Spray and Pray


I took 12,000 photos last Tuesday

— Bill McIntyre

Looking at his samples and reading that line, my first (ungracious) thought was “What a waste!“. 12,000 photos over 8 hours. 1,500 an hour. 25 a minute.

Let me repeat that in case you hadn’t caught it. 25 photos a minute.

To date I’ve not come across a single subject that warranted that capture rate. Truth be told, I’m unsure of how anyone can compose given the speed with which that shutter’s flappin’ up and down.

One’s shutter count is often bandied as a mark of pride on various internet fora; I’ve had an ambivalent attitude towards them – a mixture of disdain and unease. I mean, it’s nice that you took 2100 photos of your backyard, but how many of them were ‘good’?

On the other hand, hearing those numbers I ask “Should I be taking more?


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  • If he just took those photographs a BIT more frequently… I dunno, maybe get it up to either 24 frames / second on a classic film camera or 29.97 frames / second on a digital… then THAT would be impressive :)

  • Dang, I’m pretty sure I haven’t taken 12,000 pictures in my life.

    Don’t mechanical shutters have a rated life of around a few hundred thousand actuations max? I’d never use shutter wear as a reason to not take a picture, but I would use it as a reason to not take 12k in a day.

    Just storing and storing such a day’s worth of pictures would be a full-time job. Here’s a cool article from RobGalbraith.com on how Sports Illustrated edits the 15,000 or so pictures on Super Bowl day.


    But they do it out of necessity.

  • Paul:
    He’s using a D2Hs, so he’s making a use of the 8 fps & 50 image burst depth.

    Your suggestion is appropriate though. I think he’d get more out of his time by using an HD camcorder and video-editing software to grab the stills he’s interested in.


    I’m pretty sure I haven’t taken 12,000 pictures in my life.

    You and me both. I’ve yet to hit 10K.

    Shutters do have a rated lifetime, though it’s hard to predict. Manufacturers don’t release numbers for their low-end bodies, but it’s guesstimated to be below 50K. That said, I’ve very rarely read of someone’s shutter dying. The new Canon MkIII has one rated for 300,000 cycles – the highest rating I’ve heard of.

    I’m going to have to read over that article – looks interesting. Thanks for the link.

  • There’s a dog breeder over at Dog Pound Review who claims a half million dog shots on his Nikon high speed. I still can’t figure out if that’s justified or just totally whacked. I do know even somewhat sane people like me shoot like mad when “the film’s free”.

  • Sounds like the same guy…

    The guy I’m talking about is Toronto-based and I think he breeds pomeranians.

    I still can’t figure out if that’s justified or just totally whacked.

    My take? Totally whacked.

    He’d really be better off with a HD camera, a voice-recorder and some editing software. He can film all day and note the times at which his dogs do something interesting. Later he can cut a few stills at those points. I don’t think his customers will demand high-res images – just something documentary.

    Oh, I too take more with digital than with film, but there’s definitely a line.