Friday, January 25, 2019

The Self- appointed Camera Obscura

I was surprised when I looked at the reflection of the late afternoon sun to see a classic camera obscura style upside down image of not only the sun but also the silhouettes of the trees outside my front door. there wasn’t the classic “dark room” (although the stair well is naturally darker at that time of day) or the pinhole to let in only the stronger outdoor light.

The angle of the sun was such that it did hit the glass panels of the front door at a low angle and the light then traveled onto a beveled edge of a large mirror on an adjacent wall in the entry, then onto the wall of stair well. An amazing phenomena, a nicely inverted image, that my photo don’t really do justice to. It was all over in a few moments as the reflected sunlight moved up (opposite direction to the setting sun) and across the mirror and off the beveled edge.

BAD Google Photos … yet again

I was just getting ready to resume blogging. Everything about my camera obscura post was nicely formatted and ready in Open Live Writer (a much better place to set up your blog post than google/bogger’s pedestrian offering. As I put my toe in the water and clicked on the <Publish> button I got hit with an undecipherable error.

I had seen this before too many times. It will be that I am not able to upload the images to google photos as part of the publish task. The real underlying cause will thus be something google has done to their google photos system, perhaps its API, perhaps an album size limit or some new upload authorization step. Unfortunately It will be left to the voluntary developers on the Open Live Writer source project to find and fix the issue while google tries to divert any responsibility. Am I being too cynical? Heck no!

This fix seems to trigger a repeated opening of open live writer for me, so I’ll let the investigation and fixes continue. All the previous work arounds don’t work this time but I found my own, by firstly uploading the image to the web and inserting a web shared image rather than having it uploaded. Bit frustrating and fiddly but it works

Saturday, January 12, 2019

My Social Media slow down …. almost a break

Now my oldest photo on flickr
taken in 2005
I was able to reduce my flickr photostream by close to three quarters quickly but the last few hundred photo took me longer to select and delete. Not so much about Views or Comment or Favs, most had plenty of those, it was more about what I wanted  to represent me (which is actually a bit of a chaotic mess at the best of times). Looking through my entire collection highlighted how I had changed (and hopefully developed as a photographer), not that my early photo were bad some are in fact really good (& taken with a 4megapixel camera). I could see changes and improvement with each new camera, interwoven with different bits of software I started to use and some experimentation with new methods. In particular one thing stood out some of my favourite photos, they were all the ones that were hard to get. Fleeting moments of light, extreme long exposures, experiments in colour, taking subjects and techniques that are often considered too hard or methods I had worked out for myself.

My plans is to now take my time to reduce the photostream by a further 200, while still uploading daily (ie to add one I need to also delete one). This is slow project and may take a long time. A photostream of 800 is my goal.

An unexpected flow-on has been losing interest in other social media (eg Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and even this blog), Suddenly they look more like shouting into the wind. Which I always suspected they were. I’m sure i will continue to keep using them (particularly Instagram and blogger) but it is also fine to have a break and wander in the light more, take better photos and enjoy life!

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Flickr Lock-out Day has arrived

imageI fell short a few hundred photo when I did my first pass on the great flickr clean up. So I figured I had a good opportunity to find out what would happen on the 8th. Well nothing happened yesterday because in Australia we are a day ahead of the USA. However today when I logged into fickr I got a very obvious notification in RED. the Lock-out has begun.
No need to panic. I’ve had a break from deleting photo so I’ll have to return to the task a fresh, before I can upload.
A significant side benefit of this project is I have reacquainted myself with a lot of my earlier work (which was actually better than I expected) and I have been able to review what was popular. One thing I did notice was the effect of better post processing, firstly when lightroom reached version 3 and the tonal adjustment made editing RAW photos amazing. Then Nik software (still great) and On1 Photo and recently auroraHDR. Flickr has three different measures, View (just how many people stopped and looked), Favs (photo others liked a bit like the heart in instagram) & Comments (self explanatory). I’m more likely to keep those with more favs and comments but less than 200-ish views seems to be the “sweet spot” on those photos that have gone unnoticed and can be deleted.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Preserving Albums, Collections & Organization as you move digital photos

In the process of downloading my files from flickr I’m reminded of the unexpected issue most folk find when trying to transfer a lot of files between different photo managers. Things like EXIF and key words can be embedded in the files (in the case of Jpeg and Tiff, also DNG but not other RAW formats) and sidecar files (eg .xml can also carry this data with photos as they are transferred between packages. Unfortunately the organization features such as Albums (or Collections in Lightroom) are not transfered and/or not compatible between packages.


There is a simple solutions I have written about before. It is using special key words to identify the albums. I use names beginning with the tilde key ~ and write that into the keywords (or tags in flickr jargon). In most software you need to enable writing back of the keywords into the embedded data and/or writing the sidecar file beside each file. When you load into the new software it will read in these keywords and you can selective filter on a given ~keyword then do whatever is required to create the new album or collection.

