Digital Photography 101: Managing Cameras, Lighting, and Workstations for Specimen Imaging

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Logistics Document

Workshop Venue

The venue for the workshop is in the collections facility of the Florida Museum of Natural History, located in Dickinson Hall on Museum Road (details to follow).
Walking directions from the Holiday Inn to Dickinson Hall:,+1250+W+University+Ave,+Gainesville,+FL+32601/Dickinson+Hall+-+Florida+Museum+Of+Natural+History,+Research+%26+Collections,+Museum+Road,+Gainesville,+FL/@29.6485867,-82.3455851,16z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x88e8a3846bb2291b:0xe3a9b91cc92c5bb8!2m2!1d-82.338596!2d29.652657!1m5!1m1!1s0x88e8a39d92d53e03:0x891d9e673a025213!2m2!1d-82.3438233!2d29.6445166!3e2.

Hotel Information

For those traveling, the nearest hotel is the Holiday Inn University Center. We have reserved a block of rooms for our group for 1-4 May at a
rate of $109.00/night, plus tax. Dickinson Hall is about a 15 minute walk from the Holiday Inn (see map link above).
You may call the Holiday Inn directly at (352) 376-1661, using the code IDB for our group. Or, you may make reservations using the following link:​.
PLEASE NOTE: Reservation deadline is 3 April to ensure availability at the room block pricing.


Day 1: Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Day One
Time Topic Presenter(s)/Leader(s)
7:00-8:00 Coffee, Tea, OJ, Water, Pastries
8:00-8:10 Welcome & Logistics Gil Nelson
8:10-8:20 Introductions All
8:20-8:50 Camera Basics 1.0 - Introduction to the camera body
  • What is a camera - morphology;
  • Different kinds of cameras: rangefinder, viewfinder, twin lens, mirrorless
  • Holding the camera; turning the camera on-off, what you can do with the on/off button;
  • Camera ports: Using DC-In cable; other ports on the camera (tethered shooting, flash sync, wireless shutter connector, etc.);
  • Formatting memory card in the camera versus in the computer;
  • Image recording quality (RAW, JPEG, TIFF) ;
  • Lens and lens attachments - filters;
  • Focusing: Manual focus ring, autofocus (AF mode, AF point);
  • Online resources
  • Extra credit: camera shake
Joanna McCaffrey
8:50-9:10 Camera Basics 1.0 Lab - Mastering the camera software settings
  • Practice taking the lens on and off the camera – find mounting index, lens release button
  • On your camera set up the following:
  • Set up sensor cleaning when turned on
  • Set your camera’s date, timezone, language
  • Set the quality of images = raw
  • Set the white balance = auto (3500 – 8000 K)
  • Set camera to single shot mode
  • Find the help menus for your camera’s software
  • Delete/Format
    • Delete one image
    • Format the memory card
9:10-9:30 Camera Basics 2.0 - Intermediate Camera Body
  • Camera modes (aperture, speed, manual, program: landscape, cloudy, etc.);
  • The Exposure Triangle: the big three: ISO, aperture and shutter speed;
  • Depth of field (focal length, distance to subject, lens diffraction);
  • Metering with a hand-held meter, or in the camera (matrix metering, center weight, spot point, evaluative, partial);
  • Histogram on the camera;
  • White balance (affected by the lighting in the studio), grey cards, color cards, checker cards;
  • Extra credit: More on Depth of Field; Focal Length; Bracketing, Exposure; Hyperlocal distance; Bokeh
Joanna McCaffrey
9:30-9:50 Camera Basics 2.0 Lab

Mastering the camera software settings: With camera manual in hand, practice moving the f/stop and speed around with the ISO setting to see how the images
in the camera change. Handouts

Zach Randall
9:50-10:10 Camera Basics 3.0 - Advanced Camera Body
  • Camera sensor size: pixels, photosites
  • Focal length: prime (fixed/prime) versus zoom; lens/camera adapters for mixing and matching lenses to cameras;
  • Full frame versus crop frame
  • Minimum focal distance
  • Focal length and angle of view
  • Macro versus non-macro (zone of focus) [⅔ : ⅓ depth of field];
  • Camera care and maintenance;
  • Extra credit: Picture angle; Perspective; More on Macro lenses; Macro depth of field; Circle of confusion; Advanced focus adjustments - back or front focus
Joanna McCaffrey
10:10-10:20 Camera Basics 3.0 Lab - Composition

Filling the frame: nothing more, nothing less; cropping images in post-processing, composition, what is important? Which lenses to use, using different lenses.

