PhotoSweeper – A duplicate photograph Finder

These days with the facilities that we have with our super duper cameras we can quite quickly fill up hard drives upon hard drives with our photographs. It could be that you are using the setting on the camera to take multiple shots in order to help you catch the action. Maybe you do like I do, where you take bracketed shots so that you can do HDR photos and when you have finished using Photomatix Pro to create your high dynamic range image you just want to get rid of the photos you used to do that. There could be other reasons why you end up with multiple images even down to the possibility that maybe you copy them over twice by mistake. I have been having a look at an application called PhotoSweeper which gives you some extra tools for finding duplicates. These duplicates can be found by looking in specific folders, you just drag and drop the folder into the application and tell it to have a look. Or you might be using one of the photo management applications like Lightroom, Aperture or iPhoto. This PhotoSweeper application will also do what needs to be done in this situation also.

Getting started with PhotoSweeper

When you first open it up there is a small six panel set of getting started help information. It only takes a minute to read through it, because the application is actually quite easy to use. I used this with my Aperture library and the first thing that I had to do was to use the media browser to add the library to this application. It is possible to drag and drop the Aperture library into this media browser and there is also a plus button that can be clicked to let you go finding the library in Finder.

Working with the settings in PhotoSweeper

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Generally you work with the application on a folder, project or album level, getting started by dragging the container you are working with into the main window of the application. I first of all dragged in an Aperture project from the media browser and I found that it worked just as well with bringing in an album that was part of a project. I also dragged in a folder directly from Finder into the main window of the application and that was no problem at all.

On the set up page you get to choose how you want the application to look for duplicates. This can be as simple as photos that are exact duplicates or you can use settings to find photos that are just similar. One of the most useful settings would be to use time plus bitmap and this will look at the timestamp on the photo and then it will look through the actual bitmap of the image to find similarities. You can also set the time interval that it should use for deciding if these might be duplicates by moving a slider to the left to get a longer time period and the other way for shorter. You might choose to use a time interval of ten seconds or less, three minutes and less and then you might want to go the whole hog for twenty-four hours or less.

What have you got in your Camera Bag

When you have set up the search that you want to do, all you have to do is to click on the Compare button at the bottom of the screen. It is quite amazing how fast the application does the job of looking through the photos and when it has scanned them it will ask you if you want it to auto-mark the ones that it thinks are duplicates or similar. I did find that when looking at photos that I had taken with a bracketed exposures that the application didn’t choose the properly exposed photo of the three. For some reason or other PhotoSweeper seemed to prefer the photo that was underexposed by two stops. It would be handy if in a future version of this application there was a setting that allowed you to do a better sorting of bracketed photos in the setup.

What to do with the results

If you go for the auto-marking of the photos then you can look more closely at the results and make specific choices to remove the marker or to add a marker to the duplicates that are laid out in groups. The photos that are to be kept are marked with a green label and the ones that are marked for removal have a red one. It is possible to go through these groupings one by one and two double click on a photo in order to toggle the marked status.

PhotoSweeper and Preview of Untitled and MarsEdit
There is a slider in the bottom right-hand corner of the application which will give you a zoom level, so if you need to see a bigger version or a smaller version it is easy to do so. This is when you are looking at the group list. You can also change this to a view which is called face-to-face which gives you a pair of photos to look at, even when the group has more than two in it. The text in between the two photos gives you a time difference between the two and underneath it gives you a percentage which must be the amount of similarity from one photo to the next. There are also arrows that you can use to scroll through the pairings of that group.

With a right click on a photo you get extra choices, such as removing from the list or moving a single photo directly to the trash. When you have gone through each of the groups and made the decisions of which photos you want to keep and which ones you want to delete, then you go to the menu Marked and decide how you are going to deal with those deletions. You might decide to move all the marked photos directly to the trash or you can move marked photos into another folder. So it is perfectly possible for you to clean up your Aperture library and yet to still keep your hands on all of the photographs that you have. So you can have all of your keepers within your container whether that is the photo management tool or within a folder and then move everything else out into a separate place.

