Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums >

LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Jan 14, 2010, 8:01 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Decatur, GA
Posts: 2,053
Default Disaster Photography Question

I'd like to open this up as discussion and if this needs moved to the travel thread would Jim or Billy or Hard or Mark do that......

In the wake of what has happened in Haiti I suddenly got to thinking what if I was sent their to capture photos of the aftermath..... I was thinking how would I be able to shoot more than a day because with no power I wouldn't be able to recharge batteries and how would I get my images sent to my editor etc with communications down. Sure I could get them sent once I returned a few days or a week later, but I think most editors would want them daily or more often. Yet you this happen all the time (Hurricanes like Katrina come to mind etc) and the pros really have it down to a science. They are able to get the pictures and turn them around quickly so they must have some secrets up their sleeves.

For starters I am guessing they have a laptop with satellite modem and carry extra laptop batteries and maybe 8 or 10 camera batteries. Maybe they have a generator but that must be hard to carry and if they leave it somewhere might get stolen. Also gas can be an issue.

Its a different story if you go with a USAR search and rescue team they have gas and generators etc but I talking about the AP guys and newspaper guys and magazine guys.......

Has anyone done this type of work before and how did you deal with it and gear did you take with you.

Everyone down that way stay safe and god bless those medical and fire people and military people who are trying to do all they can to rescue, provide medical care and attempt to feed all the people

Photo 5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Jan 14, 2010, 8:03 PM   #2
Super Moderator
Hards80's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 9,046

I know there are solar powered generators that can recharge cellphone/camera/computer batteries.

and yes, my heart goes out to all those affected.
Hards80 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 14, 2010, 8:10 PM   #3
Senior Member
shoturtle's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Frankfurt AM
Posts: 11,348

We have emergency kits, that have blanket solar panels that has output of 12 volts and the same car charger ports in your car. Also they have 12 volt dc to 110 ac inverters if you need to operated a laptop. As long as you have car chargers for the device you want to use. You can charge it. They are kinda pricey, about 200 dollars. Hope that answer your question.
shoturtle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 14, 2010, 8:42 PM   #4
Senior Member
VTphotog's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Extreme Northeastern Vermont, USA
Posts: 4,309

My instinct in these cases has always been to put the camera away and try to help, but if I were trying to make a living from the photos, I would have a hand-crank generator along. These can be used to charge camera, phone and laptop batteries. Takes a while, though.

VTphotog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 15, 2010, 3:00 AM   #5
Senior Member
Calicajun's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Quartz Hill, CA
Posts: 3,455

I have worked emergencies like the one in Haiti and power is not a problem, taking pictures or talking to people outside of the area is a problem. First thing that is done by the emergency crews is ALL communication is cut off, no phone lines will be left up and running, no two way radios will be allow and the ALL pictures taken will be review before being released and not all will be released. Then if you are on the emergency team, then you will have access to all the power you need. If you are not on the emergency team you will be arrested and please don't even think of trying to run off. They have orders to shoot and I don't trust any one with a gun pointed at me. Back in February 1971, I worked communication for a earthquake here in California. Ten Ham radio operators with one armed person behind every two operators monitoring every word that was said. So having power is not a problem in emergencies like this one being allowed to use the power can be a problem.

Back when I use to give talks on earthquake emergencies it was not uncommon for someone to jump up and start yelling "they can't do that". My answer was "Yes! They can and will". Come to think of it nobody every bought me coffee after one of my talks.
Calicajun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 15, 2010, 3:57 AM   #6
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378

I keep an HF Transceiver (Yaesu FT-747GX), Antenna Tuner, Antenna (Wire Dipole), coax, Fishing line and Nylon rope (to hang it the antenna with), along with a DC/AC power inverter on the top shelf in a closet. From my perspective, as long as I've got a car that runs with gas left in it (to keep it's battery charged), I can communicate (and the HF Transceiver is DC powered anyway, although I also have an AC/DC power supply for it). The whole kit would fit into a small suitcase. My guess is there are amateur radio operators with similar gear in many areas.
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 15, 2010, 4:23 AM   #7
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378


You can find inexpensive Battery Chargers that can plug into a lighter socket if you don't have a DC/AC inverter. Of course, those types of solutions assume you actually have access to a vehicle to provide the power.

For example, I bought one of these a while back from CBK on Ebay to charge my Sony A700 batteries with. They sell them for $7.99 including shipping (First Class Mail) in the U.S. They charge for shipping to other areas. It can work from AC or DC power (via a cord with a plug that comes with it that you can use in a vehicle with a lighter socket)


The light on the charger changes from red (while it's charging) to green (finished charging) and batteries charged by it work just fine in my A700.
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 15, 2010, 6:52 AM   #8
Senior Member
TCav's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,738

I think a key point in this is that Haiti is the poorest and least developed country in the western hemisphere. For things like Katrina, photographers (and others) could get to electricity and the internet by going into Texas. From Haiti to the Domician Republic (which seems to be unaffected, AFAIK) there's only one little beat-up dirt road, which makes the situation more dire. Then add to that the fact that Haiti has few improved roads itself.

The situation in Haiti is special for a number of reasons, and while one simple solution might work, I think that, to be sucessful, you'd need to have a lot of simple solutions at your finger tips. And probably more than a few jury-rigged solutions. All of which makes Haiti an extraordinary situation.

I'd probably go buy a Pentax K-x and a case of AA batteries before I left.
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 15, 2010, 7:08 AM   #9
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378

It is a very poor country. I spent a bit of time in Port-au-Prince, Haiti (sometime in the 70's, when a ship I was attached to visited there), and I was able to get a guide for a day for $1 (USD) at that time.
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 15, 2010, 8:22 AM   #10
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378

Another thing that I can remember from my brief visit that just came to mind, is that even in nicer neighborhoods, it was not uncommon to see people living in crawl space under houses. So, I hate to imagine the fate of those people. We should all count ourselves as being very lucky.
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:17 PM.