Joanna McCaffrey
10:20-10:40 Break
10:40-11:00 Camera Image Basics 4.0
  • Image size measurements: mbytes;
  • Resolution: ppi (pixels/inch) are not the same as dpi (dots/inch), a scanner (dpi) is a printer, not a camera, not comparable; sensor photosite;
  • Image file type (RAW, JPEG, TIFF, DNG); Compressed vs. uncompressed file format;
Zach Randall
11:00-11:20 Camera Image Basics 4.0 Discussion Jeff Gage, Zach Randall
11:20-11:40 Imaging Workstations
  • Imaging Workstations (squeeze box, photo boxes, copy stands)
  • Workstation programs (Digital Photo Professional, Lightroom, Helicon Focus, Zerene);
  • Helpful tools at workstations (hand sanitizer, fluid, pins, props, 3D bubble levels, tripods [IS off], special photo prep techniques: whitening agents [NH4CL]);
  • Controlling lighting: in the room, and on the image. Diffused lighting is not always what you want: consider herbarium sheets versus fossil ferns, determine best lighting for the subject.
    Mixing light sources; light pollution; strobes versus static lighting; different kinds of lighting: polarizers, filters, using flash on camera or off camera, remote control of lights, rear curtain sync, low angle lighting;
  • Light quality, Kelvin, LED, incandescent, fluorescent, flash;
  • Auxiliary barcode scanner;
  • Status of Photo eBox (OR Tech), where to get spare parts;
Gil Nelson & Stephanie Leon
11:40-12:10 Imaging Workstations Lab
12:10-12:15 Q&A, Discussion, Morning Wrap-up
12:15-1:00 Lunch (catered)
Afternoon Imaging Station Tours

There is flexibility in what tours you take; there is time tomorrow for in-depth interactions.

  • Kent Perkins - herbarium sheets
  • Verity Mathis - mammals
  • Zach Randall - fish
  • Sean Moran - paleo vertebrates
  • John Slapcinsky - invertebrates
  • Stacey Huber - lepidoptera
4:00-4:45 Afternoon Snacks, Q&A, Discussion, Afternoon Wrap-up
5-6:30 Field trip to Sweetwater Wetlands Park
7:00 Dinner: Tall Paul's (pizza provided)

Day 2: Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Day Two
Time Topic Presenter(s)/Leader(s)
7:00-8:00 Coffee, Tea, OJ, Water, Pastries
8:00-8:45 Software and Post-processing
  • Camera control software: handling images in 3rd party software versus vendor software: CameraControl Pro, Digital Photo Professional, DigiCam;
  • Post-processing software resources: Lightroom, Photoshop, default camera tools, especially if you are tethering or stacking - when to use, context, problems to solve;
  • Organizing files: discussion of benefits, challenges, quality control, naming, efficiencies; Archival solutions: cloud (Amazon, Dropbox, etc.), desktop, institutional drives, flash drives, DAMS (need IT support);
  • Color: gamut: sRGB, AdobeRGB, ProPhoto (best bit-depth, largest color space); bit depth - do the best you can do, let technology catch up (early monitors are 72 bpi and not retina or 4K/5K displays);
Gil Nelson and Stephanie Leon
8:45-9:15 Image Metadata
  • Image metadata: preserving and adding metadata, e.g., EXIF, IPTC;
Kristen Grace
9:15-9:45 Discussion from previous day, directions for the day
9:45-10:00 Break
10:00-11:30 Lab & Field
  • Hands on practice with using your camera on various specimen types.
  • Kent Perkins - herbarium sheets
  • Verity Mathis - mammals
  • Zach Randall - fish
  • John Slapcinsky - invertebrates
11:30-12:00+ Q&A, Discussion, Workshop Wrap-up

Possible eating venues:

  • The Social at Midtown (352-373-7383), 1728 West University Ave
  • Tall Paul's, (352) 505-0990) 10 SE 2nd Ave, no food, order pizza across the street

Workshop Recordings