Over the past 15 years of owning ferrets I’ve taken THOUSANDS of photos and videos. Several years ago I was interviewed by Ferrets Magazine about photographing and filming ferrets and they’ve featured my Ferretocious YouTube page a few times. Here’s some of the tips I passed on to ferret owners in that article along with some updated info.
A digital camera is a MUST. With ferrets you’ll take twenty (or more) pics for every good pic since they’re constantly on the move. Gone are the days of snapping a bunch of pics, waiting to get them backthen finding out you barely got any good ones! With digital cameras you can click and film to your heart’s content and delete any bad pics.
It’s amazing how cheap and advanced digital cameras are now. Back in 1998 when I bought my first digital camera it was a Kodak DC210 with a whopping 2 megapixels and I spent over $500 for it – USED! Several years later I upgraded to a 5 megapixel Olympus C5000 and spent about $349 for it. A few years after that I upgraded to an 8 megapixel Olympus Stylus 800 and spent $229 for it. I then moved to a 12 megapixel Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS25 and spent less than $200 for it.
For my birthday a few days ago I used my birthday money on a new camera and I now have the Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS10. It’s 14 megapixels, allows you to zoom in and out while filming (pretty unheard of in point-and-shoots!), has touchscreen functions and a built-in GPS so it tracks where photos are taken. It also shoots 3D photos. You can see some videos and pics taken with it at http://www.youtube.com/user/Ferretocious and the video attached to this story was shot with it. To order one for yourself http://tinyurl.com/LumixDMC-ZS10
Memory cards for digital cameras have gotten ridiculously cheap as well. Years ago I bought a 128MB card for $79.99. I recently picked up a 4GB card for only $19.99! So definitely buy the biggest card you can find – you’ll need it for all that snapping. High resolution pictures – and especially video – can take up a lot memory. I actually prefer to have two cards. When I do fundraising photo shoots for the shelter I can be printing the photos from one card while I’m shooting with the other. This also gives you additional storage space if you’re on a trip and unable to move photos from your card to your computer to free up space.
Many cameras now come with their own rechargeable battery packs and chargers. HIGHLY suggest getting a camera with this feature. If you don’t you’ll end up spending a fortune on batteries. Even rechargeable batteries eventually go bad and replacing them is pricey. Rechargeable battery packs are also FAR smaller than the several AA batteries most run-on-batteries cameras require which means a smaller, more portable camera you can slide right into your pocket. I always buy a second rechargeable battery pack for my cameras. That way if I’m on a trip and spending all day shooting – or even a couple of days camping without electricity to charge my battery pack – I’ve got all the juice I need to keep that camera clicking. You can find your specific camera’s battery pack via the manufacturer or for much less money on eBay.
Many cameras come with software that will let you crop, edit and enhance pics. If it didn’t come with one, there’s lots out there. I’ve used Microsoft Picture It! for years to crop, brighten, correct pics (remove hairs from a backdrop, etc) as it’s really easy to work with. Photoshop is an excellent program with loads of special effects but very pricey. Ulead also has some cool software and you can demo the programs for free via their website http://www.corel.com/servlet/Satellite/us/en/Content/1152796555406 For video Windows MovieMaker comes with most computers and laptops running Windows. I use this when I want to add titles, credits to a video or want to edit out part of a video. Only problem, though, is my cameras all tend to create Quicktime videos so I have to first convert the file to MPG or WMV before Movie Maker will let me edit it. 99% of the videos I put on my Youtube page are unedited Quicktime files, or if anything, I’ve just tweaked the Brightness a bit with Quicktime Pro. It’s an inexpensive upgrade to turn the free Quicktime you can download online to Pro which will allow you some edit options. Years ago I used a program called MovieEditPro that DID import Quicktime files and had some really cool features (see the video attached to this article) but was SO slow to save your finished work. I’ve read reviews that the new program is much better and about to order it from Amazon. Here’s a link http://tinyurl.com/3to6oaj There’s also plenty of free shareware online you can download as well as demos for most photo programs.
My Lumix camera came with a program called PHOTOfun STUDIO. When I plug my camera’s memory card into my laptop it automatically pulls my pictures over. I’ve set it to pull to a folder called “Pictures and videos to move to PC” and it creates a folder based on the date of the photograph and drops all the pictures and videos in there. The program, though, is pretty lame and I only use it for that. Tried to make an animated slideshow of pics and it turned all the “portrait” pics (taller than they were wide) sideways. And there’s no way to prevent this!
With photo and vide files taking up lots of space you’ll want to be sure to delete from your computer any files you don’t want to save. You should also back up your photos. I have my own .com so regularly copy over all my newest photos to my server. This way if my computer – or laptop – hard drive crashes I won’t lose any photos. My boyfriend, and many others, pull theirs to CD or DVD disks – easy to do with most computers and laptops.
Next article: “Shooting your ferrets – with a camera, of course!”