Archive for category Album News

A Bird, A Tree and A Lens

We (Marci, really) hosted some of my family (my Mom’s side and the local portion of my Dad’s side) for Thanksgiving dinner this year. It was a great time. I took some pre-party pictures, but then I set the camera down and never picked it up again, so there are no shots of people.

The next day, we continued our semi-tradition of trekking to a tree farm and cutting down our own Christmas Tree.

Some of my family returned that evening to help us trim the tree. Well, to help Marci and the girls — I don’t think I’ve hung anything on the tree other than the lights in several years. Again, no pictures of people. This time, however, what happened is that I went to attach my 17-40L lens and could not find it. Sadly, my best guess is that I left it at a venue back in July. Much sadness. I did take a few pictures of the decorated tree, keeping just the one shot at the right.

I’ve previously misplaced an HD camcorder back when they were still an expensive purchase. If this is becomming a habit, I wonder what I can do to try to curtail it?




Spring Break Skiing: Taos

We drove to Taos for skiing last week and had a great time. Here are some photo highlights:

These and more pictures can be seen on my album page. I’ve also got a couple of videos, but I’ll save those for tomorrow.

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Mardi Gras Pictures

The Mardi Gras pictures (SFW) are finally up:

I’ll post a blog entry detailing the trip eventually….

The NSFW pictures will be up soon, leave a comment if you want the link and I’ll email it to the address provided.


Image Color Issues

I took some pictures today explicitly for my photo blog. I really only ended up with one that I liked, and I’ve scheduled it to be this Saturday’s picture. It has some red in it that, in my opinion, really makes the image. When I looked at the preview of the post, the red was so muted as to almost be missing entirely. I opened up a preview of the “exported-for-web” version that I had used in the post, and the color was fine. Odd. At this point I was also reminded that one of my favorite images, polished chain, did not seem as red as I had remembered.

I decided that it must be the scaling algorithm used by the blog software to down-sample from the “exported-for-web” size I am using (1024×1024 max) to the blog size (800×700 max). I went back and re-exported all of the images at the blog size and re-uploaded them. Fixed!

Here are the before and after of polished chain:





Upon looking at this, I expect that the source of the problem is that the resize operation done by the blog software is removing too much sharpness.

As I updated the images, I compared each of them and I found that I liked almost every one better after being replaced. So, if you’ve already looked through all of them (the eighth one posts tonight), I’d love it if you took another look. Without a side-by-side comparison, the change may not be obvious, but I think some of them are enough better that it could be the difference between “okay” and “nice!”


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Glass Renagerie

Glass Renagerie screen capture

Glass Renagerie screen capture

I’ve been thinking of starting a photo blog for a while, but just never got around to it. Today, when I saw that Finn had her new photo blog up and running with WordPress, I decided to take action.

I asked Wayne about setting it up on his server (better bandwidth) and he said no problem. A short time later and it was up and running. Thanks Wayne!!

I’m going to try to post a photo per day, but not necessarily a new photo. In fact, I expect that most will be photos I’ve taken in the past and just want to share. I would appreciate any feedback, suggestions, etc.

And thanks, Finn, for the unknowing push and for the theme inspiration.

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Weekend in Manhattan

As I mentioned last week, we spent last weekend in New York City. We flew in Friday night and by the time our delayed flight landed we decided to head straight for the party. It was my first opportunity to put faces to the names of Marci’s co-workers. We had a good time.

After sleeping in Saturday morning, we headed downtown to see what discount Broadway tickets were available. Next, we made our way up to the South Street Seaport where they were having some sort of Santa convention or something. There were people walking all around the area wearing Santa suits. We spent some time looking for some gloves for me as I’d left mine in my lighter jacket at home. I ended up picking up a pair from a street vendor near the World Trade Center Site — just before my hands were about to fall off. 🙂

World Trade Center Site

We were too late for the guided walking tour of the World Trade Center Site, so we just walked around on our own. Surprisingly, one of the best views was from the second story of the Burger King on the corner (above). There were only a few other spots around the site from which you could see the construction. I suppose the weird vibe I had was to be expected, but looking at the plans for the memorial and new buildings I couldn’t help but feel that the vibe will be even stronger after construction is complete.


Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center

Without realizing it, our choice for a show for the night ended up being right next to Rockefeller Center, as well as being very close to our hotel. This was particularly convenient since we had previously decided to go see the Christmas tree before the show. Continuing the trend through most of the day — except for the walk from the South Ferry to the South Street Seaport — the place was packed with people. I know it’s cliched, but even at 28°F the energy level in Manhattan is constantly as high as (or higher than) most other places during special events.

We didn’t stay long, just long enough to take a few pictures before queueing up for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes. I was a little concerned that they wouldn’t let me in with my camera (it doesn’t fit in my pocket), but my long coat concealed it so there wasn’t an issue. As it turns out, they only forbid flash photography, so it probably wouldn’t have been a problem anyway. The lack of coat checks does make me wonder what the point of bag checks was, though.


Rockettes Dolls

Rockettes Dolls

The show was festive and enjoyable and included a nice short rendition of The Nutcracker, which is about the only way I can take it anymore. I hadn’t originally planned on taking any pictures, but since I had my camera and they had only prohibited flashes, I went ahead and took a few — and I certainly wasn’t the only one. Still, I made an attempt to avoid being too annoying to those around me. I doubt I was successful, but at least I made the attempt.

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Hiatus and Our Disney World Trip

It’s been over two weeks since we left for Orlando and 11 days since we got home and had Thanksgiving. Before leaving, I had gotten much better about blogging more regularly. In fact, November was my most prolific blogging month since 2005, and back then I used to post a blog entry for each new set of photos on my album page as well as an entry for each time I went for a run.

Well, lack of (free) internet access from the Disney resort (Pop Century), resulted in no blogging during the trip. After we got home, there was a lot to deal with (sadly, mostly a lot of TV recorded on the TiVo to watch), and I just never got around to blogging. I thought about it, but an old problem reared its ugly head again.

Speaking of Disney, we had a wonderful time. It turned out that Marci’s sister and her family were able to be there at the same time, which was very nice. We had 5-day tickets and were thus able to allocate a full day to each of the four parks, with an extra day to spend as we wished. We had park-hopper tickets, but did not make use of that fact this time. When we went two years ago, we only had 3-day tickets and we spent each day divided between two of the parks.

We based our schedule on Disney’s Magic Hours, which put us at Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM) on Saturday. We had arrived at our hotel pretty late the night before, so when we woke up early in the morning, Marci decided we should just sleep in for a while and not worry about getting to the park early. I decided not to go along with this and went ahead to the park on my own. This started what ended up being our pattern for several of the days — though Brittney came along for the other days, leaving just Marci and McKenzie getting extra sleep.

Next up was Magic Kingdom, the one day when everyone was up early to enjoy some morning park time. Magic Kingdom certainly offers the most variety of activities (discounting Epcot’s World Showcase). The fact that my two nieces were with us also helped make this park the highlight. I had expected us to go back to the hotel for a while, but the way things worked out we just stayed straight through the fireworks. We had planned to stay for some of the three Magic Hours from 11pm to 2am, but we were simply too tired and headed back to the hotel at around 11:30.

The weather cooperated for Monday as it ended up being the warmest day of our trip while also being the day we planned to go to Animal Kingdom. Animal Kingdom is almost completely an outdoor park, and much of it is shady, so having it be the warmest day was very convenient. As I’ve seen mentioned elsewhere, there isn’t really that much to do at Animal Kingdom. There aren’t very many rides, though they do have on of my family’s (excluding me) favorites, Primeval Whirl. Unfortunately, it was closed. I’d probably appreciate Animal Kingdom more if it weren’t for our periodic trips to the San Antonio Zoo.Hippo at Animal KingdomWe did have a very nice buffet lunch in the Africa section, though I don’t recall the name of the restaurant. Coming to each park early caught up with me this day and I decided to head back to the hotel early, though it ended up being only an hour or so earlier than the rest of the group. I didn’t even fall asleep before the rest of the family got back to the hotel.

