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JB&AJ

To photograph or not?

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I'm getting my new GPSr this week, so I'm going to be doing some benchmark hunting during my lunch hour and on weekends. I was wondering if most people photograph the BMs they find, or if you simply log the find and move on? I don't mind taking pictures, as my camera goes everywhere with me anyway, but I was curious what others do.

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I photograph them if possible. Sometimes it comes in handy in case you're unsure if it's the correct benchmark for the datasheet, or just to post along with the log so others can see.

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I'm getting my new GPSr this week, so I'm going to be doing some benchmark hunting during my lunch hour and on weekends. I was wondering if most people photograph the BMs they find, or if you simply log the find and move on? I don't mind taking pictures, as my camera goes everywhere with me anyway, but I was curious what others do.

 

Taking a photo of the mark and then a few vicinity photos for every mark is what I like to do. The best part of benchmarking is going back and looking at your own or at other posters' photos in the gallery or in Black Dog's photo posts.

 

CallawayMT

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I always take pictures. Its nice to be able to go back and look at a few photos from your effort !

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..we have also discovered that some surveyors will browse Geocaching's benchmark database before going to a site to see if the mark is still there, as it may not have been 'officially' visited in 50 years or more. The pictures actually help in their efforts. Generally a logger will grab a close up, a 'setting' shot (from about eye level) & an 'area' shot (showing the disk in relation to nearby reference objects & usually a mention of the direction you are facing). The FAQ section provides a lot of info if you're new to BM hunting. To get a good quick random example of the types of pics - take a look at AH4764 - this station was visited by 2 'veteran' BM hunters - (when I started looking for BM's I based my picture taking notations on the "ArtMan Modified" style - see my log for KW2177). I also take a camera virtually everywhere, so you can manage to get some interesting shots during your hunts!

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Enjoy the hunt!

Edited by Ernmark

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I always take a close up and a vicinity shot. I've found a lot of errors in reporting BMs on the Groundspeak pages, like reference marks reported as station marks and resets being reported wrong. If there is a good close up, you can tell if it's the right disk or not.

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c640d27e-cedf-4864-8982-239e3835a8b5.jpg

 

Cows are evil! Ask any AT hiker!

Can't find my cow picture... Probably for the better. ;) Andy Bear enjoys seeing cows, though.

 

But... I take close ups to show that I actually found the benchmark in question. Rather than the RM nearby, or some other random disk. :rolleyes:

The object of benchmarking is to help others find the benchmark. Even surveyors. :huh: That's where the distance shots come in. The mark relative to the telephone pole or fire plug, or whatever is very helpful in helping others.

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These helpful creatures said, "Mooo-ve a little to the left. And eat more Chick-un."

 

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EZ3043 AZ Mark

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I always take a close up and a vicinity shot. I've found a lot of errors in reporting BMs on the Groundspeak pages, like reference marks reported as station marks and resets being reported wrong. If there is a good close up, you can tell if it's the right disk or not.

Amen. And a location shot to make sure exactly where the darn thing is.

 

I can think, offhand, of a couple of benchmarks (one in Yosemite and one in Napa) that people reported found, but I couldn't find them. When I dropped notes to those people asking for any information they could give me about the location of the marks, neither of them replied. So I can't tell whether (1) the mark was destroyed sometime between when they found it and I looked for it, (2) they never really found the mark and just pretended they did to boost their Geocaching.com count, (3) they found a different mark and were embarrassed when they realized their error, or (4) some other situation occurred. Without a photo, I have no way of knowing what happened and thus no way to find and file a report on the marks.

 

Bottom line: photos are very valuable for other people as well as fun for your own souvenirs.

 

Patty

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Take pictures...LOTS of pictures!

Pictures of the mark.

Pictures of your GPSr with the mark. (Some will cringe at this suggestion, but it's a lot easier than taking written notes, and NO questions about which mark the numbers go with.)

Pictures of the view.