A workflow to use when importing photos into the computer

One way of doing this would be to import photos from the camera, either directly from the SD card or from a folder on the hard drive that you have copied them to. Sorting out the duplicates in the PhotoSweeper application before you put them into your photo management app. This would be a way to sort the wheat from the chaff and only have the keepers in your Aperture, iPhoto or Lighroom application. You can use this to sort out your artistic photos that you have been editing in Pixelmator.

Personally I would prefer to just get everything into Aperture using the Aperture import facilities and only after that to do the weeding out of the photos that I don’t want. Whichever way you decide to go about dealing with your duplicates, within PhotoSweeper you can choose to to copy duplicates or to remove duplicates. You can even rename photos that are dealt with by PhotoSweeper.

A visit to Ireland – Family, Photography and Culture

The trip to Ireland to see the family

I’ve just had a surprisingly good trip to Ireland to visit my family over there in the emerald isle. Two of my sons live over there permanently and the other one who is living in Dubai was also back for a week. Absolutely fantastic to be able to see all of the three lads in the same place and we even had a Christmas lunch on account of the man from Dubai not being able to be back to Ireland for Christmas last year. I had something vegetarian, although there was turkey and all the trimmings for everybody else. Even Xmas crackers! We can thank my ex-wife for doing such a good job of creating this meal and making it a very good family get-together.

Photography with my Sony NEX-6 mirror less camera

I absolutely love the fact that I can always have this camera with me because it is so light and small. I have a quick release whatsyamacallit, thingymabob that clips to a strap of any bag that I am carrying and all I have to do is to press the red button and instantly I have the camera ready to shoot. Well, I do have to switch it on first. Right from the start while I was on the train from Caldes going to awards Barcelona airport I was taking street photography shots on the train. I even managed to inadvertently include myself in a photo with the reflection from the windows of the train.

Loughcrew Gardens – Sacred Tree Walk

My eldest son George, is the general manager for the Loughcrew House and I was able to go with an organised group on a tree walk around the estate on the Sunday of the visit. There were about 20 to 30 people that got a huge amount of information and background about the estate in general and in particular about the trees within the gardens. The guide that took us around was hugely knowledgeable and it was really interesting indeed. George asked me to take some photos of the large Grecian style, neoclassical pillars that are the only thing left standing from the house, that was finally burnt to the ground in 1964. I got some good shots with smaller part of the house that was saved in the background. I think he would like to be able to use them in the advertising for the Loughcrew Gardens business.

A music night out in Chapter 1

There was a band playing called Shouting at Planes who were absolutely marvellous. The music played was varied and hugely enjoyable. The musicians also had trumpet and the saxophone which added to the whole musical experience. I got pictures of the band as they were playing, but I didn’t get any pictures of the two poets that were the warmup for the band. The poets were very good in the realm of the angry poet brigade and of course they had a particularly Irish theme to some of the poems that were recited. It was great to see that the audience were very appreciative of the art of the poets and the quality music that came afterwards. It made for an excellent night out.

Good news time!

As a family we had good news delivered to us, which I can’t really talk about at the moment. Not only was it good news in itself, but it also seemed to help myself and my ex wife turn the corner in our relationship. This really happy news that we got, really makes me feel great about the future. To a certain extent going back to visit in the past has made me feel quite anxious, but after this successful trip I think I will be looking forward to going back again, and soon.

Rusty Grungy Winchy

A lovely day for taking photos at Castel Beach

There are lots of really nice beaches very close to where I live and today the sun was out and there was not a cloud in the sky. It was a perfect day to go out and take some photos at the beach. We went to a beach which is just north of Palomós called Castel Beach. It seems that lots of other people had the same idea as there were quite a few people walking around, riding around on bicycles, sitting around on the beach and enjoying themselves. Normally when I go there during the winter the place is deserted.

Myself and Victoria had an NEX-6 each to shoot some photos, with the sea a beautiful viridian green and it being a lovely warm sunny day in January we were bound to get some excellent photos. At the northern end of the beach there is a ruin of some sort, not much to look at or photograph but a good place to look down at the sea. The dog got lucky with getting some freedom to run around while we were busy with the cameras.

