Too Much Silence Means Too Much Coding

And in my case, it means too little playing too!  🙂

I’m still working on the problem of a quick-and-dirty workflow for my photos once I come back from a shoot (or vacation, or whatever).  Ideally, I just wanna group ’em by date and topic, quickly tag ’em, and shove ’em out to the web so my two biggest fans can see ’em.

The grouping and tagging I have to do manually — no way around that.  The PowerMac is good, but it’s not clairvoyant.  I’m resigned to having to do this work, and it really doesn’t take that long.  A week’s vacation will take 30-60 minutes of work.  No biggie.

The challenge has been how to get the images out on the web in the photo archive.  I started running into problems with this process in November.  Prior to then, most of what I’d shot was in JPG format; now I shoot almost exclusively RAW.  It’s better for post-processing, and is terrific for all the other things I wanna do with my images.  But….. (there’s always a but, eh?)  JAlbum doesn’t speak RAW.  I’ve been working with testing a plugin that would handle RAW images, but it really is designed for RAW images other than Canon.  Bummer.

That leaves me with some thoughts about options. 

I can use Photoshop CS2 to build my photo pages.  This is not my first choice.  I have too much time invested in my JAlbum skin, look and navigation to go to something else.

I can use Lightroom to build my photo pages.  This is appealing, but I’m not sure I really like the albums it puts together.  They are snazzy, but they are also flash-heavy.  Casey has been working with Lightroom much more than I have, and he’s beginning to notice slowdowns, and he doesn’t have 20% of the library I’m trying to work with.  Maybe I’ll move to Lightroom one day — kinda depends on pricing! — but for now, that’s still not the best answer for me.

There are other page builders out there, but I’m trying to keep this simple, and use the tools I have at hand.  All this points me toward converting my photos into a format JAlbum can read and work with so it can build my pages.

RULE:  JAlbum will build my photo album pages.

The next challenge is that JAlbum doesn’t preserve the EXIF/IPTC data very well, nor does it extract it very well.  This means that when the photos are resized with JAlbum, the tags I worked so hard to insert are gone.  This means that the future functionality of searching for specific photos will be unusable.  That’s not where I’m trying to head.

That means I’ve gotta use Photoshop CS2 to create appropriately sized images for JAlbum to merely copy into place.  Since the tags are being written by Bridge, Photoshop sees them well, and preserves them well.  Some testing with images output from my script that uses Photoshop to downsize and convert my RAW images indicates that Spotlight really will find the data.  That’s cool, as Spotlight will be a big piece of the search puzzle eventually.  (See the sidebar on searches for some incomplete ruminations about that topic.)

Since JAlbum munges the EXIF/IPTC stuff when it rewrites the images, I can’t use it for watermarking my images.  That means that my script for Photoshop will also have to handle putting watermarks on the images.  I’ve got the scripting done for that, and it seems to work pretty well.

RULE:  I will use a script for Photoshop CS2 to downsize images and watermark them, preserving the EXIF/IPTC data.

The next steps I have are to make this script a droplet so I can drop folders of images on it, and let it do its work.  I could incorporate scripting to invoke JAlbum after each folder I drop, but for the near term, I’ll do that manually.  Since I have so many folders to build using this script, I don’t wanna have JAlbum spinning up so often.  I’ll just let it traverse the directories once I get finished building the web images.

The net of this is that I believe more recent photos will start appearing this week, and that is a good thing.  I’ll just have to have some discipline about dropping folders on this droplet as I work images in them.  I think I can do that.

Mind the dust as I get this last big piece done!