Pictures of the view from the mark.

Pictures of the mark you found at the described location that isn't the correct mark.

 

In this day of digital cameras, it's easy to delete the ones you don't need...but it may be nearly impossible to return for the one you wish you had taken.

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Now that you've taken lots of pictures, here are a couple of tips for uploading them.

 

*Resize the photos, if you shoot in high-resolution. They will upload faster.

 

*Add arrows, boxes, or lettering using the WINDOWS "PAINT" program.

 

*Put something in the "File Caption" field in the entry box. If you don't, the system will pick up the file folder location from your computer--which is very long, and which might reveal something you'd rather not publish. Typically, folks insert the PID, or descriptions like "Area View, etc. There is no standard. However, My vote is for the PID and the city/state where the mark is located. Many of us browse the gallery of incoming pictures (www.geocaching.com/mark), and it is nice to see what areas of the country are represented. Look back through the gallery for examples of what others are doing, and pick something that fits your "style".

 

-Paul-

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Photos are a big plus, for many of the reasons previously stated. I try to take at least 3: a close-up of the station, one with my GPS just so I'll have some close coordinates as well as the correct time and date, and an area view. I'll be posting 32 recoveries today for those I did yesterday. 65 degrees in the first week of January in NW Ohio made for a good benchmarking day!

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I usually take two photos, for very much the same reasons stated above. Like GrizzFlyer, I usually photograph my GPS with the disk, for a couple reasons. First, I then have a record of coordinates for a station, often more accurate than in the datasheet for scaled stations. When I find a scaled station, I will let my GPS average for a while. I then photograph the station with the GPS on the waypoint screen (showing the averaged coordinates) rather than on the "live" screen, since often this will be less accurate, lying on the ground, and quite possibly more obstructed than when I was averaging.

 

I then have a visual record with my coordinates for a station. I can submit these in my log with the NGS if they are significantly different than the published coordinates for a scaled station. I don't keep datasheets with my notes after I have logged the stations online, so a photograph assures that I will always have a permanent record of my coordinates.

 

On stations with adjusted coordinates, I most often photograph the station itself (without the GPS) because the coordinates are not in question.

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One of the nice things about digital cameras is that they keep a record of when each photo was taken. When yours truly remembers to update the settings as daylight saving time comes and goes, those times are even accurate. :(

 

As for coordinates, I let my GPS receiver and MacGPS Pro keep a record of those for me. After each trip, I open the appropriate topo map in the software and upload the new waypoints from my GPSr. I then save the waypoints file to have a permanent record of the coordinates for each benchmark. If any of them are more than several hundred feet from the scaled coordinates on the NGS datasheet, I include the coordinates when I file a recovery report with the NGS.

 

Patty

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I prefer copying down the waypoint number from my GPSr with my notes for the find, or using the timestamp feature that Wintertime described.

 

I think the idea of taking a photo of a disk with a GPS receiver is OK for personal recordkeeping purposes, but I think another picture without the GPS receiver in it should be taken and only that one uploaded.

 

I have seen several logs in which the 'closeup' wasn't good enough to read the disk because the person apparently figured that it was more important to have the GPS receiver in the same picture.

 

I think the best option for a log is to include a closeup shot of the disk alone, and enter the coordinates of scaled marks in the text of the log, and not bother uploading any recordkeeping shots of disk-plus-GPSr.

 

The NGS guidelines for station setting photograpy say that the compass direction that one is pointing the camera for the 'distant' shot is important to note, so I do that. At times, I have taken a photo of my compass for recordkeeping purposes (it has about the same timestamp as the disk closeup). Of course, I don't upload those compass photos. :(

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Another quick tip: remember that most (maybe all?) digital cameras have the capability to do a voice recording. The file (usually .wav format) will normally be associated with a certain picture taken. I usually put a voice-tag on the first pic (usually the closeup of the benchmark), putting the PID number on verbally. So then I have the PID and close-up (hopefully with the correct station designation on it) firmly nailed to the PID. Have saved my soon-to-be senile brain more than once.

