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September 22, 2009

Over this past weekend, I went out shooting. As is common for me lately, I took more than one camera. Normally, I like for each of the pictures I take to stand on its own merit. Most often, my photos are auto-sorted by file name when I look at them on my computer. Once I’ve graded them, they are sorted by ranking (best ones first) and sub-sorted by file name.

When you are using multiple cameras, even if they are the same brand and use the same naming convention, the files names will never mesh. Nor would you want them to. If you had duplicate file names, you run the risk of your files overwriting each other. This would cause you to lose pictures.

So your files will be clustered in groups, based on which camera they came from. The problem is, if you switch back and forth between cameras during an event and then later want to sort your photos in chronological order, it can’t be done sorting by file name. You would have to sort them by time stamp. (Based on the time and date when the pictures were taken.)

As I already said, I generally like for each of my photos to stand on its own so it’s rare that I even bother with trying to sort them chronologically. This weekend was one of those rare exceptions. It’s also when I learned a hard lesson that I now wish to impart to you.

The clocks on my cameras were not synchronized. Depending on the nature of the event, sometimes even a few minutes difference can throw the sequence completely off. In my case, one camera was set for daylight savings time while the other was not. In addition to that, they were also off by a few minutes. So one camera’s clock was about an hour and 12 minutes faster than the other’s.

Through a fair amount of effort and some fancy batch processing, I was able to get them all synchronized but I learned a lesson from this and immediately synchronized the clocks on my cameras. You should do the same.

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