Very simple really.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Selectively Deleting Photos on Flickr? :: The obvious next question

What a task deleting 3,500 photos one at a time is a big task. Even if I allow one minute for each delete (which includes moving through my photo stream, wait for the edit icon and then selecting delete takes time and is very repetitive) it will take over 58 hours. Blimey! I wont be doing that in one hit. At say 2 hours, which could be do-able, that’s almost a month (29days). Ouch!

Surely their is a quicker way, and in fact their are two decent alternatives. The first I wrote about back in 2016, when several social media service where spruiking massive photo storage for free, “one place for all your photos, free on-line backup. It worried me then enough warn my readers don’t use these services as your only backup and also to investigate how to recover and download those photos stored on-line. Both flickr and google do offer ways to get your photos but you have to do a bit of investigation to work out how (see my post with link above)

Using Camera Roll, to select, download & delete

imageThe Camera Roll is a fairly recent development by YAHOO/Flickr standards, and it allows you to see a chronological “list” (can be date taken or date uploaded) of thumbnails of your photos. On the left hand side is the hierarchy of years and s you click on a given year you cam work through the months and days (from youngest to oldest. Its a really fast way to find photos if you know roughly the dates.

The magic happens when you select one or more of the photos. You get the same little icon tool set you get on the full single photo display from your photostream, but at the bottom of your screen Only now it works on all the photos you have selected. The Thumbnails of the selected are displayed in a film strip style view just above the icon and you can use your mouse of the arrow keys to scroll through the film strip thumbnails, which also show a tick in front of the image. click on the tick will deselect the image from the selected set.

You can change privacy, edit, share or add the selected photos to an album, but the two tools useful now are on the right hand side (at the bottom of the screen). First if you want (or more particularly if you need to) download a copy of the photos before deleting it click on the download item. This starts a background process where by the selected items are all written to a Zip file. The link to that location from which that zip file can be downloaded is then emailed to you, So You need to wit a few moments to get the email (generally It arrives within a minute or so but time required probably depends on how many photos and how busy the flickr server is. To be safe I download this zip file and check it before O go onto delete the selcted photos, which are still selected in my film strip at the bottom of the camera roll view.

This process may seem overly complex but it is probably based on sound privacy advice This process will stop others scraping your photos using this facility, because the email link is only sent to you. I have found about 3 minutes is the average time for this round about trip. So the next question is how many photos to add to each selected group. So far I have found 30-60 photos works well and I try to keep them in logical groups, months or trip, or family events. At an average of 50 per group, downloading and deleting 3,500photo become roughly 70 sessions or say the  minutes each (ie approx 210 minutes) or roughly 3 hours 30minutes, which is now not so daunting (eg 1 hour a day for three days.

If you just want to delete files and not download them first you can power through the deleting process using select all on the dates ad deleting month long or longer batches. Be careful deleting files is permanent.

Using Organize, to tag and delete

imageAnother alternative that is considerable more flexible but might require a little more work is to your the Organize tools. Firstly you need to select the files you want to delete. You can do this is small manageable batches, use the addimage tags option from the menu at the top of the screen. I use a the very specific tag [DEL] to avoid confusion with anything else mentioning delete. This key word is then added to all the photos selected. Next you use the advances search option at the bottom of this display (just above the film strip). Select tag only and enter the [DEL] code in the search box. You will see the photos again in the film strip and thus have a second chance to deselect items you might have included by accident. Next using select all under the search dialogue, which outlines all the photos selected so you can easily drag them up on to the batch organize work place. Finally under the edit menu option at the top of the screen the last item on the drop down menu is delete.

This approach may take longer but it does let you interact with the photos and see them in larger format, compared with just thumbnails in the camera roll view. Also you get a second chance to review what you are about to delete.

So now all I need to do is Do It.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

The great flickr lock-out looms

Staying with a free account is not such a hard decisionI’ve been away from the “real” internet for the past week (and it feels good), no junk email or time wasting distractions (yes that’s you YouTube). I wasn’t totally off-line because I had my mobile phone, which of cause has several apps that access the internet (eg Instgram and Flickr, both of which I did use).

Somehow this meant that I missed the rescheduling of the date flickr would start locking out uploads to free account users with more than 1000 photos. I currently have 4,384 so I will have to delete 3,500 photo in the next couple of days and I don’t think that’s going to happen. I have more important things to do right now.

Wouldn’t it be easier to just spend the AUD$84 each year to avoid this hassle?

Well No. I’ve always had a free account and that allowed me to interact with other photographers and special interest groups. I have never really wanted to use flickr as a photo backup or archiving facility. True flickr has several good organizational features and I did use it for a while as a way to share photos into my blog. Yet to me it is the community aspects of flickr that make it worthwhile. Sadly spending money on the PRO account really doesn’t enhance that community at all.

Also important I’m retired and thus have a very fixed and probably diminishing cashflow so I need to avoid  unnecessary commitments  to ongoing costs. Finally I’d rather have fun taking photos and I’m happy to reduce my on-line photos to less than 1000, you never know it might increase the quality of the collection. I’m really not complaining I’ll wear it I just don’t want to fret over extra expenditure.