Scanned Photos in Picasa – Use This Tool!

While Picasa is a wonderful tool – it does have one flaw.  It sorts pictures by the date in their exif header.  If you keep the date on the camera correct, this isn’t a problem.

However – I have two sets of pictures that give me problems.  I have been scanning my old 35mm film at home for a couple years in my spare time.  I have also sent away some APS film that I wanted to have scanned before it became totally obsolete.  When these pictures are scanned, the date in the exif header is the date that the film was scanned. (The scanner creates the exif header)

Even if I file them in folders for a particular date – I still have scanned photos from the 1980’s showing up in 2009 under picasa.

To fix this you have to modify the date in the exif header.  The best tool I have found to do this is jhead.  Luckily – jhead works on windows, mac, and linux.  Now to set the dates for a whole series of pictures in a particular directory I can just do this:

jhead -ds2000:12:25 * (set the exif dat to Christmas 2000)

You can even set the filestamp to the date in the exif header with

jhead -ft *

This may not seem like much – but it might be the only tool I’ve found that can do this.

If your image doesn’t have any exif data – you can even create the header:

jhead -mkexif *

Now these pictures will show up in the correct chronological order in Picasa – and finding the ones I want is much easier.  I suggest you check out the documentation page for all the options available.  But I have found this to be one of the critical tools in my Linux Photographer Toolbox.  And all you lucky PC/Mac users get to use it too 🙂


Managing Photo Libraries in Linux – A Simple Method.

I use my Linux machine as my primary machine for photography.  I import my pictures with a card reader, edit them as needed with GIMP, and then file them.  For backups I created a simple shell program with rsync which backs them up nightly to another disk.

I take about 1500-2000 pictures every year.  I only delete the absolute mistakes.  Right now I have about 12,000 pictures on my system.

I have been though several programs to manage my pictures.  On my mac I tried Iview Mediapro – which was then bought by Microsoft (and recently abandoned once again.)  I must admit – having used computers at home since 1987 I’m not too willing to surrender myself to a single program.  I’m sure that every year since I have owned a computer I have had to worry about migrating my data either because of the operating system, the computer, or the program.  This has influenced how I manage pictures today.

I use a simple directory structure to store my pictures.  For example – suppose I take Easter pictures on April 20th of 2010.  I will put all those pictures in a folder that describes them: “Easter_at_Bunny_House”.  Then that folder will be put into my overall picture directory – and will look something like this:


  • /storage is my storage folder at the root level
  • /storage/primary is a dedicated disk mounted at that point (I actually have a /storage/backup as well)
  • /storage/primary/photos – I store other stuff
  • /storage/primary/photos/dated – I have other photos which might be categorized (a clip art collection perhaps).  I also have others where I don’t know the correct dates yet (collections from relatives.)  Although I try to get everything into the ‘dated’ directory – there are other spots for some photos.
  • /storage/primary/photos/dated/year_2010 – Each year has it’s own folder, and within each year are 12 months (I copied a few years into the future so I wouldn’t have to do the months by hand)
  • /storage/primary/photos/dated/year_2010/d_Apr – I have the months listed alphabetically – so you will see “a-jan, b-feb, c-mar” and so on – just to keep them in order.

Why I don’t use IPTCIPTC is a great standard.  Unfortunately, many of the popular programs don’t use IPTC. Iphoto didn’t before.  I don’t know if they do now.    Here is a list of programs that work with IPTC.   The problem is simple.  Adding keywords to programs is a lot of work!

I find that by naming the folders correctly I can often find the pictures just through memory or a simple search.  This works a majority of the time.  When it doesn’t, I use Picassa for Linux.   I poiint this to my photo directory and can scan my photos quickly to find the one I want.

I have about 12,000 photos.  I am not dependent on a particular program.  I can move my files easily to another system.  If you have fewer photos a photo program might work for you (although good luck migrating in the future.)  If you have many more pictures a professional implementation might be worth your time.  For me – the simple method seems to work best and I am quite happy with it.

VASRA – Virginia Championships Videos – 22 May 2010

NOTE: This blog is now inactive.

I have moved to the Nova-Rowing Blog


The races are done, the weather was very good, and we didn’t get rained on.  Below are the videos I took of the races.  Seeing all those great racers out there trying their hardest made me realize one thing.  I’m a terrible videographer!! I never did figure out a good strategy to get all the action.  If I moved away from a racer it was because I didn’t think their position would change by the finish. Sorry – but hopefully these are better than nothing 🙂

All the videos I have are posted – you can also look at the  NewCuriousThoughts youtube channel

The videos on Youtube will play at a higher resolution – wordpress seems to restric the size of the videos I embed in my posts.

