Posts Tagged ‘Flickr’

Monday, November 7th 2011

Re-uploading 10,000 photos to Flickr

When I first started using Lightroom with my Canon EOS 30D I had very conservative default image settings for developing my raw files. I used the camera profile ACR (Adobe Camera Raw), which is supposed to be colorimetrically correct, and for some reason i had contrast set to 0 and black levels at 1 (as opposed to Adobe’s defaults of 25 and 5 respectively). I increased the saturation slightly to 8 instead of 0.

I liked the idea of the photos being realistic, but to be honest, it just meant they looked dull and uninspiring. 🙂

With my 50D and my 7D I started using slightly more aggressive defaults. I ditched the correct ACR and went with the newer Adobe Standard, which has less of a yellowy-greenish tinge and boosts red and orange colours slightly. Less realistic, better looking.

I increased contrast and black levels to Adobe’s defaults of 25 and 5, and increased saturation from 8 to 10.

Here’s an example of the difference. Hover for the after:

What I’ve done now is to go back and apply these new settings to all my old photos that didn’t have any special edits, which meant the vast majority. I created a preset with the new settings for contrast, black level, saturation and camera profile and went about applying it to hoards of photos at a time. Just under 10,000 in all.

Since Flickr is, to me, in large part a backup of my developed jpegs, I wanted to re-upload the photos so I know I have them safe in their most current state.

Thanks to Jeffrey Freidl’s amazing Flickr plugin for Lightroom I have previously been able to link all my photos in Lightroom to their counterparts on Flickr. This meant that, after applying the new settings to all the old raw files, all I had to do was to republish them using the plugin. This replaces each photo on Flickr with a new one, while keeping comments and view counts for each individual photo intact.

The republishing is currently in progress, at 33% after running for close to 48 hours.

I got a bit curious as to what kind of upload speeds I was getting to Flickr, so I installed a network monitor (FreeMeter). I found this rather interesting pattern:

Graph showing upload speeds to Flickr.

Each red chunk is one photo. It looks like there are two different speed modes. Some photos upload at less than 1 mbps, while others top out at around 5 mbps.

Could it be that different images are uploaded to different Flickr servers in different geographical locations? That’s the only reasonable explanation I can think of.

In the graph above, from last night, Lightroom pushed 11 photos to Flickr in 10 minutes. This morning I found that almost all of the photos seemed to be uploading at the higher speed, so now it is churning through roughly 20 photos per 10 minutes:

Graph showing upload speeds to Flickr.

If it keeps going at this rate for the remaining 5,935 images I should be done in another 48 hours or so. 🙂

Friday, June 25th 2010

Flickr is *Finally* Being Updated

Flickr have at long last decided to release an upgrade to their users.

The upgrade is currently only visible if you’re logged in to Flickr, but will be rolled out to all visitors in the coming weeks.

There are many improvements, but the ones I like best are a larger default size (up from 500 to 640 pixels) on the photo page and a new light box mode for viewing photos larger.

Screenshot of the new Flickr photo page.

But I can’t help wondering why they didn’t go for at least 720 pixels while they were at it. Or why not – since this is 2010 – a design that adapts the photo size to the browser window, à la Picasa? Perhaps that wouldn’t make it possible for Flickr to apply their magical sharpening that gives all Flickr photos that crisp look.

The new page seems to be designed to fit into a 1024×768 screen. If that is a requirement, then I just wish they’d spend a few more pixels on the photo and a few less on the right hand column.

Are we going to have to wait another 6 years for the next size increase?

At least they made navigation more intuitive with arrows labelled Newer and Older just above the photo. If you’re viewing a set, the buttons are labelled Prev and Next. (I’ve been using Flickr since 2006 and I still haven’t learnt if older photos are to the left or to the right on the photo page.)

The new light box is much better than the old All sizes page. (The All sizes page still exists though, and has been improved too.)

Screenshot of the new Flickr light box.

Basically it is a response to the View large on black link that many users have been adding to their photo description.

