Flickr Tags

Some time ago (ok a few years ago) flickr changed the URL scheme for tags, and it annoys me to this day. Previously searching for tags would result is a simple URL something like this

https://www.flickr.com/photos/davegolden/tags/sunset/

but now looks more like this

https://www.flickr.com/search/?user_id=71604449%40N00&sort=date-taken-desc&view_all=1&tags=sunset

This made sharing tag URLs more complicated, and made it harder to edit a tag. While the old tag URL scheme still works, it is not obvious who to get to it. But once you know how, it is pretty easy. What’s even better is that you can change either the username or tag text to change the filtering criteria.

You can view all your tags with

https://www.flickr.com/photos/username/tags/

or see images with a specific tag

https://www.flickr.com/photos/username/tags/tagtext/

And you can even edit a tag by adding /edit the end of the URL.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/username/tags/tagtext/edit/

Auto-mating your Photo life with IFTTT

IFTTT for Photographers

IFTTT can automate your social photo workflow. Auto-posting, cross-posting, backing up and keeping inspiring images, all done with no interaction. In most of the examples here I am using flickr and Dropbox because these are primary two services that I use. But IFTTT works equally well for 500px for photos and Box, Google Drive and Skydrive for cloud storage.

Auto Posting

IFTTT can auto upload photos to flickr from various sources, including Dropbox, or directly from the Photos app in iOS.

Auto cross-posting

If you post across multiple sites IFTTT can make cross posting effortless. Use this feature with caution. If you expect the same users to follow you across multiple networks, they will burn out from seeing the same posts on multiple networks.

IFTTT Instagram to flickr
IFTTT Instagram to flickr

Backing up your social photos

Inspiration

Personal Photos

Screenshots

  • Copy iOS screenshots to evernote https://ifttt.com/recipes/106465-save-ios-screenshots-to-evernote-notebook

Finding other IFTTT Photo Recipes

Finding other Photo recipes on IFTTT
Finding other Photo recipes on IFTTT

Photo Geotagging – My Workflow

I was asked recently about my GPS tagging workflow. Something which I haven’t given much thought too, and I haven’t been that doing that  consistently. This post basically describes the method I find most convenient now.

Tools used

Logging GPS data with Moves app

There are a number of ways to get the GPS data needed to tag the files. I have tried several. GPS photo loggers can collect a lot of data and usually have a pretty good battery life. But there are not many options, most are not mac compatible. I tried one of these, but got a faulty unit and gave up on it. Full GPS units, like Garmin, also collect data that can be downloaded. But the units are generally  bulkier and the screens require more battery usage. iPhone apps are good, because I always have my phone with me. I have used a few different apps here too, Runkeeper is good if you want to also track your exercise progress, but I have used it just because it outputs GPX files. Placetagger is another app that is good for just recording a GX track, and now that it saves the files directly to dropbox. Saving the export step. Both apps worked well, but I found that I would forget to turn them on, and  they had a pretty big hit to the battery life of the phone.

Moves App Screenshot
Moves App Screenshot

The Moves app is always on. So there is never the need to remember to turn it on. It has a fairly low battery draw. But it does have some, so I do carry a backup battery for my iPhone. It records locations, so I can easily review the days activities. it also records my steps, bike rides etc. And it does a really good job identifying them. But the moves app itself only provides a visual way of seeing your daily activities, and only exports images of the day.  Once the developer opened up the app to other developers it became possible to get the raw GPX data out, and is now my primary method for recording my data for Geotagging.

Downloading the GPX Data

The Moves Export  (http://www.moves-export.com/) service allows you to pull down the Moves data in a GPX format. You have to setup moves to share the data, and give Moves Export permission to access the data. But once you have completed that, it is really easy to pull down each days data file.

  • Start at the “Your Storylines” tab,
  • Navigate to the day
  • Click on the “GPX” button.

If you are looking for a particular day, it may seem cumbersome to navigate day by day with the forward/backward arrows. But you can easily just change the date in the URL string, which  ends with soemthign like startdate=20140228 (startdate=yearmonthday) to the date you want to download. If moves has data for that day you will be able to download it.

Merging data tracks with Adze

Aperture (Lightroom behaves similarly from my understanding) does not work well with multi-track GPX files. Which is most GPX files from moves. There are not a lot of GPX editing apps for Mac. And from the few I have seen, Adze has the best UI. Most of the time I simply use it to merge tracks, but I have also used it to deleted errant GPS points with the GPS point editor. You can also export a KML file if you want to view your location data in google earth.