Boat and winch 2

Kit lens or vintage Canon lens

I was able to get a vintage Canon lens very cheaply indeed from Ebay and an adapter to be able to fit it to the Sony NEX-6. The advantage of this lens is that it has a maximum aperture of f1.8, so it is a fairly fast lens and great for getting those photos where you want to have the background blurred out with a nice bokeh. I did use it for some of the photos that I took today, although I found that the Sony kit lens was better for what I wanted to do with the landscape photography.

On the southern side of the beach there is a path which takes you to a couple of tiny fishing villages. Well, calling them a village is a bit of a stretch as they are really just a couple of houses tucked away in the small coves. There used to be fishermen’s houses, but now they are used by the owners as leisure Beach houses. There were people at the beach that had been diving for the sea urchins and were sitting there using scissors to open up and eat them. You can’t get your sea fruits any fresher than that!

Rusty grunge winch machinery

As much as I like a beautiful landscape or seascape I would much prefer to find some textural grungy life and today I found an old rusty boat winch. It looked like it didn’t work any more and probably only worked as being something for the boat to be tied to on the beach. When I got back home I was able to add even more texture to the photograph by turning it into a HDR High Dynamic Range photograph. With the application Photomatix Pro is possible to go completely crazy and make a photo that looks like it came from Mars with wild saturated colour. Occasionally I do like to go fairly strong with the high dynamic range effect and today was one of those days although I did turn the colours down a little.

Taking photos in Platja d'Aro

As you might expect with me having a new camera I am out taking quite a lot of photographs at the moment. Yesterday I went to the nearest coastal town to record some video, I did a timelapse video and also a straightforward video with the beach and the sea in the background. With the video I shot that was the time lapse it would have been handy if there had been more people around. The video that I ended up with wasn’t too bad though, as I had clouds moving across the shot as well as the cars and people moving around the traffic roundabout and street.

At the beach with the NEX 6 2

Controlling the NEX-6 by Wi-Fi connection

My new little camera, the Sony NEX-6 has Wi-Fi in it and I was able to set up my shots using the camera application for remote control. I can make changes to some of the settings for the photograph, such as the ISO, shutter or aperture settings and I can even use the zoom before I take the picture. It looks like I might be taking quite a few shots that you will see me holding my Google Nexus 7, because that is what I’m using to connect with Wi-Fi. I can also use my Galaxy S3, the iPhone and also the iPad.

In this photo you can see the town hall for Platja d’Aro with its water feature in front of it. Not long before I took this photo the water feature was functioning and spraying water around the place. As you can see from the photo it was a lovely sunny January day and just right for shooting video and taking photos.

Post processing using Intensify Pro

I did some postprocessing editing of this photo in Intensify Pro which I get access to as a plug-in from Aperture. There are lots of lovely presets that I can use to completely alter the way the photo looks, but with this picture I just gave it a little bit of extra punch. Within Intensify Pro it is possible to draw out all sorts of things from within the picture that you didn’t even know was there. This can be in the form of detail and texture and there are also presets which take you down the direction of something that looks like HDR photography.

The fishermen's flags waving in the harbour

The fishermen’s flags Were being blown around by the wind today in the harbour of St. Feliu de Guixols. The flags are looking in the bit ragged like they have seen better days, but that doesn’t matter as they don’t have to look fancy to do the job. On the pier where these flags were there were hobby fishermen too, sitting there with their rods dangling lines into the water. I went fishing a couple of times when I was a kid and got bored very quickly. I even managed to loose the fishing rod on the way home. I think I left it on the bus, anyway I never went fishing again. I suppose some people like the peace and relaxation that you get by sitting on a river bank or next to a lake, not for me though. I would rather be sitting in a kayak moving along and seeing new stuff.