 

I even seem to remember showing a certain benchmark hunter how their camera recorded audio, when they had no idea it could. Was that you Patty? Nah, couldn't have been.......

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I even seem to remember showing a certain benchmark hunter how their camera recorded audio, when they had no idea it could. Was that you Patty? Nah, couldn't have been.......

Probably not, because I know that my camera has an A/V mode and I take movies with it occasionally. (Got some nice ones at Epcot and Animal Kingdom Lodge! :( ) I haven't used it for audio only, but the stamping in the closeup photos keys me back to the mark's PID okay (if it has one; I sometimes hunt USGS marks that don't), and the timestamps on the camera and my GPSr also help identify what was where when, so I haven't felt the need for an audio log. I do usually make a few written notes. I guess I could use audio for that instead, but I don't trust having all my information stored in electronic devices! ;)

 

Patty

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I even seem to remember showing a certain benchmark hunter how their camera recorded audio, when they had no idea it could. Was that you Patty? Nah, couldn't have been.......

Probably not, because I know that my camera has an A/V mode and I take movies with it occasionally. (Got some nice ones at Epcot and Animal Kingdom Lodge! :( ) I haven't used it for audio only, but the stamping in the closeup photos keys me back to the mark's PID okay (if it has one; I sometimes hunt USGS marks that don't), and the timestamps on the camera and my GPSr also help identify what was where when, so I haven't felt the need for an audio log. I do usually make a few written notes. I guess I could use audio for that instead, but I don't trust having all my information stored in electronic devices! :D

 

Patty

 

I do remember that Klemmer was showing our Vex party that feature on his camera. Our camera did not have that feature but, Fossilady's did, much to her surprise. ;) I wonder if she has used this feature?

 

Shirley~

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To me part of the fun is the photography. I always hope for a BM in a scenic spot so I can figure out how to take a "scenic" setting shot. (you folks out West are lucky with those majestic mountains) And if it wasn't for the benchmark gallery feature and esp. BDT's photo contest this would not be near as interesting. I know this is straying a bit from the "official" side of the question but hey, it is still a hobby for the fun of it right?

 

VagabondsWV

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Thanks for all the tips and suggestions! :D My DSLR goes with my just about everywhere anyway, so this'll be perfect. I hadn't thought about shooting the GPSr with the BM, that's a good idea. Hunting my "first" BM today, so we'll see how well it all turns out. :D

 

And considering I'm shooting 8MP, I'll definitely resize them. :D

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I have used the audio once since I learned how. You need to take close-up pictures of the mark, so you can enter the benchmark contests that 2oldfarts run, that is how we verify that you have the right mark. :D

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I have tried to take pic. and with my GPS, I have used a Label maker and place my geocache name on the top of the GPS, so that with all my pics, it shows it was really me ( or least my GPS) was there. and i will also take a pic of the benchmark alone.

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I think that pictures are essential for every "found" benchmark log. A clear, sharp, closeup picture of the mark shows the benchmark community exactly what they're looking for. The location shots help to show the mark's position relative to nearby reference points(trees, poles, etc.). Plus, it's fun to look at some of the other pictures in the gallery!

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I think that pictures are essential for every "found" benchmark log. A clear, sharp, closeup picture of the mark shows the benchmark community exactly what they're looking for. The location shots help to show the mark's position relative to nearby reference points(trees, poles, etc.). Plus, it's fun to look at some of the other pictures in the gallery!

Now if I could just find some... :o

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What about all those I found at night.

I don't have a night vision camera.................yet.

 

It is only a few.

And I must admit when I first started I took horrible pictures and had a $2.00 camera.

 

But now I have a laptop,a $500.00 dollar camera and a whole lot better GPS.

I need to update my older recoveries...well some Plymouth Rock is a long way from here.

So is the Washington Meridian stone.

And a few others but someday.