This is better though. It has a dark grey background, and buttons to move back and forward through the photos. It also has a play button that gives you a simple slide-show. The old (Flash) slide-show is still available though.

One thing that has nagged me for quite some time is the fact that the 1024 pixel images look soft, especially in comparison to the medium 500/640 pixel size. I’d really like them to apply a little sharpening to the 1024 pixel images too.

To sum up, some great improvements. They’ve really identified Flickr’s weak spots, I just wish they had done even more to fix them.

Friday, April 9th 2010

Wonderful Flickr Error Message

While updating one of my panoramas (replacing an existing image) on Flickr, I got this amazingly nonsensical error message:

Flickr Error Message

Is the file size limit 10 TB? Was I uploading an image larger than 10 TB? Waddya mean MB for pro users?

Thankfully I already knew the file size limit is 20 MB, so I could just ignore the stupid message.

Here’s what I believe the error message was trying to say:

File was too large – the limit is 10 485 760 bytes (20 MB for pro users).

I still can’t figure out why they would ever specify 10 MB in bytes though?!

Monday, May 25th 2009

Getting the Most out of Photos on Facebook

Image quality on Facebook is awful. That’s the simple truth. Just compare what you get at Flickr and Facebook.


22913-22915 - HDR


Image quality test on Facebook

Facebook just completely mutes the colours. Look at the red lights on the cars, or the red windows of the building. And sharpness is nowhere to be found. The tree is just a mushy green mess.

While Flickr’s default size is a bit on the small side (500 pixels), it still contains more than twice as much information (163 kB) as the Facebook version (67 kB).

So … what can be done about Facebook’s mangling of perfectly good photos? Well, if you do the downsizing and sharpening yourself you get more detail left at the end, in the resulting image after Facebook has done its ruthless compression.

This is very easy if you’re using Lightroom, but can definitely be done with any other imaging software as well. Simply resize your photos to 604 pixels on the longest side, which is the maximum for Facebook, and then apply some sharpening. Personally I do sharpening for screen, level High, in the export window of Lightroom.

This is what you get: (Hover to see the improvement.)

Image quality test on Facebook.

So, you get slightly more detail, but Facebook still murders your colours. Below is a comparison between Facebook version and the 604 pixel original that I uploaded (when hovered):

Image quality test on Facebook

An alternative to the hassle of downsizing and sharpening is to simply boycott Facebook for photos and just post links to your sets on Flickr …

Tuesday, September 16th 2008

Flickr vs Picasa: The best of two worlds, please

I use Flickr for my photos. It’s great in many ways and gives me full control. I can use it both as an online backup and a simple way to show my photos. But it has one drawback:

It sucks for visitors.

What I mean is, it isn’t very easy to use if you’re not a Flickr user yourself. It takes a lot of thinking and guessing.

Screenshot of a photo on flickr

For instance…

  • Sets is not a very intuitive word for albums. Also, the difference between collections and sets is impossible to grasp at a glance.
  • Just something as simple as navigating between photos in a set is unintuitive. Make nice arrows over, or instead of, the navigation thumbnails to the right. Give the user a sense of direction.
  • Why not have the Sets page as the default? Make the photostream an alternative.
  • A set shows tiny, cropped thumbnails by default. There is a Detail page for sets which is much better – make this the default.
  • Commenting on a photo requires that you’re a member. My family shouldn’t have to become Flickr members just to comment on my photos.
  • Flickr is slow! Photos should be preloaded like they are on Picasa. Also, some AJAX wizardry to make better use of the screen would be nice. (The world has moved on from 800×600 screens.)

Picasa, on the other hand, get’s quite a few of these things right.

Screenshot of a Picasa gallery

I guess user interfaces (or the lack of them) are Google’s forte:

  • Clear arrows for navigating between photos.
  • Albums are the first thing a visitor sees.
  • Large, good-looking photos. (Admittedly, Flickr photos look superb, they’re just a bit small.)
  • Thumbnails in albums are not cropped to squares. And the viewer can easily change their size.

