Friday, February 6, 2009

My Geotagging Workflow: RAW / DNG Files and Lightroom

Although I haven't tried any dedicated plug-ins in Lightroom for geotagging photos (one is available here), the workflow below is relatively straight forward and allows you to geotag photos manually or automatically with a GPS track file (NMEA, GPX). I've summarized a workflow for geotagging JPEG files using the program locr already, but in this post I'll concentrate on DNG files (and RAW files, assuming you'll be converting your RAW files to DNG format). Adobe has a pretty straight forward converter for this here.

1.) Find the files you want to geotag. If the files are currently in RAW format, I convert to DNG since storing metadata in RAW files can be problematic and/or keeping track of sidecar files can also be a chore.

2.) If you have imported your photos into Lightroom already, now is the time to save your metadata to the files - any changes, keywording, edits, etc. you've done to each file in Lightroom. This step is crucial, especially if you have done a lot of edits to your photos before geotagging - similar to my case as I continue to go back through my catalogue and update/improve a lot of the metadata. If you don't save any previous edits done in Lightroom, then when you import the updated information (GPS coordinates in this case) generated in GeoSetter, all other edits will be lost if you did any.

3.) With each DNG file you want to geotag, updated with the latest metadata from Lightroom, you can now work with these files in a separate Geotagging program (GeoSetter in this case, since locr doesn't support DNG or RAW file formats).

Screenshot from GeoSetter website.

4.) Tag your photos manually or automatically with GeoSetter, adding any additional metadata you want at that time. One interesting feature in this program is the ability to automatically populate the location fields in IPTC data (Country Code, country, province, city) once the image is geotagged. You can also do the same thing with altitude values.

5.) One you've tagged and saved the new data to your files in GeoSetter, you can then go back to Lightroom and "Read Metadata from files" to update the files in Lightroom with the GPS data (and any other location/elevation/metadata you've added).

6.) Repeat the process for any files you want to Geotag!

Overall I've found Geosetter to be more intuitive, user friendly and flexible than locr, so will probably use this program for all my geotagging needs.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

More Vancouver Photos: Jericho Beach to the Sea Wall

UPDATE: I've now actually moved to Vancouver and have started a blog with daily posts here - Vancouver Daily Photo
It's interesting that after all the editing, I only chose one colour image and the rest are black and white.  These first three images are from Jericho Beach Park south of downtown Vancouver.  The remaining two images are from a walk around the Sea Wall at Stanley Park.
I wanted to get quite a contrast and silhouette in this photo, so I cranked up the dark and light to near max in post production.  Although there is much more detail in the original photo, I really like how the blown out areas and over-dark areas work in this image.
Lions Gate Bridge, Vancouver

Monday, February 2, 2009

Vancouver Panorama

I recently grabbed this shot from a series of 7 shots in Vancouver.  I've stitched them together with Hugin, and have been quite impressed with the seamless stitching it produces.

I always find it difficult to appreciate a big panoramic image on the screen, since you have to scroll along at any decent resolution.  The image will definately look better in a separate window (click image).
UPDATE: I've now actually moved to Vancouver and have started a blog with daily posts here - Vancouver Daily Photo

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Product Review: Royaltek RGM-3800 Geologger

I got this product almost a year ago in preparation for a long trip to South America. I looked into several options at the time, and this one had a good price point and the capacity that I needed for a trip lasting over two months.

The Royaltek RGM-3800 has space for 650,000 data points when recording standard information (Longitude & Latitude) with capacity decreasing when you add elevation, velocity, etc. Logging in this manner allows for 180 days of recording, 12 hours a day.

The one drawback to this particular device and most others of its size is the limited battery life. On two AAAs the battery lasts between 6-8 hours, so when outdoors or in remote places it limits the usefulness or makes you bring along a ton of extra batteries.

I got around this by using an external battery (Digipower shown) (connected by the USB port) which added a lot more capacity. [On the technical side, two AAAs usually have around 900mAh, and the Digipower device has 3400mAh, giving approximately 4X longer life.] With this battery pack, I got about 3-4 days use out of it between charges.

The log files are stored in the .nmea format, compatible with many geotagging programs, but I've found a useful program for converting .nmea files to KMZ/KML (Google Earth) or GPX if you need to convert to different formats.

Overall a great product I’d recommend for anyone interested in Geotagging their photos on a long or short trip.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obama's Inauguration - That's what over 1 million people looks like

I got this link from a post on the Chase Jarvis blog.  The incredible satalite imagery at GeoEye took a snapshot of the inauguration, with over 1 million people in attendance. What a moment in time to capture so high above the earth!