Also – I haven’t screened these videos yet as I have been converting and uploading them all evening. If there is something ‘bad’ in them – I apologize and will try to fix it later. (Update – I got one phone call the whole day – in the middle of the men’s eight final – go figure…) Also – hopefully I got the races matched up correctly – if not – something else to fix…

The results are now posted at VASRA Results .

By the way – the entries for the VASRA Championship is here.

Race #1:  M 1x Final   (Men’s 1X Final)

Race #2:  M 2x Final (Men’s 2X Final)

Race #3: W 2x Final  (Women’s 2X Final)

Race #4: W Junior 8 Final  (Women’s Junior Eight Final)

Race #5:  M Junior 8 Final (Men’s Junior EIght Final)

Race #6: M 2nd 8 Final (Men’s Second Eight Final)

Race #7:  W 2nd 8 Final (Women’s Second Eight Final)

Race #8: M Junior 4 Final (Men’s Junior Four Final)

Race #9: W Junior 4 Final (Women’s Junior Four Final)

Race #10: M 2nd 4 Final (Men’s Second Four Final)

Race #11:  W 2nd 4 Final (Women’s Second Four Final)

Race #12: W 4x Final (Women’s Four X Final)

Race #13: M 4x Final (Men’s Four X Final)

Race #14: M Lt 4 Final (Men’s Lightweight Four Final)

Race #15: W Lt 4 Final (Women’s Lightweight Four Final)

Race #16: M Lt 8 Final (Men’s Lightweight Eight Final)

Race #17: W Lt 8 Final (Women’s Lightweight Eight Final)

Race #18: M 2x Final (Men’s Two X Final)

Race #19: M 1st 4 Final (Men’s First Four Final)

Race #20: W 1X Final (Women’s One X Final)

Race #21: M 1st 4 Petite (Men’s First Four Petite Final)

Race #22: Deleted

Race #23: W 1st 4 Petite (Women’s First Four Petite Final)

Race #24: W 1st 4 Final (Women’s First Four Final)

Race #25: W 1st 8 Petite (Women’s First Eight Petite)

Race #26: W 1st 8 Final (Women’s First Eight Final)

Race #27: M 1st 8 Petite (Men’s First Eight Petite)

Race #28: M 1st 8 Final (Men’s First Eight Final)

Teams Racing: Wakefield, Mathews, Western Albemarle, Great Bridge, Grassfield, Cox, Hickory, Hylton, Jeb Stuart, Woodbridge, Potomac, Woodson, O’Connell, Thomas Jefferson, Lake Braddock, Yorktown, Georgetown Visitation, West Springfield, Robinson, Garfield, TC Williams, Gloucester, Episcopal, James River, South County, Granby, Madison, Oakton, Langley, Forest Park, Jeb Stuart, McLean, Fairfax, St Albans, Washington Lee, Mt Vernon, National Cathedral, Madison, First Colonial, Page, Christchurch, Cape Henry

Phatch – Linux Photo Batch Resizing

In a previous post I mentioned KRename.  It really is my favorite tool for renaming photos once I get them onto my computer from the camera.  I use it the most. But occasionally I need to resize my photos, or I want to resave them to a lower resolution, or a more compressed jpeg.  I often do this when I want to email several photos to people or I want to resize them for this blog (and not use all my allocated memory.)

For these tasks I like to use Phatch. I have it in my Ubuntu 8.04 repository.  If it isn’t in yours you can find the download here for Linux (and Windows and Mac).  Phatch is a neat little tool written in Python that allows you to shrink your photos, apply text, or watermarks, round the edges of photos – then save them with a chosen name.  Like KRename – I’ve never had it destroy a set of my photos (always very important.)  I’ll admit I find the interface a little weird – but it tries it’s best to be intuitive – and I can usually work my way through without much trouble even if I haven’t used it for a couple months.

Here is a very simple example of what Phatch can do:

When you open the program you get the working window:

Phatch Opens with the Action List Window

You then click the “+” key to get a list of possible actions for your photos from which you can choose:

A List of Actions to choose from...

There are MANY more actions than this available. You can read about all of them in the Phatch Wiki.  I usually am simply resizing my photos.  Once you choose an action you are given a variety of options:

Each action has various options from which to choose.

Whatever actions you choose – you need to remember the make the last action the SAVE action.  Here is where I adjust the JPEG quality of my original photos.

Working with SAVE. A variety of image formats are available.

Finally – you can click on the “Gears” button on the main window to choose a folder on which to execute your batch processing:

Choose a folder and files on which to apply your actions

The program will then batch process your files and save them wherever you selected in your SAVE action.

An easy and well written tool for us Linux Photographers.  I hope you enjoy using it.