At the same time, I don’t want to have to put photos into sets or albums, as one does with Picasa.

So here’s my appeal to Flickr and Picasa: I’d like the Flickr developers to make navigation easier and faster for viewers. And Picasa, get working on the power stuff that Flickr has. I’m thinking of things like the organizer (which is only second to Lightroom when it comes to … organizing).

I’d prefer it if Flickr made the move though, so I don’t have to upload all my photos to Picasa… 🙂

Wednesday, June 18th 2008

Holding hands in Uppsala

This shot turned out slightly more interesting than I thought it would when I took it a few weeks ago, thanks to the guys who look like they’re holding hands. (I don’t think they were though.)

Uppsala domkyrka, Uppsala Cathedral

Here’s another photo on the love theme with an unknowing subject:

Skytteanum, Uppsala

A few more general Uppsala motifs:

Uppsala domkyrka i en backspegel, Uppsala Cathedral in a rear-view mirror

Uppsala domkyrka, Uppsala Cathedral

Uppsala domkyrka, Uppsala Cathedral

Cyklar i Fyrisån, bikes in the Fyris river

Did I hear thunder or was that your tummy rumbling?

Tuesday, March 18th 2008

Favourites on Flickr

I’ve been going through my photos and putting together a collection of my favourites. I’m quite pleased with the outcome. It looks very colourful when they’re all put on the same page:

Thumbnails of favourites from Flickr

To get the large versions of the photos, click View as slideshow at the top of the page.

Monday, January 14th 2008

Uploading 4,600 photos to Flickr

After having spent many, many hours keywording all my photos using Lightroom, I have now uploaded all the photos to Flickr. (Here’s why I didn’t go with Zooomr.)

Obviously I had to get a Pro account for unlimited uploading and storage. With the dollar being so cheap though it was a steal at SEK 160.

The uploading of my ~4,600 photos took roughly four whole days and nights on my … umm, modest Internet connection. (2 Mbps down, 256 kbps up.)

Now I have a wonderful, searchable, keyworded archive of all the photos that I’ve taken with my dear EOS 30D. Here, for instance, is a search for leaf:

Flickr screenshot, warped in Photoshop

Both Flickr and Zooomr have pretty nice AJAX style uploading. Flickr’s would only (?) take 400 or so photos in one go. I uploaded the photos as private, but allowed friends to see them all. I have then gone through them all and (so far) selected 673 photos that I’ve made public.

One really nice thing is that I can write captions for the photos in Lightroom, and when I export the photos the caption is saved to the IPTC info, which Flickr reads and understands. Three cheers for standards and compatibility!

Monday, January 14th 2008

Flickr Won Me Over

Even though I had already paid for a Pro account at Zooomr, I ended up going with Flickr for my online archive/backup.

I usually go with the underdog, which would be Zooomr in this case. Mainly because the underdog usually works harder and more often thinks out of the box in order to win people over.

Zooomr does have free, unlimited photo hosting. And you only pay once to get a Pro account, not anually as with Flickr. But Zooomr has a few annoyances that put me off it.

  1. Zooomr doesn’t cope with Swedish characters (å, ä and ö) in the IPTC tags of uploaded photos.
  2. Zooomr doesn’t display EXIF data in a readable way.

When half the point of uploading the photos was to make them searchable, those bugs are pretty serious. I’ve spoken to Kristopher, the founder and developer behind Zooomr, and it didn’t sound like the EXIF bug was very high up on their to-do-list. So Zooomr will have to wait for now.

If and when they fix those two bugs (which were the only bugs as far as I could see) I might decide to make a second backup on Zooomr. The (future) possibility to sell photos on Zooomr (Marketplace) definitely sounds interesting anyway. Until then I’ll at least be following the Zooomr blog closely. The upcoming Zooomr Mark IV (aka 2008) release might be just what I need. Who knows.