Notes For Photographers

How the images got captured

Photographic equipment

List of equipment I took on The Booze Cruise:

Image processing

The photographic negatives were sent to a local Kodak agent, where they were scanned and burnt onto Photo CDs.

I used Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 to adjust the contrast and colour balance of the images, and to remove dust spots and scratches. The enhanced images were saved in the lossless PNG format.

Paint Shop Pro 8 was used to resize, sharpen and convert the images to a format suitable for display on the web. I used Paint Shop Pro 8 because it offers programmable macros that can be used in batch processing. This makes it much more powerful than Photoshop Elements 4.0 when it comes to customised processing of dozens of different image files at once. However, if I hadn't needed very specific image sizes, the basic batch processing feature of Photoshop Elements 4.0 would have sufficed.

Narrowboat photography tips

Here are a few tips that you might want to bear in mind before you set off on your own narrowboat adventure.

  1. I took a tripod with me, and barely used it. The only times the tripod got used were for a spot of outdoor night photography, and to get a few shots inside the dark length of Wast Hill Tunnel. If you only intend to take daytime landscape shots, then you may decide that lugging a heavy and bulky tripod is not worth it.
  2. If you're travelling with a sizeable crew, you almost certainly will not be indulged every time you ask to stop the boat so you can take a picture of a scene that catches your eye. If you plan to take your time and really explore the landscape with your roving eye, then a narrowboat cruise with six other people is probably not what you are looking for.
  3. Camera lenses with a fixed focal length use fewer layers of glass to focus the picture, so the image quality is usually better at a lower price. Which is why I took three fixed-length lenses with me. However, on the moving narrowboat, I would usually miss a shot altogether in the time it took me to change from one lens to another. If you can afford an expensive zoom lens with a wide aperture and good optics, I recommend buying one. Unless you have the luxury of time during your cruise.
  4. Bear in mind that canals tend to be full of water. If your camera comes with a strap or wrist-loop then use it to avoid any chance of your camera dropping into the green-tinted waterway. On the subject of water, bear in mind that there's always the chance of canal water getting into the boat. Don't keep your equipment on the floor.
  5. If you're using a digital camera, make sure you understand the white-balance setting on your camera, and check the setting each time you take the camera out of its case. I've had a good number of photos rendered almost useless by using the wrong white balance (colour temperature) because the setting-wheel rotated every time I took it out of its carry case. If your camera has a RAW mode, consider using that. A RAW image takes up more room on your memory card, but you do have a lot more control over the image once you get it onto your computer. Make sure you understand how to process RAW images before taking a lot of shots in RAW mode.
  6. If you intend to produce a photographic account of your adventures, you should consider taking notes, or keeping a diary of events. This makes it much easier to create an accurate account of events once you get home. Digital cameras make it easier to work out what happened when, because they tend to record the time and date and the exposure settings with each photograph. Make very sure that the time and date on your digital camera are correct.
  7. The Canterbury had a power inverter which produced 240 volts, so it would have been no trouble recharging batteries on that fine narrowboat. But most narrowboats I've been on have not had a 240-volt supply so make sure you know how you'll power your camera equipment during the week. Check the expected battery life for your camera model, and work out whether one full charge will be enough to last for the duration of your holiday.

For a wealth of information about the technical side of photography, visit I learnt a huge amount about photography from that site.