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I think that pictures are essential for every "found" benchmark log. A clear, sharp, closeup picture of the mark shows the benchmark community exactly what they're looking for. The location shots help to show the mark's position relative to nearby reference points(trees, poles, etc.). Plus, it's fun to look at some of the other pictures in the gallery!

 

 

There will be some occasions when a photo is not adviseable or practical. In pouring rain, I leave the camera in the car. And sometimes a property owner or security guard is suspicious and/or uncooperative. Whipping out a camera might be the "final straw". However, I agree with Shorelander that a photo should be the norm.

 

-Paul-

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I think that pictures are essential for every "found" benchmark log. A clear, sharp, closeup picture of the mark shows the benchmark community exactly what they're looking for. The location shots help to show the mark's position relative to nearby reference points(trees, poles, etc.). Plus, it's fun to look at some of the other pictures in the gallery!

 

shorbird has some great pictures of some neat recoveries. Such as this picture...

77cb6a31-d4c6-4c27-99ea-a8ee5292bc1f.jpg

R 71 PID MA0370 It is a Bolt inside a chiseled square along with 'BM 71'.

 

Nice pictures shorbird. :D

 

Shirley~

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Thanks, Shirley. Here's one that's a full 2 feet underground.

3bbbda4d-1029-485d-aa55-091e028267d8.jpg

 

AD2720 in Palm Beach FL

 

and the cornstarch helps!!

Edited by shorbird

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I also agree that a photo (actually, two photos at least) should be the norm. There have been occasions where I didn't take photos however, either because the camera batteries died, I left it in the car before walking a mile into the woods, or some other reason. In those cases you just have to trust me!

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Aside from all the other excellent reasons for taking and posting photos, I find they help jog my memory and remind me of easy finds and hard, scenic locations and inner city blight, characters rich in local color, and all the time squandered in this strange pastime of ours.

 

-ArtMan-

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That looks like a phone or TV cable in Shorbird's picture, and is a reminder why we need to be extremely careful about digging. If I logged this one I would mention that a cable runs nearly over the mark.

 

In this case his other pictures show that it was close to the utility pedestal so I'm sure he was very cautious, but it isn't always so obvious.

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I think you should always take pics when you can..

 

I've found quite a few that were incredibly hard, but yet 3 or 4 people had listed them as "finds"... but unless there is a photograph on the log, I tend not to believe them... is that bad of me? :)

 

I've gone so far as not only having a FTF on my profile, but a FTP (first to photograph..)

 

Yes, I'm 44 going on 12...:)

 

But by all means take a picture!!

Greg

denvertvguy.com

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unless there is a photograph on the log, I tend not to believe them... is that bad of me? :huh:

 

Sometimes, circumstances are not conducive to getting a photo. One day, halfway through a hunt (and 100 miles from home), the camera suddenly stopped working. I had neglected to take the back-up 35mm camera, and I was too far away from shopping centers to buy a disposable. So the last set of marks had no picture.

 

About a week ago, a homeower was irrate because a surveyor had dug up her yard, a few years ago, and never came back to cover up the mark. It did not seem appropriate to annoy her further by taking a picture.

 

Sometimes, the obstacle is weather. Sometimes you find a mark while doing something else, and you don't have the camera with you. I'm certain that others in the Forum can contribute additional situations.

 

By the Spring of 2010, NGS will have placed a logbook at every benchmark in the United States. Simply sign the log to prove you were there. * Meanwhile, take a photo, if you can!

 

-Paul-

 

*And if you believe this, I have some ocean-front property to sell you in Kansas.

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*And if you believe this, I have some ocean-front property to sell you in Kansas.

 

That’s Nevada. After California falls off in “the Big One” there will be plenty of ocean front property in Nevada. Better get it now before the prices go up. :huh:

 

I also tend to ignore finds without photos even though I know it is sometimes impossible to get a photo, but an explanation as to why you could not take a picture would be nice.

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