Monthly Archives: July 2009

Random Thoughts from the pool

Random Thoughts

I wish my best thoughts were a tenth as profound as Dr. Thomas Sowell’s random thoughts. If you do not read his column and books, start now.

As I am starting this post, I am sitting at the pool at a resort in Florida while the kids are playing. We spent the day at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. I don’t know how they have the energy to swim after the day.

Today we ate at the park but have eaten at a couple of good local places so far. I am really close to starting a new website about local (not chain) restaurants and this trip will give me a couple of posts. If you think there is an interest in this type of site, let me know. I would need some guest bloggers for different areas. Hey, maybe I could deduct my food and travel costs.

I am also preparing for the fall semester. I will be using Windows Server for the Infrastructures class this fall. Book is still 2k3 since the publishers did not release text books for 2008 in time. I really would like to get away from text books more in class but have to deal with other faculty. If I do not have a book for a class, it is almost impossible to have an adjunct teach the class. I would like to have the time and motivation to write my own books and give them to the students in electronic form. Don’t have the discipline.

When I get back home, I need to finish my photographers work flow part 2 post. Had more views than usual for that post. If anyone has any topic that they want to here my opinion about, post a comment. I do try to stay away from religion politics most of the time as much to keep from hearing from my employer than anything else. I may change that since it is fun to make people angry. As I tell my students: ?I will insult your religion or political party by the end of the semester, if I don’t please let me know and I will insult you personally.?

Rereading Stephen Hawking’s Brief History of Time.? Needs to be read at least every 10 years.? Will post a must read list in the future.

Going to try to post from the pool.

Number 7: What I didn’t Learn in Engineering School. Be an Apprentice!

Be an apprentice!

Become an apprentice, not the Donald Trump kind. Find someone you work with that will apprentice you. They will show you the details of the job. This is different than a mentor although it could be the same person. The person that you apprentice with shows the in’s and out’s of the job. They will show you how to make a cable, how to troubleshoot a problem. Most trades once were apprentice programs. You would start out as an apprentice. In the past this would often start at about age seven and last for 10 years. You then became a journeyman and finally a master.

In the fast changing tech world, it would be difficult to spend 10 or more learning something since that would be obsolete after that long. You can still follow the idea and learn the basic skill that you will build on in the future.

Once you are a master, find someone to be your apprentice.

Scott Kelby’s World Wide Photo Walk 2009

Getting started on the walk

Getting started on the walk

Saturday was the 2009 World Wide Photo Walk. This is the second annual photo walk sponsored by Scott Kelby. This year there were 32,000 photographers that participated with over 1000 walks around the world. This was my first photo walk but will not be my last. I was part of the Abingdon VA walk. We started at the post office and walked around town. The walk took us to the farmers market, Martha Washington Inn, Barter Theater and downtown. We then drove over to the entrance to the Creeper Trail. We finished with a great lunch at the Senior Citizens Center.

Baseball bats for sale at the Farmers Market

Baseball bats for sale at the Farmers Market

Lots of fun. Got to meet some wonderful people and spend four hour getting to know them. We talked photography and had a good time. I enjoyed watching the other photographers work. Seeing their styles and approaches to subjects. Hopefully I picked up some good pointers. I shot over 300 pictures, a few were even good. I would probably have shot twice as many but spent a lot of time observing. I made a lot of mistakes in my pictures by not paying enough attention to what I was doing.

Are you hungry?

Are you hungry?

Hopefully I will get to participate next year or maybe even host a walk. I think Elizabethton TN would make a good walk. I hope you enjoy some of the pictures posted here or see them all at my flickr site. I will also be adding a gallery here later this week.

The fire dept was doing some training.

The fire dept was doing some training.

The sky reflecting from the clock

The sky reflecting from the clock

One mans junk

One man's junk

Photographic Workflow – Part 1

Photographic Workflow ? Part 1

What is the best workflow for photographers? I don’t know. Everyone is different and will have different needs. I have developed a workflow that works for me. First, the software that I use.

  • Canon EOS Utility ? Import files
  • RenameMaster – Freeware utility to rename files
  • Holux Logger Utilitiy ? Import geodata
  • Geosetter ? Match gps data with photos
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom ? Catalog and basic edition, printing and posting
  • Adobe Photoshop – Advanced editing

I’ll discuss each software as I go through my workflow. My first step is to take the photographs. Did I really need to say that? Without photos, everything else is unnecessary.

