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Archive for August, 2006

This little head can be found in the wall of an old building on the North Quay at Padstow in Cornwall. I have no idea about its significance but I would like to find out. I must have walked by this at least a 100 times but had not seen it until I was looking for things to photograph. Carrying a camera makes me much more aware of what is around me.

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This is the brand new Padstow lifeboat house located at Mother Ivey’s Bay in Cornwall.

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I have been trying to decide whether to stop using the Organiser in Photoshop Elements 4 and buy a licence for IMatch. If you are interested I posted my first impressions of IMatch here. I have to say that I have been very impressed. It’s much quicker and easier to assign tags to photos and the query functionality is more advanced than in Elements. I particularly liked the scripting functionality which makes it possible to add functionality to fit your own work-flow needs. It’s possible to save complex queries and use these like collections in Elements but with much more power.

The scripting can also be a hindrance to productivity. For example there is no equivalent to Elements version sets and several people have posted scripts in the IMatch forums to mimic this functionality. My problem is which one to use? I have to spend time reviewing the scripts, trying them out, etc, to decide which one to use. This is time that I should be spending working on my photos not configuring my software. In some ways it is better to have one method forced on you and learn to live with it.

The other thing missing from IMatch is full support for the Fuji RAW format used by my Finepix S5600. At the moment it can only display the JPEG image embedded in the RAW file. To give Mario (the IMatch developer) his due I sent him some example files and he is going to try and get this included in an IMatch update. This is one area where IMatch really scores. The forums are very active and Mario monitors the posts and gives answers, etc, where he can.

However, despite what a good program I think IMatch is I’m not going to buy it just yet. Once versions sets and full support for Fuji RAW have been added I will take another look (or if Elements lets me down again – see here) but for now I’m going to stick with Elements organiser.

I am going to change the way I use Elements so that will make it easier to switch in the future. From now on I will only be using Elements tags and not collections. Tags can be written to the files so that if I switch to another system the tags can be imported. It’s important to note that tags cannot be written to RAW files but by using a naming convention I should be able to copy tags from the TIFF to JPEG files back to the original RAW file after the import. There is lots of information and scripts available in the IMatch forums about doing this which should make it fairly straight forward.

So the decision for now is I’ll save my $59 and stick with Elements. I still need Elements for my image editing and although there are limitations in the Organiser I can’t justify spending the money on an additional program (at the moment).

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Of all the birds there are to photograph the Robin must be one of the easiest. They are very inquisitive and if fed regularly they become very tame. This one was photographed in a cafe garden in Padstow.

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I wondered why the hits on my blog entries has dried up (I didn’t get many but I’ve only just started) and now I know. All the entries that were appearing in a google search are no longer there :(. In fact it knows nothing of my site at all; a search of site:luckhurst.wordpress.com returns nothing.

I’m not sure what’s caused this but I feel it has something to do with the Privacy setting on my blog. About a week ago I noticed that a couple of posts were not showing up in the WordPress tags listing. On checking the Privacy setting it was no longer set to appear in search engines, wordpress listings, etc. I have no idea how this got changed but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t me. I have since changed it back so hopefully my posts will get added to google again?

Has anyone else experienced this same problem and if so is everything working correctly again now?

UPDATE:  Seems like Google is now finding me again. It must have been due to the change in my Privacy setting. I still have no idea how it got changed (bug perhaps?) but I’ll be checking it regularly now.

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I take lots of pictures of family and friends and these can take a long time to tag in Photoshop Elements especially if you don’t keep on top of it as you load the pictures :(. So I thought I would give the face tagging option a go to see if it would speed the process up.

Seems simple enough. Select the pictures you want to tag and select the “Find faces for tagging…” option from the Find menu. This opens the Find Tagging window that has thumbnails of each face it has found and the list of tags down the side. Then it’s simply a case of either dragging the tags onto the picture or the pictures onto the tags. There is also a recently used tags area which speeds things up if the photos contain a lot of the same faces. If there are items you don’t want to tag just select them and click on the “Don’t tag selected items” button.

It all sounds great, you just keep tagging until all the thumbnails are gone and you have all the photos tagged correctly. Well not quite. There is one big drawback – you can’t rely on it to find all the faces. I found in some photos if a face was slightly in shadow or some in profile it did not find them. This might not sound a big deal but there is no way of knowing which photos are completely tagged and those that still need more adding. The only way to be sure is to go through all the photos and check that they have the correct tags.

I found this whole process took longer than just going through the photos and applying the tags without using the face tagging option! So my conclusion about face tagging is nice idea but don’t rely on it – shame.

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Until now I have automatically archived the original photo files from my S5600 thinking that whatever happens to any files I edit I can always go back to the originals. However, I am starting to think that this may not be the best thing to do. “Why?” I hear you cry.

My S5600 stores it’s RAW files in a proprietary Fuij format called RAF. This is fine at the moment while there are programs available to read and convert this format but what happens in 10 or 20 years time? Will anyone still care about RAF format, will there still be software around that will recognise it? Yes, I may still have the software CD that came with the camera but will I have a machine that will run it?

This is not just a problem for Fuji RAW files it affects any camera that stores data in a proprietary format, which at the moment is just about every camera manufacturer out there. Why do you think it takes time for all the editing software to have support for the latest camera models. In some cases they have to try and reverse engineer the files as some of the companies do not publish any format documentation.

So back to my problem and what to do about it. Ideally all the camera manufacturers would sign up to the OpenRAW initiative and use a common standard. However in the short-term this is as likely as hell freezing over and I need a solution for now. I have decided that the best solution is to convert all of my RAW files to TIFF and then I will archive both files. TIFF is fully documented and is much more likely to be supported by software for many years to come regardless of what happens in the world of RAW. I think this gives me the best chance of being able to use ALL my images in the years to come.

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