tattoogoddess wrote:... I have not dealed with LED's much so I don't know how fast they suck power out of batteries...
Electronics do not work well (or for long) with Heavy Duty batteries.
LEDs are electronic devices. Their wiring and/or the circuits driving them will be assuming you're using Alkaline. Hence the need for Alkaline or better. More expensive is Lithium or NiMH.
I've had several cameras, and when I was a pro I always got the extra battery holder that allowed me to use Alkalines, always loaded & available on a shoot in case the NiMH packs depleted, even with the F5. Of the many cameras I've had, only one old P&S camera had decreased life when using Alkalines. Others are fine. Whatever my current carry-around P&S favorite is, if it won't run on AAs I always have a P&S backup that runs on AAs, as I can get a spare set at any corner store.
My Sony P&S that only takes their NiMH pack was a pain trying to keep two packs charged on-playa. No one with solar or generator nearby; had to run the generator, which was a real waste as the chargers are consumer grade, not faster charging. I had two packs, now I got two more and a friend lends me his two - still a pain. Having sufficient AAs for an AA compatible camera makes you independent of needing to find a charge.
Some batteries may have, or appear to have, reduced usage life on-playa.
- Warning - Technical Stuff: Electronic devices will stop working once the voltage they get from their batteries drops below what the device needs to function (why electronic devices need Alkaline or better, not Heavy Duty which has a different voltage vs. capacity slope). Heat raises a battery's internal resistance when under load. In playa heat, this can happen sooner than usual, so the voltage the batteries present to the device under load is lower sooner, and the device stops working, even though the batteries still have usable capacity left. This is why if you pull the batteries and put a meter on them (a high resistance load), they show good voltage, yet won't drive the device. Some devices need more voltage than others or draw more current than others, so will be more sensitive to this.
So do bring extra batteries. Recommend carrying two spare sets for the camera on you when you're out and about so you don't miss anything.
Check under your camera's menu. It may have a power conservation setting(s), like turning off the display sooner, sounds effects off, etc.. There's usually a way to dim the display, but that can make it very difficult to see under the playa sun.
Don't leave batteries, or cameras, in the sun.
Batteries (and film, in the old days) stay cooler in a mylar foil wrapped camera bag (mine stayed cool enough all day in the desert, with temps ranging down to 2C at night up to 45C in the shade mid-afternoon).
A dollar-store micro-fibre cloth is a good thing to keep your camera wrapped in (scratches, dust). Some keep that or at least the camera, in a zip-lock bag or the fancy version from camera or outdoor stores.
P.S. as others have said, it's a participation event, not a photo op - although you'll grab snap shots of favorites, don't fall into photographing it instead of participating.
I left the DSLRs at home for that very reason, although it almost left me feeling naked.
- as others said, you're not alone (in the middle of a desert with no stars) - search eplaya to find out what works for reflectors on tents & guylines - no point cursing the neighbours because you can't sleep due to the lights, only to find out its your lights (that you bought, carried to playa, installed, maintained, and get to carry home)
- that said, a single solar-powered lawn light left to charge in the sun, placed in your tent before you go out at night ensures you're not returning to enter a dark tent with a surprise - before you enter, if it's not on, wonder why... the playa's a friendly place, but usual rules apply
- and search for tent pegs/stakes advice
- despite being a gear freak (I have a collection of flashlights, knives, compasses, fire-starters, fire-starting-compass-with-a-knife-and-LED, ...), I like the pair of $2 LED flashlights I got at HD