After returning from a shoot, I will import the photos into the computer. I can do that in one of two ways. I can connect the camera via a USB cable to the computer or insert the memory card into the card reader. When I started, I used the USB cable. This works OK if I only have a few pictures. If I have a lot of shots, or they are on multiple memory cards, that is not efficient. Now I only use the card reader.

Folder Structure

Folder Structure

I will copy the pictures to a folder on my computer. This allow me to copy all the memory cards at once and do any additional processing later. Once the photos are on the computer, I will start the EOS utility. I could use Lightroom at this point but I have a folder structure that the EOS utility will automatically create that I have been unable to duplicate in Lightroom. I organize my photos by year. Within the year, a folder for each month and within that folder, one for each day. The EOS utility can automatically create that folder structure for me. Another thing the EOS utility does is rename the file to show my basic naming structure. You have the ability to customize the naming structure with the EOS utility as well as in Lightroom. The file will have a name in the format YYYY_MM_DD_XXXX. The year, month and day are from the EXIF data. XXXX is the image number created by the camera.

I initially had the EOS utility sequentially number the files but if I put the memory cards in the computer in a different order than taken, the sequence would match the order they were imported. I didn’t like this method.

Now that the photos are in the folders that they will live in, I will start Rename Master and append a subject to the end of the file name. This will be something like cub_scouts or Watauga_lake. Rename Master is a freeware utility to bulk rename files.

My next step is geocoding the photos. Geocoding allows me to attach latitude and longitude data to each photo. I can manually geocode the pictures but I usually use my GPS data logger. I will import the track data that was gathered while on the shoot using the utility supplied with the GPS.

Once the track log has been imported, I run Geosetter ( which is a freeware utility that will allow both manual geocoding or automatically geocode the pictures by reading the track log. I shoot mainly in camera raw so the GPS data is attached to a XMP sidecar file for each photo.

I am finally ready to import the photos into Lightroom. Lightroom is a photo cataloging program. It also allows basic editing, printing, slideshows, and creating web galleries. For more information about Lightroom, go to

I will import the photos into Lightroom. During the import Lightroom import, copyright data will be added as well as basic tagging if all photos are the same subject. Once imported, I will do any additional tagging of the photos. This will include identifying subjects withing pictures. I will go through the photos and tag and if necessary, apply basic adjustment such as exposure and white balance. Photos that are obviously above average that I may want to do other things with will be starred. I will give them three stars to start with. Obvious rejects are also rejected.

I will now upload the photos to my Flickr account using a Lightroom plugin. I will leave the details of this for another post. I have now completed my basic workflow.

If I need to do additional processing of any photos, I will use the additional tools in Lightroom and if necessary, go to Photoshop. I can do 90-95% of what I need in Lightroom.

I will talk about the Lightroom of my workflow in part 2.

Number 6: What I didn’t Learn in Engineering School. Make the Coffee!

Make the Coffee!

Actually I already new this one. Don’t be the person that empties the coffee pot and doesn’t start a new pot. If you are the first one in, make coffee. If you walk by and the pots empty, make more. Do it even if you don’t drink coffee. This goes for tea or the beverage of choice at work.

I have worked with people that would not do the little things like make coffee. I have worked in a place that they took out the community pot because the secretary and I were the only ones that made coffee. She didn’t drink it, others did.

If it is not coffee, it will be something else. This will tell people that you are a team player. It will say a lot about you even if you never receive a direct thank you.

By the way, you can spring for donuts occasionally.

Number 5: What I didn’t Learn in Engineering School. Find a mentor, be a mentor.

Find a mentor, be a mentor.

Mentors are often found in unexpected places. Most people will happily share knowledge and give advice if asked. Find someone you know and respect and ask them to mentor you. Those are the people that will tell you when you are wrong. They will do it without being mean.

Find someone to mentor. If you see someone that could use some advice, offer to mentor them. Most of the time they will take you up on your offer. If they don’t, it’s their loss.

Mentors will guide you in your career and life. They will not necessarily teach you the details. Find someone to apprentice with for the details. (Will be covered in a future post.)