A trip to Barcelona

Expecting to have a trip to Barcelona on Saturday to celebrate 11 years with my wife. Hoping to spend some time taking photos and seeing a few things I haven’t seen before. For example I have not been inside La Sagrada Familia. This time of year could be a good time to visit if there will be fewer tourists around. Then again there could be the magic man in the sky propaganda for the xmas festival. I am not sure which is worse! If the weather looks a bit iffy then we might have to postpone to another day in which case we can work out something else for the anniversary day.

Here is a photo I got on a previous visit to Barcelona and I had a change to do a photowalk around some parts of the city.

Big Rock on the beach at Platja d'Aro

Photography – An Image Created Rather Than Just Snapping Pictures

It was the perfect day to go out and take a photo on the beach at the time of the year when it was not going to be full of oiled, bronzed bodies soaking up the sun. I was very pleased to see that there were some clouds in the sky as so often when you go to the beach all you have is a perfect blue sky and none of those fluffy white things to break up the monotony. At the northern end of the beach in the Costa Brava tourist destination of Platja d’Aro there is a big rock that sticks up out of the sand that some might say is a little bit phallic. Images of this photo have graced the pages of many of the tourist information books for the Catalan holiday town.

HDR photography

The range or depth of light and colour within a photograph is limited by the technology of photography and to get closer and further than what the eyes can see you need to use the HDR technique. This is where you take usually three images although it could be more images that are set with different exposures. So you will have one image that is at the correct exposure, one image that is one or two stops lower and so will be a dark photograph and then another photo which is one or two stops more and will be a washed out exposure. Then you use software to meld these photos together and the one that I use is called Photomatix. With this photography application you can go for one of the many preset templates which range from the subtle to the completely crazy templates which will completely ruin your photo. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and sometimes one of the more extreme templates will be just what you are looking for. Even when you choose a preset, you can still make alterations to the settings and get it even more to your liking.

Photographic equipment

What would have been nice with this image would have been to use a really wide wide-angle lens, but I didn’t have one available. So to get the image that I wanted, what I did was to get close to it and to take a number of pictures that I could stitch together in the same way that you would put a panorama image together. So what I had to do was to create all of the HDR images first from the sets of three exposure bracketed photos. I think I had about eight images that needed to be stitched together and the software I was using, which was probably Photoshop did a great job of putting it together. So I really did do a big job to create this image and it is a long way from being a snapshot.

Railway track equipment in Haapsalu, Estonia

Changing direction with metal levers and gears.

Isn’t great the way that nature takes over where engineering and great big lumps of steaming metal had precedence over the countryside. This is in Haapsalu in Estonia. The tracks don’t have trains running on them anymore but the levers for swapping a train from one track to another are still present.

Brutal Metal and pretty flowers

one of my favourite subject matters for photography is urban decay or industrial images. Here is a photo that I took on a visit to a mining museum in Northumberland in England. I really enjoyed walking around the place and seeing all of the great big lumps of mining machinery. Even when these things are not actually working they look so powerful and potent in terms of objects. It reminds me of when I was at art college and one of my favourite places to draw and paint was in the Leeds industrial Museum. There are times though, when I am not near to some of this type of landscape and I have to resort to taking pictures of fields with flowers in. Nothing wrong with flowers that are pretty and colourful, in fact I really like brightly coloured objects very much indeed, but give me something urban and dilapidated and I’m really quite happy.

I have no idea what’s this white painted lump of metal does, or did in the mine, but it certainly looks really impressive and full of purpose. You have to kind of wonder what sort of life this machinery had before it got put out to grass. And talking about grass, that’s where the link comes in with the compare and contrast photo which has yellow and red flowers in a field out in the country.

A day out in Banyoles taking photos

Along side the lake in Banyoles.

A visit to Banyoles

Banyoles is a lovely place to go and have a visit and there are days when you will be completely stunned by the colour of the water. I have seen the lake looking completely amazing with a really lively turquoise colour. The last time I went to visit I took my bicycle and enjoyed the small tracks that are available for cycling all around the lake. On this visit when I took this photograph I was with my eldest son and we kicked the leaves around and took photos. if you are visiting Catalonia then Banyoles is definitely a place worth visiting. When Barcelona held the Olympics it was at this lake where they did the rowing competitions.

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