Tip #31: Make a List... and Check it Twice!

Cottonwood Landscape - Manning Trail, MN
Canon 5D Mark II + Canon 100mm f2.8L IS Macro @ iso 400

Yesterday’s outing reminded me of something that I’ve been meaning to share. However, age and work have conspired to cloud my focus and perpetuate my tendency to forget the little things. 
I typically make a mental needs-list prior to a local shoot, and will prepare a comprehensive packing plan before traveling abroad. The narrow niche of a nature/landscapes/wildlife photographer requires specialized clothing and gear, and the cost of leaving a key tool at home can make the difference between success and failure in the field (I will save my list of my photo-travel essentials for a future tip).
Frosted Fencepost - Manning Trail, MN
Canon 5D Mark II + Canon 100mm f2.8L IS Macro @ iso 400
Before I succumb to further absentmindedness, I should explain part II of this tip: “Check it Twice!” The modern digital camera is a complex computer whose interface often requires a third hand to manipulate. Tiny buttons and rotating dials are easily altered during the mounting of lenses, switching of cards and stowing of gear. The ease in which settings can change may result in lost opportunities. For example, mirror-up mode might be active when rapid fire is expected, or spot-meter is engaged when evaluative-metering was the plan. This type of error can be catastrophic when an owl flies into your frame and offers a mesmerizing gaze and full expansion of its wings ...I’ve definitely experienced my fair share of lost opportunities because I didn’t check it twice! Yesterday morning I ventured out on a 17 ˚F (-8.3 ˚C) day to catch the pastels of first light. My fingers were numb and my mind wandered with fatigue. The pre-dawn light was captivating so I mounted my camera and lens to the tripod, attached the cable-switch and fired away. Beautifully unique moments ...all at iso 400! This was not my intent. The tree was not running away, the landscape was static, and iso 100 would maximize image quality. So, I’ll say it again... Make a List... and Check it Twice!
Frosted Focus - Manning Trail, MN
Canon 5D Mark II + Canon 100mm f2.8L IS Macro @ iso 400
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