valley instead - suggest you go barefoot and don't bring any water.

And I am very gracious, damnit. Now lick my balls and say you're sorry (smileyface).
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Postby magicmarty » Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:32 am

Yea!!!
"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties" - Erich Fromm

Stay firm but loose!

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Postby magicmarty » Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:37 am

The Yea!!! was for winebuff

We all go to Burning Man with our own preconceptions (or no preconceptions) and the event forms what we ultimately and exitentially give and derive from it. No "shoulda's", except the Survival Guide
"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties" - Erich Fromm

Stay firm but loose!

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Postby winebuff » Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:43 am

Wow, Fred hasnt had his coffee yet. I am volunteering fyi. But, you didnt take a second and ask, did you? I have already filled out a volunteer form and have talked to one of the camps who runs a restaurant. Will probably do some wine tastings etc. I was also going to give my photos to the people I photograph for free via emal as my gifting so they can have a high quality portrait for FREE !!!!


Man, tough crowd here. And no, I wont apologize. But I will buy you a cup of coffee. Now be a good boy and go take your medicine :lol:
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Postby winebuff » Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:47 am

Love you Marty! Geeeez, is everyone this nice?
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Postby winebuff » Thu Nov 12, 2009 10:03 am

Soooooooooooo
Once when I was in band camp.........................
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Postby phil » Thu Nov 12, 2009 10:26 am

magicmarty wrote:Louise,

Your photos are incredible! breathtaking!

Thanks, Phil, for putting them on line

Wow!


You're just saying that because you like the way she dresses. :-> Get a grip, Marty.
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Postby lambert13 » Thu Nov 12, 2009 11:10 am

justfred wrote:
Seriously though - to experience something you have to EXPERIENCE it. You can't do so by seeing it through a viewfinder, and you can't do so by looking at a coffee table book. You have to be there, be in it. This is one of the things I've learned at Burning Man.



Very good advice right there. I learned that a while back the hard way by taking photos of every and anything while on vacation in exotic locales. I would get home, look at the photos and not remember what was going on in half of them. Nowadays I take a few photos here and there, but overall I am content just being in the moment......not trying to record it.

Plus, a camera in front of your face is like a security blanket for some people in social situations. It makes you harder to approach and makes you an observer rather than a participant. Most of the time I would rather be the one having fun than the person taking photos of people having fun.
It's pointless to walk when it's past time to run.
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Postby winebuff » Thu Nov 12, 2009 11:15 am

Point well taken Lambert. Thx!
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