Ten O'Clock At Night
Ten o'clock at night. Remember that time. It is important for photographers - it was in the analog days and is even more so now that we use digital.
10:00 PM is the dividing point between success and failure - between reputation and disgrace. In some cases it is the determining factor in life or death. Let me explain.
If you are a wedding photographer or someone who covers social events like corporate balls, 10:00 PM is the point of time when you must either leave in a calm and professional manner, or stay and eventually help shovel the corpses into the truck. The booze will have been turned on at 6:00 and four hours is more than enough time to fuel the company. If you leave at 10:00 you avoid having to protect your gear from flying drunks and/or rescue your assistant from amorous embraces. You can drive home safely without going to sleep and ending upside-down in a ditch.
And of course you remember the primary rule of event photographers - do not download your cards or try to do any processing after 10:00. Never mind the phrase " deadline ". The only thing that will be dead is you if you inadvertently erase or damage the information on that card through inattention. The bride and groom and the ship's company are not going to disappear if you don't hand them an entire job completed next morning. They want the pictures and they will be back to get them.
Likewise, do not attempt to do professional colour work on files after 10:00 PM even if it is next day. Your eyes tire and your colour perception may well lead you astray after this time. I accept that if you have calibrated your camera, screen, and printer with the appropriate Datacolor or X-rite products - and I do - that you are starting with a level playing surface. I accept the fact that EIZO monitors are the best on the market. But after 10:00 YOU are tilting and are likely to make the wrong decision about what you see.
At this point users of Lightroom, Aperture and a number of other editing programs point out that they can batch-process any number of images and if they got one looking good earlier in the evening, all they would have to do is press the button and their work would be done. Never - even with the assistance of this feature they still need to tweak here and there and as soon as they do it with tired eyes the whole job is a patchwork quilt again.
This was also the case in the analog days - I lost an entire costume ball through to trying to mix chemistry and process the film after returning to the darkroom late at night. Wrong recipe, flat black negatives...
Please note that it is also a bad idea to clean firearms, purchase real estate in Queensland, or contract marriage after 10:00 at night.