|The image to the right shows 4 different
types of cards commonly used in digital cameras (there are about 20
different types, with most being physically indistinguishable from these 4
types. Compact Flash cards (1) are the largest physically, although
they do not necessarily hold the most data. They were one of the
first designs used in cameras and are still the standard used in many of
the digital SLR's. Commonly they can be found in sizes up to 32 GB,
although larger ones are available. They also come in a wide array
of sizes; a newer standard called UDMA which can transfer up to 45
MB/sec. Most cards are solid state, but some manufacturers have made
tiny hard drives in this format.
The SD (and SDHC) cards (2) are much smaller, yet
have similar capacities to Compact Flash Cards. This is a newer
format, derived from the Multi-media Card (MMC). They can transfer
data up to about 30 MB/sec. They are available in sizes up to 32GB,
however a new standard, SDXC, will allow cards up to 2 terabytes in size
in this tiny physical package! Those cards will not, however, work in
current devices just as older devices are not able to use the newer SDHC
cards. The SDHC cards have speed ratings; Class 6 cards can write
6MB/s; class 4 4MB/s and so on. SD cards have a notch on the case to
make sure they are inserted the right way. Many have a write-protect
tab which physically prevents writing to the card or erasing the
images. This can protect your images, but it can also cause
frustration when you suddenly can't seem to get rid of images you have
already uploaded to the computer.
|Even tinier than the
SD cards are mini and micro SD cards (3). These are
electronically similar to the SD cards, but in a much smaller
package. They are more often used in cell phones than
cameras. They can be read in many card readers by inserting
them into an adapter that physically resembled a regular SD
card. In this configuration they can also be used in a camera
that takes SD cards. Beware of using the same card in two
different devices, however as this can cause errors (see formatting,
Also pictured is a Memory Stick from Sony (4).
Memory sticks come in a variety of configurations (Pro, Duo, Pro Duo,
etc.); few cameras other than Sony use them.
Not pictured are MultiMedia Cards (MMC) and xD
cards; the former is an older standard not much seen anymore; xD
cards are used in many Olympus and Fujifilm cameras.
||Shown to the left is one of the computers
in the research lab with two card readers attached. Both readers are
connected via the computer's USB ports. The upper card reader red
arrow) is for SDHC cards (it will also read older SD cards). The
lower reader (green arrow), attached by cable, will read a variety of
cards including Compact Flash, Memory Stick and SD. This particular
reader will NOT read the newer SDHC cards, but other readers like this are
available that do.
Look for card readers on the computers on the island
in the lab. These computers, since they have no seats, are best used
for uploading data to the network. From there, you can access,
organize and edit the files on one of the two workstations along the wall
in the research lab, or use one of the computers in the environmental
science computer lab downstairs.
Note: the steps below are the basic
steps needed to upload and organize your images. For a more
detailed workflow that takes advantage of Adobe Bridge see pages
12-18 in http://w3.marietta.edu/~biol/imaging/c20_photoshop.pdf.
Uploading: The first step is to get
your files onto the network. To do this, choose one of the computers
with a card reader attached. These are normally the computers on the
island in the research lab, although at times we may move a card reader
down to the Environmental Science computer lab.
Carefully place the card in the appropriate slot, in
the appropriate direction. Be careful and never force the card
(different readers have different configurations; one may accept a card
face up and another face down, so it's impossible to write a general
- Start up My Computer on the computer and find the
drive with the card inserted (often it will change to the name of the
camera brand you are using).
- Hold down the control key and click on the up
arrow on My Computer. This will open a second window. In
the second window, navigate to the scratch drive (usually S: in the
lab). Arrange the two windows side-by side.
- In the first window, navigate through the
sub-directories until you find the image files. Press Ctrl-A to
select them all. Then press Ctrl-C to copy them all.
- In the scratch directory, navigate to the
directory you created for yourself (use your name to name the
directory). You may want to create a sub-directory for each
batch of images; the date makes a good name for the
subdirectory. Open the subdirectory and press Ctrl-V to paste
the files into that directory.
