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Missing from the Exif – First post

Thought I would add the some of the stuff from photos to my blog, the sort of stuff that you do not find in EXIF data… the stuff that really makes a photo.

First cab of the rank so to speak will be my sunset photo from the other day…. of course if there are flickr photos you want the story behind, just drop me a line.

The basic shot was planned 3 hours before hand, when I noticed the smoke around the city from the series of burn off’s that the DSE was conducting that day.

Now smoke in the atmosphere will ALWAYS give you a red sunset. And if the smoke is thick enough, you will be able to see the whole disk of the sun with the naked eye, let alone needing ND Filters.

So I know it is going to be a great sunset, so I get home from work grab all my gear and head to my favourite place where I know that I can get the sun setting over water every time. Before I go however I have I quick scan over my flickr sunset set just to make sure I have the approx F Stops and Shutter speeds for similar photos in my head.

When I got to my location, I like always fired up the GPS on my phone to create a log file so that I can tag the photos… and because I am shooting the sunset swap to my 70-300mm lens. I’m after the sun as big as I can get in the shot (well at least very large, so am looking at the 200mm+ range)

Also I have my Hoya 62mm Circular Polariser on my lens. Now I have the cheap 70-300mm which has the problem that the front element rotates on focusing, meaning that you have to tweak the Polariser every time focus changes.

So that kind of covers the technical side of things… then that bit of luck comes into play. There was a boat with a wake boarding moving up and down the bay right opposite the outcrop I was standing on. This shot was the 4th shot I took of them.

As this shot is all manual, this is what I did. I took a practice shot of the sunset to make sure that the colour and lighting were correct. Then as the boat passed left to right I got a focus lock (single point – centre left) on the wake board rider. This gave me the opportunity to check that the first time they went passed that I could get the shot I was after. By now I already knew how far they would travel and when the return trip would be.

Next is that moment of fear… will they pass through my shot again… will they fall off, will they do something unexpected.

Lucky for me…. They didn’t… it all went to plan. I’d also put the camera into highspeed burst mode so that I could shoot more frames that I needed to capture the action. Given that it took the rider less than a second to pass through the sweet spot of the image I wanted to give myself every chance. As the rider got close to the the sun I made sure that I had focus lock on him and just panned the camera as he moved from right to left.

The biggest piece of luck however was when the rider decided to jump. Just before the reflection of the sun from my point of view.

So that is how I fill a blog post writing about a lucky image that took a lot of understanding to get.

So look at the EXIF data of peoples shots to see how the shot was done.. but really… look at the photo and that will tell you how it is really done.

(also you will find this image on Redbubble, with the Lat Long on the final image, where you can buy it from a post card to a framed print)

(oh nearly forgot)

Here is the EXIF Data:

Camera: Nikon D90
Exposure: 0.002 sec (1/640)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 200 mm
ISO Speed: 250
Exposure Bias: 0 EV
Exposure Program: Manual
Date and Time (Original): 2010:03:25 19:12:24.00+11:00
Metering Mode: Multi-segment
Exposure Mode: Manual
White Balance: Auto
Digital Zoom Ratio: 1
Focal Length In35mm Format: 300 mm
Scene Capture Type: Standard
GPSVersion ID:
GPS Latitude: 37 deg 53′ 57.12″ S
GPS Longitude: 144 deg 59′ 2.35″ E
GPSAltitude: 9.5 m
Creator Tool: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
Lens: 70.0-300.0 mm f/4.0-5.6

Geotagging without a dedicated GPS on your DSLR

Now of course this works for any camera digital camera not just high end DSLR’s.

I guess people are going to say but who cares about Geotagging photos.  That is easy… say you are on a once in a lifetime trip heading to some out of the way places or even just around town.  You take that great photo of a beach, a wall or even a person… now in 6 months time are you going to be able to find that location again are you even going to remember where it was roughly…    This is why I geotag my photos.  I can now find any location for my photos from the last 3 years, because all the photos have it stored in the Exif data.

I am going to show how using the GPS built into my phone running in the background I can do this.  So you people with phones that have a GPS that can not multi-task will have to spend some money and get a logger to be very accurate. My Nokia N95-8gb runs Sports Tracker in the background just fine so this is what I am going to use as my example. Then by using software called Geotag will add lat long and altitude to all the images, before they are uploaded to flickr.

The biggest advantage of Geotag however is that it will add the data to the RAW files as well as the JPEG/JPG files.  Formats include ARW (Sony), CR2 (Canon), DCR (Kodak), DNG (Adobe), ERF (Epson), MEF (Mamiya), MRW (Minolata), NEF (Nikon), ORF (Olympus), PEF (Pentax), RAF (Fuji), RAW (Panasonic), SR2 (Sony) and SRF (Sony).

Geotag should run on any operating system for which a Java SE 6 runtime is available.

Of course you can just manually add lat and long to say Flickr or Picasa but if you have a big set of photos or have travelled a long distance in a few days it is always easier to get software to do it all for you without having to guess locations.

First Step.. and most important... Make sure that the time on your Phone and on your camera are as close as possible. The software works by comparing the time stamp of the photo to the time on the track file.  You can set offsets for it.. but it is just easier to get it right in the first place.

Always switch on the logging software on your phone and wait for it to get a fix.  If you just fire up the software and hit the road and start driving it can take a much longer time for the GPS to get a fix than if you are stationary. Once you are happy that the software is working you are good to go.  Another tip is to break up a journey into a series of smaller track files, that way if the software crashes you still have a large part of the trip as a log file.  For example when I have been on my road trips I’ll often stop the GPS and start a new track when ever I got out of the car to take photos.

So lets dive in…

Getting the Log File to Geotag.

Open Sports Tracker, go to Training workouts…

Select the date you are after.

Now find the first track file you want.

Then Choose, Export, then Export as GPX. Most GPS Log file software programs handle GPX and this format contains all the info you are after.
Then Choose create file only.
It doesn’t matter what drive you put this on.. so often Root Drive is just faster especially if you have a few track files to create.

.. Repeat as needed :-) …..

Then once you have all these files simply drag and drop from your phone on to your computer so then we can move to the next part of the process.

Once you have opened Geotag choose File > Load Tracks From File.

This will let you select all the small tracks files that you have created in one group so you don’t have to open each track file on its own.

Then you can either open up just the image files or a whole directory.  I tend to just import into Lightroom, do a quick pass to delete the dud shots, then tell GeoTag to look in the directory from the last import and work from that.

Now with the Track Files and the Directory Open, you right click, choose Find Locations > For All Images.

At this point a cup of coffee may be required if you have a few thousand images…

Once it has finished processing you will have all your images that the gps was working for tagged…

Then just choose Save All and you are done.  Now your RAW files and your Jpegs have the correct geodata embedded into them, so any time you upload to a service that supports Geocodes your photo will be mapped automatically.

You can of course get GeoTag to look up information such as lat, long, altitude, place names or get it to guess locations based on missing parts of the track file.

Another trick is to take one photo with your phone that is geotagged and then copy that information to the rest of the photos.  This is great trick if you are in just one place.  As another trick before going indoors take a photo of the front of the building, then use that as your tag if you cant get a GPS signal indoors.

Of course the easiest thing to do is to buy a GPS for your Camera, but if you don’t mind spending a bit of time the above steps should save you a bit of time money and still give you what you need.

(PS, I still have  dedicated GPS for the camera on my to buy list.. but I am a bit fussy like that :-))

Storm Over the Field

Taken at: 26°38’11″S, 149°54’29″E