Adze Screenshot
Adze Screenshot

To merge a multitrack GPX to a single track file

  • Open the GPX file,
  • Select all tracks
  • Choose Merge Selected Tracks from the select menu
  • Save (or Save as…)

Tagging image files in Aperture

Aperture and Lightroom store the location metadata in the applications database, and do not in the original RAW files. Aperture’s tagging is a little different than others I have seen. I believe Lightroom simply tags the selected files based on their times. Another app I have used, GPSphotolinker, also uses the times. Aperture requires you to drag the selected files over the point on the GPS track that matches the first image. This usually is not too hard and would theoretically allow you to shift the set if you time was off a few minutes. But if you have a lot of overlapping tracks, it can be harder to live up than you expect. Otherwise the steps are strait-forward.

  • Load the GPX track
  • Select files and drag them to the correct point on the track for the first track

I used to use GPSphotolinker. Which gave the option of recording the GPS data in a sidecar file, or in the original raw file. But since it no longer works with the current Mac OX. They do make a commercial program called Photo Linker Pro which is compatible, but is not free like GPSphotolinker. I am sure it is an excellent program, but I decided to stick with the Aperture only method instead of buying another app.

Aperture Library Maintenance

I have run into various issues with Aperture and always end up searching for ways to clean up the Aperture Library. I have started trying to keep smaller libraries in an effort to reduce the amount of time it takes to work in the app. 
 

Repairing the Aperture Library

 
  • Start Aperture by while holding the Option and Command keys
  • The Aperture Library First Aid dialog will appear and offer the following three troubleshooting options:  

Repair Permissions

If your library isn’t accessing images that you know are there and that you know are connected, or even if your library simply won’t open, this could be the fix you’re looking for. File permissions (basically defined as who or what app has the right to read or write to certain files) can sometimes be incorrectly defined, and this will correct that. 
 

Repair Database

Any other problem you’re having with the library is addressed here. I realize that’s a big open statement, but essentially, if you have any oddities in your Aperture library, this is the first thing to try. If you called tech support—this is the first thing they’d tell you to do. Think of it like rebooting your computer. Sometimes you just need to.
 

Rebuild Database

If the Repair doesn’t do the job, then try a full Rebuild. This will take considerably more time, so don’t try this first. But if the Repair doesn’t fix it, try a Rebuild.
 

Sometimes it helps to just delete the Aperture preferences file 

Deleting this file will reset all of Aperture’s preferences, you may want to review and note any special settings you had before deleting it.

  • Quit Aperture.
  • Choose  “Go to the folder” from the Go menu in the Finder.
  • Type ~/Library/Preferences in the field. Press the Go button. 
  • Remove the “com.apple.Aperture.plist” file from the Preferences folder.
 

Geotagging Japan on the iPhone with Placetagger

I just finished up a month long trip to Japan.

My first thought was to purchase a dedicated GPS tracker. Based on reviews at amazon I ordered an AMOD AGL3080 logger, but unfortunately I reieved a defective module. Without enough time to get a replacement I decided to return this and try using the GPS built into my iPhone and went about searching the iTunes store for the best app to log the GPS coordinates. Placetagger appeared to fit the bill, so I purchased it and logged as much as I could of my trip. The app had pretty good reviews and they recently added an update. Unfortunately the app did not live up to my expectations.

The app has several good feature, a simple to use interface, icloud support, and exports data as a standard GPX file.

Some of the critical problems I ran into

  • The app crashes at random times: Once I realized this I was pretty good about checking my phone often to make sure it was still running. But there were several times I forgot. Fortunately it does not loose all the data before the crash and I can see from the log at what point it stopped logging.
  • Unable to export some data: I didn’t realize this until way too late. When you choose to export data on the iPhone the app launches a email message with the attached GPX data file, sometimes the file never shows up.
  • Appears to stop logging sometimes in the background: I would switch over to mail/instagram etc and often forget to bring Placetagger back to the foreground. It appears that it doesn’t always log when in the background.
  • The app won’t show the GPS coordinates on a map outside the US: When you select a GPS log it will just show you a blank map of the US. No idea why the map would be limited in this way. But this was not a big issue for me since the goal here is to get the GPX data file to my desktop to geotag my photos.

With a few changes it could be very good app.

  • To start with fix the bugs: Until that is done I would not recommend using this app.
  • Pause / Resume: Through the day I would stop for a meal or coffee and don’t need to log, why not let the user pause logging. Perhaps in set intervals of 15 or 30 minutes would be a nice feature that would have the app logging again without the need to go back and select resume.
  • Save GPX data files directly to dropbox: The whole point of this is to access the GPX files for tagging, eliminate the extra step of mailing each file.
  • View the frequency: The Precision to Battery Life slider is great, but I would like to know how often if is actually logging.