- Some cameras will create images in more than one
directory; be sure to examine all subdirectories on the card and copy
all of the files using Ctrl-A / Ctrl-C /Ctrl-V as shown in 3 and 4
- Remove your card from the reader and put it back
in the camera.
- Move to another computer, such as the two
workstations in the research lab or one of the computers in the
environmental science lab downstairs.
Sorting: The next step is to sort
the images. In the labs you can use Adobe Bridge
(right); if you do not have Bridge you may want to download the
freeware software FastStone
(below). The first pass at sorting involves using the
slide-show view of either program to place your images full-screen
on the computer. As you go through them (page up or page down
will allow you to advance), eliminate any images that are clearly
out of focus or poorly exposed. Getting rid of bad pictures
now saves you work and disk space later on. To delete an image
hit the delete key while it is on screen. Depending on how the
programs are set up, FastStone will ask you if you want to delete
the file; if you do it will be placed in the recycle bin (from which
it can usually be retrieved, unless someone empties the bin).
By default, using the delete key in bridge simply marks the file
"reject". After you are done with the slide show,
sort the files by rating (View:Sort:By Rating) which will group all
the rejected files together. Select them and hit the delete
key again to send them to the recycle bin.
MetaData: If you are using
Bridge, it is easy to edit the metadata that accompanies each
image. Either use a template (see page 15 from ELM book
chapter on Photoshop) or select the metadata pane and manually enter
the data. To do this, first select all the files the metadata
will apply to - for instance, your copyright information should go
on each image, while location data will vary between
You should at least fill out the creator field
with your name; you probably should fill out the copyright field
with your name and the year as well (see below left). Subject
information is usually covered in the keywords field; you can enter
a number of keywords.
The server is only a temporary storage
place. Please remember that the server could be cleaned at any
time. Therefore, please protect your images by backing them
1. Back them up with a thumb
drive. Insert a thumb drive and copy the files, using My
Computer or Windows Explorer from the server to your thumb
drive. NOTE: NEVER copy files by opening them in a
program such as Word or Photoshop and then saving them in a new
destination. This is really stupid for so many ways it's hard
to list them all. Use explorer or my computer.
2. Burn them to a DVD. DVD's cost
about 25 cents each if you buy them in bulk. Do so, and use
the NERO Burning ROM software on the computer to copy them from the
network to the DVD (it might be a good idea to copy them to a
directory on the computer's hard drive first, then erase that
directory). You should always close the DVD - you won't be
able to write to it again, but you won't be able to screw it up and
lose your pictures, either. Remember, it cost you 25
cents. Use a marker to write your name and the date on the
disk, along with what is on it (Such as "Photos - January
2009). If you somehow mess up, lose or erase the images on the
server you can always go back to the ones on the disk.
The card you put back in your camera still has
the images on it. Once you have them safely copied onto a DVD
it's time to get rid of them so you can take more images. You
COULD simply delete all the images, one by one or as a group, but in
the long run you will end up with a corrupted card if you do
this. Much better to reformat the card using the controls on
your camera (NEVER reformat in the computer as the format will not
be optimized for your camera). Many cameras have both a quick
format and a low-level format. The quick format simply removes
the directory that tells the computer where the files are at.
The actual files remain on the card and you might be able to retrieve
them later with disk-recovery software which is widely
available. The low-level format removes the directory and the
files. I prefer to use the latter so that the card is
optimized to take new images. If you have backed your earlier
images up properly, this is fine. Most cameras do a low-level
format in less than a minute.
Formatting is particularly important if you
move a card from one device to another; say from your cell phone to
a camera or from one camera to another. To avoid
problems, you should always format a card when you put it in a
device (even if it has been used in that device before); just
remember that FORMATTING REMOVES ALL FILES FROM THE CARD - so make
sure you have things backed up first!