Tips for reviewing Reconyx camera images
For those of you who have Reconyx cameras (or any other source of thousands of photographs to review), I thought I would share some things I have learned that may help you speed up your review of these images. These instructions are for a Windows PC using the XP operating system. If you are using a Mac or a different Windows operating system, some of the ideas may still apply, but the steps will likely be different.
Copy all of the images from the card into a folder on your computer. Hint: don’t “delete” the files from the CompactFlash card; reformat the card instead using the Reconyx Silent Image software. Deleting 2GB of files can take several minutes while reformatting takes just a few seconds.
I prefer to rename the ".000" extension on the folder to a three- or four-letter naming scheme that I have used on my camera deployments.
Go to www.irfanview.com and download the FREE "Irfanview" picture-viewing software. I previously used Windows Picture and Fax Viewer, but Irfanview has some significant advantages (see the bottom of the page). The download and install process is very fast and easy.
Right-click on the first file in the folder, choose "Open With...", and select "Irfanview":
You can then hold the right arrow and the pictures will open and close like a time-lapse movie.
If you need to back up as you are reviewing, just press the up arrow or the left arrow. If you want to zoom in on a particular image, click on the magnifying glass with the “+” near the top of the page.
When you have reached the end of the files in the folder, the program will start over at the beginning and continue through all the files again. It’s a good idea to check the date and time occasionally as you review the pictures.
If I find something interesting, I like to make a sub-folder and copy just the pictures of interest into that sub-folder. That way I can quickly go through my many folders of pictures and find the interesting stuff without having to refer to a list of files and hunt through them.
Miscellaneous deployment tips:
- If you are monitoring a cavity, an hour in the morning and 1.5 hours in the evening is good. Start 30 minutes before sunrise and go 30 minutes after sunset. I change deployment times every 10 days or so because of changing sunrise/sunset times.
- Speaking of times, I just leave the cameras on "standard time" (the one we use four months of the year now). It's too much trouble to reset all the clocks.
- I use a 4-second time lapse for cavities and a 12-second time lapse for scaling.
- If you are going to use motion-detection for Ivory-bills, you should try to get within 15 feet of the target area. Much beyond that and you may not detect a bird that size, although I have recently detected PIWOs out to 30 feet or more.
Irfanview advantages over Windows Picture and Fax Viewer:
- You don't get the annoying "Generating Preview" message - Irfanview somehow renders the pictures as fast as the computer will allow without skipping over any
- You don't have to adjust the keyboard repeat rate - just make sure it is fairly fast so you can go through the pictures quickly
- Irfanview renders the pictures smoothly backwards as well as forwards
- With Irfanview you can view all of the image metadata easily (Reconyx puts the firmware version in the metadata "Comments" section)
- You can see the total number of pictures in the folder you are viewing, as well as the current picture number, so you always know how far along you are