Image Courtesy of GeoEye.

The high resolution image is even better and shows a much larger area.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Alamy Upsize Tool

I’ve recently started using Alamy for an avenue of image sales. One of their requirements is that the image must be over 48Mb uncompressed. At first I was a little confused as to what that means for the actual image size and the resulting dimensions that are required. After finding some info on the web with formulas, etc. I came up with this spreadsheet that allows you to easily figure out how big your new files has be to get the right size file. Simply enter in your original image dimensions, desired final uncompressed file size, and the resulting new image dimensions appear in the cells below. Try it out below.

This information is all I need to enter into many resizing software programs in order the get the right file size every time.

My Geotagging Workflow

Google Earth Screenshot - Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil) with images and Data Logger Track

1.) Sync Camera time with Local Time

2.) Take photos while logging your location continuously with a Data Logger

3.) Import JPEG photos and Data Logger log (.nmea format) onto computer

4.) Use software locr to combine JPEGs and location log, embed into file. This program can also export your geolog file and photos into Google Earth. And if you happen to forget to sync your camera time to your local time, you can shift this time by minute/second/hours to match your geolog (which will be on UTC time)

5.) If using Picasa, the newly geotagged photos won’t be recognized by this program (something to do with the format of the GPS data). I got around this by using this GUI to change the format of the GPS EXIF data to something Picasa could read. If you don’t use Picasa then you shouldn’t need this second step.

6.) More on Geotagging RAW images in later posts.

Now as GPS becomes more integrated into cameras, then there will be less need to have separate devices logging your location as you take photos. I haven’t tried any cameras with this integrated technology yet, but I think it’ll become a feature seen in many more models to come.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Theme: Interesting Rock Textures and Formations

After submitting this first image below to a local competition here in Calgary through the Foothills Camera Club, I thought I'd hunt around for some other interesting rock formations in my catalog.  After a bit of searching, I've found these three.

Garganta Del Diablo (Devil's Throat),  Valles Calchaquies, Chile
SD700 IS, 1/60 sec, f/2.8
Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island, Canada
D80, 1/60 sec, f/4.0, ISO100

Atacama Desert, Bolivia
SD700 IS, 1/200 sec, f/5.6

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Secure Digital (SD) Cards - Up to 2TB (2 terabytes!)

I've been looking for a new SD Card this week, and although that wouldn't usually be that newsworthy, I came across some interesting information in my research and "hunt for the best deal".
What blew me away was finding out about the anoucement at CES that a new format - SDXC promises up to 2TB of storage and 300MBps transfer speeds (all theoretical at the moment unfortunately), but according to Engadget,
"The first batch of retail cards will hit before March [2009] with read/write speeds up to 104MBps in unknown capacities"
Not that these new cards would be the "best deal", from from it, but that's a lot of photos!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Top 100 Photography Blogs

In my daily searching today I came across this site listing (and summarizing) their Top 100 Photography Blogs. Quite a good list in my opinion and there were a few on there that I hadn't heard of before or that peaked my interest.  I have over 30 photoblogs that I keep track of every day, but far from reading every new post that comes in I'll scan through the RSS feeds through Google Reader.

A few that peaked my interest were:
  • Fine Art Photoblog: On this blog, you’ll get to see fine art photography as well as news in the industry.
  • Cheapshooter: Cheapshooter will help you learn how to do photography on a budget.
  • Photopreneur: Get great information about making money from your photos through this blog.
  • Microstock Diaries: Learn how to make money from microstock photography by reading this blog.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Wintry Calgary Nights

Another couple nights shooting in Calgary with cold fingers and toes. Lugging around a tripod, and some patience brought me these shots. A few different locations, all in the NW of Calgary.

Nikon D80, 20 sec, f/13.0, ISO100

Nikon D80, 30 sec, f/16.0, ISO100

Nikon D80, 30 sec, f/22.0, ISO100

Nikon D80, 18 sec, f/6.7, ISO100

Friday, January 9, 2009

Geotagging Your Blog Posts

Being a big fan of Geotagging and with news from the Google LatLong Blog that Blogger now supports geotagging for blog posts, I thought I'd take this opportunity to geotag some older posts (that have relevant locations obviously).

I've added a map gadget to the sidebar of this blog showing all the tagged posts for this blog. Enjoy.