Virtual notebooks

As a person of limited knowledge & even more limited memory,
I've found my digital camera truly excellent as a note book.
Started 6 or 7 years back when I lived in the US. Saw a plethora
of engines I'd never seen before, & many which I couldn't recognise.
As digital photographs have an incremental cost of zero I got into
the habit of recording all background info for unknown or unusual
engines. For these, I always shoot the engine number plate up
close (good way to engage owners in conversation & learning
more, as u may need to go round 'tother side...), & also any
descriptive material.
My camera focusses down to 0.8 inches for that minute detail
you might want, and most digitals focus very close. Fill-in flash
can be very useful when shooting into the sun, to illuminate
detail hidden in dark shadow. Not normally helpful with anything
behind glass or cellophane -- reflections can be too distracting.
This info record has proved invaluable a hundred times over for
research, & to ensure I didn't need to try to remember too much
in any one day....
Also hepful to others when looking at your pix on the web -- saves
u time on labelling, & they can see the data for themselves.
I suspect the only reason we don't see everyone using the camera
as a virtual notebook is that we have an emotional throwback to
"film + processing costs money". Almost any digital, right down
to the =A335 Tesco's specials, will do the job well.
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DAMN handy when disassembling something too; I can never remember which order the washer/spring/otherwasher/etc went on shafts and bolts...
Now I just take scads of shots as I disaassmble (always take more than you *think* you'll need) and refer (later) when assembling.
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With my digital I can actually save the spoken word and record notes.
Martin P
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When I was at Goodwood recently for the Festival of Speed I took a picture of most of the descriptive boards before starting in on the associated cars and bikes, which served as a rough index when I came to look through about 400 pictures the next day.
I think the OP mentioned the problem of photographing shiny boards, or those protected with glass or plastic. Sometimes this can be almost impossible, especially if the light is poor and you have to use flash. But for those scorching hot and bright days - one of which nearly barbecued my brain on the Sunday at Goodwood - it is sometimes possible to move around and throw your own shadow onto the display board. Something which is normally the last thing you'd want to do can be useful for this one purpose.
Sometimes you'll need to stand a bit to one side, rather than the ideal 'straight on' position, but a readable picture is worth a bit of sideways slant and even a poor one can often be 'sharpened' enough on the computer afterwards to be informative, even if not pretty ;-)
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J D Craggs
Martin -- re voice recording on digital cameras, & more on "why record"
"My digital can record voice & notes"
Yes, mine does. Can be very useful, 'tho in my experience it pays me to keep to keep as much as possible graphical. I sometimes just write a note to myself on paper & then photograph it, so that it can keep in context with the original subject & be easily accessed in one media form & location.
Also worth photographing (or scanning) engine programme listings for eevents you have photographed. Makes finding the info much easier months on when you can't quite find the programme .....
My personal nirvana would be reached when all those kind souls who post web pix included year, engine number & size for any Petter Handymen & Blackstones that they photograph -- ideally with a pic of the engine plate & any description. They are the only engines I know anything of, & I always want to know more..............
BTW, on Blackstones there is often a raised engine type cast into the barrel. Undeciphering those has beaten Michael Key to date -- I have a 12hp SFC Model BG, whereas the smaller SFC in Leicester is a Model A. Blackstone literature doesn't describe these variants. More photo data of these castings could be helpful.
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