Upload your photos

December 26, 2006

Now that we all have a bunch of new holiday photos it’s time to get them uploaded to Flickr and other various photo sharing sites. If you’re running either iPhoto or Aperture on the Mac you have limited choices to automate the upload process. I have used the plugin ApertureExport in the past, but to purchase the full version is kind of pricey for a one trick pony. After trying out some of the options out there I’ve finally settled on PictureSync from uVerse. You can upload to just about any service you can think of (check out this list) with tags, descriptions and complete group control. It will even pull in all the metadata from Aperture. PictureSync is free for the casual user but they ask for $15 for heavy users.

One of the coolest features is the Automator like scripting. This allows you setup rules to control how information gets added to the photos during uploads. For example, if you don’t want your keywords from Aperture added to your photos on Flickr, just create a rule that substitutes new keywords to the photo before uploading.

PictureSync is also application aware. It can pull selections directly from Aperture, iPhoto or Adobe Bridge. It’s pretty universal.

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A close runner up to PictureSync is 1001 from the makers of Ecto and Endo. I really like this application too. It does far more than upload photos, it’s also a photo stream viewer. Similar to using iPhoto to view photostreams, but 1001 allows you to set the time intervals for checking streams as well. It does a good job, but I just liked PictureSync better.

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Flickr photo streams in iPhoto

December 14, 2006

I love to look at other people’s photo’s on Flickr. Maybe it’s the voyeur in me or maybe I just wonder if other people’s lives are more interesting than mine. With iPhoto, you can keep up with all of your favorite photo groups and pools without having to click through to the web page. Just go into iPhoto and under the “File” menu choose “Subscribe to Photocast.”

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Get the RSS feed address from the bottom of a Flickr photo set and paste it into the address box in iPhoto. Click “ok” and iPhoto will download the latest photos for you to view right on your desktop. You can even view the comments and titles for each photo.

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Worth a visit

November 12, 2006

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The new Aperture web site from O’Reily is definitely worth your time. It now includes the great website Aperture tricks.

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iStat

November 11, 2006

Now that I am all about digital photography (at least this week) I’ve noticed some limitation of having only 2GB of RAM. If anything will tax your system, be it PC or Mac, it is digital media. Aperture really puts some serious load on my Mac Pro. I wanted to see exactly how much.

Introducing iStat. It’s a great little application (donation ware) that comes in either Widget or application flavors. It shows about everything you would want to know (except individual cpu load on the dual intel machines). You get CPU load, Memory usage, Disk usage, Network ID and transmit receive stats as well as up time. I highly recommend it.

Here’s the load on my Mac Pro with Diggnation playing in a full screen window on a second monitor while using Safari and Mail

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And here is the same machine running Aperture ONLY

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I was a little surprised that Aperture didn’t use more resources. Granted, I wasn’t editing photos, I was just viewing them in the Aperture browser. Still, I’m asking Santa for another 1GB of Ram for my system.

Note: I realize that the images are not showing up right now. I’m investigating the sources right now and hope to have everything fixed soon.

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Fun with Aperture

November 9, 2006

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The new D80 has kept me pretty busy. This is my first “Pro-sumer” camera. I’ve never even focused a camera my self let alone adjust the f-stop and shutter speed. It’s all quite interesting. I rely heavily on Wikipedia and the Nikon user groups for help.

But when it comes to the processing side, I’ve taken full advantage of the 30 day trial of Aperture. After playing around with it for a week or so, I can say that it is far superior to iPhoto, but you will pay the learning curve tax. You not only need to be committed to the $300 price tag, but also to the time commitment to really take advantage of the features. Aperture adds many more options for controlling metadata. In fact, there is more metadata than the casual photography could really use. After all, it’s really meant for photographers that want to know what f-stop and ISO the photo was taken with.

The photo editing tools are not a replacement for Adobe photoshop but they are quite advanced. Once again, Apple has integrated elegance into the user experience. The Loupe is a magnifier that allows you to fluidly move across photos to check for imperfections. The red-eye reduction is easy to use and very effective as well.

Even though Aperture is aimed at the advanced user Apple has included a plugin architecture that allows third party tricks for amateurish tricks such as a Flickr plugin for Aperture (there is also one for iPhoto). Apple finally got it right. Third party plugins!!!! Why not let someone else finish the product for you? The Flickr plugin is still beta and managed to crash Aperture a couple of times. But for the most part it worked as I had hoped. I selected a photo and chose Export to Flickr. The plugin provided a screen to input a title, description, tags and even let me choose the image size. Everything I could need.

My final analysis is that Aperture is good but I’m still not ready to part with $300 for Aperture when iPhoto can now handle RAW photos for the D80.

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Apple in the RAW

November 4, 2006

It’s no secret that OS X is way ahead of Microsoft Vista. One example is the Core image built into OS X. One of the advantages of having image support built into the OS is that you can handle large image files with less strain on the cpu and memory. It also ensures that the user experience is consistent across multiple applications. I’m no expert, but there is a reason many graphics professionals choose the Apple platform.

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An example of this is the way OS X deals with RAW photo files. All of the work is handled at the OS level rather than each application interpreting the data separately. This can be a really great experience unless you have a brand spanking new DSLR. When Nikon introduced the new D80 and Canon let loose with the xti digital rebel I was ecstatic. However, I soon started reading reports that the RAW files were not compatible with the my shiny new Mac Pro. In fact no application on the Mac could open the new file formats since this is an OS level activity. What a disappointment. I certainly didn’t want to wait for the next OS iteration to include new RAW support. Then I found this release from Apple.

Apple quietly to the rescue again. They released an update just to handle the new camera formats. But why is this not just available in the software updates? It’s hard to complain, considering that Microsoft doesn’t even provide vulnerability patches this quickly. I guess I just expect more from Apple.

This update allows iPhoto and all other Mac applications to handle RAW file formats from the latest Canon, Nikon and Pentax DSLR’s.  Couple this with a 30 day free trial of Aperture, and I’m in SLR heaven.

Note: Apple keeps moving the installers. Here are both versions

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