We are now in my least favourite time of the year, with the nights drawing in and yesterday it was getting dark in London at 4pm, when I decided to come home. I actually quite like working in the dark or in twilight, but I hadn’t really got anything to do as the protest I turned up to photograph had failed to materialise at the time set for it. But this early darkness I find depressing, and wish we stayed all the year on our ‘Summer Time’. Things were of course better in Paris, where they enjoy around an hour more light in the evenings.

One of the things I always forget when the clocks go back or forward is to change the time setting on my cameras. This year at least it had the advantage that the times on my pictures taken in Paris had the correct local time, but those taken in the two weeks before I went and the day or two after I came back are an hour out.

Although the key clocks in my home all adjust themselves automatically, my cameras don’t, although at least it is only a matter of going into the Settings menu, selecting ‘World Time’ and – in this case – turning ‘Summer Time’ to off. Which I’ve just done.

But time-keeping is a rather weak point on the Nikons. I don’t think there is any simple way to synchronise the time between two camera bodies, and its tricky to get them right to the nearest second either with each other or with the time signal. For me it’s trying to keep the two bodies in synch which is the larger headache, and although I set them more or less spot on a few months ago, the D700 and D800E are now over a minute apart, so when I’m working with both and look at the pictures “in date order” they often are not quite so, and it can be a pain. I don’t really understand why this should be, as I’m sure the chips inside the cameras are capable of much more accurate time-keeping. And it would be nice to be able to easily connect up the two bodies in some way to synchronise them to a fraction of a second.

To save battery power I usually have the menu display set to automatically turn off after a short period, so to synchronise the two bodies I first need to set that to a longer value. Then you have to remember that the time stops when you are changing the date time setting. So I start by going into ‘Date and Time’ and logging on to which despite transmission delays will give me the time accurately enough for my purposes – and anywhere around the world. I set the time on the camera a little in advance of the actual time and then press OK when the time on the screen reaches that setting. Repeat the process on the second body and the two are within a second of each other.

Then I put the cameras away, sit a while and remember I’ve forgotten to change back the setting to turn off the menus to save battery power, curse gently and get them out again to finish the process. I’ll do it immediately I’ve posted this.

We have to suffer in darkness until 31 March 2012. While I’m writing this I’m going to put the next few dates to change the clocks into my online diary – you can easily do this for the UK by using the link on this page of the GOV.UK site.

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