Tuesday took us to Epcot, which has been my favorite since childhood (though, of course, it was just Magic Kingdom and Epcot then). We didn’t end up staying as long as I expected, partly because they ran out of FastPass tickets for Test Track and I thought we’d return on our final day. I think I need to plan to have some adults only time to more leisurely tour of Word Showcase.

Our final day ended up being spent back at Magic Kingdom, which I suppose is appropriate. Somehow, I ended up choosing the two days we spent at Magic Kingdom as the days without my camera. Luckily, I have lots and lots of pictures from 2006.

All-in-all, we had a fabulous time, and it was really nice to come home to Thanksgiving break so we didn’t have to go straight back to work and school. Looking forward to Christmas break….

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Tags, IPTC, Tagcloud and KPhotoAlbum

Back in February I switched my primary system from KDE to Gnome (as part of switching to the IBM standard Linux client). There are many things I miss from KDE (I find Konqueror to be far superior to Nautilus and the KDE window manager to be much more useful than Metacity), but the biggest loss was KPhotoAlbum. For about a year I had been using it to categorize my pictures and I had nearly completed the task (or, at least, the first pass).

In theory, I could install and use KPhotoAlbum within Gnome, but so much baggage (basically, all of KDE) comes along with it that I’ve resisted doing so. I’ve figured I would find a replacement, but so far I really haven’t found anything that allows the level of control that I found in KPhotoAlbum. Recently I decided that whatever I end up using would need to support IPTC keywords, both reading and updating. I took the existing XML file saved by KPhotoAlbum and wrote a Perl script to go through and apply the categories to the images as IPTC keywords. It took some effort, but I also figured out how to get these keywords loaded into the Tag plug-in for Gallery2. The result is that it is now possible to search my Gallery2 album by tags and even view a Tag Cloud of the tags.

I have customized the code for the tag cloud display a bit, but I’m not quite happy with it yet. One of the changes I plan to make is to exclude tags below a certain threshold. At the very least, I think I will exclude tags that are only used once. Something that I haven’t really put much thought into but I think would be interesting is if the arrangement of the tags had more significance. Currently, they are simply in alphabetical order. I think an interesting arrangement might be to have tags close to each other if they are used together frequently. Perhaps start with the most used tag and then surround it with all of the tags that it is most frequently associate with and continue thusly. Any unlinked tags would then be used as the starting point for the next group. Calculating this arrangement dynamically (as the current code does) may be too slow, so it might need to be a static arrangement that is rebuilt periodically.

I still haven’t decided whether I should bite the bullet and install KPhotoAlbum to continue my tagging, or find something else that is effective.

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Upgraded to Gallery 2.2.2

I just upgraded the preferred photo interface on my site, Gallery 2, to a newer version. At first glance it seems to handle the random highlighted thumbnails much more quickly.

I am hoping to import all of the image tags I did in KPhotoAlbum into this at some point, along with tagging the rest of the images. KPhotoAlbum produced an XML file of all of the tags that I can parse fairly easily, but I haven’t yet found a simple way to import all of that data into Gallery 2. There is a default module that supports dynamic keyword-base views, but I am not sure if that is going to do what I want. I think that Gallery2:Modules:tags might do what I want and it also might make it easier to import the data as it looks like I would just need to populate a link table in the database rather than update existing records.

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Which album page?

A while back I mentioned that I had installed Gallery2. Later, I installed another album program, JAlbum. For the most part I had switched to treating JAlbum as my primary album, though I had kept my original Apache::Album working (easy, since it is automatic), but I had not been keeping my Gallery2 album updated.

This weekend I was helping my mother-in-law download some images from my site and I remembered that Gallery2 offered a cart which would let you download a zip file of a bunch of images. This was very helpful and it got me using Gallery2 again. I don’t really remember why I had stopped using it, other than that I had started using JAlbum. Now that I am using it again, I think I might prefer it over JAlbum.

The real question, though, is what others think. Here are the three links:

So, what do you think?