Scott’s School of Hard Knocks

rellocks2.jpgThe day before my seminar in Honolulu a couple weeks back, I got to spend some time shooting with just a great guy and photographer; Steve Dantzig (who wrote the book, Softbox Lighting Techniques for the Professional Photographer).

Steve and I wound up as guests on the same radio show a few months back, and as our interviews crossed paths, the host introduced us to each other, and as luck would have it, I had just bought his book (which is great by the way). Anyway, Steve lives in Honoulu (lucky dog); one thing led to another, and before you knew it, Steve had invited me to go shooting with him, at a beautiful cove about 30 minutes away (he even picked me up from the airport). Long story short; we got rained out, so we wound up shooting in his studio instead, and he quickly arranged to have a local up-and-coming model (and her entourage) meet us at the studio.

Anyway, once we got the lighting set up, Steve invited me to shoot as well. I was shooting my new Nikon D300. I was swapping cards during the shoot (using one for shooting, while the other was downloading into Lightroom; I couldn’t shoot tethered because I couldn’t get Nikon Camera Control Pro 2 to work with Mac OS X Leopard, but thankfully, it now does —no problem). So, here’s the “School of Hard Knocks” lesson. When the D300 ships, by default when you take a shot, it shows up on the camera’s LCD monitor (here’s the stinger:) even if you DON’T have a memory card in the camera.

So, as you might expect, I did an entire series of shots which vanished into thin air, because I forgot to put a card in the camera (On my D200 and D2Xs, I had turned that “go ahead and shoot without a memory card” feature OFF long ago, so I couldn’t accidentally take shots without there being a card in the camera. To do this on your D300, go to the Custom Settings menu, under Controls, and change control f9 [No memory card] to Release Locked [as shown above]. This locks your shutter release if no memory card is in the camera).

Luckily, this wasn’t a paid client gig, but had it been, this could have been a really serious situation. I have no idea why Nikon choose to set up the D300 so by defaul it shoots without a memory card, but it does, so all you new D300 owners be forewarned, and learn from another one of Scott’s famous “School of Hard Knocks” lessons from the field learned the hard way.

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