Accounts of our experiences and adventures

Month: April 2020

Backyard Wildlife

Two small Downy Woodpeckers feast on the insects in the last of the oranges on the tree in our backyard

Two Downy Woodpeckers enjoy the insects in the last few oranges on our tree, Houston, Texas, April 2020
Downy Woodpecker enjoys the insects in the last few oranges on our tree, Houston, Texas, April 2020
Downy Woodpecker enjoys the insects in the last few oranges on our tree, Houston, Texas, April 2020

We enjoy a small Screech owl roosting in the Crape Myrtle bush in James’s backyard

Screech Owl in James’s Backyard, Houston, Texas, April 2020
Screech Owl in James’s Backyard, Houston, Texas, April 2020
Screech Owl in James’s Backyard, Houston, Texas, April 2020

Photo Management

On April 10th, I gave a presentation to the ALL PhotoSIG group on photo management. The Academy for Life-Long Learning (ALL) is managed through the Cy-Fair College which is part of the Lone Star College system around Houston, Texas.

Because of County and State social distancing rules and shelter-in-place orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the PhotoSIG meeting was conducted online. The following is an outline of what I presented.

Photo Management

  • Photo management is a subset of digital asset management.
  • Photo management is the organization and classification of photographs as digital assets.
  • Digital photography has allowed us all to become professional photographers in terms of the cost per image.
  • Digital photography has also allowed us to lose all of our photos with a single click, software upgrade or hard drive crash.

Photo Management Software

  • Google search ”what is the best free photo management software?”
    • Adobe bridge. Bridge CC is a free photo organizing software that provides central access to all files and resources that are needed to work with creative projects. …
    • Google photos. …
    • Picktorial. …
    • Google picasa. …
    • Studioline photo basic. …
    • Jetphoto studio. …
    • Xnviewmp. …
    • Faststone.
  • My recommendation: Adobe Bridge
    • Adobe Bridge is a core product of Adobe’s Creative Suite which is used by thousands of professional photographers
  • I use Adobe Lightroom to manage over 150,000 images

Adobe Lightroom for Photo Management

  • Incorporates all the features of Adobe Bridge plus extensive additional bulk photo management and editing features
    • Used by most of the professional photographers I have met
    • Saves Metadata from Catalogs into each Image File
    • Can manage thousands of large image files effectively
    • Can sync GPS Track-log to insert geospatial metadata
  • Cost US$9.99/Month Subscription
    • Lightroom on desktop (PC & Mac) and mobile
    • Lightroom Classic (Cloud based)
    • Photoshop on desktop (PC & Mac) and iPad
    • Your own portfolio website and social media tools
    • 20GB of cloud storage (about 4,000 JPEGs)

Photo Management Workflow

Professional photographers recommending establishing a workflow to follow to organize your photographs on a regular and consistent basis.

My Photo Management Workflow

  1. In the Camera
    • Ensure all cameras are set to the correct date and time
    • Memory Card Management
      • Shoot RAW & JPEG
        (You have two copies of every image in camera)
      • Use High Speed Memory Cards. Essential for high speed, HDR and video photography
      • Multiple memory cards in some cameras
      • Swap out memory cards if possible
    • Cloud Synchronization
      • Turn on My Photo Stream on iPhone/iPad. Photos will sync with your Mac
      • Android? – Sorry, I don’t know.
      • Make sure your data plan can afford synchronization, particularly Internationally
  2. Every Day
    • Swap out memory cards in Camera
    • Copy images from card to external drive and/or laptop Mac/PC
    • Export images from MacOS Photos to filesystem as JPGs
    • Make at least two copies of all photos in different folders
      • Ideally have one copy on multiple devices
      • Retain one as ORIGINAL (Remember Negatives!) and make READ ONLY.
    • My recommendation for travelers:
      Western Digital My Passport Pro
      • 1 to 4 Tb Hard Drive self-contained with USB battery and WiFi Hub
      • Automatically copies photos from SD Cards, USB drives and Phones to hard drive
      • View and manage photos on Tablet/Phone over WiFi
  3. Post-Processing
    • Organize, annotate and categorize one copy of all images
    • File System Organization
      • Recommend Year and Month Folder Organization
        • 2020 – 2029
        • 2020
          • 01 – January
          • 02 – February
          • ……
    • Copy today’s photos from all cameras to this month’s folder
    • Synchronize folder to import photos in Lightroom
    • Quick view and delete obvious bad photos
    • Organize, annotate and categorize one copy of all images
      • Photo annotation. Editing Photo Metadata (EXIF and IPTC)
        • Copyright
        • Photographer
        • Title/Caption/Comment
        • Capture Date and Time (If necessary)
        • Face Recognition
        • Geospatial (GPS) coordinates
        • Rating (0-5/Color)
      • Photo Categorization
        • Use Keywords
      • Save Metadata to Image Files. Stored in EXIF and IPTC data fields
      • Bulk Renaming of Photo filenames
        • Recommend:
          YYYY_MM_{1-9999 Sequence}
    • Cloud Synchronization
      • Use WiFI Internet Connection
      • Synchronize to Home Computer
    • Editing (Non-destructive, with bulk file capability in Lightroom)
      • Spot and Red Eye removal
      • Crop, Rotate, Transform, Lens Correction
      • White Balance, Exposure, Highlights, Shadows
      • Contrast, Vignette, Saturation, Clarity
    • Photoshop
      • All the other image editing stuff!
    • Organize Favorites
    • Display / Share / Publishing / Printing / Blogging
  4. Backup your Photos!
    • Multiple Local Copies
    • Automated if possible, at least every day
    • Cloud Synchronization (not storage)
      • Microsoft OneDrive, Apple iCloud
      • I use SugarSync to synchronize across multiple PCs and Macs
    • Avoid single file backups
      • Single large backup files can be corrupted and everything is lost
      • File copying is slower but safer. Use incremental file copy so only new images and changes are copied.
    • Store at least one copy of all your images offsite

A PDF copy of the presentation is here!

Thanks, I hope you find these ideas useful!

My COVID-19 Tracking Project

One of the challenges I have in understanding our current problems is finding good data. When I worked, I always said to my colleagues that I was always interested in data rather than opinions when it came to making decisions.

I really liked this Medium article because it took a data driven approach to understanding the problem.

This article and lots of other sources have talked about the importance of social distancing as the only effective measure as an entry tactic to “flatten the curve” so our health care services can keep up with the demand and reduce the fatalities. But because our health care system is so decentralized, we don’t seem to have a government source that can provide credible data on where we are on the curve.

After a lot of searching, I finally found this site: The COVID Tracking Project which has collated data from all the States on where we are on the curve. They make all of the data with references to their sources publicly available.

So being a geek, who has all the time I need, I took this data and put it into a spreadsheet to try and understand better where we are on the curve. I picked the “worst” seven States, Texas, and then California and Washington as they were the two states to see and react to the virus with statewide self-distancing orders. I’ll probably add more States to better understand the problem as it expands across the USA.

See My COVID-19 Tracking Project

To try and understand the limited capacity of our health care system, I found a site that shows the number of ICU beds available by State and another that maps the counties in the USA with no hospital, or no hospital ICU beds.

The results are sobering. I see no evidence that we are flattening the curve. The lack of federal self-distancing regulations, rather than the guidelines released, has allowed the virus to spread throughout the country. The slow implementation of testing does not bode well for any exit strategy

April 23rd: Added New Cases/Day graphs as the move to relax self-distancing and open business grows in strength

May 1st: Changed the spreadsheet to access the data from The COVID Tracking Project automatically via the JSON web query. My spreadsheet is included with the links to the data sources.