Finally Finished My Posting My Pictures From China!

I’ve finally caught up with China pictures – YEE HAW!!! Of course I’ve got about a million pictures from Nepal to sort through, process, and post.

I suppose this is a good time to procrastinate from my picture processing and give a short run down on how I actually process my photos. First, I have two digital cameras that I use to take the photos – a Canon PowerShot SD950IS 12.1MP, which I use as my everyday carry around point and shoot camera, and a Canon EOS Rebel T1i 15.1MP, which I use for “the good stuff”. Actually, I’m still learning how to use the T1i, so I probably don’t use it as much as I should. Plus, it’s a bit of a pain to carry around a big camera all the time. However, I’m trying to get past it, and use the DSLR more often.

After I take the pictures, I download them to my MacBook using Adobe Lightroom. Even though I love Photoshop, I’ve pretty much abandoned it for Lightroom. I still use Photoshop for splicing images together, and difficult image editing, but for the most part Lightroom does everything I need.

Anyway, I load the images into Lightroom. Next, I back up all the original images to an external hard drive, as well as to DVD. I then ship the DVDs back to the US (thanks Dad for checking that the DVDs made it back in working order). After I’ve confirmed that I have all my originals backed up, I begin the process of elimination. First, go through the hundreds of images I’ve taken, and delete anything that’s blurry, duplicates, bad composition (still working on figuring that out), bad lighting, and anything else that I can’t fix.

Next it’s photo fixing time (feel free to skip this section if you don’t care about software photo editing). I go through the images I like and make adjustments in Lightroom. For the most part it’s very quick work. I adjust the Fill Light if it’s under exposed, Recovery if it’s over exposed. I usually bump up the Brightness and Contrast a bit. Then I’ll bump up Clarity, Vibrance, and Saturation a tad – too much and it looks super fake. For images with a super washed out sky (the sky blends in with the clouds and you see no blue), I just discovered that you can drop Luminance of the blues and it helps to bring the sky out. However, anything else with blue color in your picture with get darker as well. If there’s a little bit of blurriness or motion blur, there’s a super basic sharpness editor in Lightroom, but it doesn’t do much. That’s about it, anything more involved and I have to resort to Photoshop.

Finally I export all images so that the longest edge is 1024 pixels long. Not sure why I went with that, but it seems big enough to give detail in all the pictures, and the full size image tends to be around 300K in size – not too bad for downloading, especially if you live in a country with half way decent internet.

After the processing has been done, the real pain in the butt begins. I have to upload all the images to this site. Actually the uploading isn’t too bad, since I switched from a Drupal based uploading system, to using a simple FTP program (FileZilla). The problem is with creating images in Drupal itself. The way (my setup) of Drupal works, for each image I must click “Create Content > Image” Then a page loads where I must fill in a Title, optional Body Text, Location, Tags, Photo Album name, and Image Name. I click Submit, and it creates the image node. This takes FOREVER, especially on a horrible internet connection (Ahem… China, Nepal….) If I had a choice, I’d create my own PHP site from scratch, one where I can set my own auto form field fills, and tweak it to do whatever I want. Drupal was a huge mistake. But perhaps I will find a nice beach in India or Thailand, take a month or two off from traveling, and actually rebuild this site from scratch….

And there you have it. That’s how I put all these pictures up. Now I need to learn how to take better pictures in the first place. 😉